The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Paranoia as Patriotism:
Far-Right Influences on the Militia Movement

Colonel James "Bo" Gritz

Colonel James "Bo" Gritz, who deplored the deadly Oklahoma bombing but commented that it was a "Rembrandt - a masterpiece of art and science," is highly influential in the anti-government "patriot" movement. The former Green Beret and Presidential candidate of the Populist Party - a political party founded by Willis Carto, leader of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby - recently created a "Constitutional Covenant Community" in northern Idaho, also referred to as a Christian Covenant Community.

Established as a haven for "like-minded individuals," the settlement, which is known as "Almost Heaven," is widely believed to be a paramilitary complex.

Gritz opposes gun control and he urges supporters to resist any attempts by the Federal government to "take away their guns." He leads survivalist, paramilitary training sessions, which he calls S.P.I.K.E. (Specially Prepared Individuals for Key Events).

Gritz came to national attention when he assisted white separatist Randy Weaver in surrendering to Federal authorities in August 1992 after an 11-day stand off at Weaver's northern Idaho cabin. Weaver's wife and son and a deputy U.S. marshal were killed in the siege, which occurred when Federal authorities attempted to arrest Weaver for failing to appear on an illegal weapons charge. Gritz has condemned Federal authorities as "traitors" in both this incident and the Waco tragedy.

Gritz has served for many years on the advisory board of the Liberty Lobby's Populist Action Committee. He is particularly fond of conspiracy theories, asserting that AIDS is a Federal conspiracy to ease population growth.

He has also compared the U.S. government to the Soviet KGB and the Nazi Gestapo. He has expressed support for the white supremacist "Identity" movement, which preaches that Jews are "Satan's spawn" and that non-whites are "mud races." Gritz gives the distinct impression that he is preparing for a stand-off with the Federal government, stating: "The FBI knows me and the Special Forces know me... The last thing they want to do is tangle with me, because I'm trained in guerrilla warfare." Recently, Gritz once again forced himself into the spotlight by convincing FBI officials to allow him to help mediate in the Freeman stand-off in Montana, which began in March 1996. Grist, along with retired police officer-turned-militia proponent Jack McLamb, spent several days with the Freemen (who deny the legitimacy of state and Federal government in favor of "common law"), attempting unsuccessfully to convince them to surrender and face trial in Federal court. (The Freemen stand-off ended peacefully on June 13, 1996.) (Anti-Defamation League, 19)

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. [Special Report] Paranoia as Patriotism: Far-Right Influences on the Militia Movement. 1996.

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