Webinar presenter Laurie Wood answered a number of your questions after her presentation, White Nationalists: What Justice Professionals Need to Know. Here are some of her responses.
Audience Question: Can you talk more about the propaganda done in colleges and universities, and what law enforcement and campus police can do proactively, or once they realize they have an issue, how to react and respond without getting more publicity for these groups?
Laurie Wood: We partnered with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators to do training and presentations that specifically addresses the questions of campuses being targeted. These trainings cover responding to hate events, events on college campuses. On our website's available resources, there is a video and checklist on how to respond to rallies, marches, or even flyers being posted. There's also a training to get the community and students involved too.
Audience Question: Where do groups like Antifa fit in the grand scheme of these groups?
Laurie Wood: I will get into these more in-depth in the responding to hate events webinar training. We are seeing counter-protesters, in response, in disagreement to the principles of the White Nationalists. It is also included in the roll call DVD that they can download on the website.
Audience Question: Why is it that so many Jewish people are targeted by these groups?
A: Anti-Semitism has a history that goes way back, even before Hitler. Jewish people had always been targeted. It one of the cornerstones of the white supremacist movement.
Audience Question: Do white nationals groups ever coordinate with each other, and if so, how?
Laurie Wood: Yes, in rallies, we see various supporting groups in rallies. It's the members of the groups that are networking both online and offline. They try to form coalitions but somehow, they cannot always agree, on strategies, message, leadership, etc. If the infighting continues, we might be facing a much bigger problem.
Audience Question: What's a banner drop?
Laurie Wood: A banner drop is where they take large banners and go on top buildings or bridges and unfurl the banner.
Audience Question: To what extent does the white nationalist movement overlap with the sovereign citizen movement?
Laurie Wood: It's two completely different movements. Sovereigns are responsible for the death of at least ten law enforcement officers in the US since 2010. Racist skinheads are considered to be the most violent of white supremacists, responsible for the death of two officers in the past 20 years. In that sense, they can be both violent/lethal. Sovereigns have in common with the white nationalists is a loose structure. Sovereigns are free men and women. They don't belong to organized groups. White nationalists are a little more organized, but they don't really have a command structure. In terms of belief, there's no overlap. Sovereign citizen movement isn't race-based, it's anti-government.
Audience Question: What are some safety issues which officers should consider when they encounter these individuals in their law enforcement duties?
Laurie Wood: Take note of the terms used, make a mental checklist for the potential for threat. They're going to dress up in polos and khakis, but you want to listen to the terms they use. As far as tattoos or symbols, you might not see these as they try to dress up and be presentable. What you should look out for is them getting into public spaces, campuses and provoking confrontation. That's what should look out for.
Audience Question: Do white nationalist groups or leaders ever deliberately target law enforcement agencies or its members? Does the SPLC track that activity?
Laurie Wood: Yes, SPLC tracks it. Law enforcement needs to be safe to keep the public safe. Going back to the echoes, they can tag your organization or an officer. I will go back to check and provide if there are any specific examples.
Audience Question: Can you comment on the Oathkeepers, who they are and how do they tie into this?
Laurie Wood: Oathkeepers are more of the anti-government section. Though I have an analyst who specializes in Oathkeepers that I can connect with the person asking the question.
Audience Question: Do you see prior racist prison gangs joining these groups like Vanguard America or Identity Europa?
Laurie Wood: We do. We've seen people with criminal history joining these groups, especially the neo-Nazi groups and the shock troops. Prison gang members are more drawn to the hardcore Nazi thing than VA or IE. But now, the Nazi faction and the white nationalists are becoming intertwined.
Click Here to View a Recording of Laurie Wood's presentation, "White Nationalists: What Justice Professionals Need to Know."