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October 7, 2022 12:52 pm

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Polygamous sect leader release hearing set in case tied to transporting young girls across Arizona.


When polygamist Samuel Bateman appears in Coconino Superior Court Friday afternoon for a detention hearing, the leader of a splinter faction of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may have bigger worries on his mind.

Bateman entered a plea of not guilty in both federal and state cases involving his relationships with underage girls, according to court documents. Bateman faces a federal case charging of destruction of evidence and an Arizona state case charging him with child abuse.

But leaked FBI documents and a flurry of social media criticism since his arrest suggests that his legal problems may be mounting. An FBI search warrant affidavit obtained and publicized by the Salt Lake Tribune last month raises the possibility of more serious sex-trafficking charges down the road. Unconfirmed public complaints on social media platforms by community members who know Bateman voice concerns about his relationships with minors. The fact that a federal judge ordered that Bateman remain in custody after his re-arrest by the FBI, a departure from his release a month earlier on state charges, suggests matters could take a turn for the serious for the 46-year-old Bateman.

Bateman, 46, calls himself a prophet and is sometimes described as a spiritual “father” to members of the sect. 

Against that backdrop, the lawyer representing Bateman, who calls himself a prophet and is sometimes described as a spiritual “father” to members of the sect, suggested the government is persecuting his client because of his religious beliefs.

Samuel Bateman: What you need to know about FLDS leader’s arrest

“Oddly, the federal government moved quickly on this matter, where other matters being handled by the FBI …  are moving ever so slowly,” said Adam Zickerman, founder of the Zickerman Law Firm in Flagstaff. “It begs the question of swift actions dealing with and against the freedom of religion.”

On Aug. 28, Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers found Bateman driving south through Flagstaff with three girls between 11 and 14 stashed in a horse trailer. Police pulled him over after seeing “children fingers moving in the gap of the rear trailer door.” They arrested Bateman, but he was released and went home to Colorado City, on the Arizona-Utah state line.

Samuel Rappylee Bateman

The FBI rearrested Bateman in Colorado City on Sept. 13.  

Agents executed a search warrant on his property and took Bateman into custody on charges related to the destruction of evidence. Federal prosecutors hold that Bateman began to destroy evidence from his phone during the Aug. 28 arrest.

According to reporting by the Salt Lake Tribune, the FBI searched his homes for “lingerie style underwear that could be worn by minors,” as well as evidence that he was paying to transport underage girls so he could marry them off or to enable sexual acts.

Since the federal raid, people who live in the community or were ex-members of the FLDS church have spoken out publicly on social media about ongoing concerns around Bateman’s relationships with his followers. They claim on TikTok and YouTube that law enforcement and FBI had their eye on Bateman for some time.  

During the FBI’s search, nine girls were taken from Bateman’s home and a warehouse in his name, according to media reports. They placed the girls into child protective services, but it is unclear if those girls and the three found in the horse trailer still remain in child protective custody.

Currently, Bateman sits in jail under U.S. Marshals Service custody. Arizona U.S. District Court Judge Camille Bibles ordered on Sept. 15  that Bateman sit in jail without bond because of public safety concerns and his ability to travel internationally. The judge mentioned that Bateman had traveled internationally in the past three years and noted his active pilot’s license.

Bateman’s homes and religious following is based out of the twin border cities of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, known collectively to locals as ”Short Creek.” The area has long had ties to fundamentalist polygamous sects, most notably the splinter sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints controlled by Warren Jeffs.

Reach crime reporter Miguel Torres at or on Twitter @TheMiguelTorres.

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Putin ally threatens to turn Chechens loose on Russian dissidents


Russian citizens who criticize the Kremlin could find themselves on the receiving end of a nasty visit from Chechen forces, according to an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin’s attempted “partial mobilization” of fighting-aged Russians into the war in Ukraine has prompted a wave of social displeasure, including a mass exodus of apparent draft dodgers and protests in the outlying regions where people are bearing the brunt of the war. Russian lawmaker Adam Delimkhanov, an ethnic Chechen politician known for threatening to decapitate the relatives of a human rights activist, warned university students against any display of disrespect.

“I want to tell you that, in the universities — including MGU, MGIMO — all universities in Russia, we already have an assignment from Ramzan Akhmatovych [Kadyrov], for us and our representatives to monitor every region,” said Delimkhanov, in a reference to Moscow State University and Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “If they in the regions are not coping with it, if the services are not coping, then we will manage it, and we’ll ask from everyone who defiles and insults our country, our anthem, our constitution, our president, V.V. Putin — you will all answer for this.”

Delimkhanov received the title of Hero of the Russian Federation from Putin in April, following Russia’s brutal destruction of Mariupol, the Ukrainian port city that fought block-by-block against the invasion. His message might flatter Putin, but it may not endear the Chechen leaders to potential conscripts — or the intelligence services currently responsible for internal security.


“Of course, it will anger FSB as well, I think, internally,” a senior European official with counterintelligence expertise told the Washington Examiner.

Chechen deputy Adam Deilmkhanov threatens all students of Russian universities with consequences if they stand against the regime. This is quite unheard of given he is Chechen, indicating increasing influence of this party in the country.

— Dmitri (@wartranslated) October 5, 2022

Still, the warning emphasizes how Chechen forces, an ethnic and religious minority in Russia, have transitioned from the role of Putin’s favorite bogeymen to some of his most important loyalists.

“The President of Russia awarded me with the rank of colonel general,” Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov said Wednesday. “The head of state called me and asked to wish all the people of Chechnya welfare, luck, and success in his name! Despite his workload, the commander in chief never forgets about important dates in our region.”

That’s a theatrical dramatic reversal of Chechnya’s place in Russian politics throughout Putin’s career. Just weeks after then-President Boris Yeltsin tapped Putin as prime minister and heir apparent in 1999, a series of bombings across Moscow and other Russian cities furnished Putin with an excuse to launch a military offensive in Chechnya that reversed Russia’s defeat in the First Chechen War from 1994 to 1996.

Those bombings are widely suspected to have been a false flag operation by Russian security services, given that an investigation into the apparent placement of explosives in Ryazan, a city in western Russia, led to three members of the FSB — the KGB successor agency that Putin led until his appointment as prime minister.

“There was a credible body of reporting, open source and others, that this was all — all those bombings were part of a black flag operation on the part of the FSB,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Foreign Relations panel, said during a 2017 hearing. “And if you want to know the motivation, here is what it is: Putin’s approval ratings before the attacks against the Chechens were at 31%. By mid-August of that year, it was at 78% in just three months.”

The specter of Chechen terrorism has redounded to Putin’s advantage at other key junctures, such as the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in 2015. The Kremlin attributed that killing, which occurred in the heart of Moscow, to Chechen separatists. And Kadyrov’s loyalty to Putin is just one side of a transaction that could shelter Delimkhanov from retaliation by any Russian security officials who take his warning as an insult.


“In a sense, Chechnya at the moment has been more independent than Chechnya has been, ever,” the senior European official predicted. “Nothing will happen. FSB is not doing anything in Chechnya without Kadyrov’s approval.”

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Men Are Raped Almost as Often as Women in America. We Need to Talk About This.


Last year the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a remarkable statistic. In asking 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, the survey uncovered that 38 percent of incidents were against men. The number seemed so high that it prompted researcher Lara Stemple to call the Bureau of Justice Statistics to see if it maybe it had made a mistake, or changed its terminology. After all, in years past men had accounted for somewhere between 5 and 14 percent of rape and sexual violence victims. But no, it wasn’t a mistake, officials told her, although they couldn’t explain the rise beyond guessing that maybe it had something to do with the publicity surrounding former football coach Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State sex abuse scandal.

Stemple, who works with the Health and Human Rights Project at UCLA, had often wondered whether incidents of sexual violence against men were under-reported. She had once worked on prison reform and knew that jail is a place where sexual violence against men is routine but not counted in the general national statistics. Stemple began digging through existing surveys and discovered that her hunch was correct. The experience of men and women is “a lot closer than any of us would expect,” she says. For some kinds of victimization, men and women have roughly equal experiences. Stemple concluded that we need to “completely rethink our assumptions about sexual victimization,” and especially our fallback model that men are always the perpetrators and women the victims. 

Sexual assault is a term that gets refracted through the culture wars, as Slate’s own Emily Bazelon explained in a story about the terminology of rape. Feminists claimed the more legalistic term of sexual assault to put it squarely in the camp of violent crime. Bazelon argues in her story for reclaiming the term rape because of its harsh unflinching sound and its nonlegalistic shock value. But she also allows that rape does not help us grasp crimes outside our limited imagination, particularly crimes against men. She quotes a painful passage from screenwriter and novelist Rafael Yglesias, which is precisely the kind of crime Stemple worries is too foreign and uncomfortable to contemplate.

I used to say, when some part of me was still ashamed of what had been done to me, that I was “molested” because the man who played skillfully with my 8-year-old penis, who put it in his mouth, who put his lips on mine and tried to push his tongue in as deep as it would go, did not anally rape me. … Instead of delineating what he had done, I chose “molestation” hoping that would convey what had happened to me.

Of course it doesn’t. For listeners to appreciate and understand what I had endured, I needed to risk that they will gag or rush out of the room. I needed to be particular and clear as to the details so that when I say I was raped people will understand what I truly mean.

For years, the FBI defined forcible rape, for data collecting purposes, as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Eventually localities began to rebel against that limited gender-bound definition; in 2010 Chicago reported 86,767 cases of rape but used its own broader definition, so the FBI left out the Chicago stats. Finally, in 2012, the FBI revised its definition and focused on penetration, with no mention of female (or force).

Data hasn’t been calculated under the new FBI definition yet, but Stemple parses several other national surveys in her new paper, “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions,” co-written with Ilan Meyer and published in the April 17 edition of the American Journal of Public Health. One of those surveys is the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, for which the Centers for Disease Control invented a category of sexual violence called “being made to penetrate.” This definition includes victims who were forced to penetrate someone else with their own body parts, either by physical force or coercion, or when the victim was drunk or high or otherwise unable to consent. When those cases were taken into account, the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact basically equalized, with 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men claiming to be victims of sexual violence.

“Made to penetrate” is an awkward phrase that hasn’t gotten any traction. It’s also something we instinctively don’t associate with sexual assault. But is it possible our instincts are all wrong here? We might assume, for example, that if a man has an erection he must want sex, especially because we assume men are sexually insatiable. But imagine if the same were said about women. The mere presence of physiological symptoms associated with arousal does not in fact indicate actual arousal, much less willing participation. And the high degree of depression and dysfunction among male victims of sexual abuse backs this up. At the very least, the phrase remedies an obvious injustice. Under the old FBI definition, what happened to Rafael Yglesias would only have counted as rape if he’d been an 8-year-old girl. Accepting the term “made to penetrate” helps us understand that trauma comes in all forms.

So why are men suddenly showing up as victims? Every comedian has a prison rape joke and prosecutions of sexual crimes against men are still rare. But gender norms are shaking loose in a way that allows men to identify themselves—if the survey is sensitive and specific enough—as vulnerable. A recent analysis of BJS data, for example, turned up that 46 percent of male victims reported a female perpetrator.

The final outrage in Stemple and Meyer’s paper involves inmates, who aren’t counted in the general statistics at all. In the last few years, the BJS did two studies in adult prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. The surveys were excellent because they afforded lots of privacy and asked questions using very specific, informal, and graphic language. (“Did another inmate use physical force to make you give or receive a blow job?”) Those surveys turned up the opposite of what we generally think is true. Women were more likely to be abused by fellow female inmates, and men by guards, and many of those guards were female. For example, of juveniles reporting staff sexual misconduct, 89 percent were boys reporting abuse by a female staff member. In total, inmates reported an astronomical 900,000 incidents of sexual abuse.

Now the question is, in a climate when politicians and the media are finally paying attention to military and campus sexual assault, should these new findings alter our national conversation about rape? Stemple is a longtime feminist who fully understands that men have historically used sexual violence to subjugate women and that in most countries they still do. As she sees it, feminism has fought long and hard to fight rape myths—that if a woman gets raped it’s somehow her fault, that she welcomed it in some way. But the same conversation needs to happen for men. By portraying sexual violence against men as aberrant, we prevent justice and compound the shame. And the conversation about men doesn’t need to shut down the one about women. “Compassion,” she says, “is not a finite resource.”

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DOJ Indicts Deripaska


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Ex-FBI who probed Trump-Russia links has ties to Moscow: Report


Published: 17:32 BST, 15 September 2022 | Updated: 18:03 BST, 15 September 2022

A senior FBI official who investigated Donald Trump‘s alleged links to Russia is now under the microscope for his own Moscow ties, a bombshell new report revealed on Thursday.

Charles McGonigal is the former counterintelligence chief at the FBI’s New York City field office.

He has not been charged with any crimes, Insider reports. 

But if McGonigal’s work with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska proves to have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, he could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at most.

Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin’s, was also a close contact of Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort and is thought to have played a leading role in the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in that presidential race.

He and business tied to him were sanctioned by the Treasury Department for ‘malign activity’ and ‘attempting to subvert western democracies, and malicious cyber-activities.’

McGonigal’s links to Deripaska are reportedly at the heart of a grand jury subpoena that was issued in secret in November 2021.

It’s not clear if the investigation is still ongoing.

But the explosive Thursday report suggests McGonigal has had multiple contacts with an aide to Deripaska, including a referral to a law firm that ended up being a lucrative deal for a former Soviet official.

Charles McGonigal has been Special Agent in Charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the New York Field Office of the FBI since he was appointed to that position by James Comey in October 2016

That former official is Sergey Shestakov, who now lives in the US but is said to be the ex-chief of staff to the Soviet Union’s ambassador.

Shestakov reportedly disclosed in a filing that McGonigal was key to helping him ‘facilitate’ a meeting between Deripaska’s aide and a shady consulting company called Spectrum Risk Solutions.

McGonigal also introduced the Kremlin-linked billionaire’s assistant to a New York law firm that’s known for helping clients accused of ‘fraud and misconduct’ called Kobre & Kim.

It’s not clear what role Shestakov played in the referral but he claimed to have received $33,000 for it.

It’s also not clear if McGonigal’s work with Deripaska breaks any laws, though longtime intelligence community journalist Tim Weiner told Insider, ‘If McGonigal is mixed up in any way shape or form with Deripaska, that strikes me as unseemly, to put it politely.’

McGonigal had a hand in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation that became Crossfire Hurricane 

McGonigal is reportedly linked to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is a close ally of Vladimir Putin (pictured)

McGonigal didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment, while Kobre & Kim refused to provide a statement.

A senior FBI official suggested to the outlet that McGonigal’s probing by a grand jury is in itself extraordinary.

‘It’s very rare that former FBI people at all, and certainly former senior FBI people, wind up as grand-jury targets,’ they said.

McGonigal’s lengthy FBI resumé includes investigating Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning, as well as probing a Bill Clinton advisor for improper handling of classified National Archives records.

He was reportedly one of the first federal law enforcement officers to find out that a Trump 2016 campaign staffer bragged about Russians having damaging information on Hillary Clinton, which sparked the infamous Trump-Russia probe known as Crossfire Hurricane.

At the time, McGonigal headed the cybercrimes division at the FBI’s Washington HQ. 

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Top FBI Agent Tied to Russia — and that’s not all


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Secret List of Documents Seized From Mar-a-Lago Released Online

A secret list detailing some of the documents seized from former President Donald Trump was released online overnight, even though a judge ordered the list to remain under seal.

The five-page list included specific descriptions of documents sized from Mar-a-Lago in August that the government has set aside as potentially being protected by privilege. According to the list, the documents include an internal analysis on the commutation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, an unsigned letter from attorneys to former special counsel Robert Mueller, a Senate clemency request for “RN,” a medical letter, and tax forms.

Also included was a confidential settlement agreement between the Professional Golfers’ Association and Trump Golf, a settlement agreement in another case, documents from an agreement involving the Trump Media Group, and a signed letter from a Trump campaign legal adviser to the Joe Biden campaign.

The list was contained in two exhibits filed in court in August by the Department of Justice. The exhibits were attached to a document that updated the court on the status of the review of potentially privileged material. Government lawyers filed the document and the exhibits under seal.

The main document was unsealed on Oct. 3 on orders from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Trump appointee overseeing the case.

But Cannon explicitly said the attachments were to remain sealed “for purposes of protecting claims of attorney-client privilege.”

Bloomberg reporter Zoe Tillman obtained the list from the court docket and published it online. The exhibits “appeared to be inadvertently publicly docketed for a time,” Tillman said.

The exhibits are back under seal as of Oct. 5, The Epoch Times has confirmed.

The case is being handled in the U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Yvette Alexander, the deputy in charge of the court, told The Epoch Times that she would look into what happened.

“I need to determine who unsealed it,” she said.

Attorneys for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

Neither the Department of Justice nor Trump wanted the exhibits unsealed, according to an earlier filing.

“The United States is not seeking to unseal Exhibit A or B or otherwise unseal attorney-client privileged information,” U.S. lawyers said in that motion.

Trump lawyers opposed unsealing any of the three documents, including the main document.

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The Truth About Communism: What Every Person Needs to Know



In the special series “The Dark Origins of Communism,” Joshua Philipp, an investigative journalist for The Epoch Times, offers a chilling and eye-opening history of the origins of communism and the horrifying results that followed. The informative program on EpochTV walks viewers through the ideological principles on which communism, Marxism, and socialism are founded and examines how it is necessary for communist messaging to create division and strife in society to achieve its desired goal.

Communism Promises a Utopia, but Delivers a Nightmare

Communism pursues an imagined future utopia by creating a dystopia. Karl Marx, the father of Marxism, believed that struggle led to social evolution. His communist system thus tried to incite struggle to hasten progress—a process that required fomenting economic, social, and moral collapse.

This is seen in the sheer horror that communism has brought to every area of the world it has touched. In the last 100 years, communist regimes have claimed over 100 million to 150 million lives in their pursuit of “progress.” Communism has created societies where power is held by a small group that enslaves entire nations and where killing, reeducation-through-labor camps, censorship, and slavery become part of everyday life.

Communism’s appetite for never-ending destruction and bloodlust is evident in all of its subsequent systems. Although the names of communist organizations change with modern times, history consistently shows us the truth about communism: that although it promises heaven on earth, it instead delivers a living hell. And chaos and horror follow whenever religion, morals, and respect for society are destroyed. Lastly, it shows us that “enlightened” ideas that seek to strip humans of rights endowed by God and replace them with government authority lead solely to oppression and death.

Abolish Religion and Morals

A key goal of communism is to erase pre-existing morals in a society. For this to be done, the government must replace them with their own code of ethics, which is to obey the communist party at the expense of humanity. Under the communist system of dialectical materialism, everything in the universe amounts to “matter in motion,” meaning that individuals are nothing more than a clump of physical cells. The souls, emotions, mental health, and well-being of human beings are not part of the communist equation.

The thought process that communist systems instill in people is inverted. On the surface, communism claims to empower the people so they can be happy. Instead, it disempowers them so they can be subjugated. This is why communism aggressively seeks to destroy spirituality. They must do this because spirituality itself poses a threat to communism. Even the notion of a soul threatens communism because a soul carries an inner moral compass that is uniquely yours. If a person’s moral compass contradicts what communism dictates, that is a threat. Communism does not want people to have convictions. Instead, it wants them to follow orders. Communists lead society to believe that morality, faith, and ethics are wrong, but famine, oppression, and struggle are right—when they serve the party.

Therefore, communism arises after all morals, traditions, beliefs, institutions, hierarchy, and values have been destroyed. Communism convinces people that it intends to bring them happiness, but this happiness can only be achieved after a segment of society is either suppressed or eradicated. Therefore, it provides conditional happiness at the expense of one’s morals.

Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century.” When faith is destroyed and the foundations of morality are overturned, the government becomes the highest power and the basis of morality.

Destabilize Society Through Division and Strife

The EpochTV series explains that since communists believe progress can only be attained through struggle, they try to fast-track “progress” by engineering struggle. Their formula for doing so is quite simple. Marxist theoretician Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov wrote in “Dialectic and Logic” in 1928 that the communist dialectic follows three laws: to identify, to contradict, and to “exclude the middle.”

First, they “identify” an issue in society. Then, they “contradict” it by sharpening that issue into two antagonistic extremes. The chosen issue is then polarized and distributed to the media—via state mouthpieces—in a campaign designed to create division and cause struggle. In this campaign, the goal is to “exclude the middle,” meaning there is no tolerance for moderates. In the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin categorized all people into two groups: those who supported the communist revolution and those who did not. And those who did not were marked for destruction.

Communists favor extremes, intentionally discounting the often wide variety of moderate viewpoints because they do not serve the communist narrative. Traditional dialectics aim to help people understand truths by exchanging varying ideas and looking at both sides of an issue. Karl Marx’s concept of dialectical materialism, which is at the heart of modern communism, does the opposite. It looks at various topics in society and identifies their polar opposites. It then makes those opposites the communist viewpoint and pushes these viewpoints as being absolute and unquestionable.

Total Control Over Society

In an ideal communist state, the government controls everything—public and private. While modern-day socialists want to divorce themselves from the failed institutions of Nazism and fascism, the truth is that they adopt many of the same interventionist policies and underlying ideas. For socialism to be effective, it must destabilize the existing social order via chaos and violence. It does this by intentionally propping up “crises” and class enemies to blame so that people will be fed up enough to settle for a “new” system—which socialists will ensure is their system.

Religion establishes morals and values that are higher than government. The Constitution of the United States establishes rights that come from God, not the government. Because of these beliefs, both have become the enemies of any tyrant looking to expand power over a society. This EpochTV series shows how every real-world example of communism proves that although communism claims to be “for the people,” that lie only serves to justify its plan of building an all-powerful authoritarian state.

Watch “The Dark Origins of Communism” on Epoch Cinema here.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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Talk of ‘Civil War,’ Ignited by Mar-a-Lago Search, Is Flaring Online


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Trump supporters outside Mar-a-Lago after the F.B.I.’s search in August. More Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say.

Trump supporters outside Mar-a-Lago after the F.B.I.’s search in August. More Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say.Credit…Marco Bello/Reuters

By Ken Bensinger and Sheera Frenkel

  • Oct. 5, 2022, 5:00 a.m. ET

Soon after the F.B.I. searched Donald J. Trump’s home in Florida for classified documents, online researchers zeroed in on a worrying trend.

Posts on Twitter that mentioned “civil war” had soared nearly 3,000 percent in just a few hours as Mr. Trump’s supporters blasted the action as a provocation. Similar spikes followed, including on Facebook, Reddit, Telegram, Parler, Gab and Truth Social, Mr. Trump’s social media platform. Mentions of the phrase more than doubled on radio programs and podcasts, as measured by Critical Mention, a media-tracking firm.

Posts mentioning “civil war” jumped again a few weeks later, after President Biden branded Mr. Trump and “MAGA Republicans” a threat to “the very foundations of our republic” in a speech on democracy in Philadelphia.

Now experts are bracing for renewed discussions of civil war, as the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach and political talk grows more urgent and heated.

More than a century and a half after the actual Civil War, the deadliest war in U.S. history, “civil war” references have become increasingly commonplace on the right. While in many cases the term is used only loosely — shorthand for the nation’s intensifying partisan divisions — observers note that the phrase, for some, is far more than a metaphor.

Polling, social media studies and a rise in threats suggest that a growing number of Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say. What was once the subject of serious discussion only on the political periphery has migrated closer to the mainstream.

But while that trend is clear, there is far less agreement among experts about what it means.

Some elements of the far right view it literally: a call for an organized battle for control of the government. Others envision something akin to a drawn-out insurgency, punctuated with eruptions of political violence, such as the attack on the F.B.I.’s Cincinnati field office in August. A third group describes the country as entering a “cold” civil war, manifested by intractable polarization and mistrust, rather than a “hot” war with conflict.

After Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, his supporters demonstrated at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing.Credit…John Moore/Getty Images

“The question is what does ‘civil war’ look like and what does it mean,” said Elizabeth Neumann, assistant secretary for counterterrorism at the Homeland Security Department under Mr. Trump. “I did not anticipate, nor did anyone else as far as I know, how rapidly the violence would escalate.”

Ms. Neumann now works for Moonshot, a private security company that tracks extremism online. Moonshot found a 51 percent increase in “civil war” references on the most active pages on 4Chan, the fringe online message board, in the week after Mr. Biden’s Sept. 1 speech.

But talk of political violence is not relegated to anonymous online forums.

At a Trump rally in Michigan on Saturday night, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, said that “Democrats want Republicans dead,” adding that “Joe Biden has declared every freedom-loving American an enemy of the state.” At a recent fund-raiser, Michael T. Flynn, who briefly served as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, said that governors had the power to declare war and that “we’re probably going to see that.”

On Monday, federal prosecutors showed a jury in Washington an encrypted message that Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers armed extremist group, had sent his lieutenants two days after the 2020 presidential election: “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war.”

Experts say the steady patter of bellicose talk has helped normalize the expectation of political violence.

In late August, a poll of 1,500 adults by YouGov and The Economist found that 54 percent of respondents who identified as “strong Republicans” believed a civil war was at least somewhat likely in the next decade. Only about a third of all respondents felt such an event was unlikely. A similar survey conducted by the same groups two years ago found nearly three in five people feeling that a “civil war-like fracture in the U.S.” was either somewhat or very unlikely.

“What you’re seeing is a narrative that was limited to the fringe going into the mainstream,” said Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago and founder of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats.

The institute’s researchers tracked tweets mentioning civil war before and after Mr. Trump announced the search on Mar-a-Lago. In the five preceding days, they logged an average of roughly 500 tweets an hour. That jumped to 6,000 in the first hour after Mr. Trump published a post on Truth Social on the afternoon of Aug. 8, saying “these are dark times for our Nation.” The pace peaked at 15,000 tweets an hour later that evening. A week later, it was still six times higher than the baseline, and the phrase was once again trending on Twitter at month’s end.

Extremist groups have been agitating for some sort of government overthrow for years and, Mr. Pape said, the most radical views — often driven by white supremacy or religious fundamentalism — remain marginal, advanced by no more than 50,000 people nationwide.

But a far larger group, he said, are the people who have been influenced by Mr. Trump’s complaints about the “Washington swamp” and “deep state” forces working against him and his allies.

Trump supporters in Phoenix, too, protested after his election loss.Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Those notions, stirred in a smoldering crucible with QAnon conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine views and election denialism, have fueled a growing hostility toward the federal government and rising talk about states’ rights.

“Did you know that a governor can declare war?” Mr. Flynn said at the fund-raiser on Sept. 18, for Mark Finchem, a Republican running for secretary of state in Arizona. “And we’re going to probably, we are probably going to see that.”

Neither Mr. Flynn nor Mr. Finchem responded to a request for comment about the inaccurate remarks. The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war and, in fact, specifically bars states from engaging in war “unless actually invaded.”

However far-fetched, such ideas are often amplified by a proliferating set of social media channels such as the right-wing platform Gab and Mr. Trump’s Truth Social.

Social media platforms are rife with groups and boards dedicated to discussions of civil war. One, on Gab, describes itself as a place for “action reports,” “combat vids” and reports of killed in action in “the civil war that is also looking to be a 2nd American Revolution.”

In August, a single tweet stating “I think civil war has just been declared” managed to reach over 17 million profiles despite coming from an account with under 14,000 followers, according to Cybara, an Israeli firm that monitors misinformation.

“Ideas go into echo chambers and it’s the only voice that’s heard; there are no voices of dissent,” said Kurt Braddock, an American University professor who studies how terrorist groups radicalize and recruit.

Mr. Braddock said he did not believe these posts indicated any planning for a war. But he worries about what academics call “stochastic terrorism” — seemingly random acts of violence that are, in fact, provoked by “coded language, dog whistles and other subtext” in statements by public figures.

A rally in Holland, Mich., in 2021 at a restaurant that had defied state pandemic measures.Credit…Emily Rose Bennett for The New York Times

Mr. Trump is adept at making such statements, said Mr. Braddock, citing Mr. Trump’s April 2020 tweet reading “Liberate Michigan!” Less than two weeks later, mobs of heavily armed protesters occupied the state capitol in East Lansing. He also pointed to Mr. Trump’s speech before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, when he encouraged thousands of supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol and, later in the same remarks told them, “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

“The statements Trump makes are not overt calls to action, but when you have a huge and devoted following, the chances that one or more people are activated by that are high,” Mr. Braddock said.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Trump used the term “civil war” in 2019, when he declared in a tweet that “it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal” if he was removed from office. Last month, Mr. Trump said there would be “problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before” if he was indicted over his handling of the classified documents that were the target of the F.B.I. search.

Other Republicans have used language suggesting the country is on the brink. Ms. Greene wrote in August that the Mar-a-Lago search reflected the “type of things that happen in countries during civil war,” in posts to her nearly 900,000 combined followers on Facebook and Telegram. Senator Rick Scott of Florida likened the F.B.I. to the Gestapo, the secret police in Nazi Germany, saying “this cannot be our country.”

Late last month, Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, told The Texas Tribune he believed immigration legislation was unlikely in part because of a “political civil war.” He has made similar comments before, including a November 2021 call for Texas to secede if Democrats “destroy the country.”

Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Ms. Greene, said that she was “vehemently opposed to political violence” and that her civil war comments were about Democrats, who “are acting like a regime launching a war on their opposition.”

McKinley Lewis, communications director for Mr. Scott, said he had “ZERO tolerance for violence of any kind” but added that he “continues to demand answers” related to the F.B.I.’s Mar-a-Lago search.

Republicans have often argued that their language is political rhetoric and blamed Democrats for twisting it to stoke divisions. It’s Democrats and the left, they said, who are courting violence by labeling Mr. Trump’s supporters adherents of what Mr. Biden has called “semi-fascism.”

In response to a query about Mr. Cruz’s comments, Maria Jeffrey Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the senator, said Mr. Cruz placed blame on President Biden, claiming that he has “driven a wedge down the middle of our country.”

After President Biden delivered his speech on democracy, Brian Gibby, a freelance data entry specialist in Charlotte, N.C., wrote in a Substack post that he believed “the Second Civil War began” with the president’s remarks.

“I have never seen a more divisive, hate-filled speech from an American president,” Mr. Gibby wrote.

President Biden described Mr. Trump and his loyalists as a threat to “the very foundations of our republic” in a speech on democracy in Philadelphia.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Asked by The New York Times to explain his views, Mr. Gibby said he believed Mr. Biden was “escalating a hot conflict in America.” He worries something will happen around the November elections that will be “akin to Jan. 6, but much more violent,” where armed protest groups from both sides of the political spectrum come to blows.

“Plan ahead, stock up, stay safe, get out of cities if you can,” he wrote.

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Suspension of Whistleblower FBI Agent Illegal: Kash Patel


The suspension of an FBI agent who raised concerns about bureau policies not being followed is illegal, according to former congressional investigator Kash Patel.

FBI agent Steve Friend came forward in September to assert that the FBI was violating policies by assigning cases to field offices around the country but actually having the cases managed by officials based in Washington. He said his concerns were ignored by supervisors. Friend was later suspended pending an investigation.

“What happened was actually illegal,” Patel, a former national security adviser for the House Intelligence Committee, said on the latest episode of his EpochTV show, “Kash’s Corner.”

“His badge and gun, the means that FBI agents actually perform their duties in the field, were taken from him. And this is after Director Chris Wray went up to Congress and testified … under oath whether whistleblowers would be retaliated against, and he said no under oath. So he has just committed another offense under the law and lied to Congress because we have non-irrefutable proof that basically [Friend] is no longer able to work.”

Patel referenced the Whistleblower Protection Act, which protects government employees who disclose information if the employee “reasonably believes evidences” that an activity constituting “a violation of any law, rules, or regulations; or gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety” is occurring. The law also bars retaliation against whistleblowers.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) have said that Friend engaged in protected whistleblower activity. They told Wray in a recent missive that the response to Friend’s whistleblowing isn’t acceptable.

“The FBI should never suspend security clearances as a form of punishment or to retaliate against patriotic whistleblowers for stepping forward to report potential wrongdoing,” they said.

Epoch Times Photo FBI special agent Steve Friend in a file image. (Courtesy of Steve Friend)

An FBI spokesperson told The Epoch Times previously that bureau workers who don’t perform their jobs “are held accountable through an objective administrative process” and that workers who report evidence of wrongdoing through a protected disclosure “are protected from retaliation.”

Patel noted that more than a dozen whistleblowers have approached Republican members of Congress, including Friend, with information and that Republican Party members have vowed to probe the agency if they flip control of the House of Representatives or the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections.

That would give Republican committee chairs subpoena power. Top Republicans have already been notifying FBI personnel to preserve records and other documents in preparation.

“We saw the power of congressional subpoenas … and how it was rightly applied when we did Russiagate,” said Patel, who helped uncover key information about the counterintelligence investigation on Democrat-funded information alleging links between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. “And so you can haul in the documents and publicize them. And you can see if they hid the documents after members of Congress told them not to, then you can subpoena them in person and put them in the seat, not for a day, but for a week or a month if [that’s what] it takes.”

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