The war on terrorism is conflicting for antigovernment radicals
in the United States. Paradoxically, it has the potential for both
dampening their sentiments and making them more dangerous -
rhetorically, if nothing else.
Extreme militia and "patriot" types (especially white
supremacists of the Christian Identity movement) are likely to want
to defend against attack by non-European foreigners - and in fact
see this as justification for their existence as independent
But there is the possibility that "lone wolves" (such as Oklahoma
City bomber Timothy McVeigh) might be lured into supporting foreign
terrorists - perhaps to precipitate the kind of race war envisioned
in "The Turner Diaries," the anti-Semitic, racist, and apocalyptic
novel many on the extreme right see as prophetic.
Experts tracking antigovernment radicals also note their shared
interest with Muslim extremists in opposing what they see as this
country's pro-Israel foreign policy. This is often voiced as
opposition to, as the most militant call it, "ZOG" - the "Zionist-
Occupied Government" of the US.
At the same time, the new push for federal "homeland security" is
firing up the camouflaged crowd in ways that have some militia-
'Cogs in the wheel of tyranny'
Internet discussion sites frequented by conspiracy promoters and
far-right adherents are boiling with alarm. "Isn't it time to take
the republic back?" asks one e-mailer.
To some antigovernment and millennialist types, the Pentagon's
new "Northern Command" covering the US, along with the FBI's
expanded powers to spy on Americans, is highly suspicious.
It's a move they see as a precursor to the dreaded "black
helicopters" and "jack booted" agents of the federal Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms - those blamed for the attacks at
Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas.
And the most passionate opponents are already voicing this view
faster than you can say "New World Order" or "Trilateral
"Look for a major hit in the coming weeks to justify this last
cog in the wheel of tyranny," predicts one member of the
"underground patriot" Internet discussion group.
Menace of federal intelligence
Such attitudes are spreading, according to experts who have
tracked such groups for years.
"The homeland security proposals have already been seen by a
number of right-wing extremists as proof of their conspiracy
beliefs," says Mark Pitcavage, a historian of extremist movements
and advisor to law-enforcement agencies.
"Many antigovernment extremists have come to believe that 9/11
was a conspiracy by the government in order for it to get
dictatorial powers, or that 9/11 really was a terrorist event, but
the government is nevertheless using it as a pretext to get more and
more power," says Dr. Pitcavage, who also works for the Anti-
"Right-wing extremist 'patriots' opposed the USA Patriot Act, and
they surely oppose this," he continues. …