Showing posts with label OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. Show all posts

15 Apr 2009

The Obama administration has issued a chilling warning to US police forces about the threat of a rise in violent rightwing extremist groups fuelled by recession, the return of disgruntled army veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, and hostility over the election of the first black president.

The internal report, which was not meant for publication, was drawn up by the department of homeland security, set up after the 9/11 attacks to co-ordinate internal security.

A leaked copy says: "The economic downturn and the election of the first African-American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalisation and recruitment."

It adds that the threat posed by "lone wolves" and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years.

The report generated criticism from Republicans and military veterans' groups, who resented the implication that returning troops presented a danger. The American Legion called it "unfair", "incomplete" and "politically motivated".

Marked "for official use only", the nine-page report was drawn up by the extremism and radicalisation branch of homeland security. A leaked copy initially appeared on conservative websites and was then picked up by the US media.

The assessment contends: "Rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalise returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills ... have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists, including 'lone wolves or small terrorist cells', to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today."

The early 1990s saw a rise in militias and cults that were anti-government and anti-Bill Clinton, against a background of economic recession. Some looked to survivalism; others were motivated by racism or religion. There was a series of incidents and shoot-outs with federal agents, including the Waco siege in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

David Rehbein, national commander of the American Legion, which has 2.6 million members, today protested in a letter to the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, at the implication that troops presented a danger, saying: "I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy. The terrorists are. The American Legion is well aware and horrified at the pain inflicted during the Oklahoma City bombing, but Timothy McVeigh was only one of more than 42 million veterans who have worn this nation's uniform during wartime. To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical 'disgruntled military veteran' is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam."

The report says that threats from white supremacist and violent anti-government groups have been largely rhetorical so far, but a prolonged economic downturn "could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists".

It adds: "Rightwing extremists have capitalised on the election of the first African-American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilise existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda." In particular it highlights antagonism at Obama's perceived stance on issues ranging from immigration to social programmes for minorities and proposed firearms limits. Since the election, rightwing extremists have been using propaganda to reach potential recruits.

It cites as an example of potential violence that could have been related to rightwing extremism the shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this month. The alleged gunman was reportedly influenced by racist ideology and anti-government and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. Internet chatter by rightwing extremists blames some job losses on a cabal of Jewish financial elites.

SOURCE: The Guardian

13 Nov 2008

Want a top job in the Obama administration? Only pack rats need apply, preferably those not packing controversy.

A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive -- some say invasive -- application ever.



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