Can you imagine the howls of outrage from all of the nation’s editorial pages, and the heads exploding on MSNBC, if the Bush administration DHS had put out a document that said things like this?
(U) Leftwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular economic classes, and religious groups, particularly Christianity), and those that are mainly pro-government, preferring federal authority and particularly federal judicial rulings over state or local authority. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to restrictions on abortion, immigration, or gay marriage.
(U//LES) Leftwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many leftwing extremists are antagonistic toward the Bush administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including treatment of prisoners in Guantamo and its Iraq policy, restricting affirmative action to minorities, and funding restrictions on abortions overseas and embryonic stem-cell research. Leftwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2004 election timeframe to the present, leftwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.
(U) Exploiting Unhappiness With Iraq
(U//FOUO) Leftwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the Iraqi death toll, the perceived loss of civil rights and restrictions on abortion rights. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites” favoring Israel. These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into leftwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the war situation is perceived to worsen.
(U//FOUO) Over the past several years, various leftwing extremists, including socialist groups such as International A.N.S.W.E.R and Hispanic supremacists such as La Raza, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruiting tool. Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, pro-immigration or strident anti-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.
(U) Disgruntled Military Veterans
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that leftwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in leftwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive leftwing extremist radicalization.
It makes just as much sense as the nonsense that the Obama DHS just released.
[Update a few minutes later]
Ed Morrissey has more:
The first question we should ask is whether the DHS is reacting to any specific threats at all? Er … no (emphasis mine):
The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.
This gets repeated over and over again during the report. They have no threat information. In fact, the report can’t even say definitively whether “extremists” are gaining “new recruits”. In order to find that, they’d have to identify the actual groups, note the recruiting patterns, and determine whether in fact they’re gaining recruits or losing members. Bottom line: DHS has no actual data. They’re pulling threats out of their collective arse and publishing them without any supporting research whatsoever.
DHS acts as though white-supremacist groups and militias believing in Zionist world conspiracies stopped existing between 2000 and 2008. Of course they didn’t; George Bush’s strong support for Israel fed those nutcase groups for eight years. Are those groups growing in the last five months, after what DHS assumes is the trigger for all this hate — the election of Barack Obama? They provide absolutely no evidence at all for it, and in fact repeat over and over again that they don’t have that data in a hail of May Bes.
This is shameful. And he makes the same point as this post:
Imagine, if you will, what the Left would say if we took this entire document and replaced all references to “military veterans” with “Muslims”, and all references to “abortion” with “universal health care”, and then predated this DHS report to 2008, during the Bush administration. They’d be screaming about being smeared as traitors for their political beliefs, and they’d be right to do so. That’s exactly what the Obama administration and Janet Napolitano has done here.
But it’s OK, because they’re just “rightwingers.”
[Update early evening]
Powerline has a fisking:
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this Homeland Security report is politically motivated, and reflects the authors’ political prejudices more than an objective evaluation of a significant terrorist threat. In that context, the report’s conclusion seems a bit ominous:
DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization.
[Tax Day update]
The people who put together this little political hit piece couldn’t even get their facts straight.