Report: Extremist organizations on the rise in WA, nationally

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 8, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 8 at 6:29 PM

Western Washington was home to 16 hate groups in 2011, three more than in 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report released Thursday documenting the rise of extremist groups across the country.

The 16 groups identified by SPLC represent the full spectrum of ideologies -- from neo-Nazis and skinheads to black separatists and militant animal rights groups.

Four hate groups are based in Seattle: a skinhead group called Crew 38, a white nationalist group called the Northwest Front, and a black separatist group called the National Black Foot Soldier Network. SPLC also characterizes Seattle's Nation of Islam chapter as a hate group.

Across Lake Washington, SPLC said the anti-Muslim group Faith Freedom is based in Bellevue. Faith Freedom contends it isn't a hate group. Its members say they are "anti-Islam," not anti-Muslim. The distinction, they say, is that the group opposes Islam the ideology but does not hate individual Muslims.

Tacoma, meanwhile, is home to Aryan Nations 88, a neo-Nazi group. (See SPLC's full list of hate groups in Washington.)

Nationally, the SPLC said the number of hate groups grew to a record 1,018 in 2011, up from 1,002 the year before.

The report's author said he started seeing the rapid growth of extremist groups four years ago.

"The very moment that President Obama appears on the scene, which is incidentally the very moment these militia Patriot groups start to grow explosively, the economy collapses," said SPLC's Mark Potok.

Most of the groups are only visible through a websites or flyers, but it takes just one determined individual to make them a threat.

Potok pointed out that last year, Kevin Harpham, with known ties to a neo-Nazi group, left a backpack bomb at a Martin Luther King parade in Spokane. Passersby found it before it could be detonated.

"The reality is the vast majority of people on the radical right will never commit a crime, will never blow up a building, or beat someone with a baseball bat," says Potok. "But the sad reality is it only takes one to get through."

Much of the SPLC report is dedicated to the rise of anti-government "Patriot" groups, which SPLC said grew by 755 percent from 2009 to 2011 -- the first three years of President Obama's term.

In Washington, the SPLC lists 50 active Patriot groups in Western Washington, up from 27 in 2010 (see list below).

Patriot groups, SPLC said, are "conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy." Patriot groups are not necessarily categorized by SPLC as hate groups, but SPLC considers them part of the broader "radical right" movement.

The extensive SPLC report includes reviews of Harpham's attempted bombing in Spokane, as well as  the 2011 multi-state crime and murder spree carried out by David "Joey" Pedersen and Holly Grigsby; Pedersen, SPLC noted, had ties to neo-Nazi extremists.

Below is the list of active Patriot groups in Washington (* denotes a militia organization)

Alarm & Muster: The Modern Day Alarm Riders
Statewide

Church of Sovereigns: Sacred Family Temple of the Living Saint
Satsop

Constitution Party
Adams County
Grant County
Grays Harbor County
Kent
Kitsap County
Mason County
Snohomish County
Spokane Valley
Whatcom County
Yakima County

Debt Free Sovereign Trust
Blaine
Eastern Washington

Lightfoot Militia*

Spokane County

Federal Trustee Services
Tacoma

Get Out Of Our House (GOOOH)
Statewide

Grays Harbor Civilian Defense Force*
Grays Harbor County

John Birch Society
Clarkston
Federal Way
Puyallup
Yakima

Kissata*
Statewide

Kitsap County WA Militia*
Kitsap County

National Association of Rural Land Owners
Fall City

Northwest Washington Recon — 73rd BN 42nd FF*
Grant

Oath Keepers
Statewide

Palouse Lightfoot Militia — Bravo Company, 75th Battalion 42nd FF*
Pullman

Peoples’ Patriot Coalition Militia*
Western

PEOPLES TRUST 1776
Auburn

The Republic for the united States of America
Statewide

The Republic for the united States of America — Republic Congress
Statewide

Southwest Washington Civil Defense Group*
Statewide

Sovereign Trust
Blaine

Sovereign-Citizenship.net
Satsop

Washington State Civil Defense*
Northwest

Washington State Militia*
Chelan County
King County
Kitsap County
Mason County
Pierce County
Skagit County
Skamania County
Southeast
Spokane County
Statewide
Stevens County

We Are Change
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma

We the People
Statewide

Groups marked with an asterisk (*) are militias, SPLC said.
 

Hate groups in Western Washington:

Seattle:
Nation of Islam (Black Separatist)
National Black Foot Soldier Network (Black Separatist)
Crew 38 (Racist Skinhead)
Northwest Front (White Nationalist)

Tacoma:
Aryan Nations 88 (Neo-Nazi)

Bellevue:
Faith Freedom (Anti-Muslim)

Everett:
Crusaders for Yahweh (Christian Identity)

Vancouver:
National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazi)

Bellingham:
Crusaders for Yahweh (Christian Identity)

To view the full report, visit the Southern Poverty Law Center's website.

For a complete map of all extremist groups in the nation, see the SPLC's Hate Map.

(Additional reporting by KING5.com's Hailey Rile.)

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