3Online Radicalization as Cybercrime: American Militancy During Covid-19

3.1. Introduction

On January 6, 2021, a swarming amalgamation of far-right militants, self-styled “digital soldiers” [FED 21] and followers of an obscure online persona known as Q, participated in a mass insurrection that targeted the United States Capitol Complex. During the attack, which has no precedent in US history, the insurrectionists sought to disturb the nation’s Constitutional order, in the belief that the incoming administration of President-Elect Joe Biden was illegitimate. In the process, they vandalized the federal bicameral legislature of the United States, while parading in its corridors dressed in paramilitary apparel and waving Confederate and far-right banners. Many of them actively conspired to murder legislators and law enforcement personnel [FEU 22]. Nearly half of the over 2,000 rioters were apprehended by authorities following the most complex federal investigation in US history.

Most of the individual rioters faced misdemeanor charges for trespassing, disorderly conduct and general disruptive activity. As a political act, however, the insurrection rose to the level of a crime against the state [BES 21]. Chapter 115 of Title 18 of the United States Code, entitled “Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities”, defines crimes against the state as threats to the established political order by those who intend to cause the overthrow, or destruction, of the government of the United States ...

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