Who's a Terrorist? Probably You, Part Deux
by Dan Clore
Less than a month ago I published a Nolan Chart column entitled “Who's a Terrorist? Probably You; or, Don't Profile Me, Bro!“, reporting how “fusion centers” have identified likely terrorists including anarchists, libertarians, constitutionalists, greens, militia members, white supremacists, black separatists, dumpster divers, and Scientology protestors as likely terrorists.
Now, a new “Domestic Extremist Lexicon” (.pdf) from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis identifies a similarly diverse and expansive list of “extremists” and accuses many of terrorism.
This lexicon is intended to cover “the nature and scope of the threat that domestic, non-Islamic [emphasis added--DC] extremism poses to the United States”, so al-Qaida is safe, but otherwise just about anyone with an ideology outside of the mainstream falls under its scope, as shown by the definition of “alternative media” as a “term used to describe various information sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and outlets.” (I think this column fits that definition quite readily.)
Anarchists are well covered, beginning with the definition of “anarchist extremism” as a “movement of groups or individuals who advocate a society devoid of government structure or ownership of individual property. Many embrace some of the radical philosophical components of anticapitalist, antiglobalization, communist, socialist, and other movements. Anarchist extremists advocate changing government and society through revolutionary violence.” (One hopes that anarcho-capitalists and agorists do not feel too left out.)
There are also entries for “green anarchism”, accusing green anarchists of often employing “acts of violence and terrorism”; for “direct action”, a term that “is most often used by single-issue or anarchist extremists to describe their activities”; and for “black bloc”, described as an “organized collection of violent anarchists and anarchist affinity groups that band together for illegal acts of civil disturbance and use tactics that destroy property or strain law enforcement resources.” In fact, a black bloc is not a group but a tactic.
Animal rights and environmentalist activists get their fair share of attention, too: in addition to the entry for “green anarchism”, there are entries for “animal rights extremism”, “environmental extremism”, and “antitechnology extremism”.
Also covered are “violent antiwar extremists” and the catch-all “leftwing extremism”, defined as a “movement of groups or individuals that embraces anticapitalist, Communist, or Socialist doctrines and seeks to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes. The term also refers to leftwing, single-issue extremist movements that are dedicated to causes such as environmentalism, opposition to war, and the rights of animals.”
Lest rightists reading this have begun to feel left out, others entries include “rightwing extremism”, defined as a “movement of rightwing groups or individuals who can be broadly divided into those who are primarily hate-oriented, and those who are mainly antigovernment and reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority. [Note the latter point in particular.--DC] This term also may refer to rightwing extremist movements that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
Other right-wing entries include “antiabortion extremism”; “anti-immigration extremism”, (“who have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism”), the “militia movement”, the “patriot movement”, the “sovereign citizen movement” (“known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism”), and the “tax resistance movement” (again “known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism”).
White racists get plenty of coverage, with entries for “Aryan prison gangs”, “Christian Identity”, “neo-Nazis”, “Phineas Priesthood”, “racial Nordic mysticism”, “white nationalism”, “white power”, “white separatism”, and “white supremacist movement”.
But blacks only get entries for “black nationalism”, “black power”, and “black separatism”.
Lest other “ethnic based extremists” feel left out, there are also entries for “Jewish extremism”, “Mexican separatism”, and “Puerto Rican independence extremism”.
The entry for “skinheads” deserves especial notice. It reads: “A subculture composed primarily of working-class, white youth who embrace shaved heads for males, substance abuse, and violence. Skinheads can be categorized as racist, anti-racist or 'traditional,' which emphasizes group unity based on fashion, music, and lifestyle rather than political ideology. Dress often includes a shaved head or very short hair, jeans, thin suspenders, combat boots or Doc Martens, and a bomber jacket.”
Apart from the rather silly attempt to identify “extremists” by their fashion in clothing, some real red flags (no pun intended) should go up when reading this entry. For one thing, so far as “substance abuse” goes, many skinheads embrace the puritanic “straight edge” lifestyle–no alcohol, no tobacco, no drugs. Even more serious is the inclusion of anti-racist skinheads among the worrisome extremists covered. Groups like SHARP (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) probably do not pose a grave national security threat.
The Daily Beast's story on the memo reports that a DHS spokesentity says that it was recalled “within minutes” of its issuance, but would not name the reasons for the recall. However, the mere fact that such things are produced by the government should sound an alarm, regardless of their embarrassed attempts to save face.Tweet