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! n the aftermath of the Okla-
homa City bombing perpe-
belonging to anti-government
paramilitary groups, public at-
tention has focused in recent
weeks on the militia movement.
Mira Boland, director of fact-find-
ing in the Anti-Defamation
League's offices in Washington,
D.C., spoke about militias and ex-
tremist groups operating in the
Why has the militia movement
grown significantly in recent years?
Ms. Boland — We don't know
that it has — it's too recent a phe-
nomenon to say. Their chief con-
cerns are gun control, particularly
the Brady Bill and the assault
weapons ban, and the perceived
encroachment of the government
in citizens' private lives.
Also, the behavior of
federal law enforcement
forces at Waco [site of
the Branch Davidian
tragedy] and in the case
of Randy Weaver [an Ida-
ho man whose wife was
killed by U.S. marshals in
1992 during an attempt-
We believe the total
membership is under
10,000 in the country. I've
seen some wildly exag-
How connected are the
There is no centralized
structure but there is
some contact among
them, in terms of sharing
material and speakers.
One book, "The Turner
Diaries," written by
William Pierce, a neo-
Nazi, is widely circulat-
ed among hate groups.
It's a fictional treatment
of a racist revolution in
America, in which FBI
headquarters are blown
up with a bomb made of
fuel and fertilizer, at 9:15
a.m. We don't know for sure if
any of the Oklahoma bombers
read it — but the coincidence is
intriguing. [Newsweek reports
this week that an Army buddy
of suspected bomber Timothy
McVeigh says McVeigh gave
him a copy of The Turner Diaries
Is there any legitimacy to some of
the militias' concerns about the fed-
These are legitimate issues
upon which civilized people can
disagree. What isn't civilized is
taking up wills against one's fel-
low citizens, or trying to over-
throw our constitutional
Does anti-Semitism play a part in
the philosophies of these militias?
No, the interesting thing is
that anti-Semitism and racism
are not a leitmotif of militias in
general. At least two, in Idaho
and Montana, have ties to the
[white supremacist] Aryan Na-
tions. But many militia groups
have taken pains to distance
themselves from bigotry. A num-
ber have black, Jewish and
women members. It's a mixed
bag. You can't generalize.
How does the ADL go about mon-
itoring these groups?
I don't really like to discuss
methods and sources. But
there's a lot of public informa-
tion if you know where to look,
all kinds of public sources. And
then sometimes, people tell us
Are you referring to former mem-
bers of various groups?
Yes. For instance, when skin-
heads want to defect, which hap-
pens from time to time, they will
frequently go to the outfit they've
up to now seen as their most dan-
gerous enemy. They tend to per-
ceive the ADL as their most
Is that because these people are
used to thinking of Jews as a power-
ful world conspiracy?
Probably some of these guys
are still influenced by anti-Se-
mitic claptrap, so they figure, why
not go to a Jewish organization
and make peace? 0