Apr 14 2009

The Threat Of Far Right Extremism – Updated!

Latest Update: Reader Colin from DHS comments below. Key points by which he debunks the entire shrillness emanating from the right today:

The report is labeled “Rightwing Extremism”. It should not have been. It should not have been because it is not an accurate statement. 

Now, as I mentioned, this is not the first report of this type to come out of DHS. Domestic terrorist assessments were released during the Bush Administration, as well. In fact, the publishing of assessments of this nature is a fairly regualr occurrance. DHS publishes these kind of reports every few months, publishes a regular border security report, publishes assessments of radical Islamist terrorist groups, and publishes alerts on terrorist methods. Most of those are not leaked, and if they are, people don’t care. However, with Obama around, many on the right (including, often, myself) are so horrified by what he’s doing and saying, that we are just looking for a reason to feel under attack. Frankly, Obama had nothing to do with this report. The people who authorized this intelligence assessment are the same people who were authorizing assessments under Bush.

See, no conspiracy. Classic bureaucratic clumsiness, typical leftward lean to the Feds, and possibly a way for the workers to stoke some interest from the new Democrat boss in their work (and funding requests). No Michelle, they are not out to get us! 

BTW LGF linked to this post (thanks man) and there is a helluva good discussion going on there - end update

Final Addendum: I have been watching this brush fire grow and consume nearly everyone on the right side of the political spectrum. It is truly sad, because this is worse than the claims by the left under President Bush that the NSA was spying on Americans for political reasons. Now, the right is accusing the men and women of DHS of not protecting them from violent groups but of being a political Gestapo going after conservatives (because ‘conservative’ and ‘rightwing’ mean the same thing to some!).

In my book one better have irrefutable proof that DHS is (a) ignoring its responsibility to protect this nation and its people from attack and (b) performing political oppression against constitutionally protected political activities. These are serious charges to be throwing around like the folks on the right are doing today. They better have good evidence this is the case given the slander they are slinging at the good people at DHS.

I did not like it when the left did this to the good people at NSA protecting us, and I am not liking it now with the right making wild accusations against DHS.

Addendum: Folks, there is no mention of Tea Parties in the DHS report. Tea Parties are NOT conservative events, they are grass roots broadly supported events. If these turn into GOP only (purity, remember the drive for purity!) events they will die off. But the DHS is not targeting Tea Parties – for heaven’s sake! -end update

 A little reminder of what right wing extremist terrorism brought to this country

Drama Queen Updates At End

There is a lot of hemming and hawing on conservative blogs about a threat assessment out of the Homeland Security Department which discusses the threat of violent extremism from right wing groups. Somehow the bloggers, media heads, etc think this threat assessment is about them! A strange and egotistical conclusion to be sure.

There are groups who use violence against others who do not follow their beliefs. The history of this country is replete with examples (KKK, Skinheads, Weather Underground). These groups rationalize their violent and deadly actions by using good, reasonable causes as cover. They can and have corrupted good causes on the left and right with their poisonous hate. These are historical facts.

I am not concerned about Homeland Security generating a threat analysis on these people, and I do not take it personally because some of the causes the radicals use to rationalize their violent actions happen to be causes I believe in. I know I am not them and I know their use of violence cannot make a good cause a bad cause. Killing young humans is wrong, and killing people tied to abortion clinics does not change that basic moral value.

But some on the right are acting as if the Obama administration is putting out some PR hit on conservatives! Too many are fantasizing that there are dark, secret forces in the government working to keep liberals in power by arresting and harassing conservative people (who just happen to be violent). It is the strangest and silliest crock I have ever seen. Now I understand how all those conspiracy driven liberals assumed Bush and Cheney were behind 9-11 and were using the NSA to listening in on their mad hatter ranting!

Seems some on the right are now seeing black helicopters on their tin hat mind expanding devices.

First, lets look at some of the ‘offending’ passages. The title itself seems to set the stage for martyrs on the right.

Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment

This is one reason I don’t like the terms ‘rightwinger’ and ‘leftwinger’, though I have occasionally used them. We need terms to separate fringe ideology (e.g., ‘far right’ and ‘far left’) from extreme and radical ideology. I am at a loss for better words, but the way the internet slings around right and left winger I can see how some could have a fleeting initial reaction this is aimed at them. But that initial effect should disappear really quick once you read on and realize this is not aimed at Rush Limbaugh or John McCain, but at truly sick people.

The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.

— (U//LES) Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.

— (U//LES) Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.

This clearly indicates this is not about your conservative PAC or GOP neighborhood planning team. To claim otherwise is to actually support the threat this report is assessing. We cannot make these radical extremists part of normal society. We cannot defend them by pretending they are us. We cannot allow people like the Weather Underground (Bill Ayers, et al) to be an example of how to solve differences in our country. There is plenty of blood on the hands of the right and left in this country from times when we did not stop violence because it was done in the name of a cause we believed in. There are those who did not turn in the neighbor, friend or family member who went off the deep end and decided they would play God and decide who should live or die. We cannot allow this to happen again.

These radicals are preying on the anger and frustration of ‘true conservatives’ – and they are doing it by pretending to believe in their heart felt causes. That is why we see this in the report:

(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremists were concerned during the 1990s with the perception that illegal immigrants were taking away American jobs through their willingness to work at significantly lower wages. They also opposed free trade agreements, arguing that these arrangements resulted in Americans losing jobs to countries such as Mexico. 

(U//FOUO) Over the past five years, various rightwing extremists, including militias and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruiting tool.

The report is clearly stating that heated anti-immigrant rhetoric is making people so angry it CAN drive them into the hands of violent radicals. It DOES NOT say that anyone opposed to immigration or illegal immigration is a rightwing extremists. To say otherwise is an outright lie.

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

(U) After Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, some returning military veterans—including Timothy McVeigh—joined or associated with rightwing extremist groups.

This paragraph DOES NOT say our war hero veterans are rightwing radicals. It says the emotional stress on our war hero veterans makes them vulnerable to being preyed upon by rightwing radicals. The concern is these heros are being manipulated and used to give the radicals training and weapons to attack this country. To say otherwise is an outright lie.

The fact is things happened during the Clinton years which were horrible and which stained the conservative movement just as Bill Ayers is a stain on the Vietnam anti-war movement. John Kerry may have invented lies about others to make his fame as an anti-war protestor, but he did not build bombs which killed people. While what Kerry did was despicable, it wasn’t extreme and radical like Ayers. We need to understand when lines are crossed, especially among our own ranks.

During the Clinton years there were murders and attempted murders of Americans in the name of “Pro-Life”:

In the U.S., violence directed toward abortion providers has killed at least 7 people, including 3 doctors, 2 clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort.[4]

  • March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn of Pensacola, Florida was fatally shot during a protest. He had been the subject of wanted-style posters distributed by Operation Rescue in the summer of the year before. Michael F. Griffin was found guilty of Dr. Gunn’s murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
  • June 29, 1994: Dr. John Britton and James Barrett, a clinic escort, were both shot to death outside of another facility in Pensacola. Rev. Paul Jennings Hill was charged with the killings, received a death sentence, and was executed September 3, 2003.
  • December 30, 1994: Two receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were killed in two clinic attacks in Brookline, Massachusetts. John Salvi, who prior to his arrest was distributing pamphlets from Human Life International,[5] was arrested and confessed to the killings. He committed suicide in prison and guards found his body under his bed with a plastic garbage bag tied around his head. Salvi had also confessed to a non-lethal attack in Norfolk, Virginia days before the Brookline killings.
  • January 29, 1998: Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer who worked as a security guard at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, was killed when his workplace was bombed. Eric Robert Rudolph, who was also responsible for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, was charged with the crime and received two life sentences as a result.
  • October 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot to death at his home in Amherst, New York. His was the last in a series of similar shootings against providers inCanada and northern New York state which were all likely committed by James Kopp. Kopp was convicted of Dr. Slepian’s murder after finally being apprehended inFrance in 2001.

It is stunning how these incidents start with President Clinton’s election and end around the time of his impeachment. As noted in the report this was the period when Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people, many children going into day care, in Oklahoma City. 

The Homeland Security report rightfully and accurately notes this horrible period in our history as an example of what is possible today. Recall, much of this violence and killing was while the GOP held Congress. It was not the GOP who called for this to happen, but it shows how these radicals can exploit someone’s frustration with American political policy (with some emotional issues thrown in I am sure) to create havoc, and leave good causes tainted and crippled. The fear of Clinton drove a lot of people into violence.

Anyone who is simply a conservative who believes liberal policies suck eggs and Reagan and Bush were on the right path do not have pretend the focus of this report is about them. I don’t. I cannot fathom why anyone else would. And if some liberal shows up who cannot tell the difference between Timothy McVeigh and President George Bush, that is a problem with their world view. Not mine, or the intent of this report. This report is meant to identify possible threats and stop the killing of innocent Americans. 

Conservatives, the government is not out to get you, just as the NSA was not listening in on the left but was seriously tracking down terrorists. Get a grip people, this is getting embarrassing.

Update: Speaking of embarrassing, it seems Michelle Malkin has decided she resembles rightwing extremists who bomb buildings and murder Americans:

Confirmed: The Obama DHS hit job on conservatives is real

By contrast, the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives. 

What a frigging drama queen! She even notes that DHS has done reports like this on extreme left wing groups, but she cannot help seeing herself as the victim here! This is beyond embarrassing. Is she planning to recruit our war hero veterans and manipulate them into attacking America? Damn, the need for attention with that one is strong.

71 responses so far

71 Responses to “The Threat Of Far Right Extremism – Updated!”

  1. CChittleborough says:

    Here’s something from Colin’s excellent comment which AJ did not include in the top-of-page excerpt:

    Domestic terrorism is broken up into several areas: Race/Hate groups (neo-nazis, klan-type groups), Militia Groups, Soveriegn Citizen groups, animal rights extremists, environmental extremists, anti-abortion extremists, and anarchists. The “right-wing” groups are never called right-wing, they are usually referred to, using hyphens, as Race/Hate-Milita-SovCit.

    I’m sure that AJ already knows this, but the conservatives who are upset by this report don’t. Because the report (1) does not (and apparently does not even try to) distinguish between the lunatic right and mainstream conservatives and (2) is sloppily vague and unfocused, there’s a natural tendency to see it as applying very broadly. OTOH, people who know more about the extremists assume the report is narrowly focused. (And who in their right minds would study the nasty/bizarre/convoluted far right unless they had to? Well, me, but I’m strange like that.)

    The proper thing for the DHS to do is withdraw this version of the report in favor of an much clearer rewritten version.

  2. AJStrata says:

    CChittleborough,

    What people also don’t know is that the names of the specific groups were removed and the report made vague to protect certain ongoing government actions.

    Which the conservatives probably impacted due to their victimhood drama.

    Fact is, they can’t clean it up – right now.

  3. Redteam says:

    What did they leave out?

    Domestic terrorism is broken up into several areas: Race/Hate groups (neo-nazis, klan-type groups), Militia Groups, Soveriegn Citizen groups, animal rights extremists, environmental extremists, anti-abortion extremists, and anarchists.

    Bill Ayers, Acorn, Far Lefties, Democrats, etc.

  4. DHS Report On “Rightwing Extremists”…

    I know, late to the party again, but better late than never, I suppose*.
    By now, you’ve all re…
    ……

  5. CChittleborough says:

    AJ wrote (at 7:32 am)

    What people also don’t know is that the names of the specific groups were removed and the report made vague to protect certain ongoing government actions.

    Ah-hah! That is a very important piece of information.

    I’d still suggest that the report should have included some boilerplate text along the lines of “of course, the majority of people who are upset at deficits/taxation/whatever are not extremists”. But knowing why the report was so vague makes a big difference.

    I suspect that most leaders of the US far right act are trying first of all to make money, second to gain power over followers, then to boost their immature egos and only after that to express an ideology. (It is possible to make a living, even a very good living, as a far right activist in the US, but not here in Australia, nor in New Zealand, nor in Canada AFAICT.) People like David Duke said last year that a President Obama would be good for their cause (ie., their businesses). No one should be surprised to see the far right working as hard as they can at recruiting followers (ie., suckers). In the midst of that, it is only to be expected that some of the true believer minority will plan something violent.
    The Obama birth certificate truthers are

  6. CChittleborough says:

    Err … that last sentence should be:

    The Obama birth certificate truthers are a classic example of agile entrepreneurs taking up a new business opportunity while their staid competitors stay in a fading market (9-11 trutherism).

  7. mrmeangenes says:

    Here’s Orly Taitz-who has jumped the shark and linked up with the Troofers and the Wingnut Militia wannabees:

    http://www.orlytaitzesq.com/blog1/?p=411

  8. [...] all day long they are the victims of concern with right wing extremists, but as I pointed out when this DHS mess came out, the track record for pro lifers under democrat presidents is damn violent and conservatives would [...]

  9. [...] crowd. Informed Speculation (the erstwhile Decision ‘08) fails to understand the indignation. Strata-sphere calls the response “hemming and hawing”, and “shrillness.” Likewise, [...]

  10. [...] AJ Strata has a good take on this: The Threat of Far Right Extremism – Updated! [...]