20090416

16APR09 My response to the DHS 'Right' wing terrorism report.

I feel very betrayed by the very country I have sacrificed for. I have carefully read all nine pages of the Department of Homeland Securities report on “Right Wing Extremism”. I've read it several times to ensure that what I was staring wasn't a joke or a hoax. I read nothing but a picture of domestic terrorism painted in the broadest possible strokes that encompass anyone who is on the others side of the aisle from the current President's political slant. In particularly, if you are a veteran who has returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.

What bothers me most is the pattern that is beginning to develop with Dept. of Homeland Security in which the political opposition is highlighted by law enforcement reports reviewing domestic terrorism, all the while terrorism is a word not allowed to be used to identify foreign threats. We had the MIAC report on Modern Militias that was discredited and thrown out due to is profiling of supporters of third party candidates as a specific threat to National Security. It was nothing short of a political hack job, and again, I suspected it was a hoax when I reviews the leaked documents and saw the laughable manner in which the material published on top of the over top descriptions of 'right wing extremists'. Then it was discovered that it was very real, and had been released in the State of Missouri. It was only discredited after the Libertarian Party and ACLU both investigated it seriously. The resulting reprimands and discrediting of the report were the acceptable method of fixing the problem and ensuring the next report met quality standards and wont be a political profiling report.

Now we have Department of Homeland Security release a report that is even more poorly written, and even less backed up by facts, figures, and statistics. Instead it goes into broad and sweeping definitions of the issues that they think motivate 'domestic terrorists'. Immigration opposition, Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, and belief in states rights/limited Federal government authority are presented strokes that are too broad. All it refers to is if they believe this, they might be terrorists.

Here are some excerpts that bother me:
(U//FOUO) The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of
military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities
could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists
capable of carrying out violent attacks.

* (U) 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.

— (U//FOUO) Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans
likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups,
as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for
violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and
stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation
of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary
concern to law enforcement.
— (U//FOUO) Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are
attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing
extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to
boost their violent capabilities.


(U//FOUO) Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a
threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition
stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such
activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to
facilitate criminal activity and violence.

(U//FOUO) On the current front, legislation has been proposed this year
requiring mandatory registration of all firearms in the United States. Similar
legislation was introduced in 2008 in several states proposing mandatory tagging
and registration of ammunition. It is unclear if either bill will be passed into law;
nonetheless, a correlation may exist between the potential passage of gun control
legislation and increased hoarding of ammunition, weapons stockpiling, and
paramilitary training activities among rightwing extremists.

(U//FOUO) Open source reporting of wartime ammunition shortages has likely spurred
rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans—to make bulk purchases of
ammunition. These shortages have increased the cost of ammunition, further
exacerbating rightwing extremist paranoia and leading to further stockpiling activity.
Both rightwing extremists and law-abiding citizens share a belief that rising crime rates
attributed to a slumping economy make the purchase of legitimate firearms a wise move
at this time.

In particular, the very broad strokes used in describing 'disgruntled veterans'

(U) Disgruntled Military Veterans
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and
radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from
military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the
capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out
violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist
groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from
the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

— (U) After Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, some returning military
veterans—including Timothy McVeigh—joined or associated with rightwing
extremist groups.

— (U) 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.”

— (U//LES) The FBI noted in a 2008 report on the white supremacist movement
that some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have
joined extremist groups.

(U) Outlook
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that the combination of environmental factors that echo
the 1990s, including heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms restrictions and
returning military veterans, as well as several new trends, including an uncertain
economy and a perceived rising influence of other countries, may be invigorating
rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements.
To the extent that these factors persist, rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength.


As a conservative minded veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who has since gotten out of the military, I find the broad strokes I've highlighted above the most disturbing aspect of this report. It allows Federal and Local Law Enforcement agencies incredible leeway to profile me as a threat to this county only based on the color of my skin, my political beliefs, and my prior service experience.

I am so upset that a Federal agency that is responsible for the security of this nation would betray the very men and women who have served overseas tying down the terrorists so they didn't have as many to deal with. I feel stabbed in the back, and am experiencing no small emotional distress over this issue. How does one invest so much of they're livelihood in protecting a nation, only to be painted as an enemy of that which they worked so hard to protect?

The apology from Secretary of Homeland Security is a start, but is unacceptable. It is clear to me that her perceptions of veterans returning from combat have been too colored by her work as a prosecutor in the case of Timothy McVeigh. In fact, I suspect that they so colored her perceptions of us that she is unable to see the impact this report is having on young veterans coming back. She cannot see the disenfranchisement this report is causing, she cannot see that it is more like going to incite anti-government sentiment than be at all helpful in identifying terrorists. Secretary Nepolitano needs to step down from her post, and the authors need to be reprimanded and forced to rewrite the report or even throw the report out. This language is un-acceptable.

This language lends to the paranoia that the Federal government is beginning to over step its authority and become repressive to any one who opposes it. If the report stands, I can easily be profiled it as a potential threat simply because of my political slant and my service, and my frustrations at my government. Simply for having held a sign in support of Alaska Right to Life, being involved in the Alaska 2nd Amendment Taskforce, and having served in Iraq I could easily fulfill all the criteria of this report, with the exception of the racists/anti-Semitic portions. The fact remains, that as a Catholic, neo-Nazis and the KKK want me as dead as Jews and African Americans.

I have no desire to carry out any actions against the Government of the United States, nor will I ever. Yet this report just causes me to feel like I'm being watched suspiciously by my government. This causes me undue stress, and emotional pain. I'm actually feeling the pain physically along with emotionally. WHY? I've defended this country with my LIFE!
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Thats the best I could do really as far as articulating my frustrations with the Secretary of Homeland Security and her agency right now. This is about as calm as I could get.

I called both Senators, and our Congressman today. Left a message on with they're offices and also backed that up by copying and pasting the above text on they're websites. I've made sure to let them know how much this troubles me in no uncertain terms. I've never been this bad off before.

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