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FBI Ties 'Alt-Right' to Amtrak Terror Attack

Newsweek logo Newsweek 1/5/2018 Michael Edison Hayden

© Provided by IBT Media A 26-year-old white man who attempted to commit a terror attack on an Amtrak train in rural Nebraska also attended the doomed “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August on the white supremacist side, according to a court document.

St. Charles, Missouri resident Taylor Michael Wilson has been charged with an attempt to commit terror by targeting an Amtrak train in southwest Nebraska in October 2017. FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski, writing in an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, suggested that Wilson wanted to murder black people. The document suggests that he had weapons, as well as a National Socialist Movement (NSM) business card with him at the time he was arrested.

Wilson entered an engineer's seat of an Amtrak train after midnight on October 22and started "playing with the controls" of the train, according to Czaplewski’s account. No one was injured or killed in the attempted attack.

Newsweek reached out to NSM for a comment about the revelations but did not immediately receive a response. The group is neo-Nazi in nature, has ties to the more traditional American Nazi Party and has been connected to other elements of the modern, so-called alt-right movement at rallies and events.

Wilson traveled with that group to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of last year, according to court documents. There, men chanted “Jews will not replace us” in the college city while marching with tiki torches on August 11, 2017. The following morning, fights broke out between white supremacist and antiracist counterprotesters. Later that day, a white man drove his car into a crowd of people, allegedly murdering Heather Heyer, an anti-racist activist.

The “alt-right,” a deeply anti-Semitic movement that calls for limited immigration, mass deportations and a new state for white, non-Jews only, has been attached to many violent incidents since the “Unite the Right” event collapsed into chaos. William Edward Atchison, who killed two students at his high school last year was a regular commenter on the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, according to The Daily Beast. Nicholas Giampa, a 17-year-old Virginia boy,  allegedly murdered his girlfriend’s parents, Scott Fricker and Buckley Kuhn Fricker in a shooting incident that took place last month. He had a neo-Nazi social media presence, according to a report ny The Huffington Post. The shooter who killed a Douglas County deputy and wounded other law enforcement figures was attracted to an “alt-right” ideology, according to a local news reporter.

Wilson, the accused terrorist, was not likely just a casual supporter of alt-right politics. Czaplewski noted in his affidavit that the man also had a photo of a banner broadcasting white supremacist propaganda on his phone.

Within the context of street-level politics, there is some bizarre irony to Wilson’s arrest for attempting to commit terror on an Amtrak train. Figures loosely associated with the “alt-right” movement attempted to blame “Antifa,” or anti-fascist demonstrators, for a fatal Amtrak train derailment that took place in Washington state in December. The story, however, was quickly discovered to be fake news.

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