As you sit in your chair reading this, what are the odds that someone is watching you? No, don’t look over your shoulder, it’s too late. They already know where you are. They already know what you’re doing. You can’t turn back now, so you may as well finish reading this post.
On April 7, 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security distributed an “assessment” which contained Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) information to federal, state, local and tribal conterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.
After reading the title, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”, many people probably wouldn’t even turn the page. Why should they? Surely there are no extremists in their neighborhood and everyone knows the radicals are all over in the Middle East, right?
The assessment was completed by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis within the Department of Homeland Security and it was not intended for our eyes. No portion of the document was to be released to the media, the general public, or over non-secure Internet servers. The document itself contains a warning that releasing the information contained in the document could “adversely affect or jeopardize investigative activities”.
I know, I just told you that the document wasn’t meant to be read by someone like you, but I encourage you to read it (PDF). Yes, I know, it’s a radical thought to increase your knowledge, but once you start reading the assessment, it won’t take long to learn the true implications of this Homeland Security “assessment”.
The assessment begins with “key findings” which are listed on page 2. We learn that the DHS has no “specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues”.
It sure sounds intriguing doesn’t it? All this talk of rightwing extremists and domestic terrorists can really get your blood pumping. Heck, my heart is beating a mile a minute simply from telling you about the assessment. Could you imagine if there was something inside this document that might shake the American people to their very core?
Look back up at that paragraph with the quote and read it again. Did you notice the cute little asterisk they put up there? A simple check of the text at the bottom of page 2 tells us that they define “rightwing extremism” as,
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
Read that last line again.
It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
Is it sinking in yet? Do you realize that you may very well be the target of this assessment?
If you don’t believe abortion should be legal, or you are opposed to illegal immigration, your government thinks you may be a “rightwing extremist”. Like I said at the beginning of this post, there’s no turning back now. They already know what you’ve done, and if you open your mouth or stand up for what you believe in you face the risk of being labeled an extremist and an “American Terrorist”.
While they try to deflect your attention by throwing in the white supremacist groups and violent antigovernment groups connections to benign threats received by the government, they in essence are making it easier to deal with you, if you just happen to fit that “individual” definition of an American terrorist.
The assessment adds more insult to injury by including anyone that may object to new restrictions on firearms. Can you imagine a Guantanamo style facility housing nothing but American citizens who object to abortion, illegal immigration, and strict gun controls? Sure, it sounds a little extreme, but remember, your government thinks YOU are the extremist, so it’s not really that extreme now is it?
There’s a reason they didn’t want anyone releasing the information contained in the document. If everyday Americans realized what they were up to, it could “adversely affect or jeopardize” their investigative activities. It’s not as fun for them if they know you know they’re watching you.
The assessment goes on to make a connection with our military veterans, rightwing Internet chatter, and an honest to goodness threat analysis that concludes that we’re revisiting the 1990’s. Of course, it sounds more like 1941 to me, but I’ll be sure to post the second part of this series tomorrow.
As long as I don’t wake up in Guantamo or anything like that.