Friday, June 02, 2006

Home grown terrorists

Since September 11th, we have become accustomed to thinking of terrorists as a violent lunatic fringe from abroad (or, more specifically, from the Middle East). There is a tendency to forget there is a home grown variety that has been around for a long time. Just three months prior to the September 11th attacks, Timothy McVeigh was executed for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 167 people. (A 168th was killed in the rescue effort.) While it was never clear McVeigh belonged to any organized group he had some association with the survivalist movement and certainly was identified himself as anti-government. He was reportedly a reader of the Turner Diaries, a rightwing fantasy about a race war in the United States and asserted at his trial he was seeking to avenge Waco and Ruby Ridge.

As we approach the fifth anniversary of McVeigh’s execution on June 11th there were two other reminders this past week of native terrorists.

Last week a commission investigating the 1979 murder of community activists by members of the American Nazi Party and Klu Klux Klan in Greensboro, North Carolina, released its report of its investigation in what has become known as the Greensboro Massacre.

Activists, associated with the Communist Workers Party, had been working in Greensboro’s low income neighborhoods and organizing local textile workers. They organized a Death to the Klan rally. The police, who had a paid informant in the local Klan and knew of the Klan’s intention to go to the rally, did nothing for the potentially explosive situation. On this point the commission was particularly critical of the police. ``The (Greensboro Police Department) showed a stunning lack of curiosity in planning for the safety of the event,'' according to the report. The Klan and Nazis arrived, killed five people and wounded ten others. You can watch a short video taken at the scene here. Despite the cold blooded murders, they were acquitted on grounds of self-defense. (Photographs of the five victims can be found here. It is always important to remember the victims.)

The Greensboro Massacre and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building were years ago but the violent rightwing fringe groups are still with us and are still a threat.

In the 6/5/06 issue of Time magazine, Jeffrey Ressner describes Nordic Fest, an annual gathering of Nazis, white supremacists, and various other rightwing nuts. These fine folks gather every Memorial Day near the former mining town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky. This year the theme was immigration. Ressner described a couple of the participants:

Among the scheduled guest speakers was Hal Turner, a New Jersey Internet
radio talk-show host who recently instructed his audience to "clean your
guns, have plenty of ammunition ... and then do what has to be done" to
undocumented workers.

Mark Martin, 43, of Covington, Ohio,
is a chef at a French restaurant and tends his backyard organic garden. But he
also dons the black and brown uniform of western Ohio's National Socialist
(read: Nazi) Movement. "There's nothing neo about us," he says. Martin admits he
frequently harasses day laborers and threatens them with deportation. "As
Americans, we have the right to make a citizen's arrest and detain them," he
insists. "And if they try to get away, we have the right to get physical with
them."


You can read the entire article here.

Contrary to the fantasies of these characters they do not represent a mass movement nor are they about to overthrow the government. However, as Greensboro and Oklahoma City have shown us, they do remain with us and they do remain dangerous.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Right wing terrorist groups are far less of a threat nationally and world wide than Islamic jihadists. Both are worthy of our scorn and condemnation !