DHS brands millions of honest citizens, veterans, as right-wing extremists
There are some disinformationalists on the internet and in the media who are shouting that said report was begun under the Bush administration, (and so it was), and that the report is, therefore, solely a Bush administration document. Nonsense. The DHS report was revised by DHS under the Obama administration, reviewed by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and approved for release by her—despite objections from the DHS Office of Civil Liberties. Whether the report was begun under the Bush, Truman or Washington administrations, it was revised, approved and released by the Obama administration and Napolitano has attempted to stand by all of it. Then most of it. Then some of it.
The Department of Homeland Security has released a report titled: Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.
The report, reviewed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano before its release, has outraged veterans groups, upset Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Bennie Thompson, (Dem. Miss), and appalled just about everyone else.
You may download or view a copy of the report as a PDF here.
Let’s go over some excerpts from the DHS report, such as:
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment [sic] groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.
So. The DHS can find no indication that the groups and individuals of which they seem to be concerned, plan to carry out violent acts. Just how does this constitute a “threat?” Well, it doesn’t. Look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of threat:
- an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage
- one that threatens
- an indication of something impending <the sky held a threat of rain>
Now look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of rhetoric:
- the art of speaking or writing effectively: as a: the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times b: the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion
- a: skill in the effective use of speech b: a type or mode of language or speech ; also : insincere or grandiloquent language
- verbal communication : discourse
In other words, people are conversing and they really haven’t made any threats.
Therefore, a copyeditor or English professor might re-write:
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.
There is no evidence that any group—even those we label extremist—is planning unlawful or violent acts.
Um, okay. Well, gee, I’m scared, aren’t you?
“… violent antigovernment groups… have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.”
Just who are these unnamed “groups,” why are they classified as violent since the DHS says they aren't planning any violence and—if they are really, really, really thought to be such a potential threat—why on Earth aren’t they named in a document intended to brief law enforcement agencies?
Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit…
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of US jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. [Emphasis mine]
Now wait just a darn minute! In one line the DHS report acknowledges the reality of, “… a prolonged economic downturn… real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit…” and in another line pontificates, “Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of US jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.”
Perceived? In that first quote, the DHS agrees that the world-wide economic debacle is real, yet in the next quote it is merely perceived. Napolitano actually read this before she released it?
Here’s some “chatter” from the New York Times—not exactly a bastion of “rightwing extremism:”
- Economy Shed 598,000 Jobs in January
- After the Bank Failure Comes the Debt Collector
- Housing Construction Fell in March, Dashing Hopes
- Retail and Price Data Show Continuing Economic Weakness
- Harder-Edged Warnings About Britain’s Economy
- Longer Unemployment for Those 45 and Older
- Russia May Turn to Foreign Banks for Loans to Cover Deficit
- Credit Crisis — The Essentials
I might stress that I have found no reports indicating that the New York Times plans to carry out violent acts. Maybe the DHS will investigate them anyway—just in case, you know?
Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.
I’m a little confused—they’re talking about the Republican Party here, right?
Way back in that first quote, the DHS says, “…and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts” and here, the DHS says, “but they have not yet turned to attack planning…” which seems to presume—based on no evidence whatsoever, according to the DHS’s own report—that they will turn to “attack planning.”
There’s a term for this… let me think… no, don’t tell me.. oh, yeah, that’s it… paranoia.
Or is it just an excuse to limit civil rights?
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and
adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
Thus, according to this DHS report, if you are:
- a member of any religion, because—let’s face it—all religions hate the others, but more specifically, perhaps:
- a Protestant who hates Satanists
- a Catholic who hates abortion
- a governor who—like Brian Schweitzer, (Democrat, Montana)—rejects federal authority in favor of state or local authority
- a Libertarian who is anti-government
well, Sir—or Ma’am—you are a rightwing extremist! That certainly is a broad definition. Thank you, DHS!
Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.
Whether you are a veteran or not, I’m sure you'll agree this outrageous insult to American troops stands on its own.
Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical [sic] election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment.
They’re still talking about the Republicans?
Most statements by rightwing extremists have been rhetorical, expressing concerns about the election of the first African American president, but stopping short of calls for violent action.
Translation: A lot of people don’t like Obama but they’re not doing anything unlawful. “… but stopping short of calls for violent action” seems to be deceitful, inflammatory rhetoric.
Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States.
And I guess they were right.
Rightwing extremists were concerned during the 1990s with the perception that illegal immigrants were taking away American jobs through their willingness to work at significantly lower wages. They also opposed free trade agreements, arguing that these arrangements resulted in Americans losing jobs to countries such as Mexico.
And I guess they were right.
Many rightwing extremist groups perceive* recent gun control legislation as a threat to their [Constitutional] right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to facilitate criminal activity and violence.
“Many rightwing extremist groups perceive* recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms…” well, of course it does, and so the US Supreme Court has consistently agreed.
“… combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to facilitate criminal activity and violence.” I think, rather, that the new administration’s heightened level of extremist paranoia is of far greater concern. You think the Patriot Act was a bad idea? This DHS document has Prior Restraint and Unconstitutional written all over it.
* “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
This disgraceful report adds:
A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.”
This refers to the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center, which is not at all a civil rights organization, but a money-making machine with a bizarre, hateful agenda about which you may read here, here, here and here.
US News and World Report has an interesting twist on this story at: DHS Report on Leftists Not Like Napolitano Report on Right-Wing Extremism
I suggest you do so and register your revulsion. You should also contact Janet Napolitano and your Congress Critters:
Department of Homeland Security Comment Line: 202-282-8495
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
US Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
And when you do, don’t forget to ask, “How much did this idiot report cost, anyway?”