Arrests in the Oklahoma terrorist bombing case are putting the militia movement in the bull’s-eye.
Authorities say at least one suspect may have ties to the Michigan Militia.
The deadliest bombing in U.S. history was done with a simple fertilizer bomb and a rental truck.
The Michigan Militia and one in Montana are prototypes for the movement, steeped in hatred and distrust of the federal government.
At least one Michigan Militia leader has ties with the Militia of Montana, and has been featured at recent gatherings in the Spokane area.
“This is precisely why we have been concerned about the rise and growth of the militia movement,” said Marvin Stern, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“They have been advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government by whatever means necessary, and this appears to have led people associated with this movement to act on that rhetoric,” Stern said.
The Militia of Montana issued a statement Friday at its headquarters in Noxon, disavowing any connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. The group is fondly called MOM by its followers and supporters.
“The Militia of Montana, along with millions of other American Patriots, condemns such acts of terrorism and violence,” said cofounder Randy Trochmann.
Leaders of the Michigan Militia also deny any connection to Wednesday’s bombing.
The Militia of Montana is also a business venture, selling videos, books and pamphlets denouncing the federal government, teaching survival techniques and advancing various conspiracy theories.
One book offered in MOM’s catalogue details step-by-step instruc tions to construct the type of bomb used in Oklahoma City.
A conspiracy video talks about the mysterious “black helicopters” that many militia members fear.
So who are these militia followers?
They are politically right-wing, flag-waving, gun-owning citizens who wrap themselves in God and the Constitution.
They are unbridled in their hatred of the federal government.
They fear a United Nations takeover of the United States and a worldwide government.
They particularly despise the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. They condemn the role of those agencies in shootouts at Ruby Ridge in North Idaho and Waco, Texas.
The militia movement began, many say, when public bitterness galvanized after the 1992 siege at Randy Weaver’s cabin in North Idaho.
Eight months later, the raid at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco fueled the militia cause and spread the movement, experts say.
Wednesday’s bombing in Oklahoma City marked the two-year anniversary of the Waco raid.
It also occurred on the same day that a prominent white supremacist, Richard Snell, was executed in Arkansas.
The 64-year-old racist had been in jail since the mid-1980s and wasn’t involved with the militia movement, but had many of the same antiSemitic, anti-government views.
The militia movement attracted Second Amendment, pro-gun followers after passage of the Brady bill, which requires a waiting period for gun purchases.
Many militia groups are organized
in secret cells, so no one group or leader has a membership roster that could fall into the wrong hands.
Some militia groups, like those in Michigan, dress up in military uniforms and conduct training maneuvers.
Others, like those who meet in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, are happy to sip coffee in hotels or homes and watch videos bashing the “new world order.”
Their meetings always begin with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Spotlight, a national, rightwing newspaper published by the Liberty Lobby, is the newspaper of choice for many militia followers.
The fax machine and various computer network bulletin boards also are high-tech forms of communication for the militia, who dislike the mass media.
By last October, civil rights groups said militia organizations had sprung up in 18 states.
White supremacists had infiltrated militias in six states, including Idaho and Montana, the Southern Poverty Law Center warned.
“In our view, this mixture of armed groups and those who hate is a recipe for disaster,” said Law Center founder Morris Dees.
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith issued a report on Nov. 1 warning about the dangers the militia poses.
“Angry bands of gun-toting rightwing militants, calling themselves militias, are preaching armed resistance against the federal government,” the ADL report said.
“The militias’ target is plainly the democratic process itself,” the report said. “To be ‘fed up’ with the government is one thing; to call for armed resistance is quite another.”
Two Maps: 1) The key locations; 2)The growth of militias