Monday, August 20, 2012

The Radical Right Is On The Rise In The US

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights group that tracks hate groups in the US, says it has been tracking Page with concern for more than a decade.

Page, who reportedly described himself as a member of the 'Hammerskins Nation', was trained in psychological warfare and served in the US army from 1992 before being demoted and discharged in 1998.

US law enforcement says it is treating the attack as a possible act of "domestic terrorism", which implies a political agenda.

A 2009 report by the Department of Homeland Security warned of the rise of right-wing groups fuelled by a struggling economy and the election of Barack Obama, the country's first black president. The report was criticised by Republicans and later pulled by the department.

But the latest shooting has reignited fears about right-wing extremism.

Pete Simi, the author of American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate, spent an extensive amount of time with Page in 2001 as part of his research into white supremacism.

Earlier he told Al Jazeera: "Page was part of the much larger movement of white supremacists. At that time he was an independent, neo-Nazi skinhead. He shaved his head, was starting to tattoo his body with different symbols. He definitely endorsed a variety of different beliefs such as anti-Semitism, was antagonistic to anything so-called non-white, in particular most of his rhetoric on a regular basis was directed toward blacks."

The SPLC and the Department of Homeland Security have also reported that extremists have been joining the US military.

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