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Racist groups are trying to infect jews, people of color, and cops with COVID-19, warns FBI

Racist groups are trying to infect jews, people of color, and cops with COVID-19, warns FBI

A weekly intelligence brief from a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned of white supremacists discussing plans to weaponize COVID-19.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other such racist extremist groups are encouraging members who test positive for the novel coronavirus to spread the infection to people of color, jews, and members of law enforcement, according to the FBI. In an alert sent by the bureau's New York office on Thursday, the agency reported that "members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, through bodily fluids and personal interactions." The alarming alert obtained by ABC News reportedly told local police agencies that extremists are encouraging their followers to try to spread bodily fluids to cops on the street using spray bottles. 



 

These racist groups are also said to be instructing members to spread the contagion in the Jewish community by going "any place they may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship." According to Yahoo News, a weekly intelligence brief from a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned of white supremacists discussing plans to weaponize COVID-19. The intelligence brief written by the Federal Protective Service stated: "Violent extremists continue to make bioterrorism a popular topic among themselves. White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists have recently commented on the coronavirus stating that it is an 'OBLIGATION' to spread it should any of them contract the virus."



 

According to the document which covered the week of February 17-24, the extremists discussed a number of methods for coronavirus attacks, including leaving "saliva on door handles" at local FBI offices, spreading coronavirus germs in "nonwhite neighborhoods," and spitting on elevator buttons. Although the FBI declined to comment on the alert, it issued a statement saying: "FBI field offices routinely share information with their local law enforcement partners to assist in protecting the communities they serve." 



 

"These products are intended to be informative in nature, and as such, they contain appropriate caveats to describe the confidence in the sourcing of information and the likelihood of the assessment. Additionally, when written at a local level, these products will note that the perspective offered may be limited to the field office’s area of responsibility," it added. Don Mihalek, the executive vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation, said: "Anti-government folks in America love to target law enforcement as a symbol of America’s authority. It’s just sad that that's their focus at a time of crisis in the nation."



 

Organizations that monitor the internet for white supremacist discussions are said to have been seeing chatter blaming the Jewish community for the pandemic and the world's response to the ongoing crisis—including the shut down of all but essential government functions. Michael Masters, the head of Secure Communities Network—a group which coordinates security for Jewish organizations and synagogues around the country—said: "From pushing the idea that Jews created the coronavirus virus to sell vaccines to encouraging infected followers to try to spread the illness to the Jewish community and law enforcement, as the coronavirus has spread, we have observed how white-supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have used this to drive their own conspiracy theories, spread disinformation and incite violence on their online platforms."



 

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Alexander Rosemberg, ADL deputy regional director for the New York/New Jersey region, said: "There is always concern that people will be scapegoated in the face of a health crisis. It happens every time there is a major pandemic. It happened with Africans around Ebola. It happened recently with the Orthodox community in New York City around the measles scare that we had." He added that in the case of the novel coronavirus, these issues began with people blaming individuals of Asian descent as the virus is believed to have originated in China.



 

"We started seeing them getting assaulted in the subway. But then it has moved into other communities, including the Jewish community," he said. "We are always concerned that this does not go beyond where it should. The public should be focusing more on how to prevent the disease and the virus from spreading rather than blaming a group." 

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