Confronting Right Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA

By George Michael | Go to book overview

Notes

1

Introduction

1
Some of the new laws and measures include the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Presidential Decision Directives on counter-terrorism (PDD-62) and infrastructure protection (PDD-63). Defense Secretary William Cohen obtained presidential approval to create a permanent task force headed by a general officer, to coordinate the military’s response to a domestic chemical or biological attack. See “Pentagon Plans Domestic Terrorism Team, ” Washington Post, February 1, 1999, A2, p. 2. The FBI called 1995 the “year of the terrorist” and hired an additional fifty analysts to study both international and domestic terrorism. See Bureau of Justice Assistance, A Policymaker’s Guide to Hate Crimes (Washington DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1997) p. 23. Annual funding for the FBI’s counter-terrorism program has grown from $78.5 million in 1993 to $301.2 million in 1999. Moreover, the number of agents funded for counter-terrorism investigations has grown from 550 in 1993 to 1,383 in 1999. Freeh, Louis, “The Threat to the United States Posed by Terrorists, ” testimony before the US Senate Committee on Appropriations, February 4, 1999.
2
FBI data indicate that from 1993 to 1996 right-wing terrorists were responsible for the majority of domestic terrorists incidents in the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Terrorism in the United States 1996 [Washington DC: FBI, 1996]). However, FBI data on domestic terrorism are notoriously inconsistent and unreliable due to changing classifications of terrorist incidents. There is often a high degree of arbitrariness in which acts are labeled “terrorist” by the government, academia and the media. For a critical examination of the FBI’s data collection on domestic terrorism see Hamm, Mark S., Terrorism, Hate Crime, and Anti-Government Violence: A Preliminary Review of the Research (Indiana: Indiana State University, 1996). According to Chris Hewitt’s calculations, domestic right-wing terrorists (he refers to them as ‘white racist’) were responsible for more terrorist killings than any other category of terrorism in the United States. See Hewitt, Christopher, “Patterns of American Terrorism 1955-1998: An Historical Perspective on Terrorism-Related Fatalities 1955-98, ” Terrorism and Political Violence, 12(1), p. 5 (2000).
3
I compiled this table using data from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website (www.splcenter.org). It is important to keep in mind that although this is a list of “far right” groups it does not necessarily follow that they are terrorist. However, terrorists often come from the ranks of extremist groups. This table lists only the number of groups and is not comprehensive. It says nothing about the membership totals of the groups. It should be kept in mind that they are usually small. Furthermore, the SPLC counts all the various chapters of an organization, e.g. the Council of Conservative Citizens, as separate organizations for its compilation.
4
Center for Democratic Renewal, The Changing Face of White Supremacy (Atlanta GA: CDR, 1996).

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Confronting Right Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables viii
  • Series Editors' Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Who Are the Watchdogs? 10
  • 3 - Overview of the Contemporary American Far Right 39
  • 4 - The Far Right and Terrorism 93
  • 5 - The Us Government's Response to Right-Wing Extremism 129
  • 6 - The Watchdogs' Response to the Far Right 171
  • 7 - Conclusion 190
  • Notes 207
  • Bibliography 260
  • Index 277
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