The Justice Department is deciding whether to apply federal law originally intended to persecute members of the Mafia against groups that the DOJ considers “right-wing extremists” who participated in the January 1st protests in the Capitol. 6th
The 1970 Act, known as The Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), was originally created to deal with Mafia and other organized crime companies.
A Business Insider report explains that RICO cases can be complicated and require a lot of evidence to meet the bar that one crime has occurred and that there are many crimes.
The idea behind this was to bring charges against criminal leaders – those who may have directed certain crimes but who they did not commit themselves.
RICO has been used to prosecute crimes such as murder, kidnapping, bribery and money laundering.
The Justice Department is looking into whether members of far-right groups involved in the Capitol riot should be charged under federal law that is normally used against organized crime. https://t.co/iV7VnDlR0J
– Kyle Griffin (@ kylegriffin1) February 4, 2021
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Using RICO against Capitol Rioters
While a final decision has not yet been taken on the indictments against the rioters under this law, the Biden administration has made it clear that it sees domestic terrorism as a growing threat.
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According to Fox News, spokeswoman Kristina Mastropasqua referred to earlier testimony by the District of Columbia District Attorney General Michael Sherwin, who said he would prosecute each individual case based on evidence.
Sherwin has indicated that charges such as trespassing, assault and seditious conspiracy would be considered.
DEVELOPMENT: Democrats in both the House and Senate plan to draft laws to classify MAGA rallies as "domestic terrorist activity" and urge the FBI, DOJ and DHS to take action to prevent such "domestic terrorism" seize. Senator Durbin and Rep Schneider are leading the effort
– Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) January 11, 2021
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The story of RICO
The RICO statute was created in 1970 and was developed to combat organized crime such as the mafia and particularly high-ranking mob officials who ordered their foot soldiers to commit the crimes.
One of the most famous RICO cases was that of mob boss John Gotti.
Gotti became head of the Gambino family in 1985 and planned the murder of Paul Castellano. Gotti was arrested several times and always escaped conviction.
However, in April 1992, he was convicted on 13 federal RICO charges, including murder and extortion.
It has also been used by radical Islamic terrorist groups, similar to the group of Omar Abdel Rahman, a.k.a., "The Blind Sheikh", who was convicted of conspiracy to bomb the United Nations and the George Washington Bridge in New York.
Given these past examples of the application of the RICO statutes, how would the law apply to a group of angry protesters who broke into and entered the Capitol, no more than this time?
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Set an example for conservatives?
Some members of The Oathkeepers group and members of the Proud Boys are currently accused of obstructing an official government process. The charge is viewed as "extortion activity".
In order to qualify as a “criminal enterprise”, the public prosecutors would have to show a pattern in which so-called right-wing extremist groups participate.
This could mean going back to the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia to see activity patterns from different groups.
Growing demands for war tactics against Americans
The ideas of what to do with ordinary citizens who Washington may disagree with go beyond mafia-style persecution.
Robert Grenier, who served as CIA Counter Terrorism Director from 2004 to 2006, says extremists seeking a social apocalypse can, without any "national action", instigate endemic political violence that has not been seen in the country since then Reconstruction."
Grenier goes on to make a terrifying comparison of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Donald Trump, saying:
“He is their charismatic leader, whether he recognizes it or not. You know, just like I saw in the Middle East the air went out of violent demonstrations when (Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein was defeated and considered defeated, I think the same situation applies here.
The fact is that Mr. Trump lost. It is very important that people see that he lost and that he is a private individual. But I think it is extremely important that his potency is somehow addressed as a symbol of the most violent of us. "
Former director of the CIA counter-terrorism operation argues that counterinsurgency tactics such as those used in Afghanistan and Iraq are required to fight the extremists who stormed the Capitol. Https://t.co/r4PITA0rFm
– NPR (@NPR) February 3, 2021
Someone who has served their country overseas and has undoubtedly seen the worst kind of terrorism people can inflict on one another now thinks that the federal government should consider American citizens who disagree with the government as domestic terrorists?
Journalist Glenn Greenwald may have put it so nonsensically when he spoke of a possible domestic war on terror.
“No speculation is required. Those in power demand it. The only question is how much resistance they will meet. "
Another enlightening piece from @ggreenwald, thank you 🙏!
“They only care about one thing: to disempower and destroy anyone who deviates from his hegemony and threatens it. They take care of stopping #dissidents. »#War on Terror
via @SubstackInchttps: //t.co/FsjcmQWgpY
– La Gazette du Coco (@GazetteCoco) January 30, 2021