Pharyngula

What word is missing in this story?

I’m sure everyone has already heard about the plot to murder Obama and many others:

Two white supremacists allegedly plotted to go on a national killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, federal authorities said Monday.

In all, the two men whom officials described as neo-Nazi skinheads planned to kill 88 people – 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn.

It’s a horrible and sordid story of idiots with guns, but in scanning the various news sources, there is a curious but obvious word missing — a word that normally our media and government fling about with unscrupulous abandon.

That word is “terrorism”.

Doesn’t it strike you as peculiar that white homegrown right-wing fascist killers are somehow exempt from being called what they are — terrorists?

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    They’re not terrorists. They’re good old boys that need some direction.

  2. #2 stogoe
    October 27, 2008

    Doesn’t it strike you as peculiar that white homegrown right-wing fascist killers are somehow exempt from being called what they are — terrorists?

    Sadly, No. It doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  3. #3 King of Ferrets
    October 27, 2008

    Yes.

  4. #4 John C. Randolph
    October 27, 2008

    IIRC, the press wasn’t at all reticent to call Tim McVeigh or Eric Rudolph terrorists, and while they weren’t KKK, they were certainly white, christian right-wingers.

    -jcr

  5. #5 Brandon P.
    October 27, 2008

    The scary thing is that there exist hundreds if not thousands of people like this who would be more than happy to off our possible next president.

  6. #6 Christopher Olson
    October 27, 2008

    If they’re not terrorists, and Obama is… well, then it must be opposite day or something.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    October 27, 2008

    Nope, me neither. Not even a little surprised.

  8. #8 Caleb Milam Turberville
    October 27, 2008

    - John C. Randolf

    And white doesn’t have anything to do with it: An example would be the recent coverage of Bill Ayers.

  9. #9 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    well, then it must be opposite day or something.

    Bizarro world

  10. #10 Phaedrus
    October 27, 2008
  11. #11 Salvatore Patrone
    October 27, 2008

    I always wonder where the line between planning and “intent to execute” is drawn in these cases. It makes me think of the “terrorists” planning to attack Fort Dix. I could plan 3 coups, 2 assassinations, and 3 vast conspiracies sitting around with a couple of buddies and a bottle of Jack.

    To answer your question: Only bombs and bombing are terrorism. Decapitation and manslaughter is just Marilyn Manson influencing the youth.

  12. #12 Patricia
    October 27, 2008

    Oh, now – boys will be boys. They were just a tad over zealous. But I’m sure they’re good christians.

  13. #13 John C. Randolph
    October 27, 2008

    Is this kid wearing lipstick?

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/usvotes/story/2008/10/27/obama-plot.html

    Since when do skinheads let emo kids join them?

    -jcr

  14. #14 Geral
    October 27, 2008

    They won’t use ‘terrorist’ because they have this notion of a terrorist of being a foreign extremist who wants to do us harm. What they forget is that terrorism isn’t just caused by those people, it’s a tactic that ANYONE can do.

    Whether it’s done by Al Qaeda blowing themselves up in a market, a couple Brits who shoot up a voting booth in Britain, or Uncle Tom who wants to kill black people.. it’s all forms of terrorism.

    If this was an Islamic Terrorist group, they’d be all over this one for the forms of extremism we have to destroy. Since, however, it’s only done by extreme right wing ideologues.. it would of only been a crime.

  15. #15 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    It makes me think of the “terrorists” planning to attack Fort Dix. I could plan 3 coups, 2 assassinations, and 3 vast conspiracies sitting around with a couple of buddies and a bottle of Jack.

    Bottle of Jack? I like your style.

  16. #16 Brad
    October 27, 2008

    Its not terrorism.

    The word is grossly misused and over-used, to the point where it has lost its meaning.

    They are clearly, if the reports are true, delusional.

    They dont have a real political agenda. They just want to kill “niggers”. They dont have an aim, except in just trying to kill as many innocent people as possible.

    One persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter. No-one is calling these people freedom-fighters.

  17. #17 Wowbagger
    October 27, 2008

    They’re white Americans who hate black people; they can’t possibly be anything other than Christians.

    If they were Islamic terrorists trying to blow up Obama then Fox News would have ‘accidentally’ said they were trying to blow up McCain/Palin and reminded everyone that Obama’s middle name is Hussein and he has links to terrorists.

  18. #18 Your Mighty Overload
    October 27, 2008

    Of course they aren’t terrorists – they’re right wing Americans, and the left doesn’t habitually go around calling people terrorists! If they were left-wingers or foreign, the Republicans would have branded them terrorists immediately.

  19. #19 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    They dont have a real political agenda. They just want to kill “niggers”. They dont have an aim, except in just trying to kill as many innocent people as possible.

    So is the KK a terrorist group? Not only do they want to “kill niggers” they want to terrorize all of any non white race.

    One persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter. No-one is calling these people freedom-fighters.

    I bet Tom Metzger is.

  20. #20 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    missing a K up there

  21. #21 Wowbagger
    October 27, 2008

    Brad, #16, wrote:

    Its not terrorism.

    The word is grossly misused and over-used, to the point where it has lost its meaning.

    They are clearly, if the reports are true, delusional.

    They dont have a real political agenda. They just want to kill “niggers”. They dont have an aim, except in just trying to kill as many innocent people as possible.

    One persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter. No-one is calling these people freedom-fighters.

    Sorry, Brad – epic fail. A terrorist is someone who terrorises, dumbass.

    They planned to kill a specific group of people because of their skin colour. What do you think the result of that would have been for other people with that skin colour had they succeeded?

    Would they have been…terrorised? Well, fancy that.

  22. #22 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    Plus saying they didn’t have a political agenda when they were targeting a presidential candidate is mind boggling.

    Listen I’ve had a run in with the secret service on threatening a pres candidate. They don’t take that lightly.

    You don’t just kill a pres candidate to kill the candidate. You do it to send a message.

  23. #23 earthbound01
    October 27, 2008

    They are terrorists. This needs to be spread around. It’s fucking terrorism to kill people for political reasons.
    It was terrorism when good-old-boys pumped tear gas into a mosque, and this is a terrorist cell that the FBI broke up just now.

  24. #24 Andrew
    October 27, 2008

    Brad, terrorism is, as far as I’m aware, using terror to further a political or ideological cause. There boys said “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Sounds political and ideological to me.

  25. #25 Zar
    October 27, 2008

    Acknowledging that wanting to terrorize a minority community would be to acknowledge that anti-gay violence is terrorism. Can’t have that!

  26. #26 Glen Davidson
    October 27, 2008

    Well, Nazis aren’t generally called “terrorists” either. There are conflicting terms in many cases, and the more that the villains are understood, the less likely they are to be called the generic term “terrorist”.

    Likewise the Khmer Rouge are generally not called “terrorists,” nor the Rwandans genocidists, despite their tendency to use terror.

    Had they managed to cause terror, rather than being caught, they’d be far more likely to be called “terrorists” (like McVeigh).

    I’m not defending the language, which seems to treat different groups in bewilderingly different ways. I’m just saying that there’s a kind of tradition of labeling racist groups with certain terms, and more, yes, “foreign seeming” groups with the uncomprehending term of “terrorist.”

    In truth, I don’t know that clarity would be gained by calling all of these groups “terrorist,” rather it is much more likely that groups labelled as “terrorist” need to be given other terms, and understood and not simply feared. Above all, it is ridiculous to call those who target military personel as “terrorists.”

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  27. #27 Dean Barnett
    October 27, 2008

    The author of this news article was simply adhering to the Palin Definition: if it isn’t aimed at the Pentagon, the Capitol, or “innocent Americans” it isn’t terrorism.

  28. #28 Chironex
    October 27, 2008

    Wow, that’s a good point. *whistles*

  29. #29 the508s
    October 27, 2008

    Thank you sir…for making this point! At times…yes..I am not so proud to be an American because of this type of misinformation by the media. Lets call them what they are: Terrorists! 0_o

  30. #30 Chironex
    October 27, 2008

    I mean, in reference to the original post.

  31. #31 Glen Davidson
    October 27, 2008

    Oh yeah, it’s “personnel,” not “personel” like I wrote in #26. I mention this because it’s not an uncommon mistake, and I do not wish to perpetuate even if I sometimes commit it.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  32. #32 Phoesune
    October 27, 2008

    Brad…

    Its not terrorism.

    The word is grossly misused and over-used, to the point where it has lost its meaning.

    They are clearly, if the reports are true, delusional.

    They dont have a real political agenda. They just want to kill “niggers”. They dont have an aim, except in just trying to kill as many innocent people as possible.

    One persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter. No-one is calling these people freedom-fighters.

    I agree the word is misused. But in this situation it is the correct use. If they had carried out their plan, they would have killed quite a few people with the intent to further their political and social goals. Their aim was to attack a race of people and by proxy the future of that race in America. To strike fear into the hearts of anyone that would ever think of running for President as a minority.

    And these men will be considered freedom-fighters among their sect of human scum. They are delusional as Bin Laden himself is delusional. That delusion is merely the basis of their beliefs and in fact is the motive of their terrorism. That is what makes it all the more frightening to us all.

  33. #33 J.D. hutton
    October 27, 2008

    If the right-wingers assassinate major political figures, they’re not called terorrists. We use the term “freedom fighters.”

  34. #34 John C. Randolph
    October 27, 2008

    So is the KK a terrorist group?

    Well, it goes through phases. Back when it started out, it was basically the terrorist wing of the Democratic party in the occupied southern states, rather like the Sinn Fein/IRA combination in Ireland many years later.

    By the turn of the century (1900), it had become more like a fraternity like the Freemasons, and there were even instances of Jews and Catholics being invited to join them. The KKK had just about faded out of existence until the civil rights movement in the 1960s, when there was a sudden resurgence or membership.

    J. Edgar Hoover was able to render them pretty much ineffective by infiltrating enough FBI agents and informants into the KKK, that they became unable to trust each other. That was a textbook example of how to break the back of such an organization. Too bad for them that they didn’t figure out the simple L. Ron Hubbard trick of claiming to be a church.

    As for whether the KKK is a terrorist group today, I’d have to say they’re more like a wannabe terrorist group. Most of them will never do anything more than walk in a parade and yell at people. Most of the really dangerous racists will tend to join more secretive organizations, or join the prison gangs like the “Aryan Nation”.

    -jcr

  35. #35 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    Groups of politically motivated people targeting innocents for the expressed reason of forwarding a political position by scaring and killing the targets are terrorists. i think it can be easily said that these two who planned on targeting only one race and their most prominent member were intent of sending a message.

    KKK, WAR, Aryan Nation, Al Quaeda, Shining Path etc.. all terrorist groups at one point.

  36. #36 Rowen
    October 27, 2008

    Oh, the race card is being played a lot this week. Joy and rapture. The only thing about this that makes me happy is that the GOP is very obviously desperate.

    http://www.stereohyped.com/new-wisconsin-flyer-preys-on-fear-of-black-power-20081027/

  37. #37 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    As for whether the KKK is a terrorist group today, I’d have to say they’re more like a wannabe terrorist group.

    Probably so. I’m sure Morris Dees would have betting info for us. The traditional KKK maybe not, but their splinter groups who knows. Do you have to actually cause physical violence to be a terrorists group?

  38. #38 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    That should read “better info”

  39. #39 jb
    October 27, 2008

    I think the word isn’t missing, it’s just been so heavily abused over the last 7 years that it doesn’t carry the same weight anymore.

    If they were conducting terrorism, it wouldn’t be an assassination plot. Let alone one that wouldn’t likely be pulled off (c’mon, really? 100 dead african americans? 14 beheadings? Really?). I think the lack of the word “terrorism” is perfectly appropriate.

  40. #40 Shaden Freud
    October 27, 2008

    “Tennessee Nazis.”

    “I hate Tennessee Nazis.”

  41. #41 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    October 27, 2008

    JCR, your are skipping over the resurgence of the KKK in the wake of the movie,Birth Of A Nation. The 1920 were a heyday of KKK power and influence, taking over a number of towns in the south and west as well as controlling the state of Indiana. It was during this time that the KKK went from being anti-black to also being against catholics, jews and foreigners.

  42. #42 aratina
    October 27, 2008

    If they aren’t legally terrorists, then our laws need to change so that future types of plans are considered terrorism and treated as such. This is a new group called the Supreme White Alliance (link to Southern Poverty Law Center) and there are more of them out there! There are no citizens more innocent than children (not to mention how much national turmoil this plan would have caused had it succeeded in the slightest bit); this is definitely terrorism.

  43. #43 Patricia
    October 27, 2008

    Hey Janine – heads up, the guys need help. Get on your broom.

  44. #44 Rick Schauer
    October 27, 2008

    I see another word(s) missing…anti-American!

    If we put it all together; neo-nazis are really anti-American terrorists! They’ll likely be neo-cons soon, too. Hey, is that how the current neo-cons derived their name?

  45. #45 David Utidjian
    October 27, 2008

    JCR @ 13:

    No that isn’t lipstick but it sure does look like he is wearing eyeliner. Which is a bit strange… most Goths I have ever known aren’t into violence much (of the shootin and killin kind.)

    One thing to note… That weapon he is holding is an HK-91 (7.62 NATO). That is one heavy rifle. As depicted plus a loaded magazine it would weigh in at about 15 pounds. It is also a VERY expensive rifle. Again the rig as depicted is upwards of $2500-$3000. I am not sure where a high school dropout comes up with that kinda cash. They seem to be financed to some degree.

    Come to think of it… I used to own one of those HK-91s back when I was 20. They were a lot cheaper then (I got mine for $200 from a gun store in SF.) I sold it in order to pay for school, books, rent and such back in the late ’80s.

    I wonder how the christian wingnuts are spinning this one.

    -DU-

  46. #46 hje
    October 27, 2008

    Can you imagine the nutjobs that will be motivated by the histrionics of Limbaugh, Hannity, Dobson, et al. after Obama wins in a landslide, the Democrats gain 60 seats in the Senate, and Prop 8 as well as the ND abortion ban fail?

    At some point the agents provocateurs need to be held accountable for their rhetoric.

    Including Caribou Barbie, who managed yesterday to elicit the N-word–in reference to Obama–from an enthusiastic member of the crowd while in Des Moines. But she didn’t miss a beat and continued on with an inarticulate screed against Obama.

  47. #47 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 27, 2008

    Including Caribou Barbie, who managed yesterday to elicit the N-word–in reference to Obama–from an enthusiastic member of the crowd while in Des Moines. But she didn’t miss a beat and continued on with an inarticulate screed against Obama.

    Do you have a link for that?

  48. #48 Noni Mausa
    October 27, 2008

    Here’s one use of “terrorist” in USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-10-20-hategroups_N.htm

    White supremacists target middle America

    [...]

    “Many white supremacist groups are going more mainstream,” says Jack Levin, a Northeastern University criminologist who studies hate crime. “They are eliminating the sheets and armbands. … The groups realize if they want to be attractive to middle-class types, they need to look middle-class.”

    Levin estimates fewer than 50,000 people are members of white supremacist groups, but he says their influence is growing with a more sophisticated approach.

    From 2006 to 2007, the number of such groups rose by 5% to 888, says the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks them through news reports and other sources. The number is up 48% since 2000.

    The FBI knows of about 24 domestic terrorist groups. Spokesman Richard Kolko would not say how many are white supremacists…

    [...]

    ==================

    and another in in MarketWatch from the Wall Street Journal: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/adl-commends-federal-agents-preventing/story.aspx?guid={C325D8E5-9ED9-484E-8E59-8C66A0B113DB}&dist=hppr

    ADL Commends Federal Agents for Preventing Killing Spree and Obama Assassination Attempt

    Last update: 7:49 p.m. EDT Oct. 27, 2008

    NEW YORK, Oct 27, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today congratulated law enforcement for uncovering and preventing what the League called “potentially the most deadly racist shooting spree in many years, including an assassination attempt on presidential candidate Barack Obama.”

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Crockett County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation that resulted in the arrest on October 22 of Daniel Cowart, 21, of Jackson, Tennessee, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Arkansas. The white supremacists were charged with suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threats against a major candidate for the office of president.
    “The arrests of these dangerous white supremacists prevented what could have been the most serious act of domestic terrorism in recent years,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This case shows how extreme ideologies easily lead to extreme actions.”

    Mr. Foxman praised the federal and local law enforcement officers whose actions prevented the potential violent acts. “We congratulate the officers and agents with Crockett County and the ATF whose vigilance exposed a terrorist plot and saved lives.”

    [...]

    …and there may be some more, but that’s most of what turned up when I news-googled “white supremacist terrorist”

    Noni

  49. #49 Brian's A Wild Downer
    October 28, 2008

    Do you have to actually cause physical violence to be a terrorists group?

    Sean Hannity says telling people about global warming makes you a terrorist.

  50. #50 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2008

    IIRC, the press wasn’t at all reticent to call Tim McVeigh or Eric Rudolph terrorists

    before 2001, anyway.

  51. #51 Jeanette
    October 28, 2008

    @46: Don’t forget the abortion ban here in Colorado, which doesn’t have a chance to pass, either. Amendment 48 on our ballot is referred to as “the personhood amendment,” because it seeks to redefine a fertilized human egg as a person under the law. Everywhere in our laws where the word “person” can be found, it would refer to any “person” as young as a fertilized egg. Such an egg would have all of the same legal rights as anyone has.

    Not only would Amendment 48 do away with abortion, but it would also likely do away with fertility treatment that involves fertilizing numerous egg cells, do away with many forms of birth control, put an end to stem cell research, criminalize miscarriage when the woman is found to be at fault, and cause women to die while doctors wait for a lawyer’s advice before dealing with ectopic pregnancies or other life-threatening circumstances.

    As I said, this doesn’t have a chance of passing. But we need to defeat it in a landslide, to discourage this from being tried again. So to anyone who lives in Colorado: No on 48.

    Also, we have a problem here in Colorado because this is one of the easiest states to get amendments on our ballot. Because of that, we have a recurring situation where out-of-state people come here to put crazy laws on the ballot so they can experiment with our state. That’s what happened with Colorado’s Amendment 2, the anti-gay law that was passed back in 1992 and was later ruled unconstitutional.

    There’s an amendment on the ballot this time that would make it as difficult to get amendments on the ballot here as it is in other states, and giving us some protection from nuts of our own and from out of state.

  52. #52 admiral_naismith
    October 28, 2008

    Thanks for sharing that. If nothing else, it shows how the media bias is toward the right, not the left.

    Thanks for the Facebook add, too.

  53. #53 aaron
    October 28, 2008

    I wouldn’t consider these people to be terrorists either. Terrorism implies a concise political objective, what these guys planned just implies bigotry. If they made a statement like “the US must return all black people to Africa or there will be more actions like this” than they perhaps could have been terrorists. But just wanting to kill someone in a flashy manner because you hate them isn’t terrorism.

    Yes it’s true that if these fellows were Muslim they would have been called terrorists, but that would have been just another case of the label being misapplied.

    If anything this indiscriminate labelling of nutjobs as terrorists in counter-productive. You call a nutjob a terrorist they’re no longer just a nutjob, they’re now part of a secret organization in an epic struggle against an oppressive/evil government, better to show them for the one-off blips they are.

  54. #54 Patricia
    October 28, 2008

    Janine – Crap, I finally found the sow. We already skewered her.
    Land your broom, and we can send our flying monkeys back to the castle. Dang.
    I may have to pout.

  55. #55 Wowbagger
    October 28, 2008

    Sorry to go OT, but there’s another story to highlight exactly just how sickening and barbaric religion is:

    Somali woman executed by stoning

    I feel ill.

  56. #56 LapsedPacifist
    October 28, 2008

    Total bullshit. Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were right wing nutjobs. Eric Rudolph is known as a terrorist. The KKK is the most notorious domestic terror group of them all.

    I hate political violence as much as the next guy, but let’s not pretend “homegrown right-wing fascist killers” are somehow exempt from either the terrorist label or public scrutiny and disgust.

  57. #57 Eric Paulsen
    October 28, 2008

    I felt (and currently feel) the same way about abortion clinic bombers. While Grandpa Reagan was president he was asked if he would consider the Dr. killers and clinic bombers as terrorists – he said he did not.

    Just goes to show you that they are only terrorists if you don’t like what they are doing.

  58. #58 Autumn
    October 28, 2008

    Well, the US State Department includes “assasination”, as well as “the preparation or planning” of an assasination, as sufficient to be defined legally as a terrorist (Section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the Innigration and Nationality Act).
    So, however petty and idiotic these guys are, they are, by the federal definition, certainly terrorists.
    Allegedly.

  59. #59 Autumn
    October 28, 2008

    Holy crap, I totally just misspelled “immigration” as “innigration” in a thread about white supremacists.
    I blame the beer.
    and the demerol.
    But mostly the republicans.

  60. #60 Pennypacker
    October 28, 2008

    Sarah Palin was asked recently if the people who bombed abortion clinics are terrorists, and she said “I don’t know if you could use the word ‘terrorist’…”

    To most conservatives and many people in the media, white christians can’t be terrorists…

  61. #61 hje
    October 28, 2008

    Re: Rev. BDC’s query concerning Palin.

    Courtesy of Wonkette:

    http://wonkette.com/403862/sarah-palin-fan-has-cute-nickname-for-barack-obama

  62. #62 brokensoldier, OM
    October 28, 2008

    Posted by: Brad | October 27, 2008 10:41 PM

    Its not terrorism. The word is grossly misused and over-used, to the point where it has lost its meaning. They are clearly, if the reports are true, delusional. They dont have a real political agenda. They just want to kill “niggers”. They dont have an aim, except in just trying to kill as many innocent people as possible. One persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter. No-one is calling these people freedom-fighters.

    The very reason that the terms freedom-fighter and terrorist got mixed up in the first place was because of this very type of dishonest labeling tactic – a tactic we helped create, because the “freedom-fighters” we were supporting in Afghanistan in the 80′s were “terrorists” in Russia’s eyes.

    In Iraq, we are not focused on fighting terrorists. In the year I was there, 90% of our time was spent fighting insurgents, a group that has all too eagerly been branded as somehow “terrorist” by our government.

    These skinheads are most definitely terrorists, because their actions and motivations simply fit the definition of that word in its most basic sense. Terrorists use extreme intimidation and fear tactics to force their belief structure onto others. And I can’t see how you can look at this neo-Nazi group’s plans and see that they “don’t have a real political agenda” at all. They were planning to set out on a racist killing spree at a time when our country is weighing the very real possibility of our first non-caucasian President, and the culmination of that spree was to be the political assassination of that very candidate. If this doesn’t clearly show their political and ideological agenda of intimidation and suppression of minorities, I don’t know what would.

  63. #63 Josh in Philly
    October 28, 2008

    JCR –No. The Klan underwent a resurgence in the second decade of the twentieth century, ran a campaign of demagoguery against Catholics, lynched a Jew (look up the career of Tom Watson), and participated in threatening and lynching African Americans (see the work of Richard Wright), primarily but not exclusively in the U.S. South, during the subsequent three decades. In my Midwestern hometown (Youngstown) in the Teens and Twenties, they had violent fights with the (Catholic) Mafia (see William Jenkins).

  64. #64 Longtime Lurker
    October 28, 2008

    How about referring to these bozos as nascent terrorists? They obviously had the will, and seem to have been amassing the weapons, even if their plan of execution wasn’t coherent. With time, they could have done some real damage to civil society.

    The sad fact is that an Obama victory will inspire a resurgence of the right-wing militia movement. Even if Barry and a Democratic Congress manage to restart the economy and steer the country in a better direction, the wingnut hate brigade will be out in the woods, living out their fear-driven fantasy. If a movie were to be made about it, it would be titled “White Dawn”.

    “RACIST WOLVERINES!!!”

  65. #65 Polyester Mather DD
    October 28, 2008

    The missing word may not be ‘terrorism’, but ‘Liberace’:

    “Both individuals stated they would dress in all-white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt,” the court complaint states.

  66. #66 ina
    October 28, 2008

    am so grateful for this post, thought i was losing my mind but it looks like someone sane thought the same thing – I just sent a letter to the NYT online writer of the “break story” on their website asking why they didn’t use terrorist or terrorist activity to describe what was going on and had a feeling i was being oversensitive.

    it’s possible it’s the lack of organization/systematization but i don’t believe it. i think the news outlets (and let’s face it the secret service) doesn’t want to be incendiary – read : until you actually blow up x dozens of kids in oklahoma you can’t be a domestic terrorist. while assassination does “count” legally, i think standard dirty hands definitions would apply more directly to the plan to decapitate high school students to illustrate and motivate a political agenda – that’s where it looks just like terrorism to me (and hey jerks all over the country probably thinks it’s a freedom fight that they’re losing).

    i had an “disagreement” the other day with a friend (she’s white, i’m not) about how likely an Obama win was to lead to some localized minor (or not so minor) race rioting (not one race in particular, either). anyone want to join the betting pool?

    ina, feeling depressed about it all

  67. #67 ina
    October 28, 2008

    oh, dear, and before anyone reads that last bit the wrong way, i did NOT mean to imply that anyone white (or even most people who are white) wouldn’t see that race rioting is a possibility. i simply wanted to eliminate someone thinking that the issue was that my friend, not myself, was in the minority and was treating me as timid and scared of non-white people. though man i scare myself when i start getting this incoherent. say g’night gracie.

    -ina

  68. #68 scooter
    October 28, 2008

    ooooh pulleeeze.

    No self -respecting cop would insult real terrorists by including these assclowns.

    Read the article.

    It’s obvious these fucktards were rambling on some skin-head blog, all monitored heavily since OK City, were arrested on an unspecified charge , caught an illegal weapons charge, then when the cops started reading their blog ramblings back to them they spilled their guts, admitted everything

    Zahren said the statements about the assassination came out in interviews after the men were arrested last week.

    These guys admitted to the most insane speed freak rambling plan where they would murder blacks across the nation then attack a ‘black school’ then rush toward Obama, firing out the windows, like Bonnie and Clyde.

    Speaking of ‘Bonnie’, the witless trailer trash, Cowart, is photographed with an assault rifle, but he heard that in the big time media, they use make-up, the fucking idiot is wearing lipstick and eye make-up !!!!.
    http://hosted.ap.org/photos/C/ca228990-02de-46eb-a48c-72e1f0724755-big.jpg

    Probably all he could find in Crack Whore mommy’s purse.

    My best guess is the get caught at any cost strategy was an attempt to move up in the world, get into prison, and become Aryan Brotherhood, then emerge 10 years later to lead the White Revolution.

    When you spill your guts over a traffic stop, that doesn’t get you much cred with killers and gangsters.

    They will be protected by the Aryan Brotherhood, as prime bottom meat.

    To call these morons Terrorists would be an insult to suicide bombers, Klansmen, the Muslim Brotherhood, the CIA, and every self respecting baby killing, civilian bombing, Khmer Rouge, and IDE planter on God’s Gray Earth.

    PZ said:

    white homegrown right-wing fascist killers are somehow exempt from being called what they are — terrorists?

    This is the best the feds and SS can up with as far as assassination plots on OBAMA??? Smells like a red herring to me, and just groundwork in case somebody REAL gets a shot, the feds will parade this crap out like they’ve been foiling the skinheads diligently, this is the second one, BTW.

    Terrorists my fat pink ass, these punks don’t even rate as fall guys, much less white homegrown right-wing fascist killers

    They were arrested on an illegal weapons charge.

    And that Cowart Boy sure got a pretty mouth.

  69. #69 Patricia
    October 28, 2008

    Hey Scooter – remember tote goats?

  70. #70 scooter
    October 28, 2008

    This is the first time I had
    Patricia@69

    we both have our mouths full right now but if you need an update on Tote Goats

    The tote is primed, ready to paint to compliment the color of your vehicle.

    And the other Tote Goat in case you goats need a totin’

  71. #71 mr-zero
    October 28, 2008

    The other word that is missing is ‘Christian’ Do you image for a second that if they were muslim that woldn’t have been pointed out.

  72. #73 hje
    October 28, 2008

    Re: #61. Andrew Sullivan thinks differently about the Palin rally outburst.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/redistributor.html

    Maybe he’s right, but after watching videos of people at Palin appearances for the last two weeks, nothing would surprise me.

  73. #74 pcarini
    October 28, 2008

    I don’t think their apparent ineptness disqualifies them from being terrorists, their intent (and that they had made preparations) is enough. Hell we have people locked up in Gitmo who weren’t even planning attacks, let alone assassination of a presidential nominee.

  74. #75 DuckPhup
    October 28, 2008

    It’s rather simple, really…

    If you cause death, mayhem and destruction in the name of Allah… you’re a terrorist.

    If you cause death, mayhem and destruction in the name of Jesus… you’re a slightly overzealous christian hero, in god’s army.

    (But please… simmer down. You’re jumping the gun. You’re not supposed to do that sort of thing until you’re given ‘the word’, so everybody can do it at all at once.)

  75. #76 scooter
    October 28, 2008

    pcarini @ 74 : I don’t think their apparent ineptness disqualifies them from being terrorists, their intent (and that they had made preparations) is enough. Hell we have people locked up in Gitmo who weren’t even planning attacks, let alone assassination of a presidential nominee.

    You are suggesting that we extend the Gitmo Gulag to include half of America who thinks the other half are terrorists and these shit-for-brains rednecks are terrorists because they had a fantasy that amounts to World of Warcraft online mentality, and that makes them Terrorists?

    What about if I were to suggest an anarcho-syndicalist philosophy on line and hint that the 01% of the population owned too much of the wealth and property and perhaps the tree of liberty be watered with the blood of tyrants?

    In your world, I would be a terrorist for quoting Jefferson, and if I owned an assault rifle, I’d be in line for a severe buttfucking in prison because my revolution would not be your revolution.

    labeling loser redneck fuctards as terrorists dilutes the threat of terrorism, these idiots couldn’t rob a liquor store without getting their heads blown off.

    We already have Stephen Colbert’s THREATDOWN scaring the shit out of us every night, and those goddam bears, and pcarni, I know you’re right, and I ….I I’m so afraid, please make it stop……

    Protect me from fuctards. who couldn’t make a living as shoplifters.

    I’m afraid.

    Protect me, suspend my civil liberties, protect me from: http://hosted.ap.org/photos/C/ca228990-02de-46eb-a48c-72e1f0724755-big.jpg

    I’m skeered of the terrorists, help me, send duct tape.

  76. #77 Vidar
    October 28, 2008

    I was thinking of the word “idiots” myself.
    They are certainly terrorists, in the correct sense of the word, but it seems that the media have warped the meaning of the word “terrorist”.
    It is now more associated with men who have a dark tan, wear somewhat unkempt beards, turbands, and dusty white robes.
    It’s yet another reason why America needs a reliable news source that gives out facts rather than lies, spin and sensation.

  77. #78 The Vicar
    October 28, 2008

    I’m not sure this counts as terrorism by the dictionary definition. The definition I was taught was “the use of violence against non-governmental targets to influence governmental policy”. (That is, you attack the citizenry to force the government to do something — or to stop doing something.)

    Obama is already the government — he’s a senator. He wants to become more important in the government by becoming president. This would just be an assassination.

    (And you can tell that we are jaded children of the modern age because we no longer think that mere assassination is a bad enough thing. No, we have to think of it as terrorism.)

  78. #79 j
    October 28, 2008

    terrorists use bombs, dumbass#s. assassinations with rifles just make you crazy frikkin aholes. killing black people like that make you crazy frikkin ahole racists mutha fukkas. even if you have a political agenda. but not terrorists. if they were going to blow up a school, that’s what they’d be called. but drive bys? what, the local gang is a terrorist org now?

    and frankly, they call white people terrorists. no problem. you all missing the point. Its not who perpetrates the crime that matters, its who was the intended victim. and the methods of the victimization.

  79. #80 Katkinkate
    October 28, 2008

    Posted by: John C. Randolph @ 4 “IIRC, the press wasn’t at all reticent to call Tim McVeigh or Eric Rudolph terrorists, and while they weren’t KKK, they were certainly white, christian right-wingers.”

    But that was pre 9/11 before the ‘war on terrorism’ had been chosen as the next ‘threat’ to terrorise the USA into submission with. Now they usually take every opportunity to use the word to keep the fear alive.

  80. #81 maureen
    October 28, 2008

    Completely off topic – except to social historians – I have news for Patricia.

    It’s a petition for pardons and among the 6 tests cases are Anne Whittle and Elizabeth Southerns, Pendle, 1612.

  81. #82 moother
    October 28, 2008

    it’s REPUBLICAN, stupid

    these fuckers should have been shown up for what they really are.

  82. #83 Muffin
    October 28, 2008

    Eh, I’m more concerned about the word “terrorist” being used far too liberally, myself. Of course there does seem to be a clear bias, as you point out, but I’d rather that the word isn’t inappropriately used at all, instead of being inappropriately used in some cases (as it is now) or in all cases.

  83. #84 Michelle
    October 28, 2008

    …I’m not sure how much of a threat two neonazis douches are though… I mean, COME ON! Their plot was sure to fail. They’re idiots.

  84. #85 Dan DeLeon
    October 28, 2008

    Some of the plans to kill Batman in the 60s version of the show were more coherent than this.

  85. #86 mr_subjunctive
    October 28, 2008

    But that’s not even how you spell it. I have it on good authority that the word is terriost.

  86. #87 Matt Heath
    October 28, 2008

    I’m quite certain “terrorists” is the right word. The assassination plan may be a different form of political violence but the killing spree plan is terrorism, plain and simple.

    They wanted to kill a load of people, in a way that would bring about mass panic and terror amongst black Americans and that they believed would further their agenda – terrorism.

    That their goals were vague and unrealistic, that they got caught and that, even if successful, the attacks would probably have strengthened resolve AGAINST these bastards doesn’t make them not terrorists; it makes the incompetent terrorists. The 2 retards that tried to drive a car bomb into Glasgow airport had vague, unrealistic, plans (world Kalifat pff), got caught and would have been counter-productive (from their POV) if successful; they were terrorists too.

  87. #88 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 28, 2008

    terrorists use bombs, dumbass#s. assassinations with rifles just make you crazy frikkin aholes. killing black people like that make you crazy frikkin ahole racists mutha fukkas. even if you have a political agenda. but not terrorists. if they were going to blow up a school, that’s what they’d be called. but drive bys? what, the local gang is a terrorist org now?

    and frankly, they call white people terrorists. no problem. you all missing the point. Its not who perpetrates the crime that matters, its who was the intended victim. and the methods of the victimization

    Ohhhh Sorry. I didn’t realize that terrorists only used bombs. Did you read that in some terrorist manual somewhere?

    You’re brilliant.

  88. #89 ben
    October 28, 2008

    …there is a curious but obvious word missing — a word that normally our media and government fling about with unscrupulous abandon…

    …Republican?

  89. #90 Matt Heath
    October 28, 2008

    Another thing. They wanted to kill 88 because of some numerology bollocks where “88″=”HH”=”Heil Hitler” (or possibly because of some shitty American neo-Nazi’s essay split into 88 parts presumably itself in reference to the numerology). WTF is it with idiots and symbols in base 10?

  90. #91 Matt7895
    October 28, 2008

    These WERE NOT FASCISTS. They were Nazis. Learn a little history to understand the difference.

  91. #92 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 28, 2008

    Well honestly they’re probably really neither. Nazi’s only in their hate of other races but not clinging to the other tenets that were part of Nazism in its origin.

    But Nazis in Germany in the 30′s were fascists of some flavor.

  92. #93 arachnophilia
    October 28, 2008

    rule of thumb: you don’t call someone a terrorist if you agree with them.

    cf: al qaeda around the time of the collapse of the USSR.

  93. #94 Dale Austin
    October 28, 2008

    The FBI uses the following definition of terrorism:

    “The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

    Pretty much seems to hinge on whether their goal was simply limited to creating a bunch of dead dark folks or not. If body count is your goal then you are a mass murderer-provided you do it all at once-if you do it over a period of time then you are a serial killer I suppose.

  94. #95 tsg
    October 28, 2008

    The definition I was taught was “the use of violence against non-governmental targets to influence governmental policy”. (That is, you attack the citizenry to force the government to do something — or to stop doing something.)

    Just to add my $0.02…

    “Terrorism”, in my mind anyway, is using fear as a weapon to institute change. That is, violence against a population to coerce a change out of fear that, if the desired change doesn’t happen, the violence will continue. The key point being that the change they are interested in is usually well-known: there’s little point in threatening someone if they don’t know what you want from them. I make a distinction (and I’ll admit it’s a subtle one) between that kind of terrorism and terrorizing a population out of bigotry. The difference being, in the first case, fear is a tool to an end. In the second, fear is the goal.

    From the article, these two sound like they just wanted to kill a bunch of people including Obama. Unless they wanted people to stop being black, I can’t tell what they were trying to accomplish besides the killings themselves. Although, there might be an argument that they were trying to intimidate blacks into not running for President, but it isn’t clear that’s what their intent was.

    That said, the media doesn’t use the same definition, mostly because news about terrorism gets better ratings. I don’t think it’s really in doubt that if they were Muslim, they’d have been called “Muslim terrorists”. These two were just “pale skinned young local(s)” and “white supremecists”.

    So, yeah, you can make the argument that the press overuses the word “terrorist” and didn’t do it this time. But it’s still significant, I think, that they chose this time to be correct instead of all the others.

  95. #96 maureen
    October 28, 2008

    Do you mean, tsg, that you can envisage a situation in which a group kills 88 + 14 people – from a very specific ethnic group and all but one chosen at random – and it doesn’t cause terror? I can’t.

    Whether is causes terror to a particular group, in a particular location, for a week or a hundred years, if it causes terror it’s terrorism! OK?

    The fact that the perpetrators seem to have been idiots and most unlikely to achieve their aim simply puts them into the same category as many of the people whom you would happily call terrorists.

  96. #97 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 28, 2008

    White supremacist groups seek to terrorize their targets all the time. Marches, lynchings (in the past mostly), cross burnings in yards, church bombings / burnings. This acts are not just targeted at the individuals directly harmed.

    It’s all about terror.

  97. #98 tsg
    October 28, 2008

    Whether is causes terror to a particular group, in a particular location, for a week or a hundred years, if it causes terror it’s terrorism! OK?

    I don’t like that definition for the sole reason that there are few, if any, acts of violence that don’t cause terror. It makes the word “terrorism” meaningless, and there’s little point in having the word, especially one that is so emotionally charged, if it is just going to be synonymous with “violence”. It makes as much sense as calling anyone who owns capital a “capitalist”.

    The fact that the perpetrators seem to have been idiots and most unlikely to achieve their aim simply puts them into the same category as many of the people whom you would happily call terrorists.

    Their incompetence is not why I’m not calling them terrorist. They’re bigots. That’s worse, in my opinion. Terrorism is only effective if there’s a chance the violence will stop. Violence based on bigotry will never stop as long as the object of the bigot’s hatred is alive.

  98. #99 Derek James
    October 28, 2008

    How about the fact that they have yet to be tried and found guilty. Notice the hedge word “alleged” in the original article? That’s so the papers don’t get sued. Don’t you guys think “alleged terrorist” is a bit silly sounding?

    And finally, let me see if I’ve got this straight…you want to media to be more sensationalistic and hyperbolic?

  99. #100 tsg
    October 28, 2008

    And finally, let me see if I’ve got this straight…you want to media to be more sensationalistic and hyperbolic?

    I think it’s more a commentary on the media that is usually sensationalistic and hyperbolic chose not to be in this case, and speculation as to why.

  100. #101 chris
    October 28, 2008

    Row faster, I hear banjos.

  101. #102 tsg
    October 28, 2008

    Don’t you guys think “alleged terrorist” is a bit silly sounding?

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22alleged+terrorist%22&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=

    It’s not an uncommon usage.

  102. #103 Steve_C
    October 28, 2008

    The government and the media didn’t seem to have a problem calling the stoners from Florida, that were talking about the Sears Tower, terrorists, maybe it was because they weren’t white.

  103. #104 MrIncognito
    October 28, 2008

    They didn’t have bombs. For some reason in our national thought process, terrorists = explosions (McVeigh/Nichols, Ayers, Islamic terrorists of various sorts). Guys with guns or knives don’t seem to qualify.

  104. #105 Engineer-Poet
    October 28, 2008

    Quoth David Utidjian @ 45:

    Again the rig as depicted is upwards of $2500-$3000. I am not sure where a high school dropout comes up with that kinda cash. They seem to be financed to some degree.

    The whole thing is suspicious, on multiple grounds:

    1. Where’d they get the cash? If their financing can’t be traced, it’s a red flag.
    2. After all of the news about plotters getting caught because of their pics and videos, why did they create evidence against themselves?
    3. Why, given that they’d almost certainly not have lived to complete the first part of this crazy plot, is this being pitched as an assassination scheme?

    This looks like they were set up by someone looking to make a big bust to advance a career, and the fact that their bulletin board was known and monitored means it’s entirely possible that they were being led by the nose. This was about politics, all right: the politics of promotion.

    Quoth earthbound01 @ 23:

    It was terrorism when good-old-boys pumped tear gas into a mosque

    Only if it happened. No chemicals (including pepper spray) were found on the “victims”, and the can of pepper spray was found inside the mosque. Meanwhile, a Muslimah was charged with filing a false police report after she claimed a false anti-Muslim attack at Elmhurst College. This is becoming typical; real hate attacks on Jews are several times as common, so Muslims have to manufacture them to maintain their victim status.

  105. #106 maureen
    October 28, 2008

    OK, then – if the probable intention or the wholly predictable outcome is to cause terror beyond the family and close neighbours of the deceased and/or the violence is directed at people because of something they have in common – e.g skin colour – and not because of who they are as individuals or anything they have done then it is terrorism. No escape from that idea, I fear, no matter how you wriggle.

    In the relatively recent attack on Glasgow airport the perpetrators, though highly educated, had not checked that their car bomb would fit between the exterior pillars of the building or the pillars themselves would collapse on impact. They may have wished to kill but it is reasonable to assume that terror was an acceptable outcome – otherwise why do it in a crowded and public place?

    Likewise the terror caused in the US last century by lynchings and cross burnings came from the fact that they happened and that they were targeted, not from whether there was a fully worked-out plan for world domination or how many people died.

    In a rational world it would be the persons experiencing terror who said what constituted terrorism, not some armchair philosopher.

  106. #107 tsg
    October 28, 2008

    OK, then – if the probable intention or the wholly predictable outcome is to cause terror beyond the family and close neighbours of the deceased and/or the violence is directed at people because of something they have in common – e.g skin colour – and not because of who they are as individuals or anything they have done then it is terrorism. No escape from that idea, I fear, no matter how you wriggle.

    All you’ve done is re-iterate your position that causing terror equals terrorism. I’ve explained why I find that unsatisfactory and you haven’t addressed it at all.

    In a rational world it would be the persons experiencing terror who said what constituted terrorism, not some armchair philosopher.

    I understand this is something you are passionate about, but that is no reason to get personal.

    I’d be glad to have a rational discussion about this with you. If that isn’t your desire, I won’t waste any more of either of our time.

  107. #108 John Phillips, FCD
    October 28, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp asked:

    “Do you have to actually cause physical violence to be a terrorist group?”

    Technically no. All you really need is the ability to instill a belief in the target population that you are as credible a threat as you claim to be. Of course, often the easiest way to prove your intent and capability is to carry out your standard terrorist act. Target populations tend to ignore anything less.

  108. #109 Steve_C
    October 28, 2008

    Engineer-Poet. You’re kinda creepy. A bit disturbing too.

  109. #110 deang
    October 28, 2008

    Reminds me of Rush Limbaugh’s reaction when it was revealed that the right-wing white, Timothy McVeigh, was behind the Oklahoma City Murrah building bombing and not the Middle Eastern Arab “terrorists” he’d been arbitrarily blaming for several days. When the real terrorist was revealed, Limbaugh’s response was something like, “Well, he’s just a normal American boy!”

    And then he went on to say that, even though Arabs weren’t in fact responsible for the Oklahoma city bombing, the US should still bomb the Middle East, just to put fear of the US in their hearts. And look, now the US has taken Limbaugh’s advice and bombed two Middle Eastern countries, killing hundreds of thousands absent any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of their populations. Who are the terrorists again?

  110. #111 maureen
    October 28, 2008

    tsg,

    I’ve gone back and read your 95 with care, again. I fear that by limiting the definition of terrorism the way you do you are creating many loopholes which do not help us to understand the subject. You will name as terrorism what is designed to institute change but what about terrorism aimed at preventing change? By that standard, the IRA campaign on the UK mainland was terrorism while Al-Qaida’s and the KKK’s efforts were not.

    There is also the implication in what you write that terrorism can only begin when there is a political programme, well worked out and with some chance of success. History tells us that very often the terrorism comes first – often begun by bigots – and the fully worked out plan or the rationalisation follows – often quite a bit later.

    Anyway, I have to get to the shops before they close so I leave you with two questions. Was Timothy McVeigh a terrorist? Was Oliver North?

  111. #112 Monado
    October 28, 2008

    Randomly killing civilians to make a point is terrorism. Planning to randomly kill civilians in terrorism by U.S. law. Of course, “outing” CIA agents is treason and I don’t think “Scooter” Libby, Robert Novak, Richard Armitage, nor Karl Rove got sent to Guantanamo Bay.

    I think it’s 88 + 14 for 102 intended victims. 88 is a mystic number for neo-Nazis because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet: 88 stands for “HH” or “Heil Hitler.”

  112. #113 Paul Burnett
    October 28, 2008

    “Was Timothy McVeigh a terrorist?” – Maureen, #111

    The “T” word was in play before it was realized that the terrorist was home-grown and US Army trained.

  113. #114 Adrian
    October 28, 2008

    How can they be terrorist? They’re not “arabs”, they are good american people! Nor are they some elitist university teacher like Ayers.

  114. #115 maureen
    October 28, 2008

    Paul B,

    You did not answer the question. It’s the action, its intent and its effect which make something terrorism – not the skin colour, the nationality or the previous life history of the person who did it.

  115. #116 tsg
    October 28, 2008

    I’ve gone back and read your 95 with care, again. I fear that by limiting the definition of terrorism the way you do you are creating many loopholes which do not help us to understand the subject. You will name as terrorism what is designed to institute change but what about terrorism aimed at preventing change? By that standard, the IRA campaign on the UK mainland was terrorism while Al-Qaida’s and the KKK’s efforts were not.

    I fear you are reading me too literally. I agree that violent acts designed to prevent change would also be terrorism. Let me describe it another way: terrorism uses threats of violence as blackmail.

    There is also the implication in what you write that terrorism can only begin when there is a political programme, well worked out and with some chance of success.

    I did not mean to imply that. The amount of planning and chance of success, or lack thereof, don’t disqualify it from being an act of terrorism.

    Was Timothy McVeigh a terrorist?

    If what I know is correct, McVeigh was lashing out at the government for it’s role in Waco, and for apparent hypocrisy over the Gulf War. If his motivation was to get the government to change its policy under the threat of more bombings, then, yes, I would call him a terrorist. Even revenge can be a terrorist act if it carries with it the threat that future actions will be punished similarly. In that case, I would call McVeigh a terrorist.

    Was Oliver North?

    I’m assuming you’re referring to the Iran-Contra affair. I’m open to argument about this one: my knowledge of the event is insufficient to really make a determination. Is supplying aid to terrorists terrorism? I think an argument can be made that it is, but if the motive for supplying aid is purely for profit, I think it’s a tenuous connection at best (note: this does not mean I approve of it). For release of hostages? I don’t think so. For strategic relations? Maybe. For support of the cause? Quite probably. I’d have to know more before I could say.

  116. #117 tinyfrog
    October 28, 2008

    Plotting to kill or assassinate a person is not terrorism. Terrorism is more random than that. Killing a bunch of random people to instill fear in the population – that is terrorism. (And since they were planning to randomly kill a bunch of black people to instill fear in the black population, then you could make the case that they were terrorists.) But, planning to kill Obama is NOT terrorism unless it’s meant to signify “none of you are safe – we could kill you (the average civilian), too”.

  117. #118 maureen
    October 28, 2008

    Hey, tsg, I think we’re beginning to understand eachother and really we are not that far apart.

    Your reading of the McVeigh story makes sense on the basis of what I know – from the press only, I’m afraid.

    As for the Sandinistas vs Contras story, it is well worth a close look if you have time. I was more closely, if indirectly, involved with that though I make no claim to be an expert. Anyway, a fascinating story.

    A while back you said rightly that I was sort of hooked on this subject and you were right. Why? Around 1920 my maternal grandfather was a gun runner for Sir Edward Carson and played a small part in overturning – by force and the threat of force – a pretty legitimate decision on the future governance of Ireland.

    I grew up with half my family telling me that his actions were both “loyal” and heroic – they have mellowed a little since 1968 and its aftermath – but everything else I was learning telling me to question that pretty fiercely.

    We all have hang-ups but at least I know exactly where this one of mine comes from.

  118. #119 tsg
    October 28, 2008

    Hey, tsg, I think we’re beginning to understand eachother and really we are not that far apart.

    Your reading of the McVeigh story makes sense on the basis of what I know – from the press only, I’m afraid.

    As for the Sandinistas vs Contras story, it is well worth a close look if you have time. I was more closely, if indirectly, involved with that though I make no claim to be an expert. Anyway, a fascinating story.

    History and politics have never been my strong suit. I was young when it happened and I never really developed an interest. Do you have any reading you can recommend?

    A while back you said rightly that I was sort of hooked on this subject and you were right. Why? Around 1920 my maternal grandfather was a gun runner for Sir Edward Carson and played a small part in overturning – by force and the threat of force – a pretty legitimate decision on the future governance of Ireland.

    I grew up with half my family telling me that his actions were both “loyal” and heroic – they have mellowed a little since 1968 and its aftermath – but everything else I was learning telling me to question that pretty fiercely.

    We all have hang-ups but at least I know exactly where this one of mine comes from.

    I did not mean to imply your passion was a failing. I am quite passionate about a number of things. It just seemed to me it might have been getting in the way of an interesting discussion. If I was wrong, I apologize.

  119. #120 guthrie
    October 28, 2008

    The UK definition of terrorism, taken from the terrorism act 2000 (It might have been updated by now, to “Anything the gvt dislikes”), from here:
    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000011_en_2#pt2-pb1-l1g3


    (a) the action falls within subsection (2),
    (b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
    (c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.”

  120. #121 Phoenix Woman
    October 28, 2008

    IIRC, the press wasn’t at all reticent to call Tim McVeigh or Eric Rudolph terrorists, and while they weren’t KKK, they were certainly white, christian right-wingers.

    -jcr

    Remember when the Murrah Building was blown up in 1995?

    All the hate-radio wingnuts were talking about going out and stomping on the evil Muslims that they were SURE were behind it. The motives and feelings of the terrorists weren’t important.

    But when it came out that Nice White Republicans had done it, suddenly the wingnuts on the radio went all touchy-feely. Suddenly, because they were Nice White Republicans, their motives were important.

    It was important that we “understand” that Bill Clinton was at fault because of Ruby Ridge and Waco (which were both carried out by Bush-era holdovers Bill Sessions and Larry Potts, but reality has never been the wingers’ strong suit).

    It was important that we “understand” that the mere presence of a Democrat in the Oval Office was an affront to decent people everywhere.

    It was especially important that we “understand” that race-baiting, red-baiting, flame-fanning radio show hosts bore absolutely no responsibility for things like inciting people to fly their small planes into the White House or set off truck bombs next to Federal Buildings.

  121. #122 maureen
    October 28, 2008

    tsg,

    The book which springs instantly to mind is Nicaragua: The Threat of a Good Example, author Dianna Melrose, publisher Oxfam 1985 – there are several copies now on Alibris. Probably not a historian’s history but based on direct expierence – Oxfam were there throughout – and very vivid.

    I just scanned amazon.com – quite a few books but I know nothing about them. My information at the time was coming from colleagues in international development and in politics.

  122. #123 JimNorth
    October 28, 2008

    I think the missing word here is “voter”.

  123. #124 Matt
    October 28, 2008

    “Together, they chatted about how they could carry out such a terroristic spree, officials said. ” -from the article.
    I don’t know whether or not it was like that in the first place, but it certainly seems to mention terrorism now.

  124. #125 Engineer-Poet
    October 28, 2008

    Quoth Steve_C @ 109:

    Engineer-Poet. You’re kinda creepy. A bit disturbing too.

    If you seriously think I’m the creepy one, what’s your reaction to COINTELPRO?  Do you think there aren’t people in our government today who aren’t capable of that much or worse to advance themselves?

    You want to talk creepy, go back and review the child-abuse prosecutions around the Little Rascals Day Care Center.  Some of the claims made at trial were clearly fantastic:
    - babies ritualistically killed
    - victims taken out on boats and thrown overboard
    - inappropriate trips in hot air balloons

    There were no corpses of babies or records of balloon rides produced to support these, but the rules of the trial did not allow the child-witnesses to be cross-examined and the juries bought the (entirely fabricated under heavy coaching from “counselors”) accounts.  Defendant Robert Kelly Jr. was sentenced to 12 consecutive life terms on the basis of this “proof”.

    Why did this get so far?  Because hyped accusations of child abuse had been successfully used as a stepping stone to high office by many, including Janet Reno.

    So no, I am far from certain that two punks with some edgy tendencies weren’t led by a law-enforcement plant into a fanciful plot (which authorities now admit “wasn’t fully formed“) so the agency could rack up points in what they expect to be an Obama administration.  People in our government have been proven to be capable of much, much worse things.

    FWIW, I do remember the Murrah building bombing.  I also remember the 1993 attack on the WTC, which was indeed the work of al-Qaeda terrorists.  Looking first to Islamic terror was certainly not a faulty heuristic even if it turned out to be incorrect; it would have been irresponsible NOT to give that possibility a great deal of weight.

  125. #126 MrrKAT. Finland,EU
    October 28, 2008

    Here in Finland there was some fuss in media when Finland’s Security Police announced that it’s not interested school mass murderers (Auvinen.. Saari.. et al) “because they are not terrorists”. I was stunned too..

  126. #127 Steve_C
    October 28, 2008

    Yeah. That “edgy tendacy” racism and murder… what a couple of knuckleheads… awe shucks. Couple a pranksters iz all.

  127. #128 Engineer-Poet
    October 28, 2008

    Oh, definitely not pranksters.  Rather dangerous idiots, no matter where they got their notions.  But completely incapable of carrying out the “assassination” which makes this item “news” either.

  128. #129 Arnosium Upinarum
    October 29, 2008

    Bingo PZ.

    Yep. The “terrorist” is always the OTHER guy.

    Haters have to have their target to hate, and it’s ALWAYS the other guy, by default.

    It’s really simple. All they have to do is just draw a line. There. This side is right and good and the other side is wrong and evil. You’re either with us or yer agin’ us. That’s really all the “reasoning” they ever need.

    The litany of boogeyman buzz-words has irretrievably petrified their minds: “Libruls”. “Homasexuls”. “Sochlists”. “Ayetheists”. Even “neggars”. (They’re so easy to spot, and they’re obviously so different).

    They’re ALL DIFFERENT. They’re not “one of us”. Therefore they must be “unamurkan”, because WE’RE the REAL ‘murkans. If you’re unamurkan, you must be a “terrist”. Doncha know.

    So how low has the Republican party and it’s religious-fundamentalist marrow descended? Well, when they shamelessly (however unconsciously) appeal to the very worst and most miserable and wretched impulses of which people are capable…when they actively cultivate and nurture a culture of irrationality, hatred and intolerance…when they unapologetically lie and misrepresent the facts in order to do so…all to get the vote? To obtain the seat of power and influence? Oh yeah. And how much easier it is to manipulate a population of idiots it would be too. They need more of them. You betcha$$$

    Stupidity, which has no affiliation with thinking, let alone the rational variety, never learns. All they know is that they know. The manipulators are crafty, sneaky devils, though: they let ‘em think so. They even encourage them to think so.

    Rational thinking, reasoning, weighing the evidence – all anathema if one already knows one is right. Learning anything new suggests one’s knowledge is laced with the flaws of incompleteness and uncertainty. Can’t have that. No siree. You’re either right or your wrong. It’s all black and white. If I’m right, you must be wrong. That’s the whole calculus of their reasoning. Am I right or am I right?

    Stupidity cannot learn any historical lessons, which only confirms the stupidity. Since they have a tendency to extinguish themselves, it always takes a new crop of them to gather up like locusts that blunder mindlessly together into oblivion en masse.

    That’s the crowd the right-wing conservative god-fearing Republican is identifying as Real America. That’s the crowd they identify with and preach to: the “it’s either us or them” crowd. The “what’s right is right” crowd. That’s the America they think is Real.

    But above all, that’s the America they WANT.

    There’s only one outcome for a party ethic that intrinsically self-toxic, unstable, ignorant and stupid.

    “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out”. ["I, Claudius"]

  129. #130 Autumn
    October 29, 2008

    @Arnosium Upinarum,
    Dude, I very likely fall on your side of any political debate, I even suspect that I may be further to the left of you on some topics, but your screed is exactly the same as those you decry.
    Stop it.
    If you didn’t put in a few signposts indicating that you are generally against the present Republican party, your comment could be a verbatim transcript of Limbaugh or O’Reiley.
    Calm down, have a drink, and discuss things.

  130. #131 Rrr
    October 29, 2008

    Speaking of “terrorists” and “freedom fighters”, the book “Glorifying Terrorism” is a pretty interesting read, though it’s not brilliant or anything.

    http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2007/04/glorifying_terr.shtml
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glorifying-Terrorism-Manufacturing-Contempt-Anthology/dp/0955468809/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225295582&sr=1-1

  131. #132 Steve_C
    October 29, 2008

    Yeah. Who would of thought a loser like Oswald could of popped off a head shot and killed JFK. He was a loser and a dope too.

    Being stupid doesn’t make you incapable of getting a little lucky.

  132. #133 fuck you piece of shit
    November 1, 2008

    and the can of pepper spray was found inside the mosque.

    This is a fucking lie. Bigot.

  133. #134 Engineer-Poet
    November 1, 2008

    How articulate and fair of you.

    You might want to take up the charge of bigotry with the Dayton Daily News; they reported this:

    A can of pepper spray was found Sept. 30 in another room in the basement inside a red and white-striped bag, Huber said. He said it was initially reported to him that the can was found near the mosque, but he later learned it was inside the mosque.

    Note that no residue of pepper spray was found on anyone, so neither the can discovered nor any other was involved.