MONTANA Militia groups in Montana, whose armed members have been embroiled in hostile confrontations with police. are among the most volatile in the country. The Militia of Montana (M.O.M.), one of the movement's most visible and extreme groups. has continued to spread its message around Montana and the nation from its headquarters in the small town of Noxon. M.O.M. was founded by John Trochmann -- who has been a speaker at a major conclave of the white supremacist Aryan Nations -- along with his brother David and David's son Randy. In public, John Trochmann has tried to play down his Aryan Nations experience. In a recent press release, however, Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler announced that Trochmann had traveled to the group's Idaho compound "quite often ... for Bible study." and that he "even helped us write out a set of rules for our code of conduct on church grounds." In December 1994, M.O.M. sponsored a five-stop speaking tour in Washington and Montana with Mark Koernke ("Mark from Michigan"), whose videos and speeches are key recruiting tools for the militia movement. John Trochmann and Bob Fletcher, another M.O.M. Official, were also in attendance to answer questions from the audience. One month later, Fletcher traveled to Colorado to reach out to sympathizers in that state. He warned an audience of about 75 that a bloody battle was in store, and instructed them to be prepared. "You better damn well learn how to use a gun if you don't know how to use one now," he said. "If you don't have bullets now, you better flat get them." M.O.M. Propaganda An item in an issue of M.O.M.'s monthly newsletter, Taking Aim, printed several weeks before the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, underscores the centrality of the date, April 19, to the group's ideology. The newsletter noted April 19, 1995, as the upcoming execution date ("UNLESS WE ACT NOW!!!" it read) for convicted murderer and white supremacist Richard Wayne Snell. The item recounted that April 19 was also the day on which "Lexington burned.... Warsaw burned.... The feds attempted to raid Randy Weaver.... The Branch Davidians burned." By citing Lexington and Warsaw, M.O.M. seems to compare today's U.S. Government to colonial America's British rulers and, outrageously. to the genocidal Nazi regime, while simultaneously agitating on behalf of a racist and anti- Semitic killer. As is the case with many militia groups around the country, M.O.M. leaders are obsessed with the notion that United Nations troops, aided by Soviet-made weapons, are planning a takeover of the United States. An "lntelligence Report" recently distributed by M.O.M. purports to provide followers with detailed documentation of this conspiracy. A National Guard base in Biloxi, Mississippi, is said to be filled with trucks "of Soviet origin," whose "fuel tanks have been topped off and apparently look ready to roll." The report adds: "These trucks are being marked at this time United Nations." The Militia of Montana distributes a catalog that- offers for sale numerous videotapes, audiotapes and publications on a variety of conspiracy themes. The catalog also offers a comprehensive bomb-making and warfare manual, "The Road Back," which was produced by the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby's publishing arm, Noontide Press. M. O. M. describes the book thus: "A plan for the restoration of freedom when our country has been taken over by its enemies. 20 chapters on organization. recruiting, intelligence, communications, supply, weapons, sabotage, medicine, warfare, and training, etc." Brush With the Law In recent months, authorities in Musselshell County have learned that several M.O.M. members, including John Trochmann, have cooperated with so-called Freemen. Followers of this anti-tax movement have defied local and federal law and have operated their own common law court system, reflecting their view of the Constitution. In early March 1995, rancher William Stanton, a follower of the Freemen movement, was sentenced by a judge in Roundup, Montana, to a 10-year prison term for criminal syndicalism -- the advocacy of crime, violence, or property damage for political ends -- related to Freemen activities. On the heels of Stanton's sentencing, and in an apparent show of support for the Freemen, John Trochmann and six of his followers embarked on a 500-mile journey to Roundup, armed with an arsenal of weapons. "I believe the men were here to attempt to capture or kill us," the Musselshell County Attorney told a local paper. The seven men were arrested on charges of carrying concealed weapons and felony intimidation. A search of their vehicle revealed a collection of handguns and rifles, communications equipment, thousands of rounds of ammunition, quantities of gold and silver, and $80.000 in cash. Charges against all but two of the men -- Frank Ellena of Billings, and Dale Jacobi of Thompson Falls -- were dropped in late March after a state prosecutor concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support felony charges. North American Volunteer Militia The Boonville, Indiana-based North American Volunteer Militia (NAVM), directed by Joe Holland (see Indiana), has an active outpost in Montana. The group's attitude toward law enforcement officials may be discerned from a letter by Holland to the Montana Revenue Department: "How many of your agents will be sent home in body bags before you hear the pleas of the people?" asked Holland in his letter. "Proceed at your own peril!" In early April 1995, an armed encounter between militia members and Ravalli County officials ended with the arrest of one militia man. Drawing a parallel between this situation and the confrontations involving the Branch Davidians at Waco and Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge in Idaho, Joe Holland urged followers to travel to Ravalli County in a show of support. "In my opinion," Holland wrote in an "alert" message distributed by fax, "it looks as though another Waco or Ruby Ridge may be in the planning stages in Ravalli County, Montana. There has been a build-up of police over the last few days." In May, Holland and two Montana men were charged with criminal syndicalism; Holland has surrendered to Indiana authorities. NAVM's Montana coordinator is Calvin Greenup of Darby, a dump operator and elk rancher. In early May 1995, Greenup was charged with plotting to kidnap, try in a common law court. and hang local government officials. The charges, which were also filed against Joe Holland and two of his cohorts. followed an undercover investigation conducted by the state Justice Department. In addition, Greenup has been wanted by officials for tax evasion, obstruction of justice, and running an unlicensed game farm. For several weeks, though, he avoided arrest by hiding out on his large farm and threatening to shoot any law officer who approaches. In early June, Greenup turned himself in to local authorities, made bail, and was released. Greenup's son, Scott, who was sought by police for assaulting an officer and jumping bail. also surrendered. Before ending his holdout, Greenup said his extreme stance was his only guarantee that "the crooked politicians" will take notice. "Do the political officials want this state to blow or do they want to get it back and hear our pleas?" he asked. ~ ADL Fact Finding Report, "Beyond the Bombing: The Militia Menace Grows," Anti-Defamation League, 1995.
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