Oklahoma, Militias & Conspiracy Theories
The Oklahoma City bombing was the single most deadly act of terrorism in U.S. history. The media immediately blamed Muslims, Arabs and Islam. The revelation that the bombing was home-grown stunned the country. In the last decade there has been a growth in what are called militias. Many of their members believe in various conspiracy theories. Perhaps the most common one involves the Trilateral Commission. A key factor in the development of paramilitary formations is the deteriorating economic situation. Most of these groups are based in rural areas, where small farms and the traditional way of life have rather suddenly disappeared. Wages have been stagnant or declining for twenty years. Poverty is increasing. Many of the new jobs are temporary, low-wage and dead-end. People are justifiably angry. Right-wing radio talk show hosts provide not answers but scapegoats. In such an atmosphere, wild theories are able to take root and influence people. Interview by David Barsamian.
Chip Berlet is an investigative journalist and coordinator of the Building Human Rights Network. His byline has appeared in scores of publications, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Progressive. For many years he served as senior analyst at Political Research Associates.
Holly Sklar writes for The Nation, Z, USA Today, and other journals and newspapers. She’s the author of Trilateralism, Streets of Hope, and Chaos or Community?: Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics.