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New West Point Study Highlights Threat Posed by Far Right-Wing Groups In U.S.

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(h/t:Critical Dragon)

New West Point Study Highlights Threat Posed by Far Right-Wing Groups In U.S.

by Hayes Brown (Alternet)

new study from a think tank connected to the West Point Military Academy highlights the threat of violent far-right movements in the United States, leading to the conclusion that, while diverse in in their causes, they are similar in their use of violence to achieve their aims.

West Point’s Combatting Terrorism Center was founded in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and has primarily focused its research on international terrorist threats. Titled “ Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right,” this new report instead looks as the risk that domestic groups pose to the U.S. Breaking down these groups into three categories — the Racist/White Supremacy Movement, the Anti-Federalist Movement, and the Christian Fundamentalist Movement — allows the study to examine the background ideologies and methods of each subset thoroughly, opposed to lumping them all together as most studies have.

Each of the groupings in the study represent competing ideological views, with none of them likely to cooperate in achieving their aims. The chances that each of these groups will use violence also varies. What they share, however, is a use of violence against their chosen targets — be it minority races or abortion clinics — to draw attention to and emphasize their given ideology. After charting out the various instances of violence carried out by each of the categories, the paper offers up several policy recommendations on responding to their actions:

From a theoretical perspective, this constitutes a further indication of the perception among some parts of the academic community that terrorism is an instrument of symbolic discourse which is shared by violent groups and their adversaries. Target selection is thus not based just on operational considerations, but is one component, among others, which allows violent groups to shape their message using violent practices—timing, weapons used and target locations, are only a small measure of the other components which contribute to the shape of the symbolic message conveyed via the attack.

In this context, policy implications are clear. If the numerous far right groups are driven by different ideological sentiments, and are thus also engaged in distinguishing tactics, then the response in terms of counterterrorism policies must be flexible and group/movement oriented.

The study is already  coming under attack by Republicans for not properly defining what constitutes a member of the “far right.”

A Republican congressional staffer who served in the military told The Washington Times: “If [the Defense Department] is looking for places to cut spending, this junk study is ground zero.

“Shouldn’t the Combating Terrorism Center be combating radical Islam around the globe instead of perpetuating the left’s myth that right-wingers are terrorists?” the staffer said. “The $64,000 dollar question is when will the Combating Terrorism Center publish their study on real left-wing terrorists like the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front, and the Weather Underground?”

This pushback is unsurprising, given the  unwelcome response a 2009 report on the same topic received. Titled “ Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” the Department of Homeland Security-commissioned report drew attention to the fact that right-wing groups have proved  more of a threat than Islamic extremists during a similar period. Secretary Janet Napolitano withdrew that report under harsh criticism from conservatives at the time, but there is no sign that the CTC will pull this study any time soon.

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  • Pingback: New West Point Study Highlights Threat Posed by Far Right-Wing Groups In U.S. | WhatIfTheyWereMuslim.com

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    There is variation in stupidity and paranoia among them, like all groups. As much I don’t like talking about it, I was once one of them, remember? The smarter ones might well believe it was a Muslim at first, but than if the evidence became overwhelming enough, than the smarter ones would eventually reject the the claim that it was carried out by a Muslim, and if they’re really smart, it would eventually lead them to abandoning the “counter Jihad” altogether, and maybe start fighting against anti Muslim bigotry like I did. The evidence however, would have to become incredibly overwhelming for a large number of them to even admit that a Muslim didn’t carry out the attack.

    But there is still significant variation within the movement. Many within the so called “counter Jihad” for example are less Islamophobic than others, and at least accept that at least some Muslims are not terrorists and don’t want to destroy the West, and genuinely don’t want to hurt them. Others will even attack people like Zuhdy Jasser who endorses their conspiracy theories, since he’s a Muslims, and accuse him of lying for Islam, when he says things like he doesn’t support groups like Al Qeada, along with anyone who supports him. They’ll accuse him of being part of the non existent “stealth Jihad,” while others see him as a hero for fighting it.

  • Kirook

    Well yeah, but counter jihadists are all “the dumbest ones”.

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    Well I decided I should try to change that. I just created a petition to get Obama to address the issue.

    Dear President, Please address the Issue of Domestic, far right terrorism highlighted in the recent study by West Point
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/dear-president-please-address-issue-domestic-far-right-terrorism-highlighted-recent-study-west-point/ywdKHnt0

    Its going to need at least one hundred fifty signatures before its even publicly searchable on the White House dot gov website.

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    At least the dumbest ones would.

  • Kirook

    Simple answer part 2 (” how long will they insist the real perpetrators were Muslims, and blame Islam?”). Forever.

  • mindy1

    When they start attacking a military academy in order to prove a political point, that’s when you know they do not care about Americans, only about getting reelected

  • mindy1

    sadly true :(

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    Yes and no. They may or may not overlap. It largely depends on the individual and what group, he or she may belong too.

  • Reynardine

    I call it likely. Indeed, the kind of rhetoric flying around the dextrosphere is calculated to incite just that, at which point the instigators will whistle, look at the ceiling, and say, “Oh, nothing”.

  • http://jabhawiyya.tumblr.com/ jabhawiya

    “The $64,000 dollar question is when will the Combating Terrorism Center
    publish their study on real left-wing terrorists like the Animal
    Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front, and the Weather Underground?”

    No, the $64,000 dollar question is when will the right-wing Republitards brush up on current events and realize that the Weather Underground, like the Soviet Union which they also think still exists, has been defunct for some number of years?

    I seriously think an intelligence test should be given before letting anyone into a government position, especially when running for public office.

  • Pingback: New West Point Study Highlights Threat Posed by Far Right-Wing Groups In U.S. | Properganda | Scoop.it

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    I don’t want to sound morbid, but I have to wonder, if the next major terrorist attack on US soil is carried out by domestic extremists who are not Muslims, and large numbers of innocent people are killed, how many, “counter Jihadists” and for how long will they insist the real perpetrators were Muslims, and blame Islam?

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    Hopefully the government will start focusing more of its efforts on domestic terrorists. Even if none of them will be able to carry out something on the scale of 9/11 or even the Oklahoma city bombing, any time soon, they’re the biggest terrorist threat right now.

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