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Terrorism & Security

Report: militia activity on the rise in US

The Southern Poverty Law Center warns that US antigovernment militias are gaining traction.

By / August 14, 2009



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Right-wing militia groups are on the rise in the United States after nearly a decade of obscurity, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate groups and extremist activity. 

The report, released Wednesday, warns of "unmistakable signs of a revival of what in the 1990s was commonly called the militia movement."

Militia rhetoric is being heard widely once more, often from a second generation of ideologues, and conspiracy theories are being energetically revived or invented anew. "Paper terrorism" — the use of property liens, bogus legal documents and "citizens' grand juries" to attack enemies and, sometimes, reap illegal fortunes — is again proliferating, to the point where the government has set up special efforts to rein in so-called "tax defiers" and to track threats against judges....
Militia training events, huge numbers of which are now viewable on YouTube videos, are spreading. One federal agency estimates that 50 new militia training groups have sprung up in less than two years. Sales of guns and ammunition have skyrocketed amid fears of new gun control laws, much as they did in the 1990s.

The report also cites a range of events and reports as evidence for the purported upswing in militia activities, including the murders of six law enforcement officials over the last several months by those espousing anti-government, racist, or pro-militia beliefs. It also singles out the June shooting of a National Holocaust Museum guard by James Von Brunn, who had ties to white supremacist groups, as The Christian Science Monitor reported.

The SPLC report also claims that with the election of Barack Obama to the head of the US government, which militias typically perceive as their enemy, the messages of militias, not traditionally focused on racial hatred, have taken on racial undertones.

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