03.31.10 7:06 AM ET
The Militias' YouTube Strategy
The Christian militia group busted this week maintained a YouTube channel of frightening combat training clips.
Wingnuts author John Avlon introduces seven bizarre videos of American militias preparing for combat. Plus, John Avlon on
the roots of the armies of hate.
Welcome to the Hatriots' home movies— YouTube clips indented as recruitment tools. It’s an inside look at the militia movement’s paramilitary drills, unfiltered and unedited.
These seven clips show the militia movement as they want to be seen by their supporters—a collection of armed military exercises by men in fatigues backed by the sounds of heavy metal.
There is plenty of target practice set to soundtracks. The militia of Washington County, Arkansas, features the soft rock sounds of one Gianluca Zanna, whose ode to the Second Amendment features lyrics like: “Politicians, United Nations, You won’t change the Constitution of our nation/The Oppressive State [will] first politely ban your right/then with violence it will keep you quiet.” A Web site that reprints those lyrics features a picture of Nazi and U.N. helmets side by side.
The Indiana Militia Watch’s Web site asks sarcastically “What’s next? Concentration camps? Funny You Should Ask…” One of its leaders identifies himself as “the author of Gulag Amerika, a primer on the development of plans for martial law in the United States and original research into the validity of rumored detention camp locations across the United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and overseas.”
These homepages are the equivalent of C-SPAN for the militia movement, with links that allow the viewer to delve deeper into their world of armed resistance to martial law. It’s a scrapbook of sorts, featuring validations, hopes, anger, and anxieties, all side by side. All Hatriots—those who confuse hate of others as pro-American patriotism—view themselves as defenders of freedom, but as these clips show, they are prepared to defend the Constitution by doing violence to it. But don’t take my word for it—thanks to the Internet, the militia present their perspective and you get to decide how dangerous they are: citizen to citizen.
FBI officials say Hutaree's hope was to incite a violent uprising in the U.S. after bombing a cop’s funeral. Watch this Hutaree promotional video posted on the group’s YouTube channel.
Two members of this group were arrested in conjunction with the Hutaree plot this week. The group has posted numerous videos advocating gun ownership, criticizing the government, and bashing “corporate media.” TPM reports that an Ohio Militia leader who goes by the name Pale Horse, featured in the video below, was among the men arrested by the FBI this week.
Lenawee County Volunteer Militia
The Lenawee Volunteer Militia’s homepage has been changed to distance the group from its fellow Lenawee County, Michigan, residents, the Hutaree militia, in the wake of the latter group’s arrests. “We are pleased that the arrests were made without incident or injury; the difference can now be settled in a court of law, not a bloody shootout,” the site says. Its members support the Constitution and emergency-preparedness, the site says, and the militia is not religious. In this clip, members practice bounding, an exercise in the real military, in which they take turns providing cover fire for each other while moving forward in short bursts.
Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia
The Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia would like to remind you that girls can play, too. In this video, women train to a Shania Twain soundtrack. A member of the group says that three years ago, his group trained with Hutaree, but eventually severed ties over a difference in philosophy (SMVM’s goal is to survive emergencies; Hutaree is somewhat more dangerous). "We didn't subscribe to their philosophy,” a SMVM member said. “And because we didn't, [it] caused some friction between the two groups to the point where their leader issued thinly veiled threats against our unit and its leadership."
The Patriots Republic
It’s unclear whether YouTube user PatriotsRepublic is affiliated with a specific militia, but we do know this: He’s 42-years-old and wants “to get the moral busibodies on both sides out of everyone's business.” He has designed mugs and T-shirts featuring Nancy Pelosi looking like a zombie as well as the catchy slogan “If at first you don’t succeed, reload!” He says: “This warning goes out to all of you who hold the United States Constitution in contempt. We will not abide the slavery you are foisting on us at this time. Reverse the trend. Peacefully give us back our liberty, and you will live. Continue to steal from us our liberty our freedom, and you will eventually meet the full strength [shakes weapon] of the United States militia.”
Militia of Washington County, Arkansas
This loving gun montage/music video for a song presumably called “Second Amendment” comes to you from the Militia of Washington County, Arkansas, which has been proudly serving the greater Washington County area since 1994—the last time health-care reform was a hot debate among the small-government set. The militia’s leader Hollis Wayne Fincher, currently incarcerated at the federal penitentiary in Forrest City, Arkansas, for illegal possession of a machine gun, has a potentially life-threatening heart condition, and the prison says it can no longer afford to pay for Fincher’s meds. The militia’s blog is calling for support: “I know the government is ‘broke,’ but somehow they find money for everything else under the sun. Here they have a clear-cut responsibility, and they are refusing to uphold it.”
Idaho Light Foot Militia
“Major” Jeff Stankiewicz lacks military experience, but not enthusiasm. "The government should be afraid of its people so that it doesn't do stuff it's not supposed to do," the leader of the 100-strong Idaho Light Foot Militia told Nightline. “The Second is the most important of the amendments,” Stankiewicz says. “The Soviet constitution had the right to freedom of speech and the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of the press. They didn't have the right to bear arms." And so he continues to train, as in the militia’s only video posted on YouTube, featuring Stankiewicz powering through a military-esque training drill, in which he and his partner inexplicably fail to cover each other as they return fire.
Correction: This article initially stated Gianluca Zanna's site shows Nazi and U.N. helmets side by side; the images are instead on a site that reprints his lyrics.