Wednesday Mar 06, 201310:01 AM GMT
Civil rights group warns of rising danger from extreme right
Wed Mar 6, 2013 9:58AM
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Efforts to limit gun violence and to bring about immigration reform have led to a growing backlash from the extreme right, including the so-called patriot and militia groups, a civil-rights group said Tuesday.

 

In its latest report, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extreme right-wing and hate groups, said that it had counted 1,360 patriot groups in 2012, up about 7% from the 1,274 active in 2011.

 

That is also a rise of 813% since 2008, the year before President Obama, the nation’s first elected African American president, took office.

 

The groups include 321 militias, far more than the movement's previous peak in the 1990s, when militias were inflamed by the 1993 Brady Bill to control guns and the 1994 assault rifle ban, the center said.

 

“Now, in the wake of the mass murder of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school and the Obama-led gun control efforts that followed, it seems likely that that growth will pick up speed once again,” the center noted.

 

“We are seeing a real and rising threat of domestic terrorism as the number of far-right anti-government groups continues to grow at an astounding pace,” said Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow and author of the report. “It is critically important that the country take this threat seriously. The potential for deadly violence is real, and clearly rising.”

 

Founded in 1971, the center has been the leading watchdog of the extreme right ever since, monitoring a diverse collection of groups that includes neo-Nazis, white nationalists, black separatists, Holocaust deniers and the patriot and militia movement.

 

In general, the patriot and militia enthusiasts believe that the U.S. government is seeking to disarm them as a first step to destroying personal liberty and then turning the country over to foreigners seeking world domination. LA Times

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

From 149 organizations in 2008, the number of patriot and militia groups in the U.S. shot up to 512 in 2009, jumped again to 824 in 2010, and then skyrocketed to 1,274 in 2011 before hitting an all-time high of 1,360 last year. splcenter.org

 

A January study from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point found a dramatic rise since 2007 in the number of attacks and violent plots originating from people and groups identified with the far right of American politics. USA Today

 

In a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Southern Poverty Law Center warned of the potential for current domestic terrorism and urged the creation of a new interagency task force to assess the adequacy of federal resources devoted to the threat. LA Times

 

Recently, some of the militia groups have threatened politicians who have proposed gun-control measures. In one instance, neo-Nazi Craig Cobb posted Rep. Diana DeGette's address and photograph on the racist, anti-Semitic VanguardNews Network forum after the Colorado Democrat proposed a ban on high- capacity magazines USA Today

 

AHT/ARA

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