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World Net Daily (WND) is generally known for its right-wing and conspiracy-oriented bent. However, along with its long-time support for birther arguments and dark warnings about the Federal Reserve, the site also is thick with hard-line anti-gay propagandizing. In November 2010, for example, WND released an edition of its magazine devoted entirely to “America’s Gay Obsession.” It included articles by long-time anti-gay propagandists like Peter LaBarbera, who directs the hate group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality and was recently heard fretting about gay TSA agents accosting people in security lines. But that’s par for the course for an online publication that once ran a six-part series on how soy products cause homosexuality.
Written by Kevin Abrams and anti-gay activist Scott Lively, whose Abiding Truth Ministries is an SPLC-designated hate group, the book claims that the Nazi Party was full of homosexual men who largely orchestrated the Holocaust. In fact, according to the book’s authors, “the Nazi party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” Furthermore, Lively and Abrams argue, persecution of homosexuals during Nazi Germany is largely a myth. ( continue to full post… )
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Is Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged mass murderer who shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, a right-wing extremist?
It’s hard to say. When you look at the Internet material he purportedly produced, the first impression you get is that the 22-year-old now in custody for the shooting of 20 people in Tucson was completely out of his mind, or at least mildly deranged. His writings will be virtually impossible for most people to understand, what with his runs of unexplained numbers, his fondness for weird syllogisms, his mysterious references and his apparent semi-literacy.
That said, there are some clues.
At one point, Loughner refers disparagingly to “currency that’s not backed by gold or silver.” The idea that silver and gold are the only “constitutional” money is widespread in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement that produced so much violence in the 1990s. It’s linked to the core Patriot theory that the Federal Reserve is actually a private corporation run for the benefit of unnamed international bankers. So-called Patriots say paper money — what they refer to with a sneer as “Federal Reserve notes” — is not lawful. ( continue to full post… )
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Last Thursday morning, the contents of the Fall 2010 issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report were posted online at splcenter.org. By four o’clock that afternoon, an online magazine called The New American had responded with a critical appraisal of the issue’s feature exploring 10 popular conspiracy theories animating the antigovernment “Patriot” movement. Clearly, The New American is a publication that takes conspiracy theories and their critics seriously.
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When most people think about Bill Gates, what comes to mind is his great technological success and his resulting great wealth. Many also have warm feelings toward him because of the decision by Gates and his wife to donate the bulk of their multibillion-dollar estate to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose slogan is “all lives have equal value.” The foundation has devoted itself to improving the health and education of children around the globe.
But for radio host Alex Jones, the conspiracy-monger-in-chief of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, that is all complete malarkey. What the Gateses are really up to, Jones claims, is using their vaccines to sterilize and depopulate the world — a tactic that is part of a grand conspiracy by the global elite to seize control of just about everything.
Why is Jones suddenly so interested in Gates and his foundation’s work? In February, Gates gave a presentation about global warming and the impact humans have on carbon dioxide (CO2) production to the annual TED conference. TED is a small nonprofit that holds annual events that bring together experts in technology, entertainment and design. At the conference, Gates spoke hopefully about the impact of vaccines in the developing world, suggesting that poor families will not feel compelled to have as many children if more of their children are able to survive to adulthood, a view that many population specialists agree with. This would be beneficial in another way, Gates pointed out, because fewer people would ultimately mean lower CO2 emissions.
But that’s not what Alex Jones heard. During a March 2 radio segment in which Jones called Gates “a huge eugenicist” (eugenics is the discredited pseudo-science of creating a better human race through selective breeding), Jones alleged that Gates is part of a massive globalist conspiracy that plans to establish a “scientific dictatorship to control [Americans].” Gates’ aim in promoting vaccines, for Jones, has nothing to do with child health. It is a massive plan for sterilizing the population. ( continue to full post… )
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The last couple of years have been boom times for the far right’s distinctive rhetoric of dispossession. From backwoods militias who believe foreign troops are training on U.S. soil to take away their constitutional rights, to suburban Tea Party weekend warriors who heatedly promise to “take the country back” from their perceived demonic Democratic overlords, America is abuzz with groups and individuals claiming to represent and defend the “true” republican ideals upon which they believe this country was founded.
Of course, not all of these groups and individuals have the firmest grasp on American history. Take, for example, the website RebelRepublic.us, one of many Internet pages mounted by members of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement since the election of Barack Obama.
Like many of their peers, the activists behind Rebel Republic — which bills itself as the “Voice of the Patriot Movement” — aim to “promote a return to early Republic ideals.” It is curious, then, that the site’s agenda includes a promise to “[d]rive a change in voting laws to allow only US Citizens that meet at least one of the following criteria the opportunity to vote: they pay taxes, have served or are serving in the U.S. military, and/or own land in the U.S.” In another post on the subject of “voting reform,” the site maintains: “This country is built on the fundamental premise that property is to be protected from the government and other raiders. It only makes sense that those that have a vested interest in maintaining and protecting that property should have a direct say in how government intervenes.”
Forget the fact that anyone who buys a carton of milk “pays taxes”—we were more struck by the bit about “owning land.” Why stop there—should we also bring back feudal estates and the law of primogeniture?
We were curious to know if Rebel Republic really thinks bringing back property qualifications for voting represents a return to “early Republic ideals.” The expansion of the franchise that took place in America during the late 1780s and 90s — limited though it was to white males — was rightly viewed by the Founders, particularly Thomas Jefferson, as the very fulfillment of that republican ideal, i.e., the self-government of free men. The only early Americans who worried about the democratizing of political power were arch-Federalists, elitist in style and politics, who also favored a strong central government at the expense of states’ rights. Hardly the kind of people you’d expect to find sites like Rebel Republic making common cause with. ( continue to full post… )
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Pelicans and dolphins in the oil-polluted waters of the Gulf of Mexico: Dead. Conspiracy theories about the disastrous BP oil rig explosion: Very much alive.
As BP and federal officials struggle to deal with the eruption of millions of gallons of oil from the ocean floor following an April 20 explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, conspiracy buffs in the antigovernment “Patriot” world are hard at work coming up with unusual explanations for the disaster.
Conspiracy-mongering radio host Alex Jones and two others wrote an article on one of Jones’ websites this week claiming that evidence “suggests … that the incident could have been manufactured.” They say that Halliburton, the huge oilfield services corporation, acquired a company that contains fires and blowouts on oil rigs and oil wells little more than a week before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers and causing a colossal eco-catastrophe. Plus, they claim, there was huge dumping of BP shares of stock in the days and weeks before the explosion, perhaps showing that some people had prior knowledge the disaster would occur.
Then there’s Greg Evensen, a militia sympathizer and former Kansas state trooper whose essays and radio broadcasts are featured on apocalyptic Christian and militia websites. Evensen described Barack Obama as a “socialist, Muslim sympathizing, gun rights hating, Mexican illegals embracing, abortion loving charmer” five days before the presidential election. With respect to the gulf oil spill, Evensen predicts that the government will begin evacuating 40 million people around mid-June from areas that will become unlivable because of a toxic chemical in the dispersants BP is using to try to clean up the sticky mess. In case that’s not scary enough for you, Evensen also suggests that possible “alien hybrids” pretending to be U.S. troops could be among those enforcing the evacuation.
Meanwhile, over at the website of Well Regulated American Militias, a slightly hysterical-sounding blogger named Steve wrote on Sunday that possible “battle hardened troops” were in Grand Isle, La. “in full battle gear and body armor.” Humvees with gun turrets also were on the scene. Steve said he knew this because of reports from “on scene guerilla reporter Robert Rutherford.” ( continue to full post… )
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This is getting embarrassing. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes keeps insisting his year-old organization is composed of nothing more than patriotic, Constitution-loving Americans who aren’t a threat to anybody.
Then his members prove otherwise.
The latest is Matthew Fairfield, a suburban Cleveland man who has been sitting in jail since April in lieu of $1 million bail as he awaits trial on 54 criminal counts related to his alleged storing of a live napalm bomb at his suburban Cleveland, Ohio, home, as well as keeping explosives at a friend’s home in Cleveland. A judge this week ruled that Fairfield, 30, is competent to stand trial. He is the president of a local Oath Keepers chapter, according to a prosecutor.
Fairfield was arrested after police found a napalm bomb and another explosive device above the garage at his house in the city of North Olmsted. They also confiscated two assault rifles and several other firearms from the Cleveland home. Fairfield was convicted and sentenced to two years of probation in February for carrying concealed weapons, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
He is but the latest Oath Keeper to run afoul of the law. Early last month, a Georgia Oath Keeper was busted for allegedly plotting to take control of a Madisonville, Tenn., courthouse and place two dozen federal, state and local officials under citizen’s arrest. Police nabbed Darren Huff in his pickup truck, which was adorned with the Oath Keepers logo, before that could happen. He was armed with a pistol and an assault rifle. ( continue to full post… )
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When Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last October, he argued that the newly formed, rapidly growing “Patriot” group was no threat to anybody – just a collection of police officers and military types who pledge to defend the Constitution and to disobey unconstitutional orders from their superiors. On the group’s website, it identifies such orders as rounding up U.S. citizens, taking their guns and forcing them into detention camps.
“We’re not talking about asking them to go fight,” said Rhodes. “We’re simply saying, Don’t fight.” He then added, “Don’t fight the people.”
One Oath Keeper in Georgia, however, decided to go beyond just disobeying orders. He’s been accused of plotting to take over a Tennessee courthouse and put two dozen officials under “citizen’s arrest.”
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April 19 is the most significant date on the antigovernment “Patriot” movement’s calendar. It marks the day that the first shots were fired against the British in 1775 at Lexington and Concord, but it’s also the anniversary of the end of the 1993 FBI siege at Waco, Texas, as well as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
This year, the day will be marked by feverish activity from the fast-growing Patriot movement, whose ranks swelled from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 in 2009. Militias, which are the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement, also grew quickly, rising from 42 in 2008 to 127 in 2009.
Here is what the Patriots have planned for April 19:
• Longtime Georgia militia organizer Jim Stachowiak reportedly has called on his fellow militiamen to discharge their weapons at midnight, thereby causing a flood of citizens to call 911 and overload emergency services. Stachowiak’s plans prompted the Alabama Fusion Center, which focuses on the prevention of terrorism, to issue an April 9 bulletin warning law enforcement agencies that “an individual with militia ties in Georgia” is “coordinating a plan” with the intent to “disrupt emergency services.”
• Patriot leaders, for whom the specter of gun restrictions is a recurring theme, will join gun rights advocates for a “Second Amendment March” in Washington, D.C. Speakers will include: Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, a conspiracy-minded, antigovernment organization composed mostly of active-duty police and military officers and veterans; Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff who travels the country preaching about the evils of the federal government; Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who advocated the formation of citizen militias in the United States in the early 1990s; and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican who has questioned President Obama’s citizenship and suggested the administration might use a pandemic or natural disaster as an excuse to declare martial law.
• An open-carry rally to “Restore the Constitution” will be held at Ft. Hunt National Park near Mount Vernon, Va. Designated a “call to muster,” those rallying want the federal government to know that they “will not be ignored anymore.” Daniel Almond, who believes the federal government is “bringing totalitarian socialism to America” and is a member of the Georgia chapter of the Oath Keepers, organized the event. Speakers will include Richard Mack and Larry Pratt, who will also speak to the D.C. rally, as well as Bob Wright, who ran the New Mexico militia in the 1990s and has more recently participated in border vigilante operations with the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and Mike Vanderboegh, a longtime Alabama militiaman who recently called for his supporters to throw bricks through the offices of representatives who voted for health care reform. This past Tuesday, the head of the Oath Keepers withdrew as a speaker due to “published statements by a few outspoken participants.” The group did not ask its members to stay away from the event.
• Members of the Patriot group We the People (WTP) plan to visit elected officials across the country as part of their 2010 “Plan to Restore our Constitution.” Led by radical tax protestor Bob Schulz, the group helped launch the militia movement in May when it held an organizing meeting in Jekyll Island, Ga., that included many leaders of the 1990s militia movement as well as several new recruits. The group is demanding that elected officials enact its radical “Articles of Freedom.” They call for the repeal of all social service spending, denounce “a cartel of private banks,” demand a currency alternative to the dollar, and insist on the end of taxation. Taking a page from the “sovereign citizens” movement, the document calls for an end to driver’s licenses, auto registration and insurance. And rejecting the existing legal system, it demands the creation of “randomly empanelled citizens’ common law grand juries” to determine when a trial will take place. Like the anti-Semitic hard-liners of Posse Comitatus in the 1980s, it also asks that Americans treat county sheriffs as the highest legitimate police authority.
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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.