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the Body Politic
Vol. 05, No. 06 - June/July 1995, Page 3
Copyright © 1995, 1998 by the Body Politic Inc.

Militia Diary

By Anne Bower

"We have a militia of 10,000. If we can't get you at the ballot box, we'll get you with a bullet."
In this issue of the Body Politic we investigate the militia movement. Right-wing dissatisfaction with the government, particularly at the federal level, has been around for years -- witness the Patriot movement in the 1970s. After the destruction at Oklahoma City, Americans are asking when and where did the latest manifestation of right-wing paramilitary activity begin?

Militia leaders have voiced many complaints about the current federal government and the Clinton Administration, but researchers who track right-wing and racist's activities have dated the beginning of the militia movement from an event in the Bush Administration--the shoot-out at the Weaver residence in Idaho.

What follows is an outline of militia activities and observations graciously provided by a national researcher.

1992

April 19: Randy Weaver, a white supremacist, wanted on gun charges, is involved in a stand-off with BATF agents at his home in Boundary County, Idaho. A police sharpshoot kills Mr. Weaver's wife and 14 year old son. One BATF agent is killed.

During the siege, Col. Bo Gritz, a Christian Patriot running for president on the Populist Party ticket, insinuatates himself as a negotiator. This situation draws many who will later organize militias.

October: A meeting takes place in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado (see Spotlight interview with Jonathan Mazzochi). Investigators believe this meeting launched the militia movement and reinvigorated the time-honored strategy of "Leaderless Resistance".

Leaderless resistance relies on a two-pronged attack which compartmentalizes a subversive movement into public and underground parts. Propaganda, recruiting and organizing (like militias) are done at the national level. Leaders and their rhetoric are protected by the "Bill Rights". Meanwhile, the underground component organizes "cells" (see militia manual article which follows), composed of a few men acting independently, who carry out the goals of the above ground organization.

1993

The election of Bill Clinton was a rallying cry to the right. The new President's first actions in support of abortion rights and gays in the military were like the British coming over the hill to the new Patriots and their militias. Within the first two months of his presidency, there was Waco.

April 19: After a 51 day stand-off, the compound housing David Koresh and his followers is destroyed when federal agents attempt to break in. Scores die, including many children. Immediately following, Linda Thompson, a lawyer, rapidly began promoting conspiracy theories including UN armored vehicles heading to Los Angeles in anticipation of race riots. Eventually Ms. Thompson will produce two videos claiming to show the government torched the Waco compound.

Winter: Linda Thompson and Mark Koernke hold mass meetings in the Mid-West to organize militias.

1994

February: John Trochman starts the Militia of Montana (MOM). Trochman reportedly used a mailing list from Citizens for Justice, described as a "support group" for Randy Weaver.

Spring: One year after the Waco disaster, Linda Thompson proclaims herself "Acting Adjutant General" and calls for an "armed march" on Washington, DC. The NRA is faulted for its efforts against the assault rifle ban. "Gun rights" rallies are planned across the nation.

Jon Roland of the Texas Constitutional Militia calls for a national organizing drive and declares April 19 Militia Day.

Militias in Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon, Kansas and Florida agree to hold public events and participate in the gun rallies

July: Somewhere between 12 and 20 state capitals were the site of "gun rallies" held on July 2. After the rallies, the NRA came in for criticism on the Internet for allegedly trying to prevent the rallies. Critics held the NRA accountable for passage of the Brady Bill.

On July 14, the NRA released a statement about Linda Thompson's "armed march" saying they were "in no way associated with this effort. Furthermore, we pledge that we will convey to our members and the general public of our rejection of this preposterous scheme."

It was during this month that the U.S. Taxpayer's Party held its meeting filmed by Planned Parenthood where Matt Trewhella called for forming militias and Jeff Baker from the Florida militia suggested abortion providers should be executed. In the same month, BATF agents arrest a Virginia gun club member for allegedly planning to steal weapons from a National Guard armory.

Opponents of the Crime Bill plan a rally for DC on August 14. The initial speakers list include Roy Innis, Congress On Racial Equality, Dennis Martin, National Association of Chiefs of Police, and Larry Pratt, Gun Owners of America.

August: Linda Thompson announces a "desert retreat" in Arizona. A featured speaker was Bill Cooper a well-known speaker in UFO circles. (The Texas militia wanted the government to declassify their reports on UFOs.) Upon returning from the retreat, Ms. Thompson issued a statement canceling the march on Washington for "tactical reasons".

The John Birch Society put in its two cents, criticizing Ms. Thompson and her followers. Ms. Thompson retaliates, referring to "50 years of whining from the Birchers."

September: The JBS in their New American magazine, debunks Ms. Thompson's video, Waco, the Big Lie.

Fall: With elections approaching, militia presence, especially on the Internet, receded, probably because the majority of members were busy supporting their favorite candidates--many of whom won.

However, now the media begins to pick up on the militia movement. NBC news has a segment on the Michigan Militia, The New York Times does a front page story, and in Everett, WA the media reports that a woman testifying at a public hearing was presented with a hangman's noose and told, "We have a militia of 10,000. If we can't get you at the ballot box, we'll get you with a bullet."

Through 1994, human rights and anti-racist organization such as: The Coalition for Human Dignity, the Montana Human Rights Network, Planned Parenthood, the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for Democratic Renewal and the Southern Poverty Law Center all issue reports on this movement and its dangers. These organizations call attention to the presence of White Supremacist and other militants within the general category of Patriot organizations. (Militias are a subset of the general Patriot movement, which is in turn, a subset of the New Right.)

November: The Republican take over of Congress is good news for many Patriots, but militia members tend to be less enthusiastic. Some believe in the conspiracy theory called "Votescam" that claims voting booths can be rigged to produce any result. Many militia members expect their new Congress members to renege on promises. (Notice how Rep. Stockman backpedaled after receiving a fax on the Oklahoma City bombing.) Linda Thompson calls for arresting Congress on charges of treason.

The more radical elements waste no time in deciding Newt Gingrich is part of the "New World Order" which will eventually sell America out to a "One World Government" ruled by the United Nations.

Militia recruiting efforts are falling off, so Norman E. Olson (recently "retired" from MOM) launches a new drive. The press is taking notice, so others soon begin to emerge as militia leaders.

1995

January: The Resister, a militia publication for military personnel, is probably the source for the rumor that federal authorities would launch a national raid on militias on March 25. This was given so much credence that several Congressmembers began to look into the situation.

March 5: John Trochman and several compatriots are arrested in Montana.

March 23: The NRA issues a demand for a public investigation of the supposed March 25th BATF raids. The raids never materialize and militia communication on the Internet subsides slightly.

April 19: A massive bomb explodes in Oklahoma City. Within 48 hours, it becomes known that this was not the work of foreign terrorists. After the arrest of Timothy McVeigh, conspiracy theorists on the Internet proffer the theory that federal agents or Bill Clinton ordered the bombing in order to establish a "police state" in the nation.

Meanwhile, for a few weeks on the Internet, militia traffic subsides, and some sites drop militia discussion altogether. However, all the mainstream media is giving them prime-time coverage, so on the theory there is no such thing as bad publicity, it is possible the militia movement will reemerge intact from the rubble of the Murrah Building.

1996?


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This archive is hosted by
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