Rightwing Terrorists?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on 7 April 2009 issued a report done by the governmental Office of Intelligence and Analysis Assessment entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”  (It can be viewed at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf.)

The first sentence of the Key Findings notes that there are “no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence . . .”  In assessing what IS a threat, the part of the report that caused the biggest firestorm at the time stated:

“Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.”

A lot of people, probably including almost every person who has fought for our country and survived, were incensed.  The rest of them were rolling over in their graves.  Based on nothing, veterans returning from fighting for our country were singled out in this report as potential terrorists.  It’s bad enough to get shot at overseas.  It’s worse to come home and be shot at by your government in this fashion.  The report did not even state that there was any indication that veterans were being recruited, only a concern that there might be an attempt at recruitment.

This report came out just in time to disperse it to all of the police departments for the Tax Day Tea Parties and scare the populace about right wingers.  I have one friend who works for a city government who was highly unsettled because the police had to be called out to defend her place of work.  Her sources of news are NPR, Jon Stewart, and CNN, so I guess I can understand (even though she went through Lamaze at one time and learned that lack of knowledge breeds fear).  I have another friend who works for another city government who, when she heard about the report and its dispersal, said, “That must have been what those police officers were chuckling about.  They’re probably going to Tea Parties themselves.”

During the hubbub of reaction to the report, a conservative, libertarian think tank named Americans for Limited Government filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to have the documents underlying the report released to the public.  Two of the items requested were “All data and all studies, reports, or other documents regarding data created or reviewed by the Department in general to draft the report” and “All data and all studies, reports, or other documents regarding data on specific groups. . .”

On August 5, the Department responded to these two items.  (It can be viewed at http://www.getliberty.org/files/09-502%20Interim%20Response%201.pdf.)  It stated that there were 217 pages of information that were pertinent to these 2 parts of request.  The good news was that nothing had to be declassified, since all were public documents.

“All data and all studies, reports or other documents . . .” turned out to be articles on 50 internet websites.  The response listed the sites.  (See them at http://www.getliberty.org/files/09-502%20Interim%20Response%20Website%20Links.pdf.)  No covert ops info.  No infiltration of any “extremist” groups with inside information.  No “boots on the ground” work.  No statistical analysis to quantify the danger.  No verification of anything.

It looks as if someone at DHS doing the report googled something (I can’t figure out exactly what that was), then went through the first 50 hits and called it a day—literally.  That person could have easily read all articles on the list in a single day, even if it were a Friday before a long weekend.  Maybe he or she took the next day to actually write the report, but research was quick and easy.

Some entries were by organizations that everyone would probably recognize—The Washington Post, Fox News, MSNBC, USAToday, CNN, and The New York Times to name a few.  Only two sites occurred more than twice in the list of 50 entries:  the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website (www.splcenter.org) had 10, and http://www.whatdoesitmean.com had 10.

What is as important as the sites listed is what appears not to have been subjected to analysis.  For example, in a Washington Post article dated June 22, 2008, it made a big deal about statements from Billy Roper, head of a white supremacist group named White Revolution that their membership was increasing.  That’s a story.  However, so is the statement by Roper that “The flat-globe society still has more people than us.”  Is this a real threat?

Additionally, there were a couple of articles about “right wing extremist” Richard Andrew Poplawski, who shot 3 Pittsburg policemen in a standoff at his home after a domestic dispute with his mother.  He had enlisted in the Marine Corps but had been dishonorably discharged during boot camp three years before, so he wasn’t a returning vet.  If you dig into the beliefs of Poplawski’s hero, Alex Jones, you’ll find that he firmly believes that Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks.  That’s not exactly a “right wing” extremist view.  Is he the example used to justify stigmatizing our “returning veterans” even though he wasn’t a returning vet?  Was he used to exemplify a “right wing” extremist even though he wasn’t right wing?

It appears that if you are an extremist in the category of “hate-oriented” where you hate “particular religious, racial, or ethnic groups” then you are automatically a “right wing” extremist.  Don’t left wing extremists hate, too?  Isn’t there such a thing as “extremist who is just plain kooky, not necessarily left or right”?

My favorite website (for comedic relief) on this list is whatdoesitmean.com, which comprises 10 of the 50 web addresses listed.  When I went to this website, the first thing that caught my eye was an advertisement for a book by David L. Booth entitled Dirty, Filthy, Christians: Treatise On The Most Dangerous Death Cult In Human History.

If that ad doesn’t give you a clue that this may not be a news site of note, take a look at titles some of the articles posted. The titles say it all: “Russia Says Comet Strike on Venus Following Jupiter Hit is ‘Dire Warning’ for Earth,” “Death Star Pandemic of 2009-2012: End of Age Begins,” and my personal favorite “ ‘Radio To God’ Reported Destroyed By American Scientist.”  I am reminded about Men In Black where the government agents get their news about ETs from the National Enquirer. If I worked for the government (other than in that movie) and was putting out a report, I think that I might have been hesitant to list this as a source, much less as 20% of my sources.  Then again I have to worry about being taken seriously in life.

One article cited from this site as studied for the report was written on August 30, 2008 by Sorcha Faal.  Entitled “Russian ‘Sleeper’ Agents Begin ‘Day X’ Attacks in US,” it begins:

“A number of conflicting, and disturbing, reports are circulating in the Kremlin today that are stating that ‘someone’ appears to have ‘activated’ Russia’s ‘deep core sleeper agents’ in America . . . to begin attacks on the United States Homeland.”

What I’m wondering is this: Is the fact that these attacks have not occurred proof positive that the Soviet Sleeper Agents were inducted into right wing extremist groups?  That is the most obvious conclusion that might come to the mind of someone who would cite this as a source for the conclusions drawn in the DHS report.

In this crazy world of our today, when we eliminate the War on Terror by calling things Overseas Contingency Operations, when terrorist acts are “man-caused disasters” and our freedoms are being legislated out from under us, I am comforted that the Department of Homeland Security is looking out for us.  They must have their best people working on the real threats to our Homeland, because they certainly don’t have anyone with half a brain working on the “right wing extremist” threat.

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Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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