As people across the country take to the streets to protest and support the decision, officials have warned that the United States could face a wave of violence from extremists. In numerous posts, Fuentes and other far-right influencers referenced a memo released Friday by the US Department of Homeland Security warning that churches, judges and abortion providers could be at risk. heightened violence “for weeks” in response to both the ruling and expected changes in state laws and ballot measures stemming from the ruling.
Although the DHS memo said all parties were at risk, on far-right channels such as Fuentes’s, the memo was referenced as a call to arms to protect pregnancy centers and churches from pro- abortion, according to disinformation researchers. Pregnancy centers are non-profit organizations created by abortion advocates to advise women against having abortions.
“Guard and protect your local church. Keep and protect your local pregnancy centers. Call them in advance. Bring guns and men with you,” read another post on a far-right Telegram channel. The publication called on “American patriots” to “defend the faith.” (The Washington Post withholds the channel’s name so as not to amplify its influence.)
Supreme Court overturn leaves states free to ban abortion
“We anticipate this could be a powder keg,” said Lisa Kaplan, founder and CEO of Alethea Group, a technology company that detects and mitigates misinformation and social media manipulation, which conducted research into the posts. violent. “On social media platforms, we see politically charged calls for violence from left and right in response to the Supreme Court ruling. Roe vs. Wade decision,” she said.
Alethea said it detected fewer calls for violence on far-left channels, but Kaplan said the research was preliminary. A post on a far-left channel called for the burning down of all churches except black ones.
“Only black churches should stand. Burn them all,” one message read.
Tech companies Twitter and Facebook were actively monitoring the situation for potential violence, according to people familiar with the company’s deliberations who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to describe them. Most social media company policies distinguish between calls for violence in the name of self-defense, which are more permissible, and calls to attack people.
The DHS memo specifically identified a “loosely affiliated network of suspected violent extremists, known as ‘Jane’s Revenge,’ which it said was linked to several threats calling for a ‘night of rage’ over the decision. DHS said the group allegedly claimed responsibility for the vandalism of a building housing the campaign office of a congressman and an anti-abortion group, and for at least three arson attacks since May targeting anti-abortion organizations. abortion in Oregon, New York and Wisconsin.
Immigration courts in Dallas, Chicago and Portland announced they would close early Friday in anticipation of potentially disruptive crowds.
Many far-right posts have urged subscribers to prepare to fight the violence predicted by Jane’s Revenge. Some of the posts mentioned specific churches that could be targeted, including churches in Stockton and Costa Mesa, Calif., and Detroit, and also noted the exact locations where pro-abortion groups were planning protests over the weekend. . Other posts targeted Black Lives Matter activists, the left-wing antifa group and lesbians.
One warned that “special interest groups” would hire rioters from left-wing antifa and Black Lives Matter groups to “burn down your city,” according to posts shared by Alethea.
Another Telegram message warned that “all 300 pounds of purple-haired nose ringed BULLDYKE is now a threat of terrorism. LOCK AND LOAD PEOPLE AND BE ALERT AND READY TO NEUTRALIZE THE THREAT. WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS!
Other posts were more conspiratorial, arguing that Jane’s Revenge is really the FBI. Others were anti-Semitic.
Maria Sacchetti contributed reporting.