August 10, 2012
According to Homeland Security News Wire, the federal government considers “extremist domestic organizations” as dangerous, if not more so, than foreign terrorist organizations. The FBI and federal law enforcement are stymied in detecting these groups by the First Amendment and political opposition “suspicious of the government’s motives,” the website reports.
The portrayal of military veteran and suspected Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page as a white supremacist has given new credence to the Department of Homeland Security’s debunked report on “rightwing extremism.” The 2009 report, initiated during the Bush regime, characterizes returning veterans as fodder for hate groups supposedly below the government’s radar.
“What is clear from the FBI surveillance and analysis of extremist groups in the United States, surveillance which intensified after 9/11, is that the U.S. government has considered neo-Nazi and white supremacists as genuine threats for many years,” the Homeland Security News Wire reports. Declassified FBI documents released through FOIA requests show that the government considers “these groups as threats for decades — so long in fact, that it has been lost on many that white supremacists, in the form of the Ku Klux Klan, pioneered modern homegrown terrorism.”
Left unmentioned is the well documented fact the FBI has established and run many of these racist organizations. On August 6, we posted a story detailing the connections between the FBI (and the Southern Poverty Law Center) and a number of white supremacist groups. During the trial of Hal Turner, supposedly a noted racist, it was revealed he worked for the government and was regarded as a “National Security Intelligence” asset.
The FBI has controlled racist and white supremacist groups since the 1960s. Under COINTELPRO, the FBI “subsidized, armed, directed and protected the Ku Klux Klan and other right-wing groups,” Brian Glick writes. Racist groups were used to create a strategy of tension by attacking groups on the so-called left, including anti-war, Chicano and Puerto Rican activists and nationalists.
Reuters quotes government officialdom as stating that federal law enforcement is unable to effectively deal with “lone wolf” shooters like Wade Michael Page because the First Amendment stands in the way. “We can’t launch investigations based on free speech,” a federal law enforcement official told Reuters. If federal investigators did investigate an individual for merely expressing “extremist views” (anti-government views), the official said, “they could get into trouble.”
In February, the FBI described “anti-government extremists” as groups and individuals opposed to taxes and oppressive government regulations. The FBI specifically concentrated on so-called “sovereign citizens” who are said to pose a threat to local law enforcement.
Reuters notes that European governments have criminalized political speech. In contrast to constitutional protections afforded to individuals and groups in the United States,
laws in some European nations proscribe and even criminalize various forms of “hate speech.” German law bans “incitement of popular hatred.”
In Britain, the former captain of England’s national soccer team was recently put on trial for allegedly hurling a racist taunt at a rival player. He was subsequently acquitted.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson admitted that the First Amendment stands in the way of criminalizing political speech deemed extremist by the government.
“No matter how offensive to some, we are keenly aware that expressing views by itself is not a crime and the protections afforded under the Constitution cannot be compromised,” he told Reuters.