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ADL Report Reveals Attempt by Rightwing Extremist Underground to Overthrow the U.S. Government

May 14, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith released a report today detailing the background and activities of “an underground network of armed racists and anti-Semites” employing gangster and terrorist tactics in what the ADL describes as the first attempt by rightwing extremists in this century to overthrow the United States government by violent revolution.

According to the report, prepared by the factfinding department of the ADL’s civil rights division, the network consists of the “Order”, the “Aryan Nations,” and a pseudo-Christian racist movement called “Identity.”

These and a loose affiliation of like-minded groups in the U.S., Canada and West Germany are known collectively as the “Identity” movement. The ADL estimates their total membership in the 2,500-3,000 range.

The propaganda and violence of these groups is directed primarily against Jews, Blacks and Hispanics. They also view with extreme hostility the U.S. government, its judicial system and law enforcement agencies. Their ultimate aim is the overthrow of the U.S. government — which they label “ZOG” for “Zionist Occupation Government” — and its replacement by “a nationalist racist state.”

The criminal violence of the network, which has resulted so far in more than two dozen arrests in 13 states, includes bank and armored car robberies involving more than $4 million, counterfeiting operations, shootouts with FBI agents, three murders and a synagogue bombing.


The ADL report noted that “Paradoxical as it may seem, this outbreak of rightwing criminal violence on the West Coast comes at a time — and is largely a consequence — of a decline in the strength and influence of the far-right hate movement in the United States.”

The report pointed out that the Ku Klux Klan’s “membership has fallen off to some 6,000-6,500 nationwide and the neo-Nazis today number no more than 500. Both figures represent significant losses over the past several years. Unable to arrest this decline or attract new supporters through their usual propaganda techniques, some younger, hardcore activists have resorted, says a leading far-right spokesman, Robert Miles, to ‘propaganda of the deed’ — an old anarchist expression meaning terrorism.” The ADL report added: “In other words, despairing of gaining the support of the American people, this group of right-wing extremists decided to try to bomb and shoot their way into power.” The ADL noted that their ideas “come straight from the propaganda arsenals of the neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan…”

The groups adopt flatulent names intended to evoke mystery and inspire fear. In addition to the “Order” and “Aryan Nations” the network includes “Bruders Schweigen” (Silent Brotherhood), the “White American Bastion” and the “Aryan Resistance Movement.”

The ADL report said “thirteen of the terrorists issued a “Declaration of War on November 25, 1984” stating that “We no longer consider the regime in Washington to be a valid and lawful representative of all Aryans who refuse to submit to the coercion and subtle tyranny placed upon us by Tel Aviv and their lackeys in Washington…”


According to the ADL report, “The Order was founded in October, 1983 by members or former members of the Aryan Nations and National Alliance. The purpose of the organization, according to a sworn FBI statement, was ‘to carry out various illegal actions to advance the cause of several extremist right-wing political groups.’ “

The “Aryan Nations” was founded in the early 1970s by Richard Butler, a former engineer who also ran a group called “Church of Jesus Christ Christian.” The ADL report noted:

“The Aryan Nations’ ultimate aim is the establishment of ‘a nationalist racist state.’ In furtherance of this aim it has sponsored a series of summer conferences attended by leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi organizations based in the U.S., Canada and West Germany, and like-minded groups which are part of the Identity movement. Among the latter groups which have sent representatives are the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) and Posse Comitatus.

“The CSA, some of whose members joined the Order, is a paramilitary survivalist group which operates a ‘Christian’ community settlement on 224 acres of secluded land near the Arkansas-Missouri border. The settlement is known as “Zarepthath-Horeb’, named for biblical sites of refuge. CSA members believe American society to be approaching economic collapse, famine, race-rioting and a coming war, which one of its leaders has described as ‘a step towards God’s government’.”

Justin Finger, director of the ADL’s civil rights division, noted in connection with the release of the report, that a federal grand jury in Seattle indicted 23 members of the “Order” on charges of violating the anti-racketeering laws and related charges. Finger said the outbreak of criminal violence confirmed a November, 1984 ADL report that far right extremists were planning to conduct a campaign of terrorism in this country.

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