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Delivering remarks on domestic terrorism at an event co-sponsored by the George Washington University’s program on extremism and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin announced on Wednesday the creation of a new position within the Department of Justice (DOJ) aimed at investigating violent extremism.
“We are here to talk about combating domestic terrorism, which the FBI has explained as ‘Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies.’ The threat ranges from individuals motivated by anti-government animus, to eco-radicalism and racism,” stated Carlin. He continued: “Homegrown violent extremists can be motivated by any viewpoint on the full spectrum of hate. Anti-government views, racism, bigotry, anarchy and other despicable beliefs. When it comes to hate and intolerance, no single ideology governs.” Carlin then went on to mention the following: “as our SPLC colleagues can attest, racial hatred motivates many of the violent extremist attacks. The Attorney General noted this summer that these kinds of hate crimes are the original domestic terrorism. Among domestic extremist movements active in the United States, white supremacists are the most violent.”
The new position at the Justice Department, dubbed the “Domestic Terrorism Counsel,” will serve as the main point of contact for U.S. attorney offices nationwide and will identify “trends across cases, help shape strategy and analyze legal gaps that need to be closed,” stated Carlin. Yet, as Leo Hohmann of World Net Daily writes, “while the FBI has confirmed it has active ISIS investigations in all 50 states and Islamic-inspired attacks have occurred in recent years in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Garland, Texas, and Fort Hood, the Justice Department sees Islamic jihadists as no more dangerous than mentally ill actors such as Dylann Roof, the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooter who killed nine black Christians.” In fact, Hohmann notes, “Justice officials have indicated that home-grown ‘right wingers’ are possibly more numerous and dangerous than the jihadists. In announcing the new position Wednesday, Carlin referred to a study by the New America Foundation that found nearly twice as many Americans have been killed by ‘right-wing’ extremists since Sept. 11 than by Islamic terrorists.”
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The New America Foundation lists the Charleston church shooting among 19 right-wing terrorist attacks, while the study only lists seven jihadist attacks that killed 26 people since Sept. 11. “Nowhere to be found on the foundation’s list is the Chattanooga shooter, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who killed five U.S. servicemen. Also absent on the list is John Muhammad, the Washington, D.C., sniper who killed at least 10 people in 2002 with his young accomplice, Lee Malvo,” points out Hohmann. The reason for this is because the New America Foundation, like the Southern Poverty Law Center, defines threats not by reality but by a false narrative that selectively targets conservative groups.
The threats are defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which is working in conjunction with the Department of Justice to target those they label a part of the “radical right.” The SPLC labels organizations with conservative views as hate groups and has enjoyed premier access to our DOJ. The government watchdog agency Judicial Watch first exposed this in 2013 as they obtained emails from the Obama DOJ that revealed SPLC co-founder Morris Dees had conducted a “diversity training event” for the agency back in 2012. Furthermore, the Family Research Council, along with a coalition of conservative groups, exposed the wide-ranging influence of the SPLC as they have also provided the U.S. military with training supplies and briefings as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In fact, the FBI actually endorsed the SPLC as a source and listed it as a resource on its “hate crime web page.”
The relationship between the SPLC and its influence on shaping who the federal government investigates as a “domestic terrorist” was fully disclosed in a 2014 Annual Report on the Southern Poverty Law Center. In part, the report boasts that the SPLC “investigative team exposed the growing threat from the radical right, trained thousands of law enforcement officials to counter the threat, and pushed the federal government to open its eyes to domestic terrorism.” The report specifically highlights that the SPLC “successfully pushed the federal government to reinstate a high-level task force on domestic terrorism.”
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Under the title of “Fighting Hate,” the SPLC report notes the following work done by their very own Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups and extremist activity in all 50 states and provides comprehensive updates to law enforcement, government agencies, the media, scholars and policymakers. The following is an excerpt from the report:
In 2013, the Project documented 939 hate groups and 1,096 antigovernment “Patriot” groups, including armed militias. In addition, it fought the mainstreaming of hate and extremist propaganda by shining a spotlight on public officials who help legitimize groups such as the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA).
In October, the Intelligence Project and a coalition of human rights groups called on members of Congress and other public officials not to speak at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., because the event host and its key co-sponsor – the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA) – have long records of vilifying the LGBT community.
After the coalition sent letters urging speakers to forego the event, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal backed out. U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia also canceled his appearance at the Values Voter Summit, where he was set to headline a fundraising luncheon for the AFA.
Next, the SPLC highlights their work providing expertise to law enforcement:
The Intelligence Project also provides in-person training sessions to law enforcement officers to ensure they not only understand hate-related issues but are equipped with the latest intelligence on the radical right. In 2013, the Project provided training to more than 5,000 officers. Its staffers traveled extensively to share their expertise on hate groups and domestic terrorism with local, state and federal government agencies.
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To get an idea of the role played by the SPLC within the DOJ’s new position on the Domestic Terrorism Counsel, look no further than this October 12, 2015 headline that ran on the SPLC website, “Fifteen Confederate ‘flaggers’ indicted for terroristic threats and gang activity in Georgia.” The article highlights the role that the SPLC will be playing in future investigations working in conjunction with the DOJ. An excerpt reads:
A Georgia state prosecutor today announced the indictments of 15 people who threatened African Americans and used racial slurs when they stopped at a family party while cruising around in a convoy of pickup trucks flying Confederate flags. Ten men and five women were charged with issuing terroristic threats and participating in gang activity. Two of the men were also charged with battery for hitting a man at a gas station on the same day.
The SPLC launched an investigation immediately after the July 25 incident and turned over videos and other evidence to Douglasville District Attorney Brian K. Fortner. SPLC attorneys also brought witnesses to the prosecutor and have been representing some of the people at the party.
Knowing that the SPLC will now be given a larger role in our government to target “domestic extremists” is troubling, particularly when you look at the history under the Obama administration as they’re primarily focused on targeting “domestic right-wing extremists.” You may not think of yourself as a “domestic right-wing extremist,” but the truth is that patriotic Americans and conservative Christians as well as returning veterans have been repeatedly labeled as “potential terrorists” since Barack Obama became president.
Michael Snyder, of The Truth Wins, writes in regards to this administration’s history of targeting those of us on the right that if it had “just happened one time, it would be easy to dismiss. Sadly, there has been a steady pattern of this happening over the past several years. Large groups of people that are the heart and soul of this country have been systematically demonized over the past four years. When you consider what history has taught us, it is absolutely chilling to think about what this could eventually lead to.”
Looking at some examples of government documents released under this administration that identifies who and what this regime considers to be a domestic terrorist, one can begin to realize why these reports are so frightening given the creation of the DOJ’s Domestic Terrorism Counsel.
The trend began shorty after Barack Obama became president in 2009 as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a report entitled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” The report can be read in its entirety below.
The report claimed that a belief in “Bible prophecy could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons.” Among other things, here are some of the key highlights of the report which the DHS was extremely concerned about:
Those concerned about “illegal immigration”
Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”
“Fear of communist regimes and related conspiracy theories”
From 2009 to 2011, the reports on “right-wing extremists” were few and far between; but in 2012, there was a resurgence of reports that continues to this day. Beginning on January 31, 2012, a new report was released by the DHS’ National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). The report was titled “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008.” This report identified characteristics of those who have committed terrorist attacks in the past and of those who are likely to do so in the future. The report can be read in full below.
In describing the ideological motivation of “Extreme Right-Wing” groups in their profile of perpetrators of terrorism in the United States, the report notes the following:
Extreme Right-Wing: groups that subscribe to aspects of the following ideals: they are fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty (especially their right to own guns, be free of taxes), believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty and a belief that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (sometimes such beliefs are amorphous and vague, but for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group), and a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism.
In 2013, an internal FBI intelligence report on the “National Threat Assessment for Domestic Extremists” was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon in which the FBI concludes that the threat to U.S. internal security from extremists is limited to attacks and activities by eight types of domestic extremist movements — none motivated by radical Islam. They include anti-government militia groups and white supremacy extremists, along with “sovereign citizen” nationalists and anarchists.
Then in 2014, another report was penned by START, which is the same cadre of professors at the University of Maryland who advised the DHS in their 2012 “Hot Spots of Terrorism” report mentioned earlier. The 2014 report titled “Understanding Law Enforcement Intelligence Processes” attempts to equivocate the threat posed by foreign terrorists to that of people who love the Constitution, want to observe their Second Amendment rights, and love the flag and think America is a great nation. The report can be read below.
Finally, in 2015, the FBI released it’s latest Intelligence bulletin warning that “Militia Extremists Expand Target Sets To Include Muslims.” The report can be viewed in full by clicking on the picture below.
The FBI assesses militia extremist interest in Islam as a target is a product of ideology that views Muslims collectively with suspicion. Salient perceptions within militia extremism that contribute toward an anti-Muslim bias include the following: Islam represents a foreign threat, equivalent to those which emanate from illegal immigration or international terrorism; The President of the United States not only sympathizes with Islamic extremists but directs US Government policy to align with their goals.
The report goes on to cite two instances of “militia” leaders implying their anger at Muslims and that they may target them. No actual instances of this desire to attack Muslims has been seen, though. Yet, with this FBI assessment, we finally see the agenda of this administration come full circle as intelligence agencies have warned since 2009 that the real threat to America is the one posed by conservative groups, tea partiers, military veterans, and militias. It has gotten to the point in which Islam is now the victim of a threat that literally does not even exist, while the threat posed by Islamic jihadists is more real than we could ever imagine.
In fact, in a new report from the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, it is noted that there has been a sharp rise in jihadi terror attempts inside the USA, from the 38 that were identified in 2010 to 127 today. According to the Chairman of the Committee, Michael McCaul, as of early October, the terrorist organization known as ISIS has inspired or directed 61 terror attack plots against Western targets, including 17 in the United States. There have been more than twice as many ISIS-linked attack plots against Western targets in 2015 (41) than in 2014 (20). To see the Committee’s latest Terror Threat Snapshot, click on the map below.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.