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Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities

by TChris

The good news: right wing organizations that foment domestic terrorism are "in disarray."

The number of militia groups in the country has dropped from 858 in 1996 to 152 in 2004, according to a count by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. The charismatic leaders of two of the most prominent white supremacist groups in the United States have died in recent years and others are in jail, leaving a vacuum in leadership.

The bad news: disarray among organized "hate groups" doesn't stop right wing lunatics from speading hatred and violence on their own.

"That's where the danger is," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino. "If there's anything Oklahoma City demonstrated, it's that a committed domestic terrorist doesn't need to be a part of an organized group to have a devastating effect."

Right wing extremists acting on their own may be more dangerous than those who organize, according to this lengthy report on domestic terrorism. Lacking leaders who may caution restraint, extremists who are "influenced by the ideologies of the radical right" may pose a greater threat than members of radical organizations.

The key question is whether law enforcement priorities are misplaced.

[S]ome people express concern about whether law enforcement is focused enough on the radical right rather than on foreign terrorist groups or radical environmentalists like the Earth Liberation Front. The FBI lists right-wing extremists as a lesser domestic terror threat than the ELF, even though that group has never killed a single person.

Bureau Director Robert Mueller, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee recently, mentioned the threat from white supremacist groups, the right-wing Patriot movement and anti-abortion extremists. But he ranked higher the threats from radical environmentalists, anarchists and black nationalist groups.

Congressional Quarterly reported that a document it obtained from the Department of Homeland Security "appears to be an internal list of threats to the nation's security," but does not list right-wing groups at all.

According to Dan Levitas, author of The Terrorist Next Door, "the law enforcement community is so singularly focused on terrorists from abroad [it doesn't] seem to acknowledge that the majority of terrorist acts perpetrated on American soil have come from the radical right."

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  • Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:51:30 AM EST
    Apparently Ashcroft's tactics were significantly more effective at combating domestic terrorism than were Reno's.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 10:26:21 AM EST
    no Posted by at April 19, 2005 10:51 AM, rather their members have all actively joined the republican party, currently their ideologies seem to be congruent.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 10:35:44 AM EST
    The majority of terror incidents over the last few years have been from the left - groups like PETA and the various eco-terrorists. You expend a lot of time worrying about right wing hate, and none at all on the actual threats No enemies to the left, eh?

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#4)
    by soccerdad on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 11:05:58 AM EST
    JR - please provide data/links its also necessary to differeniate between throwing red paint and armed white supremicists

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 11:52:08 AM EST
    1982 - 1992: http://www.themodernreligion.com/terror/terror-fbistats.html Then combined 1980 - 2001 http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terror2000_2001.htm#page_10 Note that the largest number is for left wing groups, not right wing. I suspect that a close reading would end up putting a lot of the "special interest" groups on the left. Either way, there's more left wing terror than there is right wing terror. It would be nice if TL and the left in general recognized this. Note: This is not an attempt on my part to whitewash any of the jerks on the extreme right - I have no truck with those people, and condemn everything they do. TL, on the other hand, seems to only notice terror committed by extreme right.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 12:04:08 PM EST
    No,no you miss the point, if a government can use domestic terrorism in a case in court we all become like bin laden in the eyes of the law, or non laws...its a plan and its working real well for the rich and for the powerful. I only ask one thing of my non government send your hit-guys after me First, after all the old have the right to be shot down like dogs before the young get it in the head, like waco. Yes Bush and his ideals of freedom are well understood all over the world.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#7)
    by soccerdad on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 01:16:29 PM EST
    JR Thanks

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 01:26:56 PM EST
    James R. Do you have dementia, The terrorist Erick rudolf just pleaded Guilty to several counts of Murder, Don't you recall all the other right wingnut Clinic bombings and Doctor assinations. Gee whiz, Take off those Wingnut colored glasses. Oh, I almost forgot don't forget all the up coming Activist Judge reprisal murders.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 01:33:57 PM EST
    As much as I disagree with PETA (I love KFC!), calling them a terror group is crazy talk.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 01:34:10 PM EST
    Damn How Could I leave out The Oklahoma Terrorist Bombing and Waco How about all the KKK Violence. what about all the Gay bashing and murders. I sure my fellow bloggers can add a lot more.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 01:57:46 PM EST
    Whacha gonna do when they come for you? The war on terrorism smells just like the war on drugs to me. Another excuse to avoid the bill of rights

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#12)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 02:05:44 PM EST
    I'd like to see a breakdown of property damage v. injury/death by RW v. LW groups.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#13)
    by TChris on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 02:25:52 PM EST
    Unfortunately, the FBI tends to regard organizations as "terrorist" whether their members merely cause property damage or whether they kill people. Terrorists who kill tend to be on the right, as the linked article makes clear.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 02:44:52 PM EST
    A Word about the KKK, It was being ran! by the FBI From about 1940, in fact 70 percent of all KKK Memebers were on the FBI Pay-roll as infomants, its part of our national history, to control and use all Groups, the funny thing about it, its doing it in the aztlan movement right now and in the world terrorist, movement right now, against us all. and to Janet Mckim you got it right, and like the war on drugs it will be used on us all in the end, in ways we can't see now. do any of you remember the iraq and iran war? who do you think paid for it? can you remember who was in power at that time? think about it.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:30:34 PM EST
    That's what I love about the left - throw facts and statistics at them, and they get all wonky. Those FBI stats are what they are - deal with it. PETA is most certainly involved in terrorism. ELF is involved in terrorism as well, and the fact that few people have been killed so far is luck. As to Eric Rudolph, he's a nasty piece of work, and I hope he rots in jail - unlike the left, I'm willing to condemn those who claim to be on my side of the spectrum.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:46:15 PM EST
    JR. My objection is your claim that most of the terrorism comes from the left. It's typical wingnutery misinformation. But I must admit you righties do worry more about Defileing a mink coat, Burning Humvees and Two million dollar McMansions. Than un-wed mothers and the folks who work in their health care clinics.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#17)
    by jondee on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:48:06 PM EST
    "Few people have been killed." Try no people. Man, you need to go to clear channel and see if they'll give you a talk show slot.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#18)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:56:26 PM EST
    JR - I saw the fbi stats and, according to them, the lw has more incidents than the rw. I wasn't dissing your post, just asking for an additional breakdown of the data. But if the lw incidents are all property damage and the rw incidents have significant people damage, you have to admit there is a difference between the 2. Do you have a breakdown of the types of ikncidents?

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#19)
    by Richard Aubrey on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 05:00:44 PM EST
    Jondee. Which side was the unabomber on? As I recall, he had Gore's book in his cabin. Did he kill anybody? Bomb anybody? You want to go back to Bomber Bill Ayres and his loco wife? They're not in jail. They're professors. That's how the left is penalized.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 06:10:56 PM EST
    Sailor Your right, I'm sure if you break down the nature of these "incidents". This is where the twisted wingnuttery comes in. Anyone who is arrested for assaulting a policeman during a anti war protest counts as an "incident" The F.B.I. would have and did considered Martin Luther King a, in todays terms, a potential TERRORIST. Does the F.B.I. consider the 9/11 attack Left or right? Hmm

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#21)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 06:35:07 PM EST
    the unabomber also had the bible in his cabin. Gore was a big supporter of technology, the unabomber against it. how was the unabomber lw? Not even the fbi says ted was a leftist. nice try

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#22)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 06:43:57 PM EST
    Do you hate GWB? Do you "hate the Republicans and everything they stand for"? Who's a hate group now?

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#23)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 07:36:02 PM EST
    et al - Has anyone read "The Third Terrorist" by Jana Davis? Ed B - Actually, out of wedlock birth has decreased over the past years. Perhaps someTthing is working. T Chris - Can you say, SDS, Weathermen...? Ed B writes - "Damn How Could I leave out The Oklahoma Terrorist Bombing and Waco. Actually Ed, no one died in Waco until the government went in. And can you tell me why Waco was a "right wing" group? The activities of its leader reminds me of Castro.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 07:46:22 PM EST
    Last night NBC Nightly News had a report on domestic terrorism. They briefly mentioned that left-wing terrorism was the greater threat, then they went back to interviewing the SPLC about all those evil right winger groups. How about some balance? Or, as TChris and NBC seem to be saying, isn't left wing terrorism not as bad as right wing terrorism? See this for more on NBC's report. That also has some links about the SPLC. Playing up the threat of right wing groups would appear to be part of the SPLC's business model.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#25)
    by Johnny on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 08:57:04 PM EST
    "Actually, out of wedlock birth has decreased over the past years. Perhaps someTthing is working." Aging population? Sex ed? Affordable birth control? Nah, abstinence, thats it!

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#26)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 08:57:47 PM EST
    Ed Beckman: read my post, follow the links. It's all documented, and calling it "wingnuttery" doesn't help. As to assertions that "it's all property damage" from the left? The Unabomber is one counter-example. Going back a bit (fair, since the Rudolph case is a decade old) we have the SLA and the Weathermen. I'd argue that the PETA and ELF attacks on animal research impose a an opportunity cost on the population as a whole - they impede research that is used to get valuable drugs approved. I'm not going to even respond to the class of moron who thinks this can all be handled by software simulations - sorry, if you believe that, you are just too stupid to have a hold on my time.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#27)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:02:58 PM EST
    sailor - Wasn't the unabomber an environmental wacko? Wasn't that his go button? BTW - Just noticed something. As soon as it was mentioned that the FBI shows more Leftie badies, the subject is switched to "type." Nice. Ed B - And then you chime in with "I'm sure..." Ed, how sure are you? Got any facts, or are you just singing along? et al - People seem to forget that the attack at Waco was the trigger that fired McViegh.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#28)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 11:42:14 PM EST
    The white supremicists groups - they seem scary and talk a big game but when it comes down to it they prefer to run their mouths. Besides - there's an easy solution to any threat they pose; make sure the minorities they threaten are armed and knowledgable about their responsibility for their own defense.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#29)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 11:45:45 PM EST
    The militia and patriot movements? A threat? Sure, if you try to take away their guns. and in that case they'd have the constitution backing them up.

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#30)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 11:54:51 PM EST
    The SPLC; well they do some good things, but also they can be asshatted. More or less if there are three or more white people who have guns it'll make their list of "groups to watch". Hoplophobia (an irrational fear of firearms) fuels much of their view concerning the militia movements. If I recall some fairly innoculous group such as the JPFO made their list not too long ago. That'd be Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. (when they say "never again" they mean it.) The militia movements aren't concerned with attacks against anyone. Their main concern is defense from government. Considering the way the government has been acting towards certain Rights acknowledged in the constitution I can't say they're making a big deal out of nothing. Remember, it's not really paranoia if someone is out ot get you. Just for fun look up 10 USC 311 sometime. You'll find that if you're between 18 & 45 you too are in the militia. my apologies for multiple posts. It seems the content filter here was tripped by some of my punctuation stylings. lol

    Re: Domestic Terrorism and Misplaced Priorities (none / 0) (#31)
    by Sailor on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 09:07:52 AM EST
    The white supremicists groups - they seem scary and talk a big game but when it comes down to it they prefer to run their mouths.
    Tell that to the dead blacks and koreans after a white supremicist opened fire on them! Tell that to all the flocks of the churches & synagogues that were burnt out by white supremicists! WRT the unabomber, perhaps a couple of quotes from his manifesto would clear up a couple of misconceptions:
    4. We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system.
    15. Leftists tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful. They hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality.
    another thoughtful rightwinger heard from;-). ted was a luddite, not a tree hugger.