Monday, March 16, 2015

Threat Countdown: Right Wing Terrorism

Didn't Colbert have a bit about counting down the threats?  Well, the Canadian security folks, CSIS, have counted the threats and found that:
“Lone wolf” attacks more often come from white supremacists and extreme right-wing ideologies than from Islamic radicalism, internal CSIS documents say.
Citing recent academic research, the unclassified documents note extreme right-wing and white supremacist ideology has been the “main ideological source” for 17 per cent of so-called lone wolf attacks worldwide.
Islamic extremism accounted for 15 per cent of such attacks, the document noted, while left-wing extremism and “black power” groups followed with 13 per cent. Anti-abortion activism (8 per cent) and nationalism/separatism (7 per cent) rounded out the list, while in 40 per cent of cases there was no clear ideological motivation.
Of course, the non-lone wolf variety is probably tied to Islamist groups, like Al Qaeda.  Still, we panic so much at Islamist terrorism that we forget that the white supremacists/right wing types are as or more violent.  Indeed, what about Oklahoma City?  What about the spate of attacks in the US tied to white supremacists?

We have seen more of this with a black President and with whites declining relative to other ethnic groups in terms of relative size.  We will see more of this.  I remember that a US intel estimate with similar kinds of findings got squashed a few years ago, so it is nice to have a reminder of this basic reality.   Indeed, Homeland Security had a report last month that didn't get too much play on "right wing sovereign citizens" and the violence they are generating.

All this should serve as a reminder that terrorism is a tactic and not a movement.  There are terrorists in all kinds of movements, and that North America has as much to fear from the right as from anywhere else.

1 comment:

SamStanton said...

The question of Islamist-linked lone-wolf terrorists is addressed well in a study by Sarah Teich (completed in either 2012 or 2013). But the large number of lone-wolf terrorist actions by right-wingers in the U.S. might be tied to the fact that domestically the U.S. does not produce a large number of Islamists. How many right-wing radical organizations based in the U.S. have exported their actions to other countries would be an interesting question to address, in my opinion.