|Voices of Hate
I had originally penned several chapters of Voices of Hate
in 1995 after much urging by friends, and having been interviewed by some 38 media
organizations, everyone from the New York Times to the Voice of America to Japanese
national television. This media interest came after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the U.S. public's interest in what was then a little
known Patriot/Militia movement. Only a few chapters have followed over the last few years
due to my comitments at RFPI: all of the station's engineering, and producing the Far
Right Radio Review. During this time many books have been published covering some details
of the far-right's use of shortwave, most lightly covering it. Some of the material
contained here has been published, in part, in the past issues of VISTA. As I researched
the book the one thing that struck me was that this surge of far right programming was not
the first time the far right has used radio in its attempts to achieve its goals. Indeed,
the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's had their right wing extremists shouting hatred in the likes
of Father Charles Coughlin, Rev. Carl McIntire, and Sheldon Emry. All the above had, in
their time, a considerable network of AM stations that would be the envy of most far right
shortwave broadcasters today. Listening to shortwave broadcasts has always been my way of
better understanding the world; in the last six years it's been my window into the bizarre
and chilling world of the far-right. I hope you find the information useful and
educational. - James Latham
Kurt Saxon: Well now, do you feel threatened when I
talk about exterminating the under class?
It is nightfall on a pleasant and peaceful November
evening in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. I sit at my desk in front of the shortwave
receiver. I am a bit hesitant to switch on the receiver, knowing that when I do it will
bring into this tranquil setting the voices from the militant far-right. But material is
needed for an up-coming radio program. The digital solid state receiver is cool to the
touch, no tubes to warm up like the old Drake shortwave receiver sitting ceremoniously in
the living room. I change the frequency to tune in 5070 KHz, the dial setting of 100,000
watt shortwave broadcast station WWCR transmitting from Nashville, TN. Since it is still
early in the evening with the sun just setting, the signal is fading and is filled with
some background noise. Part of the noise is that of the cosmic signature of the birth of
the universe, and tonight it is working hard to drown out the message of the far-right
radio talk show host and Michigan Militia member, Mark Koernke. It's the beginning of host
Koernke's show, The Intelligence Report and the customary "patriotic" song, with
fife and drum, is being played. Koernke is sitting somewhere in Michigan with his remote
studio feeding audio down the telephone to radio station WWCR. I switch on the cassette
recorder and wait for the signal to improve. Meanwhile, I take a walk outside to enjoy the
beauty and peace of small town life in Costa Rica. Thirty minutes later I return to flip
over the tape and to check the content of the number one militia program on shortwave
radio. Tonight the talk is lively as host Koernke and his co-host, John Stadtmiller
exchange ideas with callers. The topic is a common one: gun control.
John: It was real interesting when they were
talking about the Brady Bill and then we had to have the assault weapons ban- how they
just twisted the second amendment around. Ah well, you know folks, this doesn't serve any
sporting or hunting purpose. Well, it all depends on what you are hunting.
Mark: That's right, and fortunately I don't plan on
giving the enemy a sporting chance anyway, sorry. (laughter)
John: If you're hunting tyrants I could see where a
Mac 90 or a nice SKS would come in handy.
It was during one of my "monitoring sessions" in
late November of 1990 that I stumbled across the frequency of a new shortwave station WWCR
"World Wide Christian Radio." In monitoring this station a few months later, I
happened to hear a broadcast of what I believe to be one of the first forays of the
far-right into the world of shortwave broadcasting. The program was Radio Free America
hosted by Tom Valentine. Radio Free America has been described as sort of a Tonight Show
of the far-right.
The content of Radio Free America, by later standards, was
mild. The militia's appearance a few years later set new levels of hate, fear, and
reactionary violence in the shortwave medium. My first encounter with one of these militia
style programs was the catalyst for an extensive plan of monitoring, recording, and
logging the movement's growth on the shortwave bands. The program was the Kurt Saxon show.
The subject of the program sounded like a poor reenactment of the classic Orson Wells
radio play War of the Worlds.
In this one man play, however, the protagonist
"Martians" were getting bombed out of existence by Mr Saxon's hero in the story,
a psychotic named Clarence. It took only a few minutes of listening to realize that the
fictional Clarence had more then a psychotic condition. He was also a racist and that the
"Martians" he was so gleefully killing were not invaders from another world, but
were people of color and immigrants.
Caller from Georgia to Kurt Saxon: I really like
Kurt Saxon: Everybody does.
Caller: What I'd really like is to get Clarence to
come down here and take care of some of these Martians that we got down here.
Kurt Saxon: Well, ah, maybe you can just sort of
psyche yourself up to thinking you're Clarence for the night.
Caller: (laughter) That would be great.
Kurt Saxon: I think that there are Clarence's all
over the country, really. They just have to learn to see the Martians for what they are.
The second realization I had in listening to Kurt Saxon's
radio play was that I was listening to a road map of the far-right's violent revolutionary
action against society, not totally unlike the fictional Turner Diaries penned by racist,
anti-Semitic Dr. William Pearce, Chairman of the neo-Nazi organization National Alliance.
There are currently 17 active privately owned shortwave
broadcast stations in the U.S. Of these, 15 are religious broadcasters, and 4 of the 17
have some programming that would be classified far-right in content. The programs include
elements of the Populist Party, neo-Nazi's, the John Birch Society, Ku Klux Klan, Posse
Comitatus, Christian Identity movement, Aryan Nations, Survivalists, Conspiracy Theorists,
White Separatists, Wise Use movement, anti-gun control activists, the County Rule movement
and the militias.
Most reading this will be familiar with the 'right' in the
U.S. media from Rush Limbaugh or G. Gordon Liddy, to the Christian right of Jerry Falwell
or Ralph Reed. Within these pages, however, we will take a sharp right turn and enter,
through the window of shortwave, the world of the far-right, the body politic that
considers Rush Limbaugh a liberal.
The right or the far-right, for many readers, is as
politically extreme as their experience allows, and depends on their perspective of the
political landscape and where they fit in it. For the purpose of explanation, it is
convenient to use people of known stated political quantity. So, within these pages the
term far-right will refer to people and organizations ranging from moderate right, radio
personalty Rush Limbaugh, to the extreme right, militant Christian Identity pastor, Pete
Peters. There is a considerable chasm between these two bookends of the far-right. Within
this text I have also lumped the non-religious political far-right with the religious
far-right, in terms of radio programming. These two sub-group's are often, but not always,
I have also taken great care in not lumping together every
one of the far-right radio hosts and calling them White Supremacist. I have read newspaper
stories on the far-right's radio ventures describing several of them together as White
Supremacist. This does a disservice to the understanding of the far-right. Indeed, some
are White Supremacist, some anti-Semitic, some homophobic, some xenophobic, some
anti-feminist, some racist. Most are some combination of these, while others are at the
edge of definability.
With the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
in Oklahoma City, April 19,1995 and the death of 167 innocent people, the beginning of a
self-declared phantom war against a "New World Order" has come to pass, with
terrifying results. The massacre in Oklahoma City, however, was not the first indication
of a violent revolution about to be given birth by the far-right in the U.S. In September
of 1994, Linda Thompson, a self-styled Acting Adjutant General of the Unorganized Militia
of the U.S.A., called for an armed march on Washington, D.C. in which patriots would shoot
traitors and "retake the government." The call for this armed overthrow of the
U.S. government was broadcast over U.S. based and licensed private shortwave stations. It
is truly amazing and somewhat amusing that out of all of the foreign plots to undo the
U.S. uncovered thus far by the U.S. intelligence agencies, none ever tried this simple
"I got the, ah, proof that the Gurka mercenaries have
been training in Washington state for three years. They have been employed by the world
Hong Kong police. They are part of the world police. They are from Nepal, they're not
actually from China."
Linda Thompson- from a broadcast on WWCR, 1994
Luck was with the elected officials in Washington that
September, as Linda Thompson called off the march. However, one would-be
"patriot" did not hear the call to stand down. On October 29, 1994 Francisco
Duran, standing outside the White House, peppered the building using a SKS semi-automatic
rifle. Later, during his trial, he would claim to have been shooting at an "evil
mist." Duran, according to newspaper reports, had links with militias in both
Colorado and Texas. The far-right movement in general, and most notably the militias, have
been strategizing and working on an armed revolution to establish a Theocratic Republic
style government in the United States, through the use of cell structured or leaderless
resistance similar to that used by the IRA and other insurgent groups.
The militias entered into shortwave broadcasting in 1993
with two nightly one- hour programs dedicated to militia activities. Militia spokespeople
also had numerous appearances on other far-right shows. Today, much damage control is
underway by the militia spin doctors on television trying to paint the militias as a type
of service club to their communities. However, the pitch their recruiters have, and
continue to give over their shortwave broadcasts, is one of hate, fear, loathing of the
U.S. government, and a clarion call for revolution by force.
To better see where the militias are going one needs to
look at where they have come from. Much of the militia beginnings can be traced to a
meeting held in October of 1992 in Estes Park, Colorado. It was sponsored by militant
Christian Identity leader and shortwave broadcaster Pastor Pete Peters, a man right-wing
watch groups have given the title "Pastor of Hate." The gathering was attended
by more than 160 key racist/anti-Semitic "Patriot" leaders, including members of
Aryan Nations, Ku Klux Klan, Posse Comitatus and Christian Identity Church. Some of these
include Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler and Aryan Nations leader and former Texas
Klan leader Louis Beam.
It was during this meeting that Larry Pratt, current
leader of Gun Owners of America and former Virginia legislator, proposed a strategy for
creating local armed militias. Today's militia are active in over 40 states and estimates
of size range from 10,000 to 100,000 members- a sizeable well armed insurgent army
residing inside the U.S. While not all of the membership of the militias would be
classified as racist or anti-Semitic, certainly a considerable number are, and considering
the roots of the militias (born out of the Estes Park meeting), it's not surprising that
some of the state militia leaders have been connected with racist, anti-Semitic hate
groups. It is also clear that the militias are a new improved version of the older hate
groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, and Posse Comitatus groups that have seen some
decline in recent years.
One autoritative organization that tracks the movement and
growth of such racist groups as the Klu Klux Klan, is the Southern Poverty Law Center.
They too are concerned with the shifting landscape of the far-right.
With traditional Klan groups in disarray from lawsuits and
internal strife, white supremacists shifted last year to the exploding ranks of the Aryan
Nations, militias, states rights groups and a growing Identity Movement...Documents reveal
that a coalition was forged at that meeting (Estes Park) between diverse factions of the
racist right to implement strategies seen in today's so-called Patriot movement.
From Klanwatch Intelligence Report/ a project of the
Southern Poverty Law Center, March, 1995, #77, Hate Movement Shifts Tactics In 1994, page
The formation of armed militias has given these
traditional hate groups a new vehicle to attract a wider, more accepting constituency.
Consider for a moment the attire of far-right groups. In the U.S. only a small handful of
citizens would accept a Nazi uniform being worn in public. On the other hand, army surplus
camouflage fatigues, the chosen dress by many a militia member, is accepted by most.
The growth of far-right organizations in the past (prior
to the 90's) has been hampered by their lack of a mechanism to deliver their hate messages
on a day-to-day basis. While pre-1980's attempts were made at establishing a national
radio network using AM stations, they either were short lived, ran afoul of the law, or
more likely, ran up against local citizen opposition. Many also came up against the
Fairness Doctrine, a legal device established after World War II to insure no one
political group could have a monopoly on the airwaves. The "Fairness Doctrine,"
however, was eliminated during the Reagan Presidency, leaving an opening which the
far-right groups would take advantage of.
By the early 90's the Christian Identity movement, Aryan
Nations, and other far-right extremists invested heavily in two forms of communications
systems to better reach their followers- one old and proven, shortwave radio broadcasting;
the other new and emerging, computer networking. This two prong approach was very
effective in continually providing their followers, who are spread thinly out across the
United States and the world, with information about the movement and most importantly, it
provided a means of recruitment of new members. It also helped in bringing the various
factions more closely together by showcasing side by side (or in the case of radio,
program after program); each others actions and ideas. Thus, a cross pollination started
to take place among listeners as well as hosts.
There are many enemies, real and imaginary, of these hate
groups. The U.S. government, The FBI, liberal politicians, conservative politicians, gays,
lesbians, rich capitalists, the IRS, the ATF, environmentalists, gun control
organizations, immigrants, Jewish people, educators, mainstream media, The Bildaburgers,
the Food and Drug Administration, liberal and conservative talk show hosts, Free Masons,
the CIA, feminists, the Trilateral Commission, the ecumenical movement, to mention a few,
but the most frightening phantom enemy of all to these far-right/hate groups is the United
Nations. The U.N., at the very top of their hate list is often portrayed in their radio
programs as mounting an imminent invasion of the U.S.
"I think the American people ought to go there
bodily, rip down the United Nations building and kick those bastards off our soil...We're
at war and I really don't care."
William Cooper- from a broadcast on WWCR, 1994
Mr. Cooper's call to action on his radio program Hour of
the Time was not taken too seriously by one New York news reporter while requesting
additional background material from me. His response after hearing a cassette tape of the
program was, "So what? Mayor Koch used to say that every day when he was mayor of New
"Yes," I replied, "but he was expressing
his frustrations to a few city assemblymen, not addressing 10,000 like-minded listeners
that might try and take him up on it." Coopers Hour of the Time was a favorite
shortwave program of convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh
Over the past five years we have monitored the building of
an extensive shortwave network to serve the far-right. This loose network, while mainly
targeting the domestic U.S. market, can be heard worldwide. Information obtained from
program guides of WWCR, WRNO, WRMI, and WHRI has showed a steady growth of far-right
programs from 5 hours per week in 1990 to 94 hours per week in July, 1995 and 152 hours
per week in November,1997. While a somewhat slower growth has occured in the last few
years there has been a marked increase in the variety of far-right programs being offered.
It is now possible to hear 8 hours a night of so-called "patriot" programming
without changing the dial setting, by simply tuning in WWCR. This cadre of far-right radio
programmers has also made a significant change in the landscape of shortwave radio, once
largely the domain of religious missionary and government stations. The far-right, being
dissatisfied with their image as extremist on the mainstream U.S. networks, chose the
obvious solution in the creation of their own programs favoring their political positions.
In the next edition of VISTA we will take a detailed look
at some of the groups that make up the far-right presence on shortwave.