Now that five more U.S. soldiers have been charged in the Georgia murders surrounding a plot to kill President Obama, can we finally concede that we have a domestic terrorism problem?

In 2009, Daryl Johnson, a senior analyst in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, authored a report on the threat of right-wing extremists in the United States. Johnson, who had spent 15 years studying white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups within the United States, seemed to think that the circumstances were right, given the economic downturn, and the fact that we had just elected our first African American president, for a surge in radical, anti-government activity. This, Johnson warned, could be particularly problematic, if groups on the far right began appealing to “disgruntled military veterans” in order to “exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.” I think it’s safe to say that Johnson’s report, entitled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, did not receive a warm reception from Republicans.

Newt Gingrich said, “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired.” And the outrage escalated from there. Eventually, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave in to the political pressure and withdrew the report. Furthermore, according to Johnson, his unit within Homeland Security was gutted. “Since our report was leaked,” Johnson said last summer to a reporter from the Southern Poverty Law Center, “DHS has not released a single report of its own on this topic. Not anything dealing with non-Islamic domestic extremism — whether it’s anti-abortion extremists, white supremacists, ‘sovereign citizens,’ eco-terrorists, the whole gamut.” (Johnson eventually left the agency, and has since reported that Homeland Security now just has “one person” working on domestic terrorism.)

The reason I mention all of this tonight, is that I’m reading that the investigation into the anti-government militia which was being operated by current and former soldiers at the Fort Stewart Army base, has been broadened to include another five men. If you aren’t aware of the case, it looks as tough these men, now numbering nine, my have been engaged in numerous illegal enterprises in order to bankroll their anti-government militia activities. This underground paramilitary unit of theirs, referred to by members as F.E.A.R. (Forever Enduring Always Ready), came to the attention of investigators after the bodies of two executed individuals were found in Ludowici, Georgia, a rural town not far from Fort Stewart. Private Michael Burnett, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case, told investigators that the two were killed because they intended to leave the group, which had been stockpiling weapons and plotting to assassinate the President and topple the United States government. (Investigators are also looking into the suspicious death of the wife of Isaac Aguigui, the founder and leader of the militia. It’s being speculated that she may have been killed by her husband last year, in order to secure $500,000 in insurance money, which could then be used to purchase weapons and property for the militia.)

I know it’s kind of a radical idea to express, especially today, on the anniversary of 9/11, but maybe now would be a good time to stop playing politics with national security, concede that domestic terrorism is a threat, and that anti-government rhetoric has consequences, and make the resources available to deal with the issue in a substantive way… regardless of whether doing so offends Newt Gingrich and the members of the aboveground radical right.

And, here, on that note, is video of Daryl Johnson, who appeared on Democracy Now earlier this summer, discussing his new book, Right-Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored, and the fact that we’re pretending that the threat posed by anti-government extremists doesn’t exist.

[note: In related news, I just found out from my friend Pete that a fellow who was active around the periphery of the Ann Arbor noise scene back in the early 90s is now a leader in the California neo-Nazi movement. Fortunately, I never knew the guy, although we had several friends in common.]

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  1. Edward
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Wade Michal Page, the shooter at the Skih temple in Wisconsin, was also a disgruntled vet. The following is from the LA Times.

    Wade Michael Page, the man accused of killing six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, was a member of a white supremacist band called End Apathy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and in a 2010 interview about the band had expressed disappointment with a “sick society.”

    Page, a U.S. Army veteran who was administratively discharged in 1998 after being demoted in rank, was shot and killed Sunday after ambushing two police officers who arrived at the temple, authorities said Monday. Federal officials told the Los Angeles Times that his tattoos and biographical details led officials to treat the shooting as a potential act of domestic terrorism.

    Page’s landlord in Cudahy, Wis., Kurt Weins, said a photo on the band’s MySpace page appeared to show Page. In the photo, the man identified as Wade has “14” tattooed on his arm on top of an Odin’s cross, which represents white pride. The number 14 is a common neo-Nazi tattoo that alludes to the popular 14-word supremacist phrase, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

  2. John Galt
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Just a few rambunctious American patriots blowing off some steam. Nothing to see here.

  3. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    From the article:

    “FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett would not comment on whether federal officials were involved in the investigation, though agents for the FBI and ATF, along with local law enforcement, were cited as witnesses in the indictments.”

    Of course they won’t comment…because virtually every one of these so called terrorists are morons that are spoon fed by FBI provocateurs. These guys will all be acquitted and you’ll never hear another word from the embarrassed public officials again.

    See the Hutaree militia for further details.

  4. Posted September 12, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The Second Amendment guarantees that all gun owners are peaceable citizens. There is noway that a gun owner could ever hurt anyone.

  5. Knox
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    McKoy, are you suggesting entrapment? Do you really believe that FBI agents encouraged these men to murder three people?

  6. Eel
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Boys will be boys. The real problem is Obama.

    Romney Accuses Obama Of Sympathizing With Attackers Who Killed U.S. Ambassador

    “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” – Mitt Romney

  7. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    “McKoy, are you suggesting entrapment? Do you really believe that FBI agents encouraged these men to murder three people?”

    Do I believe they did? Not necessarily…do I think it’s possible? Absolutely.

    This is a very common occurrence. The FBI manufactures bombs, materials and plans all the time, set up rubes and then catch them while announcing great victories over terror. Look at Hutaree. Look at Antonio Martinez. Look at Mohamed Osman Mohamud. Look at the prolific group of morons known as the Liberty City Seven.

    Of course, the acquittals nor mulitple deadlocked trials never get mentioned in the news.

    The pretend enemy in the Dubya FBI were mooslems…the pretend enemy in the Obama FBI are pissed off white guys.

  8. anonymous
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I think it’s much more likely that the FBI got involved after the murders took place. I can’t imagine any scenario where undercover FBI agents would allow, let alone encourage, the murder of innocent individuals. I know that entrapment has taken place, and our agents have probably encouraged some people to be more radical than they would have on their own, but I’m not aware of any instances where agents encouraged murder.

  9. Mr. Y
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Daryl Johnson, people might be interested to know, identifies as a Republican. As much as Newt and others tried to make it look as though the report was politically motivated, it wasn’t. It was motivated by facts. And it’s unconscionable that our Secretary of Homeland Security would retract it.

  10. j
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Like Islamic terrorism, domestic terrorism isn’t very dangerous either. It’s just the lowest form of marketing. Getting into a car should be far more frightening.

  11. Sean
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I am confused. You say that Salmon might have killed his wife and the article says;

    “Salmon’s wife, Heather Salmon, also faces murder charges, but not the death penalty. A fourth soldier, Pfc. Michael Burnett, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is cooperating with prosecutors.”

  12. Stupid Hick
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    McKoy: “Do I believe they did? Not necessarily…do I think it’s possible? Absolutely.”

    Of course! The FBI induced them to murder their own friends who wanted to separate from their terrorist cell. It all makes sense if your mind is open to the possibility that Obama is a Socialist, Muslim, illegal alien who wants to take away our guns and force us to live in FEMA camps.

  13. John Galt
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    All part of Obama’s plan to take our guns. First, he sends in a man dressed like the Joker into a theater in Wisconsin to kill people, then he sends a white supremacist into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin to kill people, and then he convinces some patriotic soldiers to turn anti-government and kill their friends. Fortunately, this last group was stopped before they could kill Obama, thereby completing Obama’s diabolical plan, and making it possible for the feds to take our guns.

  14. Site Admin
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, Sean. It was the wife of Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, the militia’s founder and leader, who was found dead. I will correct the article. The following comes from the Huffington Post.

    Pauley said Aguigui funded the militia using $500,000 in insurance and benefit payments from the death of his pregnant wife a year ago. Aguigui was not charged in his wife’s death, but Pauley told the judge her death was “highly suspicious.”

    She said Aguigui used the money to buy $87,000 worth of semiautomatic assault rifles, other guns and bomb components that were recovered from the accused soldiers’ homes and from a storage locker. He also used the insurance payments to buy land for his militia group in Washington state, Pauley said.

    In a videotaped interview with military investigators, Pauley said, Aguigui called himself “the nicest cold-blooded murderer you will ever meet.” He used the Army to recruit militia members, who wore distinctive tattoos that resemble an anarchy symbol, she said. Prosecutors say they have no idea how many members belong to the group.

  15. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    “Of course! The FBI induced them to murder their own friends who wanted to separate from their terrorist cell. It all makes sense if your mind is open to the possibility that Obama is a Socialist, Muslim, illegal alien who wants to take away our guns and force us to live in FEMA camps.”

    I present a list of people who’s interactions with our government show a clear pattern of behavior, and you present histrionics. Let us know when you care to interact with the adults in the room.

    In fact, lets take a look at the “plans” of these criminal masterminds…

    “Durden told the judge they were leaders of F.E.A.R., which was bent on assassinating the president, poisoning apple crops and bombing dams in Washington state and blowing up the fountain in Savannah’s Forsyth Park.”

    We’re taking out the President, but not until after we blow up some dams in Washington…yeah…and blow up this damn fountain in the park…I’ve always hated that thing! YEAH! FEAR!

    Pardon me if I’m not deathly afraid of a bunch of morons who can barely take the time out FROM KILLING EACH OTHER to commit any terrorism.

    Somebody get DHS guarding that fountain, stat.

  16. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Stupid Hick:,0,5242344.story

    Here’s a brand new one, right on cue. This kid had nothing but a mouthful of shit to talk and list of “high value targets”. He wanted as much destruction as possible so he chose the John Hancock buil…oh wait…no, he chose “some bar in Chicago”.

    The FBI “made” the bomb. The FBI planted the bomb. The mad bomber couldn’t even do a good job coming up with a list with targets of opportunity. Yet I should give the FBI credit for “catching” this guy?

    Most of these cases crumble into dust with the least bit of scrutiny…that’s why you throw terror into the mix. Nothing sends common sense, logic and proportion out the window faster than throwing the word “terror” around.

  17. Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I don’t doubt that, in some instances, government agents have led people to do things that they might not have otherwise, but, if you’re really suggesting that the FBI was involved in the killing of these three people in Georgia, I think you’re out of your mind.

  18. Meta
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The recent assassinations in Texas are thought to be the work of white supremacists.

    Suspicion in the slayings of a Texas district attorney and his wife shifted Monday to a violent white supremacist prison gang that was the focus of a December law enforcement bulletin warning that its members might try to attack police or prosecutors.

    The weekend deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, who were found fatally shot in their home, were especially jarring because they happened just a couple of months after one of the county’s assistant district attorneys, Mark Hasse, was killed near his courthouse office.

    And less than two weeks ago, Colorado’s prison chief was shot to death at his front door, apparently by a white supremacist ex-convict who died in a shootout with deputies after fleeing to Texas.

    The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas has been in the state’s prison system since the 1980s, when it began as a white supremacist gang that protected its members and ran illegal activities, including drug distribution, according to Terry Pelz, a former Texas prison warden and expert on the gang.

    The group, which has a long history of violence and retribution, is now believed to have more than 4,000 members in and out of prison who deal in a variety of criminal enterprises, including prostitution, robbery and murder.

    It has a paramilitary structure with five factions around the state, Pelz said. Each faction has a general, who is part of a steering committee known as the “Wheel,” which controls all criminal aspects of the gang, according to court papers.

    Four top leaders of the group were indicted in October for crimes ranging from murder to drug trafficking. Two months later, authorities issued the bulletin warning that the gang might try to retaliate against law enforcement for the investigation that also led to the arrest of 30 other members.

    Read more:

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