Rightwing Extremist Arrested for Terrorist Plot

[Content Note: Terrorism; white supremacy.]

This news will probably get buried under all the news from Charlottesville, but it's an important item, especially in light of the news from Charlottesville. Devlin Barrett at the Washington Post: Oklahoma Man Charged in Anti-Government Bomb Plot.
The FBI has arrested an Oklahoma man on charges that he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb outside a bank, acting out of a hatred for the U.S. government and an admiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mc­Veigh, according to court papers.

Jerry Drake Varnell was arrested shortly after a Friday night attempt to detonate a fake bomb packed into what he believed was a stolen cargo van outside the bank in Oklahoma City, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

According to the complaint, over the course of a months-long undercover investigation by the FBI, Varnell made repeated statements about the extent of his hatred of the federal government.

In one conversation he said he believed in the "Three Percenter" ideology — a form of anti-government activism that pledges resistance against the United States government on the belief it has infringed on the Constitution, according to court papers. Those who subscribe to the ideology incorrectly believe that only 3 percent of the colonial population participated in the American Revolution, and they see themselves as their heirs.
"Three Percenters" are not merely anti-government activists. They are also, despite their claims to the contrary, white supremacists. There was at least one group of Three Percenters in Charlottesville over the weekend: "A 'Three Percenter' militia out of New York state posted itself near Emancipation Park with the intention of keeping anti-racists from disrupting the rally. The group says it disapproves of racism but is dedicated to defending the free speech rights of all."

It's important to note that the media often downplays or conceals altogether "anti-government" terrorists' ties to organized white supremacy. Timothy McVeigh, for example, who is mentioned as a hero of Varnell's, was a white supremacist who was "reprimanded by the military for purchasing a 'White Power' T-shirt at a Ku Klux Klan protest" of Black service members who wore Black Power t-shirts — but McVeigh is often described only as "anti-government" and not as a radicalized white supremacist.

The WaPo piece does not identify Varnell as a terrorist or as a radicalized white supremacist, but that is surely what he is. And thankfully the FBI managed to stop his plot before he killed someone because of those extremist beliefs.

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