03.11.13

Right-wing terror groups

Posted in Bioterrorism, Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks, Shoeshine, WhiteManistan at 3:14 pm by George Smith

A bit over a week ago the mainstream newsmedia covered the release of a new report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center, one documenting an explosive rise in domestic extremist groups. One of the initiators is the presidency of Barack Obama and the persistent belief — now going on five years — that he is going to take away the guns.

Summarizing the gist, from the Guardian:

The number of anti-government, far-right extremist groups has soared to record levels since 2008 and they are becoming increasingly militant, according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It says the number of groups in the “Patriot” movement stood at 1,360 in 2012, up from 149 in 2008 when Barack Obama was first elected president, an increase of 813%. The report said the rise was driven by opposition to Obama and the “sputtering rage” over federal attempts at gun control …

“We are seeing a real and rising threat of domestic terrorism as the number of far-right anti-government groups continues to grow at an astounding pace,” said Mark Potok, SPLC senior fellow and author of the report. “It is critically important that the country take this threat seriously. The potential for deadly violence is real, and clearly rising.”

Potok said that the demographic factors driving the rise in such groups began before Obama became president – the census bureau predicts that whites will become a minority group in the US by 2043 – but have been fuelled by the changes in America he represents. The growth in extremism has been helped by the “successful exploitation over illegal immigration” and by anger over the gun control debate, he said.

Law enforcement officials have uncovered numerous terrorism conspiracies born in the militia subculture, including plots to spread poisonous ricin powder, to attack federal installations, and to murder federal judges and other government officials …

Two months ago West Point issued a similar report mapping the growth of right wing violence from the Clinton administration to the present.

While I didn’t comment on it at the time, the report, entitled Challengers from the Sideline: Understanding America’s Violent Far Right, analyzed right wing domestic terrorism for contributing factors. The strongest correlator was the number of seats held in the House of Representatives by Republicans.

Simply, right wing violence escalates when their are more GOP Reps. The report reasoned this might be because those perpetrating right wing violence feel supported ideologically by Republicans in that body.

The other possibility, of course, is that the rhetoric emitted by the Republican Party in control of the House creates an environment in which some people feel empowered, or moved, to violence against the government.

The other contributing factor was legislation, specifically that having to do with gun control. The Brady Bill, or Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, signed into law in 1993 during the Clinton administrations, caused a spurt in militia growth and related right wing violence in that period. Two years later Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building in the most lethal act of right wing domestic terrorism in this country’s history.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok told news reporters he “expected extremism to rise, as anger over gun control had become a ‘grassroots rebellion.’. He said that 20 states are considering laws that would aim to nullify federal gun control measures and 500 sheriffs mainly in western US, who say they will not enforce any such measures.”

The ricin plot, which I covered here as the Georgia Ricin Beans Gang, involved four old men who discussed plans to bomb federal buildings and disperse the poison, was a non-starter but rife with the type of language emitted by the insurrectionist right.

Two of the men pleaded guilty. Two remain to be tried on making a weapon of mass destruction. A bucket of castor beans in a shed was recovered by the US government as evidence, along with one of the old internet ricin recipes, uploaded into cyberspace now well over 20 years ago by a bored teenager.

Disclosure: I was consulted on the nature of the recipe because I’m the person who wrote most authoritatively on the subject during the war on terror years. This is when the newsmedia routinely spread the canard that ricin was easy to make simply by downloading instruction from the Internet, a stupid belief that persists to this day.

The recipe doesn’t make ricin. It makes degreased castor powder from castor seeds which contains some ricin, some or all of which may be degraded depending on the instructions actually followed.

No people have died as a result of attacks using ricin in the entire war on terror. And while al Qaeda has periodically evinced interest in using ricin, it has never done so. In fact, more white right-wing Americans have been arrested and jailed on wanting-to-make-ricin beefs than any other nationality. More specifically, it’s almost exclusively a WhiteManistan thing, where it originated a long time ago.

The Georgia case also illustrates the FBI does have a dragnet out for right wing terror plots, one that makes use of informants recruited to infiltrate potential domestic terror cells.


In slightly related news, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Biosecurity issued a report about a week ago and almost nobody paid a lick of attention.

This is notable for the fact that the Center was regularly in the news with reports and predictions that catastrophic bioterrorism was imminent and easy to carry out during the salad days of the war on terror.

This was because the UPMC Center for Biosecurity was the house that Tara O’Toole built. When O’Toole left to take a position in the Department of Homeland Security, all the zing and mojo went with her.

In addition, its sugardaddy, Congressman Jack Murtha, died.

As you’ve guessed, or knew, the UPMC Center for Biosecurity existed only to dispense shoeshine on the threat of bioterrorism.

Its most recent report, entitled When Good Food Goes Bad, was covered only by Food Safety News.

From Food Safety News:

From its headquarters on Baltimore harbor, the 15-year-old Center for Biosecurity of UPMC looks out on the historic Coast Guard Cutter Taney, the last ship afloat to have immediately fought back when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941.

The way the Taney instantly turned its guns on the enemy is just the sort of reaction the U.S. needs to mount whenever and wherever there is an outbreak of foodborne illness, according to the Center’s new report “When good food goes bad” …

The Biosecurity Center’s interest in foodborne illness outbreaks apparently stems from the 2010 “credible threat” by Al-Qaeda terrorists to poison salad bars and buffets at hotels and restaurants over a single weekend, using ricin and cyanide. “U.S. officials cautioned that even in small amounts of these chemicals in food could cause serious harm,” says the report.

That plot was not executed, but highlighted the problem. “Initially, it will be very difficult to distinguish deliberate contamination of the food supply from a naturally occurring outbreak,” it says.

The Center for Biosecurity researchers who probably have never actually seen any real documents from terror cases on food plots using ricin (and cyanide) have only one citation for this in their report, a brief piece issued by CBS News back in 2010.

“Manuals and videos on jihadist websites explain how to easy it is to make both poisons,” informed CBS.

Perhaps they have also missed the facts that al Qaeda has been smashed and that, I’ll repeat, more white American men have been convicted for fiddling with castor beans than any other nationality.

And that no ricin plots in America have ever gone forward. In any case, the report is classic shoeshine work, stuff of no value to most Americans unless they’re in the homeland security business.

Most recently, the al Qaeda comic book Inspire, now at issue number ten, recommended jihadists start causing “road accidents” and setting fire to cars.

“We all agree the Kuffar chose the wrong path,” it reads. “Now it’s time for their vehicles to also leave the right path. Demolition Derby Style.

“The best timing for a ‘Causing Road Accident’ operation is during night hours, especially on Sunday night. Most of the Kuffar will be either drinking or showing off their driving talents to their friends. In addition to the poor visibility due to the scarcity of light (hmmm, hasn’t ever been to LA at night, obviously). Thus it is hard for your ambush tools to be noticed.”

Ingenious. What could they work out next? Perhaps urinating in ice machines at hotels and motels?

Last year, Inspire recommended setting forest fires. And six months earlier, running people over with a pickup truck armed with a snow plow.

They all worked well.

Anyway, the Center for Biosecurity report recommended the US government strengthen food surveillance.

“Fewer food safety inspections and an increased risk to consumers will result from the lack of a new 2013 budget from Congress and the upcoming across-the-board spending cuts, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said …” reads a recent news piece, also at CBS.

It should be noted that, so far, the sequester is happening but al Qaeda is not.

“[Hamburg] said most of the effects wouldn’t be felt for a while, and the agency won’t have to furlough workers … Still, she said, ‘We’re going to be struggling with how to really grapple with the cuts of sequestration … clearly we will be able to provide less of the oversight functions and we won’t be able to broaden our reach to new facilities either, so inevitably that increases risk.’ ”


New category, Shoeshine. The growing parts of the American economy are devoted to it, armies of upper middle class lickspittles employed as process workers and analysts in it. It had to happen.

2 Comments

  1. Mike Ozanne said,

    March 15, 2013 at 2:49 am

    As far as I know the only successful offensive use of Ricin was performed by a government agency with access to real scientists, and even then it needed to be injected using a special super-secret spy umbrella. The Markov case.

  2. George Smith said,

    March 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

    It has occasionally been used in domestic poisonings, most famously a wife wishing to get rid of her husband. Castor mash gets shoveled into food. Even that’s not 100 percent efficient.

    The US military tried to make a ricin bomb. Judging by the patent that was developed on it, they couldn’t have been very successful. You can’t pound, explode, heat, and burn proteins any more than you can blow up hamburger and expect to have something.

    One of these days I’ll post links to the US government’s health research on worker hazards in the old, now gone, castor seed milling industry. Poisoning wasn’t a problem. Allergies and asthma as a result of allergens in the dust, and a lot was produced, were the main health effects.