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“The GOP Ignores The Bigger Terror Threat—From The Right”: Why Won’t Republicans Acknowledge Radical White Terrorists?

I want surveillance of certain mosques,” bellowed Donald Trump to his followers at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, over the weekend. Ted Cruz recently declared that it would be “lunacy” to allow Muslim refugees into the United States because they “could be jihadists coming here to kill Americans.” And in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Marco Rubio exclaimed that in order to keep Americans safe, we need to be vigilant in our war against “radical Islam.”

The threat posed by ISIS is real and must be forcefully addressed. But if these Republicans truly want to keep us safe, why don’t they ever raise the issue of right-wing terrorists? After all, as The New York Times reported just a few months ago, “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.

The reality, of course, is that talking about scary Muslims plays great with the GOP base. In fact, a recent poll found that three-quarters of Republicans think Islam is “at odds” with American values.

But talking scary white guys gets you nowhere in the GOP. Keep in mind that Trump wouldn’t even unequivocally condemn the white supremacist groups or leaders who have expressed support for him, such as former Klan leader David Duke. The best Trump would do is say to a reporter of Duke’s endorsement that he would repudiate it “if that would make you feel better.

We hear non-stop whining from the right about why won’t President Obama use the term “radical Islam”? Well, I have a question for Trump, Cruz, and Rubio: Why are you afraid to use the term “radical conservative” and address the threat posed to Americans from the right?

Some are likely asking what right-wing violence am I talking about? Trust me, if the perpetrators were Muslims you would know their names. So here are just a few recent incidents of terror from the right:

  1. Two white supremacist were arrested just two weeks ago for plotting a terrorist attack to bomb black churches and synagogues in Virginia. As law enforcement noted, these men were planning to shoot and bomb the “occupants of black churches and Jewish synagogues” in accordance with their “extremist beliefs.”
  2. Glendon Scott Crawford, a self-professed Klan member, was convicted in August for plotting a terrorist attack involving a weapon of mass destruction that would emit radiation in lethal doses. Crawford, who will be sentenced next month to 25 years to life, was planning to slaughter Muslim Americans in upstate New York.
  3. Craig Tanber, a white supremacist was arrested in September in the murder of Iranian-American Shayan Mazroei in California. Tanber’s girlfriend had reportedly called Mazroei a “terrorist” and said “fucking Iranians” before her boyfriend stabbed the 22-year-old Iranian American to death outside a pub in Irvine, California.
  4. The criminal trial of Robert Doggart, a Christian minister, will begin in Tennessee next January in connection with his plans to slaughter Muslim Americans in New York. His plot, which was thwarted by the FBI, involved working with far right-wing militia group members and using M-4 assault rifles, armor-piercing ammunition and even machetes to cut the Muslims “to shreds.”

And, of course, the most revolting terror attack from the right involved the case of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who in June murdered nine African Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in hopes of sparking a race war. Roof, like ISIS, was using violence to accomplish his political goals.

Interestingly Trump continues to lie that “thousands” of Muslims Americans cheered in New Jersey on 9/11 but he doesn’t mention that some white right-wing Americans cheered the killing of these nine African Americans by Roof. And despicably we saw conservatives on social media cheering Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting because in their view the gunman was stopping abortions. (As of now, we don’t know for certain the motivation of the Planned Parenthood shooter but it could very well turn out to be another example of right-wing terrorism on U.S. soil.)

There are 784 active white supremacist groups in the United States per the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC.) And these groups are not just sitting around drinking Jack Daniel’s and cursing minorities. They have radicalized people to commit violent crimes in recent years, such as the six Sikhs gunned down at a temple in Wisconsin in 2012 and the three people murdered at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas in 2014 by white supremacists.

And that doesn’t even include the violent right-wing anti-government groups like the Sovereign Citizens movement that has in recent years killed police officers and attacked government offices.

But still not a peep from these GOP candidates. Yet Cruz has no problem finding time to demonize the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Just last month he claimed that some BLM protesters are “embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers.

And a BLM protester was assaulted at a Trump event Saturday night after the man yelled out “black lives matter.” Shockingly, Trump defended the assault saying, “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” adding, “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Does Trump believe that an African America exercising his First Amendment rights is “disgusting”?

Within days of Trump’s defense of this assault, five BLM protesters were shot at a rally in Minneapolis by three white men that were reportedly white supremacists.

Now just so it’s clear, I’m not saying that these right-wing radicals are beheading people or carrying out massive attacks like we saw in Paris. But in some cases, it seems to be that that’s only because they were stopped before they could do just that.

If these GOP presidential candidates truly want to keep Americans safe, it’s time they stop ignoring the threat posed to Americans from the right. But who are we kidding? Expect more fear mongering about Muslims by the GOP. However, let’s not pretend later that we didn’t all see the warning signs about the threat of radical right-wing terror.

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, November 29, 2015

November 30, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Islamophobia, Muslim Americans, White Supremacists | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Cop Killing And A Beheading”: How Fox News Picks And Chooses Its “Terrorism” Targets

Fox News is increasingly fixating on the gruesome workplace beheading last week in Moore, Oklahoma, by a recent Muslim convert, suspect Alton Nolen. Perhaps sensing a way to once again fan its patented flames of Islamophobia while simultaneously blaming President Obama for being indifferent to the threat of terrorism, Fox is treating the murder as a national story with sweeping political implications.

Sounding the jihadist alarms, Fox News and the right-wing media are eager to label the ghastly crime an act of Islamic terror. Law enforcement officials, however, aren’t in the same rush, noting that the attack came immediately after Nolen was fired and stating that they’ve yet to find a link to terrorism. While that story continues to play out, it’s worth noting that an actual act of political terror remains in the news. It’s just not a priority for Fox.

On the night of September 16, 31-year-old marksman Eric Frein was allegedly laying in wait outside the Blooming Grove police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania, preparing to assassinate state troopers. Shortly before 11 p.m., Bryon Dickson was shot and killed as he walked toward his patrol car. Moments later, as he approached the barracks to begin his overnight shift, trooper Alex Douglass was shot and seriously wounded by a bullet fired from a .308-caliber rifle.

Described as a “survivalist,” Frein disappeared into the Poconos Mountains woods, where he’s been hiding ever since, eluding law enforcement and its massive manhunt, which includes hundreds of law enforcement officers with assistance from the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Considered “extremely dangerous” and possibly armed with an AK-47, officials were forced to close local schools in fear Frein might attack again. Lots of businesses in the area were ordered to stay dark, and some U.S. mail deliveries were suspended out of fear postmen might be exposed as possible targets for the shooter.

And what was the possible motivation for the killing spree?

“He made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and to commit mass acts of murder,” state police commissioner Frank Noonan warned the public at the time. Another official noted the shooter has a “longstanding grudge against law enforcement and government in general” dating back to at least 2006.

A friend was even more explicit. “He was obviously a big critic of the federal government,” a friend name Jack told CNN. (Jack did not give his last name.) “No indications of really any malice toward law enforcement in particular. Most of his aggression was (toward) the federal government.”

Sounds like homegrown, anti-government terrorism, right?

“We have a well-trained sniper who hates authority, hates society, hates government, and hates cops enough to plug them from ambush. He’s so lethal, so locked and loaded, that communities in the Pocono Mountains feel terrorized,” wrote Philadelphia columnist Dick Poleman. “He kept camouflage face paint in his bedroom. He toted the AK-47 on social media. He collected, according to the criminal complaint, ‘various information concerning foreign embassies.'”

But turn on Fox News and you don’t hear much about Eric Frein from the channel’s high-profile hosts. You don’t hear much about the anti-government zealot who killed a cop while trying to assassinate two. And you don’t hear evening hosts diving into Frein’s background trying to figure out what sparked his killing streak.

There’s simple no interest.

In two weeks since the shooting, the Fox programs monitored by Nexis have mentioned Frein’s name in just six reports, and most of those were simply news updates that consisted of one or two sentences. Only one segment, which aired on On The Record With Greta Van Susteren, featured an extended conversation about the killing and the subsequent manhunt. In none of the six Fox reports, however, were Frein’s vocal anti-government leanings mentioned, nor was there any suggestion Frein was a domestic terrorist.

Hosts Neil Cavuto, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity have all ignored the shocking cop-killer story. In general, Fox has provided almost no commentary, no context, and certainly no collective blame for the execution.

By contrast, in the days since the Oklahoma killing, Fox programs monitored by Nexis have flooded the zone with coverage of the beheading, totaling hours and hours of coverage. Most of Fox’s reports offered extended, overheated commentary, and most of them dwelled on the fact the killing may have been an act of terror.

Cavuto, O’Reilly, Hannity, and Megyn Kelly have all hosted extensive coverage of the killing, with Kelly and Hannity devoting nearly their entire September 26 and September 29 programs to the Oklahoma story (“Terror In The Heartland”), allowing guests to make all kinds of unproven connections between the crime and to Islam and, of course, to politicize the tragic killing.

In other words, on Fox News a Muslim who killed a co-worker in Oklahoma and who remains in police custody represents a much bigger story than a suspected anti-government assassin who killed a cop and remains on the run, eluding hundreds of law enforcement officials while terrorizing a Pennsylvania community.

Note that one of the renewed right-wing talking point this week has been how Obama refuses to acknowledge the looming threat of Islamic terrorism. (His FBI is being “politically correct.”) Of course, a similar charge could be made of Fox News and its purposefully blind spot to homegrown, gun-toting, anti-government terrorists. It’s a deadly topic that the right-wing media refuse to grapple with.

As CNN’s Peter Bergen noted earlier this year, since 9/11, “extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.”

If the Pennsylvania ambush was politically motivated, it represented just the latest sad chapter in a long string of recent extremist acts of violence in America. From neo-Nazi killers, to a string of women’s health clinic bombings and assaults, as well as bloody assaults on law enforcement from anti-government insurrectionists, acts of right-wing extreme violence continue to terrorize victims in the U.S.

Just this spring in Las Vegas, a premeditated gun rampage unfolded when Jerad Miller and his wife Amada executed two policemen who were on their lunch break. The killers, who months earlier traveled to Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch to join the militia protests against the federal government, reportedly covered the slain officers with cloth that featured the “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flag, which has recently been adopted as a symbol of the tea party movement.

That ambush came just two days after Dennis Marx, member of the “sovereign citizen” anti-government movement, tried to lay siege to a courthouse outside of Atlanta. Sovereign citizens are militia-like radicals who don’t believe the federal government has the power and legitimacy to enforce the law. The FBI has called the movement “a growing domestic terror threat to law enforcement.”

As mentioned, Greta Van Susteren was the only evening Fox host who addressed the Pennsylvania cop-killing story in any detail. But even she whitewashed the story, omitting any mention of Frein’s anti-government bias and his clear embrace of terrorism. Right after the Frein segment ended on her September 22 program, Van Susteren urged viewers to stay tuned for a report about the “nightmare” looming from the threat of jihadist fighters inside the United States.

Note to Greta: Eric Frein represents another type of “nightmare” terror that looms in America. Fox News should stop ignoring that threat.

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow, Media Matters for America, September 30, 2014

October 1, 2014 Posted by | Fox News, Islamophobia, Right Wing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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