Love liberty? You might be a terrorist

A person carries an American flag while marching in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in front of the U.S. Supreme Court (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)
Are you suspicious of federal authority? How about really into individual liberty? Well according to a new study funded by the US Department of Homeland Security, you very well might be a terrorist.

A report published earlier this year by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland has surfaced, and in their DHS-funded findings, Americans “reverent of individual liberty” and others adamant about protecting their personal freedoms are categorized as extreme right-wing terrorists.

In the paper, Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008, researchers used definitions from another START study, 2011’s Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism, to characterize what traits should be considered when describing right-wing terrorists. Both papers were funded with grants from the US Department of Homeland Security provided to START.

Although the authors of the paper note that the study’s findings do not necessarily represent the opinions of START of the DHS, the website notes that the organization was started with the aid of $12 million of Homeland Security funds. The latest report is described by its authors as the latest part in a series of studies sponsored by the Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division, Science and Technology Directorate and the US Department of Homeland Security in support of the Counter-IED Prevent/Deter program.

“The goal of this program is to sponsor research that will aid the intelligence and law enforcement communities in identifying potential terrorist threats,” write the authors, which is done “using state-of-the-art theories, methods and data from the social and behavioral sciences to improve understanding of the origins, dynamics and social and psychological impacts of terrorism.”

Apparently, loving America is precisely one of those factors found out through the latest space-age understanding of the human mind.

In explaining how START’s earlier study categorized terrorists in groups such as religious, ethno-nationalist and extreme left-wing, researchers recall that the organization considers right-wing extremists terrorists as “groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group) and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism.”

“Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty,” the report adds.