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What is the Militia Watchdog Mailing List?

The Militia Watchdog Mailing List is one of the most valuable resources on the Internet for those people who want and need to know what is happening in the fascinating and dangerous world of right-wing extremism.  It is a private e-mail mailing list that is only open to people who have a verifiable professional interest in keeping track of the extreme right, anti-government extremists, domestic terrorism and similar subjects.   People who belong to the mailing list can make professional contacts, ask questions and request information, conduct discussions on a variety of subjects and in general enrich their understanding of this complicated subject.  As of early 2001 there were more than 500 subscribers to this elite list, from every profession from cop on the beat to network news producer to district judge to sociology professor.  The list includes not just Americans but subscribers from five continents. 

If you have a verifiable professional interest in the subjects covered here, we invite you to join our Militia Watchdog Mailing List.  Please understand that "professional interest" is rather strictly defined and you shouldn't ask to subscribe if you are "simply interested in following the militia."  We apologize in advance for the fact that we have to keep list membership limited. 

maillst2.jpg (18433 bytes) Militia Watchdog Mailing List (

This form lets you subscribe or unsubscribe to the Militia Watchdog mailing list. If your browser does not support forms, send an email to Put only the word SUBSCRIBE in the body of your message to subscribe; put only the word UNSUBSCRIBE to discontinue a subscription.


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Militia Watchdog Mailing List Rules, Version 2.1

1. The Militia Watchdog Mailing List is a private mailing list dedicated to discussing the right-wing extremist movement commonly referred to as the "patriot movement." This includes but is not necessarily limited to white supremacists, militia groups, sovereign citizens, and tax protesters. Where they intersect with these groups, discussion of anti-abortion extremists, neo-Confederates or property rights (Wise Use) extremists is also encouraged. Other topics possibly allowed include generic problems related to domestic terrorism, hate crimes, and community response to such activities.

2. The Militia Watchdog Mailing List is open to subscribers by invitation or request only. Generally speaking, subscription will be limited to law enforcement professionals, officeholders, legal professionals, members or representatives of anti-hate groups or community action groups, and certain journalists, historians, or other academics specializing or interested in one or more relevant areas. Anybody is free to request membership in the mailing list, but individuals not familiar to the Militia Watchdog or not recommended to the Militia Watchdog by a member may be requested to submit proof of identification. False identification will result in immediate expulsion from the mailing list.  Membership in extremist groups or organizations is also grounds for expulsion.

Membership restrictions are imposed primarily for two reasons:  1) to limit participation in the list to people who have a considerable professional interest in the subject so that list size and "noise" levels may be kept reasonable; and 2) to ensure, so far as possible, that members or sympathizers of extremist groups do not gain access to the list.  

Here are some additional helpful guidelines for specific subcategories:

  • Law Enforcement.  Part-time and reserve police officers do not qualify for the list.  Full-time sworn officers do.  Criminal intelligence analysts working for a law enforcement agency do qualify.  Retired police officers will generally not qualify unless they have had significant experience in dealing with this issue and can contribute their knowledge to the mailing list.  Corrections officers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Military.  Generally speaking, active duty members of the military can qualify if they can demonstrate a full-time responsibility in base protection or security, in equal opportunity or civil rights issues, or in criminal investigations (this includes civilian employees of the military).  Simply having an MP position is usually not enough to qualify.  Full-time National Guard or Reserve members may qualify as above; others may not.  Members of so-called "state defense forces" do not qualify.  Requests from military members may be forwarded to a select committee of current military members of the Mailing List, so please be accurate and precise in your job/responsibility description.

  • Students.  The only students allowed on the list are graduate students pursuing a thesis or dissertation on a related subject.  Confirmation will usually be required by one's thesis or dissertation adviser.

  • Academia.  Academics who have a significant research interest (i.e. past or present publications, etc.) in the subjects covered here may join.  Related fields include but are by no means limited to history, sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, criminal justice, and law.  More distant fields may require an explanation or justification. 

  • Fiction writers.  Generally, writers of fiction do not qualify for the list.  

  • Attorneys who have had experience dealing with extremist individuals in prosections, civil cases or related actions are welcome to apply.  Individuals without a professional interest do not qualify.

  • Activists.  Leaders, employees, and prominent members of established activist groups or organizations qualify, but mere membership in such an organization does not provide qualification, nor does membership in an organization no one has ever heard of. 

  • Journalists.  Most members of the media qualify for the list, but some may not, such as talk show hosts ideologically aligned with the extreme right.   Writers for small alternative publications (for which verification of credentials and non-extremism is often difficult) may find roadblocks.

3. When someone asks to subscribe, they will be sent an automated e-mail message asking them about their professional interest in the subject and requesting verifiable information. Please send enough information so that your identity and occupation can be verified. Otherwise you will not be admitted.

Here is a sample e-mail message for those looking for some guidance as to what information to send.

"Dear Sir or Madam,

I received your automated message asking for information about my professional interest.  My name is XXXX XXXXXXXXX (Badge # XXXX) and I am a thirteen-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department.  I currently work in the area of criminal intelligence; I am also a member of the Atlanta Joint Terrorism Task Force.   My office number is xxx-xxx-xxxx; my home number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.  You can verify my employment with my superior, Captain XXX XXXXX; her number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.   Also, Supervisory Special Agent XXXXXX XXXXXXX of the Atlanta office of the FBI can verify my interest in this subject.  I have been one of a great many officers working on the XXXX XXXXXXX case, as you might have guessed.  If you need any more information, just ask, but I hope this will be sufficient. 

Take it easy,


4. The security measures listed above are designed to allow the fullest means of expression and communication among members of the mailing list. Journalists will only be permitted membership in the mailing list with the express understanding that all comments made on the list by all members are "off the record." All subscribers to the mailing list are requested to respect the privacy and confidentiality of all other subscribers. Any violation to this rule will result in immediate expulsion. Nevertheless, despite these measures, subscribers should be careful about discussing matters such as on-going investigations.

5. The Militia Watchdog Mailing List actually consists of two separate mailing lists.  Most subscribers subscribe to both lists, but you may subscribe to just one of them.  The first list, the Militia Watchdog List, is limited to requests for information and answers to such requests, news reports, heads ups and alerts, and very limited discussion/debate.  The second list is the Militia Watchdog Discussion List, which is specifically for extended discussion, debate, argument and analysis of the many complex issues that surround the subject of anti-government extremism. 

If you already know that you only wish to belong, for instance, to the basic list, please include this request when you send in your professional information.   Otherwise you will be by default added to both lists.  Of course, you can always drop a list later.

6.  Subscribers are asked to stay on topic.  While it is recognized that there are occasionally borderline areas that may or may not be suitable for the mailing list, and these are tolerated as list traffic permits, subscribers should realize that most people join the list expecting certain content and become angry when the list is "clogged" with offtopic posts.  Mailing List moderators may ask you to take offtopic discussions to e-mail or may declare certain areas off-topic.  In a perfect world with unlimited time and bandwidth, a much more freewheeling discussion would be allowed, but we are forced to be relatively strict in this regard.  While all content posted to the list needs to have an extremist-related context, the rules are particularly strict with regard to postings involving gun rights/control issues and abortion issues.  This is because these are particularly controversial issues which can easily cause arguments.

7.  Subscribers are also asked to practice established Mailing List courtesies.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Please do not respond with a "Me Too!"  or "I agree!" post to the entire Mailing List.  These usually mean that other subscribers are forced to download long quoted passages with only one or two words of original material.  This is very discourteous.

  • Please do not post editorial comments to the non-discussion Mailing List.

  • Please do not carbon copy responses to both the Mailing List and the private e-mail address of the person to whom you are responding.  This means that that person will have to download your message twice.

  • Please do not post virus warnings that you may have come across.

  • Please be very conservative about posting "humorous" snippets that others may have forwarded to you.

  • Please do not post to the entire list messages which essentially are administrative requests for the moderators.  Otherwise, you require the entire subscriber list to download your message to one person.

  • As a general rule, before you post, consider whether your message should be sent by private e-mail to the person to whom you are responding, or to the whole list.

  • Attached files are not allowed, nor are binaries.

8.  Subscribers are expected to be polite and professional to other members of the newsgroup. Disagreement is not only permitted but encouraged, but personal attacks are not allowed.  If you think your response may be "borderline," you should send it via private e-mail rather than to the entire list.  The list includes people with a wide variety of experiences, backgrounds, political ideologies and opinions.  The list also includes discussion of a variety of potentially controversial subjects.  Because of these facts, subscribers are asked to exercise particular restraint so that the mailing list does not degenerate into endless bickering and arguing.

9. Minor infractions of mailing list rules will result in a warning by a moderator. A subsequent infraction will result in temporary or permanent expulsion.   Major infractions will result in expulsion. All mailing list policies are designed to facilitate conversation, discussion and problem-solving and to remove impediments to communication. Any questions about policy should be addressed to

10. The Mailing Lists are not "secure" lists.  It is impossible to guarantee that the lists are free of extremists, because unfortunately some extremists may satisfy the professional criteria and gain access to the list that way.  Therefore highly sensitive information or requests should not be posted to the Mailing List.  Contact the list moderator if you have any questions.

11. IMPORTANT NOTE:  Currently requests to join the Militia Watchdog Mailing List are processed in BATCHES when the number of requests reaches a certain size.  This is done to minimize the amount of time needed for the moderators to perform this task, but it does result in DELAYS.  Please do not expect your request to be processed immediately.  If several weeks have gone by and you have not been admitted to the list or been sent a list explaining why your request was denied, please contact us again. 



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Mark Pitcavage E-Mail