‘We can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to domestic extremism’
In the wake of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, law enforcement officials have sounded the alarm about the rising threat of domestic extremism in the United States. One of the groups that extremist organizations often target for recruitment is military veterans, who are valued for their training and experience in the armed forces.
But there are also veterans fighting back against these extremist groups. Task Force Butler, a small group of veterans, has been investigating hate groups and neo-Nazi organizations around the country and providing law enforcement officials with detailed dossiers on these groups.
Founded by Kristofer Goldsmith, a veteran who served in Iraq, Task Force Butler is named after the famous World War I General Smedley Butler, who testified in Congress in 1934 about a plot by American fascists to overthrow the US government.
Goldsmith and his team have been tracking extremist groups on the dark web and compiling evidence of their activities. They then send their reports to state attorneys general, with the goal of triggering prosecutions before the groups can cause more violence.
Their work has already led to some promising developments. Earlier this year, Task Force Butler released a 300-page report on the neo-Nazi group NSC-131, which operates in New England. The report included detailed information about the group’s activities and members, and Goldsmith says it can be used to prosecute the group under laws used to go after violent gangs, including RICO racketeering laws.
NEW: Task Force Butler just released 300+ page report PROJECT HUSKY, identifying dozens of members of neo-Nazi gang "Nationalist Social Club," also known as "NSC-131." TFB connects individual members to 9 different violent hate crimes in 4 states. Visit https://t.co/stRs6XRk4h pic.twitter.com/W7yARpAzQg
— Task Force Butler (@TeamTFButler) April 25, 2023
The report was delivered to law enforcement officials in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have both indicated that they are reviewing the report and considering their options for taking action against NSC-131.
Goldsmith and his team believe that their work is helping to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic extremism and spurring law enforcement agencies to take action before it’s too late.
“We can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to domestic extremism,” Goldsmith said. “We need to be vigilant and proactive in rooting out these groups and preventing them from causing further harm to our communities.”
As more and more veterans get involved in the fight against domestic extremism, there is hope that we can push back against the rising tide of hate and violence in our country.