The following is brought to you thanks, in part, to the kind assistance of CyberNews and the fine folks at Cornell University.
("Quid coniuratio est?")
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 country.
But from this hopeful beginning he descends into nonsense. Says Dees:
** "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 chance?
** 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"?
I encourage distribution of "Conspiracy Nation."
See also: http://www.europa.com/~johnlf/cn.html
See also: ftp ftp.shout.net pub/users/bigred