Neo-Nazi leader pleads guilty to threatening journalists and opponents of anti-Semitism

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Raymond Duda, FBI Special Agent in Charge in Seattle, speaks as he stands next to a poster that was mailed earlier in the year to the home of Chris Ingalls, an investigative reporter with KING-TV.

  • Cameron Shea, 25, has pled guilty to federal hate crime and conspiracy charges.
  • Shea was a member of the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group linked to multiple killings.
  • He was charged with threatening journalists and others who exposed anti-Semitism.
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A 25-year-old leader of a neo-Nazi organization linked to murders across the United States has pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and conspiracy charges after threatening journalists and others who worked to expose anti-Semitism.

Cameron Shea was arrested in March 2020 and charged with conspiring to intimidate members of the press and the Anti-Defamation League in Washington state, as The Guardian’s Jason Wilson reported. In charging documents, the Department of Justice described him as a “high-level member and primary recruiter” for the Atomwaffen Division.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group, founded in 2015, as “a terrorist neo-Nazi organization” whose members believe in using violence to accelerate the collapse of society.

Members of the group have been linked to a string of violent hate crimes. After one member was charged in 2018 with killing Blaze Bernstein, a gay, Jewish college student in California, Google, Discord, and other technology companies moved to bar the organization from using their platforms, which had been used to spread propaganda and organize illicit activities.

The US Department of Justice, in a statement on Wednesday, said Shea and three co-defendants conspired online to “identify journalists and advocates they wanted to threaten in retaliation for the victims’ work exposing anti-Semitism,” focusing primarily on Jews and reporters of color. Targets in Tampa, Seattle, and Phoenix were then mailed posters featuring Nazi symbols and threats of pending violence.

“We will be postering journalists houses and media buildings to send a clear message that we too have leverage over them,” Shea said in a November 2019 group chat, the Associated Press reported. The targets were chosen for their critical work on far-right extremists.

A poster sent to an employee of the Anti-Defamation League featured a “Grim Reaper-like figure wearing a skeleton mask holding a Molotov cocktail,” according to the Justice Department, with text reading: “Our Patience Has Its Limits . . . You have been visited by your local Nazis.”

Last fall, two other members of the group pleded guilty to involvement in the conspiracy. And in July 2020, another admitted to making false claims to police that led to SWAT teams arriving at the homes of reporters, Seattle-area NBC affiliate KING 5 reported.

In March, a 20-year-old Atomwaffen member, John William Kirby Kelley, was handed a 33-month prison sentence for hosting the chat room where such activities were planned, according to The Washington Post. Other targets included Black churches and a former Trump Homeland Security chief, Kristjen Nielsen.

Another member of the conspiracy, Taylor Parker-Dipeppe, pleaded guilty to distributing a poster in Florida – at the wrong address – and last month received a sentence of time served. According to their attorney, Parker-Dipeppe was kicked out of the neo-Nazi group after coming out as transgender.

Shea will be sentenced in June 2021. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Emily Langlie, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, declined to state whether Shea is cooperating with authorities, citing department policy.

An alleged co-conspirator, Kaleb Cole, has pleaded not guilty and is due to face trial in September, she said.

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A Texas GOP lawmaker refused to back down on lynching comments made during hearings on anti-Asian violence

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In this March 11, 2020 file photo, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • GOP Rep. Chip Roy is not backing down from comments about lynchings made at a hate crimes hearing.
  • “There’s an old saying in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree,” said Roy.
  • Critics said the comments glorified lynchings, which Asian Americans have historically been subjected to.
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Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas refused to back down on comments he made about lynching in a congressional hearing on anti-Asian violence.

Roy made the remarks on Thursday at a hearing about a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes following Tuesday’s mass shooting at three spas in Atlanta, Georgia, where 6 Asian women were among the victims.

He said his “concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society, free speech, and away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys.”

Roy went on to criticize Communist China and said the focus should not be on restricting speech but punishing criminals.

“There’s an old saying in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously and we ought to do that, round up the bad guys,” said Roy.

The comments drew widespread criticism, with Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat whose family were immigrants from Taiwan, calling on him to apologize.

” The largest mass lynching in American history was against Chinese immigrants. I call on Chip Roy to apologize. He shouldn’t have been glorifying lynching at this hearing and he’s confusing the fears of a foreign government with what this hearing is about, which is attacks on Americans who happen to be of Asian descent,” Lieu told CNN”s New Day Friday.

But Roy in a statement to CBS News on Saturday doubled down on the comments.

“I meant it,” Roy said. “We need more justice and less thought policing. We need to stop evildoers, such as those who carried out the attack in Atlanta this week, or cartels abusing little children. … We should restore order by tamping out evil actors, not turn America into an authoritarian state like the Chinese communists who seek to destroy us.”

“No apologies,” Roy added.

Some critics have pointed out that the expression Roy claimed is an old Texas saying is probably taken from “Beer for My Horses,” a song by country star Toby Keith in collaboration with Willie Nelson.

Keith has denied the song glorifies lynching, and told Fox News in 2008 it’s about “the old West and horses and sheriffs … and going and getting the bad guys. It’s not a racist thing or about lynching.”

Former President Donald Trump was accused in a UN report last year of whipping up anti-Asian xenophobia during the pandemic, with Trump having repeatedly sought to pin the blame for the coronavirus on China, calling the disease the “China virus” and the disparaging “kung flu.”

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