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Experts Warn of Increase in Anti-Government Groups in U.S.

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The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that at least 50 new militia training groups have sprung up in less than two years. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that at least 50 new militia training groups have sprung up in less than two years.
Terrorism prevention experts said they have seen an increased number of pointed and violent posts on Web sites. Terrorism prevention experts said they have seen an increased number of pointed and violent posts on Web sites.

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Experts said a perfect storm is coming together for anti-government groups across America, and terrorism prevention groups in Oklahoma are paying close attention.

A new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center showed there are a number of hot topics in our society that's helping to fuel the growth of these potentially violent militias.

Fifteen years ago, the SPLC wrote then-Attorney General Janet Reno to warn about extremists in the militia movement, saying that the "mixture of armed groups and those who hate" was "a recipe for disaster." Just six months later, Oklahoma City's federal building was bombed.

Today, the group's spokesman said right-wing militias, ideologically driven tax defiers and sovereign citizens are appearing in large numbers around the country.

These groups, historically motivated by a distrust of government, are now especially angry about illegal immigration, the economy and the election of America's first African American President.

"We've seen a real streak of racism injected into the movement, and I think the reason for that primarily is the idea that the enemy, the federal government, is headed by a black man," said the SPLC's Mark Potok.

The SPLC's report titled "Return of the Militias" said at least 50 new militia training groups have sprung up in less than two years. The report also cites recent attacks were carried out by individuals who were motivated by radical ideologies. Those attacks include three Pittsburgh police officers killed by an avowed white supremacist, a Wichita doctor murdered by an anti-abortion rights protester, and a Holocaust Museum security guard gunned down by a Nazi sympathizer.

The executive director of the Oklahoma City-based Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, David Sid, said the Internet is helping groups to recruit new members.

"We can tell Web sites are becoming more active and they're increasing in number," Sid said. "The statements on the Web sites are becoming more pointed and leaning more toward violent behavior."

Sid said his group first noticed a significant resurgence of these potentially violent militias six months ago.

"We saw a tendency of groups to put those who advocate violence in leadership positions, and we saw a reformation of many of the militia groups that have been gone for years," Sid said.

MIPT is working with local, state and federal law enforcement to share as much information as possible about these groups that Sid said can be just a handful of people or a group of more than 100.

"We have to identify people who are preparing to commit an act of terrorism and intervene. We can only do that through intelligence," Sid said.

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