Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's an 'Extremist'?

We've covered here several times how the DHS likes to define 'Right Wing Extremist' w/ a brush broad enough to make even Sherwin-Williams happy but what about 'Left Wing' Extremists?  Those tend to be defined much more narrowly and w/ changing definitions.

In the latest 'Hot Spot' report, 'Left Wing Extremists' are defined thusly:
groups that want to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes. This category also includes secular left-wing groups that rely heavily on terrorism to overthrow the capitalist system and either establish “a dictatorship of the proletariat” (Marxist-Leninists) or, much more rarely, a decentralized, non-hierarchical political system (anarchists).
 So, iow, Commies w/ a side order of anarchists and that it hasn't really been an issue since the 1970's(Pg21) when Communism was the 'in' thing for bored suburban college kids to do to piss off their parents. The heyday of all the categories was also during the '70's as well.

Even 'Right Wing Extremist' related 'terrorist attacks' have been a non issue from 2000 through 2008 according to the report(pg21), this contradicts previous DHS, FBI, SPLC and ADL claims that 'right wing extremism' has been on the rise (while ignoring all the 'Left Wing' stuff).

What has been going on?  'Single Issue' attacks w. 47 during the same time period.

Here's where it gets fun though.  The definition of 'Left Wing' has changed from previous DHS reports.  In the '09 report on 'LeftWing Extremism' and cyber attacks (once again a very limited scope compared to the companion 'Right Wing Extremism' report), the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), 'animal rights extremists' and 'environmental extremists' are included (pg 3) in the Left Wing category w/ the definition (appendix):
DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines leftwing extremists as
groups or individuals who embrace radical elements of the anarchist, animal rights, or
environmental movements and are often willing to violate the law to achieve their
In the new report, the animal and environmental activists have been shifted over to 'single issue' and even then the numbers are suspect.  According to the ELF Wiki page, they alone have taken credit for over 4 dozen incidents from 2000-2008 resulting in tens of millions of dollars in damage, primarily by arson. The 'Hot Spot' report, however, classifies arson as an 'ordinary crime'(pg 10) leading one to conclude they have again artificially reduced the numbers of previously DHS defined 'Left Wing' extremists/terrorists. This becomes even more likely since the FBI (who categorized them as 'single issue') stated during 2002 congressional hearings that:
The FBI estimates that the ALF/ELF have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars.
So again we have a broadening definition of 'Right Wing Extremism' and a narrowing/arbitrary definition of 'Left Wing extremism' along w/ completely subjective incident numbers.

Color me shocked.

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1 comment:

Chas said...

"...groups that want to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes."

DOJ and ATF in Fast and Furious.