For over four thousand years, MEGIDDO, a hill in northern Israel, has been the
site of many battles. Ancient cities were established there to serve as a
fortress on the plain of Jezreel to guard a mountain pass. As Megiddo was built
and rebuilt, one city upon the other, a mound or hill was formed. The Hebrew
word "Armageddon" means "hill of Megiddo." In English, the word has come to
represent battle itself. The last book in the New Testament of the Bible
designates Armageddon as the assembly point in the apocalyptic setting of God's
final and conclusive battle against evil. The name "Megiddo" is an apt title
for a project that analyzes those who believe the year 2000 will usher in the
end of the world and who are willing to perpetrate acts of violence to bring
that end about.
The year 2000 is being discussed and debated at all levels of society. Most of
the discussions regarding this issue revolve around the topic of technology and
our society's overwhelming dependence on the multitude of computers and
computer chips which make our world run smoothly. However, the upcoming
millennium also holds important implications beyond the issue of computer
technology. Many extremist individuals and groups place some significance on
the next millennium, and as such it will present challenges to law enforcement
at many levels. The significance is based primarily upon either religious
beliefs relating to the Apocalypse or political beliefs relating to the New
World Order (NWO) conspiracy theory. The challenge is how well law enforcement
will prepare and respond.
The following report, entitled "Project Megiddo," is intended to analyze the
potential for extremist criminal activity in the United States by individuals
or domestic extremist groups who profess an apocalyptic view of the millennium
or attach special significance to the year 2000. The purpose behind this
assessment is to provide law enforcement agencies with a clear picture of
potential extremism motivated by the next millennium. The report does not
contain information on domestic terrorist groups whose actions are not
influenced by the year 2000.
There are numerous difficulties involved in providing a thorough analysis of
domestic security threats catalyzed by the new millennium. Quite simply, the
very nature of the current domestic terrorism threat places severe limitations
on effective intelligence gathering and evaluation. Ideological and
philosophical belief systems which attach importance, and possibly violence, to
the millennium have been well-articulated. From a law enforcement perspective,
the problem therefore is not a lack of understanding of motivating ideologies:
The fundamental problem is that the traditional focal point for
counterterrorism analysis -- the terrorist group -- is not always well-defined
or relevant in the current environment.
The general trend in domestic extremism is the terrorist's disavowal of
traditional, hierarchical, and structured terrorist organizations. Even
well-established militias, which tend to organize along military lines with
central control, are characterized by factionalism and disunity. While several
"professional" terrorist groups still exist and present a continued threat to
domestic security, the overwhelming majority of extremist groups in the United
States have adopted a fragmented, leaderless structure where individuals or
small groups act with autonomy. Clearly, the worst act of domestic terrorism in
United States history was perpetrated by merely two individuals: Timothy
McVeigh and Terry Nichols. In many cases, extremists of this sort are extremely
difficult to identify until after an incident has occurred. Thus, analysis of
domestic extremism in which the group serves as the focal point of evaluation
has obvious limitations.
The Project Megiddo intelligence initiative has identified very few indications
of specific threats to domestic security. Given the present nature of domestic
extremism, this is to be expected. However, this is a function of the
limitations of the group-oriented model of counterterrorism analysis and should
not be taken necessarily as reflective of a minor or trivial domestic threat.
Without question, this initiative has revealed indicators of potential violent
activity on the part of extremists in this country. Militias, adherents of
racist belief systems such as Christian Identity and Odinism, and other radical
domestic extremists are clearly focusing on the millennium as a time of action.
Certain individuals from these various perspectives are acquiring weapons,
storing food and clothing, raising funds through fraudulent means, procuring
safe houses, preparing compounds, surveying potential targets, and recruiting
new converts. These and other indicators are not taking place in a vacuum, nor
are they random or arbitrary. In the final analysis, while making specific
predictions is extremely difficult, acts of violence in commemoration of the
millennium are just as likely to occur as not. In the absence of intelligence
that the more established and organized terrorist groups are planning
millennial violence as an organizational strategy, violence is most likely to
be perpetrated by radical fringe members of established groups. For example,
while Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler publicly frowns on proactive
violence, adherents of his religion or individual members of his organization
may commit acts of violence autonomously
Potential cult-related violence presents additional challenges to law
enforcement. The potential for violence on behalf of members of
biblically-driven cults is determined almost exclusively by the whims of the
cult leader. Therefore, effective intelligence and analysis of such cults
requires an extensive understanding of the cult leader. Cult members generally
act to serve and please the cult leader rather than accomplish an ideological
objective. Almost universally, cult leaders are viewed as messianic in the eyes
of their followers. Also, the cult leader's prophecies, preachings, orders, and
objectives are subject to indiscriminate change. Thus, while analysis of
publicly stated goals and objectives of cults may provide hints about their
behavior and intentions, it is just as likely to be uninformed or, at worst,
misleading. Much more valuable is a thorough examination of the cult leader,
his position of power over his followers, and an awareness of the responding
behavior and activity of the cult. Sudden changes in activity - for example,
less time spent on "Bible study" and more time spent on "physical training" -
indicate that the cult may be preparing for some type of action.
The millennium holds special significance for many, and as this pivotal point
in time approaches, the impetus for the initiation of violence becomes more
acute. Several religiously motivated groups envision a quick, fiery ending in
an apocalyptic battle. Others may initiate a sustained campaign of terrorism in
the United States to prevent the NWO. Armed with the urgency of the millennium
as a motivating factor, new clandestine groups may conceivably form to engage
in violence toward the U.S. Government or its citizens.
Most importantly, this analysis clearly shows that perceptions matter. The
perceptions of the leaders and followers of extremist organizations will
contribute much toward the ultimate course of action they choose. For example,
in-depth analysis of Y2K compliancy on the part of various key sectors that
rely on computers has determined that, despite a generally positive outlook for
overall compliance, there will be problem industries and minor difficulties and
inconveniences. If they occur, these inconveniences are likely to cause
varying responses by the extreme fringes. Members of various militia groups,
for example, have identified potentially massive power failures as an
indication of a United Nations-directed NWO takeover. While experts have
indicated that only minor brownouts will occur, various militias are likely to
perceive such minor brownouts as indicative of a larger conspiracy.
The Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem has stated
that some state and local governments could be unprepared, including the
inability to provide benefits payments. This could have a significant impact
in major urban areas, resulting in the possibility for civil unrest. Violent
white supremacists are likely to view such unrest as an affirmation of a
racist, hate-filled world view. Likewise, militia members who predict the
implementation of martial law in response to a Y2K computer failure would
become all the more fearful.
Are we already living on the precipice of the Apocalypse - the chaotic final
period of warfare between the forces of good and evil signaling the second
coming of Christ, as forecast in the New Testament's Book of Revelation? Or,
will life on earth continue for another 1,000 years, allowing humans to
eliminate disease and solve the mysteries of the aging process so they can live
as long as Methuselah, colonize space, commune with extraterrestrials, unravel
the secrets of teleportation, and usher in a golden age of peace and
At first glance, some of the predictions compiled in Prophecies for the New
Millennium that claim to foretell how the millennium will affect the United
States seem benign. In fact, those predictions capture some of the countless
ways that domestic terrorists view how the millennium will affect the world.
The threat posed by extremists as a result of perceived events associated with
the Year 2000 (Y2K) is very real.
Numerous religious extremists claim that a race war will soon begin, and have
taken steps to become martyrs in their predicted battle between good and evil.
Three recent incidents committed by suspects who adhere to ideologies that
emphasize millennial related violence illustrate those beliefs: Buford O.
Furrow, Jr., the man charged in the August 1999 shootings at a Los Angeles area
Jewish day care center, told authorities "its time for America to wake and kill
the jews"; Ben Smith, who committed suicide after shooting at minorities in
Indiana and Illinois, killing two and injuring ten, over the July 4, 1999
weekend, was found to have literature in his home that indicated the year 2000
would be the start of the killing of minorities; and John William King, the man
convicted in the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr., a black man in Jasper,
Texas, believed that his actions would help to initiate a race war. Each of
these men believed in the imminence of a racial holy war.
Meanwhile, for members of the militia movement the new millennium has a
political overtone rather than a religious one. It is their belief that the
United Nations has created a secret plan, known as the New World Order (NWO),
to conquer the world beginning in 2000. The NWO will be set in motion by the
Y2K computer crisis.
Religious motivation and the NWO conspiracy theory are the two driving forces
behind the potential for millennial violence. As the end of the millennium
draws near, biblical prophecy and political philosophy may merge into acts of
violence by the more extreme members of domestic terrorist groups that are
motivated, in part, by religion. The volatile mix of apocalyptic religions and
NWO conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end
of the world as prophesied in the Bible.
When and how Christ's second coming will occur is a critical point in the
ideology of those motivated by extremist religious beliefs about the
millennium. There is no consensus within Christianity regarding the specific
date that the Apocalypse will occur. However, within many right-wing religious
groups there is a uniform belief that the Apocalypse is approaching. Some of
these same groups also point to a variety of non-religious indicators such as
gun control, the Y2K computer problem, the NWO, the banking system, and a host
of other "signs" that the Apocalypse is near. Almost uniformly, the belief
among right-wing religious extremists is that the federal government is an arm
of Satan. Therefore, the millennium will bring about a battle between Christian
martyrs and the government. At the core of this volatile mix is the belief of
apocalyptic religions and cults that the battle against Satan, as prophesied in
the Book of Revelation, will begin in 2000.
An example of the confrontational nature and belief system of religiously
motivated suspects illustrates the unique challenges that law enforcement faces
when dealing with a fatalist/martyr philosophy. It also illustrates the domino
effect that may occur after such a confrontation. Gordon Kahl, an adherent to
the anti-government/racist Christian Identity religion, escaped after a 1983
shootout with police that left two Deputy U.S. Marshals dead. He was later
killed during a subsequent shootout with the FBI and others that also left a
county sheriff dead. In response to the killing of Kahl, Bob Mathews, a
believer in the racist Odinist ideology, founded The Order. After The Order
committed numerous crimes, its members were eventually tracked down. Mathews
escaped after engaging in a gun battle and later wrote, "Why are so many men so
eager to destroy their own kind for the benefit of the Jews and the mongrels? I
see three FBI agents hiding behind some trees . . . I could have easily killed
them . . . They look like good racial stock yet all their talents are given to
a government which is openly trying to mongrelize the very race these agents
are part of . . . I have been a good soldier, a fearless warrior. I will die
with honor and join my brothers in [heaven]." Exemplifying his beliefs as a
martyr, Mathews later burned to death in an armed standoff with the FBI.
In light of the enormous amount of millennial rhetoric, the FBI sought to
analyze a number of variables that have the potential to spark violent acts
perpetrated by domestic terrorists. Religious beliefs, the Y2K computer
problem, and gun control laws all have the potential to become catalysts for
such terrorism. The following elements are essential to understanding the
phenomenon of domestic terrorism related to the millennium:
When Does the New Millennium Begin?
As the nation and the world prepare to celebrate the arrival of the new
millennium, a debate has arisen as to the correct date for its beginning.
Although the true starting point of the next millennium is January 1, 2001, as
established by the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., our nation's
official time keeper, many will celebrate January 1, 2000, as the start of the
millennium. The majority of domestic terrorists, like the general public, place
a greater significance on January 1, 2000.
Blueprint for Action: The Turner Diaries
Many right-wing extremists are inspired by The Turner Diaries, a book written
by William Pierce (under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald), the leader of the
white supremacist group National Alliance. The book details a violent overthrow
of the federal government by white supremacists and also describes a brutal
race war that is to take place simultaneously. To date, several groups or
individuals have been inspired by this book:
* At the time of his arrest, Timothy McVeigh, the man responsible for the
Oklahoma City bombing, had a copy of The Turner Diaries in his possession.
McVeigh's action against the Murrah Federal Building was strikingly similar to
an event described in the book where the fictional terrorist group blows up FBI
* The Order, an early 1980s terrorist cell involved in murder, robberies, and
counterfeiting, was motivated by the book's scenarios for a race war. The group
murdered Alan Berg, a Jewish talk show host, and engaged in other acts of
violence in order to hasten the race war described in the book. The Order's
efforts later inspired another group, The New Order, which planned to commit
similar crimes in an effort to start a race war that would lead to a violent
* Most recently, The Turner Diaries provided inspiration to John William King,
the man convicted for dragging a black man to his death in Jasper, Texas. As
King shackled James Byrd's legs to the back of his truck he was reported to
say, "We're going to start the Turner Diaries early."
During the year 2000 and beyond, The Turner Diaries will be an inspiration for
right-wing terrorist groups to act because it outlines both a revolutionary
takeover of the government and a race war. These elements of the book appeal to
a majority of right-wing extremists because it is their belief that one or both
events will coincide with Y2K.
Interpretations of the Bible
Religiously based domestic terrorists use the New Testament's Book of
Revelation -- the prophecy of the endtime -- for the foundation of their belief
in the Apocalypse. Religious extremists interpret the symbolism portrayed in
the Book of Revelation and mold it to predict that the endtime is now and that
the Apocalypse is near. To understand many religious extremists, it is crucial
to know the origin of the Book of Revelation and the meanings of its words,
numbers and characters.
The Book of Revelation was written by a man named "John" who was exiled by the
Roman government to a penal colony - the island of Patmos - because of his
beliefs in Christ. While on the island, he experienced a series of visions,
described in the Book of Revelation. The writing in the Book of Revelation is
addressed to churches who were at the time experiencing or were threatened by
persecution from Rome because they were not following the government. For this
reason, some believe the Book of Revelation was written in code language, much
of which was taken from other parts of the Bible
One interpretation describing the essence of the message contained in
Revelation is that God will overcome Christianity's enemies (Roman
Government/Satan) and that the persecuted communities should persevere. For
right-wing groups who believe they are being persecuted by the satanic
government of the United States, the Book of Revelation's message fits
perfectly into their world view. This world view, in combination with a literal
interpretation of the Book of Revelation, is reflected in extremist ideology,
violent acts, and literature. For this reason, it is imperative to know the
meaning of some of the "code words" frequently used:
· Four (4) signifies the world.
· Six (6) signifies imperfection.
· Seven (7) is the totality of perfection or fullness and completeness.
· Twelve (12) represents the twelve tribes of Israel or the 12 apostles.
· One-thousand (1000) signifies immensity.
· The color white symbolizes power and can also represent victory, joy and
· The color red symbolizes a bloody war.
· The color black symbolizes famine.
· A rider on a pale green horse is a symbol of Death itself.
· "Babylon" is the satanic Roman Government, now used to describe the U.S.
Black Hebrew Israelites, a black supremacist group, typify the use of
numerology from the Book of Revelation. They believe group members will
comprise the 144,000 people who are saved by God in the second coming that is
outlined in Revelation (7:1-17). In the Book of Revelation, John is shown a
vision of 144,000 martyrs who have survived and did not submit to Satan. This
number is derived from the assertion that the twelve tribes of Israel consisted
of 12,000 people each.
Groups not only use the Bible to interpret the endtimes, but use it to justify
their ideology. Phineas Priests, an amorphous group of Christian Identity
adherents, base their entire ideology on Chapter 25 of the Book of Numbers. The
passage depicts a scene where Phineas kills an Israelite who was having
relations with a Midianite woman and God then granted Phineas and all of his
descendants a pledge of everlasting priesthood. Modern day followers of the
Phineas Priest ideology believe themselves to be the linear descendants of
Phineas and this passage gives them biblical justification to punish those who
transgress God's laws. Therefore, the group is ardently opposed to race mixing
and strongly believes in racial separation. The number 25 is often used as a
symbol of the group.
Apocalyptic Religious Beliefs
To understand the mind set of why religious extremists would actively seek to
engage in violent confrontations with law enforcement, the most common
extremist ideologies must be understood. Under these ideologies, many
extremists view themselves as religious martyrs who have a duty to initiate or
take part in the coming battles against Satan. Domestic terrorist groups who
place religious significance on the millennium believe the federal government
will act as an arm of Satan in the final battle. By extension, the FBI is
viewed as acting on Satan's behalf.
The philosophy behind targeting the federal government or entities perceived to
be associated with it is succinctly described by Kerry Noble, a former
right-wing extremist. He says the right-wing "envision[s] a dark and gloomy
endtime scenario, where some Antichrist makes war against Christians." The
House of Yahweh, a Texas based religious group whose leaders are former members
of the tax protesting Posse Comitatus, is typical: Hawkins (the leader) has
interpreted biblical scripture that the Israeli Peace Accord signed on October
13, 1993, has started a 7-year period of tribulation which will end on October
14, 2000, with the return of the Yeshua (the Messiah). He also has
interpreted that the FBI will be the downfall of the House of Yahweh and that
the Waco Branch Davidian raids in 1993 were a warning to The House of Yahweh
from the federal government, which he terms "the beast." Similarly, Richard
Butler, leader of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations, said the following
when asked what might have motivated the day care shooting by Buford O. Furrow,
Jr., one of his group's followers: "There's a war against the white race.
There's a war of extermination against the white male."
The New World Order Conspiracy Theory and the Year 2000 Computer Bug
Unlike religiously based terrorists, militia anxiety and paranoia specifically
relating to the year 2000 are based mainly on a political ideology. Some
militia members read significance into 2000 as it relates to their conception
of the NWO conspiracy. The NWO conspiracy theory holds that the United
Nations (UN) will lead a military coup against the nations of the world to form
a socialist or One World Government. UN troops, consisting mostly of foreign
armies, will commence a military takeover of America. The UN will mainly use
foreign troops on American soil because foreigners will have fewer reservations
about killing American citizens. U.S. armed forces will not attempt to stop
this invasion by UN troops and, in fact, the U.S. military may be "deputized"
as a branch of the UN armed forces. The American military contingent overseas
will also play a large part in this elaborate conspiracy theory, as they will
be used to help conquer the rest of the world. The rationale for this part of
the theory is that American soldiers will also have less qualms about killing
foreigners, as opposed to killing their own citizens.
Under this hypothetical NWO/One World Government, the following events are to
take place: 1) private property rights and private gun ownership will be
abolished; 2) all national, state and local elections will become meaningless,
since they will be controlled by the UN; 3) the U.S. Constitution will be
supplanted by the UN charter; 4) only approved churches and other places of
worship will be permitted to operate and will become appendages of the One
World Religion, which will be the only legitimate doctrine of religious beliefs
and ethical values; 5) home schooling will be outlawed and all school
curriculum will need to be approved by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and 6) American military bases
and other federal facilities will be used as concentration camps by the UN to
confine those patriots, including the militias, who defy the NWO. Other groups
beside the UN that are often mentioned as being part of the NWO conspiracy
theory are Jews, Communists, the Council on Foreign Relations, the
Bilderbergers and the Trilateral Commission. Law enforcement officials will
probably notice different versions of this theory, depending upon the
The NWO conspiracy theory is particularly relevant to the millennium because
the year 2000 is considered to be a triggering device for the NWO due to the
element of computer breakdown. Many computers around the world are based on a
numerical system in which the year is only registered by the last two digits. A
number of militia members accept the theory that on January 1, 2000, many
computers will misinterpret this date as January 1, 1900, and malfunction
and/or shut down completely. They further believe that these major computer
malfunctions will cause widespread chaos at all levels of society- economic,
social and political. This chaos will theoretically create a situation in which
American civilization will collapse, which will then produce an environment
that the UN will exploit to forcibly take over the United States. Therefore,
these militia members (as well as other groups) believe that the year 2000 will
be the catalyst for the NWO.
According to James Wickstrom, former leader of the defunct Posse Comitatus and
"Minister" of the True Church of Israel, anyone who holds any powerful
political influence knows that the Y2K crisis may be the final fuse that will
lead to the NWO that "David Rockefeller and the rest of his satanic jew
seedline desire to usher in upon the earth." He claims that Jews have
conspired to create the Y2K problem and that the prospect of impending computer
failure is very real. Similarly, The New American, an organ of the
ultraconservative John Birch Society, speculates that the Y2K bug could be
America's Reichstag fire, a reference to the 1933 arson attack on Germany's
Parliament building that was used by Hitler as an excuse to enact police state
laws. Similar to this train of thought, Norm Olson, leader of the Northern
Michigan Regional Militia, believes constitutional rights probably will be
suspended before the real crisis hits. He states: "It will be the worst time
for humanity since the Noahic flood."
However, there are some extremists who do not attach any major significance to
the Y2K problem. In his article, "The Millennium Bug and `Mainstreaming' the
News," William Pierce of the National Alliance tells his followers not to
worry, or at least, not to worry very much about the Y2K issue. Pierce predicts
that the main event that will occur on New Year's Day 2000 is that crazed
millennialists will go "berserk when the Second Coming fails to occur." Also,
"a few right-wing nuts may launch a premature attack on the government,
figuring that without its computers the government won't be able to fight
back." Pierce claims that the lights will remain on, and that airplanes will
not fall from the sky. He says that he is able to make such a prediction with
some degree of confidence because, "contrary to what some cranks would have you
believe, the computer professionals and the government have been working on the
Y2K problem for some time."
Gun Control Laws
The passage of the Brady Bill and assault weapons ban in 1994 were interpreted
by those in the militia movement and among the right-wing as the first steps
towards disarming citizens in preparation for the UN-led NWO takeover. Some are
convinced that the registration of gun owners is in preparation for a
confiscation of firearms and eventually the arrest of the gun owners
themselves. An article by Larry Pratt, Executive Director for Gun Owners of
America, interprets a 1995 UN study of small arms, done reportedly in
cooperation with U.S. police, customs and military services, as part of the
UN's plan to take over the U.S. Pratt goes on to say that the "UN is
increasingly assuming the jurisdictional authority of a federal world
government with the U.S. as just one of scores of member states. And gun
control -- meaning civilian disarmament -- is high up on the agenda of the
UN." Speculation like this only serves to fuel the already existing
paranoia of militia and patriot groups.
The right-wing believes that many of the restrictions being placed on the
ownership of firearms today mirror events in The Turner Diaries. In his book,
Pierce writes about the United States government banning the private possession
of firearms and staging gun raids in an effort to arrest gun owners. The book
discusses the government/police use of black men, assigned as "special
deputies" to carry out the gun raids. Many members of the right-wing movement
view the book as prophetic, believing that it is only a matter of time before
these events occur in real life.
In the aftermath of the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, President
Clinton, Congress, and Attorney General Reno acted swiftly to propose new laws
aimed at restricting the sales of guns to juveniles and to close loopholes in
existing laws. In May 1999, the Senate passed a bill to ban the importation of
high capacity ammunition magazines and require background checks for guns sold
at gun shows. In light of the enormous importance and prominent role that
extremist groups place on the Second Amendment, it is probable that recent
government actions aimed at controlling guns are perceived to be compelling
signs of the UN-led NWO takeover....
The city of Jerusalem, cherished by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, faces
many serious challenges as the year 2000 approaches. As already evidenced by
the deportation of various members of the religious cult known as the Concerned
Christians, zealotry from all three major monotheistic religions is
particularly acute in Israel, where holy shrines, temples, churches, and
mosques are located. While events surrounding the millennium in Jerusalem are
much more problematic for the Israeli government than for the United States,
the potential for violent acts in Jerusalem will cause reverberations around
the world, including the United States. The extreme terrorist fringes of
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all present in the United States. Thus,
millennial violence in Jerusalem could conceivably lead to violence in the
United States as well.
Within Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, holds a special
significance for both Muslims and Jews. The Temple Mount houses the third
holiest of all Islamic sites, the Dome of the Rock. Muslims believe that the
prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven from a slab of stone -- the "Rock of
Foundation"-- located in the center of what is now the Dome of the Rock. In
addition, when Arab armies conquered Jerusalem in 638 A.D., the Caliph Omar
built the al-Aqsa Mosque facing the Dome of the Rock on the opposite end of the
Temple Mount. The Western (or Wailing) Wall, the last remnant of the second
Jewish temple that the Romans destroyed in 70 A.D., stands at the western base
of the Temple Mount. The Western Wall has long been a favorite pilgrimage site
for Jews, and religious men and women pray there on a daily basis. Thus, the
Temple Mount is equally revered by Jews as the site upon which the first and
second Jewish Temples stood.
Israeli officials are extremely concerned that the Temple Mount, an area
already seething with tension and distrust among Jews and Muslims, will be the
stage for violent encounters between religious zealots. Most troubling is the
fact that an act of terrorism need not be the catalyst that sparks widespread
violence. Indeed, a simple symbolic act of desecration, or even perceived
desecration, of any of the holy sites on the Temple Mount is likely to trigger
a violent reaction. For example, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected
to coincide with the arrival of the year 2000. Thus, even minor provocations on
or near the Temple Mount may provide the impetus for a violent
The implications of pilgrimages to Jerusalem by vast numbers of tourists are
ominous, particularly since such pilgrimages are likely to include millennial
or apocalyptic cults on a mission to hasten the arrival of the Messiah. There
is general concern among Israeli officials that Jewish and Islamic extremists
may react violently to the influx of Christians, particularly near the Temple
Mount. The primary concern is that extreme millennial cults will engage in
proactive violence designed to hasten the second coming of Christ. Perhaps the
most likely scenario involves an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of
the Rock. Some millennial cults hold that these structures must be destroyed so
that the Jewish Temple can be rebuilt, which they see as a prerequisite for the
return of the Messiah. Additionally, several religious cults have already made
inroads into Israel, apparently in preparation for what they believe to be the
It is beyond the scope of this document to assess the potential repercussions
from an attack on Jewish or Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. It goes without
saying, however, that an attack on the Dome of the Rock or the Al-Aqsa Mosque
would have serious implications. In segments of the Islamic world, close
political and cultural ties between Israel and the United States are often
perceived as symbolic of anti-Islamic policies by the Western world. Attacks on
Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly by Christian or Jewish
extremists, are likely to be perceived by Islamic extremists as attacks on
Islam itself. Finally, the possibility exists that Islamic extremist groups
will capitalize upon the huge influx of foreigners into Jerusalem and engage in
a symbolic attack.
Extremists from various ideological perspectives attach significance to the
arrival of the year 2000, and there are some signs of preparations for
violence. The significance of the new millennium is based primarily upon either
religious beliefs relating to the Apocalypse/Armageddon, or political beliefs
relating to the New World Order conspiracy theory. The challenge to law
enforcement is to understand these extremist theories and, if any incidents do
occur, be prepared to respond to the unique crises they will represent.
Law enforcement officials should be particularly aware that the new millennium
may increase the odds that extremists may engage in proactive violence
specifically targeting law enforcement officers. Religiously motivated
extremists may initiate violent conflicts with law enforcement officials in an
attempt to facilitate the onset of Armageddon, or to help fulfill a "prophesy."
For many on the extreme right-wing, the battle of Armageddon is interpreted as
a race war to be fought between Aryans and the "satanic" Jews and their allies.
Likewise, extremists who are convinced that the millennium will lead to a One
World Government may choose to engage in violence to prevent such a situation
from occurring. In either case, extremists motivated by the millennium could
choose martyrdom when approached or confronted by law enforcement officers.
Thus, law enforcement officials should be alert for the following: 1) plans to
initiate conflict with law enforcement; 2) the potential increase in the number
of extremists willing to become martyrs; and 3) the potential for a quicker
escalation of conflict during routine law enforcement activities (e.g. traffic
stops, issuance of warrants, etc.).
 U.S. Congress, Senate, Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology
Problem, Investigating the Impact of the Year 2000 Problem, February 24, 1996,
 Ibid, p. 3.
 Ibid. p. 5.
 Cliff Linedecker, Prophecies for the New Millennium (Lantana, FL:
Micromags, 1999), p. 3-4.
 Charles Bosworth Jr., "Illinois Man Sought Start of Race War," St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, March 15, 1998.
6 Paul Duggan, "From Beloved Son to Murder Suspect," The Washington Post,
February 16, 1999.
 While he never claimed to be the book's author, the Apostle John was
identified as such by several of the early church Fathers. Authorship is
generally ascribed to him today.
 This interpretation of the Book of Revelation is according to the Catholic
Bible and a Catholic scholar that was consulted on the matter. However, there
are other varying interpretations of the Book of Revelation within
 All symbolism was taken from The Catholic Bible; New American Bible
 Kerry Noble, Tabernacle of Hate: Why they Bombed Oklahoma City (Prescott,
Ontario, Canada: Voyageur Publishing, 1998).
 Robert Draper, "Happy Doomsday," Texas Monthly, July 1997, p.74; Evan
Moore, "A House Divided: Tensions divide Abilene-area cult," The Houston
Chronicle, March 24, 1996.
 Evan Moore, "A House Divided: Tensions divide Abilene-area cult," The
Houston Chronicle, March 24, 1996.
 John K. Wiley, "Profile of attack suspect is familiar and frightening,"
The Miami Herald, August 12, 1999.
 Use of this term within militia circles became more common after President
Bush starting using it to refer to the state of world affairs after the
collapse of the USSR at the end of the Cold War and in the context of using
international organizations to assist in governing international relations. The
term One World Government is also used as a synonym for the New World Order.
 James P. Wickstrom, "Intelligence Update," October 1998, accessed at
 See Fall 1998 edition of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence
Report, "Millennium Y2KAOS."
 William Pierce, "The Millennium Bug and 'Mainstreaming' the News,"
accessed at www.natvan.com.
[18 ]Larry Pratt, "The United Nations: Pressing for U.S. Gun Control," accessed
 Arabs refer to this site as Haram al-Sharif, which is Arabic for "Noble
Sanctuary." Israelis refer to it as Har HaBayit, which is Hebrew for "Temple
Mount." American news organizations almost always refer to it as the Temple
Mount. Therefore, for the sake of simplicity and continuity, the term Temple
Mount will be used in this report when referring to this
section of Jerusalem.
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