Tag Archives: rightwing

Leader of right-wing militia arrested by FBI 'for detaining migrant families at gunpoint in New Mexico'

Leader of right-wing militia arrested by FBI 'for detaining migrant families at gunpoint in New Mexico'The FBI on Saturday arrested the leader of a right-wing militia that was detaining migrant families at gunpoint near the border in southern New Mexico, as the group faced a torrent of criticism for its tactics.Hector Balderas, New Mexico’s attorney general, said federal agents had arrested the leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, who had been operating under the alias Johnny Horton Jr. Mr Balderas said in a statement that Hopkins was arrested on charges of firearms possession by a felon.“This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” Mr Balderas said. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”The firearms charge against Hopkins is relatively minor. But it is likely the start of a deeper investigation into his activities and those of the militia, and opens the way for the authorities to bring more serious charges like kidnapping and impersonating a police officer or an employee of the United States.Hopkins’ arrest comes as tensions rise over ultraconservative paramilitary groups operating along the southwestern border. Professed militias have a long history of targeting immigrants from Latin America, tracing back to the Ku Klux Klan’s creation of its own border patrol in the 1970s. Record numbers of Central American migrants apprehended by federal authorities in recent months have been accompanied by a new surge in militia activity on the border.The organisation led by Hopkins, the United Constitutional Patriots, recently uploaded videos of armed members detaining children and their parents in a stretch of the New Mexico desert near El Paso, Texas, before handing the migrants over to the Border Patrol.Political leaders in New Mexico, a state largely controlled by Democrats, responded with fury. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that any mistreatment of asylum-seekers on the border was “unacceptable.” The state’s two Democratic senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, said in a statement that the actions of vigilante groups “cannot be tolerated.”The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the militia’s actions in a letter Thursday, saying the actions amounted to kidnapping by “racist and armed vigilantes.”Still, such denunciations were far from unanimous in the state. A prominent New Mexico Republican, Gavin Clarkson, a former Trump administration official who is now running for US Senate, met with masked members of the group in March and praised their efforts, according to a video of the encounter uploaded to Facebook.But Clarkson said Saturday on Twitter that he condemned militia activities. “Masked militiamen are the antithesis of what a free republic looks like,” he said.Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the militia, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Hopkins’ arrest.The FBI said in a statement that the police department of Sunland Park, New Mexico, had assisted with the arrest. Hopkins, 69, is scheduled to appear Monday in US District Court in Las Cruces, New Mexico.Hopkins, whose residence is in Flora Vista in northwest New Mexico, had already come under the scrutiny of groups tracking right-wing militias around the United States. He was convicted in 2006 for impersonating an officer and for felony firearm possession, according to The Daily Beast.Despite the recent criticism over its operations in New Mexico, the militia led by Hopkins maintains a wide reach on Facebook and YouTube.Speaking to someone using a voice distorter while wearing a gas mask, Hopkins appeared on a right-wing extremist YouTube channel in November. He claimed to be in touch with President Donald Trump after a chance meeting at a Las Vegas casino.The New York Times



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FBI arrests member of rightwing militia accused of detaining migrants

FBI arrests member of rightwing militia accused of detaining migrantsLarry Mitchell Hopkins accused of illegal weapons possession after videos apparently showed men stopping migrants in New MexicoMen including Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the militia calling itself the United Constitutional Patriots, share cigarettes while patrolling the US-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico last month. Photograph: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty ImagesA member of an armed rightwing militia group accused of illegally detaining migrants at the US-Mexico border has been arrested, officials said on Saturday.The FBI arrested Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, for alleged unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition , days after his group posted videos that appeared to show armed men stopping migrants at the border in New Mexico, ordering them to sit on the ground and coordinating with US border patrol agents to have them taken into custody.“Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes,” the New Mexico attorney general, Hector Balderas, said in a statement.On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an investigation into the pro-Trump, anti-immigrant men who have been patrolling the border and calling themselves the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP).The ACLU in New Mexico described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes”, saying they were working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum” and had directly made illegal arrests and held migrants at gunpoint.Hopkins’ role in the group was unclear, and it was also not clear if he was facing any charges directly related to the videos of the men stopping migrants. The New Mexico attorney general’s office described Hopkins as a “dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families” and labeled him an “armed individual detaining migrants at the border”.An FBI statement on the arrest did not mention the militia group or the detention of migrants, but noted that Hopkins has also gone by the name Johnny Horton Jr and that he was due to appear in court on Monday.In one video posted last Monday night by Jim Benvie, a member of the armed group, it appeared the men were ordering around dozens of migrants, including many children, and telling them to sit. Benvie narrated: “There’s no border patrol here. This is us.”The men appeared to call border patrol agents, who later were seen. The ACLU, in a letter to state officials, said the group had targeted nearly 300 migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which is along the Mexico border and adjacent to El Paso, Texas.The militia members advocated for Trump’s proposed border wall on the video streams and echoed the president’s anti-migrant rhetoric, warning of an “invasion”.There have also been concerns that the men, who wear military-style clothes, could be misrepresenting themselves as border patrol agents. In another video, Benvie filmed himself stopping a group of four adults and three children and said “border patrol” as he approached, before calling for another member of his group to join him. In an apparent call to border patrol, one man said: “Hello, I’ve got seven over here.”The UCP has previously presented itself as a group of “volunteers” aiding border patrol and supporting Trump. In recent years, there have been numerous reports of an increase in paramilitary groups and xenophobic activists surveilling the border, working with US agents and targeting undocumented people.The UCP has not responded to the Guardian’s requests for comment.On Thursday, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said border patrol “welcomes assistance from the community” but “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands”.The Daily Beast reported that Hopkins has a history of pushing far-right conspiracies and has a conviction for impersonating an officer and felony firearm possession. He could not be reached on Saturday and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.Stephanie Corte, an immigrant rights campaign strategist with the ACLU in New Mexico, said her group was still trying to make contact with the detained migrants and was uncertain if any had been released.“Our next focus is to try to get their story and making sure they feel safe to tell their story of being held at gunpoint,” she told the Guardian, adding that the ACLU would explore legal options.She said she hoped authorities would work to make sure this does not happen again.“We absolutely believe that this was completely unlawful,” she said. “We’re hoping those involved will be brought to justice.”



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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemns 'completely disgusting' right-wing media over fake nude image

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemns 'completely disgusting' right-wing media over fake nude imageAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez has condemned her treatment at the hands of right-wing media after one website re-posted a fake nude photo of her in a bath. The congresswoman called the Daily Caller’s actions “completely disgusting” after it published a story about the image, which in fact shows a different woman. The site, founded by Fox News television host Tucker Carlson, “refused to indicate [the picture] was fake in the title” of the story, the newly-elected New York Democrat tweeted.



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Two right-wing ministers form new party ahead of Israel polls

Two right-wing ministers form new party ahead of Israel pollsTwo right-wing Israeli government ministers on Saturday launched a new party aimed at winning over secular voters ahead of snap elections in April. Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said they were quitting the far-right Jewish Home party to found the New Right party. Nationalist Jewish Home — of which Bennett was the head and Shaked deputy leader — has been part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition with eight seats in parliament.



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Mick Mulvaney: The self-proclaimed ‘right-wing nutjob’ appointed as Trump’s new chief of staff

Mick Mulvaney: The self-proclaimed ‘right-wing nutjob’ appointed as Trump’s new chief of staffDonald Trump has appointed a new acting chief of staff after a protracted and chaotic search to replace John Kelly. The US president turned to his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to temporarily fill a position once seen as one of the most sought-after in the White House. It will be Mr Mulvaney’s third job in Mr Trump’s government.



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Right-Wing Conspiracist Laura Loomer Handcuffs Herself To Door Of Twitter's Office

Right-Wing Conspiracist Laura Loomer Handcuffs Herself To Door Of Twitter's OfficeFar-right conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer handcuffed herself to the front



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Hillary Clinton Says Europe Should 'Get a Handle' on Immigration to Stop Right-Wing Nationalism

Hillary Clinton Says Europe Should 'Get a Handle' on Immigration to Stop Right-Wing NationalismEurope "has done its part" accepting migrants, but must stem the populist backlash, Clinton said in an interview



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Cesar Sayoc's Purported Twitter Accounts Regularly Promoted Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories

Cesar Sayoc's Purported Twitter Accounts Regularly Promoted Right-Wing Conspiracy TheoriesCesar Sayoc, the suspect arrested Friday in connection with more than a dozen



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Conservatives, Right-Wing Media Respond To Christine Blasey Ford's Testimony

Conservatives, Right-Wing Media Respond To Christine Blasey Ford's TestimonyAs Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee



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Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests follow stabbing in Chemnitz, Germany

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests follow stabbing in Chemnitz, GermanyEighteen people were injured in rival demonstrations capping off a week marked by xenophobic protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz, prompting Germany’s foreign minister to urge Germans to “get off our sofas” and speak up against racism. Chemnitz has been in the spotlight after violent far-right protests erupted over the fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old man, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi last Sunday. On Saturday, 8,000 people answered a joint call by far-right party AfD and Islamophobic PEGIDA street movement to descend once again on the streets of the former communist city which was in the erstwhile East Germany.



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