Wednesday, August 12, 2015

When is a heavily armed extremist militia not a terrorist group?

When it’s white.

In Ferguson, Missouri, while young black men are being arrested on suspicion of carrying weapons, the police have invited a white militia called the Oath Keepers to help them "keep the peace." They're keeping the peace by toting assault weapons and swanking around in body armor.

The story in The Guardian

The story in the Washington Post, with background on the group.

The Oath Keeper story on NPR.

Reported by Reuters.

Many white Americans hear the word “militia” and think of the Minutemen and the Sons of Liberty. That’s an outdated concept. Militias these days are more like the irregular armies that have destroyed Lebanon and Syria and Iraq, creating millions of refugees and murdering thousands of civilians. The Taliban is a militia. ISIS is a militia. Their beliefs are no more radical and dangerous than these wild west gunmen with their assault weapons and their body armor. If you’re white does the term “terrorist” not apply to you? I guess one difference is ISIS doesn’t have an American news network in their pocket.

Despite the fact that few Americans have read or heard any news about this group, they were reported on by Mother Jones as far back as 2010.

I’ve been worried about the group Oath Keepers for some time. I’ve written letters about them to representatives in Washington and to law enforcement and security agencies. Answer comes there none. No interest might signify greater reason to worry.

How deeply has this group infiltrated our law enforcement agencies?

More concerning: how deeply have these Oath Keepers penetrated our security apparatus? Notably the Secret Service who protect the president the Oath Keepers dislike.

Our nuclear arsenal is controlled from one of the most radicalized right-wing cities in America, Colorado Springs. How deeply has this group, and others like it, infiltrated our nuclear weapons chain of command?

The Oath Keepers seem keen on removing the government. Isn’t this a direct and flagrant violation of the Second Amendment they all hide behind?

Why is a person of color with a Muslim sounding name a terrorist while a secretive white gang bent on overthrowing the government is not?

If Oath Keepers were a group comprised of non-Aryans or non-Christians, don’t you suppose FoxNews would be obsessed with it? And all officialdom would follow their lead. Since FoxNews isn't interested in reporting it our officials say nothing about it.

A close friend of mine made a documentary some years ago about Anwar Sadat. I’m remembering the death of Sadat, murdered by his own troops during an official parade. We’ve heard a great deal over the past six years about persons and groups (and an entire news network) who want to remove President Obama. President Obama is a person of color and has a Muslim-sounding name. I worry about him.

Even though I’ve grown used to the extremist rhetoric and constant inflammatory criticism of Obama and of the government we elected by sizable majorities twice, I worry that there is an apparatus out there who wants to put an abrupt end to it and to our way of life.

And yet nobody talks about it. Nobody responds to stories like this but there is a whole network organized to target the poor and people of color as dangerous.

In Ferguson young black men are being arrested on suspicion of carrying weapons. Properly so. But these same police embrace and welcome the arrival of non-uniformed, heavily-armed white men who are unofficial and avowedly antigovernment. What exactly is up with that? Presumably handguns are the weapons of terrorists but assault weapons are not? Or is it the color of the armed man that matters?

The Oath Keepers have been carefully tracked by RightWingWatch here.

And by the Southern Poverty Law Center here.

And then in magazines like PoliceMag you have the view of the police buffs. Police hobbyists. Police fantasists. They make police work sound like a cult, when it’s an honorable profession. Or, God help us, it should be.

If you or anyone thinks a modern government can’t be overthrown––if you think “it can’t happen here”–– in 1933 it nearly did. A coup organized to overthrow President Roosevelt had the backing of some of the largest corporations in America. It had Wall Street money behind it. Prescott Bush was part of the group. The plan was to mobilize the American Legion, which these same corporations had founded and funded to intimidate the American labor movement. The American Legion at the time outnumbered the U.S. military. The plot was the subject of congressional hearings. The evidence was there. But nobody went to jail. Too big to jail was true then as it is now. The plotters used the money to found the anti FDR Liberty League which devoted itself to derailing the New Deal and opposing American mobilization against the Nazis. These corporations did a profitable business with the Nazis, some of them right through the war.

The Attempt to Overthrow President Roosevelt was the subject of a BBC documentary. The story is hardly known in this country though. Old news?

Another link to an archived version of the White House Coup documentary.

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