The *USA Weekend* magazine, delivered with many Sunday papers,
had a cover story on April 14, 1996 dealing with the growing
citizens' militia movement. Therein we learn that Morris Dees of
the Southern Poverty Law Center has written a new book,
*Gathering Storm*, in which he "examines" the militia movement.
It is probably a good idea to put aside any ill-will some may
have toward Dees: that way the *USA Weekend* article can be
examined objectively and dispassionately. Giving Dees the
benefit of the doubt, he may just be misguided in his
perceptions; Dees may not actually realize that much of what he
has to say is erroneous and/or fanciful. At any rate, name
calling by whichever side does not help us to communicate and
hopefully arrive at consensus.
Yes, Conspiracy Nation *has* stooped to this very same name
calling in the past. Often it has been in regard to the mass
media "news" outlets who will not allow non-approved persons
access to their forum. Perhaps if increased access were given
to, for example, persons such as Noam Chomsky, Sherman Skolnick,
Terry Reed and John Cummings, Carl Jensen of Project Censored,
Rodney Stich, Larry Nichols and hundreds of other vital American
voices, then the consequent frustration of being denied a voice
in the American dialogue would not explode into name calling.
With the previous background in mind, lets' take a look at the
*USA Weekend* article.
Dees' book is said to be based on, among other things,
"undercover operations I cannot reveal." So right there Mr. Dees
has given us a bit of helpful information: undercover operations
are underway within the militia movement. Thank you, Mr. Dees.
Mr. Dees is also kind enough to point out early on that "Not
every militia unit has racist or violent tendencies." He grants
that many militia members are good Americans who love their
But from this hopeful beginning he descends into nonsense. Says
** "There will be more people like the Oklahoma bombers."
Hey, Mr. Dees, haven't you heard? We have this thing in the
United States whereby a person is innocent until proven
guilty. People forgot that with the O.J. Simpson case also,
and now it sticks in their craw that their presuppositions
collapsed when faced with the jury's verdict. If McVeigh is
indeed guilty, AS YOU PRESUME, then why such a delay in
bringing him to trial? You know, a speedy trial and all
that? What's the delay?
** Mr. Dees says there are what he calls militia "cells" --
"half a dozen or so members". Where have we heard that
before? Remember the Communist Party "cells" supposedly
lurking everywhere in the 1950s? The more things change, the
more they stay the same.
** Mr. Dees informs us that "Short-wave radio personalities
send programs to loyal listeners huddled in small rooms."
Huddled? *Huddled*?? Isn't that a bit imaginative? Huddled
in small rooms? Getting a bit poetic, aren't we?
** Mr. Dees warns of "plans to poison water supplies." Here
he is reminiscent of dire warnings about "yellow fever plots"
that accompanied the "trial" of the supposed conspirators
behind the Lincoln assassination.
** Again returning to the Oklahoma City bombing(s), Dees
warns that "they *will* strike again." WHO will strike
again, Mr. Dees? As noted above, we still haven't got to the
"speedy" trial of McVeigh and Nichols. What is more, any
links between them and the militias are tenuous. Tell me,
did you go to school at the same place as Chip Berlet, by any
** Morris Dees writes that FBI and BATF "have a legal basis
to exist." I don't know about BATF, but there is some doubt
about the FBI's legality. Sherman Skolnick, Orlin Grabbe and
others have claimed that the FBI has no charter and therefore
does *not* have a legal basis.
** Says Dees: "True patriots are in voting lines, not
militia columns." And who will they be voting for, Clinton
versus Dole? What kind of a damn choice is that? Don't you
really mean that "true patriots" just watch sports and leave
"democracy" to the "experts"?
A suggestion to Mr. Dees is that he can take a lesson from the
bygone Berlet of olden times: people don't really have anything
against you, as such. But when you so awfully misrepresent them,
you can't blame them if they get a bit angry. Add to that how
these same people are not "approved", not "allowed", in the
public forums such as television in which dialogue CAN happen --
can you blame them if they start "huddling in small rooms"?