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. Joe456 says:

    You and Obama same plan. Apologize enough to your enemy and maybe they’ll like you. Pehaps a tour of the DNC building is in order.

  2. kathie says:

    What you say AJ is absolutely true. The normal “right wing” or the conservative wing of the republican party is not part of this study.
    However, many on the left, I’m talking politicians, insinuate that the conservative wing of the republican party is scary, narrow minded, crazy and leads to the Tim McVeigh’s of the world. Look what they made Cheney into! Bush was Hitler, our armed men and woman were killing children and were tortures. So the republican party is not designated as a terrorist organization by the government, the politicians certainly define republicans in an unsavory light and try to connect the “right wing” of the government study to the “right wing” of the political party.

  3. AJStrata says:

    Absolutely Kathie. As I said when the left tries to make Bush into Hitler it tells me is how low an intellect they have. Sadly, I can say the same for those on the right who called El Presidente Jorge Bustrada a traitor over immigration.

    We need to watch both fringes and call them on it.

    Joe456, I have no clue what you are babbling about.

  4. lacegrl130 says:

    Michelle Malkin is melodramatic a lot of the time. Big Sigh.

  5. cathymv says:

    good op ed piece… strong, levelheaded and concise. thank you for putting into words very eloquently what needs to be said outloud. I want to be able to critisize the administration and I want to participate in a tea party protest without being labeled a rightwing terrorist and to think that the administration is targeting average people like me is frightening. Your op ed is timed perfectly and is a sane word in the middle of a firestorm of panic.

    keep up the good work

    cathy :)

  6. lacegrl130 says:

    From Legal Insurrection he notes the following from the DHS piece:

    “Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

    I do have a slight problem with this language – what if a person is a ONE ISSUE person? (hypothetically) It does not necessarily mean they are violent – This is TOO broad.

    HMMMM – I have to think about this.

    Thanks for the discussion!

  7. Redteam says:

    Good post. Average people are not for violence. But can’t figure why you’re Michelle Malkin bashing, she said approximately what you did. That when bashing the left, the DHS was very specific at who they were naming but when attacking the right, they were generalizing, specifically to create speculation. Basically, you were pointing that out: 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 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.
    Michelle tends to use hyperbole, maybe a little more than you, but she was making the same point.
    Did anyone but me notice that the report called Americans right wing ‘terrorists’ but doesn’t want to call Islamic Jihadists, terrorists?

  8. crosspatch says:

    I see the report as cover to cast anyone who is opposed to the President politically as an “extremist” and to mark them as potentially “dangerous” in order to justify intimidation tactics. Things such as searching someone’s home if they don’t like your “Honk if I am paying your mortgage” bumper sticker.

    Left wing extremists are just as deadly as right wing. Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist, for example. The Weathermen were socialists as were the Bader-Meinhof and Red Brigades.

    The more I read the contents of this DHS report, the more it appears to be designed to produce justification to intimidate political enemies of the Democrats.

  9. AJStrata says:

    CP,

    Please don’t sink into the paranoid fever swamps. When GOPAC is raided as an enemy to the state then we can discuss the oppression. But trying to stop the next McVeigh is not definitive proof that Obama has spun up a Goebbels PR machine.

    Man, I need your sane, objective voice here. Not sure what life would be like if you sunk into the depths …

    AJStrata

  10. crosspatch says:

    Here is an example that illustrates my above comment (waiting moderation):

    “Militia members most commonly associate with third-party political groups,” said the report, issued Feb. 20 by the Missouri Information Analysis Center. “It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitution Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr.”

    Mr. Bierfeldt was carrying Campaign for Liberty bumper stickers and other campaign literature, and was interrogated by TSA screeners and airport police at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for nearly a half-hour before being allowed on his flight to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

    The money he was carrying, more than $4,700, was in the form of cash and checks received from ticket sales, bumper stickers, books and other conference-related items.

    Mr. Bierfeldt recorded the event on his iPhone, and provided a copy to The Washington Times for review. (Click here to listen to the audio)

    On the tape, Mr. Bierfeldt is asked repeatedly where he works, where he obtained the money and why he was in St. Louis.

    In each instance, Mr. Bierfeldt asked whether he was required by law to answer the questions.

    “You want to play smartass, and I’m not going to play your f–ing game,” the TSA official said.

    It is a four page article and includes video taken by the person involved. Read it.

    Now I am certainly no Ron Paul fan but the government has no right to harass the supporters of political candidates as they have in this case. There was another case where a person with an anti-Obama bumper sticker had their home searched.

    I fear that our various Homeland security groups are being used as political “Brown Shirts” to intimidate political opposition.

  11. AJStrata says:

    CP,

    The problem is these violent nutjobs do support fringe parties and candidates. It is not that the candidates want their support or agree with their views.

    Some of this is genuine, some of it is cover. The fact someone was stopped and questioned for a measly 30 minutes by TSA is NOT evidence of anything than a overly cautious and or ambitious TSA agent. My son worked TSA and I tell you who gets stopped is up to the TSA person on station 9 times out of 10. There are NO orders from the White House to stop people at airports.

    If this was real, he would have been incarcerated, not set on his way.

    Gads, the place is nuts.

  12. lacegrl130 says:

    I think I agree with Crosspatch on this one – after reading the whole report. It is kind of a YIKES moment…

  13. crosspatch says:

    AJ,

    “The problem is these violent nutjobs do support fringe parties and candidates. ”

    Of course and they always have and they always will. And we never had such a document produced before, except maybe with the Nixon “enemies” list. This is all very Nixonian paranoia. My read on all if this is that they are very worried. Once the impact of these trillion dollar deficits seeps into the economy and it becomes widely known that Social Security has gone into deficit a decade earlier than planned, people are going to start getting quite upset.

    When their 90 year old Aunt Maisey’s electric bill hits $200, people are going to start screaming. In California it was reported as “good news” that stimulus money was being used to expand the state Employment Development Agency … because they were crushed under the load of unemployment applications.

    We have trillions of dollars being given away to bankers who supported the Democrats and nothing really to stimulate the economy aside from increasing the size of government and expanding “give away” programs that don’t build anything that adds to the economy.

    It is as if the fire has gone out, there is no wood left, and they are attempting to keep it going with lighter fluid. They should be out planting trees but they are burning up lighter fluid instead. Sure, it makes a flame for a while, but the moment you stop squirting it, the fire goes out.

    Sorry for the bad metaphor.

  14. Redteam says:

    CP
    Lee Harvey Oswald was working for Naval Intelligence/CIA, very, very far away from being a communist. He was not involved in the assassination in any way other than as a patsy for the mob.

  15. crosspatch says:

    And another thing … that photo op with the troops in Iraq. First the troops were asked to raise their hands if they voted for Obama. Those troops were asked to go “front and center”. Then they were given cameras by the White House staff (notice how many identical cameras you see in that photo). This was reported by several people who were there.

    Now imagine if Bush had asked “if you vote for me, come front and center”. The press would be ablaze with it. Another way of looking at it is “if you didn’t vote for me, get away from me”.

    It seems that behaviors that would be blasted as obvious manipulation if Republicans did it are perfectly acceptable if the Democrats do it. For example, re-word that DHS report and substitute Left Wing for Right Wing and imagine the report was put out by the Bush administration. The press would be going absolutely nuts with cries of BushHitlerNazi!

  16. crosspatch says:

    “Lee Harvey Oswald was working for Naval Intelligence/CIA, very, very far away from being a communist.”

    Hmm, interesting because after he returned from the US from living in Russia his work consisted mostly of handing out Cuban communist propaganda leaflets.

    Sure, the mob wanted Kennedy to take Cuba back, the mob lost a fortune when the casinos were closed there. When Kennedy allowed the Bay of Pigs operation to more-or-less die on the vine and he had Bobby start an aggressive campaign against organized crime, they would have had a vested interest in getting rid of him. The loss of the Cuban casino racket combined with the exposure of the links between labor unions and organized crime (Teamsters/Jimmy Hoffa) cost the mob a great deal. But mobsters are Democrats. Not Republicans.

  17. Frogg says:

    “Ms. Kuban said, however, that the department had published reports on left-wing radicalization as well, though she could not name one. ”

    Hmmmmmmmm

    This is a bit troubling also:

    “(U//FOUO) Lone Wolves and Small Terrorist Cells

    (U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States”

    The most dangerous? What about 20 Somalian-Americans going to a training camp in Somalia? What about al Qaeda secret cells in the US? What about Mosques and Islamic schools that teach “Death to America”? What about Islamofascist internet recruitment sites? No. It is the right wing extremists (that the report, itself, says doesn’t seem to have any violent plans).

    I don’t know. I think these reports should simply be on “crazy radical people” who are “prone to violence”.

    I appreciate AJ’s sensible post on this. I certainly support the Government assessing/investigating/preparing for domestic violence. However, I will wait to see how the Obama Administration and Democrats actually “use” this report. No black helicopters in my mind, AJ. But, I’ve seen the Democrats tailor make reports for the purpose of painting an image or justifying a charge. Let me see the “leftist radical extremism is the biggest domestic threat” report from the past (the one Ms. Kuban said existed; but, couldn’t name) …..

    and I’ll change my analysis.

  18. mrmeangenes says:

    Al, I congratulate you on this article !!

    I’ve been spending some time in the “fever swamps” of the net,and can confirm there IS a loose conglomeration of “militia” wannabees,klansmen (klanpersons ?),and theocrats out there; and that it is interested in assasination of the President,overthrow of the government, and the establishment of “racially pure” enclaves.

    The “truthers” and the “birthers” are hip-deep in this mess, and I can’t help but wonder who is funding things : a foreign government ?
    a coalition of religious extremists looking to get the biblical Armageddon off and running ? Lord only knows !!

  19. AJStrata says:

    Frogg,

    You are using your definition for ‘domestic’, not theirs. They would lump al Qaed as a foreign threat, even if they have sleeper cells here which include US citizens.

    Forget it. I have been checking the other conservative sites and they are in full panic mode.

    Just like on the immigration matter when the right self destructed, like the silliness of the Obama COLB conspiracies, this genie is out of the bottle and the damage is done again to the conservative image.

    The movement looks like a punch of paranoid dupes. Sadly, I think it is a very accurate image at the moment.

  20. AJStrata says:

    CP,

    The problem with your scenario where the nation rises up in anger (which I do believe could happen before the end of this year) is the fact that the Dems will not be damaged by the GOP or conservatives, they will be destroyed by their base rejecting them and moving to the center.

    As most dictators note, handling your enemies is easy, handling your allies is the hard part.