Arizona gunman linked to organized radical right?
Although no other evidence is given, Fox News on Jan. 9 quoted a Department of Homeland Security memo stating that Jared Lee Loughner—primary suspect in the previous day's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson—is "possibly linked" to American Renaissance, a self-styled far-right think-tank that DHS says promotes views that are "anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG [Zionist Occupational Government], anti-Semitic."
Loughner's shooting attack at town hall-style meeting Giffords was hosting at a Safeway parking lot gravely wounded Giffords and killed her aide Gabriel Zimmerman, US District Judge John Roll, a nine-year-old girl, and three others. Giffords is Jewish, as was Zimmerman.
American Renaissance is a project of the New Century Foundation. Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, described the American Renaissance journal as a "kind of white-collar, white supremacist outlet." He said it is not particularly anti-Semitic.
The Anti-Defamation League website calls American Renaissance a "white supremacist journal and companion Website" that "promotes pseudoscientific studies that attempt to demonstrate the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites and publishes articles on the supposed decline of American society because of integrationist social policies." It states that American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor "himself personally refrains from anti-Semitism." (CSM, Politico, Jan. 9; ADL "Extremism in America" page)
"There is no information at this time to suggest any specific threat remains," FBI director Robert Mueller said at a press conference, but added that officials are continuing to investigate possible ties between Loughner and hate groups. Earlier, Pima County authorities said they wanted to speak with a "person of interest" who was photographed near the shooting and may have helped transport the suspect to the scene. (LAT, Jan. 9)
Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, who is overseeing the investigation with the FBI, sparked a media sensation with his remarks that the "vitriol" of today's political discourse contributed to the incident and that Arizona has become "a mecca for prejudice and bigotry." (NewsOne, Jan. 9)
As noted by Huffington Post and the Arizona Republic last year, Sarah Palin's political action group included Giffords among several representatives who voted for Obama's healthcare bill that were identified by congressional district on a map of the US with a cross-hairs icon, urging followers to "reload" and "aim" for Democrats. The cynicism of the response to this controversy is truly mind-boggling. The Washington Post reports: "An aide to Sarah Palin is defending the former Alaska governor's controversial campaign target map, saying the circles over certain districts were never meant to be gun sights. However, Palin herself described the symbol as a 'bullseye.'" Huffington Post notes that Palin made no comment on the cross-hairs controversy in her Facebook post offering "sincere condolences...to the family of rep. [sic] Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona." Yet, as Ha'aretz reports, Palin has meanwhile quietly removed the offending graphic from her website! What a profile in courage and the supposed conservative value of "personal responsibility"!
Right-wing idiots in the blogosphere are rushing to portray Loughner as a leftist, citing his MySpace page that lists among his favorite books The Communist Manifesto—and Mein Kampf! File under "Huh?" These idiots actually seem to think that Hitler was a "leftist"? Time to hit the history books, idiots.