Roeder Tape Reveals Militia Connection
The story of the assasination of Dr. George Tiller by antiabortion militant Scott Roeder has taken a revealing turn. The AP is reports
that in a 1996 cable TV interview with fellow antiabortion miltant David Leach, Roeder discussed his anti-government militia views.
Although there has been reporting on Roeder's involvement in the farther reaches of the Religious Right, this would be the first detailed examination of the depth and breadth of the views that have animiated his politics for many years.
The AP reports:
A newly resurfaced 1996 video shows the convicted killer of a Kansas abortion doctor discussing his anti-government militia views with an Iowa anti-abortion activist.... on a Des Moines cable show.
In it Roeder talks with Iowa abortion opponent Dave Leach about his Freemen philosophy. He also discusses his appeal of a 1996 conviction for carrying bomb-making materials in his unlicensed vehicle.
Leach plans to post a preview of the interview on YouTube and sell copies of the entire tape.
Roeder was convicted Jan. 29 of first-degree murder for shooting Dr. George Tiller last May as the doctor served as an usher at his Wichita church. The Kansas City, Mo., man is to be sentenced March 9.
In the Summer 1998 issue of Intelligence Report, the journal of the Southern Poverty Law Center, I published a two part discussion of antiabortion violence, one of which was an analysis of how antibortionism was often an animating feature of the farther reaches of the far right, as was evident in the militia movement at the time.
Anti-Abortion Extremists: "Patriots" and Racists Converge
Here are a few excerpts:
· August Kreis and James Wickstrom, longtime leaders of the violently racist and anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus, recently put up an article on their Web site hailing Rudolph as "a true warrior of YHVH [God]."
Wickstrom, a Michigan militia enthusiast who organized paramilitary training for the Posse during the 1980s, has served prison time for impersonating public officials and counterfeiting. Kreis, Wickstrom's Posse deputy, headed The Messiah's Militia in Pennsylvania.
In their article, the men complain about the "several hundred JOG agents (jewish occupational government forces)" searching for Rudolph.
· The Rev. Matthew Trewhella, who founded the militant Missionaries to the Preborn, was one of the first anti-abortion leaders to publicly call for militias.
At a 1994 Wisconsin convention of the U.S. Taxpayers Party (USTP)[since renamed as the Constitution Party] -- which mixes anti-abortion and antigovernment Patriot militants -- he called on churches to form armed militias. After telling congregants to do "the most loving thing" by buying their children "an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition," he said he was teaching his own 16-month-old the location of his "trigger finger."
The Wisconsin USTP ticket has included Ernest Brusubardis III, a "captain" of the Wisconsin Militia arrested in several Wisconsin clinic blockades.
· Willie Ray Lampley, head of the Oklahoma Constitutional Militia, is serving 11 years in federal prison for plotting to blow up abortion clinics, gay bars, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League offices and other targets. His wife and another man were also convicted in the ammonium nitrate bomb conspiracy.
· The Rev. W.N. Otwell, who reportedly has called America a "white man's country" and protested "race-mixing," has led his camouflage-clad followers in protests at an abortion clinic.
In 1996, Otwell traveled from his Texas compound to support the white supremacist Montana Freemen in their 81-day armed standoff with federal agents. He also protested in behalf of Republic of Texas criminals during their 1997 standoff.
· Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, helped Operation Rescue at a time when it was facing a $50,000 fine. Pratt's Committee to Protect the Family Foundation raised nearly $150,000 to pay Operation Rescue's bills, without that organization ever holding the money. Pratt only halted his fundraising when a judge ruled that the foundation could be held liable for Operation Rescue's fines.
Pratt has spoken at white supremacist gatherings and has long advocated formation of armed militias.
· Texas anti-abortion leader Jack DeVault, while on work release for illegally blocking clinic entrances, reported on the Branch Davidian trial for the American Patriot Fax Network and "Radio Free America," a program that has featured many extremists. He also reportedly proposed forming citizens' posses to run out "meddling federal agents."
· Joe Holland, one-time national director of the North American Volunteer Militia, has said government support for "murder clinics" and the "advancement of homosexuals" made him a rebel.
Holland, who died in prison this spring, once threatened to send law enforcement officers "home in body bags." He was serving time for criminal syndicalism and jury tampering in Montana when he suffered a heart attack in March.
· Tim Dreste, a leader of the militant American Coalition of Life Activists, also has been a captain and chaplain of a militia group, the 1st Missouri Volunteers. Dreste led several 1988 invasions of abortion clinics in New York and Atlanta. After the 1993 murder of Dr. David Gunn, he carried a sign: "Dr. ... Are you feeling under the Gunn?"
· Dale Pultz, a member of the Missionaries to the Preborn who has been convicted of illegally blocking clinics, used Patriot "common-law" techniques to slap a $700,000 lien on a judge who jailed him. This type of common-law "paper terrorism" is a Patriot tactic that is derived from the anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus group active in the 1980s.
The other article Anti-Abortion Violence: Two decades of arson, bombs and murder discusses part of the role of Roeder interviewer David Leach as a hub of antiabortion-inspired revolutionary activity.
It is, perhaps, the history of the future. In much the way that the neo-Nazi novel The Turner Diaries served as a blueprint for white supremacist revolution, a fictional account of the future of insurrectionary anti-abortion violence has already been written.
And it is a chilling tale.
Rescue Platoon, a story of a future, final war against abortion, was serialized this year on a Web site sponsored by David Leach, whose Iowa-based newsletter, Prayer & Action Weekly News, has supported the pro-violence anti-abortion network. Replete with bombs and murder, the mini-novel tells of a "righteous wrath" to come.
In the end, the "Army of God," amid a bloodbath of epic proportions, gains the final victory.
Over the years, the race war fantasy detailed in The Turner Diaries has been used by a series of terrorists from The Order to Timothy McVeigh. Now, observers fear, these new, revolution-minded stories could prove to be a road map for anti-abortion terror.
Since that time, law enforcement, particularly since 9/11 has paid a great deal of attention to antiabortion inspired domestic terrorism and has prevented many major crimes. But as Scott Roeder showed, there are still dedicated revolutionaries who organize violent acts to carry out their aims. And most often, these aims are not soley about abortion.