In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing in April of 1995, international attention focused on the militia movement in America. This movement’s members, supporters and detractors have all characterized it as an anti-government movement. This lecture explores the possibility that the militia movement may actually be a tool or extension of the government. (Mr. Emory stresses that he believes that the movement’s actual membership is a mixed bag. Many people in the militias are sincere patriots and conservatives, although generally badly misinformed. Many are also outright raving Nazis and fascists. A few are actually liberals.)
The bulk of the lecture consists of analysis and history of the evolution of the para-military right in the United States. The lecture begins with discussion of the MacArthur group within the military and MacArthur’s intelligence chief, Charles Willoughby. The illusion that the United States was controlled by communist sympathizers had its genesis with Truman’s removal of MacArthur as commander of the UN forces in Korea. Former MacArthur staffers, such as Willoughby and Colonel William Potter Gale, formed an important element on the American far right, and played an important part in the evolution of the paramilitary right. Gale founded the fascist Christian Defense League, one of a number of tributaries that fed the growth of the Minutemen.
The most important of America’s para-military organizations was the Minutemen. A prototype and direct precursor of the modern militia movement, the Minutemen overlapped many domestic fascist organizations, such as the American Nazi Party, the aforementioned Christian Defense League, Ku Klux Klan and National States Rights Party. The intelligence community has recruited elements of the Minutemen (and other, similar, para-military organizations) to serve at the operational level in covert operations, both domestic and foreign.
One of the most important operations involving the Minutemen and other, similar, organizations was the assassination of President Kennedy. One of the main elements in the successful plot against President Kennedy’s life was the characterization of Lee Harvey Oswald as a communist. (As discussed in numerous programs, Oswald was not the assassin, but a patsy. The successful effort to portray him as a tool of either the Soviet Union or Fidel Castro led many to cover up the assassination. Many feared that a nuclear war would result from the public perception that a popular president had been murdered by the communists.) Much of the “painting of Oswald Red” took place at the dual New Orleans addresses of 544 Camp Street and 531 Lafayette Place. (These were two different entrances to the same building.) This building housed the Guy Bannister Detective Agency, an organization that apparently served as a front for various fascist activities, as well as for the intelligence community’s war against Fidel Castro.
Significantly, Bannister himself, his employee David Ferrie (indicted by New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison for the assassination) and others in their milieu were members of the Minutemen. Other Minutemen appear to have played a part in the Dallas end of the assassination plot, as well as the anti-Castro activities. The Kennedy assassination and the anti-Castro operations helped to set a precedent. Para-military activists were also involved in the Contra support movement in the 1980’s, among other covert operations.
The conspiratorial milieu of Oliver North and company also spawned plans to establish martial law in the United States in the event of any one of a number of emergencies. One of the provisions of the martial law contingency plans involved the deputization of para-military right-wingers as federal agents to enforce the martial law edict. This suggests the possibility that the militias are, in fact, targeted for co-option by the very government they profess to despise. Mr. Emory points out that numerous Republican politicians are very close to the militias and embrace a political agenda that is virtually identical with the militia agenda. (Pat Buchanan and Representative Helen Chenoweth are two; there are many others.) Anti-environmental organizations such as the Wise Use Movement also heavily overlap the activities of militia groups in areas where the movement is strong.
It should be noted that the liquidation of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco (Texas) was a precipitating incident in the growth of the militia movement. As Mr. Emory has pointed out in past broadcasts, both the Iran-Contra machinations and the Iraqgate affair were effected through an inter-agency governmental network under the control of George Bush. This network served as Bush’s private intelligence service and outranked even the CIA and the NSC. Justice department officials who were part of this network were in charge of the siege at Waco. Another member of this network (Ed Dennis) wrote the report exonerating Janet Reno’s justice department of any wrongdoing in the Branch Davidian affair. This network also generated the martial law contingency plans.
In light of these facts, Mr. Emory asks whether or not the Waco affair may have been designed to help precipitate the militia movement and discredit Bill Clinton. The discussion underscores parallels between the militia movement and the so-called Black Reichswehr, the para-military formations that paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. The possibility that the militias constitute an American version of the Black Reichswehr is one that should not be too readily discarded. The lecture concludes with a short discussion of the Oklahoma City bombing. (Recorded in April of 1996 at Deep River Book Store in Santa Monica.)