“A dark and constant rage.” Right from the title, the report on the activities of radical and violent right in the United States distributed by the Anti-Defamation League leaves no room for innocuous interpretations.
In fact, according to the analysts of the United States’ oldest anti-racism organization, “right-wing terrorism has been a consistent feature in the landscape of American violence, but it has garnered far less notice than some other forms of terrorism, most notably Islamic terrorism.”
This consideration, clearly in contrast with the slogans of the Trump administration, concludes with a genuine catalog of horror: a reconstruction of the racist terrorist actions on U.S. soil over the past 25 years.
The period under review includes the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the worst massacre in the country before Sept. 11, and the 2015 slaughter at the African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, executed by a young white supremacist. The picture described consists of attacks on clinics and doctors who practice abortions; violent attacks, often fatal, on African-American or Hispanic individuals; and victims of fires and explosions targeting synagogues and Muslim places of worship and cultural centers.
A long and terrible list of acts of violence and threats often thwarted at the last moment. As was the case of the gang of would-be Crusaders. The “crusaders” were stopped by police last October while actually preparing to blow up a residential complex in Garden City, Kansas, which is home to dozens of Somali families who fled from the war.
If the violent, anti-Muslim groups have experienced a spectacular growth in the last decade, the document drawn up by the ADL also indicates the persistence of organizations adhering to neo-Nazism, the white supremacist and racist skinheads circuit. The latter are frequently responsible for racist killings.
And then there’s the strengthening of the paramilitary groups, like the militias born in the ‘90s that re-appeared during the Obama presidency as part of the extreme right-wing revival sponsored by the Republicans, and the so-called “sovereign citizens” who do not recognize the federal laws and authorities, and with whom they consider themselves at war. In preparation for this purpose, they collect large quantities of weapons and explosives.
“When we point out the seriousness of the situation, we are often told that these groups represent only an ultra-minority fringe of American society. The point is that in a country of 350 million people, even a small minority amounts to a large number of people. I hope this report will make clear that the radical right is a serious threat,” says Mark Pitcavage who heads the ADL’s center on extremism studies and directed the pool of researchers who wrote the report.
Pitcavage’s words have a precise objective: to stigmatize the decisions of presidents since Sept. 11 to weaken, if not entirely dismantle, the intelligence resources investigating right-wing terrorism, diverting them toward Islamic terrorism.
Donald Trump intends to go even beyond his predecessors. His administration has announced plans to rename the government program against violent extremism, CVE, to Countering Islamic Extremism.
And this, despite the fact that in the early months of the new presidency, right-wing groups have only been emboldened. As noted by Daryl Johnson, former specialist on the radical right for the Department of Homeland Security, commenting on the ADL’s report: “Due to Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric on immigrants and Muslims, anti-government and racist groups have felt encouraged to take action, imagining that the institutions will somehow turn a blind eye to their crimes.”