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The New ‘Al-Qaeda’ – a Right-Wing Insurgency

C J Werleman documents the global threat of Far-right terrorism and argues that Trump might seek to benefit from it.

C J Werleman documents the global threat of Far Right terrorism and argues that Trump might seek to benefit from it.

The creation of a new social networking platform called “The Base” is one component of what appears to be a growing grassroots effort to shift those who express support for fascist and Far Right ideologies away “from a divided digital space to a physical, violent insurgency,” according to solid piece of investigative journalism by Vice.

Intentional or not, “The Base” is literally the English-Arabic translation for al-Qaeda, and thus further emphasises the threat posed by Far Right terrorism in the United States, long considered the number one domestic security threat by the FBI.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Far Right groups and individuals were responsible for 100 per cent of all terrorist attacks on US soil in 2018, making it the fourth year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970, while also accounting for 73 per cent of all extremist-related killings in the 10-year period spanning 2008 to 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

There’s also the fact that analysis conducted by The Intercept found that the US Department of Justice has “routinely declined to bring terrorism charges against right-wing extremists even when their alleged crimes meet the legal definition of domestic terrorism,” with anti-terrorism laws applied to only 34 of 268 right-wing extremist attacks since 9/11.

Far Right groups and individuals were responsible for 100% all terrorist attacks on US soil in 2018.

In other words, the incidences of right-wing terrorism greatly outweigh the number that are actually prosecuted and reported as acts of terrorism.

Essentially, the public is only made aware of attacks that have produced either mass casualties or threatened high-profile individuals.

There’s the so-called “MAGA bomber” who sent a string of pipe bombs to journalists and Democratic Party politicians last year. There’s the Tree of Life Synagogue gunman, who massacred 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh in 2018; the Quebec City mosque terrorist, who murdered 11 Muslims in 2017; three militia members who were arrested for bombing the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Minnesota in 2017; the Parkland High School shooter, who gunned down 17 students in 2018; and there’s the US Coast Guard lieutenant, who was arrested in February after amassing a veritable arsenal of guns and bombs with the intent on killing journalists and Democratic law-makers.

Family members gather around caskets during a ceremony for three of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting in February 2017. Photo by The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson

These are but a mere sample of the hundreds of right-wing terrorist attacks to take place on US soil in recent years. But, they do have one thing in common – all of the aforementioned were either directly or indirectly inspired by the current President of the United States.

Targeted attacks against Muslims, Jews, and other minorities is one thing, however, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the right-wing terrorism threat is morphing into something ever more dangerous: a violent right-wing insurgency.

From Terrorism to Insurgency

An insurgency is defined as a violent rebellion, comprising unlawful belligerents, who seek to take control of the government and/or country by force.

In the case of the United States, and in the minds of white supremacists and far-right extremists, the US Federal Government, insofar as being the guardian of liberal, secular democratic values, was successfully overthrown when Hillary Clinton failed to succeed President Obama into the White House, thus making Trump the flag-bearer for this right-wing insurgency.

“I fear that, if he loses the election in 2020, there will never be a peaceful transition of power. And this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer

Trump has done everything imaginable to synchronize his policies with the attitudes and views shared by these right-wing insurgents, from banning Muslim migrants to separating migrant children from their parents as a form of racist and psychological warfare; from describing neo-Nazis as “very fine people” to pushing for a wall on the US-Mexico border; sharing white supremacist memes on Twitter, to surrounding himself with white nationalists in the Oval Office.

Alarmingly, this increasingly violent insurgency is moving itself from the dark corners of the internet to mainstream conservative discourse and the actions of elected law-makers.

Last week, The Guardian obtained chat records showing a Washington state Republican representative taking part in private discussions with far-right extremists about carrying out “psy-ops” and even violent attacks on Trump’s perceived political enemies and leftist organisations, groups, and academics.

“The men talked about the broad outlines of what they appeared to consider to be a looming civil war,” notes The Guardian.

It’s easy to dismiss these discussions as something akin to the violent fantasies of a micro-minority until you remember how emboldened neo-Nazis and white supremacists have become during the Trump presidency, as evident by their ever-increasing presence in the day-lit streets of American towns and cities.

Vigilantes to Paramilitary Militias

Even more disturbing is the fact that armed right-wing militias are now essentially performing the dirty work of the state, which is a feature of all decaying democracies according to Chris Hedges, insofar as taking up positions along the US-Mexico border to arrest migrants and asylum seekers at gunpoint. One group – United Constitutional Patriots – has made more than 100 apprehensions and raised thousands of dollars via online donors in a single week.

Now consider the fact that this rising wave of right-wing terrorism and mobilisation of armed far-right militias is happening at a time when their guy – Trump – is occupying the White House, and their preferred political party – GOP – controls half of the Congress, has unilateral control of both political chambers in 32 of 50 states, occupies two-thirds of the country’s governor mansions, and essentially holds a 5-4 advantage in the Supreme Court.

Incidences of right-wing terrorism greatly outweigh the number that are actually prosecuted and reported as acts of terrorism.

The glaringly obvious question becomes: what happens when these results are flipped, and/or/if/when Trump loses re-election in 2020?

Well, Trump’s former and long-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen has already provided us with an ominous warning in his concluding statement to the House Oversight Committee: “I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power. And this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

Make of that what you will, but the point remains that right-wing extremism is morphing into something even more insidious than the occasional terrorist attack and, whatever this is has the tacit support of the current occupant of the Oval Office, and a 24/7 news network, Fox News, that is dedicated to supporting his every insanity, while at the same time demonising his perceived political enemies.

None of this augurs well for the well-being and future of the world’s greatest experiment in democracy – the United States of America.

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