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.