Hatewatch

Idaho ‘Constitutional Militia’ Takes Shape

Declaring “We are the Army of the Lord, visiting His wrath on all those who would aggress the people of Idaho” and vowing to “oppose tyranny in all its forms,” an antigovernment “Patriot” group calling itself the Idaho Citizens’ Constitutional Militia (ICCM) is recruiting members for its first official muster, scheduled for September, according to its website.

The ICCM’s “commanding officer” is listed as James Ambrose, who’s depicted on the website wearing forest camouflage fatigues and a black beret.

“The Idaho Militia will meet once a month; one day for training, and a weekend bivouac for field training exercises,” the website states. “The training will cover movement and infiltration, land navigation, responding to an NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) attack, wilderness survival, emergency first aid, anti-terrorism, ambush response, Geneva rules of combat, and a host of other skills and topics. We will train all year long in all sorts of climate at various locations all across Idaho.”

Although it’s not known if Ambrose’s group has any followers yet, its appearance is the latest indication of a possible resurgence of the kind of militia groups that characterized the 1990s. By the close of that decade, most of those groups had disappeared or lapsed into inactivity. But in the last year or so, numerous self-described militias have begun to train again, as they did in the ’90s, and the themes that animated those groups — including conspiracy theories about the “New World Order” and fear of the federal government and gun control — have resurfaced across the country.

On his website, Ambrose puts out a special recruiting call to military veterans: “Those former members of the military, I will expect your assistance in establishing, modeling, and enforcing … standards for those who have never served in the armed forces. Full military customs, courtesies, and protocols will be practiced in the militia.”

The website features imagery of the United Nations flag; the burning Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas; a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) badge, and the message, “I AM THE GOVERNMENT YOUR FOUNDERS WARNED YOU ABOUT.” Opposition to the United Nations, government actions in Waco and Rudy Ridge, Idaho, and the ATF were among the defining issues for the 1990s militia movement.

“The Militia is in nature a purely defensive force and will take no aggressive action or recklessly plunge Idaho into war,” Ambrose informs potential recruits. “But if events similar to Ruby Ridge should ever again occur in Idaho, our resolve to respond with force in kind cannot be doubted.”