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September 1, 2015 0

Deadly Violence, Plots Mark Right-Wing Extremist Courtroom Dramas

Judges and juries in Kansas, Cal­i­for­nia and Geor­gia have ruled in a trio of impor­tant crim­i­nal cases involv­ing white suprema­cists, anti-government sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, and mili­tia groups who engaged in vio­lence or conspiracies.

Brent Douglas Cole

Brent Dou­glas Cole

On Mon­day, August 31, a jury in Olathe, Kansas, con­victed long-time white suprema­cist Fra­zier Glenn Miller (also known as Fra­zier Glenn Cross) on cap­i­tal mur­der, attempted mur­der, assault and weapons charges for his 2014 shoot­ing attack that killed three at Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the Kansas City sub­urb of Over­land Park.

Miller, who defended him­self, attempted to argue dur­ing his trial that he was jus­ti­fied in killing Jews, because they were com­mit­ting “geno­cide” against white peo­ple. After the jury read its ver­dict, Miller shouted “Sieg Heil,” while giv­ing a Nazi salute.

In fed­eral court in Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia, mean­while, another extrem­ist learned of his fate. Brent Dou­glas Cole, an adher­ent of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, received a 29-year, seven-month sen­tence for his role in a shootout in 2014. Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that the gov­ern­ment is ille­git­i­mate, because a con­spir­acy long ago sub­verted the orig­i­nal gov­ern­ment and replaced it with a tyran­ni­cal one, and that it has no author­ity over them.

In June 214, a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment ranger dis­cov­ered Cole had set up a camp­site on pub­lic land and had a motor­cy­cle at the camp­site that had been reported stolen. When the ranger and a Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol offi­cer attempted to impound that motor­cy­cle, as well as one with expired tags, Cole con­fronted the offi­cers. When one attempted to place hand­cuffs on Cole, the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen opened fire on the offi­cers, injur­ing both of them, before sub­se­quently giv­ing him­self up. He was con­victed in Feb­ru­ary 2015 of assault on a fed­eral offi­cer which inflicted bod­ily injury and other charges.

Finally, a fed­eral judge in Atlanta, Geor­gia, sen­tenced three mem­bers of a mili­tia group to prison after they pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to use weapons of mass destruc­tion. Brian Can­non, Terry Peace and Cory Williamson were mem­bers of a north Geor­gia mili­tia cell that plot­ted ter­ror­ist attacks against the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency and other gov­ern­ment tar­gets, hop­ing that the gov­ern­ment would over-react and, in turn, cause mili­tia groups around the coun­try to rise up in arms.

After an asso­ciate of the three men alerted the FBI to the plot­ters’ inten­tions, the FBI set up a sting oper­a­tion. After Peace told the infor­mant that he needed ther­mite charges and pipe bombs, the infor­mant offered to get the explo­sives for him. In Feb­ru­ary 2014, FBI agents arrested the trio of mili­ti­a­men as the received the (inert) explo­sive devices from the infor­mant. Their would-be rev­o­lu­tion was thwarted.

In many respects, these three inci­dents col­lec­tively high­light the major dan­gers com­ing from the extreme right in the 21st Cen­tury. Miller engaged in a deadly attack directed against Jews, a per­ceived “racial enemy.” The shoot­ing spree pre­saged the even more deadly attack against African-Americans by Dylann Storm Roof in June 2015. Cole engaged in unplanned, spon­ta­neous vio­lence against law enforce­ment officers—one of the major threats posed by the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment. And the mili­ti­a­men in North Geor­gia engaged in a con­spir­acy to attack gov­ern­ment tar­gets; just the lat­est in a long series of such plots and con­spir­a­cies stem­ming from the mili­tia movement.

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May 21, 2015 5

Texas County Considers Adopting Militia Group

Update — 6/2/15: Orange County Judge Brint Carl­ton later told the Anti-Defamation League that he has no inten­tion of cre­at­ing a county militia.

A south­east Texas county has drawn atten­tion recently after it became known that county offi­cials were con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing a local anti-government mili­tia group as an offi­cial “county mili­tia.” Orange County Judge Brint Carl­ton endorsed the idea, call­ing it a “good thing.”

David W. Smith

David W. Smith

County com­mis­sion­ers decided at the last minute to post­pone the vote after a com­mis­sioner voiced reser­va­tions, say­ing he needed more information.

The mili­tia move­ment is an anti-government cause whose adher­ents believe that the U.S. gov­ern­ment is col­lab­o­rat­ing with a shad­owy “New World Order” con­spir­acy to strip Amer­i­cans of their free­doms, start­ing with their right to bear arms, in order to even­tu­ally enslave Amer­i­cans to the New World Order. The mili­tia move­ment has a long his­tory of vio­lence and crim­i­nal acts; the Anti-Defamation League has tracked at least eight vio­lent acts, con­spir­a­cies or major crimes linked to the mili­tia move­ment just since 2011.

How­ever, David W. Smith, the “com­man­der” of the Golden Tri­an­gle Mili­tia, a small south­east­ern Texas mili­tia group formed in 2014, has lob­bied county offi­cials to adopt his mili­tia group, even­tu­ally get­ting some support.

Though Smith has claimed to reporters that his Golden Tri­an­gle Mili­tia is not anti-government but rather a “civil defense force which works with law enforce­ment,” to his own group he has showed a more con­spir­a­to­r­ial side, argu­ing that “we must never let ourselves…be com­pla­cent to the schemes of the world elit­ists” and demand­ing that Amer­i­cans “rid our­selves of tyran­ni­cal government.”

Smith, a for­mer phle­botomist who now sells “mono­lithic domes,” has expressed sup­port for views that are far from the main­stream. Through his Face­book pro­file, he is linked to a wide vari­ety of extrem­ist groups and fig­ures, from anti-government con­spir­acy the­o­rist Alex Jones (who pop­u­lar­ized the recent notion that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was plan­ning to invade Texas) to var­i­ous Three Per­center groups (anti-government extrem­ists who view them­selves fight­ing against the fed­eral gov­ern­ment as Amer­i­can colonists fought against the British). Smith ran for U.S. sen­ate in 2014 on a plat­form of oppos­ing “this uncon­sti­tu­tional de facto government.”

Iron­i­cally, Texas law has no pro­vi­sion to allow its coun­ties to cre­ate county mili­tias. Smith has argued that Texas law allows Orange County to “rec­og­nize” his unit as the “Orange County Ready Reserve Mili­tia.” How­ever, the Texas Reserve Mili­tia is only a statu­tory man­power pool that exists to con­form to an obso­lete fed­eral mili­tia law dat­ing back orig­i­nally to 1792. The­o­ret­i­cally, the gov­er­nor of Texas can call por­tions of the reserve mili­tia into ser­vice in times of emer­gency by hav­ing county emer­gency boards insti­tute a draft. Such boards have no power to call up the reserve mili­tia on their own, how­ever, much less “adopt” para­mil­i­tary groups. The self-styled “mili­tias” of today have no legal rela­tion­ship to the his­tor­i­cal and statu­tory militia.

Despite this, Smith has claimed that coun­ties have the author­ity to orga­nize the Texas Reserve Mili­tia. He has also asserted that the mili­tia could come into ser­vice “by gen­eral con­sen­sus of the pop­u­la­tion should the state fail in the exe­cu­tion of its con­sti­tu­tional duties.” Smith has even claimed that county com­mis­sion­ers could be jailed if they refused to autho­rize a militia—a seri­ous mis­read­ing of Texas law.

Smith will have to wait to see if Orange County offi­cials sched­ule another vote or aban­don his plan altogether.

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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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