by Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project:
Newly declassified FBI documents reveal, since 2006, “a broadening US military presence overseas” led to an 11 percent uptick in plotted terror attacks — and those attacks were orchestrated by Americans, not foreign nationals.
As MuckRock reports, a records request to the Los Angeles Police Department disclosed the Intelligence Assessment written by the Los Angeles division of the FBI and the Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC) in 2011 analyzed 57 terrorist plots against the U.S. and its interests between 2001 and 2010.
Prior to 2006, foreign nationals “led anti-US targeting” 52 percent of the time — but beginning in 2007, a full 70 percent of terror attacks were spearheaded by Americans.
Analysts attributed the uptick in domestic threats to “self-selection, sometimes passively influenced by Internet provocateurs,” rather than “formal, face-to-face recruitment” by “foreign violent extremists.”
However, the report states, “While Internet personalities are often cited as a source of radicalization, factors outside the scope of this assessment—such as social environment and personal psychology (how a person processes both external and internal messaging)—were also influential.”
Of the “33 U.S. person entities,” as the analysts put it, “few identifiable unifying qualities” existed. In other words, despite sharing a common nation, the homegrown terrorists shared almost no similarities — not even in religious ideology — with one major exception.
Extremists cited “the perception that the United States was at war with Islam, and the belief that violent jihad was the righteous, and in fact, requisite response,” the assessment found.
Around five years after the start of the notorious war on terror, excessively bellicose U.S. foreign policy — as well as rights-stripping domestic programs, such as the surveillance state — sparked enough resentment to radicalize Americans, themselves. Simply put, the war on terror began feeding itself — creating terrorists — precisely as independent media has surmised for years.
Thirty-two percent cited the belief the religion of Islam was being attacked by the United States as reason to take equivocal violent measures. While that might seem ridiculous to some, consider the war on terror, itself — a fight against a concept or tactic — and the perception a country is waging war on an entire religion suddenly makes sense.
To wit, the report continued, “Triggers included US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq” — cited as a factor in at least 25 percent of the plots examined by the FBI and JRIC — but less so after 2006.
As MuckRock pointed out, this assessment isn’t the first to condemn U.S. foreign policy and military action as instigating further terrorism.
A 2004 report from the Defense Science Board Task Force stated:
“American actions and the flow of events [since 9/11] have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims.”
In particular, “one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights” and U.S. backing “what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies,” as well as the U.S. occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, which elevated “the stature of and support for radical Islamists.”
Additionally, the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate noted “the American invasion and occupation of Iraq … helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism.”
Considering the 2011 National Intelligence Assessment again found U.S. foreign policy generates terrorism rather than fights it, continuing wars that radicalize people at home and abroad constitutes a logical paradox and fallacy of enormously consequential proportions.
Continuing to back, for instance, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen — which has repeatedly bombed civilian targets with horrifying results — has no possible justification if the stated goal of eliminating terrorist threats were actually true.
Similarly, domestic policies like invasive surveillance, increasingly militarized policing, and, as MuckRock notes, the Obama Administration’s Countering Violent Extremism program have done nothing at all to thwart any acts of terrorist violence. In fact, such ineffective programs focus solely on predicting and rooting out terrorists at home while ignoring the policies which actually create terrorism where none existed.
Perhaps that’s all by design.
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