DHS, ‘Rightwing Extremism’ and Information Warfare
By Lance Fairchok
The Homeland Security Assessment targeting mainstream conservatism was amateurish, poorly written and its logic absurdly shallow. It’s a shot across the bow in the unfolding information warfare.
The DHS Intelligence Assessment Document marked “For Official Use Only” and entitled; Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, was released to law enforcement agencies nationwide. Its stated purpose was to “deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.” Read the entire document here.
If this DHS Assessment is an example of the kind of analysis our decision makers receive from our intelligence agencies, we are in far worse straits than I had imagined. It is amateurish, poorly written and its logic is absurdly shallow. It sounds as if it was cobbled together from bits and pieces of dated research to quickly fill a short notice requirement. I suspect it was not intended to inform or educate law enforcement first responders and decision makers, so much as it was designed to shape their perceptions in the information war the Left is waging on the American people.
Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.
The statement “they have not yet turned to attack planning” has the ring of inevitability to it, an assumption that attacks will come because of race and that it is impossible to object to Obama simply because of his radical politics. We are presented no evidence or example of how “Rightwing extremists have capitalized” because I suspect that their evidence would fall firmly under protected speech, and rightly subject to criticism. More importantly it would reveal the ideological underpinnings of the authors.
Anti-American rhetoric, such as calls for revolution and hate speech from the Radical Left has been over the top for many decades, yet we endure another fabrication of “potential” rightist conspiracies. With tens of thousands of Islamic Jihadist attacks since 9-11, and less than half a dozen “right wing extremist” examples in the last 20 years, one wonders how much critical analysis went into this nonsensical report. By their admission the threat has been merely words, but unlike Islamic extremism where words often equate to action, the opposite has been true of America’s fanatics.
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn-including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit-could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.
Violence prone fringe groups certainly exist in this country, and their political and ideological motivations run a wide gamut from environmentalism, to gay rights, to anarchy, to white, Hispanic and black supremacy. The issues the DHS study claims are the rallying points for radicalism and extremist recruitment are exactly those that animate the national political debate; abortion, illegal immigration, gun rights, race equality and exceptionalism, jobs and how the economic crisis is being handled. It presents little or no evidence for its conclusions and offers no citations. It regurgitates the extravagant stereotypes of the military and average Americans that fill the fever swamps of radical leftist blogs, advocacy groups and publications.
A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.”
This “assessment” is not an analysis of a national trend or an examination of existing evidence or even recent radical literature; it is targeting those whose politics fall within the broad insinuations contained within its pages, namely mainstream conservatives. It is a manipulative information tool intended to paint the loyal opposition as reactionary kooks who are prone to violence and a danger to the country.
This is part of a more widespread ongoing information campaign to plant and reinforce critical themes into the American official, and broader public psyche, a continuation of the “clinging to guns and religion” message so frequently found in the rhetoric of President Obama and his acolytes. Watch for reinforcing messages from other venues and other government organizations. It will be used by talking heads, journalists and administration officials to make agenda-driven analysis sound rational as they work to delegitimize, marginalize and divide Americans, precisely when it is apparent that significant grass roots opposition movements are gaining steam.
Do not be surprised by the cynical use of the Department of Homeland Security for a political information war campaign. It is the modus operandi of the Left and has been used effectively for decades.
Ironically the report refers to the atrocities of Ruby Ridge and Waco as an example of radical motivations. Both events were anti-constitutional criminal abuses of American citizens by their own government. The spin campaign by the Clinton Administration to paint those crimes in a favorable light was intense, and in large measure successful. Anyone who questioned the tactics of the government was painted as a “Waco Wacko.” The murder of children swept aside in liberal hypocrisy. The American people in large measure still believe the obscuring disinformation about those two events. The Obama-era team has refined the method.
In the information battle we live through, every media story and every government report is suspect. Experts, universities, think tanks, non-profits and interest groups are all tools for the spin masters and propagandists whose ethics are defined by “the ends justifies the means” of Saul Alinsky’s model. The DHS Rightwing Extremism paper is merely a recent example of how the American people and their law enforcement agencies are manipulated . When those who excel at information manipulation and media control also sit in government the price of truth becomes eternal skepticism.
And we ain’t seen nothin yet.