Political correctness is deadly: right-wing extremism is our biggest domestic terror threat

Think Progress’s Ken Sofer and Molly Bernstein report on the REAL threats to the safety and security of American citizens today:

Though the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City happened nearly two decades ago, (17 years ago on April 19) right-wing extremist terrorism remains a significant domestic threat to American security. The Department of Homeland Security released a report in 2009 stating that the economic and political climate bears important similarities to the conditions of the early 1990s when right-wing extremism experienced a dramatic resurgence. These conditions, including the public debate around hot-button issues such as immigration, gun control, and abortion, along with the election of the first African-American president, present “unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment,” the report said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano eventually ordered the report withdrawn because of significant political backlash from mainstream conservatives. But the report, which was originally commissioned by the Bush administration, also found that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

A look at terrorist incidents since the Oklahoma City bombing, including both successful and disrupted ideologically-motivated attacks, backs up the conclusions of the DHS report:

Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, as compared to 30 percent by ecoterrorists and 12 percent by Islamic extremists. Right-wing extremism has been responsible for the greatest number of terrorist incidents in the U.S. in 13 of the 17 years since the Oklahoma City bombing.

After DHS withdrew the report, the department cut the number of analysts studying non-Islamic domestic terrorism. Daryl Johnson, the primary author of the report and a self-described Republican, soon left his post at DHS and said in July, 2011 that DHS has “just one person” dealing with domestic terrorism. The Department has largely been silent on domestic terrorist threats ever since.

Although current statistics show that right-wing extremism is on the rise through groups like the Sovereign Citizen and Patriot movements, domestic counterterrorism continues to receive few resources and little public attention. Though Islamic extremism remains a significant domestic security threat, current statistics and incidents such as Oklahoma City show that it is far from the only threat. In order to protect American citizens, we need to match our resources to the reality of our threats, not just the politically expedient narratives we have formed.

As long as the media and average people pretend that ‘both sides do it’ and decide that it’s okay for self-described ‘patriots’ to rabidly hate President Obama, Democrats, and the federal government — and as long as everyone continues to look the other way when right-wing attitudes manifest themselves publicly, in the form of open racism and / or violent rhetoric, we’ll be under threat as a society and a functioning country.

Ask yourself if the fictional right-wing, Fox “News” created, tea party celebrated ‘creeping Sharia law’ is more of a threat to our country than the very real and ongoing use of the Republican Party’s Southern Strategy. Recall Sarah Palin’s creative ‘sniper rifle symbols’ on Democratic U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the aftermath. Think of Breitbart-protégé James O’Keefe and his ‘pimp costume’ and ACORN and the fictional Democratic voter fraud issue (as we’ve learned, Mitt Romney, the presumed GOP presidential candidate, actually committed voter fraud).

Or look at the most recent example of our politically correct, both sides do it, national discourse:

The ‘outrage’ for the right was something said by a CNN commentator about a candidate’s wife and was, in fact, entirely true. The ‘outrage’ for the left, which should be an outrage for the entire country, was a thinly-veiled threat against the life of our sitting president, for purposes of demonstrating the speaker’s Southern Strategy bona fides in front of an NRA crowd. With our history of political assassinations and attempted assassinations, should we ever take such rhetoric lightly?

While you think about which outrage received the most national attention and why, you might also ask yourself how your silence on such matters not only contributes to the escalation of ignorance in our national discourse, but encourages some Beck- or Palin-inspired Manchurian candidate to prove his ‘Super Patriotism’ in the form of action. Sort of like this guy, who has been happily expressing his right-wing ideals in court all last week:

[Anders Behring Breivik] identified as his enemy the “cultural Marxists” who he said had destroyed Norway by using it as “a dumping ground for the surplus births of the third world”. Claiming Norwegians would be a minority in their own capital “within five years”, he blamed liberal politicians for bringing about Norway’s demise with “feminism, quotas … transforming the church, schools”.

The 69 people, many of them teenagers, who died on the island of Utøya when he opened fire on the youth camp of the ruling Labour party were “not innocent”, he claimed.

“They were not innocent, non-political children; these were young people who worked to actively uphold multicultural values. Many people had leading positions in the leading Labour party youth wing,” he said, going on to compare the Labour party’s youth wing (AUF) with the Hitler Youth.

Oslo Norway: Likely a lone gunman / bomber, no ties to al-Qaeda or international militant groups

The man arrested in connection with the Oslo bombing and the shooting at a youth camp has been named as Anders Behring Breivik, a 32 year old Norwegian citizen with links to right-wing extremism.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull reports on developments from Norway (via Newsflick):

Amid much speculation as to the motive behind these attacks, speculation that has centred on the possible involvement of international militant groups, perhaps al-Qaeda linked groups, the police are now saying that they believe there is no link to international militant groups.

They believe that this man may well have been acting alone. They have drawn a comparison between these attacks and the Oaklahoma bombings in the United States saying they resemble far more that attack than the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that this was some sort of a self-motivated attack perhaps by this man acting entirely alone without links to any wider groups or causes.

TV2 Norway has just been on air suggesting this man has links to right-wing extremism. So that’s where the investigation appears now to be heading, looking rather at a self-motivated attack possibly by a Norwegian man acting alone without necessarily any links to international militant groups or al-Qaeda.

Source | Photo


Juan Cole: “As usual, when white people do these things, the mass media doesn’t call it terrorism.”

“Jared Lee Loughner, the assassin of Federal judge John M. Roll and five others and attempted assassin of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford (D-AZ), was clearly mentally unstable. But the political themes of his instability were those of the American far Right. Loughner was acting politically even if he is not all there. He is said to have called out the names of his victims, such as Roll and Gifford, as he fired. As usual, when white people do these things, the mass media doesn’t call it terrorism.

…the right-wing Muslim crackpots and the right-wing American crackpots are haunted by similar anxieties, about a powerful government in Washington undermining their localistic ideas of the good life.”

Juan Cole | White Terrorism

If the assassination attempt of Rep. Giffords doesn’t vindicate Janet Napolitano’s DHS Rightwing Extremism report, issued in April/2009, I don’t know what does. However, to many people the report was valid all along. The rightwing and mainstream media will now begin their “both sides do it” arguments / hypocrisy — but the fact is: both sides DO NOT do it:

Left wing “extremists” tend to damage property, or chain themselves to trees, or let animals out of cages, or chase whaling ships. No murder involved.

Right wing extremists kill people to make a statement, such as doctors who provide abortions or government workers (i.e. Oklahoma City, IRS building in TX, and now a congresswoman talking with her constituents in AZ) or symbolic kills, like the murder of the security guard at the Holocaust Museum.

It’s insulting to the American people for the GOP and the mainstream media to not denounce and reproach  the extreme rhetoric that passes for ‘Christian Conservative Patriotism’ in America today. Here are some examples:

Before it’s scrubbed… Palin’s tweet in March/2010: Commonsense conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead RELOAD!”
  • Before it’s scrubbed… Palin’s tweet in March/2010: Commonsense conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead RELOAD!”
  • Michele Bachmann wants Minnesotans ‘armed and dangerous’ against Obama energy policy
  • Sharron Angle Floated ‘2nd Amendment Remedies’ As ‘Cure’ For ‘The Harry Reid Problems’

And the extreme rhetoric of Tea Party supporters!  (Many pics at LGF):

Don’t forget the ‘patriots’ who started openly carrying their firearms to (Democratic) political rallies in 2009 — for the first time ever. What was the new message there?

There is no equivalent on the Left for this type of extreme rhetoric and dog-whistling to violent action. Democratic politicians don’t say symbolically violent things like Palin, Bachmann and Angle have. There is no equivalent on the Left to the ranting insanity of Beck or Limbaugh. You don’t see progressives carrying signs that suggest violence if they don’t get their way or arming themselves publicly, simply for purposes of intimidation.

And you definitely don’t see left wing extremists hating the government, worrying about currency backed by gold and the ‘second’ Constitution (see 3:32), or targeting a Democratic Congresswoman and a federal judge for assassination (among many other innocents) at a grocery store.