Neonazi dog whistling by Trump’s Homeland Security department?

This video from the USA says about itself:

16 January 2018

‘Your silence is complicity’: Corey Booker spits fire at DHS secretary for covering up Trump’s racism.

From daily The Forward in the USA:

Are ‘14’ And ‘88’ Nazi Dog Whistles In Border Security Document — Or Just Numbers?

Aviya Kushner

June 28, 2018

Sometimes a dog whistle can be a number, not a word. The number “88” appeared in a strange context in a press release from Homeland Security calling for building a border wall, along with a headline that had a total of fourteen words — but until today, no one seems to have noticed.

Today, the press release, originally issued in February, is getting some attention from journalists covering the “hate and extremism” beat. Here is an example, from Christopher Mathias, who covers hate and extremism for The Huffington Post.

What is happening, for those needing a translation, is this: The number “88” is code for Heil Hitler. And 14 is white-supremacist shorthand.

Like in the Ukrainian neonazi gang Combat14, C14.

In the C14 name, the C alludes to C18, the (originally English, later international) neonazi terror gang Combat 18. In which 18, the first and eighth letters in the alphabet, stands for ‘AH’=Adolf Hitler. The 14 in the C14 name stands for the ’14 words’, a racist neonazi slogan.

“One of the most common white supremacist symbols, 88 is used throughout the entire white supremacist movement, not just neo-Nazis. One can find it as a tattoo or graphic symbol; as part of the name of a group, publication or website; or as part of a screenname or e-mail address,” the ADL’s hate symbol database notes.

Most of the press release, titled “We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again”, uses percentages, as do many statistical reports.

But the second-to-last line is what is drawing attention on Twitter, because it has this curious wording: “On average, out of 88 claims that pass the credible fear screening, fewer than 13 will ultimately result in a grant of asylum.”

That’s odd. Normally, a report might say something like “less than 15 percent ultimately result in a grant of asylum.”

It may just be coincidence, and on a day when journalists are shot, everyone with a connection to media is understandably on edge. But there is one other factor to consider, say those who hear a dog whistle: what if this “88” is read in conjunction with the headline, which has 14 words?

The 14-word thing is its own signal. As the ADL hate symbol database explains in its unpacking of 88:

The number is frequently combined with another white supremacist numeric code, 14 (shorthand for the so-called “14 Words” slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”) in the form of 1488, 14/88, 14-88, or 8814.

That slogan can be understood as something not very far from the press release headline: “We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again.”

Coincidence? Maybe.

But a numerical system of interpretation can be a way for a group to communicate with itself. In Jewish tradition, gematria is one system of Biblical commentary. Each letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value, and some commentators use this symbol of numbers to arrive at additional meanings. Some see profound meaning in this, others have always dismissed it as mere coincidence.

In the case of the DHS press release, it may be coincidence — or it may be more, a signal to those who know the system of codes.

What can be said for sure is this: It is unusual to use the statistic “13 out of 88.” It could, of course, be a typo. And the headline bearing the requisite “14 words” is not soothing for anyone who has spent time with hate databases.

But right now, those are the only definite take-aways.

In a time of fear and anxiety, it is important to take extra care before drawing conclusions. Still, from now on, it may be wise to watch the numbers, not just the words.

Aviya Kushner is The Forward’s language columnist and the author of The Grammar of God.

Department of Homeland Security exaggerated ‘antifa’ to downplay white supremacy: whistleblower.

49 thoughts on “Neonazi dog whistling by Trump’s Homeland Security department?

  1. Pingback: Neonazi dog whistling by Trump’s Homeland Security department? | Dear Kitty. Some blog | sdbast

  2. URGENT: We must speak out now and oppose any bill that threatens immigrant communities and constructs the border wall »

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    Dreamers are an integral part of our communities and our country. They deserve better than uncertainty, harassment, and a life in the shadows. Pass a permanent solution for Dreamers now.


    Lola — Yesterday, as the daughter of immigrants I marched proudly in DC to send a message loud and clear to Trump: Families Belong Together.

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    We must promote policies of inclusion, not hate and bigotry, in our immigration system. Trump’s cruel decision to end the DACA program, inhumane policy of family incarceration at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Muslim Ban does just the opposite. We cannot stay silent.

    But there is an equitable solution: Congress can pass bipartisan legislation to permanently protect Dreamers and immigrant families, without constructing a dangerous and destructive border wall. As we mobilize to protect Dreamers and immigrant families, I want to remind you of five reasons why this fight is so important to all of us at LCV:

    All families belong together. We cannot stand by as our immigration system refuses to value and respect families. It is appalling and unacceptable.
    We believe in Dreamers. We believe that a generation of young people, who are invested in this country’s future and know no other home, are indispensable members of our communities.
    This fight is personal. Some of our staff, our volunteers, and our more than 3 million supporters are directly affected by Trump’s anti-immigrant actions. And for those of us who are not personally facing uncertainty — this is a matter of doing what is right.
    To combat the climate crisis, we must stand together. Working families and communities of color are hit the hardest by the impacts of climate change and uncontrolled pollution. This needs to change and it will take all of us to do so.
    These young people should not be used as bargaining chips in Trump’s attempt to build a xenophobic and environmentally destructive border wall. Existing fencing, barriers, and walls along the southern border have already inflicted severe environmental damage. A border wall turns a blind eye to the vital relationships of cross-border communities and undermines our longstanding values as a nation.

    The bottom line for us: The fight for environmental solutions and racial justice are inextricably linked. In the last week, we’ve seen how public outcry has pushed back Trump’s destructive immigration agenda and stopped Congressional Republicans plans in their tracks. If we want to make real progress, if we want to protect immigrant communities, all of us need to speak out, and we need to do it NOW.

    Now is the moment to act: Stand with Dreamers and urge Congress to pass legal protections for immigrant youth »

    Immigrants are an integral part of the fabric of our communities and our country. Thank you for speaking up in defense of immigrants and ensuring we remain a free and welcoming country.

    Yours in resistance.

    Elizabeth Jacob
    Digital Advertising Coordinator
    League of Conservation Voters


  3. Three weeks ago today, I was in the Federal prison in SeaTac meeting with 174 women asylum seekers who had been transferred from the Texas border. Many were mothers who had been forcibly separated from their children and forced to sit in a room and hear their children scream next door without being able to go and comfort them or even say goodbye. They had not seen their children and did not even know where they were. They wept and wept, and as we hugged, I promised them I would do everything I could to get their stories out, free them, and reunite them with their children.

    I was haunted by their stories of escaping rape, persecution, and violence, of doing everything they could to bring their children to safety, and then being locked up and separated from children as young as one year old. As I told their stories on every news outlet I could find, people responded with horror and desperation. Everyone was asking, “What can we do?”

    Exactly two weeks ago, after another sleepless night, I knew we had to channel the outrage I was hearing from people everywhere. We needed a mass mobilization in the streets to call for an end to Donald Trump’s “Zero-tolerance, zero-humanity” policy. At 7am on Saturday morning, I called my friends Anna Galland, the Executive Director of MoveOn, and Ai-jen Poo, the Executive Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance and said, “We need a mass mobilization in the streets — right away.”

    We all agreed — it was time to organize. And so we did. All weekend, we were on the phone and within 48 hours, we were ready to announce a national day of action in the streets on June 30.

    We put out the call to action, and you answered. People signed up, registered, organized buses to DC and marches and rallies in towns big and small. Soon, we had 700 marches registered in all 50 states, with hundreds of thousands of people registered to march — ready to stand strong in our demand to Trump to end his zero humanity order and stop putting kids in cages and throwing parents in prison.

    Yesterday, I was in Washington, DC marching with tens of thousands of activists from across the country and from all across the globe. The energy we saw was awe-inspiring. We marched from the White House to the Department of Justice to demand an end to the Trump administration’s horrific policies. Actors read the stories of those in prison seeking asylum, and Lin-Manuel Miranda sang a song he had written. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents were out in the streets yesterday — because what is happening is beyond politics. It is about right and wrong.

    In these difficult times, it’s not always easy to wake up and know what to do to make a difference. But today, I’m here to tell you that you did: thank you. Thank you for standing up. Thank you for putting your feet in the streets. Thank you for demanding that children be reunited with their families. Thank you for believing that another world is possible…and that she is breathing down our necks, waiting to be born into being through our own courage to stand for what is right.

    I’m inspired by you — stay strong, stay loving, stay human. We WILL win.

    If you’re ready to help us take back the House, sign up today.

    In Solidarity,

    Pramila Jayapal


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