One of those essential voices and frequent commenters is James Scaminaci III.
I always feel smarter after reading his comments and observations about national security issues and military affairs. Why? Because he is a very well-trained social scientist who also has experience as a working, in the field, military intelligence analyst.
In the aftermath of the Charleston Massacre, and the commercial news media's many deficiencies in their coverage of the complexities regarding that horrible event, I reached out to James and asked if he would be so kind as to offer up a guest post.
He kindly complied. There is some excellent and smart work in James's essay. I do hope that folks take his insights to heart as they work to protect the Common Good and keep America safe from white supremacist terrorist thugs like Dylann Roof.
I am a former civilian senior military intelligence analyst that worked for the Department of the Army at the U.S. Department of Defense’s European Command (EUCOM). During part of my tenure I was a member of Joint Task Force Provide Promise that was tasked with providing humanitarian aid to the Bosniak (Muslim) victims of Bosnian Serb genocide. I also served four years inside
(B-H) as a senior intelligence analyst attached to the Stabilization Force
(SFOR) tasked with identifying the networks of political-criminal power
structures thwarting implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. Fundamental
to that analytical task is understanding how words (policy and rhetoric) are
translated into action, and, how words are used to frame and encompass a
It is established fact that the genocide in B-H began with the
of Science’s false assertions that Croats and Muslims planned a genocide
against all Serbs living outside of Serbia. They were joined
in this propaganda war by the Orthodox Church, which gave it a religious
endorsement. Promoting both of these efforts were state-controlled
television, radio, and print media. Of course, this propaganda
barrage of Serbs facing an existential threat was the pretext justifying
Milosevic’s attempted territorial conquests against Croatia and B-H, and, the genocide
of the Bosniaks.
What has this to do today with the right-wing in
What distinguishes modern social movements—noted for the lower prevalence of bureaucratic structures and a higher propensity to use multiple types of networks—from previous models of social movements is the idea that what holds these modern movements together is the narrative, the structure of ideas, the core values, and belief in action. Ideas are the structure and the glue of modern social movements. That is the reason why, according to scholar Jennifer Jefferis (Armed For Life), that the federal government could not bring conspiracy charges against the Army of God.
Jefferis noted that the “ideological frame of religious belief can act as an intangible alternative to the violence-inducing elements of structure.” Moreover, Jefferis reported that after two years of grand jury investigation that the grand jury “concluded that the individuals were linked by an idea, not an organization. As a result, there was little law enforcement could do, and Army of God members, affiliates, and supporters continue to meet without fear of repercussions.”
Eugene Gallagher, in a scholarly article for the journal Terrorism and Political Violence, noted that “Religion…is at the heart of many of the ideologies on the contemporary radical right.” Specifically, he was writing about the range from the Patriot militias to the neo-Nazis, though they do not share the same religion. However, his observation regarding religion is true for the entire movement. One cannot understand the actions of the Republican Party and the Christian Right, often acting in tandem, without considering the religious basis and motivations for their policies and actions, according to former Christian Right operator Frank Schaeffer.
And we know from scholarship and field studies that the right-wing exists on two levels: the public or visible level, and, the secret, underground cell level. In many cases, a public entity will also have a secret entity. More than personnel linkages, what holds underground secret cells together is the common narrative and common understandings, combined with military-like discipline.
Additionally, these above and below ground entities have evolved a tactic that spans the entire range of the paramilitary right—from the Patriot militias to the neo-Nazis—that allows a member who wants to go “operational” to sever all ties with the group and erase all possible linkages between the group and the member. We know this because strategists of these groups openly discussed developing and using this tactic in the 1990s as they were adapting the core ideas of “leaderless resistance” as an organizational response to law enforcement penetrations.
How is violence and terrorism part of the right-wing? The common narrative structure provides the key to understanding this problem.
Professor Michael Barkun in his seminal book, A Culture of Conspiracy, noted that the “New World Order theory came to constitute a common ground for religious and secular conspiracy theorists” once the bipolar structure of the international system underwent a significant shift in the late 1980s with the demise of the Soviet Union.”
What makes this New World Order conspiracy theory and narrative so powerful is that it comes in religious and secular versions, as well as versions that can cater to anti-Semites and racists.
Pat Robertson took the racist, anti-Semitic version and with minor revisions in 1991 published his book, The New World Order, for the Christian Right’s adherents to absorb. By the mid-1990s, Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, at the time, the Christian Right’s premier political mobilization vehicle, and partnered with the Free Congress Foundation’s National Empowerment Television (NET), a “nation-wide, interactive, 24-hour television network” for spreading right-wing messaging and enabling grassroots mobilization.
Other NET partners included the National Rifle Association, Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for
America, the Family Research
Council, Accuracy in Media, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise
Institute, and Borderline from John Tanton’s white nationalist
Federation for American Immigration Reform. Borderline featured white nationalists such as Sam Francis who
joined the racist Council of Conservative Citizens and Jared Taylor, founder of
racist American Renaissance.
Thus, the New World Order conspiracy and the ideas of “cultural Marxism” spans the entire right-wing, from the Christian Right to the Tea Party movement to the Patriot militia, the non-violent white supremacists, and into the Hard Right of the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and the racist skinheads.
The New World Order conspiracy theory posits that domestic secular liberal elites have conspired with, take your pick—globalists, internationalists, insiders, Jews, international Jewry, banksters—to exploit and enslave, take your pick—Christians, the white middle class, the white race. According to the conspiracy theory, the domestic secular liberals work to undermine traditional Judeo-Christian values by promoting the rights of African-Americans, women (feminism and reproductive rights), and LGBTQ rights. Thus, all domestic secular liberals pose an existential threat to Christians, the white middle class, and the white race.
Moreover, the Free Congress Foundation was instrumental in spreading William S. Lind’s writings on “cultural Marxism” or “political correctness” not only into the Republican Party throughout the Christian Right, but into the Hard Right via Patrick Buchanan’s campaign rhetoric, the anti-Semitic Barnes Review, and the racist Council of Conservative Citizens. Lind’s “cultural Marxism” thesis was also instrumental in forming the worldview of
It is important to note that in the Free Congress Foundation’s writings on “cultural Marxism” or “political correctness,” that it is imperative that wealthy, white, conservative Christian males maintain their dominance of the political-economic-social pyramids.
In the Free Congress Foundation’s initial 1987 book, Cultural Conservatism, by William S. Lind and William H. Marshner, the authors suggested that a “grand synthesis of anti-Western foreign policy with welfare rights, gay rights, and feminist rights threatens to become the next ‘conscience’ of the Democratic party.” They claimed that through “several decades of cultural drift” that
America was at a “crossroads of the
spirit” and must choose between cultural conservatism and a “unified agenda of
cultural radicalism.” In their view, “cultural radicalism” aims to
“eliminate ‘sexism’ and ‘homophobia’…elimination of male aggressiveness…and
elimination of dogmatic religion.” “Cultural radicalism” promotes
“abortion on demand.”
The Christian Right’s existential threat rhetoric is visible in the current Christian Right propaganda barrage regarding the Obama administration’s so-called assault on “religious liberty,” the “persecution” of Christians, and the future imprisonment and disarmament of Christians for their beliefs.
This existential threat must be met in two fundamental ways.
The first way, which they have been doing since the early 1980s, is to wage Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). 4GW was originally developed by the Free Congress Foundation’s William S. Lind in two articles published in the Marines Corps Gazette (1989 and 1994). 4GW posits that modern conflicts are between a central state actor (the federal government) and a non-state actor (the Christian Right and the right-wing). The central objective of 4GW is to undermine the legitimacy of the federal government, and, at the appropriate time of one or more concurrent systemic crises [see On War #300], to contest the territorial control of the federal government (nullification and secession).
Gary North, arguably one of the most important strategic thinkers of the Christian Right and informal advisor to Ron Paul (Tea Party movement) and Stewart Rhodes (Oath Keepers), wrote:
“Precinct by precinct, town by town, county by county, a decentralized political movement could begin to undermine the legitimacy the existing political structure. It can do so politely, helpfully, and sympathetically. The central issue is legitimacy. The supreme goal is to undermine the legitimacy enjoyed by the prevailing central state. This task is doable. We have the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System working for us: a debt disaster to be funded by fiat money. When the dollar dies, political legitimacy dies with it. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy.”
Prior to this open paramilitary conflict, the right-wing must prepare itself organizationally (form church-based militias, Patriot militias, underground cells) and contest the legitimacy of the federal government, according to an Oath Keepers’ strategic document.
We know about 4GW from several sources linked to the late Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation. Weyrich is the architect of the Christian Right and employed William S. Lind, the originator of 4GW. In 2001, Katherine Yurica of The Yurica Report discovered a key strategy document produced by Weyrich’s organization called “The Integration of Theory and Practice.” In this document, the FCF stated:
“Our strategy will be to bleed this corrupt culture dry. We will pick off the most intelligent and creative individuals in our society, the individuals who help give credibility to the current regime….Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them….We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left….We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime.”
When you connect all the dots and put all the pieces of the puzzle together, a terrorist attack from a ’lone wolf’ is not unexpected, though the time, place, and target are impossible to predict. A ’lone wolf’ does not even have to be a member or a former member of a group. A ’lone wolf’ need only absorb deeply the ideology and resolve to act true to the ideology—whether motivated by his need to fulfill his own dying wish, to spur others to action, or to spark a racial civil war.
Whether or not ’mental illness’ is the intervening variable between ideology and action, is actually irrelevant because the movement counts on individuals who are not so well grounded to act out their ideology. Meanwhile, Patriot militia and other paramilitary groups integrated into the movement’s as yet unknown command-and-control structures, probably multiple political or religious entities or networks, train and wait for their time, an estimate consistent with William S. Lind’s 4GW strategic assessments.