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Origins of The Militia Watchdog Archives

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The creator of the Militia Watchdog website is Mark Pitcavage. Mark Pitcavage is a historian who has specialized in the history of right-wing extremism in contemporary America.  He is the Director of Fact Finding for the Anti-Defamation League.

Pitcavage grew up in the border city of El Paso, Texas, and attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He later moved to Ohio in order to complete a Ph.D. in American military and social history at The Ohio State University. His dissertation studied the decline of state militias during the nineteenth century.  His areas of specialization were modern American right-wing extremism and American military history.

It was his research in the historical militia that first interested Pitcavage in the so-called militia movement. Initially only concerned with the particular image of the historical militia that militia groups held, Pitcavage gradually came to realize that the militias were a fascinating subject of study in their own right, and this led him to develop an expertise in modern right-wing extremists. He has been particularly interested in the group Posse Comitatus, active in the 1970s and 1980s, and the influence this group has had on the militia and sovereign citizen movements.

During the summer of 1995, in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and after a fruitful collaboration with Canadian Sheldon Sheps on the historical and legal issues surrounding the militia movement, Pitcavage became aware that the public needed more information on the far right. He decided to develop a World Wide Web site to distribute information on this subject. The Militia Watchdog grew slowly from very primitive beginnings, but eventually achieved respectability as a source of reliable information and discussion on right-wing extremism in this country. 

In early 1996, Pitcavage became involved with, and later the Research Director of,  the SLATT Program. The SLATT Program (State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program) is a Justice Department program designed to educate senior state and local law enforcement officials on domestic terrorism issues. It is conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, a non-profit organization.  Mark Pitcavage was a Senior Research Associate at the Institute.  While involved with the SLATT program, Pitcavage provided training to thousands of law enforcement officers at every level and in every section of the country, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In September 2000, Mark Pitcavage became the Director of Fact-Finding for the Anti-Defamation League, the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism and intolerance.  In this capacity he helps lead ADL's efforts to monitor extremist movements, groups, issues, and leaders.  Pitcavage's work for the ADL, as well as many other fascinating reports and resources, can be found at the League's website at www.adl.org.  

Pitcavage can be reached by e-mail at sparky@adl.org.

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