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Beck, Horowitz Inspire Right Wing Terrorist

Beck's chalkboard and Horowitz's loony right wing hate site fed Williams propaganda that almost led to a violent terrorist attack

As idiotic as Glenn Beck is, and as warped as David Horowitz’s web sites are (which includes Robert Spencer’s cash cow, Jihad Watch), their words are leading some Americans to take up violent action against those they disagree with.

Progressive Hunter Jailhouse Confession: How the Right-Wing Media and Glenn Beck’s Chalkboard Drove Byron Williams to Plot Assassination (The Huffington Post)

Byron Williams, a 45-year-old ex-felon, exploded onto the national stage in the early morning hours of July 18.

According to a police investigation, Williams opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers who had stopped him on an Oakland freeway for driving erratically. For 12 frantic minutes, Williams traded shots with the police, employing three firearms and a small arsenal of ammunition, including armor-piercing rounds fired from a .308-caliber rifle.

When the smoke cleared, Williams surrendered; the ballistic body armor he was wearing had saved his life. Miraculously, only two of the 10 CHP officers involved in the shootout were injured.

In an affidavit, an Oakland police investigator reported that during an interview at the hospital, Williams “stated that his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.”

Fifteen years after militia-movement-inspired bombers killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City federal building, right-wing domestic terror plots are a fact of life in America. Since 2008, violent extremists — many of whom subscribe to the hate speech and conspiratorial fantasies of the conservative media — have murdered churchgoers in Knoxville, police officers in Pittsburgh, and an abortion provider in Wichita.

Conspiracy theory-fueled extremism has long been a reaction to progressive government in the United States. Half a century ago, historian Richard Hofstadter wrote that right-wing thought had come to be dominated by the belief that Communist agents had infiltrated all levels of American government and society. The right, he explained, had identified a “sustained conspiracy, running over more than a generation, and reaching its climax in Roosevelt’s New Deal, to undermine free capitalism, to bring the economy under the direction of the federal government, and to pave the way for socialism or communism.”

In a 2009 report, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that the anti-government militia movement — which had risen to prominence during the Clinton administration and faded away during the Bush years — has returned. According to the SPLC, the anti-government resurgence has been buttressed by paranoid rhetoric from public officials like Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and media figures like Fox News’ Glenn Beck.

Just last month, Gregory Giusti pleaded guilty to repeatedly threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — including threatening to destroy her California home — because he was “upset with her passing the health care law.” His mother told a local news station that he “frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas,” adding, “I’d say Fox News or all of those that are really radical, and he — that’s where he comes from.”

After the 2008 election, Fox News personalities filled the airwaves with increasingly violent rhetoric and apocalyptic language. On his Fox News show, Beck talked about “put[ting] poison” in Pelosi’s wine.

Observers of this most recent act were mystified by one of Byron Williams’ reported targets: the Tides Foundation, a low-profile charitable organization known for funding environmentalists, community groups, and other organizations.

Beck, it turned out, had attacked Tides 29 times on his Fox News show in the year-and-a-half leading up to the shooting.

Now, in exclusive interviews and written correspondence, Williams speaks for himself. Asking me to be his “media advocate” he repeatedly instruced me to watch specific broadcasts of Beck’s show for information on the conspiracy theory that drove him over the edge: an intricate plot involving Barack Obama, philanthropist George Soros, a Brazilian oil company, and the BP disaster.

Williams also points to other media figures — right-wing propagandist David Horowitz, and Internet conspiracist and repeated Fox News guest Alex Jones — as key sources of information to inspire his “revolution.”

In a separate exchange with’s Ed Walsh, Williams sought to defend Beck from “Obama and the liberals,” whom he said are afraid of Beck “because he often exposes things that are simply forbidden in news.” Williams said that Beck advocates non-violence and that he had already researched the conspiracy theories that informed his alleged plot — before seeing them “confirm[ed]” on Beck’s show.

Similarly, Williams tells Media Matters that “Beck would never say anything about a conspiracy, would never advocate violence. He’ll never do anything… of this nature. But he’ll give you every ounce of evidence that you could possibly need.”

From the Santa Rita Jail, Williams opens up about the websites he frequented, the broadcasts he listened to, and the “evidence” of “sabotage” he “uncovered” that eventually led him to target Tides.

He asks that I help “make people realize that corrupt killers are in power, and want re-election!” Williams wants to make sure that the ideas that inspired him aren’t “buried” from the public.

“I collect information on corruption,” Williams says, “I’ve been at it for some time.”

Beck, in particular, he says, is “like a schoolteacher on TV.”

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  • Khushboo

    Biz, Beck blamed American behavior for causing terrorism. It’s in The Daily show.

  • Biz

    From Glen Beck… I learned that the US foreign policy may have had something to do with 9-11. I know what you are thinking but he did say that and that he did agree that US foreign policy had a part 9-11. I am sorry but I can not remember when. I am sure TDS did a segment on it calling him out.

  • Syed

    istillwant said, “I’m wondering if anyone here is willing to admit they learned something from Mr. Beck?”

    I learned that ‘the banality of evil’ is not a vague concept. I learned that demogogues and hate-mongerers (if not confronted) go on to create a hate narrative that in time gets tolerated (if not supported) by some/many people.

    I learned that evil is not in a person, or in a system, or in a race, or in a nation. Evil resides in promoting marginalization, disenfranchisement and segregation on the basis of race or nationality. And we become the willing tools of evil if we buy into a hate rhetoric of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’.

    I also learned that Glenn Beck uses a lot of logical fallacies in his arguments. For instance, arguing that doctors in India are under-educated compared to their US counterparts (while hiding the fact that there are tens of thousands of practicing doctors in the US who were educated in India).

    Glenn Beck is the negative you need to see to make positive changes in your own attitude – that the only positive thing I learned from watching him.

  • istillwant

    I’m wondering if anyone here is willing to admit they learned something from Mr. Beck?

    A sincere question seeking a “positive” response.

  • marco

    NY teen victim of harrasement and violence, here’s the next feature ofr Loonawtch:

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    Interesting that Glen Beck is a Mormon
    Cookie christian sect that believes that they were given a special additional book to add to the bible . This so called book of mormon ,was given on tablets of gold written in a secret language that only their leader could understand . Oh dear then they lost the gold tablets.
    Now Glen sells gold, coincidence ?

  • JD


  • JD

    Islamic center members say they’re victims of a hate crime

    Someone defaced the Florence Islamic Center on North Edisto Drive in Florence Sunday afternoon.

    The culprit used slices of bacon to spell out the words “PIG CHOPS” on the brick walkway of the mosque. The parishoners are Muslim and don’t eat pork.

    Florence Police are investigating.

    Members of the center tell NewsChannel 15 this is the second time in a few months that someone has vandalized their house of worship. Earlier this year, vandals broke new windows in the facility.

    The Florence Islamic Center has been on North Edisto Drive for nearly three years. Parishoners say it’s a work in progress, as they are renovating the facility bit by bit.

    About 30 families worship at the mosque. They believe the person who defaced their property doesn’t understand what the Muslim religion is all about.

    The facility is also used during the week as a school to study their religion.

    Members say police have indicated they will step up patrols around the center. We’re waiting to hear from Florence Police Chief Anson Shells to get more details.

  • Justin

    Right wing violence!?! NO!!! (sarcasm intended)

  • syed

    Glenn Beck want a Mormon takeover of the US –

  • Khushboo

    Beck is a Christian Taliban who incites violence. He likes to hide behind American flags and words like “Freedom” when he’s really being unAmerican and doesn’t want Muslim Americans to have any freedom. What a douche!

  • “In a 2009 report, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that the anti-government militia movement… has returned.”

    You mean that SPLC “report” that covered its legal butt by stating:

    “Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist.”

    Not violent, not criminal, not racist, but the SPLC felt compelled to “track” them anyhow. It looked good in the fund-raising letters.

    This is the same SPLC that warned the donors that 2008 was “The Year of the Skinheads,” and in 2007 it was that perennial favorite, the imminent return of the Klan.Every year gets its own special guest villain. It’s almost like the Chinese zodiac.

    This is the same SPLC that claims that “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

    Marches? Speeches? Meetings? Publishing?? THESE are criminal acts?

    No wonder the FBI had Martin Luther King under surveillance. The man was always giving speeches, leading marches, handing out literature and holding meetings. All the tell-tale signs of a “hate group” regardless of what the Constitution and that Bill of whatever says.

    And speaking of Dr. King, the SPLC is located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. King’s own Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, and yet, NOT ONE of the SPLC’s top ten, highest paid officers is a minority

    According to the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Martin Luther King’s home church, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power.

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    may you reap what you sow
    I hope Beck remembers that . By preaching hate and lies you will get violence
    Also selling gold at over inflated prices makes lots of money

  • sanschagrins

    did anyone see the intelligence squared debate on abc?

  • HGG

    Beck would never appear on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. O’Reilly appears on TDS because it’s clear that even though they disagree on everything, he and Stewart actually like each other. But Stewart would destroy Beck.

  • Cynic

    I would never had guessed that Beck’s rhetoric would push somebody to commit acts of violence.


  • NassirH

    Rightwing extremists spewing vitriol?

    No way.

  • Jack Cope

    The sad thing is Mindy is that there are thousands like him and millions more who are just talk but share the same belief. You are right though, he probably didn’t need all that much to push him but it can’t be true for all of them, no one is born like that and they have to get their inspiration from somewhere. It really is very comparable to ‘Islamic’ terrorism, replace bin ladan with people like Beck, ‘spiritual’ leaders who spout out stuff, the Taliban etc with millitas and so on. Be careful sis, I worry for my American friends like I worry for my Pakistani friends, the risks are comparable and something will go bang soon.

  • mindy1

    Good god, this man is nutters. He probably did not need much provoking to do what he did

  • Khushboo

    I would love to see hate/fearmonger Beck on the Daily show so that Jon could wipe the floor with him. Too bad Beck is too wussy to talk to him.

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