Debate Magazine

Domestic Terrorism Vs Foreign Terrorism

Posted on the 22 February 2015 by Doggone
Domestic Terrorism vs Foreign Terrorism
Homeland Security is announcing another round of data regarding the radical right, including the sovereign citizen movement, causing a round of exploding heads inside their tinfoil hats. At the same time, regional Islamist terrorists from the horn of Africa, al Shibab, is threatening an attack on the Mall of America like the one in Kenya.
I've been taking the time to observe some of the propaganda from the far right wing bubble, as it gins up the anger of the teabagger .......what is the opposite of elite?  Lowest common denominator might fit, but not well, but it comes closer to the drooling and gullible sheeple that form a significant hard core demographic of the base.
It has been written that the consumers of Fox News and the rest of the right wind dis-information machine are not so much UN-informed, which can be said of those who do not bother with following any current events or issues, at any level (local, state, or national), but rather that they are MIS-informed.
Plenty of ink has been spilled in documenting that the right wing, especially the far right wrong, is angry, all the time, and distrustful of government.  That is not accidental, it is not spontaneous in origin, it is not organic. IT IS CONTRIVED, FOMENTED, DELIBERATELY CREATED ANGER, DISTRUST, AND POLARIZED BEYOND RECONCILIATION.
THAT is toxic and destructive to any democratic form of government of the people, by the people and for the people.  We can not have functional government so long as we have wilfully and deliberately ignorant people operating not to participate in governing, but intent on destruction or overthrow of our institutions, principles, and our very government itself, driven by that deliberately cultivated fear and ignorance.
I was intrigued by the new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which came out around the same time that the Department of Homeland Security was announcing that Right Wing Domestic Terrorism was a greater threat than ISIS/ISL/Daesh.
A new Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment circulated this month focuses on the threat of right-wing sovereign citizen extremist groups in the U.S. Some law enforcement groups say the threat is equal to, and occasionally greater than, the threat from Islamic extremist groups.
The Homeland Security report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010, CNN reported Friday.
These types of extremists believe that they can ignore laws because those laws attack their individual rights, even in routine daily instances like a traffic stop or being required to obey a court order, CNN reported Friday.
...While groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda have dominated the global discussion on terrorism, a survey last year of state and local law enforcement officers listed sovereign citizen terrorists ahead of foreign Islamists and domestic militia groups as the top domestic terror threat, CNN reported.
Eleanor Clift in the Daily Beast noted that we are averaging a Domestic Terrorist Attack every 34 days.;
Would-be members of anti-government groups are instead striking out on their own—becoming ‘lone wolves’—committing 74 percent of U.S. terrorism since 2009, according to a new report.
The radical anti-government groups that thrived after the election of Barack Obama are having trouble attracting potential new recruits, who are scared off by the “social cost” of being exposed as members. That’s the good news in a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center.The bad news is that these people—and they’re all over the Internet—are moving into what the SPLC calls “Lone Wolf” violence, or “Leaderless Resistance.” “What we think is happening is very large numbers of people are leaving bricks and mortar groups for the Internet,” says Mark Potok, a senior fellow with the SPLC and editor of the report. “The action is in cyberspace these days.”Potok cited the example of Republican leader Steve Scalise, who was excoriated for having spoken to a white supremacist conference. “He was able to hang on to his job and post, but it was very, very costly, and that’s what’s making people move away from these groups,” Potok says. A second factor prompting people to strike out on their own, or in very small groups, is frustration with the lack of action in bigger organizations.“They get tired of the meet, eat, and retreat crowd, all the talk about the evils of black people, gay people, Muslim people,” he says. “They get sick of all the talk, and they’re moving out on their own and begin to shoot.”...Islamist-driven terrorist attacks dominate the headlines today, but more Americans are killed by domestic non-Islamist terror, an uncomfortable reality that is documented in the SPLC’s “Age of the Wolf: A Study of the Rise of Lone Wolf and Leaderless Resistance Terrorism.” The report covers 2009 to 2015, the period Obama has been in office, and finds that a terrorist incident took place or was disrupted every 34 days.
“We are not in any way trying to dismiss the jihadist threat, but there’s a huge amount of carnage that is carried out by the domestic radical right, and let’s not forget that.”

Of the 63 terrorist acts documented, 74 percent were committed by a lone wolf. Once pairs were included, a man and a woman, or a couple of buddies, 90 percent of all domestic terror was accounted for, whether it was Islamist or some other form of hatred or anti-government ideology. Another finding: Those who commit domestic terror are much older than those who commit other crimes. “We are not in any way trying to dismiss the jihadist threat,” says Potok, “but there’s a huge amount of carnage that is carried out by the domestic radical right, and let’s not forget that.”
The SPLC report credits Louis Beam, an early ’80s KKK leader in Texas, with popularizing the concept of “leaderless resistance” in a seminal (for the white supremacist movement) 1983 essay he wrote about the dangers of large, top-down groups. Beam urged his followers to move into single or small-cell terrorism, no more than six men, an idea that was picked up and adopted by white supremacists, and also by jihadists.
Raising the topic of homegrown terrorism in the context of the ongoing national outcry over Islamist-fueled terrorism is politically explosive. The Obama administration got an early taste of how the subject can spin out of control when then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano released a report in 2009 on right-wing extremism that said these groups are interested in recruiting returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with military skills. Construing the report as an attack on veterans, the right was outraged, forcing Napolitano to apologize to the American Legion, among others, and withdraw it.
The timing of the SPLC report is an effort to put the terrorist threat in context. The effort is likely to get pushback, just as Obama did at last week’s prayer breakfast when he reminded the religious leaders that this is not the first time crimes have been committed in the name of religion, or in his interview last week with Vox when he said climate change poses a greater threat to national security than terrorism. In releasing the report, the SPLC is seeking to “find a balance that’s in line with reality.” That’s an elusive goal when the No. 1 threat in most people’s minds is Islamist-based terrorism from abroad, not our fellow Americans.

The American Psychological Association, back in 2009, summarized some of the scientific studies focused on understanding terrorism, and it fits the radical misinformed right wing, particularly the persistent meme they are spoon-fed by right wing media that they are victimized when they are not:
For years, psychologists examined terrorists' individual characteristics, mining for clues that could explain their willingness to engage in violence. While researchers now agree that most terrorists are not "pathological" in any traditional sense, several important insights have been gleaned though interviews with some 60 former terrorists conducted by psychologist John Horgan, PhD, who directs the Pennsylvania State University's International Center for the Study of Terrorism.
Horgan found that people who are more open to terrorist recruitment and radicalization tend to:
  • Feel angry, alienated or disenfranchised.
  • Believe that their current political involvement does not give them the power to effect real change.
  • Identify with perceived victims of the social injustice they are fighting.
  • Feel the need to take action rather than just talking about the problem.
  • Believe that engaging in violence against the state is not immoral.
  • Have friends or family sympathetic to the cause.
  • Believe that joining a movement offers social and psychological rewards such as adventure, camaraderie and a heightened sense of identity.

Beyond the individual characteristics of terrorists, Horgan has learned that it's more fruitful to investigate how people change as a result of terrorist involvement than to simply ask why they enter in the first place. That's because asking why tends to yield pat, ideological responses, while asking how reveals important information about the processes of entry, involvement and leaving organizations, he has found. Potential areas to tap include examining the myriad ways people join organizations, whether via recruitment or personal decision; how leaders influence people's decision to adopt certain roles, for example by glorifying the role of suicide bomber; and factors that motivate people to leave.
...Some psychologists believe terrorism is most accurately viewed through a political lens. Psychologist Clark McCauley, PhD, a co-investigator at START and director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at Bryn Mawr College, has come to see terrorism as "the warfare of the weak"—the means by which groups that lack material or political power fight what they see as oppressive forces. As such, he believes that terrorist actions and government reactions to them represent a dynamic interplay, with the moves of one group influencing those of the other. As one example, if terrorists commit an attack and a state uses extreme force to send a punishing message back, the terrorists may use that action to drum up greater anti-state sentiment among citizens, lending justification to their next actions. Yet research focuses almost solely on terrorist actions and neglects the important other side of the equation, he contends. "If you can't keep track of what we're doing in response, how can you ever hope to figure out what works better or worse?" McCauley says.
When it comes to terrorism, in the words of the old comic strip Pogo, we have met the enemy, and he is us.......some of us, not all of us. But some of us would rather focus on the them half-way around the world. You can tell 'them', because they're the people the radical right wants us to believe "aren't like us", while those 'other people' are really more like the radical right than they care to admit.  The greater threat is arguably the most proximate threat, not 'those people' half way round the world.

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