Refocusing on Extreme Rightwing Terror

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Like so many things, it took a terrible tragedy for the U.S. government to respond to a growing threat. The attack against a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement complex near Kansas City that left three innocent people dead was a wake-up call about extreme rightwing violence and the groups behind that violence. Before the terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists on September 11, 2001, the greatest single act of terrorism was committed by a man named Timothy McVeigh who ran a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The truck bomb killed 169 people and severely injured 680 others. McVeigh had connections to rightwing militia groups and hence was believed to have planned this attack for “revenge” in the Ruby Ridge Incident.

The fact that McVeigh had connections to extremist rightwing groups became an important reason why the U.S. government at the time created the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee—a committee charged with investigating and tracing rightwing extremist groups that might commit acts of violence. This committee helped to provide local, state and federal law enforcement with information and knowledge in tracing those groups and individuals who might try to stage terrorist attacks. This committee was effective in stopping what may have been hundreds of such terrorist attacks during its existence. This was all derailed on September 11, 2001, when the next major terrorist attack was of international origin. Then the focus became dealing with terrorism from elsewhere and the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee became inactive.

However, the acts of domestic rightwing attacks never ended, and the one that occurred in Kansas demonstrated this country is being attacked on both fronts. It was obvious that the U.S. government could no longer ignore the real threat of domestic terrorism. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder therefore has revived the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee to track and keep tabs on possible acts of violence by rightwing extremist groups. The fact that the main suspect in the Kansas case, Frazier Glenn Cross, is a known member of a Ku Klux Klan group, has many in law enforcement concerned this will be far from the only violent acts that will occur. More than that, the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee will want to be able to trace the shadowy world of extremist rightwing groups and their operations. This may also help stop possible “lone wolf” individuals who are preparing to attack the innocent. In my view, reviving the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee should have happened years ago.

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