Meet the 'Patriots'
Facing Down the UN
Daniel New, 64
Daniel New has one claim to fame. He's the father of Michael New, the Army medic who refused to don a United Nations uniform when his infantry unit was assigned to a peacekeeping mission in a former Yugoslavian republic in 1995. To this day, Daniel New, who lives near Waco, hawks calendars, T-shirts, books and videos about the saga of his son, hero of the Patriot movement.
The younger New, who was court-martialed and discharged for bad conduct at the age of 23, long ago expressed a desire to move on with his life. His father and other supporters, however, put up a decade-long, unsuccessful court fight — bankrolled by a steady stream of donations — to win back his honor.
New argued that the Constitution prohibits soldiers from wearing foreign badges and answering to non-U.S. officers. But his appeals have twice been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently in 2007.
That hasn't slowed down his stage dad. "Any time an American soldier is forced against his will to serve a foreign power, then we are not a free country," Daniel New told a reporter after the latest rejection.
Daniel New was the one who handled the hundreds of phone calls, the talk show circuit and other media buzz after his son defied orders. He ran a quixotic race for Congress a few years later. Since then, he's been a staple of the right-wing speaking circuit, appearing at the 2007 Constitution Party conference, among other venues.
At different points, New also has headed the Texas division of the now-defunct, right-wing U.S. Taxpayers Party in Texas and co-authored a self-published book with far-right columnist Cliff Kincaid (see profile above) titled Michael New: Mercenary or American Soldier? At press time, used copies were selling on Amazon.com for as little as a penny, while a new copy could be had for 65 cents.
Back in the Saddle
Norm Olson, 63
Few people played a bigger role in transforming Michigan into a hotbed of militia activity during the 1990s than Norm Olson. Today, the founder of the Michigan Militia is living in Alaska and working with others to build the Alaska Citizens Militia. He told the Redoubt Reporter that he was convinced Americans would be forced to repel "tyrannical, oppressive federal aggression."
Founded in 1994, the Michigan Militia was one of the first major contemporary militias. It was thrust into the national spotlight after the Oklahoma City bombing, when reports surfaced that conspirators Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh had attended meetings. Olson confirmed that each man attended one meeting but added that their rhetoric was not welcome and they were not encouraged to return.
After the 1995 bombing, Olson suggested the Japanese government was responsible — a statement he later said he should have "fully corroborated." Olson wasn't re-elected to a leadership post in the Michigan Militia. He later founded his own Northern Michigan Regional Militia.
By 2005, Olson was moving to Alaska. He declared Michigan "hopeless" and auctioned off weaponry and memorabilia from his Alanson, Mich., gun store — even offering Michigan Militia patches.
By late 2009, Olson and Michigan Militia co-founder Ray Southwell were in Nikiski, Alaska, promoting the Alaska Citizens Militia. Earlier this year, Olson was serving as interim commander of the Kenai Peninsula Division.
"America is very, very ill," Olson said. "And people across the country are preparing themselves."
Out of the Barrel of a Gun
Larry Pratt, 67
When it comes to sniffing out sinister plots to disarm gun owners, Larry Pratt and the Gun Owners of America (GOA) are constantly on the lookout.
Health care reform? It's a plot to take your guns, according to the GOA website.
Environmentalism? You guessed it — another plot to take your guns. At the Ninth Annual Freedom 21 Conference in Texas in 2008, Pratt warned that "the major goal of the sustainable development movement is to disarm Americans."
Pratt, the GOA's executive director, was scheduled to speak at the "Second Amendment March" in Washington, D.C., this April 19. The event, which the GOA helped sponsor, was designed to let politicians know they had better not support anti-gun legislation. Patriot and other radical groups were also expected to participate.
There's one tiny problem. There's no evidence that the government is plotting to strip citizens of their guns. President Obama has even signed legislation allowing guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has given Obama an "F" on every issue on which it graded him.
But that's not stopping the hard-line GOA, which claims more than 300,000 members and doesn't believe in any gun restrictions at all. When armed citizens began appearing outside presidential events, Pratt addressed it in a column on the GOA website. "There are those who don't like Americans owning guns at all, let alone carrying them openly. They can be counted on to run around squawking like Chicken Little that the sky is falling."
Pratt may be the figure most responsible for introducing the militia concept to the radical right. He authored Armed People Victorious in 1990. Based on this study of "citizen defense patrols" in the Philippines and Guatemala — groups that became more commonly known as death squads — Pratt offered a flattering portrayal and promoted militias for the United States.
Two years later, in 1992, he was invited to a Colorado meeting where the outlines of the militia movement were shaped. More than 150 extremists attended the meeting, which was hosted by a white supremacist minister. In 1996, Pratt was ejected from the co-chairmanship of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign over such associations with white supremacists.
Of Cops and Conspiracies
Stewart Rhodes, 44
A former aide to Texas congressman Ron Paul (see profile in "The Enablers"), Stewart Rhodes founded a group called Oath Keepers in early 2009. The rapidly growing organization is comprised mostly of active-duty police and military, as well as veterans, who fret about things like gun control and the much-feared "New World Order." Members swear (a second time) to uphold their oath to the Constitution and not to obey orders they think conflict with that. Among those orders (10 "Orders We Will Not Obey" are listed on the Oath Keepers website): Imposing martial law or a state of emergency on a state, and forcing those who resist into detention camps.
Rhodes is an Army veteran and a Yale Law School graduate. He and others in his organization have been frequent speakers at Tea Party rallies, helping channel Patriot ideas into that movement. Rhodes insists his group isn't antigovernment, but he and other Oath Keepers do describe the government as tyrannical and repressive. "We saw a dangerous increase in power of the executive branch and a dangerous increase in government power over the American people," he told Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy on the latter's radio show in April 2009.
In interviews, Rhodes has suggested that his worries about concentration camps and martial law are purely theoretical concerns. That is false. At the top of the list of orders his group will not obey is a quote from George Washington, saying now is the time to decide whether we are "freemen" or "slaves." Rhodes' site then says, "Such a time is near at hand again," clearly suggesting imminent catastrophe.
Rhodes also has appeared for friendly questioning at least twice on the radio show of über-conspiracist Alex Jones. And, last November, he explained on the Conservative Political Network why his organization doesn't focus on politicians, lawyers or judges. "They've already demonstrated by their behavior they have contempt for the Constitution and have no regard for their oaths," he said. "So I focus on the military and the police because they still have honor, and if they stand down ... and refuse unlawful orders, it doesn't make a difference what the politicians want, it can't be done."
Correcting the Constitution
Jon Roland, 66
When a militiaman claims the federal government is trampling the Constitution, he might have Jon Roland to thank for his reasoning. In the mid-1990s, Roland founded the Constitution Society, a Patriot organization whose website assembles writings on all manner of constitutional issues, including a section on the alleged right to assemble a militia.
The site also delves into the world of conspiracy theories by providing links to sites questioning the Oklahoma City bombing and the role of researchers in creating the HIV virus. It even includes a section on mind-control technology.
It's all in keeping with Roland's role as a purveyor of information to the Patriot movement, a role that includes the founding of the Texas Militia Correspondence Committee in the mid-1990s. He's also played a role in the movement's resurgence by attending a gathering of extremist figures in Georgia last year that appears to have pumped new life into the movement. "The Feds are out of control," he told the Intelligence Report in an interview about that meeting. They "have actually been engaging in warlike activity against the American people."
Roland, a computer specialist in Austin, Texas, has run for office several times since 1972. At a website exploring a possible candidacy for U.S. Senate, he promotes a "Constitutionalist Platform" that would "involve the repeal of much existing legislation," including statutes that make "anything but gold or silver coin legal tender on state territory." He supports the ability of private mints to issue such coins.
And, of course, he wants to revive the militia system he says was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Roland appears determined to fulfill a statement he made in 1994 that is still quoted on the Constitution Society website: "I decided history needed a course correction, so I reached for my keyboard."
The 'Patriot Journalist'
Luke Rudkowski, 23
Luke Rudkowski dislikes the phrase "conspiracy theory." He prefers to think of his organization as a movement of truth-seeking activists who are simply asking the hard questions that aren't being posed by mainstream journalists.
Nevertheless, the founder of We Are Change has tapped into a deep vein of suspicion among Americans who see dark conspiracies being hatched inside the federal government. He has harnessed the energy of 9/11 "truthers" to form an army of activists seeking to expose "the lies of the government and corporate elite who remain suspect in this crime."
Since he formed We Are Change as a group of "patriot journalists" in 2006, the loose-knit group has grown into a network of more than 200 independent chapters, mostly in the United States. Finding the "truth" behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is a driving force — as are concerns about a looming "one world order," according to the group's website. It also seeks "to uncover the truth behind the private banking cartel of the military industrial complex" that wants to "eliminate national sovereignty."
Rudkowski said the group doesn't engage in broad New World Order conspiracies but focuses on the alleged role of groups such as the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission. These groups have been common targets for Patriot and other conspiracy theorists for decades.
We Are Change videographers have confronted political figures such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. When video surfaced of U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah telling a We Are Change interviewer there's "a lot we still need to learn" about the 2001 terrorist attacks, the congressman felt constrained to issue a statement disavowing any belief in a government conspiracy.
Rudkowski, whose group explicitly condemns violence and racism, said he was arrested last year for trespassing during an attempt to question New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg about the health care of 9/11 first responders. He said he is fighting the charge, saying he was targeted and never told to leave.
"I see a huge uprising right now of people waking up every single day," Rudkowski said in an interview posted on YouTube last year.
Robert "Bob" Schulz, 70
When the history is written about the rebirth of the antigovernment Patriot movement, Robert "Bob" Schulz may be the man credited with setting the cornerstone for this new era of militias, tax protesters and "sovereign citizens."
The longtime tax protester convened a gathering of fellow tax defiers, militia enthusiasts, nativist extremists, anti-Obama "birthers" and others at Georgia's Jekyll Island in May 2009. At the meeting, they mapped out "action plans" for a larger movement – one that would confront not only taxes but an array of issues that threaten to "collapse the Republic."
That meeting led to an 11-day "continental congress" in St. Charles, Ill., hosted by Schulz's organization, We the People. The November 2009 meeting drew more than 100 delegates from 48 states and birthed the "Articles of Freedom." The document declares the federal government "now threatens our Life, Liberty and Property through usurpations of the Constitution."
Schulz describes the events as merely gatherings of people concerned about the government and seeking a redress of grievances. He said the topic of militias focused on "well-regulated state militias." Nevertheless, these meetings were remarkable for the level of cooperation demonstrated within the revitalized Patriot movement.
Schulz said the actions of the government – such as purchasing stakes in auto companies – are shocking people and "more and more people are talking about the Constitution." Earlier this year, he offered an even more striking assessment. "There's a huge patriot movement," Schulz told a reporter. "I've been doing this kind of work for 30 years. Never have I seen the likes of what's going on now. It's delightful."
The Jekyll Island gathering also is noteworthy because it parallels the origins of the Patriot movement of the 1990s. The modern militia movement was partly shaped at a 1992 meeting of radical-right leaders in Estes Park, Colo. At that gathering, known as the "Rocky Mountain Rendezvous," a cross section of extremist leaders also put aside their differences to focus on a common enemy: the federal government. Schulz denied any knowledge of the meeting.
The end result of Schulz's work may only be realized in time. The documents produced at the continental congress declare any infringement on the people's liberty as described in the Constitution as an act of war that "the People and their Militias have the Right and Duty to repel."
The Cautious Conspiracist
Joel Skousen, 63
He may not be as well known as his uncle, the late (and largely discredited) far-right author Cleon Skousen. But Joel Skousen is similarly preoccupied with conspiracy theories about worldwide government.
Addressing the Constitution Party National Committee meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., last October, Skousen, of Orem, Utah, spoke of powerful deceptive forces at work. In an E-mail to theIntelligence Report, Skousen elaborated on some of those claims, saying he believes there's "substantive evidence" that Obama's birthplace was Kenya, making him ineligible for the presidency. "His sudden rise from poor community attorney to a relatively rich man via insider real estate dealings with less than reputable figures and too-good-to-be-true market speculations lends credence to my suspicion that his rise in the political arena was in large part owing to some kind of deal made with the political machines in Illinois and Washington D.C."
Skousen also predicts that Russia and China will launch a massive preemptive strike against the United States. "Very few know that the Powers That Be (PTB) intend to pull the nuclear trigger via Russia and China," he wrote on his website.
Skousen said this belief preceded what has become his vocation: designing high-security homes and shelters. His survivalist writings (for sale on his website) include explanation of how to fortify closets and turn basements into fallout shelters.
He also writes World Affairs Brief, a weekly E-mail newsletter monitoring "the tactics and hidden intentions of globalist insiders who are maneuvering the world into a New World Order." (A year-long subscription costs $48.) The New World Order, Skousen told the Intelligence Report, is a conspiracy aimed at "undermin[ing] national sovereignty slowly by deception and provocation (using false threats of terrorism, war and Hegelian conflict creation and management) to provoke normal people into accepting increased control, regulation and taxation by a one-world government."
That notion was shared by his uncle Cleon, whose books — including The Five Thousand Year Leap (1981) — are enjoying a revival today thanks largely to the promotional efforts of Glenn Beck (see profile in "The Enablers"). But Skousen has mixed feelings about the Fox News host. "In general, I do not believe Beck to be capable of rigorous and careful analysis of any issues that are complex," he wrote. "His superficial handling of conspiracy issues and the manner in which he dismisses them without a careful hearing is exemplary of this uncareful analysis."
The Rough Guide
Jim Stachowiak, 49
Jim Stachowiak is a longtime militia organizer and foul-mouthed talk show host.
On the Feb. 23 episode of his daily radio show, he called for armed resistance if the government tries to confiscate people's guns. "This country will not be saved without a Revolution," he said.
Wearing camouflage and a "Don't Tread on Me" hat, he brandished a knife as he discussed ambushes and ranted against gays. "We're not going to let one little faggot ... destroy standing up against tyranny," he said, referring both to another movement leader and to an anti-hate blogger. (Stachowiak later said he used the word "faggot" to "elicit a reaction.")
On his website, he calls Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano a "Nazi-bitch." A picture on his blog shows an AK-47 emblazoned with the words, "The A.R.M. [American Resistance Movement] solution to forced vaccines," a common bogeyman of the radical right.
Stachowiak told the Intelligence Report he's advocating defense, not violence. "I'd rather go to a movie or make payments on a jet ski, but I have to buy ammo," he lamented. "I'm concerned about civil unrest, my neighbors going crazy, round-ups, foreign troops, the New World Order."
He's part of A.R.M., a leaderless network of individual militias that Stachowiak insists is active, although a notice on its website says it has shut down. In the mid-'90s, he led the Georgia Civilian Militia, a paramilitary group that disbanded in 1997 because, he claims, government agents were attempting to get members to act illegally. Stachowiak says he's Jewish and that the militia had black and Puerto Rican members. "The racist militias aren't all of us," he said. "You can't demonize an entire group based on the actions of a few."
Stachowiak stood on a Mexican flag during a 2008 anti-immigration protest in South Carolina and last fall appeared in an Internet video urging mass protests at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. He has frequently clashed with fellow Patriots and was expelled from We Are Change, a group that promotes Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, after a dispute with another leader. He even attacked his own listeners recently, concluding, "If you don't like this show, fuck it." Stachowiak later said the on-air meltdown was just showmanship.
Running Radical Radio
John Stadtmiller, 56
John Stadtmiller founded and runs Republic Broadcasting Network (RBN), whose talk radio fare is peppered with warnings about enslavement by a one-world government. The station, which broadcasts via the Internet, shortwave and satellite, drew national attention this April when a host who identifies himself as Sam Kennedy sent letters to the nation's governors demanding that they resign within three days. The letters sparked an FBI investigation.
Stadtmiller has his own show, "The National Intel Report," which airs daily on RBN. Also heard on RBN is Jack McLamb (see profile above), a former Phoenix police officer and militia hero who runs Police & Military Against The New World Order and who argues that "globalists" are trying "to gain, through any available means, total dictatorial control over all the peoples of the world." Yet another RBN host is Michael Collins Piper, who has written copiously for the anti-Semitic American Free Press and its predecessor, The Spotlight, as well as The Barnes Review, a Holocaust denial journal. Kennedy's show has focused on its host's "Restore America" project, said to be a peaceful attempt to return America to its rightful legal basis and thereby avoid "World War III."
Stadtmiller, who now lives in Round Rock, Texas, has a long history of involvement in Patriot radio, formerly co-hosting militia promoter Mark "Mark from Michigan" Koernke's (see profile above) show. Immediately after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Koernke and Stadtmiller broadcast allegations that the federal government was behind the tragedy. "This whole thing was created to attack the Patriot movement," Stadtmiller was quoted as saying in thePittsburgh Post-Gazette following McVeigh's conviction. Koernke and Stadtmiller stayed on the air even after Koernke became a fugitive in 1998. (Koernke had been charged with assaulting a man trying to subpoena him to serve as a defense witness in a murder trial.)
More recently, Stadtmiller was featured in "Camp FEMA," a video that suggests the Federal Emergency Management Agency is creating concentration camps for political dissenters. Looking scholarly in a jacket and button-down shirt, the silver-haired Stadtmiller asserts that it doesn't take much to establish a detention facility. "It can be a sports arena," he said. "It could be abandoned airports. It could be abandoned military facilities. Anyplace that you can set up a security perimeter could be used as a temporary internment camp."
Stadtmiller declined to speak with the Intelligence Report. "I would rather pour gasoline on myself and light it than speak to anyone in your 'organization,'" he wrote in an E-mail.