Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chauncey DeVega Discusses the Paris Terror Attacks and White Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism on the RT Network

Last night, I was invited to appear on The Big Picture which airs on the RT Network, Free Speech TV, and also online, to discuss the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks and Right-wing terrorism by white Christians.

I said "yes".


The American media has done the public a great disservice by limiting the frame to a discussion of terrorism by people who happen to be Muslim. Of course, politicized Islam is directly connected to the terror attacks in Paris, the United States, and other parts of the world--the wickedness of Boko Haram's rapine and savage acts in Nigeria are tragic low points that also demand more discussion by the American news media.

But, the Paris terror attacks must be understood within a broader context of geopolitics, the limits of toleration, the challenges of multiculturalism, and other related matters. Bogeymen with Korans make for good copy and TV soundbites; bogeymen with Korans are distracting images that keep us from understanding the systemic forces that urge them on.

Islamic terrorists must be eliminated with all due force. The swamp that creates radicalized religion must be drained. Its believers should be reeducated and retrained.

In all, terrorism is terrorism regardless of the ethnic or racial backgrounds of the perpetrators. To point, white Right-wing Christian domestic terrorists are the biggest threat to public safety and security in post 9-11 America. The American people are unlikely to hear that fact stated plainly and directly by the corporate "mainstream" news media.

I had an opportunity to make a small intervention and corrective in that regard on RT network's show The Big Picture. I felt obligated to take it.

There are a few moments where the editing of the guest spot makes me look like The Wizard of Oz or a gigantic negro (extra points for folks who get the reference). Those are small concerns. I think that Mike Papantonio, the guest host, did a good job and I tried my best to communicate clearly and directly.

As always, do share any thoughts, suggestions, insights, or related thoughts on the segment if you are so inclined.


James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

Excellent interview, Chauncey. You really framed the issues very well. As to the interviewer's comment about "Bubba" that is misleading. Though the Republican Party and the Christian Right have a very strong neo-Confederate base (ideology and supporters), the right-wing movement goes across the entire United States. It is not just a southern problem. The SPLC's map of "hate groups," the most hardcore white supremacists, for example, shows that they are everywhere.

Second, the "lone wolf" terrorist is part of their strategy and tactics. There are numerous examples of various right-wing figures--militiamen, neo-Nazis, or Christian Identity--recommending this type of attack and organization.

Third, most observers of the right-wing fail to recognize that what holds the movement together is a common narrative structure. A potential supporter (or terrorist) does not have to join a group. They only have to believe in the narrative and then act upon that narrative. Thus, plenty of right-wing leaders gin up the paranoia in the hope and expectation that someone with mental problems will act out; their mental illness becomes an excuse to hide their own culpability.

And, as much as I admire the SPLC 's analysis, when it comes to Cliven Bundy and understanding the sources of his ideas, they are not very helpful. The SPLC would have you believe that Bundy's ideas actually come from the white supremacist, anti-Semitic Christian Identity religion, when, in fact, his ideas about race and the Constitution come from Mormonism and Mormon Constitutionalism. His ideas about state sovereignty come from his participation in the Wise Use and County Supremacy movements--though there is an ideological affinity with Posse Comitatus (the armed wing of Christian Identity)--both movements were actually started by the Christian Right.

The "power of the county" concept is common to Christian Reconstructionism, Mormon Constitutionalism, and Posse Comitatus, as well as the John Birch Society. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the JBS in support of white supremacy urged conservatives to support their local sheriff. The JBS was very much directly linked to Mormon Constitutionalism and Christian Reconstructionism.

Thus, SPLC has taken the commonality of these ideas and just linked Bundy to Posse Comitatus rather than his Mormon background.

Unfortunately, while Rachel Maddow as you pointed out did not call Bundy and his militia gang terrorists, she used the SPLC to link Bundy to the furthest extreme of the right-wing, that is, Posse Comitatus and Christian Identity. When you trace movements and their ideas back to the Christian Reconstructionists and their allies in the Christian Right (who don't want to be associated with them), you get very close to the heart of political power in this country--the Republican Party.

So, you are so right in writing and talking about white Christian terrorism in America.

chauncey devega said...

Invaluable comments there and very important distinctions. I agree on that framing. Language is important and these are dangerous, well funded folks w. connections to Power and the Elite.

The Christian Sovereign types have their roots in Anti-Antisemitism. Funny, that there are black and brown folks attracted to that anti-gov't ideology. Do you think they are willfully ignorant of its roots or has the sovereign citizen movement just done a great job at repacking itself?

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

I have been very surprised to find on my FB page Black folks I'm FB friends with posting some conspiracy theories they find at World Net (Nut) Daily and some Sovereign Citizen stuff. Back in the 1990s, Michael Barkun noted that the Christian Identity white supremacists began to mute their racism to make their public policies and ideology (small government, low taxes, local control, etc.) attractive to conservative Christians. My sense is that they have not really investigated the roots of the ideology and these guys are very adept at hiding their roots. The broad right-wing has essentially gone to code words to pass their racism.

But, there are SPLC reports showing white nationalists and Black nationalists cooperating because they both want racial separation. So, that may also be the attraction.

kokanee said...

Well done Chauncey - excellent interview!

Glenn Greenwald often talks about about the meaningless of the definition of terrorism. He happened to be on Democracy Now this morning talking about exactly that.

Chris Hedges wrote a book about the rise of right-wing extremism in America called A Message From the Dispossessed

It's funny that all of a sudden everyone in the world is for free speech. Oh the hypocrisy!

The war on terror is a scam. I've called it a whitch-hunt before here. From TomDispatch, here are some interesting statistics:
In fact, if you are an American, you are statistically in less danger of dying from a terrorist attack in this country than from a toddler shooting you. And by the way, you’re 2,059 times more likely to die by your own hand with a weapon of your choosing than in a terrorist attack anywhere on Earth. You’re also more than nine times as likely to be killed by a police officer as by a terrorist.

Finally, terrorism is a criminal act and not an act of war. Terrorism is perpetrated by non-state actors. It's a law enforcement issue. It should be left to police authorities - local and international, the FBI, INTERPOL, etc. It should not be handed over to the national security complex - the military and the CIA. I look around and all I see is police state. Soon to be a military police state...

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I came across a militia, Christian nationalist type blog today that commented about the case in Atlanta, Georgia.

They claim military training and concluded with advice on how to carry out a stealthier Operation.

SW said...

It's also slightly concerning how the threat of terror is seemingly ratcheted up with this idea that Westerners are going into countries like Syria en masse to learn how to become terrorists. Then we're led to believe that these new born terrorists are going to come back and easily infiltrate the West.

chauncey devega said...

Thanks for the complement. I am glad my giant negro Zardoz head didn't frighten you away. The facts should never get in the way of some great fear mongering about terrorism.

chauncey devega said...

Anti-gov't sentiment trumps racial animosity. Funny world we live in. I have always found the love/hate/abusive relationship that black Americans have with the federal gov't one of the most fascinating themes in American political development.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I hate to pester about this, but did you get my email about the Christian Nationalist Militia?

I really think you and James Estrada Scaminaci III would be interested.

skilletblonde said...

Okay Chauncey. I know WARN is a serious site. But you're gorgeous.

chauncey devega said...

You are trying to give me the vapors :)

How kind. I am an old negro w. a big gigantic negro head under bad lighting.

Now I blush...

Gina said...

Did I come too late for the "extra points for folks who get the reference", Said?

As to the paranoia & the anxiety you mention in the interview, that's really the point why all these willful discriminations & unjustices are so difficult to tackle. I think something has gone utterly wrong in child raising. People are simply programmed. I think Alice Miller is right in her findings, all the more as she also explains why insanity is difficult to overcome.
A short history of evil pedagogy & the childhood biographies of Hitler, a
serial killer & a drug addict:

As to the double standard:

Gina said...

It should be left to police authoritiesor to some clever & truth loving guy who takes pains to look closely:

kokanee said...

I've learned not to trust the mainstream media, left or right. And that includes alternative and/or progressive media outlets. Maybe my own confirmation bias has me seeking out revolutionary, socialist, pro-democracy, real freedom (whatever that is), end to the two-party system media.

Gina said...

And that includes alternative and/or progressive media outlets.Yup. I was stunned when I realized that they almost all are on the one or the other bandwagon. I like Global Research, because they were the only who covered the truth of an issue.

chauncey devega said...

Great sharing! Thank you.

chauncey devega said...

I did. Thank you for sending it along. Appreciated. How are you?

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I'm doing good. Glad you got that email. That blog is wild.