Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Homegrown Terrorism in the US: Still a Threat?


A recent FBI report on Neo-Nazi attempts to recruit from within the US military and to send existing group members into the military to train for future "race wars" highlights the issue of domestic terrorism in the United States. A little over a decade ago, following the Oklahoma City Bombings, domestic terrorism was the issue of the day. Far-right wing domestic extremism was also brought to the fore during the 90s by two other dramatic events: confrontations between federal agents and the Weaver family in Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Branch Davidian followers of David Koresh in Waco, Texas.

I also remember lots of news reports during the 90s (even though I was just a little kid) about conspiracy-minded non-government sanctioned militias (most notably the Michigan Militia) stockpiling weapons and training in preparation for, I dunno, the arrival of black helicopters or some such. My understanding of the situation is that most of these groups kind of lost their cache and their fervor after 2000 with the election of President Bush, who had views more in line with theirs.

This FBI report is, to me, a reminder that domestic terrorism is still an issue in the United States. It is difficult to tell whether the media's shift away from reporting on such groups since the 90s is a result of the decline of these organizations, a shift toward reporting on international terrorism since 9/11, or some combination of the two.

If you're interested in keeping tabs on these sorts of issues, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project is the only source that I'm aware of tracking and reporting on white nationalist, neoconfederate, Christian identity, black separatist, & other extremist groups in the US. They even have a cool interactive map that lets you track hate groups in your home state!

4 comments:

Researcher said...

I read an article a few years ago about how there had been so many terrorist plots disrupted by the FBI since 9/11--almost all of which were home-grown white supremacist plots, not members of the "global jihad". However, it was only those attacks (or attempted attacks) that could (however tenuously) be linked to AQ that got any attention whatsoever.

It almost seems like homegrown white people wanting to blow us up aren't considered as threatening as foreign-born people who want to blow us up, even though the first are more likely to hit.

OMARCOMIN! said...

I'd like to read that article if you could locate it.

Researcher said...

Here's one such article:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1229/p02s01-usju.html

OMARCOMIN! said...

Wow...that anecdote about militias from all over the US converging in Central Texas with weapons & explosives to attack a military base is kind of disturbing. I'm sure they would have had their asses handed to them, but still...