Friday, December 16, 2005


Precursor to Domestic Terrorism

On December 9, 2005, International Human Rights Day, top political researchers from around the US gathered in advance of the December 10 national human rights conference to explore patterns of violence associated with hate campaigns, and to discuss the recurrence of vigilantes as a political pressure group.

Presentations about the role of armed groups in the political process were made by:

Paul de Armond, Research Director, Public Good Project
Devin Burghart, Director, Building Democracy Initiative, Center for New Community
David Neiwert, journalist/author/blogger, Orcinus
Jay Taber, author of Blind Spots and War of Ideas

Workshops on the Minuteman Project and immigrant rights were conducted by:

Genevieve Aguilar, ACLU NW Regional Director
Magdaleno Rose-Avila, Executive Director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Jerry Hebert, Washington State Human Rights Commissioner
Adriana Jasso, American Friends Service Committee

Participants in the researchers’ private discussion along with the presenters above were:

Brandi Bratrude, journalism student, Western Washington University
Marc Brenman, Executive Director, Washington State Human Rights Commission
Michele Lefkowith, Investigative Researcher, Anti-Defamation League
Patrick Manz, Researcher, Anti-Defamation League
Rick Eaton, Senior Researcher, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Snider Social Action Institute
Sheila O’Donnell, ACE Investigations
Connie Stringer, Board Member, Rural Organizing Project
John Widenoja, Rural Organizing Project

Reports on the roots of the Minuteman Project issued in advance of the gathering included:
Racist Origins of Border Militias by Paul de Armond
Shell Games by Center for New Community
The March of the Minutemen by David Neiwert.
Current operations of white supremacist vigilantes were updated by Michele Lefkowith, and the future direction of anti-immigrant activities was laid out by Devin Burghart. Jay Taber reported on past collusion between industrial associations, media, the GOP and militias in carrying out racist-based political violence.

Analysis of the impending nationwide battle over immigrant rights was kicked off by Devin Burghart’s detailed report of right-wing organizing and fundraising now underway that implicated individuals with twenty-year track records of inciting bigotry and violence against minorities from coast to coast. Particularly disturbing was the level of coordination and sophistication by the GOP in mainstreaming former anti-government paramilitaries into pro-apartheid government supporters—the Minutemen.

The political climate fostered by such notable xenophobic public officials as Governor Schwarzenegger, combined with the atmosphere of fear exacerbated by groups with antecedents in the Klan, Minutemen, Posse Comitatus, Militia Movement, Aryan Nations, the Order, and John Birch Society, raised the very real concern about bloodshed and other forms of violence in the coming year. Hearings on anti-immigrant legislation in the U.S. Congress this week signal the beginning of this social conflict. Anti-immigrant television ads are already running in the Midwest.

The continuity of the hate groups and paramilitaries that now have a voice in Congress as well as on right-wing media is now a vertically-integrated support system for organized hate. They have experience, funds, and to a large degree, public opinion on their side. And unless groups like the National Council of Churches and their allies mobilize their resources in opposition soon, the extreme positions of the racist organizations listed above will be the supreme law of the land. Civil rights as well as civil liberties will be a thing of the past.

As Marc Brenman remarked, “This Minuteman Project is a precursor to domestic terrorism.”

[Read what some are doing about it today: ]


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?