They say Depap’s evolving beliefs show how today’s extremist threat complicates easy left-right categorization. This change confuses the public, exploiting the confusion to spread disinformation and bring in big bucks for trolls that justify violence.
Cynthia Miller Idris, who leads the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University, said: “It’s the type of radicalization that chooses its own adventures.”
By the time Depapu, 42, allegedly broke into Perosis’ residence on Friday and attacked 82-year-old Paul with a hammer, his writings were riddled with far-right messages, signaling a spiral of dark conspiracy.10 His blog posts in the month were full of bloody images and hateful shoutouts aimed at various target groups, including Jews, Blacks, transgenders and Democrats. He also shared delusional thoughts about invisible fairies who sometimes appear as birds. His alleged former romantic partner, Oxane “Gypsy” Taub, told reporters that Depape was “psychotic”.
These details are largely ignored by right-wing figures, including elected Republicans and MAGA stars with millions of followers, instead making him a left-wing, hemp-bracelet peddling “hippie” years ago. ‘, perhaps portrayed as part of a ‘false flag’ operation to accuse the rights of violence. Another unsubstantiated scenario that Depapu and Paul Pelosi had a sexual relationship has been raging in right-wing news media, backed by celebrities such as Elon Musk, and mentioned by Republican officials.
“In that moment I realized that a nudist hippie male prostitute LSD guy was the reason your husband wasn’t attending your fundraiser,” said Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La. , tweeted along with a picture of Nancy Pelosi in distress.
Analysts say such a reaction is dangerous and a malicious attempt to score political points while downplaying the seriousness of the violent attacks targeting the most powerful women in Congress. Federal prosecutors on Monday filed charges of attempted kidnapping and assault against Depapu, and in addition to the hammer allegedly used to attack Paul Pelosi, officials said they had “rolled tape, white A rope, a second hammer, and a pair of rubber and cloth gloves” were recovered. , and zip ties. After being taken into custody, DePap told authorities that his plan was to take Nancy Pelosi hostage and potentially break “her kneecap” to make her “the leader of the crowd” of what he sees as lying Democrats. He said that it is to model
“It would be disingenuous to call this man a left-wing fanatic today, when the path he took over the last eight years was clearly the alt-right,” writes extremism researcher JJ McNabb. twitter thread It unfolded her research into Depap’s far-right family lineage.
The turning point for DePape seems to have come in 2014 at Gamergate. Gamergate, a vicious online campaign against female video game developers and critics, portends the rise of coordinated right-wing or bigotry-fueled troll attacks.
“How did I get into this? Gamergate was Gamergate,” Depapu wrote.
Analysts say such changes often occur via a gradual process, usually online, rather than a single seismic event, with people clicking on Vikings of different ideologies to resonate. Sometimes it leads to a fusion of extremism — white supremacists borrowing Islamic extremist tropes — sometimes the complete political spectrum, moving from the far right to the far left. It can lead to a reversal, sometimes called ‘side-switching’.”
“Side-switching across mutually exclusive or hostile ideologies is not all that uncommon,” says Daniel Koehler, a German terrorism analyst who has written extensively on transnational phenomena. .
Koehler, founder of the German Institute for Radicalization and Deradicalization, has identified important ‘bridge areas’ that span different ideologies. These bridges “act as a kind of ideological highway between these environments that are usually very exclusive and see each other as mortal enemies,” he said.
Germany has recently seen ambiguity in anti-vaccination and covid-19 denial movements, with far-left protesters openly mingling with white supremacists, Koehler said.
“There were times when they produced memes and propaganda calling on anti-fascists and anarchists to even form alliances against democratic Western societies,” Koehler said. “They think they can come together under a common premise: ‘We reject dualism, we reject democracy, we reject free market society.'”
In recent years, white supremacists have overlapped with misogynistic “incel” movements and borrowed left-wing climate change arguments to fuel right-wing fears of racial competition for resources, leading to intrigue and violence. Some bridging examples are provided. The shooters of white supremacist massacres in Christchurch and El Paso, New Zealand, both incorporated environmentalist themes in notes they wrote before their deadly attacks.
One of the most high-profile incidents with blurry repercussions came in 2020 when a 22-year-old Army Pvt. Ethan Meltzer has been charged with planning an ambush against his own unit. According to prosecutors, he viewed his ISIS and other jihadist propaganda and even leaked information to suspected al-Qaeda operatives. But they allege that his primary motive was violent white supremacy.The federal indictment alleges that Meltzer leaked classified military information to his Satanist neo-Nazi network, the Knights of the Nine Horns. I was accused of giving it to a fellow member of the troupe. The Justice Department described Meltzer’s convictions as a “diabolical cocktail of ideologies.”
Judith Fässler, an extremist analyst at the Bavarian State Office for Constitutional Protection, Germany’s Bavarian state’s domestic intelligence service, sees mutual interest between “inconsistent and sometimes contradictory ideologies” and expands the movement. We can use overlap strategically to
Extremism may change, but the threat of mobilization into violence remains unchanged.
“A demonized conception of the enemy is being constructed, making the worldview dualistic—“us” and “them,” said Fässler. “‘They’ are trying to destroy us. Self-defense is the only way out.”