by Robert Maynard
It looks like the federal government is dusting off a playbook they used in 2009 when the Tea Party movement was just getting started as a citizen led protest movement aimed at a government that was perceived as vastly overreaching its constitutionally mandated authority. As I pointed out in the April 2009 True North Radio article, the Department of Homeland Security had drafted a report that painted such protesters as potential domestic terrorists. I pointed out then that I thought this was an attempt to discredit this citizens’ protest movement before it got too big:
This all has a precedent. I do not think that the objective here is to round up a bunch of “extremists”, but to discredit a pro-liberty movement that is critical of big government before it can gain any steam. In the early 1990’s after Bill Clinton got elected, there erupted a similar movement as a response to the proposed take over of health care, pushing for gun control, Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc. The Republican Class of 1994 road this wave into a majority with the Contract With America. They actually proposed shutting down whole government agencies. When Bill Clinton stood up to them they shut down the federal government. There was a plan to pass continuing resolutions to fund only necessary programs and hold hearings on the rest. The talk at the time was whether the President was even relevant as his influence seemed to have been eclipsed by Newt Gingrich and his merry band of revolutionaries. Clinton was seen as a one term President.
Then we had the Oklahoma City bombing. In its wake, almost everyone who had been critical of the federal government was branded as a potential Timothy McVeigh. This had the effect of publicly discrediting the pro-liberty movement as a bunch of reactionary extremists. Of course the targeting of high profile targets like Newt Gingrich was part of the effort as well. The result was that a significant part of the GOP split with the “young turks” and Clinton won the face off, while the GOP “extremists” were attacked for shutting down the government simply because they had a personal beef with Clinton. Clinton got re-elected and the GOP has been neutered ever since as a reliable force for limited government.
I think that what is happening now is a replay of the successful 1990’s attempt to strangle a limited government movement before it gets too powerful. (It is far more important to crucify the movement in the arena of public opinion than it is to actually lock people up and make martyrs out of them) This movement has to be stopped before 2010 becomes another 1994. That is the end game and we should not get distracted by speculation over being locked up.
Since they were not successful in stopping this citizens’ protest movement back in 2009, the DHS is at it again and this time they are being joined by the Department of Defense. It looks like the DHS is providing training for police officers from around the country to suspect conservative Christians, Sovereign Citizens, and others “who are not going along with the changes in America,” and treat them like domestic terrorists. Here is a web article that contains a letter from a Colorado Police Officer who attended a DHS seminar:
Trooper Joe Kluczynski taught a 2-hour section on sovereign citizens. Kluczynski spent most of his two hours focusing on how, in his view and apparently the view of Homeland Security, people turn to the sovereign citizen movement. Kluczynski started off by saying there are probably some sovereign citizens in this room and gave a generalized list of those groups that have sovereign citizen views. Among those groups, Kluczynski had listed, were those who believe America was founded on godly principles, Christians who take the Bible literally, and “fundamentalists”. Kluczynski did not explain what he meant by “fundamentalists” but from the context it was clear he was referring again to those who took the Bible literally or “too seriously.”
While Kluczynski emphasized that sovereign citizens have a right to their beliefs, he was clearly teaching that the groups he had listed should be watched by law enforcement and should be treated with caution because of their potential to assault law enforcement. Kluczynski explained why he believed these groups were dangerous saying they were angry over the election of a black president. When someone in the group suggested the failing economy was probably much more to blame, Kluczynski intimated that those who are not going along with the changes in America will need to be controlled by law enforcement. Kluczynski even later questioned some of the troopers present if they were willing and prepared to confiscate “illegal” weapons if ordered to.
Not to be outdone, the Department of Defense as drafted a report that lumps Evangelical Christians, Catholics and Ultra Orthodox Jews in with actual terrorists groups who have a history of violence:
Listed alongside “extremist” groups and organizations like the Klu Klux Klan and al-Qaida, the U.S. Army slideshow has “Evangelical Christianity” as the first bullet, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and farther down on the slide, Catholicism.
According to the training documents, “Extremism is a complex phenomenon” that is present in every religion due to “some followers that believe that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only ‘right way’ and that all others are practicing their faith the ‘wrong way,’ seeing and believing that their faith/religion superior to all others.”
It looks like both the DHS and the DOD are taken their cues when defining extremist groups from the “Southern Poverty Law Center.” This group has a history of broad brushing conservative groups with the label “extremist” while ignoring groups on the left that actually do engage in violence. Last May the National Review ran an article about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s selective definition of extremist groups:
In light of the May Day arrests of the Cuyahoga 5, the Occupy Wall Street–affiliated group of men who planned to blow up a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio, I called the Southern Poverty Law Center to find out of they had any plans to start tracking the Occupy movement. The first person I spoke to was so shocked by the question that she paused for a good 15 seconds before promising to put me in touch with a representative. This she eventually did, however, and after a game of cat-and-mouse — the person she’d found for me was busy “hosting an international conference on right-wing extremism,” natch — we managed to touch base and I to pose the question: “Do you have any plans to start tracking Occupy Wall Street after a hate group tried to blow up a bridge?”
After haggling over definitions of what the group defined as extremist to excuse the lack of interest in this group, the representative finally came out an admitted:
“We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.”
We only ever cover left-wing groups when they have a right-wing component, he told me. For example, “when anarchist groups are infiltrated by those on the right; Neo-Nazis, that sort of thing.”
To sum things up agencies of our federal government are using definitions of extremist groups, from a group that has an admitted ideological bias, to train military and police personal. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?