Rep. Elissa Slotkin last week sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking her to take the unprecedented step of designating 13 extremist movements as foreign terrorist organizations, arguing that such measure “helps apply more pressure to curb violent organizations and the ability of their leaders to run their groups.”
But of the 13 groups listed in his letter, given by his office to BuzzFeed News, no less than four, one is an American club founded in California that is researching and rebranding, and another is also changing. in the name used in Slotkin’s letter six years ago when it became part of the country’s national guard.
“This is a very good list – in 2018,” Matthew Feldman, director of the London -based Center for Radical Right Analysis, told BuzzFeed News. “Each of the [the listed groups] active. Everyone is at risk. ”
Feldman praised Slotkin’s efforts and the motivation behind the list, saying they were a step in the right direction. But he also said it serves as an example of how the U.S. government has been slow to recognize the threat posed by right-wing violent extremists at home and abroad.
Biden signaled his intent to fight domestic violence – especially white supremacists like fellow mobsters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and were seen by the FBI as a major threat. Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers last month that domestic terrorism “carries the deadliest and most ongoing terrorism -related threat in the homeland today.
However experts say it is also important to follow foreign extremist groups, who will always communicate, coordinate, and inspire their American counterparts.
Whether the Biden administration lists groups like the one proposed by Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan, as official Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), or at the very least designating Special Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT), it will help curbing dangerous white supremacist organizations, the member of Congress argued in his letter, which had previously reported by Reuters.
“It will also provide the U.S. Government with additional tools to engage and flag Americans to contact, support, train, and participate in. [white supremacist extremist] groups, ”Slotkin wrote.
But Elizabeth Neumann, the former assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention at the Department of Homeland Security during the Donald Trump administration, told BuzzFeed News that the process is long and difficult.
“The FTO process is a high bar,” he said. “I’m disappointed that we only got the Russian Imperial Movement. That’s not the only group we’re looking at.”
In April 2020, the U.S. designated RIM and three of the leaders of these SDGTs – the first time such a classification has been used.
Asked about Slotkin’s letter, a State Department spokesman told BuzzFeed News, “as a general matter, we didn’t say anything about the congressional letter and we didn’t say anything about the designations. or disputes related to potential nominations.But Blinken said MSNBC is Press Meeting on Sunday that the designation of white supremacist groups abroad as foreign terrorist organizations was “something we are looking at.”
A former CIA analyst targeting foreign terrorist organizations in the Middle East, Slotkin writes that he was “hit by the threat posed by white supremacist groups, much of their contact with U.S. extremists. , the little intelligence and diplomatic reporting we have on these groups, and relatively little review has been done by the U.S. Government. ”
Among those Slotkin said should be pointed out to terrorists is the National Action Group, a neo-Nazi organization founded in the United Kingdom and banned in 2016 that target young British. A U.S. counter-terrorism in 2018 report it is described as a terrorist group that promotes violence against politicians and minorities. A Metropolitan Police officer named Ben Hannam formerly convicted on membership on April 1.
The other is the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, which is the same as the 2018 US report described as an anti-Western transnational organization that backed violent attacks, including anti-Muslim and wingless groups.
But not all of the groups he asked to be targeted by the government are active today.
Kacper Rekawek, a Slovakia -based researcher at the nonprofit Counter Extremism Project, says Slotkin’s list is the kind of list that could list people in right -wing extremist groups.
“Rep. Slotkin’s efforts are commendable. The designations, not used in a European context, should help counter the threat of violence from serious right-wing organizations,” Rekawek told BuzzFeed News. “However, this should be informed by a meticulous analysis of the local right and right scenes that includes many artists who regularly give speeches, but don’t walk away until the violence has occurred.”
The neo -Nazi groups Feuerkrieg Division, Sonnenkrieg Division, Atomwaffen Division Deutschland, and Northern Order – all on Slotkin’s list – are gone, Rekawek and Feldman said. Members of groups – all inspired by the U.S. Atomwaffen Division and American neo -Nazi James Mason’s “Siege culture, “- bound by violence or violent schemes of the UK, the US, Germany’s, Canada, and everywhere.
Rise Above Movement (RAM), a white supremacist fight club founded in southern California with related neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and the Balkans, especially disbanded after three of its members were jailed for participating in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. The creator of RAM, New York native Robert Rundo, was indicted in a separate federal lawsuit over the violence of multiple protests across California. The charges were dismissed in June 2019 however turned Last month.
After this story was published, Slotkin’s staff clarified that they included RAM in the list as a way to identify aliens who were members of the group.
The other problematic group on Slotkin’s list is the Azov Battalion in Ukraine. The paramilitary force was formed in 2014 by right -wing extremists who volunteered to take up arms against Russian -backed forces when the war in eastern Ukraine began. In January 2016, it became part of the country’s National Guard and became known as the Azov Regiment.
Its political wing, the National Corps, has been branded a “nationalist hate group” by the State Department. But designating the regime as a foreign terrorist organization is likely to create challenges, especially given its connection to the state and the fact that Ukraine is an ally of the US.
BuzzFeed News reached out to Slotkin for comment on the list. An aide said they were informed of Azov’s condition and the disbanded groups after the letter was reported to the Reuters representative. However, the aide said, they plan to keep at least the groups on the list that remain active.
“We’re confident we’ll get some level of naming,” said the aide.
Read Slotkin’s full letter.