Comment: Are US Authorities Ignoring Far-Right Terrorism?

Wade Michael PageBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Last month I gave a radio interview on a show syndicated on National Public Radio stations in the United States, in which I warned that American far-right extremism is growing faster than any other time since the rise of the second Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. I specifically pointed the finger at an increasingly dangerous mix of gun culture, neo-Nazi ideology, and white-nationalist interpretations of Christianity, known collectively as Christian Identity. In the post-9/11 world, many in the West tend to be forgetful of incidents like the neo-Nazi-inspired 1995 Oklahoma City bombing —the largest terrorist attack on US soil prior to 9/11. Even recent high-profile cases, such as the 2011 Norway attacks by neo-Nazi Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and Utøya, have proven unable to challenge that dangerous amnesia. It follows that last Sunday’s mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which left seven people dead and three injured, including a police officer, poses a long-overdue opportunity for reflection.

The attacker has been identified as Wade Michael Page (pictured), 40, a former US Army soldier who had previously lived in Colorado and North Carolina. He appears to have acted alone, armed with a legally purchased 9-millimeter handgun. His record indicates that he had been issued permits in North Carolina to purchase five pistols in 2008, though he did not have permit to carry concealed weapons. It also appears that Page, who served in the US military from 1992 to 1998, was a committed neo-Nazi, who had an active role in white-power music —a bizarre subgenre of hardcore heavy metal. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Page led a racist white-power music band known as End Apathy, which he founded in North Carolina, after several years of playing in another band called Definite Hate. Others report that Page, who sported a shaved head in typical neo-Nazi fashion, had several Nazi-themed tattoos all over his body. Read more of this post

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Analysis: The Danger in Ignoring Non-Muslim Religious Terrorism

Hutaree militia membersBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Even though over a decade separates us from the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Americans continue to be heavily preoccupied with terrorism. But what is the face of terrorism in our time? Too often, the term ‘terrorist’ conjures up the stereotypical image of an Arabic-speaking Muslim male from the Middle East —viewed by many Westerners as an abstract geopolitical notion that erroneously includes Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Islamic-inspired terrorism is both very real and very dangerous. However, consciously or subconsciously associating terrorism solely with Islam is not only flawed, but also potentially dangerous for our collective security. In reality, all religious dogmas contain extremist elements. This includes religious doctrines that are widely considered peace-loving, such as Anabaptism, or even Buddhism. A case in point that is often overlooked by Westernern observers is Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese millenarianist cult inspired by Buddhist tenets. In 1995, Aum members used sarin gas in a large-scale terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 13 and injured close to a thousand commuters. In later years it was revealed that, prior to engaging in chemical terrorism, Aum had become history’s first known terrorist group to actively try to acquire nuclear material for tactical purposes. It was only after failing to obtain nuclear material that Aum’s leadership turned to sarin. This past Thursday, July 5, an interview of mine was aired on this very subject, namely the current state of homegrown, religiously-inspired terrorism in the United States. Read more of this post