The vaunted “Left-Wing Extremism” report

posted at 11:38 am on April 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

… is here, courtesy of Jake Tapper.  This is the report heralded by counter-critics of the DHS report on “right-wing extremism” that supposedly disproves political bias in the substance-free attack on conservative critics.  Except that the report on extremism of the Left is much different than the other DHS report, starting with specifics.  While the DHS report focusing on the Right expansively and generally indicted groups opposing abortion, illegal immigration, and federalism, this report instead focuses on actual and specific extremist groups — groups who have a long history of domestic terrorism and violence (page 9):

(U//FOUO) DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines leftwing extremists as groups or individuals who embrace radical elements of the anarchist, animal rights, or environmental movements and are often willing to violate the law to achieve their objectives. Many leftwing extremist groups are not hierarchically ordered with defined members, leaders, or chain of command structures but operate as loosely-connected underground movements composed of “lone wolves,” small cells, and splinter groups.

— (U//LES) Animal rights and environmental extremists seek to end the perceived abuse and suffering of animals and the degradation of the natural environment perpetrated by humans. They use non-violent and violent tactics that, at times, violate criminal law. Many of these extremists claim they are conducting these activities on behalf of two of the most active groups, the Animal Liberation Front and its sister organization, the Earth Liberation Front. Other prominent groups include Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty; and chapters within the Animal Defense League, and Earth First!.

— (U//FOUO) Anarchist extremists generally embrace a number of radical philosophical components of anticapitalist, antiglobalization, communist, socialist, and other movements. Anarchist groups seek abolition of social, political, and economic hierarchies, including Western-style governments and large business enterprises, and frequently advocate criminal actions of varying scale and scope to accomplish their goals. Anarchist extremist groups include entities within Crimethinc, the Ruckus Society, and Recreate 68.

In other words, it does not treat all animal-rights criticisms as indications of terrorist thought.  It fails to paint all opponents of free trade as potential national-security threats.  Global warming activism does not get treated in this instance as federalism does in the execrable DHS report on conservatives and libertarians.  In other words, in this report, the DHS actually focuses on threats, not becoming the Thought Police.

This report differs from the latest in another key way.  Instead of rambling on about how organizing for political change represents a threat to the US, this report focuses on the nature of potential attacks.  Their choices are interesting in and of themselves.  Instead of remarking on potentially violent threats from these groups, which have used violence in anti-globalization protests around the world, torching car dealerships for environmental causes, and destroying laboratories to free research animals, DHS mainly focuses on the threat of cyber attack from these groups.  In fact, that’s practically all it discusses, along with a specific list of targets that require protection, including the now-defunct Wachovia Bank.

DHS sees no potential for violence in groups with proven track records of violent terrorism?  Cyber attack is really the greatest threat we can see from Recreate 68, ELF, and ALF?  Really?

The differences between these two reports could not be more vast.  In one, DHS downplays the potential for violence from proven and existing violent groups.  In the other, DHS presumes violence from a wide range of mainstream political points of view without any evidence of a threat, any specific groups, and impugns millions of veterans as potential terrorists.  The people behind both of these reports should be fired, and Janet Napolitano should resign as DHS Secretary.


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