More Oath Keepers guilty of seditious conspiracy, and active-duty Marines charged, in Jan. 6
Buckle up. It was an action-packed week in extremism news.
Four more members of the extremist group the Oath Keepers were found guilty of seditious conspiracy in Washington, D.C., for their actions at the Jan. 6 insurrection. Three active duty Marines were also charged with Jan. 6 crimes late last week. The man who shot 23 Walmart shoppers in a racially motivated 2019 shooting is set to plead guilty next month. And it was a big week for the "deplatforming" and "replatforming" of extremists on social media.
Seditious conspiracy: 4 more Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol attack
Stewart Rhodes' life: Vegas parking valet, Yale law graduate, unhinged Oath Keepers leader: Who is Stewart Rhodes?
Oath Keepers guilty:
Four more members of the armed extremist group the Oath Keepers were found guilty of seditious conspiracy this week, adding to two other seditious conspiracy guilty verdicts in November.
The Oath Keepers trial, one of the most high-profile prosecutions from the insurrection, was split into two. In November, the group's founder Stewart Rhodes and a top lieutenant, Kelly Meggs, were found guilty of the most serious charges. Three other Oath Keepers were found guilty of other charges in that trial.
Context: This week's guilty verdicts were another big win for the Department of Justice, which has charged more than 950 people in the insurrection.
Active-duty Marines charged for Jan. 6:
Three active-duty Marines were charged for their alleged role in the insurrection late last week. They face counts including trespassing, disorderly conduct and illegal parading or picketing in a restricted Capitol building or grounds.
All three Marines worked in intelligence. One was assigned to the National Security Agency headquarters.
As I reported back in 2021, the U.S. military has a significant problem with extremism in the ranks.
In 2021 a Marine major was charged with pushing a police officer and violently entering the Capitol.
El Paso mass shooter to plead guilty
A 24-year-old man who shot and killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in an attack inspired by far-right wing beliefs will plead guilty next month, according to court documents.
The shooting, in which two dozen others were injured, came after the attacker launched a racist tirade online against the "Hispanic invasion" of Texas. The shooter drove from a Dallas suburb to El Paso to carry out his attack. Most of the victims were Latino.
Hate speech: The shooting came amongst rising rhetoric from conservative Republicans about an "invasion" of America by immigrants. That rhetoric continues to this day with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott frequently referencing an "invasion" of his state.
More: California mass shooting suspect is oldest in U.S. recorded history, researchers say
Upheaval over extremism, 'replatforming' continues
A notorious antisemitic Holocaust-denier was briefly "replatformed" by Twitter this week, before being banned again less than a day later:
Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes was reinstated on Twitter this week, but was banned again less than 24 hours later after holding a Twitter "Space" in which he reportedly went on an antisemitic tirade.
Conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander was also reinstated on Twitter earlier this month. His account was also suspended on Wednesday.
Twitter's policies are increasingly difficult to understand. As I reported back in December, the company allows neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin on the platform (he's still there). Yet Twitter has also banned (without explaining why) several prominent left-wing accounts.
Also of note: Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, also announced this week it will reinstate the accounts of Former President Trump. It's perhaps doubtful that Trump — who launched his own social media company Truth Social and posts there incessantly — will return to his competitors. Trump's Twitter account was reactivated in November. He has yet to tweet.
1 in 4 mass attacks rooted in extremism
Your bonus statistic for the week: One-quarter of the perpetrators of "mass attacks" between 2016 and 2020 "subscribed to a belief system involving conspiracies or hateful ideologies, including antigovernment, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic views." according to a report this month from the National Threat Assessment Center.
The study looked at 173 "mass attacks," defined as attacks "in which three or more people, not including the attacker(s), were harmed—carried out by 180 attackers in public or semi-public locations between January 2016 and December 2020."
Last week in extremism: Face-off in California suburb over transgender rights
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Oath Keepers guilty, Marines charged; extremists back on social media