The Great Iran Debate Reply

By Justin Raimondo


The stage is set, the actors have committed their lines to memory, and the curtain is now rising: the Great Iran Debate is on! It’s a war story, as so many of our national narratives are these days, one pitting the President of the United States – and the overwhelming majority of Americans – against the US supporters of a foreign government, a “fifth column,” if you will.

This debate underscores an amazing fact: not since the war of 1812, when the New England Federalists sided with Great Britain against their own government, has a fifth column wielded such power in this country. As President Obama seeks to avoid war with Iran – what would amount to World War III in terms of its military and economic consequences – the fifth columnists in our midst, ensconced in some of the highest councils of government, are actively undermining his efforts to avoid catastrophe. Unlike subversives of the past, however, whose treason was found hidden in pumpkin patches and took cover in the darkest corners of the State, these proclaim their allegiance to a foreign government quite openly.

The administration’s negotiations with Tehran over Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program have been extended beyond the deadline for success twice now, reflecting the eagerness of both sides to reach some kind of agreement. Neither wants war: but there are those who do. In a demonstration of how radically different societies nonetheless share overarching patterns of human folly, both the Americans and the Iranians face pretty much the same conundrum at home: how to overcome the influence of their hardliners in order to avoid a war that would surely be the ruination of both. In this sense, our neoconservatives and their Republican sock-puppets are mirror images of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), both of which are trying their damnedest to sabotage the talks.

Not that the neocons are pro-IRGC, except in the sense that they share the same fanatic mindset: in making their case against even the faintest possibility of peace, they echo the arguments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has declared that Iran represents an “existential threat” to the Jewish state and conjures images of a Second Holocaust to make his rather unsubtle point.

Unlike subversives of the past, the neocons make no effort to hide their allegiance to a foreign government. Indeed, with refreshing honesty, they openly proclaim it, as House Speaker John Boehner has done with his invitation to Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress as the Great Iran Debate takes place.


Is War Between ISIS and Saudi Arabia on the Way? Reply

This is an extremely important development. If ISIS launches a full-scale invasion of Saudi Arabia, the U.S. would most certainly intervene on behalf of the Saudis. The State would attempt to justify the intervention against ISIS to the American people on the grounds of “We’ve gotta have oil! Gas prices will be ten dollars a gallon if we don’t go to war!” It would probably be a successful propaganda effort. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia would become Round Three after Afghanistan and Iraq, and probably no more successful. Additionally, if the Republicans return to the White House in 2016, and the neocons are once again placed in charge of foreign policy, an intervention is Syria or even war with Iran will likely be a greater possibility. At present, antiwar sentiment is pretty high in the U.S. but it was also pretty high during the interwar period of the 1920s, and we know what happened after that. Either way, continued U.S. involvement in wars in the Middle East will not have a happy ending from the American perspective.

By John Robb

Global Guerrillas

Last week I wrote that ISIS would attack Saudi Arabia this spring.  This week the opportunity to attack with a high likelihood of success arrived: The King of Saudi Arabia died today.  Unfortunately for the Saudi’s, King Abdulla died before his Kingdom’s gambit to gain control of ISIS paid off.   Here’s what they were trying to do but failed to pull off in time:

  • Saudi Arabia has been pumping oil like crazy to drive the price of oil down.  It worked.  Prices dropped.  Lower oil prices are undercuting the funding ISIS gets from its illicit oil sales across the region.
  • Given time, the Saudis believed that this reduction in funding from oil sales would eventually force ISIS to approach Saudi Arabia for financial support.  When it did ask for financial help, the Kingdom would be able to gain the leverage necessary to neutralize the threat it posed (as it did with al Qaeda decades earlier).
  • Needless to say, this gambit didn’t work.  ISIS proved much more resilient financially than al Qaeda and other non-state groups are.  ISIS has many, many more sources of income than donations from sympathisers and oil sales.


On The Fourth Political Theory 6

By Batidan Bantu

Alexander Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory is a highly-inventive and relevant work; its renouncement of Liberalism and, more importantly, its advocacy of a new syncretic framework –a fourth political theory to challenge the premises of liberalism, fascism, and communism– is nothing short of radical. However, Dugin’s analysis is crippled by a series of grave category errors and historical inaccuracies that need to be addressed if serious opposition to the reigning Liberal ideology is to occur.

Dugin’s failure to accurately identify the nature of the principal enemy of today –Liberals (as distinguished from classical liberals) and “progressives” (an Orwellian term that many swallow without a hint of irony) –is one of the foundational errors in his well-intentioned attack on modernity. More…

As Globalists Centralize, Secession Fever Grows Worldwide Reply

By Alex Newman

New American

Much has been written about the ongoing efforts by globalists and the international establishment to centralize political and economic power. From the European Union, the African Union, and the Union of South American States all the way to the United Nations, would-be transnational authorities are fervently seeking to consolidate and expand their power over increasingly large swaths of humanity. At the same time, though, with citizens becoming increasingly weary of being ruled by far-away, unaccountable forces, secession movements around the world are exploding.

Nowhere are independence movements more numerous and more vocal at the moment than in Europe. As the emerging Brussels-based super-state seeks to finalize its smashing of national sovereignty and self-government across the bloc, whole nations are increasingly in open revolt. In the United Kingdom, for example — itself facing the increasingly likely prospect of Scottish secession — polls show the public is ready to peacefully extricate the nation from the EU as soon as possible. The political class has done its best to contain the anti-EU fervor, but to little avail.

“In much of the world, small countries are hoping to retain their independence, whilst portions of larger countries are trying to establish their independence,” wrote economist Jeff Thomas in International Man, a finance-oriented publication. “Understandably, they’re meeting with resistance, as it’s usually the areas that are the net-contributors to the larger economy that seek independence, whilst the areas that are the net-recipients wish to take the conglomerate approach (and to continue to eat their neighbor’s lunch).”

Moves to break away from central governments, Thomas continued, are “invariably a bottom-up effort — created by the people.” Efforts to create “a conglomerate state,” on the other hand, tend to be “top-down — created by the political class,” he said, adding that while in the past that was often done through warfare, today, it often happens via treaties. “Political leaders invariably have an insatiable appetite for gobbling up as much real estate as possible,” Thomas observed.


U.S. Foreign Policy: Key Data Points from Pew Research Reply

This data is about a year old, but the numbers are pretty impressive.

Pew Research Center

Growing numbers of Americans believe that U.S. global power and prestige are in decline. 


For the first time in surveys dating to 1974, more than half of the public (53%) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago, according to the Oct.-Nov. 2013 survey. Just 17% say it plays a more important role, while 27% say it is about as important as it was in the past.

Despite the difficult foreign policy problems facing the United States, more Americans want the U.S. to mind its own business abroad and concentrate more on its own national problems.


History and Evolution of the Non-Aligned Movement Reply

Is the Non-Aligned Movement a prototype for a future Free Nations Coalition?

Ministry of External Affairs

Government of India


The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War. During the early days of the Movement, its actions were a key factor in the decolonization process, which led later to the attainment of freedom and independence by many countries and peoples and to the founding of tens of new sovereign States. Throughout its history, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has played a fundamental role in the preservation of world peace and security.

While some meetings with a third-world perspective were held before 1955, historians consider that the Bandung Asian-African Conference is the most immediate antecedent to the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. This Conference was held in Bandung on April 18-24, 1955 and gathered 29 Heads of States belonging to the first post-colonial generation of leaders from the two continents with the aim of identifying and assessing world issues at the time and pursuing out joint policies in international relations.

The principles that would govern relations among large and small nations, known as the “Ten Principles of Bandung”, were proclaimed at that Conference. Such principles were adopted later as the main goals and objectives of the policy of non-alignment. The fulfillment of those principles became the essential criterion for Non-Aligned Movement membership; it is what was known as the “quintessence of the Movement” until the early 1990s.


How would a anarchistic nation defend itself against a foreign invasion? 2


If a resource-rich nation such as America or Canada reverted to a pacifistic anarchistic state, how would it defend itself against an organized invasion by a foreign authoritarian state. A likely scenario being that China or Russia would, having depleted their own resources by the late century, make a play to cease North America’s rich resources. How would informal anarchistic militias defend against a disciplined and technologically advanced land/air/sea/space army of millions of men with access to satellites, drones, and nuclear/chemical/biological weaponry?
There are so many assumptions in this question that need to be unpacked before we could give you proper anarchist answers. You might find something like what you’re looking for here:

Historical Paradigms, Partisan Cycles and the Future of the Anarchist Movement 5

By Keith Preston

Some historians make the credible argument that major historical cycles tend to turn every seventy years or so. For an example of this kind of analysis, see this piece that was written by Steven Yates after the events of September 11, 2001. What this particular model of historical interpretation argues is that every seven decades an older political, economic, cultural, or social paradigm will yield to a new paradigm.

Applied to American history, this method of interpretation might go something like this:


The Fate of Empires 2

By Professor Steven Yates

“Frannie,” he said, and turned her around so he could look into her eyes.

“What, Stuart?”

“Do you think… do you think people ever learn anything?”

She opened her mouth to speak, hesitated, fell silent. The kerosene lamp flickered.

Her eyes seemed very blue.

“I don’t know,” she said at last. She seemed unpleased with her answer; she struggled to say something more; to illuminate her first response; and could only say it again:

I don’t know.

~~Stephen King, The Stand (uncut version, 1990)

We know the old saw: the one thing we learn from history is that no one ever learns anything from history. If true, this would be unfortunate, because history offers gold mines of learning opportunities for those willing to study it.

Most people probably haven’t heard of Sir John Bagot Glubb (1897 – 1986). He was a British soldier who rose in the ranks until he was able to create and, as General, command the Arab Legion military force in Jordan from 1939 to 1956 (it was Transjordan until 1949). He had largely assimilated into Arab culture where he was known as Glubb Pasha. His fortunes dropped along with those of his native Great Britain in 1956. Back home and knighted that year, and with two books about Arab history and culture already behind him, he turned to full-time historical research and writing, producing several more volumes on the Arab world, a world he’d found extremely interesting—and which he’d passionately cared about. He’d noticed some curious parallels between past phases of the Arab world and present phases of his native Great Britain. More study of other cultures and their trajectories led him towards original work on the nature of civilization—in particular, observing the rise and decline of empires. Among these was a Spenglerian essay, “The Fate of Empires” (1976).

It is this essay we are concerned with here. It provides very good reasons for thinking the fate of Anglo-European civilization, including the U.S., is already decided.


Pretty Much Every U.S. Demographic Group Believes Torture Is Justified Reply

It looks like mass democracy is working.

By Mark Strauss

Pretty Much Every U.S. Demographic Group Believes Torture Is JustifiedExpand

The good news: For those who are worried that the nation is more divided than ever, there’s finally one contentious issue that a majority of Americans agree upon. The bad news: Most people are okay with the CIA torturing suspected terrorists.

According to a new poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, 58% said the torture of suspected terrorists could be justified “often” and “sometimes.” But what’s most striking about the survey is that there’s a consensus among demographic groups who typically have dramatically divergent views on social and political issues.

As the Washington Post comments:

Those ideological poles at opposite ends of public opinion aren’t that surprising. But the distribution of demographic groups between them is. A majority of nearly every group — blacks, whites, women, young adults, the elderly, Midwesterners, suburbanites, Catholics, moderates, the wealthy — said that torture of suspected terrorists can be often or sometimes justified.

For instance, traditionally “blue” states in the Northeast and “red” states in the South had identical responses: 43% saying torture was “sometimes” justified, 19% saying “often” justified—a total of 62% in each demographic.

Among those with a high school education or less, a college degree and a post-graduate education, the total responses, respectively, were 59%, 48% and 57%.


Eric Garner, American Occupation, and the Decline of Empire Reply

By Danny Haiphong


The nascent movement against racist police brutality in the US received a boost of energy from the non-indictment of Eric Garner’s murderers in blue. Thousands filled the streets from New York City to Berkeley, California to protest racist injustice and declare #BlackLivesMatter.

In typical fashion, the militarized police and mass incarceration state responded by arresting, beating, and using dangerous weapons like the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) on protesters. The LRAD is a powerful “sound cannon” capable of deafening and causing long term health complications for intended targets. This device has been used by numerous US-backed reactionary governments. During the 2009 Obama-backed coup in Honduras, LRADs were used against supporters of the legitimate party of President Zelaya. The LRAD is also used frequently by Zionist Israel to break the resistance of the Palestinian people.


Why Did They Torture? Reply

By Justin Raimondo


The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on how the US government tortured detainees at Guantanamo and at secret “black sites” all over the world has focused on how they did it: rectal feeding, hanging detainees by their arms, “stress positions,” beatings, etc. The prurience of this focus is fairly obvious, and typical of decadent societies in general – which is not to say that the details of “how” are irrelevant. They underscore the moral bankruptcy of the regime that permitted these practices. Yet this preoccupation with the sordid details tends to overlook the “why” of it – the key to understanding what the neocons in control of the national security apparatus during the Bush years were really after.

They say they were after al-Qaeda’s alleged plans to carry out further strikes on the US homeland and American facilities abroad, but there is evidence in the report that their purpose was much more specific. Major Charles Burney, a psychiatrist who served at the Guantanamo Bay facility, told the committee that “a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq.” That Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon posed a seemingly insoluble problem for the interrogators: however, the failure to produce results did not impress higher-ups in Washington. The torturers were told to get rougher: As Burney testified: “There was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”


Russia and China’s Potential Economic Weapons Against the West Reply

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

Just as Germany had its V weapons, the V-1 and V-2, so Washington now has its S weapon. If another country does something we don’t like, Washington hits it with economic sanctions.

As Iran’s economy shows, sanctions can do a country quite a bit of damage. The burden falls mainly on the middle class; just as in Washington, the elites know how to protect themselves. From Washington’s perspective, sanctions are an ideal weapon, in that they seem to cost us little or nothing.

In fact, they may end up costing us a great deal. All around the world, a state’s legitimacy now depends in no small part on ensuring a growing economy. A state that cannot do that may fail. Because Washington has no understanding of Fourth Generation war, it thinks the result will be merely a new government, one that will bend to Washington’s (and Globalism’s) will. In reality, in a 4GW world, the consequence may be another failed state and the effective conquest of another region by non-state elements.

More, whenever a state thinks it has discovered a new weapon to which there is no reply, its opponents surprise it by coming up with one or several. Other countries are growing tired of Washington dictating to them and threatening sanctions if they do not obey. At least two are not little countries Washington can easily step on. I refer to China and, especially, Russia.


Let’s not kid ourselves: Most Americans are fine with torture, even when you call it “torture” Reply

No surprise here. People are tribal by nature. Most people’s reaction is that “they” (terrorists) did something awful to “us” (Americans). so whatever we do to them is justified.

By Christopher Ingraham

Washington Post

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s five-year investigation into the CIA’s torture of suspected terrorists just came out. There’s plenty in there to shock — for starters, just go to the document and search for “rectal feeding.” The Post has compiled a list of 20 key takeaways from the report, which detail a regime of brutality, incompetence and deceit that have been damaging to the U.S.’s standing abroad.

Good luck trying to convince many Americans of that, though. Polls have shown a public generally supportive of the use of torture to gain information from terrorist suspects, at least in some circumstances, and even when you flat out call it “torture.”

In 2009, the Pew Research Center found that 49 percent of the public said that “the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information” can “often” or “sometimes” be justified. This belief was held by 64 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of Independents and 36 percent of Democrats.

Including the number who say that torture can rarely be justified, 71 percent of Americans accept torture under some circumstances.

Overall 25 percent of respondents said torture could “never” be justified. Fourteen percent of Republicans said the same, compared to 38 percent of Democrats.

While these figures are from 2009, a more recent YouGov poll from 2012 showed similar levels of support for torture among the public overall. A 2014 report by the advocacy group Amnesty International found that U.S. respondents were more supportive of torture than people in other wealthy Western countries.

UPDATE: Pew data from 2011 paints largely the same picture.


The United States of Torture: It’s Who We Are Reply

The great thing about the latest torture revelations is that it confirms one of the main things we anarchists are always saying. The state is no different from the mafia. It exists to control territory, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, exploit subjects, monopolize resources, and expand its own power. When another state or non-state challenger gets in the way, it responds the same way the mafia responds during a dispute over territory and illegal markets.

These revelations help to demystify the state and it self-legitimating ideological superstructure.

Ironically, it’s not really in the interests of the state to use torture when combating fourth generation forces, because the enemy is seen as the underdog. Using torture against an underdog undermines the moral legitimacy of the state, and strengthens the moral legitimacy of the insurgents. Bill Lind explains why here.

By Justin Raimondo


Dianne Feinstein was the canary in the coalmine. If even the senior Senator from California, as stalwart an ally of the CIA and the National Security State as one is likely to find, was upset enough to make such a fuss about the Senate torture report then it had to be pretty awful. The release of the 600-page report summary confirmed our worst suspicions.

After a very Feinstein-ish introduction, filled with self-exculpatory finger-wagging and written in first-person high-drama mode, we learn:

1) It didn’t work. Out of at least 119 detainees held at secret CIA dungeons 39 were tortured: 7 of these produced no intelligence. None produced any intelligence that couldn’t have been gotten by legal means. Alan Dershowitz is going to be very disappointed to learn that, as the report puts it, “At no time did the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of imminent threat intelligence, such as the hypothetical ‘ticking time bomb’ information that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques.”


The Pan-Anarchist 12-Step Program 2

1. Continue to attack all mainstream institutions across the board, until all of the system’s institutions have a single digit approval rating, just as Congress presently does.

2. Continue all dissident movements everywhere, and grow these to the point that they collectively become a majority, and then a super-majority.

3. Promote the idea of secession until a substantive majority of Americans wishes for their state, region, or locality to secede, thereby effectively breaking up the USA.

4. Continue to build support for military non-intervention, which is at an all-time low, across the political spectrum.

5. Continue to build support for anti-police state protests until these become an Eastern Europe circa 1989 moment.

6. Continue to attack the war on drugs which is the foundation of the modern American police state.

7. Continue to grow the libertarian grey tribe as an anti-state opposition force in U.S. politics.

8. Advocate for the city-state system as a practical means of implementing decentralist ideas.

9. Advocate for the repeal of consensual crimes and the surveillance state, the definitive social issues for the grey tribe.

10. Continue to critique red state fascism.

11. Continue to critique blue state totalitarian humanism.

12. Continue to build the pan-anarchist philosophy as the leading revolutionary ideology of the 21st century, comparable to Marxist in the 20th century, and classical liberalism in the 19th century.

Torture Is Also Big Government Reply

Stating the obvious.

By W. James Antle III

The American Conservative

Many conservatives weren’t happy with the release of the Senate CIA torture report. They described its release as reckless endangerment at worst, an attempt to distract from the House’s Jonathan Gruber hearings at best.

But it was fitting to question Gruber and publicize some of the uglier interrogation practices the same day. Both events illustrated the role deceit has played in two of the federal government’s biggest undertakings of the past few years—the remaking of our healthcare system at home and the War on Terror abroad. Both congressional inquiries were attempts, however partisan and imperfect, to arrive at some level of transparency and accountability.

Since when do Republicans believe a congressional investigation is automatically discredited because one party participated while the other stonewalled in defense of a president? Not since Barack Obama has been in office, at least. And John McCain—lest we forget, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee—defended the report’s release by saying “the truth is a hard pill to swallow” but “the American people are entitled to it.”

Fighting terrorism is a tough business, and people who would commit heinous acts certainly cannot be treated with kid gloves. Nevertheless, many of the methods described in the report fit generally accepted definitions of torture. Evidence that “enhanced interrogation” actually enhanced national security is scant.


Ice Water and Sweatboxes: The long and sadistic history behind the CIA’s torture techniques. Reply

The recent revelations are nothing new or out of the ordinary.

By Darius Rejali


“Clean torture” doesn’t leave marks

In the 20th century, there were two main traditions of clean torture—the kind that doesn’t leave marks, as modern torturers prefer. The first is French modern, a combination of water- and electro-torture. The second is Anglo-Saxon modern, a classic list of sleep deprivation, positional and restraint tortures, extremes of temperature, noise, and beatings.


Why We Need a Worldwide Protest Movement Against the War on Drugs on the Scale of the Anti-Vietnam War Movement 2

This event that took place this past June is a prototype for what there needs to be more of. There needs to be mass protests all over the world against the U.S. and U.N.-led War on Drugs that ties all of the relevant issues together: police militarization, civil liberties, the U.S. prison industrial complex, prisoners rights, race and class disparities in criminal justice, medical freedom, mandatory sentencing, police brutality, institutional corruption, Third World poverty, and U.S. imperialism. Such a movement needs to be organized on the level of the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s, the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s, and the Palestinian solidarity movement today.

This is also the idea issue for anarchists, libertarians, and radical anti-statists to asset themselves and become frontline leaders of radical and revolutionary movements all over the world. Anarchists and libertarians, where are you?

Cities Worldwide Protest the War on Drugs

June 26, 2014

By Marya Pasciuto

For decades, government policies against drugs have created problematic situations in virtually every corner of the world, from cartel warfare to rampant incarceration. For many citizens and advocacy organizations, the war on drugs has created more problems than solutions.

On June 26, 2014, citizens of 80 cities across the globe will take to social media, press rooms, and the streets in a joint day of protest declared by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) against the war on drugs. From Nairobi to Rome, hundreds of individual organizations and cities have stepped up to plan their own demonstrations.

As each nation has its own nuanced perspective and experience with the war on drugs, each protest has its own focus and reasons for participating. By participating in a worldwide protest, however, all of the organizations stand as one and become a formidable force against outdated government drug policies gone awry.

World Policy Journal reached out to leaders of war on drugs protests on three continents to provide a sampling of the different campaigns around the world:


Twenty-six Things About the Islamic State (ISIL) that Obama Does Not Want You to Know About Reply

By Michel Chossuovsky

Global Research

The US led war against  the Islamic State is a big lie.

Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “Protect the American Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.  

The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism” 

The Islamic State is protected by the US and its allies. If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June. 

\ More…

The Cat is Out of the Bag Reply

By Keith Preston

For an opposing perspective, see this article by Joseph Nye. For an article that makes comparable arguments, see this piece in Foreign Policy by Gideon Rachman.

When the future history of the former United States of America is written, the pivotal turning point that likely marked the downfall of the USA will be the events of September 11, 2001.

The United States emerged from World War Two as the most powerful nation-state in the world, rivaled only by the second-rate Soviet Union. American hegemony and dominance spread throughout the world as Western Europe became protectorates of the USA, and the colonies of the former European colonial empires in Asia, Africa, and Latin America became U.S. client states. However the postwar era and the late 20th century were also a time of anti-colonial insurgency, leading the U.S. to get bogged down in the anti-colonial war in Indochina and eventually experience defeat. This had the effect of de-legitimizing U.S. militarism to a great degree. More…

The Militia Movement Continues to Grow: Record number of anti-government militias in USA Reply

Dissent is on the rise.

By Donna Leinwand Leger

USA Today

Radical anti-government “patriot” groups and militias, galvanized against gun control, will continue to grow even as the number of groups operating in the USAreached an all-time high in 2012, a report Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds.

The center tracked 1,360 radical militias and anti-government groups in 2012, an eightfold increase over 2008, when it recorded 149 such groups. The explosive growth began four years ago, sparked by the election of President Obama and anger about the poor economy, the center says. That growth is likely to continue as the groups recruit more members with a pro-gun message, the center’s senior fellow Mark Potok said.

President Obama’s second term and a gun control movement bolstered by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School is intensifying anti-government rage and will lead to more growth for the groups, Potok said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights advocacy group based in Montgomery, Ala., defines the patriot movement as groups of people who believe the federal government is conspiring to confiscate Americans’ guns and curtail liberties to create a socialist government or “new order.” Most are non-violent citizens groups. Some groups also include militias, which arm themselves and conduct military-style training, the center said.

Conservative critics say the center uses its rhetoric to undermine right-wing and conservative groups.