Home » Violence » Are Domestic Terrorists A Bigger Threat Than Foreign Terrorists

Are Domestic Terrorists A Bigger Threat Than Foreign Terrorists

What follows are a series of clips and snippets of articles concerning domestic terrorism and specifically focusing on the Militia movement to which some veterans returning home from war are being recruited. The question put to me by a friend was are these really domestic terrorist groups? I believe it is fair to say that not all militia group are radically anti-government hate groups, but some are. That is my considered opinion. But it is important for all of us to look at the evidence, some of which is presented below, and draw our own conclusions. I would encourage readers to do their own research and post their findings and URL links to the material in the comment section below. – Brian T. Lynch, MSW

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Sovereign citizen movement perceived as top terrorist threat

New study assesses top threats, preparedness among law enforcement

July 30, 2014 Jessica Rivinius

Sovereign citizen, Islamist extremist and militia/patriot groups are perceived by law enforcement agencies to pose the greatest threats to their communities, according to a new START study.  While sovereign citizens were the top concern of law enforcement, assessments about whether most groups were a serious terrorist threat actually declined for most groups (e.g., the KKK; Christian Identity; Neo-Nazis; Racist Skinheads; Environmental Extremists; Animal Rights Extremists) when compared to a previous study.

START researchers David CarterSteven ChermakJeremy Carter and Jack Drew recently conducted in-depth surveys with more than 364 officers representing 175 state, local and tribal (SLT) law enforcement agencies to examine perceptions of: the threat of terrorism; the nature of information-sharing; and whether agencies are prepared to deal with terrorist attacks. Their results are published in “Understanding Law Enforcement Intelligence Processes,” available on START’s website.

The Daily Banter – Militias And Sovereign Citizen Groups Are A Greater Combined Terror Threat Than Islamic Jihad

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)reported that law enforcement officials no longer consider Islamic terrorists as the number one source of terrorism inside the U.S. According to the study, the top three most critical terrorist threats in 2013-14 are: 3) Militia / Patriot groups, 2) Islamic Extremists/Jihadists, and 1) Sovereign Citizen groups. (Rounding out the top five are skinheads at #4 and neo-Nazis at #5. Incidentally, these two groups predominantly represented the “right-wing extremists” in Homeland Security’s outrage-inducing report about domestic terrorism. Odd that so many run-of-the-mill conservatives were upset about Nazis and skinheads being labeled terrorists.)

That’s right, the Militia/Patriot movement and the Sovereign Citizen groups are viewed by law enforcement officials as a greater combined domestic threat than Islamic terrorists. And by the way, it’s important to reiterate that this isn’t a poll of random people, not unlike Gallup or any of the other outfits. The nonpartisan START researchers surveyed 364 law enforcement officers from 175 agencies.

http://thedailybanter.com/2014/08/militias-sovereign-citizen-groups-greater-combined-terror-threat-islamic-jihad/

Anti-Defimation League – Are militia groups dangerous?

From its beginnings, a large amount of criminal activity has been associated with the militia movement. A number of members have been arrested on weapons, explosives, or conspiracy charges, among others. These arrests continue to the current day. So physically the movement remains dangerous, although obviously no one can be painted as a would-be terrorist simply because they belong to a militia group.

There are dangers other than direct physical dangers, of course. The militia movement is a very anti-government movement which advocates taking the law (and a very particular vision of the law, at that) into its own hands. It is not only heavily armed, but it preaches an extreme anti-government rhetoric filled with wild conspiracy theories. In addition, although the main emphasis of the militia movement is anti-government in nature, a number of people in the movement are also white supremacists and/or anti-Semites (esp. Christian Identity), and this is obviously an area of concern.

http://archive.adl.org/mcveigh/faq.html#.U-F9WPldUhs

FBI – Domestic Terrorism
Focus on Militia Extremism

Last March, nine members of an extremist militia group were charged in Michigan with seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction in connection with an alleged plot to attack law enforcement and spark an uprising against the government.

According to the federal indictment, the nine individuals planned to kill a law enforcement officer and then use bombs to attack the caravan of cars taking part in the subsequent funeral procession, hoping that this violence would incite a larger armed conflict with authorities. Fortunately, the FBI and the Michigan State Police intervened and took the subjects into custody before they could carry out their alleged plot.

It’s just one example of the dangers posed by so-called militia extremists—the latest topic in our series to educate the nation on domestic terror threats that the FBI investigates today. Previous stories have focused on anarchist extremistseco-terrorists/animal rights extremistslone offenders, and sovereign citizen extremists.

Who they are. Like many domestic terrorism groups, militia extremists are anti-government. What sets them apart is that they’re often organized into paramilitary groups that follow a military-style rank hierarchy. They tend to stockpile illegal weapons and ammunition, trying illegally to get their hands on fully automatic firearms or attempting to convert weapons to fully automatic. They also try to buy or manufacture improvised explosive devices and typically engage in wilderness, survival, or other paramilitary training

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/september/militia_092211

Southern Poverty Law Center – Violence and Criminal Activity of Militia Groups

from 1995 – 2011

The following are clear examples of incidents involving militia movement members or former members.

November 9, 1995

Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley, his wife Cecilia and another man, John Dare Baird, are arrested as they prepare explosives to bomb numerous targets, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, gay bars and abortion clinics. The three, along with another suspect arrested later, are sentenced to terms of up to 11 years in 1996. Cecilia Lampley is released in 2000, while Baird and Willie Lampley — who wrote letters from prison urging others to violence — are freed in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

November 9, 1995

Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley, his wife Cecilia and another man, John Dare Baird, are arrested as they prepare explosives to bomb numerous targets, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, gay bars and abortion clinics. The three, along with another suspect arrested later, are sentenced to terms of up to 11 years in 1996. Cecilia Lampley is released in 2000, while Baird and Willie Lampley — who wrote letters from prison urging others to violence — are freed in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

July 1, 1996

Twelve members of an Arizona militia group called the Viper Team are arrested on federal conspiracy, weapons and explosive charges after allegedly surveilling and videotaping government buildings as potential targets. All 12 plead guilty or are convicted of various charges, drawing sentences of up to nine years in prison. The plot participants are all released in subsequent years. Gary Curds Baer, who drew the heaviest sentence after being found with 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a bomb component, is freed in May 2004.

July 29, 1996

Washington State Militia leader John Pitner and seven others are arrested on weapons and explosives charges in connection with a plot to build pipe bombs to resist a feared invasion by the United Nations. Pitner and four others are convicted on weapons charges, while conspiracy charges against all eight end in a mistrial. Pitner is later retried on that charge, convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. He is released in 2001

October 11, 1996

Seven members of the Mountaineer Militia are arrested in a plot to blow up the FBI’s national fingerprint records center, where 1,000 people work, in West Virginia. In 1998, leader Floyd “Ray” Looker is sentenced to 18 years in prison. He is released in June 2012. Two other defendants are sentenced on explosives charges and a third draws a year in prison for providing blueprints of the FBI facility to Looker, who then sold them to a government informant who was posing as a terrorist.

March 26, 1997


Militia activist Brendon Blasz is arrested in Kalamazoo, Mich., and charged with making pipe bombs and other illegal explosives. Prosecutors say Blasz plotted to bomb the federal building in Battle Creek, the IRS building in Portage, a Kalamazoo television station and federal armories. But they recommend leniency on his explosives conviction after Blasz, a member of the Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines, renounces his antigovernment beliefs and cooperates with them. He is sentenced to more than three years in federal prison and released in late 1999.

April 27, 1997

After a cache of explosives stored in a tree blows up near Yuba City, Calif., police arrest Montana Freemen supporter William Robert Goehler. Investigators looking into the blast arrest two Goehler associates, one of them a militia leader, after finding 500 pounds of explosives — enough to level three city blocks — in a motor home parked outside their residence. Six others are arrested on related charges. Goehler, with previous convictions for rape, burglary and assault, is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He is later accused of stabbing his attorney with a shank and charged with attacking prison psychologists.

July 4, 1997

Militiaman Bradley Playford Glover and another heavily armed antigovernment activist are arrested before dawn near Fort Hood, in central Texas, just hours before they planned to invade the Army base and slaughter foreign troops they mistakenly believed were housed there. In the next few days, five other people are arrested in several states for their alleged roles in the plot to invade a series of military bases where the group believes United Nations forces are massing for an assault on Americans. All seven are part of a splinter group from the Third Continental Congress, a kind of militia government-in-waiting. In the end, Glover is sentenced to two years on Kansas weapons charges, to be followed by a five-year federal term in connection with the Fort Hood plot. The others draw lesser terms. Glover is released in 2003, the last of the seven to get out.

March 18, 1998

Three members of the North American Militia of Southwestern Michigan are arrested on firearms and other charges. Prosecutors say the men conspired to bomb federal buildings, a Kalamazoo television station and an interstate highway interchange, kill federal agents, assassinate politicians and attack aircraft at a National Guard base — attacks that were all to be funded by marijuana sales. The group’s leader, Ken Carter, is a self-described member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations. Carter pleads guilty, testifies against his former comrades, and is sentenced to five years in prison. The others, Randy Graham and Bradford Metcalf, go to trial and are ultimately handed sentences of 40 and 55 years, respectively. Carter is released from prison in 2002.

December 5, 1999

Two California men, both members of the San Joaquin Militia, are charged with conspiracy in connection with a plot to blow up two 12-million-gallon propane tanks, a television tower and an electrical substation in hopes of provoking an insurrection. In 2001, the former militia leader, Donald Rudolph, pleads guilty to plotting to kill a federal judge and blow up the propane tanks, and testifies against his former comrades. Kevin Ray Patterson and Charles Dennis Kiles are ultimately convicted of several charges in connection with the conspiracy. In 2002, Patterson is sentenced to 24 years and five months in prison; Kiles to 22 years.

December 8, 1999

Donald Beauregard, head of a militia coalition known as the Southeastern States Alliance, is charged with conspiracy, providing materials for a terrorist act and gun violations in a plot to bomb energy facilities and cause power outages in Florida and Georgia. After pleading guilty to several charges, Beauregard, who once claimed to have discovered a secret map detailing a planned UN takeover mistakenly printed on a box of Trix cereal, is sentenced to five years in federal prison. He is released in 2004, a year after accomplice James Troy Diver is freed following a similar conviction.

March 9, 2000

Federal agents arrest Mark Wayne McCool, the one-time leader of the Texas Militia and Combined Action Program, as he allegedly makes plans to attack the Houston federal building. McCool, who is arrested after buying powerful C-4 plastic explosives and an automatic weapon from an undercover FBI agent, earlier plotted to attack the federal building with a member of his own group and a member of the antigovernment Republic of Texas, but those two men eventually abandoned the plot. McCool, however, remained convinced the UN had stored a cache of military materiel in the building. In the end, he pleads guilty to federal charges that bring him just six months in jail.

February 8, 2002

The leader of a militia-like group known as Project 7 and his girlfriend are arrested after an informant tells police the group is plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officers in order to kick off a revolution. David Burgert, who has a record for burglary and is already wanted for assaulting police officers, is found in the house of girlfriend Tracy Brockway along with an arsenal that includes pipe bombs and 25,000 rounds of ammunition. Also found are “intel sheets” with personal information about law enforcement officers, their spouses and children. Although officials are convinced the Project 7 plot was real, Burgert ultimately is convicted only of weapons charges, draws a seven-year sentence and is released in March 2010. Six others are also convicted of, or plead guilty to, weapons charges. Brockway gets a suspended sentence for harboring a fugitive, and is sent to prison for violating its terms. She is released in early 2008. On June 21, 2011, sheriff’s deputies outside Missoula, Mont., stop Burgert on a suspicious vehicle report. Burgert leads them on a pursuit and fires multiple rounds at the deputies before fleeing on foot. He is wanted on two counts of attempted murder for the shootout, and his current whereabouts are unknown.

October 10, 2003

Police arrest Norman Somerville after finding a huge weapons cache on his property in northern Michigan that includes six machine guns, a powerful anti-aircraft gun, thousands of rounds of ammunition, hundreds of pounds of gunpowder, and an underground bunker. They also find two vehicles Somerville calls his “war wagons,” and on which prosecutors later say he planned to mount machine guns as part of a plan to stage an auto accident and then massacre arriving police. Officials describe Somerville as an antigovernment extremist enraged over the death of Scott Woodring, a Michigan Militia member killed by police a week after Woodring shot and killed a state trooper during a standoff. Somerville eventually pleads guilty to weapons charges and is sentenced to six years in prison. He is released in August 2009.

April 26, 2007

Five members of the Alabama Free Militia are arrested in north Alabama in a raid by federal and state law enforcement officers that uncovers a cache of 130 homemade hand grenades, an improvised grenade launcher, a Sten Mark submachine gun, a silencer, 2,500 rounds of ammunition and almost 100 marijuana plants. Raymond Kirk Dillard, the founder and “commander” of the group, pleads guilty to criminal conspiracy, illegally making and possessing destructive devices and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Other members of the group — Bonnell “Buster” Hughes, James Ray McElroy, Adam Lynn Cunningham and Randall Garrett Cole— also plead guilty to related charges. Although Dillard, who complained about the collapse of the American economy, terrorist attacks and Mexicans taking over the country, reportedly told his troops to open fire on federal agents if ever confronted, no shots are fired during the April raid, and the “commander” even points out booby-trap tripwires on his property to investigators. Dillard draws the harshest sentence, and is released in May 2012. Cole is released in December 2009; Cunningham in June 2009; Hughes in January 2009; and McElroy in August 2010.

June 8, 2008

Six people, most of them tied to the militia movement, are arrested in rural north-central Pennsylvania after officials find stockpiles of assault rifles, improvised explosives and homemade weapons, at least some of them apparently intended for use in terrorist attacks on U.S. officials. Agents find 16 homemade bombs during a search of the residence of Pennsylvania Citizens Militia recruiter Bradley T. Kahle, who allegedly tells authorities that he intended to shoot black people from a rooftop in Pittsburgh and also predicts civil war if either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is elected president. A raid on the property of Morgan Jones results in the seizure of 73 weapons, including a homemade flame thrower, a machine that supposedly shot bolts of electricity, and an improvised cannon. Also arrested and charged with weapons violations are Marvin E. Hall, his girlfriend Melissa Huet and Perry Landis, who allegedly tells undercover agents he wanted to kill Gov. Ed Rendell. Landis is sentenced in 2009 to time served plus two years of supervised release. Hall is sentenced in January 2010 to time served with three years of probation. Huet spends years trying to get the charges against her – helping a convicted felon possess a firearm – dismissed. In July 2013, federal prosecutors drop gun charges against her.

June 12, 2009

Shawna Forde — the executive director of Minutemen American Defense (MAD), an anti-immigrant vigilante group that conducts “citizen patrols” on the Arizona-Mexico border — is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for her role in the slayings of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Arivaca, Ariz. Forde orchestrated the May 30 home invasion because she believed the man was a narcotics trafficker and wanted to steal drugs and cash to fund her group. Authorities say the murders, including the killing of the child, were part of the plan. Also arrested and charged with murder are the alleged triggerman, MAD Operations Director Jason Eugene “Gunny” Bush, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, a local member of MAD. Authorities say that Bush had ties to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations in Idaho, and that Forde has spoken of recruiting its members. Forde is sentenced to death in February 2011, and Bush is sentenced to death in April 2011. Gaxiola is sentenced to life in prison.

March 27-28, 2010

Nine members of the Hutaree Militia are arrested in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, and are charged with seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. The group, whose website said it was preparing for the imminent arrival of the anti-Christ, allegedly planned to murder a Michigan police officer, then use bombs and homemade missiles to kill other officers attending the funeral, all in a bid to set off a war with the government. Joshua Clough pleads guilty to a weapons charge in December 2011. A federal judge dismisses charges against seven members of the group during a trial in March 2012, saying their hatred of law enforcement did not amount to a conspiracy. Militia leader David Stone and his son Joshua Stone plead guilty to gun charges two days after the trial. In August 2012, a federal judge chooses not to send the Stones back to prison. They are each fined $100 and placed on two years’ supervision. Another member, Jacob Ward, is acquitted in 2012.

November 1, 2011

Four members of an unnamed North Georgia militia are arrested in an alleged plot to bomb federal buildings, attack Atlanta and other cities with deadly ricin, and murder law enforcement officials. The men – Frederick Thomas, 73, Samuel J. Crump, 68, Dan Roberts, 67, and Ray H. Adams, 65 – allegedly discussed “taking out” a list of officials to “make the country right again” and scouted buildings in Atlanta to bomb. Authorities say the plot was inspired by an online novel, Absolved, written by longtime Alabama militiaman Mike Vanderboegh. Thomas, the accused ringleader, and Roberts plead guilty in April 2012 to charges of conspiring to possess explosives and firearms. Each is sentenced in August 2012 to five years in federal prison for conspiring to obtain an unregistered explosive device. Crump and Adams are convicted in January 2014 of conspiring to produce a toxic agent to poison government officials.

December 10, 2011

Four Army soldiers at Fort Stewart, Ga., later identified as members of the terror group Forever Enduring, Always Ready (FEAR), are arrested in the murder of 19-year-old former soldier and FEAR member Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York. The two were apparently killed because FEAR leader Isaac Aguigui, 22, feared Roark would talk about the group’s plans to take over the Army base, overthrow the government, assassinate a future president, and blow up a dam and poison the apple crop in the state of Washington. Pfc. Aguigui funded the group, buying $87,000 in weapons and a large amount of drugs with a $500,000 insurance payment he received after the death of his pregnant wife. Pfc. Michael Burnett pleads guilty and agrees to testify against his FEAR comrades. In 2012, seven more people are arrested in connection with FEAR’s activities. In April 2013, the Army charges Aguigui with killing his wife, whose death was initially ruled accidental, and their unborn child. In July 2013, Aguigui pleads guilty in the murders of York and Roark, and is sentenced to life in prison. Two other soldiers, Pvt. Christopher Salmon and Sgt. Anthony Peden, are expected to be tried in the double murder in 2014. A court martial for Aguigui in his family’s death was also expected

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