Big terrorism news yesterday– and this time it involves a real terrorist, not one of that motley assembly of the largely misidentified down at Guantanamo Bay. And as is usual when we're talking about real terrorism in America, the terrorist is a disgruntled white guy.
Yesterday, a jury in Jackson, Tennessee convicted white supremacist Demetrius Van Crocker on five counts of attempting to acquire chemical weapons and explosives to destroy government buildings. Van Crocker, a 40 year old farmhand from McKenzie, Mississippi, had the sort of big dreams that many like him who grew up neo-Nazi have. How big? According to secret recordings played during the trial, "he dreamed of setting off a dirty bomb at the U.S. Capitol and that he wanted a helicopter license so he could bomb black neighborhoods or spray them with poison gas." And unlike most white supremacists who just sit around bitching and listening to talk radio, Van Crocker did something to make his dreams come true. In 2004, he bought what he thought was a cannister of Sarin nerve gas and a small amount of plastic explosives from what he thought was a sympathetic employee at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, in Arkansas (where your tax dollars keep America's supply of nerve gas at the ready, in case your president decides he needs to reduce some recalcitrant group to a mound of twitching corpses). But Van Crocker was as wrong about what he had bought and who he had bought it from as he is about everything else: the Sarin was water, and the sympathetic employee was an undercover FBI agent. He'll be sentenced July 13.
But a nice coincidence highlights the fact that Demetrius Van Crocker isn't the only incompetent white guy toiling in the field of terrorism. Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning of a terrorist menace facing America. It's not Van Crocker, or anything to do with the various white supremacist groups festering away in the heartland. Of course not– when it comes to homegrown terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security has demonstrated the same sort of diligence and competence its shown when it comes to handling hurricanes. No this time, the official menace is toner wasting tree-huggers. Justin Rood at TPM Muckraker.com explains:
In a bulletin issued yesterday, the Homeland Security Department warns U.S. businesses of the threats they face from animal rights group and "eco-terrorists." Such radical extremist groups may use several tactics -- each devastating in its own way -- including:
- "organizing protests" - "flyer distribution" - "inundating computers with e-mails" - "tying up phone lines to prevent legitimate calls" - "sending continuous faxes in order to drain the ink supply from company fax machines"
That's right. If the ink runs out of your fax machine, that means the terrorists have won.
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To sum up, according to the massive agency responsible for overseeing public safety that the Bush administration cobbled together and larded with political hacks: greens organizing protests, a cause for alarm; whites (with necks of red) trying to buy nerve gas, not worth mentioning.