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A Jewish security group says it tipped off FBI about a neo-Nazi who said he wanted to kill Jews

(JTA) — A Jewish security agency is taking credit for tipping off the FBI about a man associated with a white supremacist group who had a stockpile of weapons and Nazi propaganda in his Los Angeles-area home.

Ryan Scott Bradford was charged last month with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of ammunition. But the FBI and Los Angeles police found far more than drugs and bullets when it searched his house on July 27, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court: They also uncovered five switches for converting semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons; two 3D printers, one decorated with swastikas; posters of Adolf Hitler, Nazi flags, and a calendar with a handwritten note saying, “New Year’s Resolution: Take over the world – save Aryan race *Bake every single Jew.*”

When officers spotted a homemade bomb, they temporarily shut down the streets surrounding Bradford’s residence.

“As alleged, this convicted felon affiliated with a violent white supremacist group who espouses horrific acts of violence against Jews appears to be manufacturing firearms and possessing an improvised explosive device,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement announcing Bradford’s arrest. “The potential danger to the community cannot be overstated.”

The charging documents do not make clear when the FBI began monitoring Bradford. But according to the Community Security Initiative, a watchdog group at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles that monitors threats against the Jewish community and provides safety training to Jews and Jewish institutions, the agency knew to investigate him thanks to the Jewish group’s work.

A CSI analyst told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the group had identified Bradford as a possible threat because of his social media use. He used keywords that the organization monitors for and expressed “implicit threats toward the Jewish community,” said the analyst, who requested anonymity out of concerns about their safety.

“It’s one thing to post antisemitic content and imagery. It’s another to go into a little bit more detail of your own history and the fixation that one has on a certain community — that stood out right off the bat,” the analyst said. “It increased over time, I wouldn’t say dramatically, but it was on an escalatory basis where it continued to increase in duration and time.”

The FBI’s Los Angeles office declined to discuss the ongoing investigation or the role the Jewish security group played in its scrutiny of Bradford.

“The FBI relies on the community always as a source of intelligence,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to JTA. “In many cases, the community act as our eyes and ears and we take the information given to us very seriously. While I can’t get into the details about our continuing investigation in order to protect the rights of the accused, I can confirm that the FBI routinely relies on tips/intel from the public and, when corroborated, may act on that information.”

The case is at least the second in recent months where Jewish security groups have said their monitoring of threats against Jews online has resulted in arrests by law enforcement. In November, a tip from the Community Security Initiative’s New York outpost led to the arrest of a man who allegedly claimed he wanted to “shoot up a synagogue.”

The Los Angeles federation’s security initiative is a decade old, but in recent years sweeping investments in Jewish security efforts have enabled similar monitoring in other places, as well as more intensive monitoring at the national level. The Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for Jewish institutions nationwide, opened a “command center” in Chicago in 2021. That same year, the Jewish Federations of North America launched its own security initiative, LiveSecure, with $130 million to fortify Jewish institutions. The initiatives followed antisemitic attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California, and came amid increases in white supremacist activity and reports of antisemitic incidents.

The CSI said between 2021 and 2023, Bradford posted multiple online messages and photographs under various iterations of the username “Peckerwood” — a reference to the San Fernando Valley Peckerwoods, a racially motivated violent extremist group based in Los Angeles County. He also documented his use of a 3D printer to manufacture firearms and calling for the mass murder of Jews.

Not all worrisome online activity causes the Jewish watchdog group to contact law enforcement. “The individual has to have the capability, intent and opportunity,” the analyst told JTA about CSI’s standards for reporting a threat to the FBI. CSI filed its first suspicious activity report to the FBI in March 2022, the organization said.

In July, according to the criminal complaint, Bradford posted on the secure communication platform Telegram, “Ready to kill some Jews with us? The white boys are gunna kick it off we’ve had enough of this kike bullshit what about you?”

In September, Bradford began posting links to instruction manuals for explosives on the encrypted cloud-based messaging app Telegram, according to the criminal complaint. That was enough for the Community Security Initiative to compile another suspicious activity report for law enforcement, according to the analyst.

The analyst compared the group’s work to that of private citizens, saying the online monitoring is like “being in a park and just watching the circus go by and jotting down information as it comes along.”

“We don’t surveil per se,” the analyst said. “We do what any private citizen has the right to do, which is look at open-source information and gather that information and submit it.”

Law enforcement agencies pick up the trail from there. In Bradford’s case, after agents found evidence of drug trafficking in his communications, the result was an arrest and prosecution.

“The defendant is a self-described anti-Semite associated with a white supremacist group which espouses the hatred of Jews and other minorities,” Donald Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office said in a statement. “Hateful rhetoric that crosses the line into violence will get the attention of law enforcement and those who engage in such extremism will be held accountable should they act upon their violent rhetoric.”

Estrada, the U.S. attorney on the case, indicated in his statement that further charges could follow.

“We will continue to investigate this matter to ensure that this defendant is held accountable for his crimes, and to keep our community safe from acts of violence motivated by racist and hateful ideology,” he said.

The post A Jewish security group says it tipped off FBI about a neo-Nazi who said he wanted to kill Jews appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Former ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Star Patricia Heaton: Every Human Being Should Be Against Antisemitism

One of the billboards erected in partnership between JewBelong and O7C. Photo: Instagram

Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton said this week that following the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, it should be a “natural” reaction among all humans to want to combat antisemitism, as well as support the Jewish people and Israel’s right to exist.

The “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle” star, who is a devout Catholic, made the comments during her guest appearance on the NewsNation show “CUOMO,” where she also advocated for Christians to voice solidarity with Jews and Israel after Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 people and took 250 hostages during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Heaton began by telling host Chris Cuomo that after the Oct. 7 atrocities, she was “confused by the lack of outcry from the churches.”

“I even posted on Instagram, ‘Did you ever have that thought that if you were in Germany during World War II, you hoped that you would be that good German that helped to hide your Jewish neighbors? Well, today you have that opportunity,’” she added.

Following the Oct. 7 attacks, Heaton founded a nonprofit called the Oct. 7 Coalition (O7C) to urge Christians to be visibly outspoken against antisemitism, and in support of Jews and Israel’s right to exist. Heaton’s O7C has since teamed up with the nonprofit JewBelong to launch a nationwide billboard campaign to raise awareness about antisemitism in the US.

Talking about why she wanted to get involved in rallying support for Israel and Jewish communities facing a rise in antisemitism in the US since the Oct. 7 attacks, Heaton said, “I think if you’re a human being, that should be your natural response to what we saw.” When asked about how people in the entertainment industry have reacted to her avid pro-Israel stance, she said Jewish friends in the business have called her “brave and courageous.”

“[But] I just think this is just a normal human reaction,” she said. “I have heard ‘We have projects we have to promote. We don’t want to bring politics into it.’ I guess if someone spent 50 or 100 million on a movie, they don’t want to introduce this subject matter and I guess you can understand that. But generally speaking I think Hollywood could do more to support our Jewish community.”

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‘Encampment Has Crossed a Line’: California State LA President Condemns Pro-Hamas Rioters

Protesters at California State University, Los Angeles, attempted to take over a second spot on the CSULA campus in Los Angeles, United States, on June 12, 2024. Photo: Shay Horse/Reuters Connect

The president of California State University, Los Angeles has issued a searing condemnation of a pro-Hamas riot that broke out on campus on Wednesday night and resulted in her being trapped inside her office for hours after activists led by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) illegally occupied an administrative building.

“Last night, those involved with the encampment chose violence and destruction,” Berenecea Johnson Eanes wrote on Thursday in a note to the campus community. “The significant damage to [the Student Services Building] will affect student-facing services: including admissions, records, accessible technology, basic needs, new student and family engagement, Dreamer resources and educational opportunity programs. It will take time to restore all those spaces and divert significant resources that would otherwise go to academics.”

Eanes added, “I am saddened, and I am angry … I cannot and would not protect anyone who is directly identified as having participated in last night’s illegal activities from being held accountable. The encampment has crossed a line. Those in the encampment must leave.”

According to Eanes, as well as various local media outlets, a night of destruction unlike any in the school’s history began on Wednesday when a mob of students stormed the campus, overturning cars, vandalizing school property, and assaulting students and staff. They proceeded to take over the Students Services Building (SSB), which they barricaded with numerous objects they amassed from across campus, including — according to The Los Angeles Times — bikes, tables, umbrellas, and rope. They even used their own bodies, “chaining” themselves to various access points.

The mob’s takeover of SSB was sudden and swift, forcing the school to issue a “shelter in place” order which trapped Eanes and dozens of other administrative staff in their office. Four people, including one student, were assaulted during the attack on the building. When it cleared, police essentially quarantined the area, reportedly declaring it a crime scene.

Footage of the riot shows scenes unlike any that have taken place on US college campuses since earlier this year when pro-Hamas rioters began commandeering sections of school property and refusing to leave unless administrators agree to adopt the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel — an initiative aimed at isolating Israel from the international community as the first step towards its eventual elimination. Broken glass carpeted the building’s floor, the result of the students smashing through door glazings with blunt objects. Meanwhile, red paint stained its tiles, and graffiti displaying anarchist symbols and saying “Free Palestine” covered its interior walls.

“Campus community: Know that we will recover from this, but also know that I am committed to doing everything we can to ensure this will never be allowed to repeat,” Eanes said in Thursday’s statement. “A trust we had in the encampment to practice non-violence has been violated. Trust is a hard thing to restore, but we will do the work together.”

Meanwhile, Students for Justice in Palestine has hinted that more destruction is forthcoming, and the latest local reporting indicates that no one has been arrested.

“We will not back down!” the group said in a social media post. “We will remain steadfast for Palestine!”

Students for Justice in Palestine, which has resorted to intimidation, harassment, and even physical violence to pressure universities into severing ties with Israel, defended their actions in a press release issued on Wednesday. Noting that its members had camped on campus for 40 days, the group said that Eanes, whom they summoned to a meeting after blocking all of SSB’s exits, ran out of time to accede to their demands.

“This direct action is in response to the failure of President Eanes to continue to negotiate in good faith with the Popular University for Gaza Solidarity Encampment on campus,” SJP said. “She has refused to continue negotiations or make meaningful progress toward meeting the demands of the student body. Delaying negotiations past the end of spring semester at a commuter campus shows clear bad faith and an attempt to wait out students instead of actively working to reach an agreement.”

In a chilling statement which acknowledged the intentionality of their behavior, SJP said administrators who had been trapped inside SSB could only exit with “escorts.”

“We will not back down and we will rise again just like our comrades in Palestine,” SJP said after law enforcement reclaimed the campus, suggesting there will be violence next time rather than peaceful protests. “We will remain steadfast in our mission for disclosure, divestment, boycott, and for our university to call for the end of the occupation and bombardment of Gaza.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Judge Allows ‘Mandalorian’ Actress to Proceed With Disney Lawsuit After Being Fired for Nazi Germany Comments

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in “The Mandalorian” season two, exclusively on Disney+. Photo: Disney+

A US federal judge ruled on Wednesday that actress Gina Carano can proceed with her lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm, which fired her from the Disney+ television series “The Mandalorian” because of a social media post that compared political differences in the US to what Jews experienced in Nazi Germany.

“I look forward to this case moving forward and proving Disney’s blatant discriminatory actions,” Carano said after leaving court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

“Disney should not have carte blanch authority to fire any actor just because Disney disagrees with something they say outside of work,” she added. “No actor would be free to have a voice if that were true.”

US District Judge Sherilyn Peace Garnett in Los Angeles ignored efforts by Disney lawyer Daniel Petrocelli to dismiss the lawsuit. Petrocelli claimed Disney has the “right not to associate with a high-profile performer on a high-profile show who’s imbuing” the Star Wars-based series with “views it disagrees with,” which could result in fans turning away from the show. He argued that Disney has the First Amendment right to sever ties with an employee who does not share the company’s values, even if the move violates state anti-discrimination laws. Disney purchased Lucasfilm, started by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, in 2012.

“I’m not convinced there are no disputed facts,” Judge Garnett said in response to Petrocelli’s argument. The judge referred to allegations made by Carano that she was fired in 2021 to draw attention away from some of the controversies Disney was involved in at the time, including its contract dispute with actress Scarlett Johansson and critique of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act.

Carano starred as bounty hunter Cara Dune in the first two seasons of “The Mandalorian.” She was not under contract to appear in the third season of the show, according to court records.The actress claims in her lawsuit, which has received funding from X/Twitter and Tesla owner Elon Musk, that she was wrongfully terminated and discriminated against when she was fired from “The Mandalorian” in 2021 for expressing personal views on social media that Disney did not support.

Lucasfilms, which co-produces “The Mandalorian,” announced Carano’s firing after the former mixed martial arts fighter shared a post on social media that said: “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors … even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

Disney argued that the state cannot force employers engaged in “expressive activity,” like Disney and LucasFilms, to work with someone who allegedly hinders its ability to properly express its values. Petrocelli claimed that the First Amendment entitles Disney to take action to make sure “The Mandalorian” is not associated with views that it and many viewers might find offensive and contrary to the company’s message.

“The messenger is part of the message,” Petrocelli said. “Imagine she made comments that she hates Jews or that there was no Holocaust.”

A final ruling in the lawsuit has not been made yet. Disney has not publicly commented on Garnett’s decision on Wednesday not to dismiss the lawsuit.

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