This is the first of what will be a series of articles on events past, present and future. We will start with a question:
Which master does Scott Roeder serve?
We have heard the meme offered by the Los Angeles Times and others: he is a former member of "an anti-government militia group" and a "pro-life extremist." Well, as we shall see, that is both true and false.
I want to thank Dick Feeney for forwarding me this link from One News Now.
Obama Justice Dept. hunting for 'all actors' in Tiller murder
Fred Jackson - OneNewsNow - 6/6/2009
WASHINGTON - The Justice department announced late Friday afternoon that it is launching an investigation to see who else may have been involved in the murder of abortionist George Tiller.
Tiller was gunned down at his church in Witchita Kansas last Sunday. Authorities quickly tracked down and arrested a man believed to be the shooter. 51-year old Scott Roeder of Merriam, Kansas is now facing a first degree murder charge.
Pro-life groups who have long protested the thousands of abortions that Tiller has performed over the years, including late term abortions, were quick to condemn the Tiller murder.
But in its press release on Friday, the Justice Department made it clear that it believes others may have been involved in Tiller's death.
Here is how the press release reads :
"The Department of Justice will work tirelessly to determine the full involvement of any and all actors in this horrible crime, and to ensure that anyone who played a role in the offense is prosecuted to the full extent of federal law," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We will conduct a thorough investigation that will complement and build upon the fine work of the Sedgwick County District Attorney and other state and local law enforcement agencies."
The Justice department's announcement also states
"The federal probe will consist of a thorough review of the evidence and an assessment of any potential violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) or other federal statutes. The FACE Act was enacted by Congress in 1994 to establish federal criminal penalties and civil remedies for violent, obstructionist or damaging conduct affecting reproductive health care providers and recipients."
In the wake of the Tiller murder, the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to "offer protection to appropriate people and facilities around the country." The directive was given in the apparent belief that other violent incidents might take place.
OK, so the Fibbies suspect others are involved. But that's not all. Roeder himself says so here.
Suspect in abortion doctor death warns of violence
By ROXANA HEGEMAN
The Associated Press
Monday, June 8, 2009
WICHITA, Kan. -- The man charged with murdering a high-profile abortion doctor claimed from his jail cell Sunday that similar violence was planned around the nation for as long as the procedure remained legal, a threat that comes days after a federal investigation launched into his possible accomplices.
A Justice Department spokesman said the threat was being taken seriously and additional protection had been ordered for abortion clinics last week. But a leader of the anti-abortion movement derided the accused shooter as "a fruit and a lunatic."
Scott Roeder called The Associated Press from the Sedgwick County jail, where he's being held on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Dr. George Tiller one week ago.
"I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said. When asked by the AP what he meant and if he was referring to another shooting, he refused to elaborate further.
So the Fibbies think he he had help. Roeder makes plain he's not acting alone. Funny thing, I thought so last week too and started digging.
I have been delving into Scott Roeder's Kansas past and I've been getting that old Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again" feeling.
Let's begin with the LA Times militia allegation. I challenged the reporter to explain his statement:
The 51-year-old man held on suspicion of killing prominent abortion provider Dr. George Tiller belonged to anti-government militia groups, had been convicted of carrying explosives in his car and was outraged by the doctor's speedy acquittal on abortion-related charges, authorities and antiabortion activists said Monday.
And exactly what "anti-government militia groups" were those? There is no quote in your story backing up that precise wording in your opening paragraph. I am aware that he was a Freeman in the 90s, but then the Freemen were no "anti-government militia." I am aware that he was a "sovereign citizen" on the 90s, but that too does not make him militia, "anti-government" or pro-government.
That fat tub of lard Mark Pitcavage is not quoted saying what you allege in the opening paragraph. If he did mention to you some particular group, then which one(s)?
And how is it exactly that you define the term "anti-government militia group"? The only people I recall fitting that description was a small bunch of armed anarchists back in 1999. Only an anarchist is "anti-government," Mr. Riccardi. The Constitutional militias which organized in the 90s were "anti-big government," if you like. They were FOR small government, safe government, constitutional government. Does being an LA Times reporter mean you get to make up facts and define your own terms?
Methinks a retraction is in order. Either that or another article explicating your sloppy reporting.
To which reporter Riccardi replied:
Anti-government as in anti-federal government, it's a shorthand we've used for some time. I think there's a difference between being in groups which view the federal and state governments as illegitimate and being, say, an anarchist, who is not opposed to "government" per se but to the concept of authority instead.
To which I fired back:
I understand the shorthand, even if it is elision, conflation and use of a left-wing demonizing propaganda term all rolled up onto one. (Read Prof. Robert Churchill's new book To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face: Libertarian Political Violence and the Origins of the Militia Movement, University of Michigan Press, 2009.) If you're going to write about a subject at least be INFORMED about it. Or is having the ADL's and SPLC's email addresses and telephone numbers all you require in the way of background? Isn't that like calling the NRA for an "expert" opinion on the Bradys?
In any case, you're evading the point. What "militia" groups? Militia means armed. Groups means more than a "sovereign" citizen who refuses to buy license plates. What MILITIA groups?
Finally, Riccardi wrote back, saying specifically:
Well, he was affiliated with a group called the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia. About 15 years ago I spent a decent amount of time reporting on the patriot movement, but it's been some time. Keep in mind that in this situation it's not as if there was time to read a book -- the old court case tying him to the freemen surfaced about 12 hours after the shooting (about the time I landed in Wichita). But if I am launched on other stories on this I'll look that title up.
OK, first I must admit I was suspicious. "Affiliated"? Affiliated how? But at least I had the name of an organization. So I started calling around my old acquiantances from the 90s. And this is what I learned:
The Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia (KUCM) was one of several constitutional militias which sprang up in late 1994-early 1995. The bulk of the membership (in the dozens) were concerned principally about maintaining their right to arms. Others, including the man who would eventually become one of their leaders, had a more expansive agenda and a strange, but charismatic friend.
Morris Wilson, an early leader of the KUCM, was personable but lacked leadership ability according to former members. some found he also had a problem with telling the truth. He wasn't as much interested in the Second Amendment as he was blasting the Jews for their various conspiracies.
You see, Morris was "Christian Identity." (I call them "Mistaken Indentities" because I find very little Christian about them.)
Wilson, who now lives in western Nebraska, admitted as much to me when I talked to him on the phone a few days ago. He remains a member of the Identity church to this day, although he says he "no longer wants to use armed force" to get his opinions across. He has been interviewed by a number of news services about Scott Roeder lately, including CNN and NPR.
He is quoted in Judy Thomas' story on Roeder last Monday, saying he knew Roeder fairly well:
"I'd say he's a good ol' boy except he was just so fanatic about abortion."
Funny thing about Roeder. Morris Wilson remembers him well but none of the former members of the KUCM that I spoke with had any clear memory of him. "Maybe I met him once," said one. "He and Morris were part of that militant bunch."
No one much remembered Roeder because he hung around Wilson's other gig: running an Identity/Freeman recruiting operation. Indeed, Wilson himself is famous for just one one "militia operation." That was the night of the great Martian Hog Farm Shootout.
Judy Thomas wrote about it in early May 1995 for the Kansas City Star. How she kept a straight face, I'll never know.
LYNDON -- Sheriff David Cain and his deputies approached the vehicles with caution.
It was almost midnight on a secluded gravel road about 9 miles southeast of town, and his department was responding to a call from a farmer about prowlers on his property trying to steal his pigs.
They came upon two pickups and a car parked on the side of the road about a half-mile from the farmer's house. Inside the vehicles, the officers found four men armed with fully loaded assault rifles and wearing military camouflage fatigues.
``They were dressed for war,'' said Cain, the Osage County Sheriff, in an interview this week. ``There were several high-powered rifles in plain view.''
In a search of the vehicles, the officers found one Chinese and one Russian SKS semiautomatic assault rifle -- one equipped with two 30-round ammunition clips; an M-14 semiautomatic assault rifle with three fully loaded magazines; a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun; a .22-caliber Deringer handgun, more commonly known as a ``Saturday Night Special''; a .357 Magnum handgun; a 9mm Llama semiautomatic handgun; a Colt .45 semiautomatic handgun; an Armi Fratelli Tanfoglio Spa 9mm semiautomatic handgun; a .22 caliber Baretta semiautomatic handgun; a Remington 12-gauge shotgun; and a Marine jungle knife.
``I asked them what they were doing there, and one of them told me they were going turkey hunting the next day,'' Cain said, adding that ``it's not common to use the type of weapons they had for turkey hunting.''
Cain said one of the suspects later told him that they were members of a militia and that they had been deployed to the farmer's house by their commander.
``This is the first deployment of a militia in Kansas that I'm aware of,'' he said.
The date was April 17 -- two days before the Oklahoma City bombing.
Since then, the militia movement has come under harsh scrutiny because Timonthy McVeigh, the man cahrged in the bombing, has been described as a man with militia connections seeking revenge for the federal government's 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. That event has become the battle cry for many militia groups, who see it as evidence that the government is ready to take violent action against private citizens.
Cain said the Osage County incident began at 10:28 p.m., when his department received a call from farmer Robert Thornbrugh, who lives south of Lyndon near the Osage-Coffey County line.
``He told the dispatcher that there were people harassing him and that they were stealing him blind,'' Cain said. He said Thornbrugh had called the department on April 15 to report a similar incident, and a deputy was investigating it.
A deputy was sent to Thornbrugh's house, Cain said. As the deputy neared the farm, he radioed for assistance, saying he heard gunfire. Cain, the undersheriff and three more deputies responded. That's when they came across the men in camouflage.
Suspicious upon seeing the weapons, the officers ordered the men out of their vehicles and patted them down. That, Cain said, is when they discovered a .22 Deringer in one man's pocket and a Colt .45 strapped to the shoulder of another.
In a search of the vehicle, Cain said, officers found a defaced weapon and an open container of beer.
The officers arrested three Topeka men in the incident: John Darrell Walters, 34, on charges of possessing a defaced firearm -- a state and federal offense -- and transporting an open container; John Kanatzer, 35, for carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor; and Morris Wilson, 56, for carrying a concealed weapon.
Cain said Wilson had arrived in one car, and Kanatzer and Walters were in a pickup. A Circleville man who arrived at the scene in a pickup had weapons as well, Cain said, but was not arrested. One of the men had a map with directions to an April 22 militia meeting at Thornbrugh's house, Cain said.
At the time, Wilson was the commander of the Topeka branch of the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia. In an interview Thursday night, Wilson said he stepped down as commander last week.
The men were released the next morning on their own recognizance. Kanatzer has pleaded not guilty, and a trial date has been set for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Osage County District Court. Wilson's arraignment hearing is scheduled for May 18; Walters' is set for Thursday (MAY 11).
Cain said officers confiscated the weapons that were being carried illegally and returned the others to the men. He said officers found no evidence of any theft at Thornbrugh's farm, but that the department is still investigating the incident.
So, apparently, is the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Cain said he notified both the KBI and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the case.
``The KBI is assigned to gather information on militia,'' said KBI agent John Gauntt. ``That's about all I can tell you.''
He said the agency has been monitoring Kansas militia activities for some time.
In an interview last week (MAY 4), Wilson said the incident ``was very definitely a setup.''
``It's totally bogus,'' he said. ``The sheriff is terribly intimidated by people coming into his county.''
He said the militia trains at two places in Osage County.
Wilson scoffed at the sheriff's statements about he and his friends being heavily armed when they were arrested.
``Well, would you go into a dangerous situation with a B-B gun?'' he said. ``Sure, we had semiautomatic rifles and handguns. If you carry a semiautomatic, you always carry a backup gun, because they can jam on you.''
Wilson said that Thornbrugh, a fellow militia member, had called him twice before the incident to complain about people vandalizing his property and stealing from him.
The second time, Wilson said, Thornbrugh asked if he could ``post guard'' at his house so he could get some rest.
``So I said, `Well, that's fair enough. You go to bed and we'll be here all night. There'll be two of us on the premises and there'll be two other people in the vicinity with radios so we can communicate. We'll be in camouflage so we could be easily hid. And when they come into your yard, we'll fire some shots in the air and we'll scare the hell out of them and then we'll go home and go to bed.' ''
But Wilson said when he arrived at the farm, Thornbrugh ``grabs his gun and he ran out and shined his flashlight in the tree and then started blasting away.''
``Then he kept firing as if somebody came down out of the tree and ran across the yard. He said, `See, there they go. Bang, bang, bang, bang.' And I'm standing right behind him, and I'm seeing nothing. And I thought, `Oh, my God, this is no place for me. I've got to get out of there.' ''
He left to go tell the others, Wilson said, and that's when they were stopped by the sheriff's officers.
Thornbrugh could not be reached for comment.
Wilson said he and the others are planning to sue Osage County for illegal arrest. He said the concealed weapons charges were ``a technicality, that's all I can say.''
Wilson also said that the incident ``was not a militia operation.''
``I did not call all of our people,'' he said. ``I called three people who I thought had an interest. We were doing it as friends.''
Wilson said he stepped down as militia commander earlier in the week. The new leader will be chosen at a meeting in Topeka on Sunday, he said: ``We're probably going to vote in somebody who's got military experience.''
Sheriff Cain said that while he doesn't want to violate anyone's constitutional rights, he is concerned about the formation of the militias in his area.
``It's not illegal for them to bear their arms and practice shooting if they have permission from landowners,'' he said, ``but that night, I was concerned for the safety of my officers and the citizens in this county. We didn't know what we were dealing with.''
He said that while the incident is not likely related to the Oklahoma City tragedy, the timing of it does raise questions. Lyndon is only 60 miles from Herington, the town where Terry Nichols, a material witness in the bombing, lived. Wilson has denied knowing McVeigh or Nichols.
``We've been kind of wondering if the federal agents are going to come knocking on our door,'' Cain said.
Osage County Sheriff Kenneth Lippert was later quoted as saying:
"The little green men and so on and so forth were scaring his pigs . . ." (Thornbrugh called the sheriff's office at around 10 P.M.) "Shoot, he'd called the militia boys hours before that . . . We had four guys carrying all kinds of weapons and this clown shooting up at the house."
The Martians were repelled. Wilson and two others were arrested. Thus ended the first and last foray of Morris Wilson.
In our next installment of Mistaken Identity, we'll cover Morris Wilson's and Scott Roeder's special Freeman friend, a slippery fellow by the name of Ronald Griesacker who was also an FBI informant.