Gale William Potter

Back to list

Shofar archives:

The Posse Comitatus

The Posse Comitatus is an intermittently active, loosely
organized group of “Christian Identity” activists dedicated to
survivalism, vigilantism, and anti-government agitation.
Following the pseudo-religious tenets of the “Identity”
movement, Posse members typically proclaim Jews to be the
“synagogue of Satan,” blacks and other people of color to be
subhuman “mud races,” and Northern European whites to be the
“Chosen People” of Biblical prophecy. The name of the group
translates from Latin to mean “power of the county,” and the
Posse believes that all governmental power is rooted at the
county, not Federal, level.

Because Posse members believe that the Federal government is
controlled by “enemies” – often meaning Jews – they resist
paying taxes, as well as other duties of law abiding
citizenship. Some members of the group have even refused to
apply for driver’s licenses, because this would imply
submission to an “illegitimate, subversive” authority.
Elements of the Posse’s ideology, most notably its fierce
hostility to Federal authority are echoed among today’s

The Posse has attracted Klan members and other anti-Semites.
Among the avid promoters of the Posse during its period of
development in the 1970s were Arch Roberts’ Committee to
Restore the Constitution, based in Fort Collins, Colorado;
Western Front of Los Angeles, run by collaborators of the late
anti-Jewish agitator Gerald L.K. Smith; and ex-neo-Nazi and
Klansman David Duke of Louisiana, more recently head of the
NAAWP (National Association for the Advancement of White

In 1983, when active Posse member Gordon Kahl murdered two
Federal marshals in North Dakota and became a fugitive, the
group attracted nationwide attention. The marshals had come to
arrest Kahl for a parole violation in connection with an
earlier conviction for non-payment of taxes. Kahl later died
in a shootout with Arkansas law enforcement officials in which
a local sheriff was also killed; Kahl became a martyr to the
Posse, the Aryan Nations and other extremists.

In October 1987, retired army colonel William Potter Gale –
one of the founders of the Posse movement and the
California-based Committee of the States – along with four
associates from the Committee, was convicted of threatening
the lives of Internal Revenue Service agents and a Nevada
state judge. The five had been charged with conspiracy,
mailing threatening letters, and attempting to interfere with
the administration of internal revenue laws. All five were
sentenced in January 1988 to Federal prison for a term of one
year and one day. Gale died in April of that year, at age 71.

James Wickstrom, an Identity minister and a Posse leader, was
convicted in 1991 in Pittsburgh of plotting to distribute
$100,000 in counterfeit bills to white supremacists at the
1988 Aryan Nations World Congress. While in prison, Wickstrom
transferred his leadership role to “Identity” preacher Mark
Thomas of Pennsylvania, who was recently linked to the Freeman
brothers, two neo-Nazi Skinheads charged with murdering their
parents and younger brother; the brothers were reported to
have attended gatherings at Thomas’s compound. By the end of
1994, Wickstrom had been released from prison. He and Thomas
are reported to now be rivals.

In March 1995, the Justice Department charged three members of
Family Farm Preservation, an offshoot of the Posse Comitatus,
with attempting to distribute $65 million in counterfeit money
orders. The case is pending. (Anti-Defamation League, 29-30)

Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,alt.politics.white-power
Subject: Paranoia as Patriotism: Posse Comitatus

Archive/File: pub/orgs/american/adl/paranoia-as-patriotism/posse-comitatus
Last-Modified: 1995/08/25

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. [Special Report] Paranoia as Patriotism:
Far-Right Influences on the Militia Movement. 1995.

Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,alt.politics.white-power
Subject: Paranoia as Patriotism: Committee of the States

Archive/File: pub/orgs/american/adl/paranoia-as-patriotism/
Last-Modified: 1995/08/19

Committee of the States

The Committee of the States was a right-wing extremist tax
protest group that was formed on July 4, 1984 in Mariposa,
California. William Potter Gale, a longtime anti-Jewish
activist associated with the Posse Comitatus and the
“Identity” movement, and “Pastor” of his own Identity church,
was instrumental in its founding. Aryan Nations founder
Richard G. Butler also signed the document that formed the

The Committee of the States took its name from the Articles of
Confederation, predecessor to the United States Constitution,
which called for a committee of the states to run the nation.
The group initially came to public attention by way of a 1985
article in the Los Angeles _Daily Journal_, which stated that
the Committee had a stronghold of some 25 supporters in the
area of Sacramento, California, and participants in Nevada,
Idaho, Iowa and Wisconsin. The article outlined some of the
group’s beliefs:

* They subscribed to the theory of the extremist group
Posse Comitatus that the highest legal authority should
lie with the counties and county sheriffs, and in
citizen grand juries. They opposed government regulation
of any kind, especially Federal income tax.

* They contended that the courts are functioning under
martial law, an “admiralty jurisdiction” which was
opposed by the nation’s founding fathers. They claim
such laws favor merchants and the banks, and that the
Federal government and international bankers are
enslaving Americans with the aim of a Communist

* They held that God’s law as proclaimed in the Bible takes
precidence over man-made law. Some Committee of the
States members turned in their driver’s licenses and
removed the license plates from their cars to demonstrate
their opposition to such government regulations.

The Committee’s founding documents were officially filed with
the recorder of Mariposa County, California, on July 15, 1984.
They included an “indictment” against the U.S. Congree,
“collectively and _in persona_ (as individuals),” for the alleged
crimes of “malfeasance and misfeasance in office.” It
declared: “We, the People, the ‘body politic’ bringing this
indictment, are the Lords and Masters of this self-governing
Republic known as the United States of America.”

An accompanying document was addressed to “each and every
Member” of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the
United States. It declared: “You are hereby served the
attached Indictment containing specific Charges and
Specifications brought against you by this Committee of the
States, sitting as a Grand Jury of the people (body politic)
of the States of the Union.” It added: “You are hereby
notified that this Committee of the States shall meet in
Congress on the first Monday in November in the Year One
Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty Four (1984), for the conduct
of a trial to determine your guilt or innocence unless your
resignation from office is accomplished prior to that date.”

In March 1986, a Committee of the States letter was sent to
sheriffs in Georgia. The “Dear Sheriff” letter stated: “If
country sheriffs realized two facts of the law, they would put
an absolute stop to foreclosure on private property throughout
the United States of America.” It alleged that “a debt based
on credit is a fiction of law, dischargeable under the law
through bankruptcy,” with personal property “to be retained.”
it also declared: “The sheriff is duty-bound to preserve and
protect private rights of county residents against tyranny of
public wrongs by public administrators.”

In 1988, Gale and four other members of the Committee were
sentenced to one year and one day in jail for threatening the
lives of IRS agents and a Nevada state judge. Gale died in
jail at age 71. His death marked the end of the Committee of
the States. (Anti-Defamation League, 11-12)

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. [Special Report] Paranoia as Patriotism:
Far-Right Influences on the Militia Movement. 1995.

Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,alt.politics.white-power
Subject: Paranoia as Patriotism: Jack Mohr & the CPDL

Archive/File: pub/orgs/american/adl/paranoia-as-patriotism//mohr-cpdl
Last-Modified: 1995/08/22

Colonel Gordon “Jack” Mohr
and the Christian Patriots Defense League

Gordon “Jack” Mohr, a retired U.S. Army colonel, heads the
Citizens Emergency Defense System (CEDS), a militant civilian
“defense” group restricted to white Christians. CEDS, based in
Mohr’s home town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, has been
closely associated with John Harrell’s Illinois-based
Christian Patriots Defense League (CPDL), an anti-Semitic
survivalist group which has been involved in paramilitary
activity and “martial arts” training.

Exploiting Christian terminology for his own extremist
purposes, Mohr has described CPDL as “made up primarily of
Christians and/or Patriots, who see what is happening in our
government and are preparing for difficult times we believe
are ahead.” Mohr has described himself as an evangelist as
well as an author and lecturer. For many years he has
stridently promoted anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and white
supremacy, as a leader of the “Identity Church” movement.
(“Identity” is a pseudo-theological hate movement which holds
that white Anglo-Saxons are the Biblical “chosen people” and
that non-whites are “mud people.”)

In the summer of 1982, Mohn participated in a CPDL-CEDS
“festival” and was listed as “National Director of Plans and
Training” and “National Director of Defense Coordinators,”
among other titles, in the gatherings “Guide Book.” Others
attending the meeting were the late William P. Gale, an
anti-Semite who later helped found the Committee of the
States, and the late Robert Miles of Michigan, an ardent
racist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon.

The March 1984 issue of “Faith for the Family,” an
evangelically oriented periodical, published an article titled
“Apostles of Darkness,” which criticized groups promoting a
“gospel of racial superiority [that] twist the scriptures and
pervert the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The
article pointed out that at the CPDL’s annual Freedom
Festivals, “Special Weapons Attack Training (SWAT), knife
fighting, hand-to-hand combat, homemade explosives, combat
patrols, and ‘streetsweeper shotgun’ [sic] are among the
subjects taught.”

Other extremist group gatherings in which Mohn participated
include the 1988 Aryan World Congress and a 1988 “Freedom
Festival” in Licking, Missouri, where classes were offered in
“survival techniques for the times of crisis….”

Mohr has also written books and pamphlets and has produced
videos espousing his anti-Semitic ideology. These materials
are often advertised in extremist publications. _The Great
Conspiracy_, for example, is a 60-page book covering “the
Talmudic conspiracy to rule the world.”

Over the years, Mohn has participated in many extremist
activities in addition to writing and publishing hate
materials. He has been involved in the prison ministry of
Crusade For Christ and Country, a program promoted in _The
Christian Patriot Crusader_, as designed to involve
incarcerated Identity members in the CPDL and to offer them
support and spiritual “guidance.”

The August 1990 “Christian Vanguard Newsletter” (published by
anti-Semite James K. Warner’s Louisiana-based New Christian
Crusade Church) reported that Mohr attended a June 1990
Identity “camp” meeting. Warner disclosed to his readers:
“Brother Jack Mohr informed those attending that this was to
be his last appearance at camp – due to his health – He is not
giving up the fight; he will continue to put out tracts,
books and tapes on conspiracy and Bible truths from his Bay
St. Louis, Mississippi home….” (Anti-Defamation League,

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. [Special Report] Paranoia as Patriotism:
Far-Right Influences on the Militia Movement. 1995.