This seemed inevitable.

With all the efforts to tie the Tea Party and “right wing” to violence committed by others, it wouldn’t be long before the Islamic radical Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was tied to “right-wing” causes.

With the slenderest of proof, The BBC goes there:

One of the brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings was in possession of right-wing American literature in the run-up to the attack, BBC Panorama has learnt.

BBC Tsarnaev Right Wing

So, what was this supposed “right-wing” literature? Was Tamerlan reading about lower taxes and federalism, more restriction of federal versus state government? About shrinking entitlements or stopping the growth of the welfare state? About the deficit? Reversing Roe v. Wade?

No. Here’s the BBC’s list of Tamerlane’s supposed right-wing causes:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev subscribed to publications espousing white supremacy and government conspiracy theories.

He also had reading material on mass killings…

The programme discovered that Tamerlan Tsarnaev possessed articles which argued that both 9/11 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing were government conspiracies.

Another in his possession was about “the rape of our gun rights”.

Reading material he had about white supremacy commented that “Hitler had a point”.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev also had literature which explored what motivated mass killings and noted how the perpetrators murdered and maimed calmly.

There was also material about US drones killing civilians, and about the plight of those still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

Let’s take them one by one.

—White supremacy is neither of left or right, it is racism which is not espoused by the mainstream of either side today but has been used by both sides in the past. As for Hitler, few on the left ever acknowledge (or ever will) that Hitler was a socialist, but the evidence is quite compelling, although for the most part the left has been dedicated to suppressing it.

—Do most criminal mass killers have political motivations that involve either left or right? Aren’t they far more likely to have been moved by private demons? And among politically-motivated mass murderers, although I’ve not seen a study, my impression is that the left is very well-represented indeed. As for government-perpetrated mass killings (the source of the vast majority of such mass deaths), they have been far more connected to the left than the right from the rise of Communism on. Pol Pot, Stalin, anyone? Even the BBC would be hard-pressed to say they weren’t men of the left, although knowing the BBC they just might give it a go.

As for other mass killers such as, for example, Islamic terrorists (can’t imagine why that would come to mind in a discussion of Tamerlan Tsarnaev), there’s nothing right-wing about their motivations, unless you consider all religious fundamentalism to be of the right. But it’s almost solely the left that supports Muslim fanatics, allies with their cause, and makes excuses for their murders.

—9/11 and Oklahoma truthers? There’s not much data on the latter that I can find, but national polls indicate that 9/11-truthers are far more likely to be on the left side of the political fence than from the right. “Government conspiracy theories” are hardly the sole province of the right, to say the least.

—Now we get to the sole point of view on the list that could properly be called “right-wing”: gun rights. But if someone like Tsarnaev is reading about that issue, it doesn’t tell us anything about his politics in general. He was contemplating murder, for heaven’s sake, and interested in getting greater access to weapons (and by the way, Tsarnaev had most likely committed a previous multiple murder of great brutality, although the mode of killing was knife rather than gun).

—Learning about how mass killers work? That’s about the psychology of murder, not about left or right.

—The final item in the list, material about “US drones killing civilians, and about the plight of those still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay” are primarily concerns of the left rather than right. Even Obama has drawn criticism from the left for using too many drones and for not fulfilling his campaign promise to close down Guantanamo. These are leftist causes, although some libertarians get into the act too in that interesting area where right and left come full circle and meet.

This isn’t about literature in Tamerlan’s possession.  It’s about the BBC whitewashing his radical Islam connection, even though that connection was the clear motivation, and replacing it with a deceptive tie to the right.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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