Politically Convenient Terrorism

Early into the Tucson massacre, I wrote a post called White Terrorist Apologia. It was based on a statement from a

Click on this picture to go to a short discussion on skinheads. Read the apologia for skinheads there in the comments. Comments like " skin heads have there place in our society" and "Great topic to write about but unfortunately, they pose no real threat to the Country as a whole! "

reader of Juan Cole’s Informed Comment that “pointed out that if a Muslim organization had put out a poster with American politicians in the cross-hairs, and one had gotten shot, there would have been hell to pay”.   We had a recent terrorist threat in Spokane with pics just shown  in the Seattle Weekly as a “sophisticated and deadly” bomb deposited along a MLK celebratory parade route.  Then,  we got the silence of the lambs.  My guess is that napsack was deposited by the Washington State Hate Group “The American Front Skinheads’ or some such spin off.  They’ve done stuff like that before. Here’s a refresher for those of you that don’t remember the early 1990s around the Ruby Ridge Incident and Waco.

In this context, the FBI recorded four incidents of right-wing terrorism between 1990 and April 1996 (when The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996(1)AEDPA” was signed into law), including two July 1993 bombings in Washington state, by the American Front Skinheads–one of a gay bar in Seattle and the other of the NAACP headquarters in Tacoma. More generally, from 1989 through 1991, the Justice Department reported that the number of bombing incidents in the United States increased from 1208 to 2499; none were acts of Arab terrorism. In 1993, there were forty-three deaths and over three hundred injuries due to bombings not tied to international terrorist groups.

EmptyWheel picked up on the quiet too and noted that Some Terrorism Scares Are More Useful Than Other Terrorism Scares.  Marcy discusses not only how we don’t screech about acts of terrorism most likely committed by right wing groups but that right wing blogs seem complicit in the silence.   She cites  David Neiwert and his running list of domestic terror attacks that she argues “demonstrates clearly that these are not isolated incidences”.  She also points out a very interesting headline at The Philadelphia Inquirer: ‘Has right-wing carping killed media coverage of major “domestic terrorism” case in Spokane’ by Will Bunch.

Which is why I can’t help but wonder if there’s a backstory here related to the past weeks coverage of the assassination attempt on Rep. Giffords, and the right-wing critique of some of that coverage. As you surely recall, the fact that a Democratic congresswoman was targeted in a state that has beeb a bastion of the Tea Party Movement and unrest over issues like illegal immigration provoked a number of articles about political rhetoric on the right — including the fact that Giffords had been mapped with crosshairs in the now famous political mailing by Sarah Palin’s PAC.

Does the pro-gun crowd disown these kinds of militias, own them, or just want them ignored by the MSM so as not to interfere with their spin that only leftist loonies threaten our government?  Marcy’s thoughts are pretty clear on the matter.

Because the press almost never covers these domestic terrorism incidents. And, just as importantly, our government doesn’t often (the biggest exception was the Hutaree bust) hold big press conferences to report on such events, partly is because most press conferences are about arrests, not unsolved crimes. Moreover, in spite of Neiwert’s and Bunch’s work, there is not one bogeyman, like al Qaeda, which the press can blame.

And without an easy and convenient bogeyman, terrorism scares don’t serve the same purpose for the press, or the government.

How much of this also has to do with the fact that we really have no real left in this country?  We actually have no actual liberals or socialists that really have a voice in media or a major following on the web.  All we have is ‘progressives’ and conservatives that aren’t interested in conserving anything but the wealth of the plutocracy.    As I pointed out in my January 8 post, even when the FBI and other law enforcement agencies point out these right wing militia groups, the right wing blogosphere and media turns it into an attack on gun rights and veterans. They deliberately miss the point.

This leads me to believe that we’re only subject to concern about terrorists when it’s politically convenient.  We can extrapolate terrorism out of building mosques but actually finding bombs along parade routes isn’t so interesting because it doesn’t play into the current political theatre.  The current political theatre is what’s cooking on the list of John Boehner and the like.  Right now, the list of acceptable terrorist threats include anything that might be linkable to  Mexican Drug Cartels, women wanting reproductive care, and Muslims. So, building a mosque is an act of terrorism.  Asking a pharmacist for drugs which stop uterine infections is an act of  terrorism.  Printing signs in both Spanish and English is an act of terrorism.  Actually leaving bombs on MLK day parade routes; not interesting.

We need to start calling a lot more people out on this.  It’s obvious that most Americans really don’t know what a long and violent history we have with these right wing militia groups.  Check out that running list and a similar one I posted on my January 8 thread.  These folks are violent, crazy, and well armed.  They are already in the country.  The press needs to do a better job of providing information on all threats to domestic security even when it doesn’t match with the narrative the right wing wants on gun ownership and anti-federal government memes.

Buried in our newspapers from yesterday:

Yesterday the AP reported an anonymous U.S. official saying it was the most “potentially destructive” device he’d ever seen.

“They haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.”A bit alarmist, perhaps. But no doubt that this thing exploding on a parade procession would have been horrific.

Oh, and think you’re someplace safe?

Police Seize ‘Large Amount’ Of Weapons From Blogger Who Praised Giffords Shooting: ‘1 Down And 534 To Go’

Police in Arlington, MA this week seized a “large amount” of weapons and ammunition from local businessman Travis Corcoran after he wrote a blog post threatening U.S. lawmakers in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). In a post on his blog (which has since been removed) titled “1 down and 534 to go” — 1 referring to Giffords and 534 referring to the rest of the House of Representatives and the Senate — Corcoran applauded the shooting of Giffords and justified the assassination of lawmakers because he argued the federal government has grown far beyond its constitutional limits. “It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot indiscriminately. Target only politicians and their staff and leave regular citizens alone,” he wrote in the post.

Oh, and this guy wasn’t a Muslim, wasn’t a Mexican, and wasn’t a woman wanting an abortion.  He  falls into the extreme libertarian anti-government category like his buddies described up top.  His tweets indicate he’s a fan of Senator Rand Paul.  What will the Drudge Report and the Tea Party say to defend his arsenal and his speech?  Just another white guy who loves parts of the first amendment and all of the second?

Update: Description of  Corcoran’s Politics from the ThinkProgress post.

Corcoran calls himself “an anarcho-capitalist” and while his blog has been taken down, based on his Twitter page, he appears to hold views similar to those of many in the anti-government libertarian wing of the conservative movement, like many tea party activists. Anarcho-capitalism is a radical subset of libertarianism, and is often referred to as “libertarian-anarchy.” For example, echoing calls from many on the right, Corcoran tweeted, “it is unconstitutional for the Feds to even run a department of education.”

12 Comments on “Politically Convenient Terrorism”

  1. jmacwa says:

    I could be mistaken, but I think that incident was in Spokane WA, not Seattle.

    • dakinikat says:

      You’re right … the links from the Seattle newspaper … the event was in Spokane … I mistyped!! I’ve had brain clouds on self editing this week. Thanks so much!!

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Kat, do you have that link to the hate groups in the US, it was a website that had locations of hate groups organized by state?

  3. B Kilpatrick says:

    I still don’t get why the occasional anti-government terrorist is such a horrible thing. Hell, the government kidnaps approximately 800,000 people a year, puts them in cages, humiliates them, subjects them to brutalization and rape while in those cages, makes it difficult impossible to get a job after they’re let out, and then claims the moral high ground. And after it does that, well-meaning sorts treat it like an entity that can be bargained with, reformed, and put to good use, rather than the robber writ large that it actually is…

    And the terrorism we’re supposed to worry about is from Muslims (if we believe the right), or the right-wingers (if we’re to believe what passes for a left)?

    I’d say the flow of violence in this country is pretty much one-way, from the government to the people. (MLK wasn’t far off when he called the federal government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”) Those are the people I worry about, and they really are everywhere, unlike what the SPLC scaremongers would have one believe.

    • B Kilpatrick says:

      Last sentence apparently got mangled – it should read “and they really are everywhere, unlike the boogeymen held up by the SPLC.”

    • dakinikat says:

      If you’ve got suggestions on how to reel back the military industrial complex and the obsession with manifest destiny, I’m all ears. We shouldn’t be the world police.

      • B Kilpatrick says:

        Ain’t that a b—- of a question!

        Seriously though, the only thing that has a snowball’s chance in hell of working is to engage with those of similar mind but different view, ignore the big differences, and concentrate on the big issues. I’m personally of the opinion that being opposed to war abroad and not a massive state at home is inconsistent, but I’ll settle for working to avoid being simultaneously blown up and looted. So I guess that’s my olive branch. 😉

        When the tea party types start to ask uncomfortable questions, their masters usually do some variation of the following: “Look over there – A MUSLIM! Let’s get him!” I think the same thing happens with democrats, but maybe more like “Look over there – a WHITE SUPREMACIST (or whatever)! Let’s get him!” People like that are an incredibly tiny minority, and their ideas are dying a slow death. They’d be dying a faster one if economically marginalized areas weren’t being ground into the, well, ground economically.

        My Orthodox Libertarian answer is that everything but war, and the national security state at home secondarily, are distractor issues. In the arena of politics, you can’t leap over, you just have to cut through all of the bad ideas. Don’t argue with people. Find what they think and then ask the questions that make them nervous. Asking an orthodox republican something like, “So you favor (war x) even though at this rate, your children and grandchildren will basically be identured servants because of the massive spending?” or something like that is a million times more effective than arguing with them. Learn your Herbert Spencer, basically, and use it to subvert their ideas, turn them in on themselves, and crush them.