Meet the 'Patriots'
In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment "Patriot" movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. This spectacular growth (see timeline) is the result of several factors, including anger over major political, demographic and economic changes in America, along with the popularization of radical ideas and conspiracy theories by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media commentators.
Although the resurgence of the so-called Patriots people who generally believe that the federal government is an evil entity that is engaged in a secret conspiracy to impose martial law, herd those who resist into concentration camps, and force the United States into a socialistic "New World Order" also has been propelled by people who were key players in the first wave of the Patriot movement in the mid1990s, there are also a large number of new players. What follows are profiles of 35 individuals at the heart of the resurgent movement:
Heaven Can Wait
Chuck Baldwin, 57
In his brand of Christian fundamentalism, Christians will someday be transported from the earth and taken directly to heaven. In the meantime, though, Chuck Baldwin wouldn't mind running things down here himself.
The founder and pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., is no fan of Washington, D.C. in an essay on his website, he calls the nation's capital "that Putrid Province by the Potomac" but he keeps trying to get there.
In 2000, after declaring the Bush-Cheney ticket too liberal, the former chairman of the Florida Moral Majority left the Republican Party and aligned himself with the staunchly antigovernment, anti-gay Constitution Party. Four years later, he appeared on the party's presidential ticket as the running mate of far-right lawyer Michael Peroutka. He rose to the top of the ticket in 2008.
Besides leading the flock at Crossroad Baptist for the past 30-plus years, Baldwin, who could not be reached for comment, hosts a daily one-hour radio program, "Chuck Baldwin Live." He is a prolific writer, penning regular columns that are archived on his website. His columns also are archived on VDARE.com, a racist website that regularly bashes immigrants.
In his writing, Baldwin condemns Islam as a "bloody, murderous religion"; refers to Martin Luther King Jr. as an apostate; sympathizes with Joe Stack, the tax protester who flew a plane into an IRS office building earlier this year; and states that he believes the South was right in the Civil War (although he quickly adds that he is no racist).
In one of his more sweeping and Patriot-like observations, Baldwin writes that "there is a conspiracy by elitists within government and big business to steal America's independence."
For Baldwin, heaven can wait.
The Repentant Taxman
Joe Banister, 47
Lots of people insist that the Internal Revenue Service has no authority to administer and enforce federal income tax laws. What makes Joe Banister unusual among them is that he was an IRS special agent for five years. He spreads his anti-IRS message on radio and television and hosts his own two-hour weekly radio show.
Soft-spoken, articulate and a devout Catholic, Banister was interviewed in "America: From Freedom to Fascism," a 2006 "documentary" by the late antigovernment conspiracy theorist Aaron Russo, which denies the legitimacy of income tax laws and the Federal Reserve.
Banister says that he investigated radical tax protesters' claims about the IRS for two years. He concluded they were right, and told his IRS supervisors so. He was placed on leave, then resigned in 1999 to "comply with my oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution."
The following year, he and Bob Schulz, founder of a leading antigovernment Patriot tax-protest group known as the We the People, hand delivered grievances signed by supporters to federal officials in Washington stating that the 16th Amendment that allowed a federal income tax was illegally ratified, and that no law or regulation requires most citizens to pay income taxes or have taxes withheld.
Banister was indicted in 2004 in California for preparing false income tax returns and conspiring to defraud the federal government stemming from his work on behalf of a businessman client. The client went to prison, but Banister was acquitted.
"There's definitely a propaganda campaign out there to make us look like a problem to law enforcement," he told his audience at a Patriot conference last year.
Bulldozer vs. Bulldozer
Martin "Red" Beckman, 80
In 1984, when Martin J. "Red" Beckman ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in New Hampshire's famously wide-open primary, he billed himself as "Montana's fighting redhead." By that time, he had been battling the IRS for 10 years.
Sometimes called the "Father of the Patriot Movement," Beckman gained a measure of fame within the anti-tax militia movement for refusing to pay more than $100,000 in income taxes and $34,000 in property taxes, contending that U.S. tax laws are illegal.
The IRS auctioned Beckman's property in 1979, but he refused to leave. In a 1992 ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also assessed $1,500 in sanctions against him, saying his arguments were "wholly without merit and frivolous."
Finally, his home was bulldozed in 1994. He attracted about 100 sympathizers to a rally in Billings to protest the foreclosure an event he billed as "No More Wacos." At a press conference that year, he called the IRS "a total criminal organization" and vowed, "We will put it out of business at some point."
In addition to being a tax protester and conspiracy theorist who believes the Federal Reserve and International Monetary Fund are conspiring to dominate the world, Beckman is a notorious anti-Semite. He's the author of The Church Deceived, in which he claims the Holocaust was God's punishment of Jews for worshipping Satan.
Now in his dotage, the "fighting redhead" occasionally still speaks in public as the militias of the 1990s make a comeback. This past September, for instance, he spoke to the "Celebrating Conservatism" group in the town of Hamilton, Mont. Two days later, the group paraded through downtown brandishing weapons.
'Needle of Estrogen'
Catherine Bleish, 26
Catherine Bleish, one of the few female leaders in the resurgent Patriot movement, runs the Liberty Restoration Project and has become a popular speaker on the Patriot circuit.
"It's quite frightening the amount of power and authority that our government has assumed for themselves," Bleish told the Intelligence Report. "They say, 'We are the Supreme Being, we have the guns, we are going to do it our way.'"
Bleish, of St. Louis, Mo., speaks passionately about the anger that's fueling the movement. "It's so hard to start a small business, and once you start one, it's hard to keep it open. My parents are being audited for the past six years, while [Treasury Secretary] Tim Geithner, who doesn't pay his taxes, now gets to oversee the IRS," she said. "People are losing their homes. People are losing their jobs. People are frustrated and looking for answers."
Like many other Patriot leaders, Bleish charges that the government is behind these economic woes. "The dollar has been systematically destroyed. And that is not the American people's doing. That is the central bank. The central bankers, what they do is they go from country to country, and they destroy currency and bring themselves lots of power and lots of wealth."
Though Bleish said no one in the movement with whom she's worked wants violence, she added that people will be driven to defend themselves if the country continues on its current course. "The actions of our federal government [are] going to create violence. And my goal is to try and stop it peacefully before it gets to that point. I'm trying to follow the channels that are still afforded to me to talk to people face to face. But they're going to try and take away my ability to communicate with people of a like mind-set."
Bleish has taken part in key Patriot events, attending the seminal May 2009 Jekyll Island meeting that helped lay the groundwork for the resurgence of the movement. She also spoke at the Freedom 21 conference in Oklahoma City last August. And she was the main organizer for the Midwest Liberty Fest in Illinois last October.
But it's not all thankless work: A glam shot of Bleish was featured in the 2009-2010 Ladies of Liberty Alliance calendar. "Many women involved in the liberty movement have experienced the frustrating feeling of isolation when they look around and realize they are just a needle of estrogen in a haystack of testosterone," she wrote last August. "The Ladies of Liberty Alliance is a brand new organization working to end that feeling of isolation forever!"
Arguing at Gunpoint
Chris Broughton, 29
Chris Broughton loves his guns and hates President Obama so much, in fact, that he believes the president belongs in hell. He's not too fond of George W. Bush, either.
Broughton made headlines in August 2009 when he showed up outside an Obama rally in Phoenix with an AR-15 assault rifle slung over his shoulder and a pistol holstered on his waist, becoming a hero to many in the "Patrtiot" movement in the process. He said he carries his guns habitually.
Broughton, apparently assuming that the Obama Administration planned gun control measures, said he wanted to make a point about the right to own guns. "The overwhelming statement I was trying to make was whether you like it or not, my guns aren't going away," said the Phoenix machinist. "They're going to be here until you kill me and take them away."
He claims that some news broadcasters edited video footage of the scene to hide his race (he's black) when reporting on the racist backlash to Obama's election. Presumably, he felt that was part of an effort to paint Obama's critics as racist.
Broughton is a member of We the People, a Patriot tax protest group that has played a central role in the resurgence of the militia movement. He also belongs to the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe. That's the church where pastor Steven Anderson told the congregation in August 2009 he would pray that Obama dies and goes to hell. Broughton said he believes there is a hell, and that it was made for evil people folks like Obama, both former Bush presidents, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leaders of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"Barack Obama is responsible for more death than my guns ever will be," Broughton said. "He could end so much suffering immediately, and instead he uses his power to force his agenda. I do hate him."
The Pricey 'Patriot'
Bob Campbell, 69
Bob Campbell and his American Grand Jury are on a mission to drive President Obama from office and put him on trial for treason. Obama "is a certified crook that has committed treason and fraud," Campbell wrote on his website late last year. "He is a fraud and a traitor."
Campbell, who did not respond to an E-mail to his website, formed American Grand Jury in March 2009 to examine "evidence" and hand down "presentments" that the group hopes will be used to indict the president. The use of faux "grand juries" and "common-law courts" are common to many in the Patriot movement, especially those who call themselves "sovereign citizens."
Campbell insists that Obama wasn't born in the United States and thus is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. The group also seeks to indict Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her role in the purported conspiracy to defraud the American people by getting Obama elected.
Campbell plans to take supporters at $649 a head on the road in May 2010. He says they'll travel by bus to deliver their findings to federal judges in 20 states. "Serving our Grand Jury Presentments have [sic] always made the courts mad," Campbell wrote on his website. "With what I have in mind it should really burn the bark right off a few of these liberal Judges."
Campbell, who lives in Paragould, Ark., apparently isn't counting on judges to act on the presentments, but "no matter how the courts react it will be favorable for us and not good news for Barack Obama," he wrote.
Murder: The Fantasy
Robert "Lil Dog" Crooks, 59
Camping in the scrubby desert with a tiny band of Mountain Minutemen, Robert "Lil Dog" Crooks guards a hilly, 40-mile stretch of borderland east of San Diego against what he sees as the invading hordes from the south.
The Army veteran and retired commercial fisherman is armed. But is he dangerous? That's the question that arose in 2007, amid a furious debate on federal immigration reform legislation, when Crooks produced videos that appeared to show a Mexican immigrant being shot from a distance by vigilantes men like himself along the border.
The chilling footage, shot with night-vision equipment, was posted to YouTube, and Crooks E-mailed a link to several prominent nativist leaders. "This video shows how to keep a 'Home Depot' parking lot empty," Crooks wrote. He chided other nativists who, he suggested, could "talk the talk" but not "walk the walk."
At first, Crooks denied making the video. But when faced with an investigation, he acknowledged making it and said the shooting was nothing but a hoax. The reason he did it: "We're old men and we're bored."
Other Minuteman organizations cut ties with Crooks over the episode. But he remains in the public eye. Last year, he appeared on ABC's "20/20" and was the subject of a Penthouse magazine profile.
Crooks, who could not be reached for comment, recently turned his attention to enemies who are, for a change, U.S. citizens. He was among the 30 "freedom keepers" who gathered in Georgia in May 2009 to plot a revival of the Patriot movement. There, Crooks rubbed shoulders with, among others, tax protesters, anti-Obama "birthers," and an assortment of other conspiracy theorists. In this case, Crooks need not stand guard alone.
Unfair and Unbalanced
Joseph Farah, 55
Joseph Farah is the founder of the right-wing website WorldNetDaily (WND), which stokes fear with articles on topics like "Stocking Up on Guns and Ammo" and advertisements for survivalist-style solar and food products. WND, which boasts nearly 5 million monthly visitors and spices up its "news" reporting with "WorldNetDaily Exclusive" articles like this March's "Girl Scouts Hiding Secret Sex Agenda?", claims to be "fiercely independent." It certainly is unique.
Farah, who could not be reached for comment, has served as the opening act at Tea Party events headlined by Sarah Palin this year. He is a leading fomenter of the baseless claim that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, but in Africa, and so is not qualified to be president. Farah has repeatedly demanded that Obama release a full-form birth certificate. "It'll plague Obama throughout his presidency," he said. "It'll be a nagging issue and a sore on his administration."
Farah is a veteran practitioner of conspiracy "journalism," having repeatedly hawked the tale of the supposed cover-up of the death of Clinton aide Vince Foster thought to be a murder, not a suicide, by anti-Clinton conspiracy-mongers like Farah and his ilk.
Like many publications of the far right, Farah's website, which he started with his wife in 1997, also carries countless product ads with scary headlines like "Will You Survive the Coming Dark Age?" ("Don't leave your family's safety in the hands of the government.")
Remarkably, Farah sprang from a California newspaper background. He was executive editor at the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, he edited the dying Sacramento Union, where staffers have said he ordered them to favor conservative views in news coverage and even book reviews and give short shrift to liberals.
While at the Union, he gave a page-one column to a local radio host named Rush Limbaugh.
The FEMA Fabulist
Gary Franchi, 32
Gary Franchi is one of the leading promoters of a resurgent Patriot conspiracy theory that alleges the government is creating concentration camps for U.S. citizens. In 2009, he produced "Camp FEMA: American Lockdown," a video contending that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is behind the camps that could be used to house political dissenters.
The camps "are on existing military bases now," he said in a February webinar posted on his magazine's website. "It's not a big secret."
He claims that other structures could be converted into camps, including former airport hangars, vacant corporate office buildings, and closed-down prisons. "Your local church may have already signed a deal with the devil," he wrote.
Proponents of non-violence may find themselves at a disadvantage when the government shows up to ferry them to the camps, Franchi said. "If you believe in the 2nd amendment, if you believe in the right to self-defense, then perhaps you will have a different decision to make than the person that will let them kick your door in and drag you out."
Franchi also serves as national director of RestoreTheRepublic.com, whose preoccupations include eliminating the Federal Reserve and the IRS, making it illegal to implant microchips in people (another popular Patriot conspiracy theory that dates back to the 1990s), and ending globalization because it will supposedly lead to one-world government. Franchi asserts the site is attracting nearly 1,000 new members monthly.
He also runs the Patriot social networking site RestoreTheRepublic.net, hosts the weekly "Reality Report" on Freedom.TV, and serves as managing editor of Republic Magazine. In addition, he's now a regular speaker at Patriot conferences, offering a familiar diet of fears of globalist plotters. "There is a global elite structure of bankers and organizations that are pulling the strings of the parties, pulling the strings of the president, the speaker of the House," he said in the webinar.
Though such theories are often promoted by groups that defame Jews, Franchi told the Intelligence Report that his Restore The Republic does not advocate anti-Semitism or racism. "Restore The Republic is not antigovernment in any way, shape or form," he added. "We're pro-Constitution and anti-corruption."
Al Garza, 64
Al Garza is a fifth-generation Mexican American who's determined to preserve the American way of life by keeping Mexicans out of his country.
Garza was born in Texas and raised in California. Over the past seven years, since retiring to Arizona, he has become a key leader in the nativist movement first as national executive director of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps and now as president of the Patriots Coalition, an organization he launched in August 2009.
The Patriots Coalition scouts the Mexican border for signs of undocumented immigrants and reports "suspicious activity" to the U.S. Border Patrol. Garza claims the group has about 400 members.
The group reflects a recent trend of nativists increasingly adopting the antigovernment allegations and conspiracy theories of the Patriot movement. According to Garza's website, "Our country has two enemies: Those who want to destroy us from the outside and those who attempt it from within." The site is also thick with materials supporting "birther" conspiracy theories about President Obama's citizenship. When it first went up, it featured a digitally altered photograph of a bullet-riddled Air Force One and the caption, "Obama's first low pass over Texas." (The image has since disappeared.)
Garza claims that he also organizes search-and-rescue patrols along the border that have saved the lives of 345 immigrants. "Politicians don't care about them. I do," Garza said. "I'm not prejudiced. I'm as brown as chocolate."
Asked about the irony of a Mexican American leading efforts to prevent Mexicans from setting foot on American soil, Garza said it's a matter of law.
"Laws were different 120 years ago," he said. "They break the law when they come here, and they break the law every day they're here. They buy homes fraudulently and they send their children to school fraudulently. Everything they do here breaks the law."
"We have well over 50 million people here illegally," Garza added. Where he got that number from is anybody's guess. The Department of Homeland Security, in line with most other estimates, recently put the number at 10.8 million.
Of Government and Guillotines
Ted Gunderson, 81
Ted Gunderson seems never to have heard a conspiracy theory he doesn't believe. What makes this remarkable is that he was an FBI agent for nearly three decades, even heading up large bureaus in Los Angeles and Dallas.
Gunderson, who did not respond to a letter sent a month before this writing, has warned for years that Satanists have footholds from the White House and Congress to the media. He claims a shadow government is targeting thousands of citizens, him included; its methods include the Internet, electronic energy beams from a satellite, hidden cameras and wiretaps in homes. A few of his other claims: There are 1,000 internment camps in the United States, and 30,000 guillotines stored in Atlanta to use on dissident patriots. Children were taken from Boys Town in Nebraska in the 1980s and flown to Washington, D.C., "for sex orgies at private parties with U.S. congressmen and Washington dignitaries." Sonny Bono didn't die in a skiing accident; he was murdered to stop him from blabbing about drug trafficking by CIA operatives.
Being privy to so many conspiracies has resulted in repeated attempts to assassinate him, Gunderson complains.
Some of Gunderson's fellow conspiracy theorists spin their own tales about him. One claims that the real Ted Gunderson committed suicide in 2002 and that this Gunderson is an imposter. Another claims that Gunderson supplied terrorists with stolen Stinger missiles in return for drugs, and was forced into early retirement in 1979 because he performed Satanic ceremonies in his FBI office.
Last year, Gunderson said he was planning to move to Panama, where he would help Americans "flee the ever-growing Totalitarian Police State and economic chaos in this country." Since then, he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, friends say.
The Unnamed Co-Conspirator
John Hassey, 60
John Hassey was the public face of Alabama's militia movement in the late 1990s, but he faded from the public eye following the high-profile arrest of a close associate who was accused of plotting several terrorist attacks.
Hassey gravitated toward the militia movement in the early 1990s in reaction to the Clinton administration's gun control policies. He rose through the ranks of the Alabama Constitutional Militia, becoming public information officer and finally executive officer.
In 1995, he explained the group's mission to a reporter from the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser: "We're not plotting or planning to overthrow the government. We just want the government to abide by the Constitution."
Two years later, however, he struck a very different posture during a protest in Southaven, Tenn., for a couple being evicted to allow the construction of a park. "If they take the man's house, they're gonna start a war here in these United States," he said.
In 1999, Hassey's superior officer in the Southeastern States Alliance was charged with planning to steal explosives from National Guard armories. Officials said Donald Beauregard planned to blow up utilities and government facilities in Florida and Georgia. Hassey wasn't arrested, but Beauregard's indictment stated that the stolen munitions were to be stored on a "co-conspirator's farm in Alabama." Hassey has said he believes he was the unnamed co-conspirator.
In October 2004, Hassey filed for bankruptcy, but he still lives on the parcel in Elmore, Ala., that his neighbors call "The Militia."
Today, he's active again. Life in a militia, he said in a brief interview, is something "you just can't leave."
Telling Tall Tales
Alex Jones, 36
Alex Jones is out to save the world.
From his perch as a radio talk-show host in Austin, Texas, he outlines the forces that threaten to enslave every man, woman and child on the planet. In his narrative, a cabal of wealthy corporations, the United Nations and government leaders are complicit in a fiendish plot to dominate the world.
Or something like that.
He's the host of "The Alex Jones Show," which airs six days a week on more than 60 radio stations and streams live on the Internet. His website is chock full of apocalyptic headlines and ads for products like "recession-proof coins" and manuals on "How to Survive Martial Law in America."
If Jones' ramblings were shaped into a screenplay, the resulting movie would stretch credulity to the breaking point. But Jones, in his booming radio voice, takes to the airwaves to sound the alarm with the earnestness of a true believer.
Jones believes, for example, that the federal government had a hand in terror attacks aimed at swaying American public opinion. "There was government involvement with the Oklahoma City bombing," he said. "There's a lot of evidence with 9/11 being staged."
Jones said the main goal of his show is to expose listeners to the truth. "At my core, I have a drive to expose evil and corruption," he said. "We have a dictatorship on the planet. The entire planet is being enslaved by global, dominant corporations."
Jones ran for a Texas House seat in 2000 as a Republican but said he doesn't follow the platform of either of the two major American political parties. "I'm a freedom lover, and someone who loves the truth."
The Red-Hot Patriot
Devvy Kidd, 60
Devvy Kidd is a prolific columnist, blogger and public speaker whose incendiary prose helps fan the flames of the constitutionalist, or Patriot, movement. Based in Big Spring, Texas, she bills herself as the "Dynamite Redhead" on her website, where she writes about everything from "Cap and Trade rape" to "Homosexuals 'born that way' A con job."
Kidd gained popularity with an anti-tax message and by writing two booklets that she claims have sold more than 2 million copies. She ran for Congress in 1994 and 1996, and she says she has appeared on more than 2,500 radio broadcasts.
Like many Patriots, she despises President Obama, referring to him in one recent column as the "Marxist Barack Obama." She believes citizen militias are necessary to defend freedom. She declared in a November 2008 column for NewsWithViews that "Barack Hussein Obama is dangerous to freedom and liberty and your gun rights," and "Our very survival depends on the states of the Union revitalizing the constitutional militias. ... We the people are now the enemy."
Kidd, who declined to be interviewed, didn't start out as a writer. Her website bio says she worked in construction and finance for almost two decades before taking various positions with the Defense Department, where she says she became a federal whistleblower after filing a "fraud, waste and abuse" complaint against her own job.
Her writing frequently invokes what most Patriots see as key events in recent American history. "Most Americans not walking around in self-induced comas still remember how the FBI, the ATF and our military gassed and burned to death almost one hundred adults and children, some babies, at WACO [Texas]," she wrote at one point. "We remember how the FBI and U.S. Marshals shot a young boy and then put a bullet through his mother's head while holding her infant daughter at Ruby Ridge."
Apostle of Disunion
Larry Kilgore, 45
If Larry Kilgore ever got his way, Texas would be the Lone Star Country. The Christian activist's goal is an independent Texas governed by biblical law. His ideal community "would be where folks look to God's word, the Bible."
Secession alone is not enough, though. Kilgore would like to see Texas further balkanized into smaller countries or counties, each one catering to a different religious or personal belief. "There's so much cultural diversity and religious diversity," he said. "I think that the tension we feel when we are all forced to be together is difficult."
Kilgore, a telecommunications consultant, said he doesn't support or oppose armed resistance against the U.S. government. He has invested his own efforts in the political process (he's a perennial candidate for public office) and is willing to work with any organization, no matter their politics, in order to escape what he calls an oppressive federal government.
At an August 2009 secessionist rally in Austin, Kilgore left no doubt about his personal feelings. "I hate that flag up there," he said, pointing to the American flag. "I hate the United States government. They're an evil, corrupt government."
Apparently, Kilgore's secessionist talk didn't play well in his initial, quixotic campaigns against better-known, better-funded candidates. In a 2004 run for the Texas House, he received just 474 votes.
But he may not be tilting at windmills these days. In 2006, he challenged Gov. Rick Perry and captured more than 50,000 votes. Two years later, Kilgore lost a bid for a U.S. Senate seat, but not before sweeping up 225,649 votes.
Though he recently bowed out of the 2010 gubernatorial race, his influence lingers. Perry has begun courting the antigovernment vote and recently even suggested Texas might be wise to consider secession.
Cliff Kincaid, 55
Whether he's sounding the alarm about the Vatican's role in the "New World Order" or the prospect of the U.S. military becoming a sinister homosexual fighting force, Cliff Kincaid persistently churns out columns savaging liberals, making groundless claims, and trumpeting far-right conspiracy theories.
The longtime far-right polemicist is the editor of AIM Report, a twice-monthly publication of the group ironically named Accuracy in Media. He is also the founder and president of America's Survival Inc., a group that says it monitors the United Nations in order to "expose the influence of global institutions" on people's lives.
In recent columns written for AIM, the dour Kincaid questions who's behind the financial crisis and rails against "the homosexual lobby." He warns that allowing gays to serve openly in the military will lead to "a homosexualized military [that] could itself become a threat, just like it was in the Nazi period." His warning of the impending gay blitzkrieg links to a column written by Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika, an unhinged and defamatory history that makes the entirely false claim that gays helped orchestrate the Holocaust.
At the America's Survival website, Kincaid promotes "The Religious Face of the New World Order," a report that claims to examine the Vatican's role in the plot to create a one-world government. Kincaid also has written columns about the Catholic Church's role in health care reform, including "Blame the Bishops For Health Care Debacle."
Kincaid has been a part of Washington's right-wing idea factory since the early 1980s. He's written for the highly conservative Human Events magazine and has been an editorial writer for Oliver North at the Freedom Alliance, a group founded by the former National Security Council staffer at the center of the Iran-Contra scandal.
Last year, as conspiracy theorists questioned President Obama's citizenship, Kincaid stepped up to the plate by publicly releasing his own birth certificate. The president took no apparent notice.
Swim for Your Life
Mark Koernke, 52
When it comes to spotting "black helicopters," few have an eagle eye more focused than Mark Koernke. But it was the green one that did him in.
Koernke was wanted for skipping bail on an assault charge in 1998 when he spied the helicopter. Police later said Koernke wouldn't have been noticed at all if he hadn't scampered into the brush, then tried to swim across an icy lake. Turns out the green chopper was part of a routine marijuana-eradication patrol. Koernke who had shaven off his mustache, dyed his hair orange and worked up a bad Irish brogue was taken into custody.
By that time, the tough-talking former janitor known as "Mark from Michigan" had risen to prominence within the Patriot movement by serving up heaping helpings of dark government conspiracies and "New World Order" warnings on his short-wave radio broadcasts. He produced a series of antigovernment videos, including one in which he alleged that Hong Kong police were being sneaked into the country as part of a U.N. takeover. He also garnered attention when false reports linked him to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Before his capture in 1998, he continued broadcasting from secret locations, prompting an FBI terrorism investigation.
The assault charge was eventually dropped, but Koernke landed in prison a few years later anyway. In 2000, he happened to be sitting in front a Michigan bank that had just been robbed. When police tried to question him, he led them on a 50-mile chase before crashing into a tree and then jumping, as it happened, into another lake. Convicted of fleeing police and resisting arrest, he went to prison in 2001. Not to be deterred, he even broadcast to other Patriots from a prison pay phone.
Released in 2007, Koernke is now back on the air with his show "The Intelligence Report" and is still raising the alert to his fellow militiamen. "Somebody's gonna pull a trigger and it's going to be one hell of a popcorn exchange," he calmly warns in a recent audio clip from his show. "From a distance, it's going to sound like somebody opened up the popcorn pan from hell. OK? And when it's all said and done, there will be no turning back. I want you all to be ready for that."
A Sheriff of Their Own
Richard Mack, 57
It seems hardly a day goes by without another Mack attack on the evils of the federal government. This one-time sheriff of a rural county in Arizona and present-day icon of the Patriot movement has parlayed his antigovernment ardor into a full-time job doing speaking gigs at county fairgrounds, high school auditoriums and hotel banquet rooms. He even has a sponsor.
Richard Mack is introduced often to standing ovations as "Sheriff Mack." His website calls him that too, even though he hasn't been the top cop of Graham County since 1996, when its population was around 30,000.
Mack's mantra is this: The federal government is too big, too corrupt and too oppressive. "The greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our federal government," he warns on his website. Some agencies, including the "Gestapo" Internal Revenue Service, should be eliminated, he says.
Mack has also acted as a key transmitter of such Patriot ideas to Tea Party groups, to whom he now regularly speaks.
He regularly rips undocumented workers and the "socialist" and "Marxist" policies of the Obama Administration. He assures his nearly all-white audiences that neither he nor the Patriot movement is racist (although he did once co-author a book with white separatist Randy Weaver). Had it been his call, Mack would not have made Rosa Parks get off that bus back in 1955, he says. She was merely disobeying a bad law, and cops waste time "enforcing stupid laws all the time."
Mack became a hero of gun-rights advocates after he won a U.S. Supreme Court decision with a few other sheriffs that weakened the Brady gun control bill in the 1990s. Now, he maintains that county sheriffs are the highest legitimate law enforcement authorities an idea also pushed by the violently anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus in the 1980s and he relentlessly hawks his latest self-published book, which makes that argument. Its 50 simplistic pages represent "decades of research." Even the president of the United States, Mack tells cheering audiences, "cannot tell your sheriff what to do."
Facts and Fiction
Jack McLamb, 65
Listen to some of today's popular voices in the Patriot movement, like Stewart Rhodes (see profile below) and Richard Mack (see profile above), and you hear echoes of Jack McLamb, a prominent figure in the militia heyday of the 1990s.
Like Mack, McLamb is a former cop he was a Phoenix police officer. Like Mack, he contends that county sheriffs have enormous power that they foolishly yield to federal agencies. Like Rhodes, he suggests that Americans must be prepared to defend the Constitution from the "New World Order." Indeed, McLamb once produced a 75-page report, Operation Vampire Killer 2000: American Police Action Plan for Stopping World Government Rule.
McLamb believes lots of conspiracy myths. In 1996, he said that government officials were smuggling drugs into the country in an attempt to incite racial rancor, an idea repeated in certain far-left venues. He claimed that then-Vice President Al Gore intended to reduce world population by 90% through an end-of-the-millennium "Y2K" plot.
McLamb is more of a fringe Patriot player nowadays, but still pipes up from time to time on various conspiracies. He thinks the day will come when true patriots are murdered or placed in detention camps by their government. He said in an interview last year that he believes that President Obama is "an illegal alien president. He's also a hard-core communist, and probably a Muslim."
When John McCain was running for president in 2008, McLamb claimed the senator was never tortured while a POW in Vietnam, and in fact made 32 propaganda videos for the communist North Vietnamese.
McLamb says he, of all people, should know: "I'm a police investigator and I know what a fact is."
Railing About Reds
John F. McManus, 75
John McManus is the president and longtime public face of the secretive John Birch Society (JBS), the now fading anti-Communist organization founded in 1958. The former public relations director was named president in 1991 after working for many years alongside founder Robert Welch. He has spoken in public extensively in recent years to boost dwindling membership and funds even as JBS has worked to link arms with the Patriot movement and others with similar ideas.
McManus, who joined the society's staff in 1966, has continued to promote its founding principles. The central thesis is that a sinister cabal of politicians, bankers, globalists and other elites throughout history including the Illuminati, every U.S. president since Woodrow Wilson and the Council on Foreign Relations have worked to peel away the rights of individuals and put the U.S. on a path toward a totalitarian one-world government.
The often-lampooned group, which reached its zenith in the 1960s, has been anti-immigrant, anti-United Nations and even anti-Newt Gingrich. It once suggested that Dwight D. Eisenhower was a "conscious agent" of Communism.
McManus, who didn't return phone calls for this story, hates the Federal Reserve, which he blames for the stock market crash of 1929, the current recession and other calamities. "The combination of the government and the Federal Reserve are destroying the dollar and setting us up for world currency, world control, world government," he told his hometown Appleton, Wis., Post-Crescent last April.
An ultraconservative Roman Catholic, McManus has been accused of anti-Semitism, a charge he has denied. In 2005, according to The New York Times, Birch staffers who were ousted amid internal turmoil leaked recordings of McManus saying that Judaism was a dead religion and that militant Jews have influenced the Freemasons, who were "Satan's agents" and part of the Illuminati conspiracy to cause world upheaval.
Facing Down the UN
Daniel New, 64
Daniel New has one claim to fame. He's the father of Michael New, the Army medic who refused to don a United Nations uniform when his infantry unit was assigned to a peacekeeping mission in a former Yugoslavian republic in 1995. To this day, Daniel New, who lives near Waco, hawks calendars, T-shirts, books and videos about the saga of his son, hero of the Patriot movement.
The younger New, who was court-martialed and discharged for bad conduct at the age of 23, long ago expressed a desire to move on with his life. His father and other supporters, however, put up a decade-long, unsuccessful court fight bankrolled by a steady stream of donations to win back his honor.
New argued that the Constitution prohibits soldiers from wearing foreign badges and answering to non-U.S. officers. But his appeals have twice been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently in 2007.
That hasn't slowed down his stage dad. "Any time an American soldier is forced against his will to serve a foreign power, then we are not a free country," Daniel New told a reporter after the latest rejection.
Daniel New was the one who handled the hundreds of phone calls, the talk show circuit and other media buzz after his son defied orders. He ran a quixotic race for Congress a few years later. Since then, he's been a staple of the right-wing speaking circuit, appearing at the 2007 Constitution Party conference, among other venues.
At different points, New also has headed the Texas division of the now-defunct, right-wing U.S. Taxpayers Party in Texas and co-authored a self-published book with far-right columnist Cliff Kincaid (see profile above) titled Michael New: Mercenary or American Soldier? At press time, used copies were selling on Amazon.com for as little as a penny, while a new copy could be had for 65 cents.
Back in the Saddle
Norm Olson, 63
Few people played a bigger role in transforming Michigan into a hotbed of militia activity during the 1990s than Norm Olson. Today, the founder of the Michigan Militia is living in Alaska and working with others to build the Alaska Citizens Militia. He told the Redoubt Reporter that he was convinced Americans would be forced to repel "tyrannical, oppressive federal aggression."
Founded in 1994, the Michigan Militia was one of the first major contemporary militias. It was thrust into the national spotlight after the Oklahoma City bombing, when reports surfaced that conspirators Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh had attended meetings. Olson confirmed that each man attended one meeting but added that their rhetoric was not welcome and they were not encouraged to return.
After the 1995 bombing, Olson suggested the Japanese government was responsible a statement he later said he should have "fully corroborated." Olson wasn't re-elected to a leadership post in the Michigan Militia. He later founded his own Northern Michigan Regional Militia.
By 2005, Olson was moving to Alaska. He declared Michigan "hopeless" and auctioned off weaponry and memorabilia from his Alanson, Mich., gun store even offering Michigan Militia patches.
By late 2009, Olson and Michigan Militia co-founder Ray Southwell were in Nikiski, Alaska, promoting the Alaska Citizens Militia. Earlier this year, Olson was serving as interim commander of the Kenai Peninsula Division.
"America is very, very ill," Olson said. "And people across the country are preparing themselves."
Out of the Barrel of a Gun
Larry Pratt, 67
When it comes to sniffing out sinister plots to disarm gun owners, Larry Pratt and the Gun Owners of America (GOA) are constantly on the lookout.
Health care reform? It's a plot to take your guns, according to the GOA website.
Environmentalism? You guessed it another plot to take your guns. At the Ninth Annual Freedom 21 Conference in Texas in 2008, Pratt warned that "the major goal of the sustainable development movement is to disarm Americans."
Pratt, the GOA's executive director, was scheduled to speak at the "Second Amendment March" in Washington, D.C., this April 19. The event, which the GOA helped sponsor, was designed to let politicians know they had better not support anti-gun legislation. Patriot and other radical groups were also expected to participate.
There's one tiny problem. There's no evidence that the government is plotting to strip citizens of their guns. President Obama has even signed legislation allowing guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has given Obama an "F" on every issue on which it graded him.
But that's not stopping the hard-line GOA, which claims more than 300,000 members and doesn't believe in any gun restrictions at all. When armed citizens began appearing outside presidential events, Pratt addressed it in a column on the GOA website. "There are those who don't like Americans owning guns at all, let alone carrying them openly. They can be counted on to run around squawking like Chicken Little that the sky is falling."
Pratt may be the figure most responsible for introducing the militia concept to the radical right. He authored Armed People Victorious in 1990. Based on this study of "citizen defense patrols" in the Philippines and Guatemala groups that became more commonly known as death squads Pratt offered a flattering portrayal and promoted militias for the United States.
Two years later, in 1992, he was invited to a Colorado meeting where the outlines of the militia movement were shaped. More than 150 extremists attended the meeting, which was hosted by a white supremacist minister. In 1996, Pratt was ejected from the co-chairmanship of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign over such associations with white supremacists.
Of Cops and Conspiracies
Stewart Rhodes, 44
A former aide to Texas congressman Ron Paul (see profile in "The Enablers"), Stewart Rhodes founded a group called Oath Keepers in early 2009. The rapidly growing organization is comprised mostly of active-duty police and military, as well as veterans, who fret about things like gun control and the much-feared "New World Order." Members swear (a second time) to uphold their oath to the Constitution and not to obey orders they think conflict with that. Among those orders (10 "Orders We Will Not Obey" are listed on the Oath Keepers website): Imposing martial law or a state of emergency on a state, and forcing those who resist into detention camps.
Rhodes is an Army veteran and a Yale Law School graduate. He and others in his organization have been frequent speakers at Tea Party rallies, helping channel Patriot ideas into that movement. Rhodes insists his group isn't antigovernment, but he and other Oath Keepers do describe the government as tyrannical and repressive. "We saw a dangerous increase in power of the executive branch and a dangerous increase in government power over the American people," he told Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy on the latter's radio show in April 2009.
In interviews, Rhodes has suggested that his worries about concentration camps and martial law are purely theoretical concerns. That is false. At the top of the list of orders his group will not obey is a quote from George Washington, saying now is the time to decide whether we are "freemen" or "slaves." Rhodes' site then says, "Such a time is near at hand again," clearly suggesting imminent catastrophe.
Rhodes also has appeared for friendly questioning at least twice on the radio show of über-conspiracist Alex Jones. And, last November, he explained on the Conservative Political Network why his organization doesn't focus on politicians, lawyers or judges. "They've already demonstrated by their behavior they have contempt for the Constitution and have no regard for their oaths," he said. "So I focus on the military and the police because they still have honor, and if they stand down and refuse unlawful orders, it doesn't make a difference what the politicians want, it can't be done."
Correcting the Constitution
Jon Roland, 66
When a militiaman claims the federal government is trampling the Constitution, he might have Jon Roland to thank for his reasoning. In the mid-1990s, Roland founded the Constitution Society, a Patriot organization whose website assembles writings on all manner of constitutional issues, including a section on the alleged right to assemble a militia.
The site also delves into the world of conspiracy theories by providing links to sites questioning the Oklahoma City bombing and the role of researchers in creating the HIV virus. It even includes a section on mind-control technology.
It's all in keeping with Roland's role as a purveyor of information to the Patriot movement, a role that includes the founding of the Texas Militia Correspondence Committee in the mid-1990s. He's also played a role in the movement's resurgence by attending a gathering of extremist figures in Georgia last year that appears to have pumped new life into the movement. "The Feds are out of control," he told the Intelligence Report in an interview about that meeting. They "have actually been engaging in warlike activity against the American people."
Roland, a computer specialist in Austin, Texas, has run for office several times since 1972. At a website exploring a possible candidacy for U.S. Senate, he promotes a "Constitutionalist Platform" that would "involve the repeal of much existing legislation," including statutes that make "anything but gold or silver coin legal tender on state territory." He supports the ability of private mints to issue such coins.
And, of course, he wants to revive the militia system he says was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Roland appears determined to fulfill a statement he made in 1994 that is still quoted on the Constitution Society website: "I decided history needed a course correction, so I reached for my keyboard."
The 'Patriot Journalist'
Luke Rudkowski, 23
Luke Rudkowski dislikes the phrase "conspiracy theory." He prefers to think of his organization as a movement of truth-seeking activists who are simply asking the hard questions that aren't being posed by mainstream journalists.
Nevertheless, the founder of We Are Change has tapped into a deep vein of suspicion among Americans who see dark conspiracies being hatched inside the federal government. He has harnessed the energy of 9/11 "truthers" to form an army of activists seeking to expose "the lies of the government and corporate elite who remain suspect in this crime."
Since he formed We Are Change as a group of "patriot journalists" in 2006, the loose-knit group has grown into a network of more than 200 independent chapters, mostly in the United States. Finding the "truth" behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is a driving force as are concerns about a looming "one world order," according to the group's website. It also seeks "to uncover the truth behind the private banking cartel of the military industrial complex" that wants to "eliminate national sovereignty."
Rudkowski said the group doesn't engage in broad New World Order conspiracies but focuses on the alleged role of groups such as the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission. These groups have been common targets for Patriot and other conspiracy theorists for decades.
We Are Change videographers have confronted political figures such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. When video surfaced of U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah telling a We Are Change interviewer there's "a lot we still need to learn" about the 2001 terrorist attacks, the congressman felt constrained to issue a statement disavowing any belief in a government conspiracy.
Rudkowski, whose group explicitly condemns violence and racism, said he was arrested last year for trespassing during an attempt to question New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg about the health care of 9/11 first responders. He said he is fighting the charge, saying he was targeted and never told to leave.
"I see a huge uprising right now of people waking up every single day," Rudkowski said in an interview posted on YouTube last year.
Robert "Bob" Schulz, 70
When the history is written about the rebirth of the antigovernment Patriot movement, Robert "Bob" Schulz may be the man credited with setting the cornerstone for this new era of militias, tax protesters and "sovereign citizens."
The longtime tax protester convened a gathering of fellow tax defiers, militia enthusiasts, nativist extremists, anti-Obama "birthers" and others at Georgia's Jekyll Island in May 2009. At the meeting, they mapped out "action plans" for a larger movement one that would confront not only taxes but an array of issues that threaten to "collapse the Republic."
That meeting led to an 11-day "continental congress" in St. Charles, Ill., hosted by Schulz's organization, We the People. The November 2009 meeting drew more than 100 delegates from 48 states and birthed the "Articles of Freedom." The document declares the federal government "now threatens our Life, Liberty and Property through usurpations of the Constitution."
Schulz describes the events as merely gatherings of people concerned about the government and seeking a redress of grievances. He said the topic of militias focused on "well-regulated state militias." Nevertheless, these meetings were remarkable for the level of cooperation demonstrated within the revitalized Patriot movement.
Schulz said the actions of the government such as purchasing stakes in auto companies are shocking people and "more and more people are talking about the Constitution." Earlier this year, he offered an even more striking assessment. "There's a huge patriot movement," Schulz told a reporter. "I've been doing this kind of work for 30 years. Never have I seen the likes of what's going on now. It's delightful."
The Jekyll Island gathering also is noteworthy because it parallels the origins of the Patriot movement of the 1990s. The modern militia movement was partly shaped at a 1992 meeting of radical-right leaders in Estes Park, Colo. At that gathering, known as the "Rocky Mountain Rendezvous," a cross section of extremist leaders also put aside their differences to focus on a common enemy: the federal government. Schulz denied any knowledge of the meeting.
The end result of Schulz's work may only be realized in time. The documents produced at the continental congress declare any infringement on the people's liberty as described in the Constitution as an act of war that "the People and their Militias have the Right and Duty to repel."
The Cautious Conspiracist
Joel Skousen, 63
He may not be as well known as his uncle, the late (and largely discredited) far-right author Cleon Skousen. But Joel Skousen is similarly preoccupied with conspiracy theories about worldwide government.
Addressing the Constitution Party National Committee meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., last October, Skousen, of Orem, Utah, spoke of powerful deceptive forces at work. In an E-mail to the Intelligence Report, Skousen elaborated on some of those claims, saying he believes there's "substantive evidence" that Obama's birthplace was Kenya, making him ineligible for the presidency. "His sudden rise from poor community attorney to a relatively rich man via insider real estate dealings with less than reputable figures and too-good-to-be-true market speculations lends credence to my suspicion that his rise in the political arena was in large part owing to some kind of deal made with the political machines in Illinois and Washington D.C."
Skousen also predicts that Russia and China will launch a massive preemptive strike against the United States. "Very few know that the Powers That Be (PTB) intend to pull the nuclear trigger via Russia and China," he wrote on his website.
Skousen said this belief preceded what has become his vocation: designing high-security homes and shelters. His survivalist writings (for sale on his website) include explanation of how to fortify closets and turn basements into fallout shelters.
He also writes World Affairs Brief, a weekly E-mail newsletter monitoring "the tactics and hidden intentions of globalist insiders who are maneuvering the world into a New World Order." (A year-long subscription costs $48.) The New World Order, Skousen told the Intelligence Report, is a conspiracy aimed at "undermin[ing] national sovereignty slowly by deception and provocation (using false threats of terrorism, war and Hegelian conflict creation and management) to provoke normal people into accepting increased control, regulation and taxation by a one-world government."
That notion was shared by his uncle Cleon, whose books including The Five Thousand Year Leap (1981) are enjoying a revival today thanks largely to the promotional efforts of Glenn Beck (see profile in "The Enablers"). But Skousen has mixed feelings about the Fox News host. "In general, I do not believe Beck to be capable of rigorous and careful analysis of any issues that are complex," he wrote. "His superficial handling of conspiracy issues and the manner in which he dismisses them without a careful hearing is exemplary of this uncareful analysis."
The Rough Guide
Jim Stachowiak, 49
Jim Stachowiak is a longtime militia organizer and foul-mouthed talk show host.
On the Feb. 23 episode of his daily radio show, he called for armed resistance if the government tries to confiscate people's guns. "This country will not be saved without a Revolution," he said.
Wearing camouflage and a "Don't Tread on Me" hat, he brandished a knife as he discussed ambushes and ranted against gays. "We're not going to let one little faggot destroy standing up against tyranny," he said, referring both to another movement leader and to an anti-hate blogger. (Stachowiak later said he used the word "faggot" to "elicit a reaction.")
On his website, he calls Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano a "Nazi-bitch." A picture on his blog shows an AK-47 emblazoned with the words, "The A.R.M. [American Resistance Movement] solution to forced vaccines," a common bogeyman of the radical right.
Stachowiak told the Intelligence Report he's advocating defense, not violence. "I'd rather go to a movie or make payments on a jet ski, but I have to buy ammo," he lamented. "I'm concerned about civil unrest, my neighbors going crazy, round-ups, foreign troops, the New World Order."
He's part of A.R.M., a leaderless network of individual militias that Stachowiak insists is active, although a notice on its website says it has shut down. In the mid-'90s, he led the Georgia Civilian Militia, a paramilitary group that disbanded in 1997 because, he claims, government agents were attempting to get members to act illegally. Stachowiak says he's Jewish and that the militia had black and Puerto Rican members. "The racist militias aren't all of us," he said. "You can't demonize an entire group based on the actions of a few."
Stachowiak stood on a Mexican flag during a 2008 anti-immigration protest in South Carolina and last fall appeared in an Internet video urging mass protests at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. He has frequently clashed with fellow Patriots and was expelled from We Are Change, a group that promotes Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, after a dispute with another leader. He even attacked his own listeners recently, concluding, "If you don't like this show, fuck it." Stachowiak later said the on-air meltdown was just showmanship.
Running Radical Radio
John Stadtmiller, 56
John Stadtmiller founded and runs Republic Broadcasting Network (RBN), whose talk radio fare is peppered with warnings about enslavement by a one-world government. The station, which broadcasts via the Internet, shortwave and satellite, drew national attention this April when a host who identifies himself as Sam Kennedy sent letters to the nation's governors demanding that they resign within three days. The letters sparked an FBI investigation.
Stadtmiller has his own show, "The National Intel Report," which airs daily on RBN. Also heard on RBN is Jack McLamb (see profile above), a former Phoenix police officer and militia hero who runs Police & Military Against The New World Order and who argues that "globalists" are trying "to gain, through any available means, total dictatorial control over all the peoples of the world." Yet another RBN host is Michael Collins Piper, who has written copiously for the anti-Semitic American Free Press and its predecessor, The Spotlight, as well as The Barnes Review, a Holocaust denial journal. Kennedy's show has focused on its host's "Restore America" project, said to be a peaceful attempt to return America to its rightful legal basis and thereby avoid "World War III."
Stadtmiller, who now lives in Round Rock, Texas, has a long history of involvement in Patriot radio, formerly co-hosting militia promoter Mark "Mark from Michigan" Koernke's (see profile above) show. Immediately after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Koernke and Stadtmiller broadcast allegations that the federal government was behind the tragedy. "This whole thing was created to attack the Patriot movement," Stadtmiller was quoted as saying in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette following McVeigh's conviction. Koernke and Stadtmiller stayed on the air even after Koernke became a fugitive in 1998. (Koernke had been charged with assaulting a man trying to subpoena him to serve as a defense witness in a murder trial.)
More recently, Stadtmiller was featured in "Camp FEMA," a video that suggests the Federal Emergency Management Agency is creating concentration camps for political dissenters. Looking scholarly in a jacket and button-down shirt, the silver-haired Stadtmiller asserts that it doesn't take much to establish a detention facility. "It can be a sports arena," he said. "It could be abandoned airports. It could be abandoned military facilities. Anyplace that you can set up a security perimeter could be used as a temporary internment camp."
Stadtmiller declined to speak with the Intelligence Report. "I would rather pour gasoline on myself and light it than speak to anyone in your 'organization,'" he wrote in an E-mail.
'Alice in Wonderland'
Orly Taitz, 49
It's not unusual at public meetings of, say, a local city council to find a common species known as the political gadfly. These persistent critics, tolerated as attention-seeking eccentrics, don't allow the absence of coherency or logic to keep them from speaking. Often claiming expertise they do not possess or seeing evil machinations that do not exist, these gadflies cling to their feverish suspicions.
Orly Taitz, a southern California lawyer who has led the national "birther" movement, is a political gadfly writ large, except for one crucial difference: She found a large, national audience.
Dubbed the "birther queen" and worse in the blogosphere, she's a champion of those who question the citizenship of President Obama and, therefore, the legitimacy of his presidency.
Taitz, a former swimsuit model born in the Soviet Union, lived in Israel and Romania before setting up a dentistry practice in Orange County. Along the way, she picked up a law degree from an online school.
Tirelessly, inexplicably, Taitz has filed dozens of lawsuits and made numerous claims in the media alleging that Obama has not only lied about his citizenship but has masterminded a deception on a scale that has seldom, if ever, been seen before. In the process, she has become a hero to the antigovernment Patriot movement and last year even joined We the People, a leading tax-protest group that is a key part of that movement.
Taitz has called for an insurrection to remove the president. Last summer, she released a document she claimed was Obama's Kenyan birth certificate. It was quickly proven a fraud. She has claimed that Obama has as many as 25 Social Security numbers. She has aligned herself with others who claim Obama has ties to radical jihadists, is a closeted homosexual, and may be a ruthless murderer.
Taitz has been so roundly discredited, even the rabid right-wing attack dog Ann Coulter has called her a crank. As one judge wrote in dismissing one of Taitz's lawsuits: "Unlike Alice in Wonderland, simply saying something is so does not make it so."
Teed Off in Tulsa
Amanda Teegarden, 54
Amanda Teegarden is Tulsa's leading lady of the radical right. She's executive director of Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise (OK-SAFE), a nonprofit whose website says it "sees a concerted, dedicated and well funded effort by Social and Economic Elites to transition the United States from a Representative Republic to a Socialist Group" rhetoric virtually indistinguishable from that of the antigovernment Patriot movement.
Teegarden has expressed alarm about federally funded law enforcement "fusion centers" like the one run by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that collect and analyze information about potential terrorist activities. She told one newspaper that she worried the centers could track attendees at "tea parties" and congressional town halls.
Teegarden joined the American Civil Liberties Union and right-wing "constitutionalists" at an odd-bedfellows event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in October 2008. The subject: opposition to the gathering of data on U.S. citizens, including collection and use of DNA and biometric samples, and to any federal ID legislation.
In August 2009, OK-SAFE sponsored a national conference that focused on individual liberties and federal encroachment on states' rights, another favorite issue of the radical right. Right-wing luminaries who spoke at the Freedom21 conference, held in Midwest City, Okla., included Edward Griffin, author of The Creature from Jekyll Island (a screed attacking the Fed, a common target of far-right conspiracy theorists), Republican state representatives and others concerned about the United Nations and President Obama's education plans.
Teegarden has backed local conservative candidates in Tulsa, and she filed to run for the county school board in 2004 only to drop out of the race later. She also co-founded an organization called Oklahomans for School Accountability, which promotes teaching a "biblical world view."
"We are obviously a very conservative parents group," Teegarden told the Tulsa World in 2006.
Gunning for the Government
Mike Vanderboegh, 56
Back in the 1990s, Mike Vanderboegh used to go to some lengths to portray himself as a moderate in the world of antigovernment militias, even though he once wrote about the utility of snipers and using "violence carefully targeted and clearly defensive." In 1996, for instance, he joined many militia leaders in signing a document distancing the movement from racists and neo-Nazis.
That was then. This spring, he started to sound a little different.
On March 19, Vanderboegh, enraged at the imminent passage of health care reform, furiously called on Americans to break the windows of local Democratic Party headquarters offices around the country. "[I]f you wish to send a message that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows," the Pinson, Ala., blogger wrote. "Break them NOW. Break them and run to break again. Break them under cover of night. Break them in broad daylight."
Over the next few days, party office windows and those of several members of Congress were indeed smashed with bricks in several states, criminal attacks followed with glee by Vanderboegh in his blog's "Window War" feature.
After his time as a militia enthusiast, Vanderboegh in the mid-2000s took to patrolling the Mexican border with his own tiny Alabama Minuteman Support Team. More recently, he has been described as the co-founder of the Three Percenters, a loose alliance of gun owners who vow not to surrender their rights and disarm. The name refers to the 3% of American colonists believed to have been the portion of the population who actively opposed England. Three Percenters also claim to represent the hardest-line 3% of U.S. gun owners.
Vanderboegh's website, Sipsey Street Irregulars, warns that "the collectivists who now control the government" should leave gun owners alone "if they wish to continue unfettered oxygen consumption." He claims the website has garnered more than 1 million visits.
Vanderboegh declined an interview for this article in a lengthy E-mail attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center as "lying, conflationist bastards." Nevertheless, Vanderboegh, who used his website to promote his interview with a television station, ended his E-mail by writing, "Thank you in advance for all the free publicity."
Paul Venable, 56
Paul Venable, one of the few African-American members of the anti-abortion, anti-tax, anti-immigrant, and anti-gun control Constitution Party, serves as state chair in Idaho, a state that is 95% white. He says on his website that he was raised in Ohio and has been an information technology specialist for many years. He boasts that he and his wife have been presenting Constitution classes and teaching the principles of liberty since 2004.
Using Thomas Jefferson's words to refer to himself as a "Common Citizen of Little Consequence," Venable is definitely a "party" guy, having run for the Idaho House of Representatives as a Constitution Party candidate in 2008.
In May 2009, he attended a meeting of radical right leaders at Jekyll Island, Ga., that appears to have played a key role in the resurgence of the militia movement. He was then nominated to be a delegate to the "continental congress" in St. Charles, Ill., in November 2009, an event that was organized by We the People's Bob Schulz (see profile above), who also called the Jekyll Island gathering.
Venable spoke at the Constitution Party's October 2009 National Committee Meeting in Phoenix on the theme of "Get Out of Our House" referring to the U.S. House of Representatives, which he says on his website has been "emasculated."
On his website, there is a snapshot of a yellowed poster headlined "WANTED FOR ACTS OF TERRORISM." It features sketches of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, and their "Aliases": Founding Father, Sons of Liberty, Freedom Fighters, American Patriots. The bottom caption reads: "CAUTION Subjects May Be Armed. They May Also Inspire Revolt Against the Tyranny of Their Government."
Architect of Militias
Edwin Vieira Jr., 66
To lawyer and radical-right thinker Edwin Vieira Jr., the Department of Homeland Security is a misnomer. The Harvard-educated Vieira feels the government agency is not meant to keep Americans safe. Instead, much like most arms of the federal government, the agency is bent on encroaching on the sovereignty of American citizens and individual states.
Vieira believes an economic crisis is looming a cataclysm he believes will lead to a police state. There will be a "massive social and political unrest bordering on chaos throughout America when the monetary and banking systems finally implode in the not-so-distant-future."
A longtime associate of tax protester Robert "Bob" Schulz (see profile above), Vieira has appeared in a series of self-produced videos and regularly writes commentaries for fringe websites. A year ago, he and Schulz co-organized a meeting of 30 "freedom keepers" at Jekyll Island in Georgia, a summit that appears to have played a key role in reinvigorating the antigovernment Patriot movement. Vieira could not attend because, conference leaders said, he was working on a book on "well-regulated militias" and his plans to establish militias in all 50 states.
According to an Internet bio, Vieira holds four degrees from Harvard and has practiced law for more than 30 years, with an emphasis on constitutional issues. Remarkably, he also is the older brother of Meredith Vieira, the co-host of NBC's "Today" and host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," according to the Internet Movie Data Base.
In his book, How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary, Vieira advocates the impeachment of "advocacy judges" who have authorized abortion and gay marriage. In 2005, he called for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, saying that the conservative jurist's opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."
One reason the resurgent antigovernment "Patriot" movement is taking off so quickly is the support for many of its central ideas that comes from ostensibly mainstream figures in politics and the media.
These men and women have helped to put key Patriot themes the idea that President Obama is a Marxist, that he and other elites in the government are pushing a socialist takeover, that the United States plans secret concentration camps and so on before millions of Americans, many of whom actually believe these completely false allegations. Whether these people tell such tall tales because they believe them or simply because they are willing to shamelessly pander for votes or ratings, is anyone's guess; but the noxious effect on the body politic is the same. Here are profiles of four such characters:
Michele Bachmann, 54
When it comes to spreading fear of a menacing federal government infested with anti-American elements, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann can give even the most paranoid militiaman a run for his money.
The two-term representative for Minnesota's 6th Congressional District has used her office as a megaphone for outrageous claims and conspiracy theories that in the past wouldn't spread far beyond the firing ranges and obstacle courses where militiamen and other antigovernment "Patriots" gather.
While some people might complain about answering Census questions, Bachmann sees a sinister plot hearkening back to World War II. "They used the U.S. Census information to round up the Japanese and put them in the internment camps," she said during an interview with Fox News' Glenn Beck last year. "Americans were told that they wouldn't have their information used against them. They did."
The AmeriCorps community service program? There's much more to it. "The real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward," Bachmann warned. Never mind that her son joined an AmeriCorps program.
Bachmann has even issued a call to arms, of sorts, against the president's proposal to "cap and trade" greenhouse gas emissions. "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back," she was reported as saying on a radio show. Her office later said she was speaking metaphorically.
And then there's Bachmann's take on her colleagues in Congress. She found the Capitol teeming with so much anti-Americanism that she called on the media to ferret out the unpatriotic politicians. "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" she said during an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2008.
Somewhere, Joseph McCarthy must be smiling.
Glenn Beck, 46
With his weepy, chalkboard-scrawling appeals to Americans fearful that their government is leading them down the path to ruin, Glenn Beck has rocketed up the ladder of conservative icons and is using his popularity to directly shape a far-right resurgence.
The Fox News Channel host, who draws 2 to 3 million viewers a night, also has become a lightning rod for controversy. He famously called President Obama a racist with a "deep-seated hatred for white people" and compared him to Adolf Hitler. He legitimized the right-wing conspiracy theory that FEMA was building concentration camps. After milking the theme for nearly a week, he then "proved" the theory false.
In response to his comments about Obama, in August 2009, the online organizing group ColorofChange.org launched a campaign to persuade corporations to pull their commercials from the former radio shock jock's show. They did in droves. At least 80 advertisers have abandoned Beck, leaving the host to personally hawk less-than-mainstream products like investments in gold.
But that has done little, apparently, to slow Beck's steamrolling popularity. As the Tea Party movement began to take shape last year, he gave it a jumpstart by urging viewers to attended the gatherings and broadcasting from rallies. In February, he delivered the keynote address to 10,000 right-wing activists who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference.
In an open letter on his website last November, he wrote that in the coming months he would unveil "a 100 year plan" developed in conjunction with "some of the best minds in the country that believe in limited government, maximum freedom and the values of our Founders." He also announced a series of conventions that would immerse participants in "topics ranging from self-reliance, community organizing, the economy and how to be a political force in your own neighborhood and country."
Beck's own group, the 9.12 Project, states that it caters to "like-minded Americans looking for direction in taking back the control of our country." In the same statement, Beck writes that "this is a nonpolitical movement." But his 9.12 Project has spawned dozens of loosely affiliated chapters preoccupied with the direction of Washington, D.C.
Beck has downplayed his political influence, calling himself a "rodeo clown." Few clowns, however, earn more than $20 million a year from radio, television and print products. Sounds more like a ringmaster.
Doctor of Demonization
Paul Broun, 64
A medical doctor who makes house calls only to avoid "bureaucratic encumbrances," far-right U.S. Rep. Paul Broun took over Georgia's 10th Congressional District after the death of Charlie Norwood in 2007. Since then, Broun has become a pal of the antigovernment Patriot movement, warning in apocalyptic terms of a coming socialist takeover by Barack Obama and his allies.
This April 19, 15 years to the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, Broun is scheduled to join several Patriot leaders at the Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. On the agenda that day with Broun are Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, a group that suspects the government has plans to round up Americans and put them in concentration camps, and Gun Owners of America's Larry Pratt, a fan of militias who has been criticized for ties to white supremacists.
Broun says gun rights are necessary to "prevent treason in America."
Saying Broun is a fierce critic of the president would be an understatement. Broun has alleged that a civilian reserve corps that Obama proposed, and the Bush administration endorsed, might be used to establish a dictatorship. "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany," Broun said in 2008.
A "birther," Broun has openly questioned Barack Obama's citizenship. When asked by a radio host whether Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen or a Christian, both established facts, Broun responded, "I don't know." Broun also calls Cuba's former dictator Fidel Castro Obama's "good buddy."
Last year, Broun told his constituents that the health care bill was the work of a "socialistic elite" referring to Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who might use a pandemic disease or natural disaster as an excuse to declare martial law. "They're trying to develop an environment where they can take over," he said. "We've seen that historically." At a 2009 town hall, he called Pelosi "a domestic enemy of the Constitution."
So far, Broun's legislative work has been scant. In 2009, Broun voted against a climate-change bill, calling the concept of manmade global warming a "hoax" perpetrated by the scientific community. In 2009, he proposed legislation proclaiming 2010 "The Year of the Bible." Earlier, he introduced the "Military Honor and Decency Act" that would ban sales of pornography on military installations. The bill has gone nowhere.
Andrew Napolitano, 59
In a recent Washington Post article, a media analyst contended that Fox News was at a crossroads. He said the network was in danger of losing its credibility as a newsgathering operation because of far-right conspiracy-mongers like host Glenn Beck.
But Beck is not the only one weakening Fox's credibility. Another hot contender in the far right-wing advocacy department is Fox's "senior judicial analyst" Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Napolitano, a former state judge in New Jersey, appears on several Fox shows and is broadcast on any given day over the television, radio and the Internet. He was scheduled to be the keynote speaker this past February at the first annual Tenth Amendment Summit in Atlanta, but was snowed in and never made it. He missed out on rubbing elbows with neo-Confederates, conspiracy theorists and antigovernment Patriot activists.
It seems the TV judge is vying to become a fixture on the far-right lecture circuit. He was also scheduled to address the 2010 New Hampshire Liberty Forum, a gathering of self-described "pro-liberty activists" who are striving to "cut the size and scope of government by about two-thirds or more."
Napolitano has joined other conspiracy theorists in falsely claiming that efforts to expand affordable housing through the Community Reinvestment Act were responsible for the crash of the economy in 2008. He called Sarah Palin's baseless accusation that Obama was trying to set up "death panels" a "legitimate concern." He falsely suggested that Obama bribed a congressman to change his vote on health care by appointing his brother to an appeals court.
Napolitano joined Fox in 1998. He appears daily on "The Big Story with John Gibson," co-hosts "Fox & Friends" once a week and is a regular on "The O'Reilly Factor." Napolitano taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years. He was the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of New Jersey and served on the bench from 1987 to 1995. He returned to private practice in 1995 and began his career in broadcasting that same year.
Ron Paul, 74
The "Ron Paul Revolution" failed to put the radical libertarian and outspoken Texas congressman into the White House, but Paul's long-shot campaign gave voice to discontented conservatives and created a prototype of sorts for the Tea Party insurgency that followed.
Whether he's advocating pulling out of the United Nations, trashing the Fed, or returning to the gold standard, Paul's views have scored him plenty of points among the Patriot crowd. One Patriot activist minting his own currency in the late 2000s even created the "Ron Paul Dollar."
With his straight-shooting style and unwavering ideology, Paul represents an accessible brand of Patriot politics that helps validate and stoke fears of an overreaching government on the far right. Paul told Fox Business News earlier this year, for example, that the health care reform legislation "is immoral because it's based on government theft." On his congressional website, he warns that Census information has been used to intern Japanese Americans and find alleged tax evaders and draft dodgers. "It is not hard to imagine that information compiled by the Census could be used against people in the future, despite claims to the contrary."
Paul has encountered controversy over racially charged comments that surfaced during his 1996 congressional campaign. A March 15, 1993, issue of his newsletter, The Ron Paul Survival Report, included this nugget: "If there is one thing we don't need in this country, its [sic] more Haitians [sic] immigrants with AIDS. Congratulations to the Senate for stopping, at least temporarily, Clinton's plan to have the AIDSians move here to die at $100,000 a pop, courtesy of the taxpayers."
A May 15, 1995, newsletter delved into traditional Patriot paranoia, including an article about foreign troops training on American soil and President George H.W. Bush's "New World Order." An article about a botched raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is presented under the headline, "Jack-Booted Thugs."
Paul claimed in 2001 that ghostwriters had penned the newsletters that bear his name but acknowledged he bore "some moral responsibility." Paul, a physician who is often called "Dr. No" for his routine opposition to government programs, not only survived the controversy and won the election, he continues to build his popularity. He easily won the Conservative Political Action Committee's presidential straw poll this year.
Sept. 11, 1990: President Bush, describing the post-Cold War world, outlines his vision of a "New World Order." Conspiracy-minded "Patriots" take this as a slip of the tongue revealing secret plans to create a one-world government.
February 1992: White supremacist theorist Louis Beam calls for "leaderless resistance," or cells of fighters who report to no one. In coming years, many in the Patriot movement will pick up the concept.
April 2, 1992: Terry Nichols, who will one day be convicted of conspiracy in the Oklahoma City bombing, renounces his U.S. citizenship, saying he "follow[s] the common law," indicating his early participation in the Patriot movement.
August 1992: James "Bo" Gritz, a Vietnam war hero admired by many Americans, calls for civilian militias during his "populist" campaign for the presidency.
Aug. 31, 1992: White supremacist Randy Weaver surrenders after an 11-day standoff at his cabin on Ruby Ridge, Idaho, that left his wife, son and a U.S. marshal dead. The incident galvanizes many on the radical right.
Oct. 23, 1992: Anti-Semitic Christian Identity pastor Pete Peters hosts the "Rocky Mountain Rendezvous" in Estes Park, Colo., where 160 extremists, reacting to Ruby Ridge, lay out strategies that will help shape the militia movement.
Feb. 28, 1993: Four federal agents and several cultists are killed in a gunfight when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raids the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. The 51-day standoff that follows rivets the nation.
April 19, 1993: The FBI tries to end the Waco standoff by injecting tear gas into a building that subsequently bursts into flames, leaving almost 80 Davidians dead. More than any other event, the debacle ignites the militia movement.
July 8, 1993: In a stinging rebuke to federal law enforcement, a jury acquits Randy Weaver and another man of murdering a U.S. marshal during the Ruby Ridge standoff. Evidence emerges that the FBI loosened its normal rules of engagement and covered up that fact later.
November 1993: The Brady Bill, imposing a waiting period for handgun purchasers, is signed into law, infuriating many gun enthusiasts. Anger at the bill, along with a 1994 ban on some assault weapons, helps fuel the militia movement.
Jan. 1, 1994: The first major modern militia, the Militia of Montana, is officially inaugurated. John Trochmann, a white supremacist supporter of Randy Weaver, heads it.
Jan. 30, 1994: A California official who angered Patriot "common-law" adherents by refusing to vacate an IRS lien is beaten, stabbed and sodomized with a gun. The attack reveals the growing violence of common-law adherents.
March 1994: More than 800 people gather in Kalispell, Mont., to hear Militia of Montana leader John Trochmann, reflecting the growing strength of the militia movement.
April 1994: The Michigan Militia, soon to grow into the nation's largest militia group with up to 6,000 members, is formed by gun shop owner Norm Olson and Ray Southwell.
May 1994: In a speech to the antigovernment U.S. Taxpayers Party, a militant abortion opponent calls on churches to form their own militias, reflecting the increasing convergence of Patriot and anti-abortion activists.
Aug. 4, 1994: Two members of the Minnesota Patriots Council are arrested for making the deadly toxin ricin and later are convicted of plotting to poison federal agents.
Sept. 19, 1994: Self-appointed militia "general" Linda Thompson calls for an armed march on Washington, D.C., prompting other Patriots to renounce her as foolhardy and suicidal. She ultimately rescinds her call.
Sept. 28, 1994: In one of the first acts of the Oklahoma conspiracy, Terry Nichols helps steal explosives from a Kansas quarry. He will help acquire many other materials before leaving co-conspirator Timothy McVeigh a letter urging him to "go for it."
October 1994: More than 1,500 people attend "Operation Freedom" in Lakeland, Fla., listening to speeches and collecting information about starting militias.
October 1994: Six months before the Oklahoma City bombing, Southern Poverty Law Center co-founder Morris Dees writes Attorney General Janet Reno to warn that the "mixture of armed groups and those who hate is a recipe for disaster."
Nov. 14, 1994: A militiaman threatens an Audubon Society official with a noose after the official testifies for an environmental measure. The incident is one of hundreds reflecting Patriot hatred of government regulation of the environment.
February 1995: Some 2,000 people gather in Meadville, Penn., to hear militia figure Mark "Mark from Michigan" Koernke discuss the steps Americans should take to defend themselves from the "New World Order."
April 19, 1995: A truck bomb brings down the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people, including 19 children in a day-care center, in America's worst domestic terrorist attack. Timothy McVeigh, later convicted in the bombing, had ideological roots both in the Patriot world and among neo-Nazis like William Pierce, whose novel, The Turner Diaries, served as a blueprint for the attack.
Late April 1995: Echoing Patriot rhetoric, the National Rifle Association says "jack-booted government thugs" have "the government's go-ahead to murder law abiding citizens." Former President George Bush quits the NRA in protest.
June 1995: The Southern Poverty Law Center releases its first-ever count of antigovernment militia and "Patriot" groups. The report finds that 224 Patriot groups, including 131 militias, were active in 1994.
June 3, 1995: A major gathering of common-law activists is held in the Wichita, Kansas, convention center on the anniversary of the 1984 death of Gordon Kahl, a militant tax protester killed four months after murdering two federal agents.
June 15, 1995: In the wake of the Oklahoma bombing, militia leaders and others testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Many experts see the hearings as something of a militia victory because of the uncritical nature of the questioning.
June 21, 1995: President Clinton signs a directive outlining emergency arrangements in the event of terrorist attacks. It is the first of many actions, including a 1996 order to hire 500 new FBI agents, signifying a new law enforcement emphasis on domestic terrorism.
July 1995: Two militia groups and the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations launch simultaneous campaigns to gather information about and conduct covert surveillance on "opponents."
July 28, 1995: Antigovernment extremist Charles Ray Polk is arrested after trying to purchase a machine gun from an undercover police officer, and is later indicted by federal grand jury for plotting to blow up an Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Texas.
September 1995: William Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries and leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, launches a "militia project," encouraging his members to develop contacts with militias in a bid to influence them.
Oct. 9, 1995: Saboteurs derail an Amtrak passenger train near Hyder, Ariz., killing one person and injuring about 70 others. Several antigovernment messages, signed by the "Sons of Gestapo," are left behind. The perpetrators remain at large.
Nov. 9, 1995: Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley and two others are arrested as they prepare explosives to bomb numerous targets, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, gay bars and abortion clinics. Lampley, who wrote letters from prison urging others to violence, is freed in 2006.
Dec. 18, 1995: An IRS employee discovers a plastic drum packed with ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in a parking lot behind the IRS building in Reno, Nev. The device failed to explode a day earlier when a three-foot fuse went out prematurely. Ten days later, tax protester Joseph Martin Bailie is arrested for the crime.
March 25, 1996: A common-law group called the Montana Freemen begins an 81-day standoff in Montana after its leaders are arrested and charged with a multimillion-dollar fraud. The standoff ultimately ends peacefully.
April 5, 1996: Patriot activists mix with neo-Nazis and Klansmen at Jubilation '96, a Lake Tahoe, Nev., gathering of more than 500 people hosted by adherents of the racist and anti-Semitic Christian Identity religion.
April 26, 1996: Two leaders of the Republic of Georgia militia are charged with manufacturing shrapnel-packed pipe bombs. Another member is arrested later and accused of training a team to assassinate politicians.
July 1, 1996: Twelve members of the Arizona Viper Team are arrested on federal conspiracy, weapons and explosives charges after allegedly surveilling and videotaping government buildings as potential targets. All 12 plead guilty or are convicted of various charges, drawing sentences of up to nine years in prison.
Aug. 24, 1996: More than 500 supporters attend a major meeting of the separatist Republic of Texas' "Provisional Government General Council."
Aug. 31, 1996: At the largest Patriot gathering held to date in Washington, D.C., more than 300 people join a "Rally for the Bill of Rights."
Oct. 11, 1996: Seven members of the Mountaineer Militia are arrested in a plot to blow up the FBI's national fingerprint records center, where 1,000 people work, in West Virginia. Ringleader Floyd "Ray" Looker is sentenced to 18 years in prison. Three others are imprisoned for the plot, one for providing blueprints of the FBI facility to Looker.
Oct. 22, 1996: Michigan Militia leader Tom Wayne gives a presentation to over 500 students at a Michigan college, reflecting widespread and still-spreading interest in the movement.
April 18, 1997: A Patriot group files a notice with Maricopa County officials declaring a new "Country of Arizona" supposedly recognized by the United Nations as "Indigenous Nation No. 215."
April 27, 1997: After a cache of explosives blows up near Yuba City, Calif., Montana Freemen supporter William Robert Goehler is arrested. Investigators later arrest two Goehler associates, one of them a militia leader, after finding 500 pounds of explosives in a motor home parked outside their residence. Six others are arrested on related charges.
May 1997: A Southern Poverty Law Center count shows that the Patriot movement reached its peak in 1996 with 858 groups. Thereafter, the number of Patriot groups will decline steadily for a decade, hitting a low of 131 in 2007.
May 3, 1997: Antigovernment extremists, some formerly with the Sons of Liberty, set fire to the IRS office in Colorado Springs, Colo., causing $2.5 million in damage and injuring a firefighter. Federal agents later arrest five men in connection with the arson, an apparent protest against the tax system. That same day, a six-day standoff between police and Republic of Texas common-law separatists ends. One man is killed in a gun battle with the elite Texas Rangers.
June 2, 1997: Timothy McVeigh is convicted in the Oklahoma bombing and will later be sentenced to death. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols will be tried later in the year and sentenced to life in prison. Accomplice Michael Fortier will accept a plea bargain in which he is sentenced to 12 years in exchange for his testimony.
July 4, 1997: Militiaman Bradley Playford Glover and a co-conspirator are arrested before dawn near Fort Hood, Texas. They planned to invade the base and slaughter foreign troops they mistakenly believed were housed there. Eventually, five other people are arrested, all part of a splinter group from the Third Continental Congress, a kind of militia government-in-waiting.
December 1997: Nearly 100 New York City employees, including some corrections officials, are arrested for using common-law "untaxing" kits to evade taxes. The case underscores how far such ideology has spread.
March 8, 1998: A Texas man with reported separatist views similar to those of the Republic of Texas, claiming to be armed and carrying explosives, attempts to take over a Veterans Affairs office in Waco. He eventually surrenders.
June 1998: A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows that in the preceding three years, 19 states have passed new laws or strengthened existing ones to cope with bogus property liens and threats from "common-law" adherents. Another eight states are considering similar actions.
July 1, 1998: Three men are charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction after threatening President Clinton and other federal officials with biological weapons. One of the men arrested, Johnnie Wise, had attended meetings of the separatist Republic of Texas.
July 17, 1998: Optimistically labeled a "patriotic Woodstock," the American Heritage Festival 98 in Carthage, Mo., draws as many as 3,000 people over two days.
Dec. 30, 1998: A county grand jury orchestrated by conspiracy-minded former Oklahoma State Rep. Charles Key finds that there is no evidence of a larger conspiracy in the Oklahoma City bombing. Key immediately denounces the findings.
June 11, 1999: Some 160 hard-line Patriots gather for advanced paramilitary training at the North Carolina property of former Special Forces member John Roberts, head of the Militia of East Tennessee.
Aug. 7, 1999: U.S. marshals seize the Tampa, Fla., headquarters of Greater Ministries International Church to preserve evidence. The seizure follows by seven months the indictment of church principals in a massive, Patriot-influenced scam.
Sept. 13, 1999: Tennessee common-law ideologue Peter Stern is charged with conspiring to defraud tax authorities with fake checks from the Montana Freemen. Around the nation, hundreds of common-law practitioners like Stern are going to jail.
Oct. 13, 1999: Members of the Southern Indiana Regional Militia meet with FBI agents as part of a government effort to defuse tensions between Patriots and officialdom.
November 1999: Nearly 10,000 people in Denver attend the last Preparedness Expo before the New Year to prepare for the "Y2K" collapse that many Patriots fear.
Nov. 5, 1999: FBI agents arrest James Kenneth Gluck in Tampa, Fla., after he wrote a 10-page letter to judges in Jefferson County, Colo., threatening to "wage biological warfare." Police find materials in his home to make ricin, a deadly poison.
Dec. 5, 1999: Two members of the California-based San Joaquin Militia are charged with conspiracy in connection with a plot to blow up two 12-million-gallon propane tanks, a television tower and an electrical substation in hopes of provoking an insurrection. The group's leader pleads guilty to plotting to kill a federal judge and blow up the propane tanks, and testifies against his former comrades.
Dec. 8, 1999: Donald Beauregard, head of the militia coalition Southeastern States Alliance, is charged in connection with a plot to bomb energy facilities in Florida and Georgia. Beauregard once claimed to have discovered a secret map detailing a planned UN takeover printed on a box of Trix cereal.
Jan. 1, 2000: Despite Patriot expectations that the millennial date change will bring martial law or massive social collapse, nothing untoward happens.
Mar. 9, 2000: Mark Wayne McCool, the one-time leader of the Texas Militia, is arrested as he allegedly makes plans to attack the Houston federal building, where he thought the UN had a weapons cache. McCool had bought C-4 plastic explosives and an automatic weapon from an undercover FBI agent.
May 2000: Texas Constitutional Militia member John Joe Gray holes up with heavily armed family members, refusing to face charges of assaulting two highway patrolmen. A decade later, Gray will remain in his home.
July 15, 2000: In a lawsuit brought by surviving Davidians, a judicial panel says the government was not responsible for starting the gun battle that began the Waco standoff. The next week, a special counsel will rule that U.S. officials committed "no bad acts" in Waco.
Feb. 13, 2001: Federal agents seize Indianapolis Baptist Temple, ending a low-key, 92-day standoff and 17 years of the church's refusal to pay withholding taxes. The church is part of the Patriot-influenced "unregistered churches" movement.
Feb. 28, 2001: Separatist Republic of Texas members join an anti-immigration group, Ranch Rescue, in trying to halt immigrants entering the country illegally.
June 11, 2001: Timothy McVeigh, convicted in connection with the murder of 168 people including 19 small children, is put to death.
Oct. 14, 2001: A North Carolina sheriff's deputy pulls over Kentucky Militia leader Steve Anderson, an adherent of racist Christian Identity theology. Anderson, who had issued violent threats against officials via his pirate radio station and whose home is later found to be filled with bombs, fires on the deputy's car and is on the run for the next 13 months.
Nov. 6, 2001: William Cooper, once in the Second Continental Army of the Republic, attacks officers serving him a warrant. Cooper, who believed President Kennedy was assassinated to prevent the disclosure of a secret pact with space aliens, shoots a sheriff's deputy twice in the head before being killed by police.
Feb. 8, 2002: David Burgert, leader of the militia-like Project 7, is arrested after an informant says the group is plotting to kill judges and police to start a revolution. Burgert is found with pipe bombs, 25,000 rounds of ammunition and "intel sheets" with personal information about law enforcement officers, their spouses and children.
Oct. 3, 2002: Larry Raugust, later named an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot with the Idaho Mountain Boys militia to murder a federal judge and a police officer, is arrested at a rest stop in Idaho and charged with possessing destructive devices, including pipe bombs.
Jan. 18, 2003: James D. Brailey, a convicted felon who was once named "governor" of Washington state by a Patriot group, is arrested after a raid on his home turns up a machine gun and other weapons. An informant alleges that Brailey was plotting to assassinate Gov. Gary Locke, partly because he is Chinese-American.
April 3, 2003: Federal agents arrest David Roland Hinkson and charge him with trying to hire an assassin to murder a federal judge, a prosecutor and an IRS agent involved in a tax case against him.
April 10, 2003: The FBI raids the Noonday, Texas, home of William Krar and his storage facilities, finding some 500,000 rounds of ammunition, pipe bombs and remote-control briefcase bombs, plus deadly sodium cyanide. Along with white supremacist and antigovernment material, there are components to convert the cyanide into a bomb capable of killing thousands. Krar refuses to cooperate and later dies in prison.
June 4, 2003: Federal agents in California announce that former accountant John Noster is under investigation for plotting a major terrorist attack. Officials find incendiary devices in his stolen camper and other bombs in his various storage units. In addition to prison time in that case, Noster draws another five years in 2009, after pleading guilty to weapons charges.
Oct. 10, 2003: Police arrest Norman Somerville, an antigovernment extremist enraged over the death of a Michigan Militia member, after finding a huge weapons cache on his property in northern Michigan. They also find vehicles Somerville calls "war wagons," where he planned to mount machine guns as part of a plan to stage an auto accident and then massacre arriving police.
May 24, 2004: During the attempted robbery of a Tulsa bank by father and son Wade and Christopher Lay, a security guard is shot to death. Evidence shows the men wanted money to pay for weapons to kill Texas officials they believed were responsible for the deadly 1993 Waco standoff.
March 19, 2006: David J. D'Addabbo is arrested in Utah for allegedly threatening IRS employees with "death by firing squad" if they tried to collect his taxes.
Jan. 11, 2007: FBI Director Robert Mueller tells the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the "militia/sovereign citizen movement" is a "threat" to government officials. Mueller says members of these groups "intimidate and sometimes threaten judges, prosecutors, and other officers of the court."
April 26, 2007: Five members of the Alabama Free Militia are arrested in north Alabama in a raid that uncovers a cache of 130 homemade hand grenades, an improvised grenade launcher, and other weapons. Raymond Kirk Dillard, the founder and "commander" of the group, had complained about Mexicans taking over the country and reportedly told his troops to open fire on federal agents if ever confronted.
Early 2008: Due to a spike in threats from "sovereign citizens" and others against federal judges and prosecutors, the U.S. Marshals Service opens a clearinghouse near Washington, D.C., for assessing risks. In fiscal 2008, there will be 1,278 threats and harassing communications more than double the number of six years earlier. Also in 2008, the Department of Justice launches a National Tax Defier Initiative to address the swelling number of cases involving antigovernment tax protesters.
June 8, 2008: Six people with militia ties are arrested in rural Pennsylvania after officials find stockpiles of weapons intended for terrorist attacks on U.S. officials. Bradley T. Kahle, of the Pennsylvania Citizens Militia, allegedly tells authorities that he intended to shoot black people from a rooftop in Pittsburgh and predicts civil war if a democrat becomes president. Kahle's colleague Perry Landis reportedly wanted to kill Gov. Ed Rendell.
August 2008: In the same month that Barack Obama officially becomes the Democratic Party presidential nominee, the National Rifle Association, which in the 1990s publicly attacked federal law enforcement agents as "jackbooted thugs," joins forces with firearms manufacturers to promote NRA membership in a national campaign ominously dubbed "Prepare for the Storm in 2008." In the coming months, authorities will report that guns and especially ammunition are selling far more quickly than usual.
Nov. 4, 2008: Obama is elected president, the first African American to hold that office. Starting just hours after the election is called with the hate-motivated burning of a church with a black congregation in Springfield, Mass., a major spate of hate crimes and racist incidents hit the nation over the next several months in an apparent racist backlash. At one point, young children on a school bus in Idaho are reported chanting "Assassinate Obama."
February 2009: The FBI launches a national operation targeting white supremacists and "militia/sovereign citizen extremist groups" after noting an upsurge in such organizations, with the aim of gathering intelligence about "this emerging threat."
March 2009: Authorities raid a Las Vegas printing firm where meetings of the "Sovereign People's Court for the United States" were conducted in a mock courtroom. The group's seminars reportedly taught how to use phony documents and other illegal means favored by Patriot groups to pay off creditors.
April 7, 2009: The Department of Homeland Security issues a report warning of an increase in right-wing extremism, mirroring independent findings from the Southern Poverty Law Center earlier in the year. Facing a firestorm of criticism from the far right that falsely claims the report tags all conservatives as potential terrorists, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano withdraws what turns out to be a prescient report.
April 15, 2009: One of the leaders of the anti-immigrant Campo Minutemen, Britt "Kingfish" Craig, appears on a Patriot radio program along with guest Lloyd Marcus, the songwriter responsible for the "Tea Party Anthem." Adding further evidence of the ideological cross-pollination of different kinds of right-wing groups, the Campo Minutemen adopt the "Tea Party Anthem" as their fight song.
Mid-April 2009: In an E-mail, Jeff Schwilk links the San Diego Minutemen's resistance to "the invasion from Mexico" with the greater cause of thwarting the "socialist takeover" of America. He also sets up the SoCal Patriots, which includes Minutemen, tax-protest groups, pro-gun rights groups and two anti-immigration outfits the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as hate groups.
April 19, 2009: The Oath Keepers, a "Patriot" group made up of active-duty members of law enforcement and the military, holds its first muster in Lexington, Mass., site of the opening shots of the Revolutionary War. Vowing to fulfill the oaths to the Constitution that they swore, Oath Keepers lists 10 orders its members won't obey, including two that reference U.S. concentration camps a reflection of the group's conspiracist ideas about a supposedly imminent globalist takeover.
April 25, 2009: Joshua Cartwright, a Florida National Guardsman reportedly interested in joining a militia and angry over Barack Obama's election, shoots to death two Okaloosa County, Fla., sheriff's deputies at a gun range. After fleeing the scene, Cartwright is fatally shot during a gun battle.
May 21-22, 2009: Some 30 "freedom keepers" meet in Jekyll Island, Ga., in a gathering that helps launch an explosive resurgence of the antigovernment Patriot movement. Convened by IRS and Fed-hater Bob Schulz, the conclave warns of "increasing national instability" and a coming "New World Order."
Late May 2009: During a Minuteman rally in Cochise County, Ariz., hundreds of nativists sign a sovereign-citizen "criminal complaint petition" demanding that Obama be tried for treason before an "American Grand Jury." Joining a dozen Minuteman organizations are members of the Arizona Citizens Militia.
Aug. 15, 2009: The Southern Poverty Law Center issues a special report, "The Second Wave: Return of the Militias," which shows that almost a decade after largely disappearing from public view, the Patriot movement is back.
Aug. 17, 2009: Radio host Ernest Hancock, accompanied by a member of the Patriot group We the People who is carrying a semiautomatic rifle, stages a videotaped interview outside a venue where Obama is speaking in Phoenix. Hancock had supported Arizona's Viper Team, whose members stockpiled weapons and bombmaking equipment in the 1990s, arguing that they were unfairly convicted.
Sept. 29, 2009: The Patriots Coalition, a new Patriot group founded by the former vice president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and whose website is loaded with "birther" conspiracy theory materials and jokes about assassinating President Obama, carries out its first border vigilante operation targeting Latino immigrants. The group's founder says they are part of the Tea Party tax protest movement.
Nov. 11-22, 2009: More than 100 delegates from 48 states travel to St. Charles, Ill., to attend an 11-day "continental congress" hosted by Bob Schulz's We the People. Planned at the earlier Jekyll Island meeting, the event is named after the gathering that was the first step toward the American Revolution.
January 2010: Missouri police seize a huge arms cache from Lowell Aughenbaugh, an "extreme survivalist," and charge him with threatening to blow up Rolla's police department. Also in Missouri, Richard Cobley is arrested for making "improvised explosive devices" that he allegedly hid in a room in his basement. Cobley allegedly had booby traps ready to stop the government from coming after him.
Feb. 6, 2010: One-time GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tells the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville "America is ready for another revolution."
Feb. 18, 2010: Joseph Andrew Stack flies his airplane into an IRS office building in Austin, Texas, killing himself and one IRS worker. In a manifesto written shortly before his death, Stack rails at the IRS and the federal government.
Feb. 18-20, 2010: The Conservative Political Action Conference is co-sponsored by antigovernment "Patriot" groups including the John Birch Society, which believes President Eisenhower was a communist agent, and the Oath Keepers, a Patriot outfit that suggests in thinly veiled language that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern Americans in concentration camps.
March 2010: A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds that 56% of Americans believe the federal government is "so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens." In 1995, just days after the Oklahoma City bombing, a USA Today poll found that 39% of Americans then agreed with the same statement.
March 2, 2010: The Southern Poverty Law Center releases its "Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism" report. The study reports that an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) the year before to 512 (127 of them militias) a 244% jump.
March 19, 2010: Mike Vanderboegh, a one-time 1990s Alabama militiaman and a leader of the recently formed Patriot group Three Percenters, calls on followers to protest health care reform by breaking the windows of local Democratic Party offices. In the following days, Democratic offices across the country report their windows smashed.
March 29, 2010: Nine members of the Hutaree Militia are indicted in an alleged plot to murder a law enforcement officer in Michigan and then attack hundreds of others expected to gather for the victim's funeral with bombs and missiles. The group allegedly expected to set off an insurrection.
April 6, 2010: Daniel Petersen, a former member of the Montana Freemen, becomes the first person to be sentenced under a 2008 federal law that makes it a felony to retaliate against a government official by filing unjustified property liens. The liens are a favorite tactic of Patriots and are often referred to as "paper terrorism."
April 7, 2010: Brody James Whitaker is arrested for allegedly shooting at two Florida state troopers. Whitaker declares during his arraignment, "I am a sovereign" and "I am not an American citizen."
April 19, 2010: Antigovernment Patriot groups, including the Oath Keepers, plan to play prominent roles at a Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. The website promoting the march is topped by a picture of a colonial militiaman, and key supporters include Larry Pratt, a long-time militia enthusiast, and Richard Mack, a former sheriff and militia hero.http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/the-patriots?page=0,0