by Sheila Musaji
A 148 page report titled “Challengers from the Sidelines Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right” PDF here was released by THE COMBATING TERRORISM CENTER AT WEST POINT ( http://www.ctc.usma.edu ).
The Atlantic Wire reported:
Aren’t conservatives supposed to be hawkish on terror? They tend to be when it comes to foreign terrorists, but many are taking umbrage at a new West Point report on violent far-right extremists home-grown right here in the U.S. Earlier this week, the Combatting Terrorism Center (CTC) at America’s leading military academy published an extensive report on the “dramatic rise in the number of attacks and violent plots originating from individuals and groups who self-identify with the far-right of American politics.” Christian fundamentalists, Militia movement groups, Skinheads, neo-Nazis, and violent anti-abortionists were all cited in the report, titled Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right. These factions may harbor different ideological goals, but as this chart shows, they’ve all ramped up their violent tactics in trying to achieve them:
“Although in the 1990s the average number of attacks per year was 70.1, the average number of attacks per year in the first 11 years of the twenty-first century was 307.5, a rise of more than 400%,” writes Dr. Arie Perliger, Director of Terrorism Studies at the CTC.
In short, this report makes a convincing case about extremists trying to inflict harm upon innocent Americans, and it’s full of alarming data and clear policy recommendations. Conservatives love appealing to these kinds of studies when arguing that we need to get tough on terror, right? Well, not in this case. One Republican congressional staffer—who thinks only Muslims can be terrorists—told The Washington Times’ Rowan Scarborough:
If [the Defense Department] is looking for places to cut spending, this junk study is ground zero. Shouldn’t the Combating Terrorism Center be combating radical Islam around the globe instead of perpetuating the left’s myth that right-wingers are terrorists?
The National Review‘s John Fund also wants to change the subject to terrorists in other parts of the world:
The world is beset by terrorists—witness the American hostages taken in Algeria this week—but portions of our federal government continue to obsess about alleged home-grown threats from the “far right” … My sources inside Congress tell me they continue to worry that efforts to monitor domestic Muslim extremists as well as interdiction efforts against radical Islamists crossing the U.S. border are sometimes put on the back burner. The government denies this, but it seems to me its protestations would be more persuasive if it spent less time producing half-baked warnings about the danger of “right-wing extremists.”
World Net Daily’s Michael Carl extensively quotes blogger Pamela Geller in his article on the report. “This is another appalling attempt to demonize loyal Americans and whitewash the Islamic threat,” Geller says. “West Point probably is working on orders from higher ups. Or else it has bought into the dominant PC culture.” Over at Newsmax, Christiana Lilly buries the lede—turning a story about far-right terrorists into a story about liberals:
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point released a paper calling far right groups anti-federalists while describing liberals as “future oriented,” the Washington Times reports.
And yes, you better believe Drudge sirened it:
West Point cites dangers of ‘anti-federalists’ in U.S…. drudge.tw/WnbwBW
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) January 18, 2013
The Atlantic Wire mentioned Pamela Geller in passing, but she and her partner in hate, Robert Spencer, went far outside of anything that could charitably be called rational.
West Point targets believers in “individual freedoms” as terrorists is the title of Geller’s screed. Geller says: “As the country (and the free world) face increasing threats and acts of war from jihadists both here and abroad, America’s leading military academy is focusing its military training on the enemy’s (and fifth column’s) obstacle to enslaving the union: Americans who believe in individual rights.”
She then cherry picks one sentence out of the West Point report, ignoring the rest of the report, and uses that out of context sentence justify this gem: “The founding principle of this once-great nation is individual rights. The very reason for our existence. Everything magnificent and noble that we are acheived as a nation was a consequence of that founding principle. And now those patriots who adhere to that fundamental belief are the enemy. … This is war against who and why we are. And it seems it is “perishing” without so much as firing a shot.”
She is saying that American non-Muslim far right terrorists are an “obstacle to jihadists enslaving the union” and therefore they are “patriots”. West Point in targeting these “patriots” is helping “the enemy”. This is what happens to reason and decency when pathological hatred of any minority becomes the sole focus of an individuals worldview.
She then references an article by her partner in hate, Robert Spencer to reinforce her position West Point brands believers in “individual freedoms” as terrorists. Spencer says “The U.S. Government has long since abandoned any realistic discussion of the Islamic jihad threat, and now is focusing on ordinary Americans who believe in individual rights as terror threats. And so the descent continues, ever more rapidly.”
The satire site Wonkette pretty well nailed this one Pamela Geller: Why Is America Being So Mean To Domestic Terrorists?:
Vision of loveliness Pamela Geller has taken a break from inciting crazy people to push Sikh dudes into the path of oncoming trains to wonder why West Point is being so mean to “loyal Americans” who just want to violently overthrow the United States government and/or kill some mud people! It is not like the oaths of office we just heard Barack Obama and Old Handsome Joe Biden swear include anything about enemies “foreign and domestic.” And our domestic terrorists loyal Americans just happen to be committing an average of 307 violent attacks per year lately, according to a new report from West Point! So what does Pamela Geller think of loyal Americans using violence to make their needs known?
“This is another appalling attempt to demonize loyal Americans and whitewash the Islamic threat,” Geller said. “West Point probably is working on orders from higher ups. Or else it has bought into the dominant PC culture.”
It’s true, Pamela Geller. Everyone knows that Timothy McVeigh was a loyal American, just watering that good old tree of liberty. And you couldn’t ask for nicer guys than the ones who shoot up temples if’n they are worshiped at by non-whites. West Point is a communist. Go to jail, West Point! Go directly to jail.
Such lunacy is par for the course for Geller and Spencer. Their comments on the Hutaree Christian Militia arrests, and their shameless attacks on Anders Breivik’s Norway terror victims are an example of their one-dimensional worldview. They are concerned only with Muslim criminals, any one else pretty much gets a free pass.
New Study Highlights Threat From Far Right-Wing Groups In U.S., Hayes Brown http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/01/18/1467741/west-point-study-right-wing-threat/
West Point Report Warns of Violent Far-Right Groups http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/west-point-report-warns-of-violent-far-right-groups-130120?news=846803