The right’s terrorism problem

Scott Gilmore on why we remain so focused on the bogeyman of Islamic terrorism when the most dangerous terror threat is far right extremism

Peter Cvjetanovic (R) along with Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists encircle and chant at counter protestors at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 11, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Peter Cvjetanovic (R) along with Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists encircle and chant at counter protestors at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 11, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

One of the 21st century’s greatest misdirections has been the word “terror.” Like dupes playing three-card monte, we were told to follow the ace of spades into Afghanistan, into Iraq, around the world and back again. Our political dealers fleeced us for trillions, all in the name of betting on a war against Islamist terror we didn’t need to fight, and couldn’t win against when we did anyway.

In North America, as I’ve pointed out before, you are more likely to be killed by a moose than by an Islamist terrorist. Nonetheless, it remains one of the greatest fears of the public—a so-called existential threat, one that has inflamed Islamaphobia at home and sparked new wars abroad.

Undaunted by these facts, the least honourable among our politicians and journalists keep up the patter, demanding harder borders, more police, fewer civil rights. The great irony of this hucksterism is that the crooked dealers are typically on the right wing of the political spectrum, and the most dangerous terror threat is also on the right.

This week in the U.K., four British soldiers and a civilian were arrested under the Terrorism Act. All were members of the far-right group National Action, which calls for jailing homosexuals and for white-only immigration.

In the U.S., the majority of designated terrorist groups are right-wing extremists. Why? Because they have been behind twice as many domestic terror acts as those identified as Islamist. Earlier this summer, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint intelligence statement that documented many of these attacks and identified far-right groups as a serious and growing threat.

Right-wing extremists have killed 30 people in Canada since 1980. During that same period, Islamist terrorists murdered two. Criminologists at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology have estimated that there are at least 100 of these far-right extremist groups operating in our country. So why do we remain so focused on the Islamic bogeyman? The most obvious answer is that far-right extremists dress like white Canadians, talk like us and may even play goalie in our rec league. The guys in the keffiyehs on the back of a Hilux as it tears across the desert just look scarier.

Don’t feel bad. That’s the official judgment of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, too. A spokeswoman recently explained, “Right-wing extremist circles appear to be fragmented and primarily pose a threat to public order and not to national security.” Thirty dead: public order problem. Unpronounceable name: national security threat.

The rise of the alt-right in the U.S. is adding interesting new dynamics to this analysis. For the first time in decades, Nazis, heavily armed right-wing militias and white nationalists are openly marching in support of President Donald Trump, or in opposition to African Americans, immigrants or even feminism.

The new administration is reacting softly, to say the least. Trump officials have cut funding to programs that de-radicalize right-wing extremists; and the president’s motley circle of advisors like the gone-but-not-foresaken Steve Bannon have argued that there is no such thing as white supremacists, and that all terror threats can be traced back to the Islamic State and al Qaeda. Follow the ace of spades.

The National Rifle Association is playing a similar game. A curious fact about American gun sales is that they spiked dramatically each time Barack Obama was elected. Why? Everyone knows that crypto-Muslim Kenyans will take your guns. This provided the NRA with the perfect conditions to whip up fear among the Republican base, raise record amounts of money, and spend it on politicians willing to roll back or block gun control legislation. With Obama gone, the NRA lost its greatest fundraiser ever. Where do you find new fear? Pivot to focus on the threat of left-wing extremists, like the black-masked Antifa protesters. The NRA’s recently launched ad campaign argues America is being torn apart by godless, lawless lefties—coming for your daughters.

But keep all of this in perspective. Right-wing extremists may be a bigger threat than their Islamist counterpart, but neither they nor the Antifa are going to get you. Thirty dead over 37 years is not a clear and present danger. Remember that the next time a Member of Parliament goes blue in the face screaming about our unsecured borders, or you see another NRA ad warning of the coming race wars. Don’t play their card game.


The right’s terrorism problem

  1. It all goes back to religion. It always has.

    Wanting to be chosen and beloved by God.

    And to that end,we’ll kill,maim,enslave….everyone outside our group

    • Always religion. Uh huh. Still got that bee in your bonnet, Em?

      People who hate will always find and excuse to do violence against others. Religion has been used as such an excuse. So has ideology (communism; fascism…). Nationalism. Ethnicity – skin colour; language, etc. You name it; someone has probably used it as an excuse.

      But ultimately, that’s what it is. Someone hates and wants to do harm to others, and so they look for an excuse that is socially acceptable among their peers, and use it to work them up and foment violence.

      Your own obsession with attacking anyone or anything religious is but a milder form of the same.

      • You are simply excusing your religious beliefs…..the bible is full of such nonsense.

        ‘Hate’ doesn’t come from fairies ya know.

        • No; my own religious beliefs don’t involve hate. Christianity, properly practiced, doesn’t involve hatred or violence. Plenty have used it as an excuse for violence, nonetheless – and I’m not excusing that. I’m just putting the blame where it belongs: on the humans who abused faith for their own ends.

          “Hate” is part of the human condition. Which ought to be obvious to someone who says there is no God. (And who seems to have a major hate on for anyone who does,) Where else could it come from? By your own beliefs, it can’t come from God. And if God is not real, then religion is no different from any other ideological system – communism, fascism, nationalism, tribalism: It’s all just a way to structure your life and your society.

          So it’s rather amusing when you say ‘Hate’ doesn’t come from fairies ya know yet try to blame it on another something you insist doesn’t exist. If, as you yourself say, God doesn’t exist, religion can’t hold some magical power that makes it the unique, sole source of all hatred, as you claim (It all goes back to religion. It always has.). That’s a complete and utter logical failure.

          • You believe in fairie sand magic…and are solely responsible for your own hate. Don’t blame it on anyone else..

          • Keithbram, You like to ignore reality, don’t you? What is practised correctly? Like the crusades, like the inquisition? all religions go through a phase of violence.
            You have the cart before the horse.

      • Quite a leap. E1 manages to disparage the belief in God, while simultaneously espousing a a belief in an all-wise and unerring federal government.

  2. Curious why the author characterizes domestic terror as a right problem. When clearly leftist groups like Antifa who condone the use of violence to combat non-leftist ideologies are the very of a terrorist organization.

    • *defintion

  3. There is a notion that the far extreme left and far extreme right ideologies converge at the belief that the tribe knows what is absolute and anyone who disagrees deserves to die. Assigning the ‘***ist’ to an act of violence is pretty futile considering time, place, power and opportunity are the triggers whether it is Far East, Middle East, near east, EU, UK, Africa, North America, South America, etc.

  4. This article is yet another example of the far left trying to blame their narrow-mindedness and terrorism on any who speak out against their destructive behavior. In nearly every case, it is the left who start the trouble and interfere not only in the lives of others but intentionally pull down the very structures of our society.
    Canada is already so far left that we can’t see the center from our location.
    We are far too lenient in permitting the constant obstruction and interference in the lives of ordinary Canadians…

  5. The global plutocrats and 0.01%’ers fund and organize the extremists on both extremes (via several arms-length away proxies) to divide and conquer and accumulate power for themselves.

    The Charlotteville “alt-right” organizer was a plant, having previously been an organizer for Occupy Wall Street) and a CNN freelancer on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

    The extremist right tends to be stupider than the extremist left in that they allow themselves to be so easily
    infiltrated and manipulated.

    But the Antifa left is basically funded by the global 0.01’ers….get trained in the tactics of provocateurs there, and the most skilled are used to infiltrate the mostly incompetent extremists on the right to set up faux clashes like Charlotteville to scare the daylights out of ordinary people.

    It is all theatre created by the plutocrats and global 0.01’ers to accumulate power and wealth.

    • Some people put their faith in an unknowable-except-by-faith God. Some people put their faith in stuff they pick up on the internet. That some secret cabal is running things is a long-time fave. At one time, people thought it was Jews, who were running the Press and the financial institutions. Some still talk that stuff. Replacing Jews with the 0.01’ers does not make the idea any more credible. For one thing, the wealthy don’t need to do such stuff to accumulate wealth and power, they already have plenty of both. For another, I have never known three human beings to agree on anything – much less on how to run the world. And finally, chaos and uncertainty are not helpful to the accumulation and protection of wealth. The people most dedicated to that latter goal are the right wing. After all, who most benefits from smaller government and lower taxes?

    • How nice – a link to a hate site!

      So what are the stats for Canada? Canada is the country under discussion. How many attacks have there been here by Muslims? How many deaths at their hands? How many attacks on Muslims? (Six deaths so far this year, at the hands of a white male.)

      Based on the stats, I’m much more afraid of young white males… they have committed pretty much every mass murder in Canada. Why aren’t you out trying to rally support to ban them?

  6. Talk about fake News. I’m surprised the writer did not say that more people are smothered by Trump Autographed Russian Madame’s Pee Stained Mattresses then Terrorist’s. Writer claims more people killed by Moose then Terrorists 3 days after the anniversary of many thousands of people killed in only one incident. What kind of indecent person pulls this kind of stat from their behind anyway? I can’t find terror Moose killing records but I can find something we can likely all agree is way more dangerous and responsible for unfortunate deaths = Bears. Going back into the 1800’s there’s like approximately a hundred or so deaths by Bear and the writer wants us to believe their serious? If you start with this kind of fake or plain out lie then what else within this faerie tale is true? Probably not much so people should move along and note what kind of Publisher / Writer would produce such nonsensical propaganda especially at such a sensitive time.

    • His reference point was Canada; that attack was in the US. He’s right – just two killed here. Within days, by two lone-wolf attacks. Versus six killed in one attack on a mosque by a white (non-Muslim) guy. That’s not to mention all the graffiti, threats, and setting fire to mosques and cars. And so on and so on.

      The fear is all out of proportion to the risk. If Muslims living in Canada are so violent, why aren’t we besieged? There’s over a million Muslims living here; if even 1% were violent jihadists, we would have over 10,000 plotting and attacking. And yet…

      Not all Muslims are the same, any more than all Christians behave like Westboro Baptists.

      And yeah – lots of people die annually in moose/auto collisions. No, the moose aren’t terrorists. But the deaths they inadvertently cause are a lot more real than the imaginary ones keeping you up at night. The entire point is: Unless it’s your job as part of the country’s security net, you’re wasting a lot of time, energy and hate on paranoid fantasies. Inn Canada, the reality is you’re far more likely to win the lottery than end up dead at the hands of a Muslim terrorist.

  7. I shared this and was asked to give examples. Can you please provide? Off the top of my head I remember the 6 dead and 19 injured at a mosque in Quebec January 29, 2017

  8. I disagree with this article.

    Jihad is a widespread danger to us who are infidels because it is supported or tolerated by many Muslims, justified by them as the will of Allah expressed in the Koran.

    Counting deaths or attacks by Jihadis in the past is far from a prediction of the future. However, if one must count, do include the ca. 3K deaths that resulted from the 9/11/2001 attack on the United States.

  9. In today’s breaking news, London subway attacks are believed to be the work of either Mormons or a rogue Jehovah’s Witnesses sect. In other news, UC Berkeley has completed repairs to buildings damaged by fires set by rampaging Tea Party groups protesting a speaking engagement by Ann Coulter.
    The slow death of journalism, brought on by it’s increasingly unhinged affinity for leftist tripe.

  10. Gilmore has really gone off the rails. A handful of misanthropic nut cases who like to prance around talking tough pose a greater threat to society than an international killing machine that, in the last 15 or so years, has murdered thousands of innocents? Perhaps he doesn’t think that those killings were important since the majority of victims were muslims (brown people) but, the tally does include more than 4,000 North Americans and Europeans. Here in Canada, we’ve been damned lucky or perhaps, notwithstanding his sneering reference, CSIS has been doing a competent job.

    Gilmore casually asserts that, since 1980, right wing terrorists have killed more than 30 Canadians. Try as hard as I may, I can only think of six – the muslims murdered in Quebec. Perhaps he is counting all mass murders as the work of “right wingers” because, in his addled mind, anyone who kills people must have right wing tendencies.

    • Self-declared terrorist expert Scott Gilmore apparently want to see the Security Services to focus on the Right and divert their resources from potential Islamic terrorism; a focus that sawed hundreds perhaps thousands of Canadian lives.

    • I concur

  11. Wait. I though climate was the biggest threat?

  12. Five or ten years ago the threat of nazi resurgence was written off as crackpot conspiracy theory- something a small number of misguided thugs were involved with. Now mainstream media sees it as the very serious threat and evil it still is. Nazism never disappeared after WW2 just went (barely) underground. It has remained a powerful malignancy on the world stage. But, when you see Werner von Braun on the wonderful world of Disney instead of executed for war crimes I guess it was easy to pretend nazism was crushed.

  13. Why does the author assume a majority of Canadians fear islamic terrorism? I believe many Canadian fear islamic cultural creep in to Canadian Society.
    Secular democratic countries with a significant majority of non-muslim citizens have not a lot to fear, but as is proven with evidence of every muslim majority country in the world, it creates a merging of religion and state, when eventually, religion becomes the state and directs all laws and function of society.
    It is interesting, a significant portion of immigrants from islamic countries are surprised at federal motion M103, many voice concern, explaining blasphemy laws is one of the reasons they left Iran, or Pakistan. Many citizens of Muslim countries fear the consequences blasphemy laws.
    Before you call me a religious bigot, may I explain, I personally find it incomprehensible that religion dominates and directs the lives of 4 billion people. It sadly exposes the failures of the human brain. Religion is a hideous joke on human race with incomprehensible consequences.