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CNN's 'Expert on Extremism'

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center attacked Rep. King and the Homeland Security Committee's hearings on homegrown Islamic terrorism by offering that radical Islam isn't America's greatest threat. You'll never guess who is....

Well, I think it's not our biggest domestic terror threat. I think that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country.

Asked for an example, Potok cites the "so-called anti-government patriot movement," such as the "sovereign citizens' movement."

These are people who believe the government has no right to control them in any way, to pass laws that affect them, to require them to pay taxes, even to require things like driver's licenses and auto registrations.

Other than Wesley Snipes and a few leftist anarchists, do you know anyone (especially anyone on the right) who thinks the government can't collect taxes or pass laws? Have you ever heard of any such groups committing an act of terrorism, anywhere in the world? Now, can you recall any acts of terrorism, here or abroad, committed by an Islamic group?

It's not a point of disagreement between the left and right on this issue, it's a point of sanity. If the SPLC - which, in its desperate attempt to remain relevant recently included "pro-family" groups on their annual list of hate groups - truly believes the "sovereign citizens' movement" is a greater threat than Al Qaeda, they must be so consumed by hate or fear as to be pathologically deranged. The only other possibility is that they are utterly immune to the due shame which should accompany such a ludicrous lie.

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Did this not get mentioned in your NewsMax e-mails or newsletters from The Concerned American Family Patriotic Prayer Council Association (Inc.)??

"Monday morning, federal authorities released an indictment against Stone and eight other members of the Hutaree militia. They allege that Stone and his followers were planning an attack sometime in April, perhaps killing an police officer then targeting the funeral with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to raise the death toll. The group saw the police as the arm of a US government, which they felt was the enemy.

“It started out as a Christian thing," Donna Stone told reporters at the preliminary court hearing Monday morning. "You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far. He dragged a lot of people with him. When he got carried away, when he went from handguns to big guns, I was done."

“He dragged a lot of innocent people down with him," said Donna Stone, whose son was legally adopted by David Stone and was among those indicted. “It started to get worse when they were talking about the world's gonna end in the Bible.”

According to the indictment, David Stone researched IEDs on the internet and e-mailed diagrams of the devices to someone he believed capable of manufacturing the devices. He then directed his son, Joshua, and others to gather materials necessary for the manufacturing of the bombs.

The indictment further concludes that in June 2009, “Stone taught other Hutaree members how to make and use explosive devices intending or knowing that the information would be used to further a crime of violence.”


"I've met him. He's an opinionated man who likes to share those opinions," Jim Gulliksen of the Lenaway Volunteer Michigan Militia told the Detroit News. "The Hutaree is a nationwide group, but I have met a couple of the members here, and I can say they all belong to one specific church. Our concern is the protection of our nation. Religion appears to be a big part of what they are doing."
A Christian survivalist

According to group’s website, Hutaree means “Christian Warrior.” The website announces: “The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center? ROTFLOL.

The guy who started the SPLC, Morris Dees, is the biggest crook and phony (maybe besides Jackson and Sharpton) to step into the "race game" .

Here some interesting facts about Dees:

Dees’ onetime business partner Millard Fuller once said: “Morris and I ... shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money. We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich.”

In 1986, the SPLC's entire legal department quit because Dees was pursuing lucrative, high-profile cases against the KKK and in preference to working on cases for "poor people". One of his own staff attorneys admitted that their sole purpose was to cash in on black pain and white guilt.

Dees brings lawsuits against right-wing groups, but never against left-wing hate groups. He is a scam artist on the level of Jackson and Sharpton.

How many terrorist attacks have been carried out in the name of Christ the past decade? How many of those attacks were carried out by members of a globally connected, dispersed group? Which mainstream Christian leaders did not unequivocally denounce said attacks?

Here are some numbers concerning the number of attacks carried out in the name of Allah in case you were wondering:

Andrew, you've apparently (again) mistaken me for a proponent, advocate, or defender of Islam. I'm not.
Far from it.

Al Qaeda's size, importance, and relative danger are highly debatable.

"Two years ago, I interviewed Jack Cloonan, a 25-year veteran of the FBI who, between 1996 and 2002, served on a joint CIA–FBI task force that tracked bin Laden. “How many members of Al Qaeda do you think there are?” he asked me. Cloonan laughed when I pegged its membership at several thousand. The real numbers, he said, “are miniscule.”

Documents discovered by the joint task force, Cloonan said, showed that Al Qaeda had 72 members when it was founded in 1989. Twelve years later, the task force got its hands on an updated membership list after a CIA Predator destroyed a building near Kabul during the American invasion of Afghanistan. The membership list was discovered in the rubble, along with dozens of casualties, including Mohammed Atef, one of bin Laden's closest aides. It showed that bin Laden had a grand total of precisely 198 sworn loyalists. (Hirsh's Newsweek article said that the intelligence community “generally agrees that the number of true A-list Al Qaeda operatives” at the time of 9/11 probably between 500 and 1,000, most of them in and around Afghanistan.)"

Numbers-wise, Christians dominate in the US. They vastly outnumber Muslims. A small percentage of American Christians are zealous believers in American theocracy and end-times Holy War claptrap. A small percentage of Muslims in America are the flip-side of the same holy warrior coin. Still, if it's 1.5% of Christians who think this way and 3% of Muslims (and these guesses almost certainly give both kinds of extremists too much credit for any ability to recruit effective members), there are more - in absolute numbers - Christians out there who are ready to do something crazy. I'm no longer terribly concerned with Muslims on a Plane (cockpit doors are secure now, as Ralph Nader had been asking for long before 9/11), although I know how politically lucrative the fear card is among conservatives. Actually, I'm not terribly worried about terrorist attacks from ANY source, Jihadists, Hutarees, Lambs of God, or eco-terrorists. There are 1,000,001 much more likely ways that I could meet a grisly end, including falling off a ladder while cleaning leaves out of the rain gutters. You enjoy your comparative body counts if you wish.

I was quite familiar with the Religion of Peace site before you offered it, thanks. The best part of the site surely must be their ridiculous Statement on Muslims, esp. the last few paragraphs, which must contain some of the most serpentine, self-contradictory, disingenuous reflections I've read in some time. It surely must be a deflating or frustrating experience for the site's loyal readers who happen to stumble upon it:

"Yes, there are Muslims who take issue with these aspects of Islamic theology, but it doesn't change what Islam is. Don't confuse the ideology with the individual. Don't draw conclusions about Islam based on the Muslims that you know, be they terrorists or humanitarians. Islam must be understood on the basis of what it is, as presented objectively in the Qur'an, Hadith and Sira (biography of Muhammad).

By the same token, don't draw conclusions about the Muslims in your life based on the true nature of Islam. Like any other group, not all Muslims think alike. Even if there is no such thing as moderate Islam, it does not mean that there are no moderate Muslims.

If our years of dialogue with literally hundreds have taught us anything, it is that most Muslims (even devout ones) have only a superficial understanding of their religion. Many are secular and very few made the choice to even be Muslim. As with all religion, there are widely varying degrees of seriousness with which they may take the teachings of Islam. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali put it, "Muslims as individuals can choose how much of their religion they practice."

The Muslims that you know are not terrorists. More than likely, their interests in life are similar to yours and they have the same ambitions for their children. They should neither be shunned, mistreated, nor disrespected merely because of their religion. Their property should not be abused, and neither should copies of their sacred book be vandalized.

Prejudging an individual by their group identity (or presumed group identity) is not only unethical, it is blatantly irrational, since group identity reveals absolutely nothing about a person. Every individual should be judged only on the basis of their own words and deeds.

Don't judge Islam by the Muslims that you know, and don't judge the Muslims that you know by Islam."

Well, gosh, that sorta takes the fun out of the whole (obvious) endeavor of the site, doesn't it?

Do you remember when mainstream televangelist Pat Robertson (of "The 700 Club" fame - same show which once lovingly hosted Harry Jaffa) suggested that it would be a great thing if someone bombed the US State Dept? Watch out for his sleeper cells!

Leftist, Islamist, and ethnic terrorism are far and away more common that terrorism from the Right. This is a matter of record. The Left in this country has always been obsessed with the Timothy McVeigh's of our country (as rare as such people are), while turning a blind eye to the Weather Underground, the SLA, Earth First, and the Unabomber.

It's been a long time since the KKK or the skinheads have been anything other than annoyances. Wouldn't it be nice if the Left would simply (and honestly) deal with the legitimate political issues of the Right WITHOUT resorting to scapegoating and fear-mongering?

Wouldn't it be nice if the Left would simply (and honestly) deal with the legitimate political issues of the Right WITHOUT resorting to scapegoating and fear-mongering?

Because the bulk of the left

a. has no interest in public affairs per se other than as an arena for subcultural warfare; or

b. cannot conceive of themselves as being in conversation with people whose principals and objects might require some degree of critical engagement.

So, you get Craig Scanlon. And Ron Schiller. 'Tis a pity.

The number of al-Qaeda operations you cite (which doesn't address the individuals who work with them but are not dyed-in-the-wool al-Qaeda) does not change the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder publicly stated he is kept awake at night with concern over Islamists' ongoing attempts to radicalize American muslims. Rep King simply has the courage to act on those shared concerns.


Interesting that you brought up Rep. King:

"For Representative Peter T. King, as he seizes the national spotlight this week with a hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims, it is the most awkward of résumé entries. Long before he became an outspoken voice in Congress about the threat from terrorism, he was a fervent supporter of a terrorist group, the Irish Republican Army."

(but I'm sure that can all be explained away - no big whoop, right??)

Certainly if you were in charge of the HUAC-equivalent for scary Muslims, then you'd be finding Islamofascists among everyone who happened to walk down a street that has a mosque on it. Your "individuals who work with them but are not dyed-in-the-wool al-Qaeda" would become like Cheney's WMD- associated, related activities. (So many "related activities, so few WMDs!)

[Redwald, thanks for bringing up McVeigh - care to do a body-count comparison between all of those left-wing groups you cite and McVeigh's single act?]

"Wouldn't it be nice if the Left would simply (and honestly) deal with the legitimate political issues of the Right WITHOUT resorting to scapegoating and fear-mongering?"

(Hilarious.) Translation: Wouldn't it be nice if the Left just agreed with us on everything, in all of our humble rightness?

"Because the left cannot conceive of themselves as being in conversation with people whose principals [sic] and objects might require some degree of critical engagement.

So, you get Craig Scanlon."

Wow, if I'm representative of that, then I wonder how you'd describe the bloggers and commenters who only read and "exist" on sites that are the left-wing (echo chamber) counterparts to NLT??

President Obama offered Rep King the ambassadorship to Ireland. Was this in spite of his support for the IRA or did they just not do their homework regarding his support of a terrorist organization? Do you actually believe your own nonsense?

And might I recommend "The Looming Tower" (won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007) as probably the best book written about al-Qaeda. "Taliban" is also pretty good: the groups were formed concurrently in the same region. They both beat out a Harper's article when it comes to an in depth understanding of the organization.

"President Obama offered Rep King the ambassadorship to Ireland. Was this in spite of his support for the IRA or did they just not do their homework regarding his support of a terrorist organization? Do you actually believe your own nonsense?"

Wait a minute. Isn't the Tea-bircher/birther/conservative/GOP line that Obama "pals around with terrorists"? Why would his offering the job to a supporter of a terrorist group surprise you? Yet, again, you mistake me for someone who is on Team Obama. I'm not. I'm sure that all relevant parties knew of King's background before he was offered the ambassadorship.

What's funny is that King (and his defenders) seem to be doing some fun hair-splitting on the issue of terror - the IRA "never attacked the United States." Firstly, I don't think that would pass "Gentleman" G.W. Bush's test for what qualifies as terror that the U.S. is supposedly opposed to and battling against (or is the mask off on the right's truly cynical definition? Terrorism done for Our Team isn't terror, but if any Other Team does it, then it's the work of evil-doers? Note that King conveniently rejects the very notion of the IRA as terrorists, calling them a "legitimate force."). I explicitly recall a speech in which Bush described terrorism as an evil that must be rooted out from all corners of the globe, regardless of who perpetrates it or who the victims are (I didn't believe he was at all sincere, but there was something to the pronounced idea, at least). Secondly, while the IRA has never attacked the US, it did kill an American and seriously injured at least one more:

"In the notorious December 1983 strike on Harrods in London, for example, an IRA car bomb was set outside the department store in the early afternoon during the busy Christmas shopping season.

The bomb killed six people -- including an American citizen -- and injured another 90.


Among the dead was Kenneth Salvesan, 28, a business consultant from Chicago. At least one other American, a geologist named Mark McDonald from Michigan, was badly injured in the attack. He was visited by Prince Charles and Diana in the hospital, where McDonald was recovering from surgery."

I didn't think my Harper's link was so bad, as it did quote a 25-year veteran of the FBI who, between 1996 and 2002, served on a joint CIA–FBI task force that tracked bin Laden.

But you claim to have bested me (like it's rock-paper-scissors) with the mere mention of a couple books, so I guess you have.

Correction: "...while the IRA has never attacked the US (DIRECTLY, with an attack on our soil, embassies, etc.), it did kill an American and seriously injured at least one more."

If a brown, non-Christian man kills an American in the Middle East (provided it's not an American with sympathies for Palestinians) or just about anywhere else, I'm guessing that'd be interpreted as something akin to an attack on our country.

Well, Scanlon, I'm glad you admit that, stripped of bluster and fear-mongering, the Left would be forced to agree with the Right on most issues. This is what we have long suspected, but we thank you for the confirmation.

As for the boogeyman of rightwing terrorism, I suggest you compare casualty figures. With the exception of the OKC bombing, terrorism on the Right has been pretty minimal over the last two or three decades. You can't say that about Leftist, Islamist, and ethnic terrorism.

I'm glad that your (patently absurd) interpretation of what I wrote confirmed your suspicions. I'm sure that's gratifying for you; and I imagine your interpretations of lots of things allow you to feel that way frequently.

"With the exception of the OKC bombing, terrorism on the Right has been pretty minimal..."

That's a classic. Thank you.

Yes, Craig, but books can source many 25-year veterans of many different agencies. You'd be hard-pressed to find a scholarly article or book on al-Qaeda which doesn't cite "The Looming Tower". Just an FYI to enhance your situational awareness.

Scanlon, the recipients of snark always have the option of taking the comment as they will. That's the danger of sarcasm in the written word.

The OKC bombing was an anomaly -- an Islamist style attack by a handful of truly crazed individuals, and in retaliation for a government assault on private citizens (we can disagree on whether the Branch Davidians deserved what they got, but it was surely botched by the Fed). It was really minor compared to the Soviet-back international Leftist terrorism of the 1960s and 1970s, where thousands died over the years.

My point is simple: Focusing on the potential of Rightwing terrorism is much like fearing street crime in Ames, Iowa. There are better uses of one's attention and resources.

Now let me guess, you go and find some journalistic account of a (rare) bit of violence in Ames.

[Redwald - sorry, you're just too ridiculous to bother with]

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