The politization of the DHS and the silencing of the conservative voice
What does an inverted American flag mean?
Two recent documents give an answer to this question. Two documents that bring a disturbing trend into the light of the public. Both documents were drafted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and marked as “unclassified”, but for official use only. They were then somehow leaked to the public. We will have to speculate whether this leak was intentional or accidental when we discuss the contents of these documents.
The first document appeared in Internet blogs around February 2009 and was an instruction to Missouri police to watch for signs of right-wing extremism and terrorism. Read the document here.
The second document was addressed more broadly to US law enforcement and turned up in blogs about two months after the Missouri document. Read the second document here.
Both documents superficially address a resurgence of rightwing extremism in the current political and economic climate. The Missouri document starts with a list of acts of terror committed or allegedly planned by rightwing extremists from 1995 to 2008. A total of 18 incidents is listed for this time period, and some incidents are simple arrests. Most incidents were arrests before an act of terror could be committed, or failed terror attempts. No information about prison sentences is given. In one incident, one group plead guilty to plotting a murder. One murder was actually committed according to the list. To summarize, the list contains 18 incidents (slightly more than one per year over the 14 year period) and one confirmed murder. Plus one guilty plea. Moreover, 10 incidents are listed for the five years 1995-1999 and 8 incidents for 2000 to 2008, clearly marking a downward trend.
Let us make no mistake. What was planned by these groups of derailed individuals were despicable acts of terror, of mindless slaughter of innocents, very much like the acts of terror committed by the members of the Weatherman underground. Such acts, and even the planning of such acts, has to be condemned without reservation, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice with the full force of the law. Judging by the 18 listed incidents, however, it becomes clear that the law enforcement agencies are on top of it. The number of foiled bomb plots in this list shows us that law enforcement agencies have done a terrific job of keeping us safe from these crazies.
Why the sudden appearance of these documents, then?
Let us examine the content of these documents a bit more closely, starting with the Missouri report. It is entitled The Modern Militia Movement, and the first page creates the link of the militia movement to the planned terrorist acts that were cited above. The first three pages cover a brief history of the militia movement, and the section ends with a prediction of a reemergence of the movement. Motivating factors to join the militia are listed: Threat of the Obama administration to enact firearms confiscation, ammunition accountability act, anticipation of the economic collapse of the US government, possible constitutional convention, alleged plans to form a North American Union, Obama’s Universal Service Program, and fear of a forced RFID implant.
Now, this is an interesting mix. Let us break this mix into two components. First there is the question of firearms restrictions (registration, confiscation, ammunition serialization). We have discussed firearms restrictions in depth. For those who support the registration of ammunition, let me ask: how difficult would it be for a criminal to (a) obtain ammunition on the black market, or (b) use stockpiles of unregistered ammunition or (c) simply file off the serial number? Furthermore, how difficult would it be for a criminal to get a few spent shells from the local firing range (registered to an innocent citizen, of course!) and spread those shells around the crime scene? Serious doubts have been cast on the efficacy of ammunition registration, and the bill did not pass in many states.
Many Americans are opposed to even more gun laws, and according to the Wall Street Journal, “… gun control has proven to be a consistent political loser…”. Many Americans are also opposed to mandatory civilian national security force, which Obama definitively did propose. Read more here. Being in favor of the Bill of Rights (including the Second Amendment), opposed to mandatory community service and generally opposed to a large, encroaching government (more on that later) is not a sign of extremism, but of moderate conservativism.
Second, there is the question of an economic collapse, mandatory RFID implants, the NAU, and the break-up of America. Believing in these conspiration theories is borderline paranoid, and very, very few Americans will follow those theories. The interesting part is the mix. Main-stream conservatives are thrown together with conspirationalists and other oddballs. Could this be intentional?
On the seventh page of the Missouri document, we find a list of common militia symbols
|Political Paraphernalia: Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups. It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.|
Furthermore, we find on the same page Militia Symbols, such as the Gadsden Flag or the upside-down US flag (see picture). Are we to conclude that somebody who uses the US flag upside-down as bumper sticker, or who supports Ron Paul is a right-wing extremist? The document does not raise this claim. Rather, it claims the reverse, that militia members are supporters of Ron Paul or display the Gadsden Flag. However, this is a subtle distinction. This document appears more aimed at creating confusion – at creating a bias against conservatives, libertarians, and individuals critical of a too-powerful government – by mixing them deliberately with right-wing radicals.
The Missouri document caused a severe backlash. The Missouri Libertarian Party issued a condemning statement. Chuck Baldwin wrote an excellent rebuttal. Eventually, the Missouri state highway partol responded by shutting down the report.
Let us now get to the second publication. It appears as if the Missouri report was more of a test balloon, to test the public reaction, because we do not find direct references to political parties or candidates any more. On first glance, the second DHS report appears more bland, avoiding the issues that caused the uproar with the first document. This fact alone feeds suspicions that the “leaking” of the document was intentional. The documents were designed to meet a political purpose, and they had to be leaked to the public to fulfill that purpose, namely to create the impression that conservatives and libertarians are actually right-wing extremists.
How does the second publication fulfill this purpose?
Once again, the subject is rightwing extremism and its predicted resurgence. Let us look at some statements and analyze them.
|(U//LES) Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. (…)
(U//LES) Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.
Please take note of the conjunction of white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups. Are antigovernment groups always violent? What about those who do not plan to carry out violent attacks (as stated in the text), do they still fall into the “violent” category? Apparently a broadly aimed political attack against government-critical groups. Even worse is the implied future attack planning in “…they have not yet turned to attack planning.”. Not yet – there is some inevitability implied, but there is no proof and no substance that those groups will turn to attack planning. The political manipulation is fairly obvious, particularly in light of the fact that the (presently) nonviolent nature of those groups is emphasized throughout the document.
Next, we find a definition of the rightwing extremist groups in a footnote:
|(U) Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.|
Interestingly, to be hate-oriented seems to be prerogative of the right, as if there were no mass-murders of Jews and other groups by Communists. And again, hate-oriented extremists are thrown into the same pot as individuals critical of the federal government amassing power or typical conservative attitudes, such as opposition to abortion. This is the same strategy we found in the Missouri document.
A recurring theme is the election of an African-American president. It is agreed that this election may fuel a remnant minority of true racists. However, the paper totally neglects that President Obama may be critisized not for his skin color, but for his far-left politics. Another recurring theme are impending firearm restrictions. The document claims:
|(…) The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.|
When you anticipate a shortage of a commodity, wouldn’t you pile up? Considering the anti-gun records of Obama and his staff, hunters and sports shooters are wise in stockpiling. Let us consider some numbers. According to my own research, there are about 260 million guns in the USA with a long-term increase of 2-3 percent per year. In the first six months after the 2008 election, gun sales rose by 50 percent. Putting these numbers together, we arrive at a number of approximately 7 million “stockpiled” guns. Stockpiled by right-wing extremists? Do you really believe that 7 million guns were stockpiled by right-wing extemists only? That would be an awful lot of rightwing extremists out there, considering that only 18 incidents involving those extremists were recorded. It would rather appear that the average shooter and target hunter advanced one or two sporting gun purchases that were likely planned anyway. Consequently, the alleged stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists is a veiled political statement, namely the claim that those who now buy a hunting or self-defense gun are right-wing extremists.
I could go on with this analysis, but several others exist. Among the best detail analyses of this text is the one by the Delaware Libertarian. In this article, the conclusion is presented that the DHS report was compiled by two authors:
|Author A–who appears to be the senior voice in the document (probably the compiler)–has a nuanced view of rightwing extremism, including (a) a willingness to note that many law-abiding Americans share some of these concerns; and (b) that the primary domestic terror threat today is not from groups but from nutty lone wolf individuals.
Author B is a powerful enough dissenting voice to place directly contradictory statements into the record. For Author B, white supremacist groups are the primary threat, and they are inevitably moving toward attack plans.
Either way, the DHS report is primarily intriguing because its total absence of facts and statistics. In the entire report, the claims are not supported by any facts, numbers, or other form of evidence. The claim that extremists are moving towards violence completely lacks supporting evidence. No recruiting numbers or trends are given. No statistics on rightwing group membership or distribution are given. One single example of a shooting crime by a single gunman, likely driven by racist ideology and conspiration theories, is provided. This report which advertises itself as assessment by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis is not an analysis. Lacking facts, it is not even a report. For law-enforcement, this document is useless. Yet, it contains the threatening notice
|(U) LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION NOTICE: This product contains Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) information. No portion of the LES information should be released to the media, the general public, or over non-secure Internet servers. Release of this information could adversely affect or jeopardize investigative activities.|
Please read the document again. How could this collection of unsubstantiated claims that lacks any concrete information, jeopardize investigations when released to the public?
Also consider the document’s styling and presentation. A highly unprofessional layout; scattered in-between are meaningless pictures (Missouri document). Some of these pictures could have been ripped from an army recruitment brochure. Is this what the Department of Homeland Security offers to law enforcement officers?
Third, consider the leaks themselves. If one Law Enforcement Sensitive document leaks to the public, it could well be an accident. But two in sequence? It is not only this coincidence of two sensitive documents leaked to the public, but also the makeover of the second document. Gone are all references to people and parties that ired the public when they read the Missouri document. The second document was cleansed of any statements that had offended individuals and groups in the first document. Clearly, the first document was a test balloon, and the second document was streamlined following the public reaction. If these documents were intended “Law Enforcement Only”, there would have been no need for this streamlining.
I believe that that this document was intentionally “leaked” to the public to create a perception of a connection between completely normal activities of (predominantly conservative) citizens and right-wing extremists.
Now, let’s contrast this document with another DHS publication, this time about predicted left-wing cyber attacks. You will find this quote:
|(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that cyber attacks are attractive options to leftwing extremists who view attacks on economic targets as aligning with their nonviolent, “no-harm” doctrine and tactic of “direct action.”|
Ah-ha! Now we got it. Right-wing extremists together with libertarians, conservatives, and members of the public who think the Bill of Rights was a good idea are violent radicals and a threat to the public. Left-wing extremists are nonviolent and peaceful. Could the contrast be more extreme?
Finally, we need to view those two documents in a broader context. There is no doubt that there are various fringe groups in the US. Examples are violent environmentalists, anarchists, supremacists of various colors (including white), and violent animal rights activists. Undoubetly, a much larger threat exists with radical islamists. It is interesting that none of these are mentioned in the two documents. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to cover violent fringe groups in one report?
No. Those two documents are part of a bigger strategy of information warfare. In a very thoughtful article, American Thinker writes,
|This “assessment” is not an analysis of a national trend or an examination of existing evidence or even recent radical literature; it is targeting those whose politics fall within the broad insinuations contained within its pages, namely mainstream conservatives. It is a manipulative information tool intended to paint the loyal opposition as reactionary kooks who are prone to violence and a danger to the country.
This is part of a more widespread ongoing information campaign to plant and reinforce critical themes into the American official, and broader public psyche, a continuation of the “clinging to guns and religion” message so frequently found in the rhetoric of President Obama and his acolytes.
Those documents are another angle at influencing the public after the first failed attempt to destroy talk radio. And it should be seen in the context of Obama’s “bitter clinger” statement, his Missouri Truth Squads, and, most recently, Mr. Obama’s Nazi-style snitch line, email@example.com.
Moreover, we can expect more of this propaganda, distributed through the DHS fusion centers .
These two documents become even more chilling when seen in the context of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Hillary Clinton wrote a doctoral dissertation that is nothing more than adulation for Saul Alinsky. Alinsky’s teachings influenced Barack Obama in his early career as a community organizer on the far South Side of Chicago (ref). Saul Alinsky presented his thirteenth Rule in Rules for Radicals (Vintage Books Edition, 1989, p. 130):
|The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.|
- Pick the target [and] freeze it. Alinsky clarifies that “the opposition must be singled out as the target…” – frozen, in this context, means the definition of the target. Based on our analysis, the target are conservatives and moderates. Anybody who is in opposition to Obama’s sweeping socialism.
- Personalize it. Alinsky clarifies: “The other important point in choosing a target is that it must be a personification, not something general and abstract…”. This is why the DHS documents need the militia. After freezing the target (the conservatives), they are now personalized by giving them the face of the radical militia.
- Polarize it. Alinsky writes: “With this focus comes polarization”. Alinsky gives the example of Christ in the temple “he who is not with me is agains me”. Do not allow any middle ground. By mixing conservatives with radical militants of the extreme right, it is Me (left-wing and good) against Them (conservative and evil).
Alinsky left his mark on Obama, no doubt. My recommendation for all conservatives, libertarians and moderates: go and buy Alinsky’s book. Study it. You are the Left’s enemy, and they will not stop before you are community-organized into reeducation camps or eliminated.
A final thought. The perfect irony was revealed recently when, according to the Wall Street Journal left-wing radicals and community organizers in Chicago started waving the upside-down US flag:
|The campaign began with Spencer Leak Sr., 72 years old, who owns a South Side funeral home that has buried 10 children in recent months. A U.S. Army veteran and former executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, Mr. Leak first proffered the flag idea during his weekly commentary on a gospel radio show.
“With the metal detectors and police guards, the lobbies in the school look like the lobbies in the jails,” Mr. Leak said, “I want to fly the flag to show the country we’re in distress. We need help.”
Rev. Pfleger then raised the idea with his congregation.
Last week, the congregation sold T-shirts imprinted with the image of an inverted flag and the words, “Gun Violence: An American Emergency!” Rev. Pfleger is now urging his congregation to wear American flag lapel pins upside down.
Now, according to the Missouri DHS report, those gentlemen need spcial scrutiny for potential right-wing violence. Let them get that scrutiny. DHS might make an interesting discovery.