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Title: Amazon still selling merchandise for far-right groups with ‘a track record of violence’
Source: THe Sacramento Bee
URL Source: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politic ... vernment/article244597497.html
Published: Jul 30, 2020
Author: MARA HOPLAMAZIAN, JULIA FRANKEL, AND MAL
Post Date: 2020-08-01 07:30:55 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 92
Comments: 17

Amazon still selling merchandise for far-right
groups with ‘a track record of violence’

At Black Lives Matter protests around the country, heavily armed groups of counter-protesters have shown up wearing military fatigues, Hawaiian-print shirts, and tactical vests decorated with patches that represent far-right extremist groups.

Some of them may have purchased their gear from Amazon.

The world’s largest online retailer continues to sell merchandise affiliated with the so-called Boogaloos, Three Percenters, and Oath Keepers even after removing items that represented hate symbols following an investigation by the BBC.

After the investigation, Amazon removed merchandise that included a burning rainbow flag and a flag with the white supremacist version of the Celtic Cross, the BBC reported on Saturday. Amazon also removed much of the Boogaloo merchandise.

But a “Thin Boog Line” patch was still available on the website on Thursday, along with a Boogaloo trucker hat.

The BBC’s investigation did not include products that advertised the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers, two of the three core components of the anti- government militia movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Three Percenter and Oath Keeper products — including Three Percenter swim trunks, Oath Keeper ski masks and patches, and a “Women’s Distressed Assault Rifle Three Percenter V-neck” — are widely available on Amazon, according to a review by The Sacramento Bee

Some interactions between independent militia groups and protesters have turned violent throughout the summer. When a group of heavily armed counter-protesters, some of whom were affiliated with the New Mexico Civil Guard, showed up to protect a statue of Juan de Oñate, a protester was shot by a counter-protester.

The imagery used by militia groups looks different from neo-Nazi or white supremacist imagery. Boogaloos decorate their vests with patches that show memes of igloos, while Three Percenters and Oath Keeper designs include just the groups’ names, sometimes with an American flag.

But their merchandise still represents violence, said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

“They’re all associated not only with extremist movements but extremist movements with a track record of violence. Even the Boogaloo, who are basically a year old, in that short period of time have already amassed a track record of violence — up to including murder and terrorism.”

In June, Air Force Sgt. Steven Carillo and his suspected accomplice Robert A. Justus Jr. were charged with the shooting death of a federal security officer in Oakland on May 29. Carillo was also charged with killing a Santa Cruz sheriff’s deputy on June 6. Both men were linked to the Boogaloo movement.

Carillo reportedly used his own blood to write Boogaloo phrases on the hood of a car before he was detained.

Members of the Boogaloo movement have been arrested for planning to terrorize protests in Las Vegas, for possessing pipe bombs in Colorado, and for plotting to ambush police officers in Ohio.

Other militia groups have disrupted peaceful protests and intimidated protesters. In Oakdale, members of the California State Militia raised tensions at a peaceful protest. And in rural northern California, protesters were met with hundreds of counter-protesters, some of whom wore tactical gear and camouflage. At least one person in Redding claimed affiliation with the Three Percenters.

The Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers were formed during a 2008-2009 resurgence of the militia movement, a far-right anti-government extremist movement that began in the mid-1990s.

The initial militia movement focused on hostility toward the federal government, conspiracy theories, and guns, said Pitcavage. It was based on the idea that independent militia groups needed to take up arms to ensure that the federal government didn’t continue to take away citizens’ firearms, in response to federal firearms laws passed in the early 1990s and the events at Ruby Ridge, ID and Waco, TX.

The movement grew throughout the 1990s, then experienced a drop in interest before seeing a resurgence in 2008 and 2009 with the advent of the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers.

WHAT’S BEHIND THE MILITIA MOVEMENT

The Three Percenters were created in 2008 by Mike Vanderboegh, a militia activist from Alabama. The concept of a “Three Percenter” was a way to easily communicate the ideology of the militia movement, Pitcavage said.

The group’s name comes from the disputed claim that only 3% of the population of the United States took up arms to fight the British during the American revolution. Three Percenters see themselves as the modern version of those who took up arms to fight tyranny, said Pitcavage.

The Three Percenters are made up of loosely organized local clusters and independent members, a structure that has extended the reach of the militia movement, allowing people who may not otherwise have taken an interest to join.

The Oath Keepers have a similar ideology to the Three Percenters, but they recruit current and former police, military members, and first responders. Both groups gained traction on social media as sites like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube were becoming popular, quickly recruiting a new generation of young people into the aging militia movement, Pitcavage said.

With Donald Trump in office, militia groups have shifted away from anti-federal government sentiment. Trump was the first major-party nominee that the militia movement backed, Pitcavage said.

Looking for new enemies, the movement turned to anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments, and looked to oppose state gun laws. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, militia groups focused on opposing stay-at-home orders, Pitcavage said.

Bigotry is a large part of the militia movement, said JJ MacNab, a fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. But militia groups aren’t uniformly white supremacists.

“The militia world started in white supremacy 25 years ago, and they’ve had a hell of a time kind of trying to separate themselves from that for the last 20 years,” MacNab said. “It’s frustrating to them that they are labeled white supremacists, but at the same time, there’s a lot of bigotry.”

Both groups claim that they are not racist on their websites.

On the Three Percenters’ website, the group writes, “First and foremost, we are NOT racists, NOR are we white supremacists.” They also state that they are not a militia, not anti-government, and do not seek to incite a revolution, though they say they will defend themselves if necessary.

“Oath Keepers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds with one common bond – the oath to defend the Constitution,” says the Oath Keepers website.

WHAT ARE THE BOOGALOOS?

The Boogaloos, the newest iteration of the militia movement, are ideologically diverse, so it can be difficult to pin down their goals and principles. But the main goal of the Boogaloo movement, which takes its name from the 1984 film “Breakin’ 2, Electric Boogaloo,” is to begin an armed insurrection against the government.

“Technically they want a second revolutionary war,” said MacNab. “In the joke — that’s how they named themselves — there were too many syllables. ‘Civil War 2, Electric Boogaloo’ works; ‘Revolutionary War 2, Electric Boogaloo’ didn’t.”

The movement began with a racist meme, according to the SPLC. Interest around the movement started on 4chan, the anonymous internet message board which has long been a hub for alt-right activity. But not all members subscribe to the racist roots of the movement.

Some members of the Boogaloo group are authentically anti-racist and have joined with Black Lives Matter protesters to express their horror at the killing of George Floyd, said MacNab.

“Boogaloo almost uniformly hate police, they see it as police officers that killed unarmed Black men, police officers are evil, they’re going to join this movement,” she said.

However, the group’s aesthetic — Hawaiian-style shirts and assault rifles — has been adopted by white supremacists looking to gain followers from Boogaloo membership, MacNab said.

AMAZON’S ROLE

Amazon has been criticized before for using its website to promote far-right groups and sell hate symbols and white supremacist imagery.

A 2018 report by the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy found that Amazon was selling neo-Nazi paraphernalia and white supremacist “Pepe the Frog” merchandise.

Despite its Offensive Products Policy, which says that the online retailer does not allow products that “promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views,” the report found that Amazon sold products that included swastika necklaces, neo- Nazi Pepe the Frog swastika fidget spinners, and a baby onesie that depicted a burning cross.

“Either Amazon does not find the materials outlined in this report offensive or it does not enforce its own policies,” the report stated.

After the report was published, Keith Ellison, who was a Minnesota congressman at the time and now serves as the state’s Attorney General, sent a letter to Amazon to ask if the company would commit to “ceasing the sale of all products that promote hateful and racist ideologies.”

Amazon removed some of the items, but there was no further response, said Mariah Montgomery, the National Campaigns Director for the Partnership for Working Families. Their approach has been reactive rather than proactive, she said.

“There was no larger commitment to a systemic approach that was gonna prevent this from happening, which is why basically two years later to the month we’re having the conversation again,” Montgomery said in a phone interview with the Bee.

Amazon did not respond to the Sacramento Bee’s requests for comments on this story.

Amazon’s self-publishing arm has also allowed white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and fascist literature to proliferate through its self-publishing arm, ProPublica and The Atlantic reported in April. Billy Roper, who the Southern Poverty Law Center has called the “uncensored voice of violent neo-Nazism,” still has 7 books for sale on Amazon as of Thursday.

Boogaloo literature, including a book called “Boogaloo: The Beginning: A Second American Civil War Survival Thriller” by W.S. Gray and a novel by Carl Snuffy about “the great ANTIFA conflict,” is also available on Amazon.

Though the Oath Keeper, Three Percenter and Boogaloo merchandise don’t generally include direct hate speech or symbols of white supremacy, the mainstreaming of their logos and merchandise is an issue, said Pitcavage.

“When you make that sort of stuff available, whether you know it or not, it’s helping the movement sustain itself, or even spread,” said Pitcavage.

Military-style gear and uniforms are important to the self-conception of groups like the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers, and the Boogaloos, said Pitcavage.

“They all love gear,” he said. “It’s the gear, the weapons, the uniforms, the other military-style gear that allows them to complete the mimicry and make them feel like they’re soldiers.”

Mongomery said that Amazon’s inclusion of products from extremist organizations on its website not only supports those organizations but also normalizes their products.

“In a political moment when we have rising attacks on immigrants and on people of color and Jewish people and Muslim people, treating those objects as acceptable, which having them on the site does, only serves to sort of normalize that when we need to be doing the opposite,” Montgomery said.

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#1. To: Gatlin, A K A Stone (#0) (Edited)

But their merchandise still represents violence, said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

Right, a Hawaiian shirt represents violence. What an asshole! A hit piece on white Patriots while Gatlin sides with BLM.

Why the fuck are you even posing at a pro-American site anyways scumbag? Get the fuck out of here already - you leftist POS.

Pitcavage and ADL - Gatlin's "Fellow Travelers".

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-08-01   12:59:07 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard. All (#1)

But their merchandise still represents violence, said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

Right, a Hawaiian shirt represents violence. What an asshole! A hit piece on white Patriots while Gatlin sides with BLM.

Why the fuck are you even posing at a pro-American site anyways scumbag? Get the fuck out of here already - you leftist POS.

Pitcavage and ADL - Gatlin's "Fellow Travelers".

Oooh...poor widdle Deckard - did that make you cry?

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   13:04:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard, A K A Stgone, All (#2)

Gotta run for now.

My lunch is being delivered.

I never know what I am having.

I told the chef to keep surprising me

It’s always a wonderfully pleasant surprise …

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   13:09:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Gatlin (#2)

You are betraying your own race. If you are white that is. Here's your hero Pitcavage.

Whites bad - blacks good - according to Tater and Pitcavage.

Have you ever researched who this prick is and what he stands for? I thought not.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-08-01   13:12:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Deckard, All (#4)

Have you ever researched who this prick is and what he stands for?

No,

And I definitely have no reason to ever inend to.

But, obviously you have spend time on studying him,

For what intelligent reason would you ever want to?

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   13:38:36 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: Gatlin (#5)

Have you ever researched who this prick is and what he stands for?

No,

And I definitely have no reason to ever inend to.

Yet you post his filth here? Truth Seeker my ass! You're a propagandist.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-08-01   13:40:31 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Deckar, All (#6)

Yet you post his filth here?

Show me where.

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   14:18:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Gatlin, A K A Stone (#7)

After the report was published, (muslim) Keith Ellison, who was a Minnesota congressman at the time and now serves as the state’s Attorney General, sent a letter to Amazon to ask if the company would commit to “ceasing the sale of all products that promote hateful and racist ideologies.”

Yet "Black Lives Matter" paraphernalia remains readily available.

Amazon.com: Black Lives Matter masks Face Protection ...

Distressed Science Is Real Black Lives Matter LGBT Pride T-Shirt

As far as Pitcavage....the man is scum, yet you post this bullshit without knowing anything about him.

Get your priorities straight and stop bashing white people, OK freakshow?

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-08-01   14:35:42 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: Deckard, All (#8)

As far as Pitcavage....the man is scum, yet you post this bullshit without knowing anything about him.

I ask you AGAIN to show me where I post the bullshit from Pitcavage.

Since you have not ...

Is it because you can’t and you have lied once AGAIN?

Let’s try one more time.

SHOW ME …

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   14:41:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Deckard, All (#8)

… stop bashing white people

LOL …

You just make shit up all the time – and then you believe it.

How utterly humorous …

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   14:43:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: Gatlin (#10)

… stop bashing white people

I've yet to see you defend any white people. And you post bullshit like this article trashing whites.

Piss off snowflake.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-08-01   14:46:22 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: Gatlin (#9) (Edited)

I ask you AGAIN to show me where I post the bullshit from Pitcavage.

You fucking moron! He's quoted in the article.

But by all means, keep posting your anti-white hit pieces.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-08-01   14:47:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: Deckard, All (#12)

He's quoted in the article.

Then I never wrote about him – the author of the article did.

What did he say that you disagree with – and why?

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   15:00:20 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: Deckard, All (#11)

I've yet to see you defend any white people.

Why must “white people” be defended?

What have they done wrong?

Furthermore, where is it written that I must defend ANYONE?

If you are saying that I am to be a “yes suh boss" to you – that’s never gonna happen.

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   15:05:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: Gatlin (#13)

What did he say that you disagree with –

Why? You're not interested.

Have you ever researched who this prick is and what he stands for?

No,

And I definitely have no reason to ever inend to.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2020-08-01   15:05:55 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: Deckard, All (#15)

What did he say that you disagree with –

Why? You're not interested.

LOL …

That’s “code talk” – meaning, you can’t.

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   15:11:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: Deckard, All (#15)

Have you ever researched who this prick is and what he stands for?

Asked and already answered …

’ Why do you let him bother you so much?

Get over it …

Gatlin  posted on  2020-08-01   15:13:09 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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