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article imageWeb extremism fuels debate on bin Laden photos

By Carol Forsloff     May 5, 2011 in Politics
Along a highway in Arizona in 2010, a caravan of cars parked along an encampment marked with signs calling for separatism from the government, as US agencies and watch groups worry about the growing extremism in America, fueled by the Internet.
The ADL report on the rise of extremism put out in 2010 maintained that America has more to fear from domestic hate groups than outside terrorists. This year the issues continue to be underlined as serious, as more and more people get their information in back corners of cyber space where it is said recruitment for ideas has lost its way. Much of this materializes in the formation of anti-government groups that meet in encampments at various times, often openly declaring political beliefs and opposition to the government. Anti-government rhetoric is multiplied on the Internet, that worries those countering anti-government extremism as a threat to national security.
ADL maintained in its report that extremists can incite violence from members who may have fringe beliefs that can be fueled by commentaries that promote anti-government rage. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber of the Murray Federal Building, is often cited as an example. Extremists can be deadly, as one author pointed out in reflecting on FDR's comments that we have "nothing to fear but fear itself" was a concern during difficult times, the kind of concern experts consider of significance now.
In January 2011 year out of the United Kingdom came a detailed blog outlining how the US government attempts to stifle opposition by muzzling negative media coverage. The website intimates people should be careful in cooperating with a government that is aimed towards taking over their business, and their personal lives in a fashion to control belief and freedom.
The blog came on the heels of a Newsweek article reflecting on right-wing groups that had grown since the election of President Obama and that Homeland Security had underlined in its report as the worst problem facing America. The concerns about the “lone wolf” who could kill out of anger fueled by these groups was the thrust of Newsweek, that also reported some Republicans interrupting the publication of the material at the time of the Homeland Security’s report in 2009. Extremism, however, is not just a right-wing phenomena, according to those studying the rise and fall of political events, since they too can fuel unsubstantiated ideas.
This week a group called Infowars on Facebook has responded to President Obama’s refusal to release the photos of Osama bin Laden with a series of postings multiplied by his readers that maintain that everyone in the room watching the video clip of the raid on the bin Laden compound that resulted in the killing of the terrorist said responsible for the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Towers. The thesis of Alex Jones, who promotes his authorship of these notions on Facebook, is the government staged the event. This is followed by an assumption that any photos released could be doctored as well. Americans are warned to be cautious about anything the government says about the killing of bin Laden.
Jones website declares, “The staging of the Obama speech photo is embarrassing, but the staging of the situation room photos, which were heavily promoted by the establishment media, falsely presented as evidence that Obama, Biden and Clinton saw the assassination of Osama live, and used by the White House to lend credence to the fairytale they were busily scripting, are damning.”
Jones also questioned the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate and other similar issues. He believes that the recently released long form of the birth certificate by Obama “raises more questions than it answers.” In his present contention that the government staged the killing of bin Laden, he uses much of the same language to “prove” his ideas.
In the meantime the Facebook website is promoted by “citizen journalists,” as mainstream media sources that do not report these contentions, except as aberrations, are condemned as not facing the truth about the government’s manipulations in the growing anti-government sentiment security experts have said is dangerous.
More about Osama bin Laden, President obama, Alex jones, Birth certificate, Rightwing extremists
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