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It's the Culture of Life run amok!
April 16, 2005 3:23 PM   Subscribe

  Even after McVeigh was arrested and the government identified two white males as perpetrators, CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer insisted that "there is still a possibility that there could have been some sort of connection to Middle East terrorism. One law enforcement source tells me that there's a possibility that they (the Caucasian suspects) may have been contracted out as freelancers to go out and rent this truck that was used in the bombing."

From William Krar to Timothy McVeigh, the issue of domestic terrorism has earned little serious, substantive coin in mainstream media coverage over the last two decades, beyond doses of rabble rousing against Muslims, Jews, gays, abortion rights activists and health practitioners, and anyone else who doesn't fit the evangelical Christian mold, from convicted murderers like Eric Rudolph to future presidential candidates like Jeb Bush all the way up to active three-star generals. When domestic terror doesn't sell, it's business as usual in the "left-wing" mainstream media...
posted by AlexReynolds (39 comments total)

 
this is mcveigh's website? that explains a lot.
posted by quonsar at 3:26 PM on April 16, 2005


Corrected link.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:30 PM on April 16, 2005


Right-wing militants seen to be less a threat in U.S. This article sadly underestimates them.

The Southern Povery Law Center has great info on all this-- It's a much bigger threat than Islamic fundamentalists or other foreigners.
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on April 16, 2005


The Southern Povery Law Center has great info on all this-- It's a much bigger threat than Islamic fundamentalists or other foreigners.

Who's to say we cant go after both? It's not a contest, and it's not like we don't have the resources to deal with both groups (and both are genuine threats.

I'd quite frankly be thrilled with Eric Rudolph and Osama Bin Laden locked in the same SuperMax.
posted by jonmc at 3:44 PM on April 16, 2005


We aren't going after both--at all. We're ignoring and downplaying domestic threats. Read the newspaper article i linked to, and Alex's.
posted by amberglow at 3:49 PM on April 16, 2005


For just one example, see Rudolph--not described as a terrorist in most if not all media accounts, and not being prosecuted under any of our new anti-terror laws, etc.
posted by amberglow at 3:50 PM on April 16, 2005


Eric Rudolph and Osama Bin Laden locked in the same SuperMax.

sounds like the perfect setup for a marginally funny joke
posted by matteo at 3:51 PM on April 16, 2005


amberglow, I agree, we're not going after either effectively. I'm just saying it's not a contest. I'd be happier with both Al Qaeda and the Aryan Nations neutralized.
posted by jonmc at 3:51 PM on April 16, 2005


Considering the Aryan Nations tend to live inside the US already, and tend to "normal" enough to rouse little suspicion, I'd say we need to put in a lot more effort against them.

Of course, it's interesting to note the few things these groups do agree on. They hate gays, they hate atheists, and they hate liberals.
posted by Saydur at 4:03 PM on April 16, 2005


Actually, Rudolph probably isn't considered a terrorist by the current administration because he is an anti-abortion activist. He's doing "god's work".
posted by Eekacat at 4:04 PM on April 16, 2005


He's also in prison for life without, and if he hadn't plea bargianed he'd have gone to death row.

Do I consider him (and the rest of the rightie wingnuts) a terrorist? Sure, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over what the media calls them as long as they imprison and/or kill them.
posted by jonmc at 4:11 PM on April 16, 2005


Right-wing militants seen to be less a threat in U.S. This article sadly underestimates them.
How do you figure, amberglow? I mean - I typically find the SPLC pretty credible on these issues, and, if they say the threat is decreasing, I'm rather tempted to take their word for it. Which is not to say, of course, that the problem should be ignored, or even that the current efforts against it are sufficient.

Also, to be frank, I find the idea that the US radical right is more of a danger than international radical Islamist groups to be simply wrongheaded. Any objective analysis regarding the size of the groups, their access to weaponry and assorted other dangerous things, their financial resources, their contacts with assorted unpleasant foreign regimes, their past destructiveness, the effectiveness of their organization, essentially any reasonable measure one could chose, you'd find that the radical Islamist threat outstrips the otherm, probably by orders of magnitude.

Finally, about Eric Rudolph: as part of his plea bargain, he revealed the locations of several hundred pounds of explosives he had hidden. Just something to note. (Also, if I understand the concept of ex post facto correctly, he probably couldn't be charged under any of the newer anti-terrorism laws.)
posted by kickingtheground at 4:22 PM on April 16, 2005


Meanwhile, the Administration still can't explain why the world's mightiest army can't find a 6'7" Yemeni hiding in Pakistan with 50 to 100 of his closest friends.

That is completely absurd to me.
posted by clevershark at 4:22 PM on April 16, 2005


How do you figure, amberglow? I mean - I typically find the SPLC pretty credible on these issues, and, if they say the threat is decreasing, I'm rather tempted to take their word for it. Which is not to say, of course, that the problem should be ignored, or even that the current efforts against it are sufficient.

The SPLC is quoted in the article, saying: The collapse of the militia movement does not mean right-wing groups pose no danger.

The decline of militant and militia groups in no way means that there is a decline in the threat. Read their site, and the recent news of people being found with entire arsenals in their homes.

I think you're wrong. We've had many many attacks--on gay bars, abortion clinics, etc. We had entire towns sheltering Rudolph for years. We've only had 2 WTC attacks, and one Millennium plot foiled.
posted by amberglow at 4:27 PM on April 16, 2005


Also, to be frank, I find the idea that the US radical right is more of a danger than international radical Islamist groups to be simply wrongheaded. Any objective analysis regarding the size of the groups, their access to weaponry and assorted other dangerous things, their financial resources, their contacts with assorted unpleasant foreign regimes, their past destructiveness, the effectiveness of their organization, essentially any reasonable measure one could chose, you'd find that the radical Islamist threat outstrips the otherm, probably by orders of magnitude.

I should have added a link about the anthrax murders. We still don't know who committed them, but we do know the strains came from American military research labs -- and others -- and were mailed to liberal Democrat politicians and left-leaning journalists. Working in life sciences, stories like these raise my bullshit meter.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:29 PM on April 16, 2005


We had entire towns sheltering Rudolph for years.

We had a few loud wingnuts supporting him, who the media covered because they make good copy. Aside from extremists, I don't see very many people worth worrying about upset at his conviction and most people I know (of all political persuasions) would've been happy to see him fry. I stilll believe that America's hatred for violent fanatics outweighs their various and sundry stupid prejudices. Maybe that's naive, but what's the alternative?
posted by jonmc at 4:31 PM on April 16, 2005


...townspeople in this rural, almost totally white town had sheltered and supported suspected terrorist Eric Rudolph for almost four years while he eluded an intensive manhunt and was among the Most Wanted fugitives sought by the FBI. ...
posted by amberglow at 4:36 PM on April 16, 2005


Indeed, no matter how good a "survivalist" Rudolph was, it's beyond ludicrous to imagine that he was on the run for that long without receiving help from a lot of people.
posted by clevershark at 4:40 PM on April 16, 2005


amber, that reads like satire to me (accurate satire in some ways, but satire none the less). And if anybody did help Rudolph out knowing who he was, they should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a fugitive. But it smacks a little bit of the "crazy rednecks in the hills with guns coming to flouridate your water," we were bombarded with after McVeigh's capture.

These people are a genuine threat, I agree, but they are a tiny slice of the American population, even of the rural south, whatever other petty prejudices and foibles may lurk there.
posted by jonmc at 4:46 PM on April 16, 2005


It is satire, but the stuff about the town is true.
posted by amberglow at 4:52 PM on April 16, 2005


I don't know if it is true that domestic terrorism has been ignored, I just think that the last few years have obscured this issue. When I did a Factiva search from 1990 to 2000 on "christian"and "domestic" and "terrorism" I got 1403 hits. There were tons of articles on right-wing terrorist groups, including many articles about the FBI's assessment in 1999 that domestic hate groups were the biggest terrorist threat (remember that?). There were 3635 hits on Islamic and domestic and terrorism, but many of these dealt with other regions of the world as well.

In any case, the situation has certainly changed since 9/11, but to argue that the country has historically ignored Christian domestic terrorism seems wrong.
posted by blahblahblah at 4:54 PM on April 16, 2005


These people are a genuine threat, I agree, but they are a tiny slice of the American population, even of the rural south,

You may get solace from explaining it that way, but I'm not so sure. When Tom Delay says that those darn activist judges will get what's coming to them, or Sen. Cromyn (sp?) tells people that the recent violence against federal judges was understandable, you have to understand where they're coming from. They're politicians. They're not going to advance a personal agenda unless they know, or have reason to think, that their constituents will respond to the message.
posted by clevershark at 4:56 PM on April 16, 2005


Of course, it's interesting to note the few things these groups do agree on. They hate. (period)
posted by wah at 5:03 PM on April 16, 2005


I think the point here is that we're going absolutely nutzoid over Muslim terrorists while we've lived with home-grown terrorists for years without the same reaction.
After Oklahoma City, did we:

Start crackdowns people who rent trucks?

Install fertilizer sensors in all rental trucks?

Require retinal scans and three forms of positive ID along with random screenings when someone tries to rent one?

Round up suspected right-wing militants and stick them in prison for years without charging them?

Pass sweeping new legislation to restricting civil liberties and giving government new spying authority in the name of preventing terrorists?

Create a new federal agency specifically tasked with making sure another Oklahoma City could never happen again?

Aside from being larger, more spectacular, caught on live TV and perpetrated by people who don't look like "us", why was 9/11 so different? Nothing changed after Oklahoma City but people think everything changed after 9/11. It doesn't make sense, and to be honest, it's been pissing me off since about 9/12.
posted by Ickster at 5:39 PM on April 16, 2005


Ickster :

The difference is that 9/11 happened on the watch of a US government full of nutzoids.
posted by rfs at 6:25 PM on April 16, 2005


Coming from the Northwest, domestic terror is in the news a lot. While some folks consider them political prisoners, the news media call Jeff Luers and Tre Arrow "domestic terrorists."

(Neither of these two has killed anyone or put anyone in harm's way.)
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:32 PM on April 16, 2005


If you want to follow some excellent writing, analysis, and tracking of domestic terrorism, check out Dave Neiwert's Orcinus weblog.
posted by zgarilli at 7:06 PM on April 16, 2005


I second Orcinus. A point that Neiwert makes again & again is that neo-nazi and white supremacist organizations are very adept at transmitting their message, especially to young men. In southern California, there've been quite a few incidents recently, including a huge illegal weapons bust. Places like Palmdale have been notorious for skinhead teens at least since the late '90's, and I suspect as the economy out here gets worse, we'll see more kids turning toward these groups.
posted by maryh at 9:41 PM on April 16, 2005


Pass sweeping new legislation to restricting civil liberties and giving government new spying authority in the name of preventing terrorists?

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
posted by airguitar at 11:35 PM on April 16, 2005


Passed by congress nine years ago tomorrow.
posted by airguitar at 11:46 PM on April 16, 2005


Which makes OKC ten years ago, Tuesday
posted by airguitar at 11:51 PM on April 16, 2005


It seems to me that Rudolph is rarely described as a terrorist in the media, but Google News indicates that it happens more often than I thought.
posted by Axaxaxas Mlö at 6:53 AM on April 17, 2005


First, what airguitar said. There was plenty of reaction to the Oklahoma City bombing, especially coming as it did less than two years after the first World Trade Center bombing, including massive upgrades to security at sensitive locations (but, alas, not incuding a realization that airports were sensitive locations in need of upgrades).

One could easily argue that while 9/11 "changed everything" emotionally, it changed little in terms of appetite for real security, with the predictable result that few enhancements to real security have been made.

Second, there's a big difference between white supremacist domestic terrorists and Islamist terrorists -- the former are a clutch of lunatics with no base of support and no achievable agenda, while the latter are careful long-term strategists backed by tens of thousands of people and millions (billions) of dollars worth of active support and a base of passive supporters counted in the tens of millions, if not more, in pursuit of an ugly, but neverthelss entirely plausible, agenda (the abolition of Israel and the religious overthrow of the generals and sultans who rule the Muslim world.)
posted by MattD at 8:57 AM on April 17, 2005


in the last decade 95% of all terrorist incidents with American casualties were domestic and right-wing.

Yup. OKC's ten year anniversary is just around the corner.

This was written and published before OKC. [self link]

And yes, I was the first quoted source in world media to identify the OKC bombing as domestic. The morons at the FBI wasted three days chasing "Arab terrorists". I and others had spend the previous year trying to convince the feds there was a growing problem.

It's an interesting side-note that the FBI's official position at both the time of the OKC bombing and 9/11 was that the #1 domestic terrorism threat was ecoterrorism - which never killed anybody. Go figure.

Sorry I came in late. I was out burning slash all day yesterday.
posted by warbaby at 9:17 AM on April 17, 2005


no base of support? no achievable agenda?

Tell it to the NRA, the "Minutemen" right now at the border, the militia people, the people who sheltered Rudolph, the people who helped McVeigh, Matt Hale and his ilk, Ruby Ridge, the Aryan Nations and Christian Identity movement, the abortion clinics bombed or threatened out of existence, the gay bars bombed, the people killed, the various "compounds" all over....

Their rhetoric and "leaders" are nowadays on television, radio, and in newspapers lately too--from Bo Gritz to Randall Terry to people like Hal Turner: "Overthrowing the US Government by force and violence is easy, Here's How It Could Be done"

If you think there's no funding of all these people and groups, and many followers as well, you haven't been paying attention. "an ugly but nevertheless plausible, agenda" is being pursued right here, not just in the Middle East.
posted by amberglow at 9:25 AM on April 17, 2005


It's an interesting side-note that the FBI's official position at both the time of the OKC bombing and 9/11 was that the #1 domestic terrorism threat was ecoterrorism - which never killed anybody. Go figure.

warbaby, it's still their position.
posted by amberglow at 9:27 AM on April 17, 2005


Amberglow, fancy that. The FBI is just as useless as they were ten years ago. these feds, do they vibrate?
posted by warbaby at 10:05 AM on April 17, 2005


Here are the FBI annual reports on terrorism in the US.

Nobody's published an analytic study of them, but here are some points worth considering:

* in the annual reports from 1985 to 1998 (when a restrospective study was included) the FBI annually changed the definitions and statistical base of what they considered domestic terrorism -- making a complete hash out of any sort of policy of identifying threats.

* they repeatedly ignored or misclassified incidents to shift emphasis. For example, according to these reports, Eric Rudolph's Atlanta bombings were the VERY FIRST federal terrorism case involving anti-abortion terrorism. This despite numerous bombings, murders, arsons, etc going back over fifteen years.

* the FBI's bizarre reclassification of events creates such gems as anti-abortion terrorism being whitewashed as "single-issue" terrorism and "ecoterrorism" (where cases have repeatedly been misclassified and groups like the ELF given far more credit than they deserve) was repeatedly elevated to #1 threat when right-wing terrorism was completely ignored.

It's a disaster, but the FBI is the most expensive and least productive law enforcement agency on the planet. The Albanians look like the model of cost-effectiveness and efficiency in comparison. Of course, considering what morons they are, it's a blessing they are as inefficient as they are.

The notion of an FBI that could actually acomplishe the demented tasks they set themselves is a truely chilling thought.
posted by warbaby at 10:48 AM on April 17, 2005


Here's a rundown of Hal Turner's "radio career", such as it was (is?) Charming guy.

BTW, thanks for the fpps, amberglow. Great work!
posted by maryh at 11:10 AM on April 17, 2005


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