This past week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released their annual spring report on Hate and Extremist groups in the United States. While “hate groups” have essentially leveled off, white supremacists groups like the neo-Nazis and other anti-Semitic groups like the Nation of Islam, “extremist groups”, antigovernment “Patriot”groups often tied to militias, are on the rise.
According to the SPLC’s spring 2013 Intelligence Report, “Capping four years of explosive growth sparked by the election of America’s first black president and anger over the economy, the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012, while the number of hard-core hate groups remained above 1,000. As President Obama enters his second term with an agenda of gun control and immigration reform, the rage on the right is likely to intensify.”
The SPLC states that core “Patriot” ideology circles around, “Fears of impending gun control or weapons confiscations, either by the government or international agencies… As a result, many antigovernment activists believe that being well armed is a must. The militia movement engages in paramilitary training aimed at protecting citizens from this feared impending government crackdown.”
One conspiracy theory the recent report highlights is known as Agenda 21, “The latest and most dramatic example of that may be the completely baseless claim that Agenda 21 — a United Nations sustainability plan that was signed by President George H.W. Bush but has no mandatory provisions whatsoever — is part of a plan to impose socialism on America and strip away private property rights” (emphasis added).
That claim has been pushed heavily by, among others, the John Birch Society, a conspiracist Patriot organization that was exiled from the conservative movement a half century ago after claiming President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Communist agent (see story, p. 24).”Last year, the Republican National Committee passed a plank opposing Agenda 21 and describing it as a “destructive and insidious scheme” to impose “socialist/communist redistribution of wealth.” The state of Alabama passed a law barring any policies traceable to Agenda 21 without “due process.”
Although the SPLC’s recent report didn’t name Alex Jones by name, this is where the master conspiracy theorist enters the picture. RationalWiki.org describes radio host/con-man, “Alex Jones (b. 1974) is a radio personality who never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. He is one of the very few people to make Glenn Beck look sane and rational in comparison. And that is all you really need to know about him.
His radio program is typified by frequent use of the Imperial March from Star Wars while he rants about the impending roundup and execution of Americans by the New World Order (NWO) in the next week or two. He has been predicting this for well over a decade now. We’re still waiting.”
The same type of people that follow Alex Jones and Infowars today could have been conned into drinking the Kool-Aid by Jim Jones or other cult leaders before the internet.
The SPLC does have a file on Alex Jones, “Alex Jones knows how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
“Every week from his studio in Austin, Texas, he dives into red-faced tirades exposing the forces that threaten to enslave all human life on the planet. The conspiracy always boils down to about the same thing: eugenics operations, the militarization of the police, a cabal of wealthy corporations and the United Nations involved in a fiendish plot to control the world.
Jones has accused the federal government of involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks, said that the Branch Davidian cultists in Texas were purposely murdered by authorities, claimed that FEMA is secretly building concentration camps for liberty-loving citizens, and issued a series of videos with hair-raising, B horror-film titles. A sampling: “911: The Road to Tyranny,” “Police State 3: Total Enslavement,” “The Masters of Terror: Exposed,” “New World Order: Blueprint of Madmen” and “The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off.””
Jones is a political charlatan that preaches the apocalypse all the while pawning video manuals on how-to-survive the impending government take-over and FEMA concentration camps. In many ways, Alex Jones is the mouthpiece for the Patriot movement. Folks like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have nothing on Jones, and he knows it. Yesterday, on Jones’ primary website, InforWars.com, writer, and Jones’ disciple, Kurt Nimmo proudly compared MSNBC’s host Lawrence O’Donnell’s audience with The Alex Jones Show and he can’t help himself in throwing in a comparison with Limbaugh’s and Becks influence as well.
Nimmo writes, “On an average day, Larry’s show draws a paltry 240,000 viewers while the Alex Jones Show routinely gathers an audience in the millions. “The Alex Jones Show is carried on over 70 AM and FM radio stations across the United States, Shortwave, and XM Radio,” writes Rachel Woodhouse. “Jones draws a bigger audience online than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck combined,” Alexander Zaitchik writes in Rolling Stone.”
The numbers from the SPLC are staggering, “The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) count of 1,360 Patriot groups in 2012 was up about % from the 1,274 active in 2011. And that was only the latest growth spurt in the Patriot movement, which generally believes that the federal government is conspiring to take Americans’ guns and destroy their liberties as it paves the way for a global “one-world government.” From a mere 149 organizations in 2008, the number of Patriot groups shot up to 512 in 2009, jumped again to 824 in 2010, and then skyrocketed to 1,274 in 2011 before hitting their all-time high last year.”
Jones does not shy away from promoting the bogus Agenda 21 conspiracy. His website Infowars declares , “The already evident abuses of world government bodies (under various names and sub-organizations) is masked by declarations of respect for the environment, for human rights, and other lofty ideals. In reality, however, there are ruthless control freaks manipulating the terms of our enslavement. Real life measures for carbon tax schemes, energy austerity, food management, species & habitat management, re-wilding (land seizure) takeovers and more have been vehicles for eugenicist-banker led agendas– indeed ambitious components of Agenda 21 that are changing the rules of the game to the eternal detriment of freedom.”
What did the SPLC say of Jones’ rhetoric again?
“Every week from his studio in Austin, Texas, he dives into red-faced tirades exposing the forces that threaten to enslave all human life on the planet. The conspiracy always boils down to about the same thing: eugenics operations, the militarization of the police, a cabal of wealthy corporations and the United Nations involved in a fiendish plot to control the world.”
The SPLC highlights the fact that Timothy McVeigh shared “Patriot” movement beliefs. The SPLC counts “over 100 domestic radical-right plots, conspiracies and racist rampages … since the Oklahoma City bombing left 168 men, women and children dead in 1995.” This comparison
Infowars writes, “It’s obvious the establishment cannot compete and is rapidly losing its once indomitable advantage. In response to this dangerous situation, it has resorted to a last ditch “B” plan – a juiced-up effort to characterize a viable political opposition as violent redneck racist terrorists wending their way toward another Oklahoma City event. For the elite, the only option is to portray Alex Jones as the new Osama bin Laden and the patriot movement as a domestic al-Qaeda.”
Jones claims the liberal media elites are attacking the Patriot movement and Alex Jones because they are losing ratings and the war on ideas. Like Glenn Beck, Jones fails to realize his radical alternative reality fantasies can incite violent reactions from one or more of his less stable listeners. One recently example of this is the case of Glenn Beck follower Bryon Williams. A couple years back, Williams got caught in a gun battle with police on a Northern California freeway, not far from my house.
According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle the, “5-year-old parolee, described by his mother, Janice Williams, as angry at leftwing politicians.” She said her son had been watching news and was upset by “the way congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” Janice Williams went on, “eventually, I think we’re going to be caught up in a revolution.” But she said she had told her son many times that “he didn’t have to be on the front lines.”
Williams was stopped by the California Highway Patrol with a truck full of guns and ammo on his way to shoot-up the liberal philanthropic organization the Tides Foundation and the local office of the ACLU. According to Williams’ mother, her son was heavily influenced by Glenn Beck on Fox News. Beck had placed the Tides Foundation at the center of his own NWO conspiracy theory.
There should be no doubt, Jones and the so-called “Patriot” movement are playing with fire. One day, and I fear not too far in the near future, antigovernment extremist groups will inspire another Timothy McVeigh nutcase.
There will always be good reason not to trust our government. In fact, a healthy dose of mistrust in the government is good. Stock-piling weapons and preparing for a “Second American Revolution” to overthrow the U.S. government borders on sedition and treason. In 1791 George Washington used the army to put down an armed insurrection during the anti-tax Whiskey Rebellion and such behavior by the idiot Patriot movement will surly suffer the same fate.
What’s more likely, as the SPLC aptly points out is some deranged lone wolf follower of Alex Jones will take matters in his own hands and we have another Oklahoma City bombing or massacre because they wholeheartedly believe in the apocalyptic world-view Jones is offering for only $19.95 in the two DVD series.