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From The Southern Poverty Law Center

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The number of extremist groups in the United States exploded in 2009 as militias and other groups steeped in wild, antigovernment conspiracy theories exploited populist anger across the country and infiltrated the mainstream, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Antigovernment “Patriot” groups – militias and other extremist organizations that see the federal government as their enemy – came roaring back to life over the past year after more than a decade out of the limelight.

The SPLC documented a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups in 2009. Their numbers grew from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009, an astonishing addition of 363 new groups in a single year. Militias – the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement – were a major part of the increase, growing from 42 militias in 2008 to 127 in 2009.

The report, “Rage on the Right,” is the cover story in the Spring 2010 issue of the SPLC’s quarterly investigative journal Intelligence Report.

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