From Google News
Right-wing militias on the rise in US: report

By Alex Ogle (AFP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — Incensed by the election of the first black US president, right-wing militia groups in the United States are rising again after a decade of decline, said new research on extremist groups released Wednesday.

Ideologically driven by racism and a virulent anti-government, anti-immigrant agenda, the homegrown groups that thrived in the 1990s and spurred numerous deadly terrorist attacks are expanding, said the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

“This is the most significant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,” said a law enforcement official quoted by the SPLC in its special report “The Second Wave: Return of the Militias.”

“All it’s lacking is a spark,” said the official, adding it is “only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”

Attacks continued in the last decade after the 1995 bombing of a government building in Oklahoma, killing 168 people — the deadliest domestic terrorist attack on US soil. Such violent movements mostly subsided in the 2000s, however, following prosecutions and the election of the highly conservative George W. Bush as president, said the SPLC’s Mark Potok.

A key difference today, the Center said, is that “the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man,” tapping into the latent rage of white supremacist culture.

According to research released by the SPLC last month, there has been a 54-percent rise in racist groups in the United States, from 602 in 2000 to 926 in 2008.

Their study Wednesday also draws direct correlations between Barack Obama’s presidency and numerous murders of law-enforcement officials this year.

“One man ‘very upset’ with the election of America’s first black president was building a radioactive ‘dirty bomb’; another, a Marine, was planning to assassinate Obama, as were two racist skinheads in Tennessee; another angry at the election and said to be interested in joining a militia killed two sheriff’s deputies in Florida,” said Larry Keller at the SPLC.

A key component for the rise of militias is a vibrant world of conspiracy. The report notes the unsubstantiated yet widely publicized “birther” movement that continues to claim Obama cannot be in the White House because he is not a natural born US citizen.

Extremist groups have also latched onto conspiracy theories on government involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

“The current political environment is awash with seemingly absurd but nonetheless influential conspiracy theories, hyperbolic claims and demonized targets… this creates a milieu where violence is a likely outcome,” said the Center, quoting longtime analyst of radical right-wing movements Chip Merlet.

The other major factor for militia recruitment and acceptance is that their ideology has been aped and in many ways championed by mainstream media commentators and politicians, the report said.

Earlier this year Texas Governor Rick Perry repeatedly raised the prospect of his state’s secession in the wake of the government’s economic recovery efforts, and US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota has said she feared Obama was planning “reeducation camps for young people.”

In April an internal government report also warned that right-wing extremists were using worries spawn by the economic downturn and Obama’s election as recruiting tools.

Fears of possible new restrictions on firearms, as well as troubled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violence attacks,” said the Department of Homeland Security.

Greater Internet access has also boosted access to bomb-making know-how, weapons training, and the ability to reach out to a vast audience of like-minded people, said the DHS, which was later criticized by conservatives and veterans groups for singling out US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The article for the post just doesn’t lend itself to a retell. The report from SPLC is linked. What is to be done about phenomena such as described in this synopsis of the SPLC report? Are we seeing signs of the underpinnings of these movements at the angry townhall meetings and at the angry crowds at the teaparties or is there no connection? What is the difference in this kind of anger and the anger shown at townhall meetings and at tea parties? These incidences just seem un-American to me. I hope they will be contained.

43 Thoughts to “Right-Wing Militias Increase Dramatically”

  1. Just in time

    Southern Poverty Law Center?

    Now their is an unbiased report. Why waist the bandwidth?

  2. hello

    Is this the same SPLC that is demanding Lou Dobbs be fired from CNN? Not because Lou Dobbs is a racist, not because Lou Dobbs is calling for violence against anyone… no, because Lou Dobbs is a birther. I don’t care if you believe Obama was born in the U.S. or not but the SPLC going after someone because of their view on the subject is just dumb.

    I would also like to add that I think that the SPLC acted stupidly when it wrote the DHS report for the DHS saying that anyone who disagrees with this administration is a ‘right wing extremist’.

  3. Pendragon

    Their? Waist? Why waste the bandwidth to post unless you can spell?

  4. Moon-howler

    Hello, sounds like Dobbs is calling for Obama to be fired so I just see it as tit for tat.

  5. An Ordinary Joe

    I don’t think they are connected to the recent tea parties and health care issues. The people who are angry at those issues are exercising their constitutional right to protest government action.

    Some may belong to militia groups but that has to be a really small percentage if at all. I would suggest that people trying to link the two are in the act of demonizing those with whom they disagree.

    Not suggesting you are doing that by asking the question but you won’t have to hold your breath very long before that will be a commonly held belief. It is really a shame that people can’t voice an opposing viewpoint nowadays without being demonized.

  6. Unfortunately, many people saw this coming. Any minority elected as President is bound to result in some social unrest. Bigotry runs strong between political parties–one party against another. Now, we not only are dealing with that kind mean partisanship, we are dealing with racial issues and policy issues in a wartime. Any wonder we have whackos like this acting out?

    Hug your kids and resolve to remain sane.

    And Joe, you are are right. People who speak out become targets.

    That said, people who act out violently or in a threatening manner SHOULD be contained.

  7. Moon-howler

    Joe, thanks for recognizing that my question didn’t state my position. (actually I haven’t had time to even form one). I do try to ask questions to stimulate conversation and I guess that one just seemed like a logical leap since the news is full of angry citizens.


    SPLC? They are all knowing!

  9. Moon-howler

    Not SPLC, what organizations would you accept this information from? Let’s just take the premise: There are more militia groups now than there were 10 years ago. Do you agree with this statement? Who needs to report it for you to accept it? Heritage Foundation? FBI? Just curious.

    I don’t think the sun rises and sets with SPLC either but on something like this, I think they might be on to something.

  10. Moon-howler

    Rut Roooooo (to quote Scooby Doo)
    Glenn Beck doesn’t like the SPLC report!

  11. hello

    Moon, a Beck fan!?! is that I a pig I see flying past my window?

  12. hello

    Also Moon, “Hello, sounds like Dobbs is calling for Obama to be fired so I just see it as tit for tat.”

    So are you saying that the SPLC is an extension of the Obama administration? Dobbs calls for Obama to be fired so Obama sicks the SPLC on him. Makes sense to me, it would explain somethings…

  13. Emma

    “According to research released by the SPLC last month, there has been a 54-percent rise in racist groups in the United States, from 602 in 2000 to 926 in 2008.”

    Based on what? I think there are more groups that the SPLC is tagging as racist, hence the trumped-up increase.

    I also think there is a very insidious effort to tag anyone who disagrees with the current administration as “extremist” and “racist.” To whit, recent comments reported in the media that “socialism” is becoming a code word being used by racists. Huh?

  14. El Guapo

    A lot of unemployed people with a lot of time on their hands listening to talk radio hearing how Obama isn’t a citizen and wants to destroy the Constitution and turn America into a socialist dictatorship. That all adds up to trouble. I hope they saved some copies of that controversial report on possible conservative domestic terrorists.

  15. hello

    “hope they saved some copies of that controversial report on possible conservative domestic terrorists”

    I bet you do Guapo… I think that the Obama DHS putting this report out was absolutely brilliant. It’s a great way to plant the seed about how the ‘right’ (aka – those who disagree with Obama) should all be watched. Then, when some nut job blasts somebody they and MSM can all point their fingers and say “see, see how violent and crazy the ‘right’ is”.

    What better way is there to vilify those who disagree with you than to prove them all guilty by association. Just lump every loon into the ‘right wing’, it makes sense. Also, gotta love the fact that anyone who disagrees with health care reform as a ‘mob’ and ‘un-American’.

  16. Second-Alamo

    Wait a minute. The whole 9-11 conspiracy thing started when Bush was president as an attempt to blame him for what happened just like the left wing-nuts that said he caused Katrina as well. Conservatives weren’t part of that psycho ward.

  17. Second-Alamo

    Think about this, aren’t the majority of ring wing conservatives in this country white? Maybe this is based more on race than you think, only coming from a different direction than that reported by the SPLC.

  18. kelly3406

    Moon-howler :
    Not SPLC, what organizations would you accept this information from? Let’s just take the premise: There are more militia groups now than there were 10 years ago. Do you agree with this statement? Who needs to report it for you to accept it? Heritage Foundation? FBI? Just curious.

    I recommend the counterterrorism blog ( ), which is a non-partisan organization led by Douglas Farah with expert contributors from a number of organizations. Its articles are well-researched and fully referenced to illustrate sources and assumptions.

    I was very curious about the SPLC report, so I took the time to read it. The report contains absolutely no discussion of its sources and methods, i.e. no information on its calculation of a 54% increase in racist groups. In fact, there are no references at all. The report is also somewhat misleading in that it treats the DHS report on right-wing extremism as independent without disclosing that the SPLC was the DHS’s primary source.

    I also find it interesting that the report conflates right-wing militias with racist groups without really defining either term. For example, would the American Legion be considered a militia group? There is not enough information provided to determine which groups are considered to be militias.

    The report also spends an entire chapter on 75 plots and racist rampages, but most of those took place in the 90s. Only 14 incidents (if I counted correctly) have taken place since 2005. During 2008, there were at least that many plots/attacks in the U.S. involving Islamists. See ‘Terrorism in the West 2008’ on the counterterrorism blog for details.

    Is the report politically motivated? From my (biased) perspective, it certainly appears to be. But in reality, the report is so incomplete that no reader can adequately evaluate its conclusions.

  19. Moon-howler

    I will check out the blog you linked us to, Kelly. I am watching Hitler and Stalin now… how both were abused children.

    For the record, again, I have no opinion on this article.

  20. Moon-howler

    As for the town hall meetings…I don’t care if people question the various plans. . I am appalled by the rudeness, screaming and threat of violence. That really is just no way to conduct yourself.

    I think people should question the various programs on the table. I see no point in the rude, out of control behavior, however. If nothing else, it weakens the argument and makes those behaving that way look like thugs.

  21. An Ordinary Joe

    Moon, I agree about the shouting but you have to admit that when people are passionate on either side, it tends to happen. The right wing certainly has no corner on that market. Remember anti-war sentiment?

  22. Moon-howler

    Yes Joe, and the screamers and the stompers made asses of themselves. I tend to stop listening when people appear out of control.

    I don’t like political thugs of either stripe.

  23. JustinT

    Who cares if it’s right wing? Why do they have to advertise that anyway. This is a national security issue. Any idiot should be able to see that. By putting the “right wing” label on terrorists, you make it into a political issue. You get people who are not idiots putting partisanship before national security, as we unfortunately see above.

  24. Second-Alamo

    Lets see, you can’t call extreme Muslims terrorists, but you can call extreme conservatives terrorists, interesting. Funny how society is so thoughtful of those outside the country yet hammers its own citizens, and thinks nothing of it!

  25. Emma

    SA, you’re missing the subtle code: Only white, conservative Americans can be racists and possibly terrorists. Everyone else is just misunderstood.

  26. Happy Harry

    Emma and SA: don’t forget, you also have to have served your country and be in the military in order to make the SPLC list. But let’s keep those borders open, because we all know that the only terrorists we have to worry about are those “home grown” ones!

  27. Moon-howler

    SA, where would you put extreme Muslim terrorists on the political spectrum? And does it matter? Justin T makes an excellent point.

    I would tend to put the extreme Muslim terrorists right next to the Christian and Jewish terrorists. Would we call them right wing? I probably would. I don’t think the wings are important.

  28. Moon-howler

    Happy Harry :

    Emma and SA: don’t forget, you also have to have served your country and be in the military in order to make the SPLC list. But let’s keep those borders open, because we all know that the only terrorists we have to worry about are those “home grown” ones!

    That simply is not true Harry. Let’s try to have normal conversation using facts.

    You and many others have missed the point about veterans.

  29. Mando

    The SPLC is just trying to stoke up the hysteria machine then cash in on it.

    Pissing people off even more. Great idea. I think Obama sucks so I’m a right wing extremist and racist.

    More asstards.

  30. Moon-howler

    Mando, I didn’t realize you were so closed minded. How about their position on the New Black Panter Party? Should we dismiss that classification?

    I think you are entitled to dislike Obama without being classified as a nutjob. Joining an organization and goosestepping around a bonfire is quite another matter.

  31. Censored bybvbl

    I don’t understand the hysteria over the DHS’s report on right-wing terrorism. If you’re not a terrorist, don’t be offended! Saying that the federal government is targetting all soldiers, gun-owners,conservatives is just lapping up the pablum being fed by interest groups. Are you outraged citizens saying there are no terrorists of the right-wing persuasion?

    I’m basically a leftie. I wouldn’t have lumped the SDS, SLF, the Weathermen, the Communist Party with the kids who participated in the peace marches or attended Woodstock. I think the police notice individuals when those two groups blend. So…if you don’t want to be painted as a right-wing loonie, don’t associate with them politically. Otherwise you take your chances on being noticed.

  32. Moon-howler

    Censored is just full of wisdom today. I agree. If you aren’t a nutjob, don’t be offended. I just don’t get it.

  33. kelly3406

    As I stated earlier, SPLC appears to be motivated in large part by political persuasion. Why do I believe this? Because they leave out Islamic racists and Hispanic Nationalists, both of which have racist motives. To be complete in their terror assessment, they would have to include terror groups like Al Qaeda, MS-13, Hamas that clearly operate in the United States.

    For a good discussion of this, see

  34. Moon-howler

    Kelly, I disagree with you about the gangs. There are so many gangs in the United States, they would never get anything else done. Gangs belong in their own league.

    The Al Queda types, DHS has already named them as bad. That would be redundant. We know they are bad. Hamas also. And you know ADL would be all over that one if they felt the need.

    Some of the seperate Islamic racists, I would agree with you. Hispanic Nationalists? If they are in the United States, I would agree. Outside of the USA, I don’t care. I don’t much are about the ones that the red circles use to try to scare everyone to death.

    I am not sure what criteria is used to make it to the hate group list.

    Probably all groups like SPLC are motivated by some sort of political persuasion. Look at DHS. I expect their list differs a lot from the list of enemies published by …oh…Iran.

  35. Censored bybvbl

    Kelly, do you think for one minute that DHS and other federal, state, and local law enforcement groups don’t notice Al Qaeda, Hamas, MS-13, and an assortment of other groups?

  36. kelly3406

    Censored, do you think for one minute that DHS and other federal, state, and local law enforcement groups don’t notice militias, white supremicists, neo-nazis, and an assortment of other groups?

  37. Censored bybvbl

    I know that they notice all of them.

  38. kelly3406

    So then we can agree that the SPLC did not identify anything that DHS did not already know. Yet we can also agree that the SPLC described only a single aspect of racist groups that contribute to terrorism (i.e. right-wing extremism), but left out other types (i.e. Islamists, Hispanic). If the goal of the SPLC is to identify racist hate groups that pose a threat, why would they focus on a subset of which we both agree that DHS already knows about? My answer to that question is that it must be political.

  39. Censored bybvbl

    I would guess that some groups such as the SPLC keep an eye on extremist organizations and individuals that have targetted their population in the past. That certainly would be easily explained in the South where civil right violations were common. Right wing groups were probably the ones monitored most frequently – and with reason. These organizations have a history of collecting this data. In the 60s I imagine more radical left wing groups were monitored by the government. Civil rights organizations as well as the Klan were monitored.

    As I said earlier, if you’re not associated with the loony fringe, what are you worried about? If you say you’re worried about the feds spying on you, I hope you had the same outrage during the Bush administration. Otherwise the word hypocrite is going to spill out of my mouth.

  40. Moon-howler

    I don’t necessarily think that DHS does know about every wacky suvivalist group or supremacy or nativist group out there. If fact, I have read that they get some of their tips from ADL and SPLC and other groups like them. These groups often get their information on citizen complain or information.

    So whats the rub? Someone wants hispanic gangs listed? How about black gangs, white gangs? from which cities? Give me a break. Task forces are on those things. SPLC can’t do it all.

    Here comes the major problem–I think we are losing sight of what is right wing and what is left wing. How about that black muslim convert who shot those 3 soldiers last spring? One of the died. Was he right wing or left wing? He was a religious zealot who hated the military because of what it was doing in Muslim countries. Leftie? Rightie?

    I see no reason for anyone to be offended if they aren’t members of targeted groups. If one’s sympathies lie in that direction, perhaps one should be offended.

  41. kelly3406

    Excellent theory, Censored, except that it does not fit the facts. The SPLC now publishes a map of hate groups that spans all 50 states, not just the South. It also includes hate groups that did not historically target their population, i.e. Black Separatists, Anti-immigrant, General Hate. The catch-all listing called ‘General Hate’ is very interesting in that it includes Young Americans for Freedom at Michigan State University, but no Muslim organizations in Dearborn. The SPLC has also identifies a ‘Christian Identity’ category, but not a ‘Muslim Identity’ category.

    This SPLC study is all about donations and politics …. I don’t think you can prove otherwise, but feel free to try again, Censored.

  42. kelly3406


    I tend to agree with you about the “right wing” vs “left wing”, but that was the language that the SPLC chose to use. If the SPLC focuses almost exclusively on a single race or a single religion (it does include the Black Panthers), then isn’t it in danger of becoming a hate group itself?

  43. Censored bybvbl

    Kelly, why don’t you write a note to DHS and ask them to include the groups you feel they have so egregiously omitted?

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