Olson, Michigan Militia Leader in '90s, Back in Action in Alaska

A key figure of the 1990s antigovernment “Patriot” movement who largely dropped from public view in 2002 has resurfaced in Alaska, where he’s recruiting for his newly formed Alaska Militia.

Norm Olson, who founded the Michigan Militia in 1994, held an organizational meeting last Thursday at a community center in Nikiski, a small town in the Kenai Peninsula region about 170 road miles from Anchorage.

Olson’s message: “Something very evil this way comes.”

“We’re looking at catastrophe just a couple months away — economic collapse, food shortages around the world, prices in stores are gonna go skyrocketing with this inflation,” Olson told the roughly 20 attendees, according to The Redoubt Reporter, a Kenai Peninsula newspaper.

“I’m convinced that times are coming when we are going to have to repel federal aggression, tyrannical oppressive federal aggression. They’re going to want to quell any kind of uprising, because it’s bad for politics,” Olson was quoted as saying.

Presiding over the meeting alongside Olson was Michigan Militia co-founder Ray Southwell. In the 1990s Olson and Southwell together made the Michigan Militia one of the first major antigovernment Patriot groups in the country and helped transform their former home state into a hotbed of Patriot activity.

Olson drew widespread attention to his group when he revealed that Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols had attended a Michigan Militia meeting not long before the terrorist attack.

At the Nikiski meeting, Olson and Southwell were photographed dressed in full camouflage uniforms with “Don’t Tread on Me” coiled-snake patches and Alaska Militia insignia.

Olson told a reporter that he and Southwell moved to the Kenai Peninsula about five years ago, and that he purchased a 20-acre parcel of land that now serves as the base of operations for the Alaska Militia.

A Baptist preacher who previously owned a gun store in Alanson, Mich., Olson was booted from his Michigan Militia leadership post after he alienated his comrades by floating an incredible theory about the Oklahoma City bombing: The Japanese government had bombed the federal building in revenge for the Tokyo sarin gas subway attack that, Olson said, had been carried out by the U.S. government, not a Japanese doomsday cult as the governments of both nations had reported.

Olson’s attempt to fire up the militia movement on the Kenai Peninsula is one of many signs of a resurgence of the Patriot movement, as The Southern Poverty Law Center reported last month.

“It is doubtful that the militia will ever be socially acceptable,” Olson told The Redoubt Reporter. “The central government and the controlled media will paint you as criminals, terrorists, extremists, radicals, anti-government, wing nuts. Are you willing to pay the price?”