Date: Wed Nov 02 1994 07:55:00
From: Thomas Yoha
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Pictures of those vehicles and troops have circulated through the
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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