Date: Wed Nov 02 1994 07:55:00 To: Crackpot Subj: Militia POLITICS - CHICAGO TRIBUNE DATE:

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Date: Wed Nov 02 1994 07:55:00 From: Thomas Yoha To: Crackpot Subj: Militia POLITICS ------------------------------- CHICAGO TRIBUNE DATE: Monday, October 31, 1994 SOURCE: By George de Lama, Tribune Staff Writer. Tribune special correspondent Sara Gay Dammann in Alanson, Mich., and staff writer Karen Brandon in Spokane contributed to this report. FOR MILITIAS, INVADERS OF U.S. ARE EVERYWHERE For weeks, ominous messages have flashed back and forth on fax and phone lines across the nation: Russian troops and armaments are on American soil, training for a United Nations attack designed to subjugate the U.S. under a "one-world" power. Yellowstone National Park is under UN control. And the U.S. military is asking recruits whether they are willing to fire on Americans who resist a government order to confiscate their guns. Most Americans would give these and similar rumors the same weight as news of alien abductions or the latest sighting of Elvis. But a growing number of mainly rural residents are organizing armed militias and consider such rumors the hard "facts" of a hidden plot by federal and state authorities to disarm average citizens and violate their constitutional rights. "There is a feeling out there that if the government goes too far, there is going to be shooting someday," said Hugh McKeen, a county commissioner in Catron County, N.M., a bastion of anti-Washington sentiment where residents are organizing their own armed militia. The militia movement is spreading around the country, with armed citizens' groups established or organizing in at least 18 and perhaps as many as 45 states, according to figures from civil rights groups and militia leaders. By militia members' own estimates, they contain more than 100,000 armed people. An angry stew of libertarians, right-wing isolationists, constitutionalists, tax protesters and white supremacists, they are linked in a fervent fear, if not paranoia, about what they see as Uncle Sam's encroachment on their property rights and right to bear arms. Hooked up via fax and online networks with names such as the American Patriot Fax Network, the Paul Revere Net and the Motherboard of Freedom, militia leaders and their supporters exchange rumors, political views, organizing tips, legal research and other "intelligence" across the nation at a frenzied pitch. Considered outlandish by many urban dwellers, the groups' fears were reinforced by passage of recent federal gun control legislation and two events they contend once were unthinkable in America: The deadly 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian cult headquarters in Waco, Texas, and the slaying by federal agents of Idaho survivalist Randy Weaver's wife and child the previous year. How far their views have spread could be seen in a televised gubernatorial debate in Arizona last month, when Libertarian Party candidate Scott Grainger called for an investigation into the presence of foreign troops on American soil. The notion struck some observers as bizarre, but members of the militias across the country recognized Grainger's reference to persistent reports from Michigan that Russians and other foreign soldiers are being trained on U.S. military bases under UN command. In fact, there is a simple explanation for the reported foreign troop movements: Foreign troops regularly train at Camp Grayling, Mich., and other military installations under U.S. exchange agreements with foreign countries, and not under UN command. At a breakfast with voters last week in Spokane, House Speaker Tom Foley was peppered with similar questions. "What do you know about the shipment of arms into the United States?" one man said from the back of the room. "Nothing," a bewildered Foley replied, suggesting that people ought to be concerned about real problems, not fictitious ones. Sitting at another table, John Gearhart, Libertarian candidate for state representative in Washington's ninth district, said in a low voice that this kind of thing isn't make-believe. "Haven't you heard about the military troops that are lining up on the Canadian border?" he whispered to a reporter. The source of some of these reports, Norman Olson, commander of the Northern Michigan Militia, said in an interview that the foreign military vehicles, painted with an inverted "V," supposedly the symbol of UN forces, have been seen on Michigan highways. Olson and Ken Adams, the Northern Michigan militia's communications chief, assert that besides foreign troops in the area, there are military helicopters at a small airport in Harbor Springs, Mich. Pictures of those vehicles and troops have circulated through the militia underground. Howard Hutchinson, an activist in the county government movement in rural southwestern New Mexico, said he attended a recent militia organizing meeting in Bakersfield, Calif., with more than 2,500 other people, including California National Guard officers and U.S. military personnel. The group passed around photographs of the foreign troop movements in Michigan, Hutchinson said, and discussed the need to arm themselves against a tyrannical federal government. It turns out the Russians are, in fact, coming. So are the Canadians and the British and other foreign nations' military forces. "It is a long-standing policy to train foreign troops here and abroad," said Lt. Patrick Swan, a U.S. Army spokesman in Washington. "Since the end of the Cold War, we are training Russian troops here and in Russia to promote better understanding between our countries and between the two militaries, with the hope that we will lessen the likelihood of war." Regarding those foreign military vehicles seen on Michigan expressways, Maj. Jerry Foehl, spokesman for the Michigan Army National Guard at Camp Grayling, said Canadian troops sometimes drive to the camp and use major highways. As for the inverted "V" on some vehicles, it dates from Operation Desert Storm, where the marking was used to identify friendly troops. "Some of those vehicles with that marking from Desert Storm are now back at Camp Grayling and may have been seen on the highways. These are American vehicles," Foehl said. Similarly, it turns out that some National Guard helicopters and vehicles seen in northern Michigan are assigned to help local law enforcement in anti-drug trafficking operations, particularly in the spotting of marijuana plots. Officials stress the military units are not authorized to become involved in arrests or detentions. Still, the explanation sounds suspicious to Olson. "The government is encouraging citizens to turn on citizens," Olson said. "People are cheering on the government for saving us from marijuana, then we will find out it is pre-staging of the military. This is an abuse of power." If no foreign troops are training to take over the U.S., say Olson and Ray Southwell, his chief of staff, then what are the small colored stickers found on the back of road signs throughout rural Michigan? "The speculation is that these are similar signs used by our troops in World War II to provide directions," Southwell said. Olson suggests green stickers may indicate a rest area, blue may indicate a place with fresh water, brown may indicate oil and so on. Not so, said Bill Shreck, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation. The stickers are a method for identifying manufacturers of the signs and the dates they were made. "I began hearing about this rumor four or five months ago," Shreck said. "I can assure you these are not for invading troops." The switchboard at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming has been lighting up of late with callers inquiring whether the park has been turned over to the UN. "Apparently someone on a radio talk show said Yellowstone was being run by the United Nations," said parks spokeswoman Elizabeth Kirkpatrick. "But we were never able to figure out why." Then they found that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization had designated Yellowstone National Park a "World Heritage Site," and "there's a sign to that effect in the park," Kirkpatrick said. A widely distributed document that militia members use to back up their contention that U.S. troops are preparing to assist a UN takeover of the country is a five-page, 46-question "Combat Arms survey" administered to 300 Marines at Twenty Nine Palms Marine Corps Base in California. It includes questions such as: "Do you feel that U.S. combat troops should be used within the United States for any of the following missions?" Then it goes on to list drug enforcement, security at national events, environmental disaster clean-up and as an emergency police force. The final section of the survey deals with serving as a UN soldier and under UN command. The survey ends by asking whether the respondent would "fire upon U.S. citizens who refuse or resist confiscation of firearms banned by the U.S. government." Joan Sanders, public affairs spokesperson at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., said the survey was part of a graduate thesis of a student and was used in an academic exercise to "examine attitudes of Marines who might be placed in non-traditional roles as some had been in Desert Storm and Somalia." The final question about confiscating civilian guns and firing on American citizens represents an unlawful order, Sanders said. It was asked to gauge how well Marines understand the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the U.S. Constitution. One of the intents of the survey was to determine what sort of confusion is caused when military personnel trained for combat are placed in non-combat roles overseas. "The bottom line is that the allegations that this is connected to some international conspiracy to take away freedoms and weapons of Americans is a lot of hooey," Sanders said. Deluged by calls about the survey, the naval school will publish the student's graduate thesis in December and make it available to the general public, Sanders said. Olson and other militia organizers around the country dismiss all these explanations as propaganda aimed at lulling the American people into a dangerous complacency. "We don't believe we will have to go to arms. We believe we can still stop it by exposing them, but they are masters of deceit and fear and negative propaganda," Olson said. "Their disinformation and lies are aided and abetted by the media." Transmitted: 94-10-31 06:28:48 EST


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