The Anti-Defamation League has issued a new report saying militia activity has surged in recent months with more and more overtones of potential violence.
ADL is a non-profit organization that lists as its mission fighting anti-Semitism by counteracting hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
The report, "Violent Voices: Anti-Government Extremism Takes on New Intensity," concludes that, "not only has there been significant growth in militia activity across the U.S., but also evidence that a broad range of anti-government extremist groups and individuals are ramping themselves up for possible violent confrontation with the authorities."
National ADL Chairman Robert Sugarman cited the recent arrests of the Hutaree Militia members in Michigan on charges of plotting to murder law enforcement officers.
"These arrests are important, but there exists a growing number of extremists who are already armed and preparing for potential conflict with the government," said Sugarman and ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement.
The report cites a long list of Internet posts on militia sites as evidence of the growing trend toward violent rhetoric, which it worries "may be followed up with violent actions in the future." It says much of the rhetoric centers on the recent passage of health care legislation which, according to the report, many militia members believe will be followed by mass legalization of illegal immigrants, postponement of democratic elections, martial law and confiscation of weapons.
Many of the posted comments say health care reform is the beginning of a plan to institute a tyrannical government in the U.S. by any means necessary.
Saying taking guns and private property is the next step, an Internet poster declared that, "We are peaceful, hard working, good Christian folks. But when they come for my guns, they are getting my bullets first."
Gov. Jim Gibbons' office received a letter Tuesday from the anti-government group Guardians of the Free Republics, demanding the governor resign or be "commandeered." The letter, mailed to all 50 U.S. governors, prompted tighter security at the Capitol.
The ADL report expresses concern that there are more and more Internet posts from members of such groups suggesting that violence is not only justified but, because of government actions including passage of health care, necessary to protect the rights of "sovereign citizens."