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October 30, 2014

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Report: Cliven Bundy ranch battle spurs radical right

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STEVE MARCUS

Signs are shown on a fence during a protest in support of the Bundy family Thursday, April 10, 2014, near Bunkerville.

BLM-Bundy Standoff: April 12, 2014

Photos of the April 12, 2014 stand-off between the Bureau of Land Management and supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville, Nevada. The BLM eventually called off their roundup of Bundy cattle citing safety concerns. Courtesy of Shannon Bushman. Launch slideshow »

The Bundy Ranch standoff in April was not a spontaneous uprising of militia support for Cliven Bundy and his cattle.

Instead, it was highly coordinated, to the point that self-ascribed militia members had scouted the best spots for snipers in high points around Bundy’s Ranch, according to a report released today by an organization that tracks hate groups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's report said Bundy's standoff with the Bureau of Land Management has emboldened right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists across the country. The group based its findings on online chatter among extreme right-wing groups.

"Cliven Bundy may have faded from public view, but the movement that spawned him is boiling," said the report entitled "War in the West, The Bundy Ranch Standoff and the American Radical Right."

The report also calls for more law enforcement training on “a movement that increasingly targets “ law enforcement. The report references Jerad and Amanda Miller who shot to death three people June 8, including two Metro Police officers.

The group criticizes media pundits and politicians for praising Bundy’s stand until Bundy lost credibility by making overtly racist remarks that were video-recorded and it calls on the federal government to prosecute people who pointed weapons at law officers

The report also praises the federal government’s recent announcement that it will revive the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which was formed after the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City.

“Government officials need to understand what motivates this movement because the Millers will not be the last to demonstrate their anti-government rage with bullets,” the report says.

In early April, militia and other fringe groups flocked to Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, 90 minutes north of Las Vegas, as BLM agents moved onto his ranch to confiscate his cattle. Bundy had been found guilty of not paying fees for letting his cattle graze on federal land. Fees and fines of more than $1 million.

Bundy argued he did not recognize the federal government and has refused to pay for 20 years.

A volatile video of BLM agents with barking dogs, and one of Bundy’s relatives being Tased, went viral on the Internet. More Bundy supporters drove to Bunkerville and the ranch. And the BLM pulled out without the cattle.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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