Monday, July 25, 2011

The New Face of Terrorism (UPDATED)

How many times have you heard someone say, "I know that not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim"? I, personally, have heard that ridiculous (and extremely inaccurate) comment made by a number of people and have heard a similar sentiment stated by hosts on Fox News.

Obviously, anyone who has heard of the Ku Klux Klan, the Irish Republican Army, or the Tamil Tigers (just to name three) knows that not all terrorism is done by Muslims or in the name of Islam. But most Americans are of the low information variety, and explaining how they are wrong can be as flummoxing as trying to teach a child about physics. You can talk all you want, they aren't going to get it.

However, the attacks in Norway last week should be evidence enough for even the most ignorant person that terrorism comes in a lot of varieties and for a lot of different reasons. The perpetrator in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, is a self-described "conservative Christian" who has stated many times in videos and blog posts that he seeks to rid the world of Muslims and of "Marxists." Breivik, like the tea party in America, equates all liberals with Marxists.

In a brilliantly timed attack, Mr. Breivik simultaneously detonated a bomb in a government building (where the Prime Minister's residence is located) and shot and killed an estimated 65 children at a Labour Party (liberal) youth summer camp. Though no accomplice has been named yet, it seems impossible to believe that this man acted alone.

International media automatically assumed the bombing was related to Muslims and claimed a group known as "Helpers of the Global Jihad" had accepted responsibility. This was a false lead that was put all over television before it could be verified. We now know that Islam had nothing to do with this horrific attack, and this has caused the American right to go into full-blown spin mode trying to make this about anything other than right-wing, Christian extremism.

Former Bush official, John Bolton, went on his party's television network, Fox News, and said the following, "And the speculation that it’s part of right-wing extremism or something like that, I think that has less of a foundation at this point, than the concern that there is a broader political threat here.” Really? But there is enough foundation to doubt it? Why?

Former Fox Newser Glenn Beck properly condemned the attack, yet on his radio show, he took a swipe at the victims first. “As the thing started to unfold and there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth. Who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing,” he stated.

Reports are continuing to surface not only about  Mr. Breivik's deep ties to right-wing extremism, but to his fascination with its manifestations in the America: Fox News and the tea party. In his 1,500 word manifesto (and, no righties, just because it's called a manifesto that does not mean he is a "leftist"), Breivik uses tea party terminology as he rails against "enviro-communism" and says that "green is the new red."

And tell me this doesn't sound straight out of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh's mouth, "You might know them as environmentalists, enviro-communists, eco-Marxists, neo-Communists or eco-fanatics. They all claim they want to save the world from global warming but their true agenda is to contribute to create a world government lead by the UN or in other ways increase the transfer of resources (redistribute resources) from the developed Western world to the third world. They hope to accomplish this through the distribution of misinformation (propaganda) which they hope will lead to increased taxation of already excessively taxed Europeans and US citizens."

Before a Fox News fan blows a gasket and claims I said that Fox News and the tea party are responsible for the terrorist attacks in Norway, I am not. But Breivik gets his information from the same dubious sources. He cited Christopher Monckton who has been called by Republicans to testify before Congress on environmental issues. Monckton has made the unfounded claim that Pres. Obama is attempting to cede US sovereignty through climate treaties, and he often refers to those who disagree with him as nazis (as Beck and the tea party do frequently). Compare this comment made by Monckton to the above comment from Breivik, "And if the environmental left were really serious about saving the planet from a huge CO2 footprint (which I will show doesn’t matter at all) then the first thing they would do is pursue policies that would not, as the extinction of five sixths of your economy would do, make you poor. They would be trying to make everybody rich."

Breivik also cited James Delingpole and Steve McIntyre, both of whom have appeared frequently on Fox News to argue that climate change is a hoax. McIntyre was even the subject of an hour long Fox News show on climate change, and his bullshit theories have been cited by dozens of Republicans in Congress including James Inhoffe (R-OK).
In addition to his hatred of science, Breivik's other target is Muslim immigration. One does not need Fox News to see evidence of Islamophobia, but there is a lot there. The first thing that naturally comes to mind is the way Fox ginned up the controversy of the "Ground Zero Mosque" - which was actually blocks away - or the anti-Islam hearings held by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who is a frequent guest on Fox. Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain stated that he would not allow any Muslims to serve in his cabinet, and stated that communities have the right to ban mosques in their area, because Islam is not really a religion. In fact, he said, American Muslims are an infringement on his freedom of religion! "It is an infringement and an abuse of our freedom of religion," he said. "And I don't agree with what's happening, because this isn't an innocent mosque."

Never mind what he means by an "innocent mosque" as I assume he means a non-Muslim one. Herman Cain is not a fringe candidate for the Republicans. He is in a solid third place in every poll that includes all the declared candidates. Barack Obama at this time in his first campaign for president, was at or around third place.

Anyone with access to the internet has seen the American right go absolutely ballistic and become completely unhinged since the election of Barack Obama. The Secret Service has stated that presidential death threats have more than doubled, dozens of Democrats have been receiving death threats on or around votes unpopular with the far right (including one Dem who was threatened for her desire to cut Army support for NASCAR), Democratic members of Congress were verbally attacked and spat on by tea party members while they were heading to vote on health care, right wing militia members throughout 2009 showed up at presidential town halls with loaded guns, tea party members at a Rand Paul even stomped on the head of a woman who they said was a Democrat, when Miss Michigan (a Muslim) won the Miss USA pageant, Fox News hosts claimed she was in Hezbollah,  the right-wing anti-tax activist who flew a plane into an IRS building in Texas was no liberal, and who could forget the crazed right-winger (emphasis on the crazed) who attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and the tea party's attempts to justify it/avoid blame, and finally, birtherism. There is so much more, but let's move on.

The Department of Homeland Security wrote an incredibly prescient report in 2008 about the rise of right-wing extremism in America and the threat it could hold for the US. Even though this report was written by the Bush DHS, it wasn't released until 2009, after Obama's inauguration. The right went apeshit and Fox News had the report effectively banned because they spun the report as an attack on them. Everyone should read it. Much of what it predicted has come true, only no one anticipated the extremists having their own 24 hour news channel to cheer lead the effort. Fox has inflamed an already dangerous situation with its slanted and dishonest coverage of Democrats and its promotion to expert status any right-wing, racist crank who is willing to attack the president.

I certainly hope that nothing like what happened in Norway ever happens in the US. But it will if we only look one type of extremist as a threat while we cheer lead other types.

UPDATE: The Daily Beast has an article up now showing this Norwegian terrorist's ties to British right wing extremism, as well.

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