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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Anti-government militias growing in US: rights group
Devin Montgomery at 8:09 AM ET

[JURIST] Right-wing nativist and so-called "patriot" anti-government militias are again on the rise in the US, according to a Wednesday report [text, PDF; press release] by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) [advocacy website]. The SPLC said that such groups, which had declined severely since the 1990s, are generally anti-tax, anti-immigration, and increasingly racially motivated since the election of the country's first African-American president, Barack Obama [official website]. SPLC said that the groups are advancing theories that the administration seeks to lead a socialist "world order," and that immigrants from Mexico have plans to "reconquer" parts of the country. The Center said that so far the groups have primarily used non-violent means of protest, like filing for fraudulent liens against property owned by public officials and holding mock "trials" of Obama and others. It warned, however, that the groups could soon post a security risk to the country, quoting one official as saying “[t]his is the most significant growth we've seen in 10 to 12 years... All it's lacking is a spark. I think it's only a matter of time before you see threats and violence."

One issue that the groups have focused on is whether Obama is actually a US citizen, though a federal judge dismissed [JURIST report] a lawsuit making such a claim in October 2008. Another is the taxation policy of the administration, which gave rise to numerous protests [advocacy website], called "tea parties," in the country earlier this year.

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