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Portland Protesters Burn Bibles, American Flags in the Streets



Protesters flocked to the Justice Center and the federal courthouse in Portland again on Friday night, lighting fires and burning American flags and Bibles in the streets.

According to the Portland Police, which did not engage with demonstrators, the crowd lit several fires, including a large bonfire in the middle of the street in front of the federal courthouse. One video shows protesters feeding a small fire with Bibles, which were engulfed in flames:

Other videos show American flags consumed by fire:

Portland Police did not engage with the demonstrators but did respond to a nearby shooting, where over 150 rounds were shot. One round struck a woman, per the Portland Police Bureau:

One round struck an adult female victim in an arm. Responding officers applied a tourniquet and she was transported to the hospital by ambulance with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries. No other injuries have been reported to police, however bullets struck at least 8 occupied apartments and 7 vehicles (unknown if occupied).

According to journalist Andy Ngo, who has firsthand experience with Anftia rioters, there has been “a large uptick in shootings & homicides in Portland since @tedwheeler abolished the Gun Violence Reduction Team”:

The violent chaos has continued in Portland for well over 60 days. Early Friday morning, Portland protesters dumped a pig’s severed head on an American flag, put a cop hat on it, and set it ablaze:





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The Next American Terrorist


The Growing Irrelevance of Organizational Structure for U.S. Domestic Terrorism

Bruce Hoffman, Terrorism Expert, Professor, Georgetown University

Bruce Hoffman is a professor at Georgetown University and the Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis Visiting Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served as a commissioner on the Independent Commission to Review the FBI’s Post-9/11 Response to Terrorism and Radicalization, a Scholar-in-Residence for Counterterrorism at the CIA, and an adviser on counterterrorism to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2004.

Colin Clarke, Senior Fellow, The Soufan Center

Colin P. Clarke is a Senior Fellow at The Soufan Center where he studies terrorism, extremism, and political violence. He is also an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT)- The Hague and an adjunct senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation.

For decades, America’s primary terrorist threat came from groups based abroad.  Today, a new crop of terrorist actors is emerging from within our own borders. What was mostly a monochromatic threat from Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS), and those individuals they sought to inspire, has now become a kaleidoscope with new threats from “boogaloo bois,” white supremacists, neo-Nazis, shadowy anarchist elements, and the extreme fringe of violent incels—politicized involuntary celibates fueled by a hatred of women.

Although diverse and for the most part unconnected to each other, this often bewildering array of anti-government extremists, violent misogynists, and left-wing militants share a common objective of disrupting society and in the process, overturning existing norms if not the entire political, social and economic order.

Unlike the identifiable threats we have faced from hierarchically-organized, groups like al-Qaeda and IS, the new emerging groups of individuals are devoid of the command-and-control apparatuses that counterterrorism practitioners typically seek to disrupt. Command and control is the mechanism by which terrorist groups plan, coordinate, and execute attacks and is a key component of the group’s organizational structure. For the past two decades, the United States has relentlessly targeted the leaders of terrorist groups with decapitation strikes, which has disrupted their organization’s infrastructure, and interdicted their finances. But this new collection of terrorist adversaries possesses few of the attributes that proved so vulnerable to counterterrorism actions.

Thus, bureaucratic organizations with hierarchical leadership structures and clearly-defined objectives have been supplanted by loosely networked movements with amorphous goals that exist across the ideological spectrum that we are only now beginning to understand. Moreover, members of these networks are more susceptible to what terrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross calls “fringe fluidity,” where an experience with one form of extremism can lead to a distinct radicalization pathway and thus, facilitate the movement of individuals from one form of militancy to another. There are several high-profile examples, including Nick Young, the Northern Virginia transit cop who was enamored with both Nazi Germany and the Islamic State. In May 2017, a neo-Nazi turned Islamic State supporter named Devon Arthurs killed his two neo-Nazi roommates because they mocked his newfound zeal for radical Islam after formerly being a member of Atomwaffen.

Popular theories like accelerationism, whose proponents believe in the complete destruction of current systems of government, appeal to individuals that claim allegiance to movements on both the far-left and the far-right. Taken together, this perhaps suggests the growing irrelevance of organizational structure when assessing U.S.-based domestic terrorist threats. For neo-Nazi groups like The Base and Atomwaffen Division, as well as the boogaloo movement and many far-right extremists, a confluence of ideological affinities is more powerful in inspiring and provoking violence than the

hierarchical terrorist organizational structures of the past. The merging of concepts that motivate individuals to engage in terrorism, no matter how quixotic, is likely to prolong the threat and complicate effective countermeasures. One immediate implication of this ideological mélange is that it makes it more difficult to identify tangible grievances and therefore craft appropriate policy responses.

This trend has been abetted by the continued emphasis on lone wolf or lone actor attacks. Originally articulated by American far-right extremists as a “leaderless resistance” strategy it was subsequently embraced with intensified fervor by Salafi-jihadist groups like the Islamic State, which encouraged followers to be both entrepreneurial and opportunistic in launching attacks in the West. The result was a shift in tactics, techniques, and procedures, including a spike in vehicle attacks against unsuspecting pedestrians along with other demonstrably crude attacks using commonplace weapons like axes  and machetes. Both white supremacists as well as violent incels, for instance, have each used cars deliberately to harm civilians without being instructed or trained to do so by a terrorist leader. Since the protests began over the murder of George Floyd, there have been nearly three dozen reported cases of vehicle attacks, including one allegedly perpetrated by a high-ranking Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member named Harry Rogers in Richmond, VA.

Although we have seen this less clearly defined organizational structure among some domestic terrorism threats in the United States in the past, the current iteration is unprecedented. In the 1980s and 1990s, violent, extremist far-right groups like The Order and the Phineas Priesthood adopted the leaderless resistance strategy and operated clandestinely to conduct bombings and assassinations and commit crimes including bank robberies. But such groups were short-lived or had limited impact. Today, the dimensions of these diverse threats present new challenges to Federal law enforcement agencies and their state, local, and tribal partners.

Even without a robust and identifiable organizational structure in place, Federal law enforcement is still tasked with mapping how the individuals and small cells belonging to these movements communicate, delegate tasks, procure weapons and equipment, and maintain operations security. Yet even when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is successful in disrupting plots through the use of informants, the fact that these individuals do not belong to an actual organization or group, per se, means that the arrests, while critical to keeping Americans safe, can only have a limited impact in reducing the overall domestic terrorism threat. This is precisely what the strategy of leaderless resistance was designed to ensure.

Counterterrorism strategies must adapt to the range of traditional and emerging threats from a multiplicity of international and domestic adversaries. In some cases, domestic and international milieus will intersect and overlap. There is undoubtedly an interplay between foreign countries like Russia interested in stirring the pot domestically in the United States, and violent non-state actors operating on American soil, even if the actual linkages are murky and difficult to uncover. The leader of The Base, Rinaldo Nazzaro (aka Norman Spear), for instance, is an American citizen believed to be living in St. Petersburg, Russia and the United States recently listed the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) as a specially designated global terrorist organization or SDGT—an important step that falls just short of the ultimate sanction of a foreign terrorist organization, or FTO. A U.S. citizen and white supremacist named Matthew Heimbach has been linked to RIM in the past, thus underscoring the eroding distinction between foreign and domestic when Americans lead and are of members of State Department-sanctioned terrorist groups.

The law has failed to keep pace with either the social media technology that facilitates and abets radicalization or terrorist adversaries that defy traditional conceptualizations. It may be worth considering legislation focused specifically on domestic terrorism that would create a category facilitating the prosecution of crimes that in an international context are considered terrorism. Equally importantly, such legislation might standardize the collection and analysis of data on hate crimes and other acts of violence that should be prosecuted as terrorism to bring greater equity in the sentencing of foreign and domestic terrorists. Persons convicted in the United States of providing material support to IS, according to the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, receive sentences in excess of thirteen years in prison. Last February, a member of Atomwaffen received a twelve-month sentence for similar charges. The law should remain agnostic to the ideologies that fuel political violence while focusing on the actions themselves.

Since September 11, 2001, the so-called Global War on Terror saw the United States leverage its exquisite military and intelligence capabilities to focus on disrupting terrorist plots from North Africa to South Asia, even as organizations like al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their respective affiliates and franchise groups continue to adapt and evolve. Yet now, as evidenced by events that have played out over the first half of this year, there is a renewed sense of urgency to deal with actual terrorist threats percolating on American soil. Policymakers could consider the appropriate laws, authorities, and policies to ensure that the country is prepared to meet the ever-changing terrorism threat, including its most recent domestic permutations.

Read more expert-driven national security insights, perspective and analysis in The Cipher Brief

 





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Are the Irish finally waking up from our American dream?



It was a blistering August day when I rang my mother on a Greyhound bus somewhere outside Santa Cruz. It was my first time in America. My friend and I managed to latch on to the tail end of a west coast road trip. With us were a group of Irish girls who had been playing football in Chicago for the summer.

y mouth hadn’t closed once in the seven days I had been there – I was in awe. On the call, my mother asked me if it was everything I hoped it would be. I replied: “It’s better.”

That was August 2016. Three months later, Donald Trump would be elected president. In the four years since, America’s divisions have erupted with ferocious brutality. Those chasms have always been there, of course. Questions have always loomed over healthcare, racial prejudice, poverty and gun laws. They didn’t just appear following George Floyd’s death, nor did they only manifest after the Parkland school shootings. But they may have been easier for the casual observer to overlook.



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American Samoans’ Citizenship Status Still In Limbo After Judge Issues Stay : NPR


John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan, filed the lawsuit against the U.S. government after he was denied the opportunity to apply for federal government jobs listing citizenship as a requirement.

Katrina Keil Youd/AP


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Katrina Keil Youd/AP

John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan, filed the lawsuit against the U.S. government after he was denied the opportunity to apply for federal government jobs listing citizenship as a requirement.

Katrina Keil Youd/AP

John Fitisemanu woke up early Friday morning, got dressed and finally completed one of the tasks on a more than 20-year-old to-do list: He registered to vote.

For less than a day, Fitisemanu, who was born in American Samoa, was legally considered a full-fledged American citizen with voting rights and the ability to run for office or hold certain government jobs. But a judge in a Utah federal court has once again thrown his much longed-for status into question.

After ruling on Thursday that anyone born in American Samoa should be recognized as a U.S. citizen, the same judge — U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups — on Friday decided to put the order on hold until the issue is resolved on appeal.

Since becoming a U.S. territory in 1900, the cluster of Pacific islands southwest of Hawaii has remained the only territory not granted birthright citizenship. Instead, people there are identified as U.S. nationals. That means they are not allowed to participate in federal, state or even local elections in the U.S. They cannot run for any elected office and they’re also denied from applying for government jobs that require citizenship. They’re also issued passports that say, “This bearer is a United States national and not a United States citizen.”

Fitisemanu and two other American Samoans who also live in Utah, sued the federal government to change all that. And Waddoups agreed.

“Any State Department policy that provides that the citizenship provisions of the Constitution do not apply to persons born in American Samoa violates the 14th Amendment,” Waddoups wrote, in a 69-page judgement on Thursday.

The decision contradicts a 2015 ruling in federal court in Washington, D.C., that determined only Congress can resolve questions of citizenship within the nation’s territories. And government attorneys plan to appeal Waddoups’ decision.

Neil Weare, a lawyer for Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tuli, said his clients, are eager to have the issue resolved once and for all and “be able to enjoy all the same rights as their fellow Americans.”

In the case of Fitisemanu, who has lived in Utah for more than two decades, Weare said, he’s been a hardworking, taxpaying American. “Yet, based on this discriminatory federal law, he’s been denied recognition of citizenship by the federal government and as a result he’s not able to vote.”

“All he wants is to have his voice be heard, just like any other American would,” Weare added.

In his younger years, Fitisemanu dreamed of landing a government job and all of the security and wages that come with it. “And when he looked in terms of the jobs qualifications, it said, you must be a U.S. citizen. So he was not able to pursue those very attractive, well-paying jobs,” Weare explained.

It was that experience that prompted Fitisemanu, now 56, to file the lawsuit.

Government attorneys dispute the argument that citizenship decisions can be made in federal courts. Their position is that only Congress possesses that power.

“Such a novel holding would be contrary to the decisions of every court of appeals to have considered the question, inconsistent with over a century of historical practice by all three branches of the United States government, and conflict with the strong objection of the local government of American Samoa,” government attorneys wrote.

The government of American Samoa sided with U.S. attorneys, arguing that “imposition of citizenship by judicial fiat would fail to recognize American Samoa’s sovereignty and the importance of the fa’a Samoa [the Samoan way of life].” Additionally, they maintain that an “imposition of citizenship over American Samoan’s objections violates fundamental principles of self-determination.”



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American Samoans should be recognized as US citizens, federal judge decides


People born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday, in a hard-fought legal battle spanning decades.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups also ruled that American Samoans should be issued new passports reflecting his ruling. The disclaimer on their passports currently reads: “The bearer is a United States national and not a United States citizen.”

“This court is not imposing ‘citizenship by judicial fiat,'” Waddoups said in his decision. “The action is required by the mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment as construed and applied by Supreme Court precedent.”

American citizens are defined as people “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

In this undated file image provided by nonprofit advocacy and legal group Equally American, John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States seeking full U.S. citizenship. People born in the territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah decided Thursday in a case filed amid more than a century of legal limbo but whose eventual impact remains to be seen. (Katrina Keil Youd/Equally American via AP)

In this undated file image provided by nonprofit advocacy and legal group Equally American, John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States seeking full U.S. citizenship. People born in the territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah decided Thursday in a case filed amid more than a century of legal limbo but whose eventual impact remains to be seen. (Katrina Keil Youd/Equally American via AP)

American Samoa became a U.S. territory in 1900, but those born there are only recognized as U.S. nationals, preventing them from being able to vote, run for public office or sponsor family members for immigration to the U.S.

Its status separates itself from other U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Marianas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2016, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that ruled the Constitution doesn’t confer citizenship to those born in American Samoa.

The lawsuit was brought last year by three people — John Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tuli — who were born on the cluster of islands southeast of Hawaii and currently reside in Utah. They claimed they faced restrictions from traveling abroad and were subject to fees that don’t apply to American citizens.

It was not clear if Thursday’s ruling applies outside of Utah. The Justice Department and State Department didn’t immediately return Fox News requests for comment.

“The takeaway from the ruling is that people born in American Samoa living in Utah are now U.S. citizens, and they have all the same rights as other Americans, including the right to vote,” said Neil Weare, president of Equally American and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “These individuals can now go and register to vote and participate in state, federal and local elections.”

Camel Rock near the village of Lauli'i in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday that people born in American Samoa should be granted birthright citizenship.

Camel Rock near the village of Lauli’i in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday that people born in American Samoa should be granted birthright citizenship.

American Samoans can apply for U.S. citizenship but have to pay the $725 application fee, in addition to any legal fees they incur to help them navigate the process.

Fitisemanu said his employment prospects have been diminished because of his rejection from jobs that specify U.S. citizenship as a requirement. In an interview with The Associated Press last year, he said he avoided political conversations because he couldn’t vote.

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After the ruling, Fitisemanu said he plans to register to vote. The American Samoan government claims automatic U.S. citizenship would undermine local traditions and practices.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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