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Dylan Roof: Experts believe Charleston shooting suspect was author of racist manifesto and 'self-radicalised' online

The document was discovered in the days after the shooting deaths of nine people

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 29 June 2015 22:35 BST
Dylann Roof pictured on the website that also featured a rambling 'manifesto'
Dylann Roof pictured on the website that also featured a rambling 'manifesto'

Experts examining the background of Dylann Roof and the racist ‘manifesto’ linked to him, believe he was ‘self-radicalised’ by reading online and that he wrote the document himself.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is still trying to authenticate the 2,444 word document that was discovered online along with 60 photographs of the young man, in the days after the shooting dead of nine people at a black church in Charleston.

Experts who have pored over the document believe it was most likely authored by the 21-year-old, rather than being cut and paste from elsewhere. They say the young man’s supremacist philosophy and ideology – presumably inspired by other things he read online - swerved from sophisticated to shallow.

A section of the 'manifesto' published on the website

The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), a group that monitors extremist groups in the US, said it had fed the entire document through Grammarly, a piece of software with plagiarism detection capabilities.

It said just two per cent of the document was deemed “unoriginal”. It shows that one 18-word phrase bemoaning the alleged appropriation of white culture by the rest of the world, was almost identical to a comment left on an article on a white supremacist website, the Daily Stormer. The writer of that comment had the username “AryanBlood1488”.

“I mean that our culture has been adopted by everyone in the world. This makes us feel as though our culture isnt [sic] special or unique,” said the comment in the manifesto.

Meanwhile, AryanBlood1488, writing in January of this year, said on the Daily Stormer: “I mean that our culture has been adopted by everyone in the world. This makes us feel as if it isn’t special.”

Dylann Storm Roof

The editor of the website, Andrew Anglin, failed to respond to inquiries.

The SPLC said said it believed Mr Roof had “self-radicalised” by absorbing what he read on the internet.

“It seems he was very cloistered. It seems his ideas came from a lot of different sources, including the Council of Conservative Citizens ” Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the SPLC, told The Independent.

Such a view would match with what Mr Roof in the online document, if he indeed in the writer. Mr Roof wrote that he attention had been alerted by the case of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white neighbour, George Zimmerman, who was later cleared of the teenager’s murder.

He wrote that after googling “black on white crime”, he was led to groups as the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. Jared Taylor, a spokesman, said the group had condemned the attack on the church but stood by the contents of its website.

“There is a real problem with black on white crime that no one dares to talk about,” he claimed.

JJ MacNab, an expert on US extremist at George Washington University said she had read through Mr Roof’s manifesto and found his views did not belong to “mainstream” of white supremacist thought. For instance, his racist comments against Jews were relatively modest compared to much of white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideology.

“It’s not mainstream. I don’t know if he is new to the movement,” she said.

“He switches back and forth between sophisticated concepts and then back to very crude. Some thing is not quite right.”

Mr Roof is being held at a detention centre in Charleston, having been brought before a judge by means of video link. During the appearance, relatives of the nine people who were killed in the attack on the church said they forgave him for his alleged actions.

The FBI failed to respond to inquiries. However, one unidentified official told the New York Times the bureau had concluded “with a high degree of certainty” that Mr Roof posted the document.

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