Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homeland Security Report Warns Of Rising Right-Wing Extremism

From the Huffington Post:

In the report (a full copy of which is below), officials warn that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit new members to their cause.

In the intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement last week, Homeland Security officials said there was no specific information about an attack from right-wing extremists in the works.

The agency warns that an extended economic downturn with real estate foreclosures, unemployment and an inability to obtain credit could foster an environment for extremists to recruit new members who may not have been supportive of these causes in the past.

In November, law enforcement officials were seeing more threats and unusual interest against then- President-elect Barack Obama than ever before.

More here.

9/11 rattled me for a week or two, for sure, but once a little time had passed I was thinking once again that homegrown terrorists, of the right-wing variety, continue to be the bigger threat. When you get right down to it, Islamic terrorists have succeeded here in the "homeland" only twice, and both times in the same place, the World Trade Center. Granted, their second attack was spectacular, with an instant death toll in the low thousands, but, as numerous reviews and studies of the attack have since shown, it could have, should have been prevented if the Bush administration hadn't been asleep at the switch.

Much trickier are American terrorists. They're already here. They don't need to obtain illegal documents like passports and drivers licenses. They speak English. They're white. Guns, ammo, and explosives are cheap, plentiful, and readily available thanks to the gun-nut lobby. And we have an extraordinarily well established historical tradition of enduring them.

I mean, the Ku Klux Klan is the original American Al Qaeda, violently conservative, paranoid, secretive. The far-right militia movement of the 1990s is the Klan's bastard son, and the militias' bastard son was Timothy McVeigh. But let's not forget the abortion clinic bombers; they're still out there, too. And who the fuck sent out those letters to Democrats and journalists immediately after 9/11 filled with anthrax grown by the US military? The FBI's main suspect, a scientist working for the Pentagon, is dead from an apparent suicide, but little is publicly known about his political views or contacts, and there are more than a few who have cast doubt on the government's theory that he was actually the guy. My bet is that this was yet another homegrown right-wing terrorist attack.

If you include Klan activity over the decades, American right-wing terrorism's murder toll utterly dwarfs the numbers put up by their Islamic rivals. Far-right terrorists are indeed a bigger threat. And shoe-screening in airports will do little to make us safer.