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Creating Electronic Community of Hate
Inspiring/Guiding Criminal Activity
Providing Inspiration 
Giving Guidance
Coordinating Extremist Events
Hate Rock Concerts
"Patriot" Confrontations
Making Money Online
Selling Goods
Promoting Products Sold Online by Others.
Marketing Scams
Soliciting Donations
  
The Consequences of Right-Wing Extremism on the Internet RULE
Inspiring Crimes and Guiding Criminals

Before the World Wide Web

In 1988, years before the Internet was widely used, racist skinheads from the group East Side White Pride in Portland, Oregon attacked three Ethiopian immigrants with a baseball bat and steel-toed boots, killing 27-year-old Mulugeta Seraw. 

An investigation of the murder, which resulted in three convictions, revealed intimate ties between the culprits and WAR, a violent white supremacist group led by Tom Metzger of San Diego, California. Metzger had written to East Side White Pride that a WAR official would "teach" them "how we operate" and "help" them "understand more about WAR." 

The "national vice-president" of WAR trained East Side White Pride members how to attack minorities, and he later explained, "Tom Metzger said the only way to get respect from skinheads is to teach them how to commit violence against Blacks, against Jews, Hispanics, any minority."

 When the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and ADL sued Metzger and WAR for their role in the murder, the jury awarded $12 million in damages to the family of the slain man.

The Internet and Anonymity

The Internet seems tailor made for extremists wishing to avoid similar lawsuits.

 By the early 1990s, Tom Metzger was using E-mail, and he established a Web site in November 1995. The site features unbearably crude caricatures of Blacks and Jews while applauding "racial and cultural separatism worldwide." Calling whites "Nature's finest handiwork," Metzger declares, "your race and only your race must be your religion." 

On the Web, Metzger makes his aggressive rhetoric available to millions without knowing anything about the people who are reading it. Anyone can anonymously visit his site, study his propaganda, and act on it. In fact, Metzger and others encourage their readers to become "lone wolves," extremists who commit violent crimes alone, telling no one of their plans and involving no accomplices who may later testify against them.

Just as propagandists like Metzger see the Internet as an excellent tool for encouraging violence without paying the consequences, those with the greatest potential to become "lone wolves" may also find the Internet particularly appealing. While paranoid individuals might refuse to meet in person with others who share their beliefs, they may very well be comfortable reading incendiary propaganda on the Internet, remaining isolated until they violently act out what they have read.

The Internet and Tactical Guidance

Beyond finding their inspiration on the Internet, right-wing extremists have gone online for nuts-and-bolts tactical guidance when planning crimes. These extremists have posted bomb-making instructions and hit lists on the Internet. Even advice on street fighting with minorities, similar to the guidance that WAR provided to East Side White Pride, has appeared online 

Should we blame the Internet?

Some may be tempted to blame the Internet for these developments, but the Internet does not itself cause extremist crime. The message of hate, not the medium, gives rise to violence, and the Internet can be used with equal facility to spread positive messages. Furthermore, the Internet serves as but one source of information among many that influence extremists to act - others include printed publications, shortwave radio broadcasts, personal interaction with other extremists, and public access cable television.

Nonetheless, due to its ease, speed, and economy of use, the anonymity it affords, and other factors, the Internet is becoming a primary factor in the inspiration and guidance of Right Wing extremist crimes.
 

Related Links
Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online

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