The Trace reports: Energized by Donald Trump’s coarsely confrontational nationalism, the armed right-wing fringe is doing more than stepping out of the shadows in 2017. Detachments of armed men in fatigues have become fixtures at liberal protests, forming the vanguard of what’s become known in some quarters as the “counter-resistance.”
Now, in a smattering of states with histories of right-wing extremism, chapters of groups like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters may be emerging as even more direct political players, providing security for local pro-Trump politicians and Republican organizations. In one case, a Three Percenter was found to be employed on a state lawmaker’s staff.
When self-designated patriot groups first emerged during the early ‘90s, they identified as enemies of the “New World Order” heralded by George H.W. Bush, and tended to oppose the government, regardless of which party was in power. But experts say that the recent activity of some militia members could be evidence of a greater shift in political allegiances.
“You can’t be anti-government if your guy has the top job,” said Mark Pitcavage, who researches far-right extremism for the Anti-Defamation League.
With right-wing extremists who venerate the president looking for new enemies, some state and local politicians who are remaking partisanship in Trump’s image may see militias as a way to tighten their grip on power. The brash political style and “America First” agenda ushered into the Republican Party by Trump appeals to people in the militia movement, drawing them toward the political mainstream, said Amy Cooter, a sociologist at Vanderbilt University. Just as important, Cooter said, groups like the Three Percenters are eager for confrontation with anti-Trump liberals, who are themselves taking to the streets. “On the local level, some Republicans appear to be tapping into that agenda.” [Continue reading…]
The Guardian reports: Donald Trump’s claims of “large-scale” voter fraud have prompted officials across the political spectrum to warn about the dangers of vigilante poll monitors amid fears of confrontations or even violence on US election day.
As opinion polls tightened this week between Trump and Hillary Clinton ahead of Tuesday’s presidential vote, there are concerns of chaos following his claims, without serious evidence, that the election could be “rigged” and his refusal to say if he will accept the outcome.
The Democratic party has launched a series of legal challenges around the country alleging voter intimidation, and on Friday in the battleground state of Ohio a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Trump’s campaign and his unofficial adviser Roger Stone. The ruling said anyone who engaged in intimidation or harassment inside or near Ohio polling places would face contempt of court charges.
Republican leaders in some battleground states are reporting a surge of volunteers signing up to serve as official poll watchers, and in an unprecedented move, the Trump campaign itself has since August been requesting that volunteers sign up as “election observers” to “Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election!”. Stone, meanwhile, has said he has helped recruit people to do “exit polls” to tackle voter fraud. [Continue reading…]
Kelley B. Vlahos writes: In what papers are calling “one of the most startling and potentially serious cases of an anti-government militia to be brought before the courts in recent years,” three U.S. soldiers have been arraigned for murder and may get the death penalty, stemming from charges they amassed an arsenal, plotted several domestic terror attacks, and killed two friends who had become “loose ends” in their diabolic plans.
You haven’t heard of this? Not surprising, since this story doesn’t square with the narrative that homegrown Muslim radicals are not only infiltrating the government, and the military, but plotting the next big domestic terror assault on American soil. These militiamen, arrested in Georgia where they were stationed at Fort Stewart, are white. They don’t pray in a mosque and certainly don’t want to build one. According to reports, however, they were members of FEAR — Forever Enduring Always Ready — which has been loosely described as an anarchist group set on overthrowing the government and killing President Obama.
These aren’t the first white militia types to be arrested in recent years. Indeed, they join a string of supposed Muslim plotters arrested since 2001. The difference between the recent Georgia case and many of the others is the FBI wasn’t involved from the beginning to set them up and lead them by the nose (the Muslim community is quite familiar with these tactics). These FEAR guys were apparently the real deal. They bought real weapons, and a lot of them, and in the case of the Fort Stewart gang, they committed real murder, killing the guy who allegedly helped to get them the weapons and his girlfriend, execution style, after luring them into the woods. [Continue reading…]
Charles Johnson reveals:
In June 2007, “counter-jihad” blogger Pamela Geller posted the following Email from Norway, from a reader who sounds a lot like the Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik.
Geller’s post began:
I am running an email I received from an Atlas reader in Norway. It is devastating in its matter-of-factness.
[The email begins] Well, yes, the situation is worsening. Stepping up from 29 000 immigrants every year, in 2007 we will be getting a total of 35 000 immigrants from somalia, iran, iraq and afghanistan. The nations capital is already 50% muslim, and they ALL go there after entering Norway. Adding the 1.2 births per woman per year from muslim women, there will be 300 000+ muslims out of the then 480 000 inhabitants of that city.
Orders from Libya and Iran say that Oslo will be known as Medina at the latest in 2010, although I consider this a PR-stunt nevertheless it is their plan.
From Israel the hordes clawing at the walls of Jerusalem proclaim cheerfully that next year there will be no more Israel, and I know Israel shrugs this off as do I, and will mount a strike during the summer against all of its enemies in the middle east. This will make the muslims worldwide go into a frenzy, attacking everyone around them.
The email Geller had received, continued:
We are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast.
Geller subsequently deleted these lines, and as Johnson and others have established, she deleted them after Breivik’s July 22 bombing and shooting rampage.
If Geller was knowingly in communication with Breivik then she should probably be helping Norwegian authorities with their investigation.
But even if neither in this instance nor any other did she communicate with him, the contents of the email that Johnson has unearthed are no less damning. They suggest that far from condemning those individuals in Norway who she knew were preparing for armed violence, she chose to showcase their plans as though to say, “we’re with you.”
Update: This afternoon, Geller responded to Johnson’s post and acknowledges that after the massacre she removed the sentence from her 2007 post “as I found it insenstive [sic] and inappropriate.” She also says her email correspondent was not Breivik.
The sentence I edited is not an incitement to anything. It refers to self-defense, but I removed it in the light of recent horrific events in Norway. I thought it insensitive. Nothing more.
Everyone has a right to self-defense.
There are no doubt many members of armed militias across America who share Geller’s view that anyone has the right to stockpile weapons, ammunition and equipment in preparation for “self-defense” against the US government, enemies of the White race, Muslims, Jews or whatever groups or entities they happen to have demonized.
Such militias and the philosophies they espouse provide a breeding ground for the kind of paranoia that on occasions results in mass murder.
At the Southern Poverty Law Center, Heidi Beirich writes about the ideological trends in the United States that parallel those articulated by Anders Behring Breivik, who rails against cultural Marxism in his manifesto.
Fears of “cultural Marxism” have a long pedigree in this country. It’s a conspiratorial kind of “political correctness” on steroids — a covert assault on the American way of life that allegedly has been developed by the left over the course of the last 70 years. Those who use the term posit that a small group of German philosophers, all Jews who fled Germany and went to Columbia University in the 1930s to found the Frankfurt School, devised a cultural form of “Marxism” aimed at subverting Western civilization. The method involves manipulating the culture into supporting homosexuality, sex education, egalitarianism, and the like, to the point that traditional institutions and culture are ultimately wrecked.
A number of hate groups, including the racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), have raised the spectre of cultural Marxism as a way to explain contemporary events (click here to watch the CCC’s DVD on the theory). Some prominent conservatives also adopted the conspiratorial theory (culturalmarxism.org features MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan and Texas Congressman Ron Paul). In 2002, William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation, a far-right outfit long headed by the now deceased Paul Weyrich (one of the founders of the Moral Majority), gave a speech about the theory to a Holocaust denial conference. Saying he was “not among those who question whether the Holocaust occurred,” Lind went on to lay blame for “political correctness” and other evils on so-called “cultural Marxists,” who, he said, “were all Jewish” (Lind is mentioned in passing in Breivik’s manifesto).
Breivik shares more than fears of cultural Marxism with America’s radical right. A recent SPLC report documented an increasingly reckless campaign to vilify American Muslims, driven in some cases by mainstream poltical figures. If irresponsible ideologues or public figures use the upcoming ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to further demonize American Muslims, this population may be great danger (in the past year, there have been serious attacks on mosques and other Islamic institutions. For more, read here and here).
Tensions are arising here for very much the same reasons as they are in Europe: societies on both sides of the pond are becoming more demographically diverse. In Europe, the targets of radical-right extremists are typically Muslims, because they make up a large share of European immigrants. In the U.S., until recently, ire has mostly been directed at Latinos and Latino immigrants. This growing population is blamed by racist ideologues for the impending end of a white majority, which will come midcentury according to the Census.
That racial fears could drive someone to kill on a massive scale should come as no surprise. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in 1995, taking his blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing from the gruesome race-war novel, The Turner Diaries, written by neo-Nazi leader William Pierce. Between McVeigh’s April 19, 1995 bombing and early 2011, the SPLC has documented some 100 domestic terror plots by right-wing extremists. In recent years, these attacks have been propelled by additional factors such as the election of the nation’s first black president and the troubled economy.
The obvious danger from radical-right domestic terrorism makes it all the more galling that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has largely given up its efforts to monitor such threats. In April 2009, the department released a report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” warning of possible violence from racists, radical antigovernment types and others. The report was prescient; within a few month of its release two major domestic terrorist attacks took place. But that didn’t stop conservative analysts from savaging the report after it was leaked shortly after its release.
It was one thing for the right-wing media to savage the report; what was truly shocking was DHS’s reaction. The department ended up gutting its non-Islamic domestic extremism intelligence unit, which had been led since its inception by veteran intelligence analyst Daryl Johnson. Johnson recently talked to the SPLC about how the DHS bowed to the political pressure and basically abandoned its role in protecting the country from radical-right threats (The Washington Post provided further evidence here).
“[M]y greatest fear is that domestic extremists in this country will somehow become emboldened to the point of carrying out a mass-casualty attack, because they perceive that no one is being vigilant about the threat from within,” Johnson told SPLC referring to the fact that DHS is out of the non-Islamic domestic terrorism business. “That is what keeps me up at night.”
The SPLC’s CEO J. Richard Cohen recently asked DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to reconsider the department’s actions. The Oslo attacks are a reminder of why this is so critically important.
ilitia groups with gripes against the government are regrouping across the country and could grow rapidly, according to an organization that tracks such trends.
The stress of a poor economy and a liberal administration led by a black president are among the causes for the recent rise, the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center says. Conspiracy theories about a secret Mexican plan to reclaim the Southwest are also growing amid the public debate about illegal immigration.
Bart McEntire, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told SPLC researchers that this is the most growth he’s seen in more than a decade.
“All it’s lacking is a spark,” McEntire said in the report. [continued…]
The 1990s saw the rise and fall of the virulently antigovernment “Patriot” movement, made up of paramilitary militias, tax defiers and so-called “sovereign citizens.” Sparked by a combination of anger at the federal government and the deaths of political dissenters at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, the movement took off in the middle of the decade and continued to grow even after 168 people were left dead by the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s federal building — an attack, the deadliest ever by domestic U.S. terrorists, carried out by men steeped in the rhetoric and conspiracy theories of the militias. In the years that followed, a truly remarkable number of criminal plots came out of the movement. But by early this century, the Patriots had largely faded, weakened by systematic prosecutions, aversion to growing violence, and a new, highly conservative president.
They’re back. Almost a decade after largely disappearing from public view, right-wing militias, ideologically driven tax defiers and sovereign citizens are appearing in large numbers around the country. “Paper terrorism” — the use of property liens and citizens’ “courts” to harass enemies — is on the rise. And once-popular militia conspiracy theories are making the rounds again, this time accompanied by nativist theories about secret Mexican plans to “reconquer” the American Southwest. One law enforcement agency has found 50 new militia training groups — one of them made up of present and former police officers and soldiers. Authorities around the country are reporting a worrying uptick in Patriot activities and propaganda. “This is the most significant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,” says one. “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.” [continued…]