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April 7, 2015 115

Right-wing Terror Attacks in U.S. Approach 1990s Levels

Recent ter­ror­ist attacks, plots and con­spir­a­cies by right-wing extrem­ists in the United States are approach­ing the level of attacks in the mid-1990s when the Okla­homa City bomb­ing occurred, based on a chronol­ogy of such attacks com­piled by the Anti-Defamation League.  The chronol­ogy was released as part of ADL’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 20th anniver­sary of the April 19, 1995 Okla­homa City bombing.right-wing_plots_attacks_1995-2014

The list of right-wing attacks and attempted attacks chron­i­cles 120 dif­fer­ent inci­dents between Jan­u­ary 1995 and Decem­ber 2014, illus­trat­ing a steady stream of domes­tic ter­ror inci­dents in the United States stem­ming from extreme-right move­ments over the past two decades.  Tar­gets included eth­nic and reli­gious minori­ties, gov­ern­ment offi­cials and build­ings, law enforce­ment offi­cers, abor­tion clin­ics and their staff, and others.

Exam­ined over time, the attacks illus­trate the two major surges of right-wing extrem­ism that the United States has expe­ri­enced in the past 20 years.  The first began in the mid-1990s and lasted until the end of the decade.  The sec­ond surge began in the late 2000s and has not yet died down.

Dur­ing both surges, the num­ber of right-wing ter­ror attacks and con­spir­a­cies out­num­bered those in the inter­ven­ing period.  From 1995 through 2000, 47 inci­dents occurred, while from 2009 through 2014, 42 inci­dents took place.  The eight-year inter­ven­ing period of 2001-08 pro­duced 31 attacks.  The surge of recent years has not pro­duced a two-year period with as many inci­dents as the years 1995–1996, which had a high of 18 attacks, but it has come close, with 16 attacks for the years 2011-12.

When ana­lyzed on the basis of per­pe­tra­tor ide­ol­ogy, the list shows that the var­i­ous white suprema­cist and anti-government extrem­ist move­ments have pro­duced the vast major­ity of the right-wing ter­ror­ist inci­dents over the past 20 years, with 50 each.  Anti-abortion extrem­ists come in third place with 13 incidents.right-wing_terrorism_by_movement_1995-2014

Inci­dents on the list include ter­ror­ist acts and plots by white suprema­cists, anti-government extrem­ists, anti-abortion extrem­ists, anti-immigration extrem­ists, anti-Muslim extrem­ists, and oth­ers.  The list does not include spon­ta­neous acts of vio­lence by right-wing extrem­ists, such as killings com­mit­ted dur­ing traf­fic stops, nor does it include lesser inci­dents of extrem­ist vio­lence or non-ideological vio­lence com­mit­ted by extremists.

Some inci­dents had per­pe­tra­tors who adhered to more than one ide­o­log­i­cal move­ment; in such cases, the move­ment that seemed most impor­tant to the per­pe­tra­tor was used for cat­e­go­riza­tion.  Cat­e­go­riza­tion was by per­pe­tra­tor ide­ol­ogy rather than type of tar­get, a fact impor­tant to note, as dif­fer­ent move­ments some­times chose the same type of tar­get (white suprema­cists and anti-abortion extrem­ists both tar­geted abor­tion clin­ics, for exam­ple), while some per­pe­tra­tors chose tar­gets that did not closely tie in with their main ide­ol­ogy (such as anti-abortion extrem­ist Eric Rudolph tar­get­ing the 1996 Atlanta Olympics).  The 2001 plot by the Jew­ish Defense League to attack Muslim-related tar­gets in Cal­i­for­nia is not listed, as ADL includes such inci­dents under Jew­ish nation­al­ist extrem­ism rather than right-wing extremism.

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February 3, 2015 3

House Judiciary Committee Extends Invitation To Sheriff Paul Babeu

The House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee, which held a meet­ing on Feb­ru­ary 3 on the enforce­ment of immi­gra­tion laws in the U.S., invited Sher­iff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Ari­zona to tes­tify. Babeu is known for his anti-immigrant views and claimed that many of the undoc­u­mented immi­grants cross­ing the bor­der have crim­i­nal back­grounds. Babeu is a con­tro­ver­sial figure.

Sheriff Paul Babeu

Sher­iff Paul Babeu

In the sum­mer of 2014, when there was a surge of chil­dren flee­ing to the United States across the Mex­i­can bor­der, Babeu report­edly leaked details of where some of those chil­dren would be bused in Ora­cle, Ari­zona, to receive social ser­vices. This led to chaos when about 80 anti-immigrant activists con­fronted school buses filled with chil­dren in the town and tried to halt the buses. Some held signs that said, “Return to Sender.” It turned out, how­ever, that the school buses were filled with local chil­dren head­ing to YMCA camp. Local media chas­tised Babeu for stir­ring up trou­ble in the town. In response, he said that he was just inform­ing the public.

Babeu has courted con­tro­versy on other occa­sions too. In 2012, when five bod­ies were found in a burned-out SUV in Pinal County, he declared that the deaths appeared to be related to a drug car­tel. Later on, author­i­ties learned that the inci­dent was actu­ally a murder-suicide of a fam­ily from Phoenix and unre­lated to drugs.

In addi­tion, Babeu has appeared on extrem­ist shows. In July 2010, he was a guest on “The Polit­i­cal Cesspool,” a white suprema­cist show, where Babeu talked about immi­gra­tion and bemoaned what he referred to as the inva­sion of Ari­zona. After Babeu’s appear­ance on the show became pub­lic, he claimed he did not know about the show’s politics.

Accord­ing to media reports, he also appeared on Alex Jones’ radio show. Jones is one of the most promi­nent con­spir­acy the­o­rist in the United States, and has been respon­si­ble for spread­ing and pop­u­lar­iz­ing a wide vari­ety of con­spir­a­cies, the major­ity espous­ing some form of anti-government view­point. Babeu report­edly spoke about an inci­dent in which his deputy was allegedly shot by mem­bers of a Mex­i­can drug car­tel. Although Babeu exploited the deputy’s story to jus­tify Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070, the deputy was later fired for allegedly mak­ing false state­ments about the incident.

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June 20, 2013 0

Former Border Vigilante Leader Arrested For Child Molestation

chris-simcox

Credit: Mari­copa County Sheriff’s Office

Phoenix, Ari­zona police offi­cers arrested once-prominent vig­i­lante leader Chris Sim­cox, 52, on June 19 on child molesta­tion charges.  Author­i­ties have charged Sim­cox with two counts of child molesta­tion, one count of attempted child molesta­tion, and two counts of sex­ual con­duct with a minor.  Accord­ing to police, Sim­cox had allegedly molested sev­eral vic­tims, all girls under 10 years of age, within recent months.

The arrest marked a new low for Sim­cox, who at one point in the mid-2000s achieved national noto­ri­ety for his high-profile vig­i­lante patrols along the Arizona-Mexico bor­der as one of the founders of the Min­ute­man Project.  How­ever, his fall from grace was just as rapid as his ascent.

Sim­cox spent his early adult years as a kinder­garten teacher in Cal­i­for­nia, before mov­ing to Tomb­stone, Ari­zona, where he bought a tiny news­pa­per, the Tomb­stone Tum­ble­weed, in 2002.  Sim­cox used the news­pa­per as an out­let for his anti-immigration views and soon issued a call for a “Cit­i­zens Bor­der Patrol Mili­tia” to patrol the bor­der with Mex­ico.  Sim­cox sub­se­quently started an early bor­der vig­i­lante group, Civil Home­land Defense.  By 2004, he had received pro­ba­tion and a fine fol­low­ing a con­vic­tion for car­ry­ing a firearm onto a national park.

In 2005, Sim­cox banded together with Cal­i­forn­ian Jim Gilchrist to form the Min­ute­man Project, a high-profile effort to get main­stream sup­port for bor­der vig­i­lante activ­i­ties.  In this, Sim­cox and Gilchrist were at first quite suc­cess­ful, gar­ner­ing national atten­tion and spawn­ing var­i­ous “Min­ute­man” groups across the coun­try.  For a brief period of time, Sim­cox could hob­nob with politi­cians such as Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger and Rick Perry. 

How­ever, Sim­cox and Gilchrist could not get along and parted ways, split­ting the Min­ute­man Project into two sep­a­rate orga­ni­za­tions.  Simcox’s half became the Min­ute­man Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) and focused on bor­der vig­i­lante activ­ity.  Because of Simcox’s lack of lead­er­ship skills, as well as finan­cial scan­dals, the group went into decline, shed­ding mem­bers and chap­ters.  In 2009, Sim­cox attempted a dif­fer­ent tac­tic, step­ping down from MCDC lead­er­ship and announc­ing he would attempt to unseat Ari­zona Sen­a­tor John McCain.  This was no more suc­cess­ful; by early 2010, he dropped out of the race.

The molesta­tion charges against Sim­cox are the first such crim­i­nal charges against him, but not the first alle­ga­tions against him related to chil­dren.  In 2005, Deb­o­rah Crews, one of Simcox’s ex-wives, told the South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter that in 1998 Sim­cox allegedly “tried to molest our daugh­ter when he was intox­i­cated.”  No charges were appar­ently filed.  A sec­ond ex-wife, Kim Dun­bar, filed a suc­cess­ful legal appeal for full cus­tody of their son.  She alleged that Sim­cox had vio­lent rages, includ­ing one inci­dent in which she said Sim­cox slapped his four-year-old son hard enough to leave a mark last­ing days.

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