As President Trump continues to refer to COVID-19 as a “Chinese virus” in an apparent attempt to stir up hatred among his most ardent supporters, federal law enforcement now has evidence that white supremacist groups in the United States have been discussing use of coronavirus as a bioweapon that could possibly be utilized for domestic terrorist attacks, according to a report from YahooNews:
“White supremacists discussed plans to weaponize coronavirus via ‘saliva,’ a ‘spray bottle’ or ‘laced items,’ according to a weekly intelligence brief distributed by a federal law enforcement division on Feb. 17.
“Federal investigators appeared to be monitoring the white nationalists’ communications on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app that has become popular with neo-Nazis. In the conversations, the white supremacists suggested targeting law enforcement agents and ‘nonwhite’ people with attacks designed to infect them with the coronavirus.”
An intelligence brief written by the Federal Protective Service specifically noted:
“‘Violent extremists continue to make bioterrorism a popular topic among themselves,’ reads the intelligence brief written by the Federal Protective Service, which covered the week of Feb. 17-24. ‘White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists have recently commented on the coronavirus stating that it is an ‘OBLIGATION’ to spread it should any of them contract the virus.'”
At a time when many federal agencies and the White House were attempting to downplay the threat presented by COVID-19, white supremacist groups were already formulating plans to use the virus for their own nefarious purposes, including “targeting … law enforcement and minority communities, with some mention of public places in general.”
The overall goal of the white supremacist movement, based on their own writings and online postings is, to engage in “acts of racial terrorism in order to hasten a war that would cause the breakdown of society.”
One of the leaders of the so-called “accelerationism” movement among white supremacists is neo-Nazi author James Mason:
“In recent years, Mason’s writings became popular among members of the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division and its offshoots. Growing numbers of white supremacists have also expressed interest in ‘accelerationism,’ which involves advocating for extremist attacks with the express goal of provoking a larger societal conflict.”
According to Nick Martin, editor of the Informant, a newsletter that focuses on extremist hate groups, young white supremacists have made Mason a prominent figure in the extremist community:
“There’s a whole branch of neo-Nazism that follows James Mason’s writings and uses his work as kind of their bible. Atomwaffen is part of that, but there are multiple groups that would fall under the same category.”
It remains unclear what moves law enforcement is taking to counter the violent plots of white supremacist groups in the United States, many of which also express support for President Trump’s racist and xenophobic policies.