9 Jan 2016

Militia Terrorists

Following on from my earlier post about Oregon and not call things what they are...

From the Australian Fairfax North American correspondent, Nick O'Malley:

"Back in 2009 (ex-analyst at the Department of Homeland Security Daryl Johnson) wrote an intelligence report for the Department of Homeland Security, which was soon leaked to outraged conservative media.
Commentators on Fox News and other outlets thundered that it was politically motivated slander. Questions were asked in Congress.
The report's thesis was that economic collapse and the election of an African American Democratic president from a city known for its tough gun laws had created a ripe environment for recruitment for right wing extremist groups."

I don't see how this hypothesis could have been controversial.

"Johnson has been vindicated. A slew of reports chart the growth of right wing extremism in American since then.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist and hate groups in the US, the number of far-right anti-government groups leapt from 149 in 2008 to 1360 in 2012, the final year of Obama's first term before declining to 874 in 2014, the least year for which data is available.
Johnson thinks the Bundys could well be all talk, but the movement they energise through actions like this is dangerous.
Just as Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal government building in Oklahoma, killing 168, in response to those killed by the FBI in the Waco siege, Jerad and Amanda Miller shot dead two Las Vegas police officers last year having been radicalised on the Bundy ranch."

and now come to the core issue...

"While conservative critics of the Obama administration rage that the President refuses to use the term "radical Islamic terrorism", Johnson believes it is a more dangerous failing that the administration refuses to name and target domestic right wing terrorism."

It shouldn't be that hard.
It has a real history. It has real participants. It is evidently a real threat.

New York Times:

"Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, who last year signed a letter with 15 lawmakers asking President Obama to reopen the extremism office at Homeland Security and update the 2009 report, agreed with Mr. Johnson....
Citing data from a 2013 report produced by the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, Mr. Ellison said, “Right-wing extremists have launched an average of 330 attacks a year and killed about 250 people between 2002 and 2011. These are dangerous people.” "

Just to close this post out, I return to Nick O'Malley's exploration of the issue, a conversation with a 61 year old supporter of the Bundys:

"He joined the militia movement way back in the 1970s because he felt the government was encroaching on his rights. Asked which ones he finds it hard to specify, beyond the seatbelt laws. He just feels that the government thinks "it can look after you better than you can."

He has been on a pension these 20 years or so."


  1. Yes, there's at least one (and probably more of them) sucking at the govt teat. Ammon Bundy got a $530,000 SBA loan. Here's a piece you may like. Charles Pierce quipped that it really is a whiskey rebellion now.

    1. That's sad and amusing in equal measure.

      We once had the Rum Rebellion, a squalid little affair which was the only armed takeover over of a government authority in Australian history.

      Of course... that was in 1808, and the government was the colonial governor. One William Bligh...

  2. If the contradictions in this country weren't so sad, frustrating, and most of all, dangerous to the rest of this planet, it might be humorous.

    My dad was a lot like these people - extremely opinionated and bigoted, he never missed an opportunity to condemn the people who had to seek government assistance, but when he sold off his retirement after about 15 years of a federal government job and bought a small corner grocery store and that business failed, he had no problem seeking assistance himself.

    A lot of this is simply a nation of self-serving people who refuse to accept their blind hegemony.