Author Topic: Rightwing Domestic Americans and Europeans are a threat  (Read 4929 times)

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Offline infowarrior_039

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Rightwing Domestic Americans and Europeans are a threat
« on: July 25, 2011, 05:23:38 pm »

The threat of domestic terrorist attacks in the United States similar to last week's fatal bombing and assault in Norway is significant and growing, analysts said Monday.

The greatest threat of large-scale attacks come from individuals and small groups of extremists who subscribe to radical Islamic or far right-wing ideologies, said Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START.

While extremist animal rights and environmental groups also pose threats, those groups either have not tended to seek to kill or have only targeted individuals, according to researchers.

But extremist right-wingers -- from Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to a neo-Nazi accused of trying to bomb a Martin Luther King Day parade this year -- have shown a willingness to target the public, LaFree said.

Such groups are among the fastest-growing extremist organizations in the country, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported in February. Right wing anti-government groups grew by 60% in 2010 over the previous year, the center reported, attributing much of the growth to militia groups.

The group also reported a smaller increase in the number of anti-immigrant vigilante groups, SPLC reported.

The suspect in the Oslo, Norway, bombings published papers on the Internet stressing "unity over diversity" and calling for a violent response to a policy of multiculturalism that he said was destroying European society.

Despite the rise of anti-government militia groups and the sovereign citizen movement -- whose adherents say they are not subject to U.S. law or taxation -- highly organized white supremacist groups have suffered setbacks in recent years with some of the movement's leaders imprisoned and others stripped of their resources by civil lawsuits, said Gary Ackerman, research director at START.

But as McVeigh and Terry Nichols showed in the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City -- in which 168 people died -- it doesn't take a large group to pull off a devastating attack.

Most adherents to extremist ideologies are harmless, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino.

"Most of them are not going to do anything but bore their relatives and friends with ridiculous papers and treatises," he said.

But a divisive political climate, often coupled with personal disappointments and a personality receptive to extreme views, can help turn believers into dangerous actors willing to use violence to further their ideological beliefs, Levin said, adding that he believes the greatest threat is not from large organized groups but rather individuals or small cells.

The sense that society is falling apart because of foreign influence is often a lure to people who become members of extremist groups, no matter where those groups fall on the political or religious spectrum, Levin said.

"The notion that the political bonds that used to hold us together are falling apart will cause people to opt out," he said.

But the threat from Islamic terrorism tends to get the lion's share of media coverage, not to mention law enforcement attention, Ackerman of START said.

Ackerman said nationally, law enforcement has been focused since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001 on the threat of Islamic terrorism, even as the threat from domestic anti-government groups has been growing.

"Some people believe we have taken our eye off the ball when it comes to domestic right-wing extremists," he said.

And some efforts to combat the problem have been controversial. For instance, the Department of Homeland Security was forced to apologize in 2009 after a report surfaced warning law enforcement of the possibility that veterans returning from combat were susceptible to being radicalized by right-wing groups.

State police also seem more focused on the Islamic threat, Ackerman said.

State police agencies polled by START researchers in 2008 overwhelmingly reported the presence of potentially dangerous extremist groups across the political spectrum, with nearly 90% saying neo-Nazi, skinhead, militia groups and other right-wing groups were present in their state. About two-thirds reported radical Islamic groups.

But they tended to rank Islamic terrorists as the greatest concern ahead of right-wing groups in terms of the threat posed, LaFree said.

"I think there's a little bit of perceptual bias there," he said.

Norway attacks: Europe to study potential far-right threats

Although Norweigan police said Anders Behring Breivik had told them he had planned and carried out the attack alone, investigators across Europe continued to search for evidence that he might be part of a broader network.

Europol, the European police agency based in The Hague, said it was setting up a task force to help investigate non-Islamist threats in Scandinavian countries as politicans in Norway warned the extremist beliefs to which Breivik adhered were a pan European problem.

"He's the first anti-Islamic terrorist, a new type of rightwing extremist," said a senior politician for Norway's opposition Conservative party. "It's a pan-European, anti-Islamic, anti-elitist movement that tends towards conspiracy theories and sees everything in black and white."

In Brussels plans were stepped up for a European wide "anti-radicalisation" programme as leaders were blasted for remaining silent on the xenophobia sweeping the continent with the EU Security chief declaring "too few were prepared to stand up for diversity".

"Sadly there are too few leaders today who stand up for diversity and for the importance of having open, democratic and tolerant societies where everybody is welcome," wrote Cecilia Malmstroem, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, in a blog published Monday.

Referring to a 1,500-page proclamation written by the perpetrator ahead of the carnage on Friday, in which he boasted he was one of up to 80 "solo martyr cells" recruited across Western Europe to topple governments tolerant of Islam, the Swedish commissioner, said: "This manifesto is a product of a very disturbed man, but unfortunately we recognise some of these sentiments in Europe today.

"I have many times expressed my concern over xenophobic parties who build their unfortunately quite successful rhetoric on negative opinions on Islam and other so-called threats against society."

The comments came as Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero urged a common European response against xenophobia and intolerance, insisting the drama in Norway "isn't just another event."

"This is something extremely serious that requires a response, a European response, a shared response to defend freedom, to defend democracy, calling on people to rise up and fight radicalism, to respond against xenophobia," the Spanish leader said following a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street.

Meanwhile forces across Europe continued to probe potential collaborators in the attacks. In Poland, agents from the internal intelligence agency were investigating a chemical wholesaler after it emerged Breivik bought materials believed to be used in the bomb making from the company.

An investigation was launched following a request from Norwegian police who found a reference to Wroclaw based Keten Chemicald in Breivik's so-called "manifesto". No arrests have been made.