Book Review: Gathering Storm: America’s Militia Threat

Morris Dees with James Corcoran (London: HarperCollins 1996).

Gathering Storm

A few minutes ago this evening I put up a post about an article on Hatewatch, a site by the Southern Poverty Law Centre that monitors extreme right-wing terrorism in the US, about the contacts between British Nazis, such as Thomas Mair, accused of the murder of Jo Cox, other extreme rightists, like Anders Breivik, and the National Alliance, the main Nazi organisation in the US. Twenty years ago, Morris Dees, the chief trial counsel at the Southern Poverty Law Centre, wrote this book about the emergence of the militia movement in the US. These are right-wing paramilitary organisations, which came out of the survivalist movement in the 1980s. Their immediate impetus was the FBI’s killing of the wife and son of Randy Weaver, a right-wing extremist during an attack on his home at Ruby Ridge. The militias included fringe Christian groups, such as Christian identity and the neo-Nazi compounds and organisations at Hayden Lakes. It was the nexus that published the Turner Diaries, written by William Pierce, a Fascist fantasy about a White supremacist rebellion against a future America dominated by ZOG – the Zionist Occupation Government – Jews and Blacks. This was the book that inspired Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the federal building in Oklahoma.

These were and are armed groups that believed that America was run by a secret Jewish government intent on enslaving gentiles and determined to destroy the White race through racial interbreeding with Blacks. Flicking through the book again, I found a photo of Col. ‘Bo’ Gritz. Gritz claimed to be the real person on which Rambo was based, and for years supposedly toured Vietnam looking for missing American soldiers still kept in prison camps after the War. Apart from his paramilitary activities, Gritz also had some very strange metaphysical views. He turns up in one of the pieces by Adam Palfrey, collected in Cult Rapture and Apocalypse Culture, in which he is interviewed after a meeting with a little old lady, who was one of the New Age channellers, who appeared in the ’80s and ’90s. Most Channellers seemed to have been essentially decent types, offering fairly banal warnings about the importance of love, peace, spiritual values and the need to save the planet from a various cast of interplanetary aliens and Ascended Masters. Unfortunately, the interstellar authority this one channelled was Hathon. He was a 9 1/2 foot tall reptilian from the Pleiades and a Nazi, who told people that there really was an international Jewish conspiracy and UFOs were a Nazi secret weapon. It’s the kind of stuff Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke describes in his book on modern Neo-Nazi pagan cults, The Black Sun.

At the time, there was a real fear that the Militias would try to organise some kind of coup, or at least begin a wave of extreme right-wing terror. Those fears largely haven’t materialised. One demented woman, who claimed to be a militia commander, tried to organise the Militias to form a mass march on Washington, but this never got off the ground as most of them suspected her of being a federal agent provocateur. And not all of them were racist. The commander of one of the Militias was Black, and there was a Jewish Militia, whose members believed that Jews should arm themselves against the possibility of a renewed Holocaust. Nevertheless, extreme rightwing terrorism is still very much a threat in America. In contradiction to the impression you get from the media, there’s more terrorism by White Supremacist and Neo-Nazis in America than from the Islamists. This is part of the milieu that’s produced the extreme right-wing radio hosts, who tell their listeners that America is in the hands of an atheist/ Communist/ Nazi/ Muslim conspiracy to kill good patriotic Christian Americans. The type of people, who blithely state over the airwaves that Obama is going to kill more people than Pol Pot. They’re part of the same milieu that has produced the Nazi supporters of Donald Trump, and that may be their most lasting and pernicious legacy to American politics.

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3 Responses to “Book Review: Gathering Storm: America’s Militia Threat”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Hi Beastie, well the occult weird has many subtle forms which I take with a pinch of salt, but some of course are unhealthily real and embedded in the establishment. However, I don’t think the stranger conspiracy hacks need to invoke a mad alien reptile for the UFO Nazi idea, apparently the 1965 Kecksburg, Pennsylvania bell-shaped UFO was thought to have had a flight path from Canada (it was purported that there was a large Nazi colonization there after the war) and remember oddly enough Canada was one of the very few nations to vote at the UN not to fight Nazism, Ref:

    plus the Nazi’s were, some surmise, developing a Wunderwaffen known as “der Glocke” (the bell) which looked like a ufo but could have been a lethal particle accelerator.

    Or was the 1965 Kecksburg incident simply a US military spy flying vehicle gone awry, either way it was quickly taken away by the military:

    • beastrabban Says:

      Regarding the theory that UFOs were Nazi secret weapons, have a look at what Kevin McClure wrote about it all. McClure was the editor of a series of small press magazines on the occult and paranormal, eventually becoming more sceptical. His last magazine was Abduction Watch, which was a much-needed attack on the phenomenon of alien abductions and the idea little grey creatures from Zeti Reticuli were coming down to abduct people and steal our body parts for insidious secret breeding programmes. He did a very good piece tracing the origins of the Nazi UFO myth back to various Nazi myth-makers, who wrote books like Gotze Gegen Thule, about secret Nazi colonies in the Canadian arctic and then at the Antartic. These SF books were supposed to be based on fact, but were completely spurious. One of the promoters of the Nazi UFO myth was a Canadian Nazi, Ernst Zundl, who I think makes his money selling Nazi memorabilia. He’s another one who denies the Holocaust, and claims to be just anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic. he turned up once, if recall correctly, on a channel 4 programme about Auschwitz, claiming that the had Jewish friends, which I find very hard to believe. He retails all this nonsense, but I heard from someone, who was also on the UFO fringe that he told them he was just doing it for the money.

      But the Kecksburg UFO crash is interesting. I can remember it turning up twenty years ago in the pages of the Birdsall’s UFO Magazine. I think the most likely explanation is that it was an American spy aircraft, but who knows?

      • Michelle Says:

        Peddling the stories for money and a test military vehicle always sounded the most rational to me – this would also aptly fit with the economic status quo!

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