Little Green Footballs

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Turning a blind eye

Here's a great piece from Oread Daily about the Dept. of Homeland Security's apparent blindness to far-right terrorism in the USA.

Back in April, my friend Bill Berkowitz wrote a column at Working for Change which asked the question, “Ten years after Oklahoma City, why doesn't the Department of Homeland Security see America's homegrown right-wing terrorists as a major threat?”

Now US News World Report is asking the same question.

US News reports that Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project now says in the ten years since the Oklahoma City bombing nearly 60 right-wing terror plots have been uncovered in this country. These plots have included the intention to use various chemical bombs and other weapons.

The most recent plot mentioned in that report relates to the May, 2005 arrest of two South Jersey residents who are alleged to be members of neo-nazi skinhead groups on a federal charge of possession of stolen weapons by convicted felons.

Gabriel Carafa, 24, and Craig Orler, 28 are accused of illegally selling to police informants guns and 60 pounds of urea to use in a bomb. Their arrest came, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office after an extensive state and federal undercover investigation.

The federal complaint alleges that Orler has at least three prior state convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, while Carafa has been convicted of bias intimidation and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, the Office of Bias Crime, the investigation determined that Carafa is a known member and leader of both the Church of the Creator and a neo-nazi skinhead group called The Hated. Orler is allegedly a member of “The Hated”.

The US News article also mentions:

• Oct. 25, 2004: FBI agents in Tennessee arrested Demetrius "Van" Crocker after he allegedly tried to purchase ingredients for deadly sarin nerve gas and C-4 plastic explosives from an undercover agent. Crocker, who was involved with white supremacist groups, was charged with trying to get explosives to destroy a building and faces more than 20 years in prison.

• April 10, 2003: The FBI raided the home of William Krar, of Noonday, Texas, and discovered an arsenal of more than 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 65 pipe bombs and remote control briefcase bombs, and almost 2 pounds of sodium cyanide, enough to make a bomb that could kill everyone in a large building. Krar, reportedly associated with white supremacist groups, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for possession of a chemical weapon.

In his much earlier column, Berkowitz reports on other incidents. He writes that, “Militia leaders in Michigan tried to organize what they were calling "Operation Resurrection," an attempt to spirit Terri Schiavo from her Pinellas County, Florida hospice death-bed to an undisclosed location; the head of Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group, took to praising the militants of al Qaeda, urging his followers to get that "jihadic feeling"; federal agents seized a weapons cache consisting of "more than 50 machine guns and seven hand grenades in what authorities described as the largest weapon seizure in Southern Illinois…”

Yet as Berkowitz pointed out Homeland Security refuses to see right wing terrorist as threats to national security.

Berkowitz back in April wrote that Mike German, a 16-year undercover agent for the FBI who spent most of his career infiltrating radical right-wing groups told the Congressional Quarterly in regards to right wing terrorists and groups, "They are still a threat, and they will continue to be a threat. If for some reason the government no longer considers them a threat, I think they will regret that," said German, who left the FBI last year. "Hopefully it's an oversight."

Meanwhile, for homegrown terrorists, Homeland Security continues to only point at groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. Interesting.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security has taken note of this. He tells the Memphis Commercial Appeal that it's a mistake for the administration to list property-damaging environmental activists as "eco-terrorists" but omit the threat from right-wing militia "Patriots" like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, anti-government tax protesters or white supremacists -- groups that have already proven they're dangerous.

"Supposedly, the department takes the position that the radical environmentalists and other people are the only people domestically which pose a threat to the homeland," Thompson said. "But when you look at past history, the Oklahoma bombing was not a left-wing terrorist's doing. These were so-called right-wing Patriots ... We ought to look at every vulnerability that's out there."

When he asked to testify before the Senate’s Environmental and Public Works Committee when it held a hearing on "eco-terrorism,” he was turned down by Committee Chair James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma. As part of his testimony, Rep. Thompson was prepared to deliver remarks based upon a House Committee on Homeland Security report released a month earlier entitled, "10 Years After the Oklahoma City Bombing: the Department of Homeland Security Must Do More to Fight Right-Wing Terrorists."

In a letter dated May 19, 2005 sent to Senate Committee Chairman James Inhofe, Rep. Thompson voiced his dismay at being refused the right to testify earlier that week before the Committee when it held its hearing examining activities of the Earth Liberation Front ("ELF") and the Animal Liberation Front ("ALF"). The Senator's refusal is believed to be the only time a Member of Congress has been denied permission to testify before a Committee when he has formally requested to do so.

"Only once in recent memory has a Congressional Committee Chairman refused to the request of a Member of Congress to testify," Rep. Thompson notes. "Even then, a subsequent hearing was held specifically so the Member would have the opportunity to provide relevant testimony, which would have been the case in this instance. It is extremely disappointing that your denial was not provided in writing, as was my original request."

Rep. Thompson in his letter also pointed out that, “…35 homes under construction in the Maryland subdivision of Hunters Brooke were partially or entirely destroyed by arson in December, 2004. The perpetrators torched the entire subdivision because they believed many of the families who would move in were African American. This arson attack was characterized as 'the worst arson in Maryland history,' and this one incident caused approximately $10 million in damage -- almost 1/10th the damage alleged to have been caused by ALF and ELF -- and all other environmental extremist groups -- in the last 14 years. Right-wing domestic terror groups are also responsible for the destruction of other infrastructure such as abortion clinics, minority houses of worship, and federal buildings.”

He added, “Domestic terrorism that destroys property is terrible -- whether committed by leftwing or right-wing "special interest" domestic terrorists.”

Other experts on domestic terrorism have expressed dimsay over the departments blindness to right wing terror. One of them, James O. Ellis III, a senior terror researcher for the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), said ... that whereas left-wing groups...have focused mainly on the destruction of property, right-wing groups have a much deadlier and more violent record and should be on the list. 'The nature of the history of terrorism is that you will see acts in the name of [right-wing] causes in the future.”

So three months after Bill asked, the question remains, “…why doesn't the Department of Homeland Security see America's homegrown right-wing terrorists as a major threat?”

Sources: Source Watch, WorkingForChange, Office of the Attorney General-State of New Jersey, Find Law, Commercial Appeal (Memphis), US News and World Report.

Why doesn't the Dept. of Homeland Security see America's homegrown right-wing terrorists as a major threat? Perhaps it's because one of the most notorious, most consisted and most willing to engage in war and death is currently President of the USA. Or it could be that the extreme right just aren't fashionable enough for the neo-cons. They're fixation seems to be exclusively Islamic terror and regime change.

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