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Homeland Security-Funded Study Pushing Tea Party Terrorism Narrative

Sleight-of-hand data manipulation to slander you. And you paid for it.

by
Patrick Poole

Bio

June 11, 2012 - 9:48 pm

Have these incidents been redefined to prevent facts from conflicting with an agenda-driven narrative? Or have these data points been excluded altogether?

Struck by these glaring omissions, I went to the START “Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States  (PPT-US)” dataset that the study is based upon. START describes the findings from the database:

Preliminary findings from PPT-US data also illustrate a distinct shift in the dominant ideologies of these terrorist groups over time (see Figure 1), with the proportion of emerging ethnonationalist/separatist terrorist groups declining and the proportion of emerging religious terrorist groups increasing. However, while terrorist groups with religious ideologies represent half of all emergent groups in the 2000s (three out of six), they only account for six percent of groups over time. (Emphasis added)

It’s easy to conclude that religious ideologies are insignificant when you exclude well-known instances of religious-based terrorism from your analysis. And speaking of the Fort Hood massacre, I would note that the cutoff date of the database, 2008, excludes other acts of Islamic terrorism (Fort Hood, the Little Rock Army recruiting center shooting). Convenient, indeed.

But looking at the START dataset’s codebook, other startling problems emerge.

Compare how the START researchers define “left wing” and “right wing” extremism. Left-wing extremism is defined at follows:

Extreme left-wing groups want to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes. In addition, this category includes secular left-wing groups that rely heavily on terrorism to overthrow the capitalist system and either establish “a dictatorship of the proletariat” (Marxist-Leninists) or, much more rarely, a decentralized, non-hierarchical sociopolitical system (anarchists).

Fair enough. Now, right-wing extremism:

The extreme far-right is composed of groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group), and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism. Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty. (Emphasis added)

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