Sunday, October 22, 2006

THE MILITIA MOVEMENT: Enemy or Pawn of the State

This piece was actually written during the Clinton administration but there is information there that sheds an unwholesome light on the political climate of America today. Here, we begin to see where the seeds of the 2000 right-wing, Florida coup were planted. Can you say Y2KKK?

First, a snip: "Clinton is now the first and only president to have been jeered and booed by the cadets when he addressed the graduation ceremonies at West Point. This kind of open alienation of military troops from their commander in chief is the necessary prerequisite for a classical coup d'etat of the sort which conventional wisdom maintains "can't happen here."



THE MILITIA MOVEMENT: Enemy or Pawn of the State


Since the cataclysmic April 19 blast at the Oklahoma City federal building, which left over 150 dead, the news media have finally started to focus on the rapidly_ growing Militia movement. Now organizing in some 20 states around the country, this homespun paramilitary movement apparently stands for local political autonomy and thinks the federal government is the pawn of a United Nations conspiracy to take over America. But in this era of "free trade" and radical industry deregulation, the Militia agenda actually reflects much of the rhetoric and political program which is issuing from Washington.

Lines are being drawn and the American political spectrum metamorphoses in paradoxical ways. Conservative Republicans play to populism, while liberal Democrats call for draconian police powers. Where does this strange new political atmosphere leave activists fighting for human rights, ecology, personal freedom and social justice? Are we between the Scylla and Charbdis of terrorism and martial law?


OKLAHOMA CITY: Forgotten Facts and Unanswered Questions

For starters, as Malcolm X said about the JFK assassination, the bombing in Oklahoma City was a case of the chickens coming home to roost. No government can perpetrate as much violence around the world as the US has, especially since World War II, without expecting to reap violence at home. Most obviously, Oklahoma City was the chickens coming home to roost for the FBI/ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, TX, which left scores dead, including many of the children the raid was ostensibly aimed at saving. It was after Waco that the Militia movement exploded across the country, with many in middle America coming to see the federal government as the enemy of their cherished gun and property rights. Less obviously, Oklahoma City was chickens coming home to roost for Operation Desert Storm and the reign of terror instrumented by the Pentagon and CIA in Central America throughout the 1980s. Accused Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh is a veteran of Desert Storm. He participated in the incident in which Iraqi troops in Kuwait were buried alive en masse by US military vehicles. McVeigh was also trained at the US Army's School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA, notorious in Latin America for training such masterminds of massacre and torture as El Salvador's late death squad boss Roberto D'Aubisson, Guatemala's General Hector Gramajo, and Haiti's Emmanuel Constant. If McVeigh is guilty, we owe his monstrous insensitivity to human life to none other than Uncle Sam. McVeigh reportedly aspired to join Special Forces, the Army's elite "Green Beret" troops who work most closely with the CIA and death squad regimes such as those in Guatemala and El Salvador. He was reportedly bitterly disappointed when he failed to make Green Beret.

In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, before McVeigh was arrested, right_wing media pundits almost uniformly assumed that the explosion was the work of Arab terrorists. The house of an Iraqi immigrant family in Oklahoma City was violently attacked by a racist mob. A pregnant woman inside was injured, and suffered a miscarriage as a result. The incident went largely unreported in the media.

Federal investigators also detained a Jordanian American and two Pakistani cab drivers from Queens in the immediate aftermath of the bombing_and then released them for lack of evidence.

They immediately assumed Middle East connection was dropped with the arrest of Timothy McVeigh, who was picked up for driving without license plates as he fled Oklahoma City. Refusing to use plates even in a getaway situation in which a police stop could_and did_prove fatal, is the mark of a truly fanatical right_wing anarchist.

In the ensuing days it came to light that McViegh and his presumed co_conspirator Terry Nichols had connections to the Michigan Militia. Founded in 1994, the Michigan Militia is among the largest and most prominent in the country. The group's political guru, "Mark from Michigan", aka Mark Koernke, a janitor who calls himself an "intelligence analyst" and claims to be a veteran of Army Intelligence, is a favorite on the far_right video, shortwave and lecture circuit. The group's leaders denied knowing anything about McVeigh or Nichols. Federal investigators alleged McVeigh and Nichols were involved in illegal gun dealing to the Michigan Militia.

On April 24, NY Newsday reported Mark Koernke had sent a fax to Rep. Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican who is on Newt Gingrich's Firearms Task Force, about an hour after the explosion. "Bomb threat received last week," the note read. "Perpetrator unknown at this time." The word "Oklahoma" was underlined below. Stockman said his staff threw out the note, then fished it out of the trash after learning of the blast.

The National Rifle Association said it received a copy of the fax from Stockman later that day. "We want to know what was Koernke's source of information," a federal investigator said. "Also, we want to know from the congressman what he's doing sharing it with the NRA rather than an investigative agency." But the investigator denied initial press accounts that the fax had actually arrived minutes before the bombing.

Koernke, wanted for questioning, disappeared into the woods of Michigan. A federal manhunt and possible crackdown on the Michigan Militia loomed. Also quickly forgotten were initial media reports that Oklahoma state seismologists had detected not one, but two blasts at the Federal Building_the first at four seconds past 9.02, then another of "equal magnitude" at 14 seconds after 9.02. Federal investigators now deny that there was a second explosion. The North Point Tactical Team, a North Carolina Militia group, has produced propaganda seizing upon the "two_blast" theory as evidence that McViegh is an "Oswald" (that is, a fall guy), and that the blast was an "inside job"_a government trick to justify martial law, a crackdown on the Militias and disarming the populace. The March edition of Taking Aim, the newsletter of the Militia of Montana, issued a call to arms for April 19, the day of the Oklahoma blast:

"If this day does not ring a bell for you then maybe this will jog your memory.
1. April 19, 1775: Lexington burned.
2. April 19, 1943: Warsaw burned.
3. April 19, 1992: The feds attempted to raid Randy Weaver...
4. April 19, 1993: The Branch Davidians burned.
5. April 19, 1995: Richard Snell will be executed_unless we act now!!!"

Randy Weaver is the Idaho white separatist wanted on federal gun charges who got into an armed stand_off with the FBI and ATF. The stand_off climaxed in August of 1992 with the deaths of Weaver's wife and young son as well as a US marshall.

Richard Snell was the white separatist who was on death row in Arkansas for the murders of a Texarkana pawnbroker (who he apparently thought was Jewish) and a black state trooper who had stopped him for a traffic violation.

After the Oklahoma blast, the US was on the brink. A federal crackdown on the Militias seemed imminent. But the feds backed down, and Tim McVeigh's connections to the Militia movement have since been de_emphasized both by federal investigators and the media. The Militias themselves have made certain concessions. The Michigan Militia, which makes an effort to distance itself from open racism in its propaganda, has since officially disavowed Mark Koernke. The Michigan Militia has also reshuffled its leadership, after its spokesmen publicly alleged that the Oklahoma blast had been carried out by the Japanese in retribution for the gas attacks on the Tokyo subway (apparently believed to be the work of US agents). Why did the Justice Department change course? Were 11th_hour deals cut between the federal government and Militia leaders?

THE FASCIST CONNECTION: Nazis in the Shadows

In 1988, ten white separatist leaders across the country were arrested by federal authorities for their role in an alleged 1983 conspiracy to overthrow the United States government by force. The defendants included:

*Richard Snell, who was already on death row in Arkansas *Richard Butler, chief of the central Aryan Nations compound at Hayden Lake, Idaho *Louis Beam, the veteran Texas Klansman who is considered the Aryan Nations' "ambassador at large" to the white supremacist movement in Europe

The Aryan Nations is at the forefront of the so_called Northwest Territorial Initiative, which calls for the formation of a secessionist "White Bastion" homeland in what is now the states of Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The Aryan Nations coat_of_arms, proudly displayed at the Hayden Lake compound, is lifted from the insignia of a Nazi tank division. Federal prosecutors in the '88 trial claimed that the '83 plot_which included counterfeiting, armed robberies and plans to assassinate federal judges and the Arkansas FBI chief_was to begin with the detonation of a truck bomb at the Oklahoma City Federal Building. All of the defendants were acquitted. But that very same building would be blown up by a truck bomb on the very day of Richard Snell's execution. Snell died knowing of the explosion. His last words were a warning to Arkansas Governor Guy Tucker: "Look over your shoulder, justice is on the way..." Snell remained an important figure in the radical right network even from his death row cell, publishing a periodic newsletter called The Seekers, in which he claimed to be a POW in a "war to establish righteousness."

Federal prosecutors in the '88 case based their claim on the testimony of James Ellison, founder of an Arkansas radical right group called The Covenant, the Sword & the Arm of the Lord. Ellison told of travelling to Oklahoma City with Snell to case the Federal Building in preparation for the bombing. Ellison agreed to become a government witness because he himself was facing 20 years on racketeering charges. Before his capture in 1985, he had barricaded himself against 200 heavily armed state and federal agents at his northern Arkansas compound. The day of the stand_off was April 19_ten years to the day before the Oklahoma blast.

Ellison was persuaded to surrender by his friend and spiritual mentor Robert G. Millar, leader of an apocalyptic white separatist sect called Elohim City, with its own armed compound in Oklahoma. After the Oklahoma blast, Newsweek, siting unnamed sources, claimed that McVeigh was suspected by federal investigators of having visited Elohim City and that he had called the compound on April 5, two weeks before the bombing. Millar denied to the press that he had ever heard of McVeigh.

The Militia of Montana (MOM), which put out the call for action on April 19, is at the vanguard of the Miltia movement. MOM runs a mail_order clearing house for militia propaganda and how_to videos. MOM is a focal point from which the network is growing. MOM conspicuously avoids neo_Nazi rhetoric. While the Aryan Nations call the feds the Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG), MOM speaks of UN conspiracies and a New World Order. Aryan Nations calls for a racially_pure white homeland; MOM talks of defending the Constitution. Despite these style differences, there are connections...

The elder statesman of the MOM is John Trochman, whose young nephew Randy Trochman provides the group's para_military leadership. The elder Trochman has been a guest at the Aryan Nations' Hayden Lake compound on several occasions, including once in 1990 when he was a guest speaker at an Aryan Nations congress. In 1992, John Trochman co_founded United Citizens for Justice to support Randy Weaver after his surrender. The other co_founders were Aryan Nations "ambassador" Louis Beam and Chris Temple, a follower of the racist Christian Identity cult, which holds that non_whites are sub_human offspring of Satan.

Chris Temple was also the Montana organizer for the presidential campaign of Ret. Lt. Col. James "Bo" Gritz, a prominent survivalist leader who came in to mediate during the siege of Weaver's home. The charismatic Gritz called for "patriots" (read: white separatists) from around the country to converge on the town of Ruby Ridge to defend Weaver. Police battled armed skinheads who answered the call.

In October 1992, two months after the Weaver surrender, Pete Peters, a Christian Identity minister in Colorado, called a meeting of some 175 radical right leaders. Among those in attendance were Aryan Nations ambassador Louis Beam and his lawyer, Kirk Lyons of North Carolina. Also in attendance was former Virginia legislator and Gun Owners of America leader Larry Pratt, who advocated "armed militia units" like those in Central America. Beam presented a paper to the meeting called "Leaderless Resistance", which called for small autonomous cells united by ideology but acting independently.

This became the model for the Militia movement_and perhaps for Timothy McVeigh and his co_conspirators. It may also be the model for the anti_abortion terrorist underground which has escalated since 1992. In 1985, the Aryan Nations released a statement decrying that America's "sheep" are manipulated by the "Jew media" into "killing their own children." The statement closed: "We the enlightened minority must show the docile mass why these murders are happening... Periodic disruption of these murder parlors can only slow down the real holocaust!!!"

After Oklahoma City, Bo Gritz was quoted in the media as saying the blast was "a Rembrandt_a masterpiece of science and art put together." Gritz recently founded a "Christian Patriot" community called Almost Heaven in the mountains of Idaho, where he is an advisor to the local Militia. Idaho Militia leader Samuel Sherwood was recently quoted by AP as telling his followers: "Go up and look legislators in the face, because some day you may have to blow it off."

Bo Gritz's political connections lead straight into the ugly underbelly of red_white_and_blue fascism. A veteran of the Green Berets who boasts of having partaken in blood_drinking rituals with his Cambodian mercenaries, Gritz was the real_life inspiration for Rambo. His expeditions to Indochina to seek out POWs were underwritten by H. Ross Perot, who also offered to send him down to Latin America to off drug kingpins. His claims to inside knowledge about CIA complicity in the Southeast Asian heroin trade have won him admirers on the left_including an interview in High Times magazine. In 1988, Bo Gritz was running mate with "former" Louisiana Klansman David Duke on the presidential ticket of the Populist Party. The Populist Party is a creation of Willis Carto, mastermind of the Liberty Lobby. Carto, a veteran of the John Birch Society and a disciple of late American Nazi Party leader John Lincoln Rockwell, also publishes the weekly radical_right tabloid, The Spotlight. He also founded The Institute for Historical Review, which publishes material "proving" that the Nazi Holocaust was a "Jewish hoax."

In the 1980s, Carto attempted to go mainstream. The swastikas and confederate flags disappeared from the pages of The Spotlight, replaced by articles harshly condemning gun_control, NAFTA and government preparations for martial law. Similarly, David Duke replaced his Klan regalia with a suit to run with the Populist Party. When the press started making an issue of Duke's "past", Gritz dropped out, and the Populist Party split. Duke went further into the mainstream. Joining the Republicans, he won a seat in the Louisiana legislature, and then ran for governor. In 1992, Gritz ran for president with the Populist Party, calling for the left and right to "unite as populists."

The Populist Party ostensibly broke with Carto over the Duke affair. The Institute for Historical Review is also in a court battle with its founder for control of the organization. Carto maintains his fiefdom over The Spotlight and Liberty Lobby. Videos from MOM, the Michigan Militia and Mark Koernke are available through The Spotlight.

Gritz's 1992 presidential bid climaxed with the Weaver episode at Ruby Ridge. He settled in Idaho after the incident, launching a paramilitary training program called SPIKE_Specially Prepared Individuals for Key Events. Gritz's strange beliefs about the US Constitution shed a sinister light on the innocent_sounding Militia rhetoric about upholding the Bill of Rights. Gritz's presidential platform called for making the United States a "Christian nation", and called the Constitution a "divinely inspired" document.

The founding fathers would not have appreciated such flattery. Slave_owning aristocrats though they were, they were firm believers in separation of church and state, and it clearly says so in the document. But Christian Patriot worldview has a racist and theocratic view of the Constitution. Only the original document is "divinely" conceived, so those who had rights under that document_i.e. white males_are considered "organic sovereigns." Those whose rights were recognized by later amendments_e.g. African Americans after the Civil War_are considered "wards of the State." Those later amendments were added by a government no longer "divine", but increasingly in the sway of corrupt conspiracies. Today the federal government is the Jewish_controlled ZOG, bent on destroying the white race.

Less mainstream figures such as Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler use these theocratic terms more openly than Gritz. Tracing Butler's past also leads to interesting connections. Butler was an early follower of the Christian Identity cult in California in the 1960s. Another member of that seminal Christian Identity congregation was William Potter Gale, who had been a staff aide to Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur in World War II. Gale's spiritual mentor was MacArthur's intelligence chief, Gen. Charles Willoughby (real name: Adolf Tscheppe_Weidenbach), who MacArthur affectionately called "my little fascist." Willoughby was an open fascist sympathizer who was deeply involved in intelligence intrigues with the Axis. He later arranged for the Texas billionaire Hunt family (who hired Willoughby for a private intelligence probe into the JFK assassination) to fund Gale's paramilitary group, the California Rangers.

Gale, in turn, was spiritual mentor to Tom Metzger, the leader of White Aryan Resistance (WAR), which organized a skinhead "Aryan Woodstock" in California in 1989. WAR was successfully sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for complicity in the skinhead beating death of an Ethiopian exchange student in Portland, OR. Shortly after the Oklahoma blast, Gritz travelled to the hills of North Carolina, where he met with Kirk Lyons, the lawyer who represented Butler and Beam in the '88 conspiracy case, about his plans to sue ABC over their coverage of his "Rembrandt" statement. In light of these connections, the MOM propaganda evoking the April 19, 1943 burning of the Warsaw ghetto can be read a number of ways. The ghetto was burned to crush a Jewish uprising launched as a desperate last stand against deportation to the death camps. Deportation was escalating because the Nazi administrators of Warsaw wanted the city to be judenrein_Jew free_as a birthday present to the Fuehrer. With the burning of the ghetto and extermination of the last resistance fighters, it was. Adolf Hilter's birthday is April 20, and is annually celebrated with a barbecue by David Duke and friends.

Federal authorities have also issued a warrant for a member of the far_right Arizona Patriots said to have been an associate of McVeigh. Members of the Arizona Patriots are currently doing time for plotting to blow up the Phoenix Federal Building, a synagogue and nearby power plants.

Michigan Militia leader Norm Olson_one of those who stepped down after claiming the Japanese were responsible for the Oklahoma blast_says he plans a multi_million dollar lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center, which claimed in its newsletter Klanwatch that Olson is in contact with Bobby Norton, the veteran Tennessee Klansman who is the Aryan Nations' regional director for the Southeast and who served five years in prison on charges of plotting to bomb a synagogue.

More terrorism may be in the works. On May 16, self_proclaimed white separatist Larry W. Harris of Ohio was arrested for buying $300 worth of the bacteria which causes bubonic plague through the lab where he worked.

THE ANTI_ENVIRONMENTAL CONNECTION: Corporate Power in the Shadows

None of this is to imply that the rank_and_file of the Militia movement is monolithically neo_Nazi. Indeed, the Militia leaders could not have been as successful organizers as they have been if they hadn't played down the fascist rhetoric. With banks foreclosing on farms and federal marshalls evicting farm families, with jobs heading south of the border under the NAFTA trans_national economic regime, and with police forces routinely trampling the Bill of Rights to enforce unjust drug and gun laws, Americans have legitimate reasons to be angry at their government.

But powerful economic interests are poised to exploit this groundswell of anger. The very trans_national corporations which are the architects of NAFTA are now aiming for a radical reversal of the modest gains made in environmental protection over the last generation. The advance gaurd in this struggle for the complete unshackling of corporate power from public oversight are the industry lobbyists who wrote NAFTA and Contract With America. The rear guard are the "County Rule" and "Wise Use" movements_a new Sagebrush Rebellion of ranchers and corporate interests in revolt against federal jurisdiction over lands across the West. These movements are increasingly armed, and interlock with the Militias. The very idea of federal power is currently up for grabs on a level not seen since the civil rights movement, and perhaps not since the Civil War. Arguably, a new civil war has already begun.

Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R_Idaho) is sponsoring a bill that would require approval from local law enforcement officials before feds could use weapons or make an arrest. MOM sells a videotape of a speech by Chenoweth. The feds have filed suit against Nevada's Nye County for unilaterally claiming jurisdiction over areas of the Toiyabe National Forest, and for threatening National Forest Service officials. Last July, there was a tense stand_off with federal forest rangers when County Commissioner Dick Carver, backed up by an armed posse, bulldozed open a washed_out road in the Toiyabe, in defiance of orders to stop. The Forest Service has backed down while the case is pending, and ceded control of the road, citing "concern about the safety of the lives of the crews."

Carver, a local rancher, is a prominent spokesman for the fast_growing County Rule movement. Some 100 counties throughout the West have unilaterally claimed jurisdiction over federal lands, and threatened to arrest federal agents who get in the way of plans by local ranchers and miners to use the public lands. Litigation with feds over such county claims is pending in Idaho, Washington and other western states. The Forest Service has issued official warnings to rangers throughout the west, along with protocol on how to behave if confronted or arrested by county authorities. The FBI has been alerted.

Three weeks before the Oklahoma blast, a bomb blew a hole through the wall of a National Forest Service office Carson City, NV, reducing a computer to rubble. Hours later, three pipe bombs destroyed a Forest Service outhouse in Elko County. A few days later a threatening phone message left at the Toiyabe NFS office said, "You're next."

On Halloween night 1993, someone tossed a bomb on the roof of the Bureau of Land Management's state headquarters in Reno. Much BLM land is leased out to local ranchers for grazing, while NFS lands are made available to big timber companies for logging. Environmentalists see wanton plunder of the public trust, and decry "welfare ranching" and "welfare logging." But the ranchers and loggers want federal limits on their activities overturned altogether. New Mexico's Catron County has joined Nevada's Nye at the forefront of the County Rule movement. County attorney James Catron (whose ancestors gave the county its name) has drawn up ordinances barring the feds from regulating its own lands in the county. To help write the ordinances, Catron called in Karen Budd, a longtime foe of environmental regulation who formerly worked in the Reagan Interior Department under Secretary James Watt. She also worked in Watt's own anti_environmental organization, the Coors beer_funded Mountain States Legal Foundation, which defends corporations and developers.

The Catron sheriff has threatened to arrest NFS personnel, and has formed an armed posse of local ranchers to back him up. The October 1994 newsletter of the Utah_based National Federal Lands Conference, mouthpiece of the County Rule movement, featured a lead article calling for the formation of Militias, and reprinting Militia start_up info provided by MOM. NFS personnel in Catron were threatened with arrest last June for attempting to run a water quality test at a gold mill owned by a local rancher on public land. The County Rule movement interlocks with the Wise Use property_rights movement, which is underwritten by real estate, ranching, agribusiness, mining and timber interests as well as private utilities and energy conglomerates. Giant corporations like Georgia_Pacific and DuPont are harnessing the anger of small property owners_who often really are struggling under costly and labyrinthine federal regulations_to push through the political changes they need to further plunder the continent's land, water and forests in the global Free Trade order.

Western Republican leaders such as Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho and Gov. Fife Symington of Arizona have attended Wise Use meetings this year. Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah unveiled his "Conference of the States" plan to end federal usurping of local authority at the Western States Summit in Phoenix last spring. Nye County's Dick Carver has been a featured speaker at both Wise Use and Christian Identity events. County sheriffs are also deputizing local posses in the name of good old American racist law_'n'_order. In Phoenix, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has deputized local suburban weekend warriors_and outfitted them with guns and uniforms_to help him round up Mexican migrants and other undesirables for the desert jail camps he is building with barbed wire fences and Korean war surplus army tents.

In March, US Fish & Wildlife agents investigating the shooting of a wolf under the Endangered Species Act in Idaho's Lemhi County beat a hasty retreat after Sheriff Brett Baraslou threatened to "go to Plan B." A local rancher explained to the agents that means calling up the Militia. Cal Greenup, a paramilitary buff arrested for threatening officials in Montana in March, and now a fugitive, told authorities: "There cannot be cleansing without shedding blood."

THE MARTIAL LAW CONNECTION: Federal Spooks in the Shadows

The Militias say that martial law is about to be declared in the USA, as a part of the UN conspiracy to take over the country. The US has held hegemonic sway over the UN since Operation Desert Storm in 1991, so the fear of Pakistani and Nepalese UN peacekeepers poised in the National Forests waiting to take Americans' guns away appears to be mere xenophobic paranoia. Militia units near the US border in Washington and Arizona have more than once scrambled for their guns, believing that rumors of military activity indicated an imminent UN invasion_only to find that it was the just the Border Patrol on joint maneuvers with the DEA.

However, federal plans for martial law are quite real. In 1984, National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North drew up a plan with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to suspend the US Constitution and seize draconian powers in the event of a US invasion of Central America. Under the scenario, thousands of Central American refugees were expected to flood through the US_Mexico border, and anti_war protests would erupt throughout the country. FEMA would establish detainment camps on ten pre_designated military bases across the country to round up thousands of refugees and protestors.

A "readiness exercise" dubbed REX 84 ALPHA was carried out by FEMA in coordination with the INS and other related agencies. Mandated by an executive order signed by President Ronald Reagan, REX 84 ALPHA was carried out in secret. However, word leaked out during the Congressional hearings on Contragate in 1988, and a few articles on the scheme briefly appeared in the press. Interestingly, one of the first papers to break the story was The Spotlight. There is reason to believe that the radical right would be privy to inside information on the FEMA martial law plan.

Among the groups participating in REX 84 ALPHA were the little_known State Defense Forces. Under the martial law plan, these groups were to be armed and "deputized" by FEMA in the event of national emergency. The State Defense Forces are a revival of the defense militias which existed in the US during World War II. In the 1980s, they were created by state legislation at federal behest in 24 states across the country. During this period, National Guard troops were being sent down to Honduras and elsewhere in Central America at federal command to back up US military efforts in the region. The US appeared to be escalating towards an invasion. If National Guard troops were mobilized to Central America, it was reasoned, an auxiliary force would be needed to take their place at home_especially to back up police in quelling "civil disorder".

The State Defense Forces sought recruits by placing ads in para_military and survivalist magazines. Consequently, many radical right elements were drawn to the SDFs. This soon resulted in a backlash. In 1987, Governor Norm Bangerter purged the Utah State Guard of all but 30 officers out of a force of 400 after investigators found that members of the Aryan Nations had infiltrated the group. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Utah State Guard officers were training at the Hayden Lake compound in Idaho and conducting commando exercises in the Utah desert with live ammo and explosives. The FBI opened an investigation into weapons thefts from a Utah's Tooele Army Depot, where Utah State Guard officers were suspected of diverting arms to the Aryan Nations at Hayden Lake. Also in 1987, the Texas State Guard came under investigation. One Texas State Guard battalion led by Robert Holloway, a former Vietnam Green Beret who had served as a mercenary for the white supremacist regime in Rhodesia, was disbanded for being too "gung_ho"_abandoning the standard green uniform for camouflage fatigues and engaging in search_and_destroy training, outside the group's formal regulations. Ironically, the unit's activities came to light after it was praised in an article in Soldier of Fortune magazine.

In 1990, a similar scandal erupted in Virginia, resulting in several hundred officers of the Virginia Defense Force getting the sack. An investigation by the state legislature revealed that units were engaging in similar "gung_ho" activities, including training for drug raids and planning to purchase a tank. Nonetheless, the following year, SDFs in Virginia, Georgia and other states were mobilized to help keep order at home as army reserve troops_which overlap with the National Guard_were mobilized to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm. The biggest scandal was in California, where an investigation by Assemblywoman Maxine Waters revealed that the State Military Reserve had drawn up a contingency plan in the event that the California National Guard was mobilized overseas. The plan entailed arming the force with M_14 rifles from the National Guard's Camp San Luis Obispo and called for the force to open "counterintelligence investigative files." It was also revealed that a Soldier of Fortune editor was training State Military Reserve units in desert warfare. However, bills to disband the State Military Reserve were consistently voted down in Sacramento. The New York Civil Liberties Union sued to get Albany to release the secret mobilization plan for the New York Guard, but NYG Commander Maj. Gen. Vincent Lanna argued that disclosure would jeopardize counterintelligence procedures and that the public had no right to see the plan. A judge ruled in favor of disclosure, but the document remains secret while the state appeals the case. Meanwhile, the 18,000_strong New York Guard regularly meets at armories around the state. Numerous federal bills, introduced by the likes of South Carolina's Sen. Strom Thurmond and Ohio's Rep. James Traficant, to provide federal arms and training for the State Defense Forces have also been voted down. But under the REX 84 ALPHA scenario (in which Congress is out of the loop because constitutional government is suspended), the SDFs would indeed be federalized. Some researchers alleged that some of the arms distributed to the SDFs in REX 84 ALPHA were never in fact returned to army stockpiles, but were diverted to the Nicaraguan Contras. Others may have been diverted to the rightist para_military groups linked to the SDFs. Oliver North was at that time working closely with many such groups, especially those under the umbrella of the quasi_fascist World Anti_Communist League (WACL), in his efforts to secure private funding for the Contras. WACL chief Gen. John K. Singlaub, former commander of US forces in South Korea, was deeply involved in the illegal Contra resupply operation led by North. In the 1970s, Singlaub had been groomed by his friends in the ultra_right Lyndon LaRouche cult to lead a military coup d'etat against President Jimmy Carter.

North, his convictions of lying to Congress overturned on a technicality, never served a day of prison time. He has become a multi_millionaire from book royalties and lecture fees. Last year he was narrowly defeated in his run for the US Senate in Virginia on an ultra_conservative pro_gun platform. Do the Militias intersect with or infiltrate the SDFs? Is the Militia movement, for all of its apparent hatred of the federal government, really a pawn in an internecine intrigue among the Washington elites? The Clinton gang, despite their support for NAFTA, prison expansion and the death penalty, is perceived as a bunch of hippie peaceniks by the old gung_ho Cold Warrior faction of the Washington elite which held power during the Reagan years.

As noted, the SDFs were formed in the Reagan years as state National Guards were mobilized to Honduras and elsewhere in Central America. Many state governors objected to their men being sent down as a rearguard for Reagan's undeclared war against Nicaragua. Some actually refused to cooperate, claiming the federal government had no right to assume command of National Guard troops without the governors' consent. Governor Rudy Perpich of Minnesota actually launched federal litigation to keep his National Guard from going to Central America. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which decided in favor of the federal government. Another governor who declined to cooperate with Washington when his National Guard troops were called for Central America duty was Arizona's Bruce Babbit_today Interior Secretary in the Clinton administration.

Clinton is now the first and only president to have been jeered and booed by the cadets when he addressed the graduation ceremonies at West Point. This kind of open alienation of military troops from their commander_in_chief is the necessary prerequisite for a classical coup d'etat of the sort which conventional wisdom maintains "can't happen here." There are elements in the Pentagon who are clearly sympathetic to the Militias. After the Oklahoma blast, a newsletter called The Resister: The Official Publication of the Special Forces Underground was discovered in the library at Ft. Bragg, NC, the Army base where Green Berets are trained, and where Tim McVeigh was posted. Filled with bitter diatribes against Clinton and the Waco siege, The Resister is apparently produced by active_duty Green Berets, and circulated among both Green Berets and "civilian" Militias across the country. One recent issue included an open letter to the Militia movement warning that an armed confrontation with the federal government would be premature. "Should the federal government decide to act against the Militia groups and the Militia groups stand and fight, they will not in their current configuration last one month," the issue read. It then went on to offer training in spycraft, special operations and clandestine communications for Militias to prepare for the coming showdown. Green Berets are specially trained in these elite military skills.

New York's Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney is introducing legislation to halt the Army Civilian Marksmanship Program, which sponsors local shooting clubs and sells surplus arms and ammunition through the state National Guards. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Michigan Militia members were expelled from the program at the state's Camp Grayling armory, but Maloney alleges that "40 million rounds of ammunition have fallen into the hands of extremists." Given these connections, the Militias' paranoia about FEMA and martial law plans may be based on inside information (even if the paranoia about the UN takeover s based only on kneejerk xenophobia).

Why did the conspiracy which was born in 1983 (the year before REX 84 ALPHA) and came into violent fruition on April 19, 1995 target the federal building in Oklahoma City? If it was simply revenge for Waco, a Texas federal building would be a more likely target. Black Helicopters Over America: Strikeforce for the New World Order by Jim Keith, a Militia propaganda potboiler published last year, may offer a clue. The book includes maps of the USA marking the ten military bases designated as detainment camps under the FEMA plan. The book is also filled with specious rumors of Nepalese and Russian UN troops training in the National Forests and bizarre cattle mutilations across the USA. But the the bases marked on the map correspond to those which were actually designated by FEMA in 1984. One of these bases, Camp Krome, FLA, was already being used to house Haitian refugees. Now_NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was then the man at the US Justice Department resposible for running the Camp Krome detainment camp. Louis Freeh, an attorney who cut his teeth working for Giuliani when he was federal prosecutor in New York City is now head if the FBI.

Other facilities are also listed in Black Helicopters Over America. Appearing on a list of places across the country where FEMA has supposedly established secret underground command bunkers is Kingman, AZ_where Tim McVeigh lived just before the Oklahoma blast. The caption on the map with the detainment camps informs us that two federal facilities have been designated as "central processing sites" for the mass round_ups when martial law comes. The designated facility for coordinating mass detention east of the Mississippi, we are told, has "not been identified at this time." The center for coordinating round_ups west of the Mississippi is Oklahoma City.

NEITHER TERRORISM NOR MARTIAL LAW, THANK YOU VERY MUCH

When the FEMA martial law plan was conceived, the domestic enemy being targetted was the Central America solidarity and sanctuary movements, and the plan was based on earlier ones such as Nixon's Operation Garden Plot, which targetted the campus anti_war movement and black militants. However, in 1995, the Clinton administration is conveniently using the Militia to justify beefing up the federal police state apparatus. The administration's Anti_Terrorist Bill, written before the Oklahoma City blast and mostly aimed at foreign "terrorist" groups, would unleash warrantless wiretap capabilities, and create a special FBI warchest for "counter_terrorism". Written by the Clinton White House and being plugged by liberal Democrats such as New York's Rep. Charles Schumer, the bill would give the president the power to unilaterally declare any organization "terrorist." Anyone supporting that organization would be convicted of a felony and jailed for up to 10 years. Immigrants accused of "terrorism" would be deported by special secret courts which would use classified evidence from secret sources.

Also watch out for the pending Communications Decency Act and Orwellian_named Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which would make censorship and surveillance the rule in cyberspace. The Fair Credit Reporting Act would grant the government wide access to credit reports and financial records. All of these measures have broad bipartisan support.

This is not the first time the US has been poised between fascist terror and a police state. The history of Oklahoma offers an interesting example. In 1920, the Ku Klux Klan reigned supreme in Oklahoma, completely infiltrating sheriff's departments and openly maintaining its own Tulsa office building. Tulsa's African American community was among the wealthiest in the nation at that time, made up of mostly of black folks who had already made good further east. This community was smashed in 1921 as the Klan, which had actually procured aircraft from sympathetic elements in the Oklahoma National Guard, launched a full_scale military attack. The entire neighborhood was burned to the ground. Blacks throughout the state were lynched, tortured and brutally beaten in the subsequent wave of Klan terror.

The situation continued until 1923 when the left_leaning but corrupt Governor Jack Walton declared martial law. The state constitution, right of habeus corpus and civilian courts were all suspended. The National Guard was sent in to patrol the streets of Tulsa. When the mayor complained to Washington he was told it was an internal state affair. Local newspapers which ran headlining editorials like "Neither terrorism nor martial law" were subject to censorship. It didn't last long. Newspapers had been making much of the corruption investigations Governor Walton was facing, and many thought the timing of his move against the Klan was just a little too convenient. Indeed, a grand jury was scheduled to convene to probe Walton's financial misdeeds on the very eve of his suspension of the state court system. When the jurists attempted to meet, National Guard bayonets and machine guns barred their way. When the state legislature attempted to meet to vote on impeaching Walton, they were also turned away by the troops.

But the trade unionists and other progressives who had put Walton in power_and had themselves been targets of Klan terror_accused him of betrayal. With his power base collapsing, Walton allowed the state legislature to convene. They promptly voted to impeach. The Klan subsequently went into a period of decline in Oklahoma_not as a result of Walton's martial law, but as a result of blacks and trade unionists organizing and even arming in self_defense. Public Klan meetings were met with militant grassroots response until they actually became impossible. Within a year, the Tulsa Klan building had been closed. There are some pretty obvious lessons here. The challenge before progressive people in America in1995 is to establish a grassroots network of folks across the country who are opposed to both fascist violence and police_state measures (whether they come from Democrats or Republicans)_and find ways to act before it is too late.

SOURCES & FURTHER READING

Burghardt, Tom
"Neo_Nazis Salute the Anti_Abortion Zealots"
Covert Action Quaterly, Spring 1995

Connolly, Ed
"A Highly Irregular Force: Scandals of the State Militias"
The Nation, March 18, 1991

Gordon, Diana
"The Politics of Anti_Terrorism"
The Nation, May 22, 1995

Helvarg, David
"Property Rights & Militias: The Anti_Enviro Connection"
The Nation, May 22, 1995

Junas, Daniel
"Rise of the Citizen Militias: Angry White Guys with Guns"
Covert Action Quaterly, Spring 1995

Also see:

Understanding Bo Gritz

Bo Gritz Trained bin Laden at Evergreen Base in Nevada

Bo Gritz, the Mossad, and PROMIS

William Cooper on Bo Gritz

From a little birdie I once knew:

"Bo Gritz sent Randy Weaver(Ruby Ridge Incident) from NC not Iowa, Randy was to move next door to Frank Komnick Jr...await the Enhancing of the Inslaws/Promis software Backdoor key and Enhance the Promis software to Aid Spooks in Spying/D.O.C.C./N.O.C list security, NOT). Upon completion of Enhanced Promis software, Randy Murdered Frank Komnick Jr. and stole the Enhanced Promis Software package...Frank was found with a 45 cal. bullet in his skull, and his house was burned to the ground by Weaver to cover the crime. On Cue....Gritz showed up under the guise of "HELPING A FELLOW SPECIAL FORCES GRUNT" to retrieve the Enhanced Promis Software and deliver it to the CIA which gave this Program to the Israeli Mossad(Michael Mitka Harari), who sold it to just about ALL the Countries that ISrael wanted to spy on...including the USA...there was NO issue of Sawn off shotguns....there was NO issue of racial separatism...It was ALL over this special Program that DIA/ISA(as per protocol dictates in USARMY Field Manuals listed below*) and CIA wanted to get thier hands on without paying Bill Hamilton one single dime...you will see that Enhanced Promis Software is used in everything from Spooks and Kooks to Nuclear Submarines tracking systems....not to mention AWACS and every thing in between the Upper Echelon and the Grunt on the Intelligence Battlefield Operating System, Gritz ordered the Sparrow Units in the Phillipines to Murder/Assassinate Col. James Nick Rowe, because He knew too much of Ops Watch Tower, Gritz and Harari are the only survivors of Ops Watch Tower...and Recently Bo Gritz changed the name of his new book from The Promis/e to something else...his compartmented intel was leaking seriously...Bo still has ties to "Almost Heaven" thru Claudia King his ex-wife/handler.

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