I just wanted to take a quick moment and follow up on BettyC’s post from earlier. My initial thoughts have now been confirmed. Pete Williams, NBC’s justice correspondent, is reporting:
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 3, 2017
It is important that they were able to make this arrest and to do so fairly quickly. It is important because 1) it gets a clear copycat who was using the threatening calls for his own purposes – to harass his ex girlfriend – out of the equation and 2) it demonstrates that the threatening calls are being taken seriously and a proper investigation is being done. But it also shows that these investigations aren’t easy. As I wrote back in February, the person making the threats:
…may or may not even be in the US, given VOIP technology.
The rash of emailed bomb threats targeting local schools appears to have originated in Russia.Many high schools in Massachusetts have received emailed threats throughout this year Schools in three Rhode Island cities got similar threats last week.
Police in Rhode Island said the emails have been traced to St. Petersburg, Russia. The emails were generated by automated robo-calling programs.
So far, Russian authorities are not cooperating with the investigation.
The alleged perpetrators weren’t in the US, they were in Russia ( ? ), and they used an automated robo-calling program. These programs have become a scourge as it makes it easy for someone to just spam email or inundate cell phones with calls. It makes it easy to engage in activities from the annoying to the dangerous. It was reported yesterday that investigators have indicated that spoofing technology was being used and that it is making the investigation more difficult:
The latest bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the U.S. were reportedly carried out using “spoofing,” technology that makes a call appear like it’s coming from a “friendly” or known source, while in fact it is not.
The threats came in the form of prerecorded “robo-calls” in some cases and live calls in others. In both types, the callers used voice disguising technology. Experts believe the calls are coming from a single source, though the phone numbers have were made undetectable. Thus far, no actual bombs or other signs of a physical threat have been found at any of the locations.
By removing Thompson from the equation, the Federal investigators have removed some of the extraneous noise, which will allow them to more accurately identify the signals or signals they’re looking for. Unfortunately today’s arrest will not end these threats and they may actually cause an escalation. The perpetrator or perpetrators of the majority of these calls (not Thompson) may feel that they’ve had their publicity stolen or have had their motives and reasons, and therefore the credibility (in their eyes) of their actions called into question by Thompson piggybacking on their efforts to harass his ex girlfriend. If this is the case I would expect to see an escalation in the frequency of the calls, to include making them on the Jewish sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) and Jewish holidays (Purim is a week from today), not just on a Monday or a Tuesday, and/or an actual physical attack at some point – more vandalism or attacks on Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and/or other Jewish institutions.
This will likely get worse before it gets better. It is important to remember that these threats, Mr. Thompson’s dangerous shenanigans aside, are:
…an ongoing, coordinated campaign of terrorism. The point is to make the children attending these schools be afraid to go to school. It is to make their parents afraid to send them. And to make the teachers, administrators, and other staff afraid to go to work. It is intended to coerce all of these people, as well as members of the wider Jewish American community and the communities of other religious and ethnic minorities in the US. It is also intended to coerce and intimidate the neighbors, commercial or residential, of these institutions to demand they relocate in order to minimize the threat to themselves.
The good news is that communities are pulling together, specifically the Jewish American and Muslim American communities. In the case of the former, Jewish Americans have both offered the use of their synagogues to Muslim Americans that have had their mosques burned down and/or raised funds to repair them.
The Muslim man who started a crowdfunding page to help repair a mosque in Tampa damaged in an arson attack realized that many of the donors were Jewish after noticing the gifts came in multiples of 18.
Karim’s campaign raised nearly $60,000 in less than a week, surpassing its $40,000 goal.
“I couldn’t understand why people were donating in what seemed like weird amounts to the cause. There are sums of 18, 36, 72.00 dollars etc. then I figured out after clicking on the names Avi, Cohen, Gold-stein, Rubin, Fisher…. Jews donate in multiples of 18 as a form of what is called “Chai”. It wishes the recipient a long life,” Karim wrote Monday in a Facebook post.
“You learn something new every day. The Jewish faith has shown up in force to support our New Tampa Islamic community. I’m floored,” the post continued. It concluded with the hashtag #chaidelieverd.
And Muslim American veterans have offered to protect Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.
I'm a Muslim in DC. If your synagogue needs someone to stand guard, I'll stand guard. Islam requires it. https://t.co/kw4acYBuPK
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) February 27, 2017
I'm a Muslim in #Harrisburg. If your synagogue or community center needs someone 2 stand guard, I will stand guard 4 you. Islam requires it.
— Momin (@BhattiMomin) February 28, 2017
Houston area Jewish community I spent ten years protecting our country and I will gladly protect Jewish places of worship if you need me! https://t.co/nUQpTFwxvA
— Khalid whalid (@Khalidwhalid1) February 28, 2017
I'm a #MuslimMarine in Chicagoland area. If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard, count me in. Islam requires it.
— The Muslim Marine (@MuslimMarine) February 27, 2017