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AP report: Environmental, abortion activists greater threat to US than foreign terrorists
John Byrne
Published: Monday February 18, 2008

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The lead in to an Associated Press report on homegrown terrorism Monday suggests abortion and environmental activists are a greater threat -- and cause more damage -- to the United States than foreign attackers despite the fact the report actually says domestic right-wing extremism is a greater danger.

The Boston Globe slugged the piece: "Domestic threats called a greater danger to US." Elsewhere it appeared as "Damage From U.S. Extremists a Concern."

"When it comes to fears about a terrorist attack, people in the U.S. usually focus on Osama bin Laden and foreign-based radical groups," the AP's Randolph E. Schmid leads. "Yet researchers say domestic extremists who commit violence in the name of their cause abortion or the environment, for example account for most of the damage from such incidents in this country."

The article, however, doesn't mention abortion activists again. When it mentions environmental activists, it notes the study cited "just 59 preparatory activities."

The problem? The article later reports that the study's author, the University of Oklahoma's Kelly Damphousse, says "right-wing extremists spend the most time meeting, preparing and planning before committing a violent act some 480 'events,' whether that is a telephone call or some other form of plotting."

The article doesn't mention right wing extremists until the eighth paragraph.

On a smaller scale are environmental activists who commit violence. On average, it is just 59 preparatory activities, he said.

Read the full story here.

Excerpt follows.


BOSTON (AP) -- When it comes to fears about a terrorist attack, people in the U.S. usually focus on Osama bin Laden and foreign-based radical groups. Yet researchers say domestic extremists who commit violence in the name of their cause abortion or the environment, for example account for most of the damage from such incidents in this country.

These homegrown groups are seven times more likely than overseas groups to commit some kind of violence in the United States, a panel reported Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In many ways, actions by these domestic extremists can be termed "terrorist" cases, the researchers indicated. "The typical 'terrorist' is an alienated guy, usually a young male," said Brian Forst of American University in Washington.

"They take comfort in like-minded souls and develop an idea they think will make a splash," he said. They do not always carry it out, but sometimes they do, he said. "They are not lunatics."



 
 


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