While the White House last week was insisting at its summit on violent extremism that the U.S. was not at war with Islam, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new intelligence assessment on the “domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.”
A CNN.com report headline “Bigger threat than ISIS?” highlighted the tiny movement of people who believe they don’t have to follow laws, contending they aren’t under the authority of the U.S. government.
CNN said some federal and local law enforcement groups view “the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to – and in some cases greater than – the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.”
“The report’s rather measured contents might surprise you,” Reason said.
“The document declares on its first page that most sovereign citizens are nonviolent, and that it will focus only on the violent fringe within a fringe – the people it calls ‘sovereign citizen extremists,’ or SCEs.”
It lists 24 encounters with such people over half a decade, but even among those 24 isolated incidents involving the “fringe within a fringe,” in only two cases did the “sovereign citizen” actually kill someone, the report notes.
Many of the incidents involved “threatening letters” or “murder plots.”
“In short,” Reason said, “the DHS report presents sovereign-citizen violence as a fairly rare risk that officers should nonetheless be prepared for should it arise. It does not claim that the threat to police is growing, it does not conflate the sovereigns with other anti-government groups, it makes no broad claims about terror on the right (the word ‘right-wing’ appears nowhere in the document), and it does not compare the sovereigns to ISIS or to any other foreign terrorists.”
Reason pointed out that CNN cited a completely separate study published last July, in which the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism surveyed state and local police who ranked sovereign citizens as America’s most serious terror threat, with Islamists coming in second.
“The survey did not ask specifically about ISIS, and it’s unlikely that the group was on many officers’ minds: The poll took place in late 2013 and early 2014, before the Islamic State started to dominate the headlines.”
Reason also noted CNN had cited information from the Southern Poverty Law Center that there were “as many as 300,000 people involved in some way with sovereign citizen extremism.”
But SPLC recently undermined its credibility by naming Dr. Ben Carson, one of America’s top brain surgeons and role models as well as a potential 2016 president candidate, as a “hater.”
WND Founder Joseph Farah wrote that the organization later offered a “pseudo-apology” even while taking more swipes at the doctor.
The organization’s credibility was undercut even earlier when a homosexual advocate convicted of domestic terror for trying to kill Christians at Washington’s Family Research Council admitted he got the information for his attack from SPLC.
It was Floyd Corkins II who armed himself, went into the FRC offices and tried to kill workers. He ended up injuring one. Corkins said he chose to attack FRC because the organization was listed as an “anti-gay” hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center on its website.
In a later speech at the Values Voter Summit 2013, Alveda King, a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., condemned the practice of labeling Christian organizations “hate” groups.
She said Corkins “came to FRC as a gunman, fueled by hate mongering from the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
“The shooter admitted he was directed to FRC’s location by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. While SPLC claims to fight against hate, they have been saying hateful things about the Family Research Council and perhaps other groups who are represented here today,” King said.
“Today the shooter is behind bars as the result of being convicted for domestic terrorism. But the SPLC and many others, who couch hate and anger in false claims of civil rights activism, still roam free to confuse the masses with their deceptions,” said King.
President Obama put conservatives in the bull’s-eye in the early weeks of his administration.
At that time a newly unclassified Department of Homeland Security report warned of the possibility of violence by unnamed “right-wing extremists,” including opponents of abortion.
The DHS report was followed days later by a report from the Missouri Information Analysis Center that warned law enforcement officials to watch out for individuals with “radical” ideologies based on Christianity.
The issue of viewing some conservatives and Christians possible terror threats is a recurring theme in the Obama administration.
At one point, the chief of the U.S. Army ordered that training for the military on “extremists” be halted until the program can be corrected and standardized to eliminate reported Christian-bashing.
Previously, a study at the West Point Military Academy asserted people who are part of the ideological right wing of American society constitute a danger to the nation.
The Department of Defense also was caught teaching that those who oppose abortion are “low-level terrorists.”
A West Point study from the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center linked opposition to abortion and other “fundamental” positions to terrorism.
The White House conference last week focused on “violent extremism.”
The Obama administration has come under fire in recent days for its refusal to use the terms “Islamic extremism.” President Obama has described ISIS, the group that beheads Christians and burns them alive, as a “non-Islamic” group whose recruitment of radicals is fueled by poverty and hopelessness.
“We’re not at war against Islam,” he said during this week’s White House summit on “countering violent extremism,” adding, “We are at war with those who pervert Islam.”
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at the summit, compared the troubling rise in Islamic terror attacks to right-wing extremists and militias who commit violence “in the name of the Bible.”
Reason reported that the DHS document suggests when “sovereigns” do attack, it tends to be from “an ongoing personal grievance, such as an arrest or court order.”
“There is some variety in the incidents, from threatening letters to murder plots. But the incidents typically involve a traffic stop or another police encounter gone bad, and they frequently end with the sovereign citizen dead. (In two of the 24 cases, the sovereigns succeeded in killing people),” Reason reported.
One of the cases, for example, involved William Foust in Page, Arizona. DHS reports there was a domestic disturbance call to his home and he was shot and killed by officers.