The Betsy Ross Flag. (Makaristos, Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)
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An apparent internal FBI document that leaked Tuesday lists the Betsy Ross American flag, the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, symbols of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and other imagery as symbols of “Militia Violent Extremists” or MVEs.
The purported FBI documents were published by the undercover journalism organization Project Veritas, which said it obtained the document from a whistleblower in the FBI.
The document is labeled “Unclassified/Law Enforcement Sensitive” and contains the “FBI Internal Use Only” disclaimer. The document states “the following symbols are used by Anti-Government or Anti-Authority Violent Extremists, specifically Militia Violent Extremists.”
The document then lists the symbols:
- Boogaloo: an American flag with an igloo replacing the 50 stars and a single Hawaiian-shirt patterned line. The term Boogaloo is a reference to the film Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo and appears to describe the possibility of a second American civil war.
- Punisher Skulls
- 2A: the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms
- Electrical Resistance Symbol
- various symbols of “Warrior Culture”
- Molon Labe: a phrase meaning “Come and take them,” which was popularized the Spartan King Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae, challenging the Persians to take away the weapons of his opposing army.
- A black and white or all-black American flag
The document also lists “commonly referenced historical imagery or quotes” of MVEs, including:
- The Gadsden Flag
- American Revolutionary War Imagery
- The Liberty Tree: referencing a famous elm tree in Boston where colonists organized in 1765 for one of the first major acts of defiance against British rule before the American Revolution.
- The Betsy Ross Flag: an early variant of the American flag
“Widespread use of symbols and quotes from American history, especially the Revolutionary War, exists within MVE networks,” the document states/ “Historic and contemporary military themes are common for MVE symbols.”
The document also lists several common phrases and references to events or individuals shared by MVEs. Among those references is the death of Ashli Babbitt, a supporter of President Donald Trump who was shot and killed by a U.S. Capitol Police officer after she entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Another individual referenced in the FBI document is Duncan Lemp, who was shot and killed in an early morning police raid on his home in March of 2020. Lemp’s family has insisted he was asleep when he was shot and killed.
The FBI document also includes Ruby Ridge and Waco as potential MVE references.
Ruby Ridge in Idaho was the site of a 1992 standoff between the friends and family of Randy Weaver and the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and U.S. Marshals. Weaver’s 14-year-old son Sammy was killed during an exchange of gunfire and his wife Vicki was shot and killed by an FBI sniper.
Waco was the site of another standoff between federal authorities and a religious group known as the Branch Davidians. Six Branch Davidians were killed in a shootout with ATF agents as they attempted to raid the group’s compound on Feb. 28, 1993 to serve a warrant on firearms charges.
The initial raid on the Branch Davidians turned into a lengthy standoff, which ended when the compound caught fire, killing 76 more people including 25 children and two pregnant women. Critics of the federal government’s handling of the standoff have said the fire started as a result of the flammable tear gas they were using to drive the Davidians out of their compound.
“The use or sharing of these symbols alone should not independently be considered evidence of MVE presence or affiliation, or serve as an indicator of illegal activity, as many individuals use these symbols for their original historic meaning or other non-violent purposes,” the document states.
The FBI did not respond to an American Military News request for comment at the time of this publication.