It’s interesting that the American mainstream media can report on the rise of right wing extremism in Europe, or discuss it in terms of radical Islam in the Middle East, without connecting it to on our own right wing extremists.
France has the Front National. Germany the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD). Italy the “Forza Nuova” (New Force). Britain the British National Party (and there’s even a move afoot to revive Oswald Moseley’s 1930s fascist movement). The United States has the Tea Party
In April, CNN’s national security specialist Peter Bergen and David Sterman, a research assistant at the New America Foundation, reported on CNN that U.S. right wing extremists are more deadly than jihadists. Bergen and Sterman pointed to the problem:
Today in the United States, al Qaeda-type terrorism is the province of individuals with no real connection to foreign terrorists, aside from reading their propaganda online. Given this, it becomes harder to explain, in terms of American national security, why violence by homegrown right wing extremists receives substantially less attention than does violence by homegrown jihadist militants.
If the media tends to ignore it, the Obama administration does not, and Eric Holder’s move to back the DOJ’s committee on Domestic Terrorism was a wise one. It is only a shame he waited so long. Our right wing extremists like Tony Perkins, meanwhile, are busy painting liberals as the real terrorists. Perkins, reports Right Wing Watch, recently called Obama “Satan personified” and a “terrorist” who “threatened” House Speaker John Boehner “and his family.”
The European media is certainly aware of the threat posed by right wing extremism. As The Guardian reported in February, it is an old problem.
[T]he tendency towards violence within the far-right scene has grown in the past year. In the UK, the conviction of terrorist Pavlo Lapshyn and uncertainty about the future of the English Defence League (EDL) without former leader Tommy Robinson have raised new concerns about the potential for violent splinter groups and rogue individuals.
If this sounds like the United States, it is because it is.
In January, The Guardian reports, “EU commissioner Cecilia Malmström publicly stated that rightwing extremists posed the biggest threat to the European Union today.”
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s 2014 report, Old Threat, New Approach: Tackling the Far Right Across Europe, was the result of a partnership between the Swedish Ministry of Justice and the ISD, “aiming to enhance understanding of what works in preventing and countering far-right extremism in 10 countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, Sweden, the UK.”
The report made 10 “key recommendations,” putting, at the top of its list, the requirement that responses to the far right “need to be underpinned by a strong legal framework,” but asserting also that “governments need to put in place national strategies and action plans for tackling the threat from the far right.”
You will remember The Department of Homeland Security’s own report in 2009, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, which warned of the rise of right wing extremism in the United States. You will no doubt also remember the violent reaction of the right wing.
Michelle Malkin called it a “hit job.” According to House Minority Leader John Boehner, the report “Offensive and Unacceptable.” Malkin claimed it “was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS.” She said she “couldn’t believe it was real.” Newt Gingrich tweeted that “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired.”
Sadly, it was all too real, as were its findings. Far from being the stuff of fantasy, they proved to be the stuff of nightmares, as since then, the United States has sunk to an unprecedented level of right wing violence. The recent Las Vegas shootings have brought our own problem with homegrown right wing extremism into sharp focus.
The DHS report was, lamentably, withdrawn with apologies and right wing extremism continued to escalate. Holder’s recent announcement renewed the storm of protests on the right but it’s all too obvious now that the threat is real, even if the mainstream media continues to refuse to connect the dots.
The 2009 report’s definition of right wing extremism was on the spot:
Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines ‘rightwing extremism in the United States’ as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.
As was the report’s finding that “disgruntled” war veterans were swelling the ranks of “white power militias.”
As Adalia Woodbury reported here on June 6,
The reality is the report was right. The attack on the Sikh Temple in 2012 was by a Neo-Nazi who was recruited while he was in the army. Then there’s the case of the right wing radicals from Georgia who organized a far-right militia unit while they were in the Army. Eventually they murdered to hide their planned acts of terrorism.
Extremists know where to find recruits and it shows: David Sterman pointed out in The Atlantic, “Right-wing extremists are more likely than violent Islamist extremists–or, as they are sometimes called, jihadists–to have military experience. ”
[A] government survey of 17,080 soldiers found that 3.5 percent of them had been contacted in order to recruit them into an extremist organization and that 7.1 percent said they knew another soldier who they believed to be part of an extremist organization.
Those of us with two brain cells to rub together, thought the reaction alone justified the report. The current reaction to Holder’s announcement is more of the same. Unfortunately, our options are as limited as those of Europe. While those extremists have any control over the national dialogue, their role will be downplayed. While they have any control of the government, the government’s ability to defend itself and its people will be limited.
The mainstream media loves to talk about right wing extremism in Europe while ignoring our own, who are more a threat to us than al Qaeda. Our streets are filling with them. As are our restaurants and stores. Fox News praises them. People are dying and more will die. That has to change. The United States must clean out its own nest of vipers.
Image from Liberals Are Cool
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.