Comment: Far-right militancy just as dangerous as Islamist extremism

Dylann RoofMany in the United States associate terrorism with contemporary versions of militant Islam. The data, however, tells a different story: since 2002, domestic extremists who hold far-right ideologies have struck more often and have killed more people than Islamic-inspired radicals. This blog has argued in the past that American counterterrorism policy creates a security vacuum by over-concentrating on Islamic-inspired radicals and largely ignoring domestic terrorist groups. In an insightful article published earlier this year in Newsweek magazine, Kurt Eichenwald, a 20-year veteran of investigative reporting and author of The Informant, argues that far-right radicalism is a bigger threat to American security than Islamic militancy, including the Islamic State.

Eichenwald cites a report by Duke University’s Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, which was based on surveys from 382 law enforcement groups across the US. The report, published in June of last year, argues that American “law enforcement agencies […] consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of political violence” they face. He also points to increasing incidents of surveillance of Muslim schools, religious and community centers in nearly a dozen states by members of far-right militia groups for what informants describe as “operational purposes”.

American counterterrorism specialists understand that the term “far-right militancy” encompasses thousands of groups of various sizes and capabilities, which are both wildly diverse and constantly evolving, says Eichenwald. Most experts separate the members of these groups into three distinct categories, namely violent racists, anti-federalist (or anti-government) radicals, and religious fundamentalists. These factions, which include dozens of sub-factions, do not usually work together and even have adversarial relations with each other. Violent racists operate as members of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan in mostly rural and semi-urban settings. In urban environments, neo-Nazi and skinhead groups are more prevalent than the KKK. Anti-government radicals join armed militias that espouse various ideologies representing the so-called “sovereign citizens” worldview —namely the belief that federal, state or local laws are tyrannical and do not apply to them. The final category, religious fundamentalists, are members of various Christian identity groups that prioritize the Bible over the US Constitution and support the violent imposition of Christian religious codes on social life.

The list of these groups is growing, says Eichenwald, largely in reaction to economic pressures caused by the deep recession of 2007. The ascendency of Barack Obama to the US presidency has also radicalized the racist-oriented far right, he says, which overlaps to some extent with the militia movement. In 2008 there were 42 organized militia groups operating in the US. Today there are 276, he says, referring to information provided by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. There is no doubt that Islamic fundamentalism poses clear dangers to US security. But, as Eichenwald argues, this country has been extremely lucky to have avoided a repeat of the 1995 attack on the Oklahoma Federal Building, which was carried out by a white supremacist guided by militant anti-government ideas. A repeat of such a massacre in recent years has not been due to lack of trying, says Eichenwald, and ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 06 October 2016 | Permalink

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4 Responses to Comment: Far-right militancy just as dangerous as Islamist extremism

  1. Pingback: Comment: Far-right militancy just as dangerous as Islamist extremism | intelNews.org | HISTÓRIA da POLÍTICA

  2. Anonymous says:

    First, this is not really news. I’ve known, just me let alone experts, that the US LEC views Americans as the most problematic since the DHS MIAC report made its way around the internet in 2009. It labeled Ron Paul supporters, like me, as potential domestic terrorists. It also had right wingers at # 1 threat; Islam was #3; environmentalists were further down the list.

    Second, this reads like a typical SPLC/DHS/Fusion center pamphlet. Oh, and there the SPLC is cited there at the bottom. I didn’t see that coming with second sentence of the article. The SPLC calls Austrian economists a “neo-confederate hate group.” SPLC is next to worthless because of its soccer mom, never been in the real world, scared of their own shadows, level of fear mongering. SPLC is prodded by the Russian intelligence networks to signal to the FBI as well. The ranchers that took over the bird sanctuary in Oregon earlier this year, for example, were reported on by RT (first place I saw it reported and I don’t check RT) and RT named dropped, at the very end of the article as an aside in the last paragraph, a nutty internet radio show host, *who then showed up at the bird sanctuary.* The next day, mainstream news was citing SPLC and this radio nut as the problem. The Russians monitor domestic politics in the US better than the domestic surveillance groups. Not only is SPLC a hyperventilating group of idiots (try to argue with one; they’ve will have probably never even heard of fallacies let alone know how to identify them in their own writings, like false association or appeal to emotion), but they are used by the FBI for information (1), and by the Russians for larfs.

    “American counterterrorism policy creates a security vacuum by over-concentrating on [xyz]”

    That is a misperception. It is not a security “vacuum”; it is a mitigation strategy, properly understood. There are far more “far right” groups than Islamic groups because there are not as many Muslims in the US. How many far right US constitutionalist militias are there in Bangladesh – I’ll guess: ZERO. When the US government targets the domestic far right, it mobilizes them; they have a reason to exist when the government targets them; they become vindicated, justified, etc. (at least in their own minds) and they might just grow as other people come to recognize the LEC moves (like the Ron Paul supporters – include them, as DHS did, and it becomes self fulfilling that people sympathize with the far right). The best bet is to leave them alone and not bring them up. It’s not necessarily Obama, either, but the Democrat party. It’s pretty obvious that immigrants are being brought in from places where they are likely to vote Democrat. Naturally, the right wing will then say “that’s not fair.” The Democrat Party targeted the right wingers in the 90s and they got more popular. Today, they are doing the same thing. Obama has been so ridiculously provocative with every group that he can. I thought it was funny at first; him rubbing things in Bibi’s face, etc., but now it seems sadistic. The feminization of the US military is a good start to seeing that. Putin is on TV saying “war is coming, why won’t the Western press alert their peopel?” – Russia is running mass attack drills, and meanwhile, the US is naming Navy ships after homosexuals and attempting to get bathrooms ‘transgender friendly’ – these are ridiculous and idiotic non-issues being shoved in people’s faces because it pisses them off. Only academics and bureaucrats take these things seriously. Everyone else laughs or gets upset. I used to laugh at it.

    “The final category, religious fundamentalists, are members of various Christian identity groups that prioritize the Bible over the US Constitution and support the violent imposition of Christian religious codes on social life.”

    And when was the last time one of them made the news? Or took over a country?

    It might just be that “globalization” encroaches on cultural habits that people, eventually, are not going allow to be taken from them. Just because the International Catholic Church has had its wings clipped, back broken, and morals discredited does not mean everyone else will buckle under the weight of this synthetic corporate world police society.

    “this country has been extremely lucky to have avoided a repeat of the 1995 attack on the Oklahoma Federal Building”

    Have you ever looked into that?

    “which was carried out by a white supremacist guided by militant anti-government ideas”

    It was a reaction to WACO and Ruby Ridge…remember those? Where the FBI shot up that white supremacist’s wife and kid and dog, even though he hadn’t hurt anybody and had dodged their attempts at entrapment for months? Or WACO, remember when the FBI accused those people of all those crimes (stockpiling guns and child abuse) and then used the military to destroy the house, which resulted in a fire where like 100 people burned to death along with all of the evidence against them? Where is the mention of that? “Anti-government ideas” seems like a total cop out.

    “A repeat of such a massacre in recent years has not been due to lack of trying, says Eichenwald, and ignoring the problem will not make it go away.”

    Blech. The DOD almost certainly was behind the censoring of a video game called Rainbow Six: PATRIOTS that would have shown exactly the logic of why those people exist. The trailer for the game cause a mutiny on a Georgia military base…

  3. intelNews says:

    @Anonymous: Correct, this post is not news, which is why it is headlined “Comment”. As its title implies, IntelNews concentrates on the news, but there are times when we use our editorial prerogative to post brief analyses or commentary. When we do so, we share our own views, not those of any government agency or pressure group. [JF]

  4. RE: ” The final category, religious fundamentalists, are members of various Christian identity groups that prioritize the Bible over the US Constitution and support the violent imposition of Christian religious codes on social life”

    One might mention these sort of folk have badly infected an institutional platform, the United States military, where impunity is exercised with increasing threat to national security; on a level that should make the sensible person tremble. Readers here might try a simple google search: “Jesus Loves Nukes”

    I somewhat agree with Anonymous on a few points, for instance demonizing people of the so-called ‘patriot movement’ who take a layman’s, or more literal, view of the USA constitution only contributes to radicalizing the fringe right; and the Soro’s funded SPLC plays its’ own favorites on both sides of the conservative-liberal divide … for instance The Assemblies of God sect, which teaches “Muslims are the children of Satan” is not on the SPLC ‘hate list’ almost certainly because they line up with AIPAC (read ‘Bibi’) on Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    Having spent most of my life in ‘libertarian’ (small ‘L’, not the Koch brothers Tea Party bs) Montana, I have some sympathy for those who believe the USA’s constitutional principles have been trashed; relevant to the IntelNews blog, the modern iteration of this ‘color of law’ phenomenon can be place squarely on the National Security State’s parallel structures as detailed by this professor who can hardly be considered ‘fringe:

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