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A Texas white supremacist responsible for an anti-Muslim shooting spree faces execution on Wednesday. Mark Stroman, 41, is currently on death row for a series of revenge attacks in the days after the 9/11 terror attacks that killed two South Asian men and wounded another. The surviving victim, a Bangladeshi Muslim, is asking for Storman’s sentence to be commuted to life in prison.
One of the defendants convicted for the murder of an Arizona man and his daughter has been sentenced to life in prison. Albert Gaxiola, along with two others, entered the home of Junior Flores pretending to be Border Patrol agents and shot Flores, his wife (who survived), and their daughter Brisenia. Two of the defendants have received the death penalty, but the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on a death sentence for Gaxiola.
A member of the Hutaree Militia has been deemed unfit for trial due to mental problems. Jacob Ward, 34, has been indicted, along with nine others, for an antigovernment plot to kill police officers. Judge Victoria Roberts stated that Ward suffers from a mental defect, and is unable to understand the charges he faces.
The hunt for a militia leader has been temporarily halted after the suspect disappeared into the Montana woods. David Burgert, 47, a former Marine and the leader of the Project 7 militia was released in 2010 after eight years in prison for illegal firearms possession. Last June, Burgert led law enforcement on a chase, before shooting at the officers and fleeing into the woods. Local authorities plan to continue the search when new leads arise.
Police in Cherry Hill, N.J., have upgraded charges over a series of vandalisms against local Christian sites to a hate crime. In the course of a week, six cases of vandalism have taken place against Christian shrines, including one instance in which more than 30 statues were damaged at a church. Police are still searching for the suspect.
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New evidence was released by prosecutors to bolster their position that members of the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia should not be granted bail. The evidence confirms the group’s plans to kidnap and even kill police officers and government officials if they attempted to arrest any of the militia’s members. It also includes a photographic inventory of the group’s arsenal of small arms and grenades and a white board detailing how the militia’s “security team” should deal with law enforcement officials.
A Boulder, Colo., woman has been charged with attempting to extort a Latino couple by threatening to turn them in to immigration authorities. Abigail Jane Suber allegedly told the couple that if they did not admit fault in a vehicle collision, which she was responsible for, and pay her $400, she would call immigration authorities on them. Suber has been charged with felony extortion.
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Today marks the 16th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the terrorist attack that showed Americans how domestic extremism can lead to violence on a massive scale.
On this sad anniversary, there are disturbing parallels to the years leading up to the bombing, when the antigovernment militia movement first arose. That, too, was a time of economic peril, particularly in the West, where the movement got its start. It was also a time when a Democrat was elected to the presidency, setting off a wave of antigovernment furor much like we are seeing today.
As we first reported in August 2009, the antigovernment “Patriot” movement – encompassing militias and other conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy – has come roaring back since the election of President Obama. We’ve now documented 824 groups in the U.S. – more than five times the 149 we found in 2008, the year Obama was elected. This movement had been dormant in the late 1990s and early 2000s. ( continue to full post… )
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UPDATE: Steve Emerson, who is criticized in the post below, sent in a lengthy statement last night in response to a request for comment submitted by the writer earlier in the week. It can be found in the comments at the end of the story.
The day before U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) convened the first round of his controversial hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, the nonprofit Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) released what certainly seemed to be a sobering statistic. “More than 80 percent of all convictions tied to international terrorist groups and homegrown terrorism since 9/11 involved defendants driven by a radical Islamist agenda,” IPT said in the opening lines of the March 9 statement on its website. “Though Muslims represent about 1 percent of the American population, they constitute defendants in 186 of the 228 cases DOJ lists.”
These claims, while not exactly going viral, nevertheless were quickly picked up by the political right. Anti-Muslim firebrand Pamela Geller, executive director of Stop Islamization of America (which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group), went on Eric Bolling’s FOX Business program “Follow the Money” on the evening of King’s hearings. “As we witnessed in the recent study released by [IPT Executive Director] Steve Emerson,” she said, “where we saw that over 80% of the attacks since 9/11 were Islamic in nature, so there is a problem.”
But it really isn’t so.
IPT’s statistics, clearly intended to justify King’s decision to focus only on the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorists to the exclusion of all other domestic terror threats, mischaracterized the source material it analyzed from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) — and then drew a meaningless conclusion from its own flawed analysis. While Emerson didn’t flatly misstate most of the facts, IPT’s characterization of those facts — especially its second sentence, comparing the percentage of American Muslims with the percentage of Muslim defendants in terror cases listed by the DOJ — was essentially a propaganda ploy meant to hype the domestic Muslim threat. ( continue to full post… )
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Next Monday, Americans will mark the 15th anniversary of the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City — the worst single act of domestic terrorism in our nation’s history and a grim reminder of the fruits of right-wing radicalism.
Although Timothy McVeigh and confederates Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier were not card-carrying members of militias, they unquestionably were deeply influenced by the ideas of these paramilitary groups and the larger antigovernment “Patriot” movement. Their murder of 168 people, including 19 children in a day-care center, was in many ways the culmination of the movement’s blind anger and conspiracy theories about evil elitists in the government intent on suppressing American freedoms and forcing the nation into a socialistic “New World Order.” They also believed they were exacting vengeance on the government for its role in the deaths exactly two years earlier of nearly 80 Branch Davidian religious cultists.
The anniversary comes as the nation witnesses a dramatic resurgence of militias and other Patriot groups — a comeback driven by widespread populist anger at racial changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites, and an array of initiatives by the Obama Administration that are seen as “socialist” or even “fascist.” The return of the Patriots was first documented last August in a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report entitled “The Second Wave: Return of the Militias” and quantified and analyzed in SPLC’s March report, “Rage on the Right.” Today, the SPLC is releasing another report profiling key leaders of the resurgent Patriot movement and their enablers — people like U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who has suggested that Obama is building political reeducation camps for our children, and Fox News host Glenn Beck, who helped refloat conspiracy theories about secret government concentration camps and has called Obama an anti-white racist who is comparable to Hitler. Along with these profiles, we are releasing a timeline of the Patriot movement detailing its origins, its heyday in the 1990s and current resurgence, and its long history of violence.
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Since the SPLC warned the U.S. military about extremist activity among active-duty personnel in 2006, the Pentagon brass has steadfastly denied that a problem existed and insisted that its “zero-tolerance” policy was sufficient to keep organized racists out of its ranks.
That changed this past November, when the Pentagon quietly tightened its policy on extremist activity, which formerly only banned “active participation” in extremist groups but did not define what that meant.
Under the new regulations, military personnel “must not actively advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology or causes” or “otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.” The new rules specify that “active participation” includes activities such as recruiting, fundraising, demonstrating or rallying, training, organizing and distributing supremacist material, including online posts.
The revision should give commanders ample new tools to root out racial extremists in their midst. The previous policy, in effect since the mid-1990s, could be interpreted to mean that military personnel were allowed to be “mere members” of hate groups or that they could engage in unaffiliated extremist activities — such as posting racist and anti-Semitic messages to social networking websites and e-mail lists or maintaining online profiles filled with racist materials. As the SPLC has repeatedly pointed out, the policy allowed numerous active-duty members to engage in a range of supremacist activities.
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