Category Archives: militia

Militia 101 — Nikiski militia leaders address KPC class about religion, society

By Jenny Neyman

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Norm Olson, pastor and commander of the Alaska Citizens Militia, based in Nikiski, speaks to an anthropology of religion class at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus on Thursday.

Redoubt Reporter

Anthropology of religion might sound like a history class, examining how religion has influenced cultures, societies and political structures throughout the ages.

But on Thursday, the class at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus was very much a current event, with guest speakers who have been associated with those linked to some of the most gripping events in the nation’s, Alaska’s and the Kenai Peninsula’s recent past — the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 2008 shooting at Central Peninsula Hospital, and the arrest of militia activists in Fairbanks earlier this month for allegedly plotting to kidnap and kill Alaska State Troopers, judges and others.

Norm Olson and Ray Southwell, founders and former leaders of the Michigan Militia, and current leaders of the Alaska Citizens Militia and their Freedom Church, based in Nikiski, spoke on the significant role religion plays in their lives and political views, and shared their assertion that much of what’s wrong with society and political structures today is that the guiding moral compass and strength of faith that religion provides no longer receives the adherence and priority that it should.

“This study of anthropology of religion has far-reaching implication as far as Americans in this country today,” Olson told the class.

Alan Boraas, anthropology professor at KPC, said he appreciated the opportunity to have his students meet face to face with national figures such as Olson and Southwell, who have been involved with issues of such importance.

“The students have learned a lot in the sense of how to deal with challenging ideas they don’t necessarily agree with. And that’s the purpose of education,” Boraas said.

Throughout human history religion has affected politics, Olson said, citing particularly the times of Roman Emperor Constantine, who is said to have seen a vision of a cross and “in hoc signo vinces” — in this sign conquer — above the battlefield in 312. Today, Olson said, other signs have become the banner to live, conquer and govern by — those of the dollar, the euro, the yen and the ruble.

“There is a massive shift in our thinking in America just in the last 50 years. We have gone away from our traditional beliefs,” Olson said.

Every Sunday in the multiethnic neighborhood he grew up in outside Detroit, Olson said that all the families piled into their cars and headed off to church, even if they were different denominations serving different faiths and diverse ethnicities.

“Today you don’t see that much anymore. You wonder, ‘Where are these people today? Where do they derive their strength? What do they look to for their sustenance and their leadership? Who now gives the laws today?’” Olson said. “We don’t look at the God of glory — the Jehovah, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We look now to corporations and to government to give us all that we need, from cradle to grave.” Continue reading

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Party time — Alaskan Independence Party stirs up election season

By Jenny Neyman

File photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Ray Southwell, left, and Norm Olson, founders of the Michigan Militia and Alaska Citizens Militia, have announced candidacies under the banner of the Alaskan Independence Party. Southwell is running for a state House seat, while Olson accepted the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor Friday, before declining the nomination Sunday.

Redoubt Reporter

The race for lieutenant governor of Alaska briefly had a camouflage hat thrown into the ring over the weekend, on behalf of the Alaskan Independence Party.

AIP leadership met Friday in Nikiski and selected Norm Olson, of Nikiski, co-founder of the Michigan Militia and Alaska Citizens Militia, as its nominee for lieutenant governor.

Olson said he was contacted by party representatives Friday and asked to consider the party’s lieutenant governor slot on the November general election ballot, to run with Don Wright as the AIP candidate for governor.

“There’s nothing about the Alaskan Independence Party that I don’t like. It’s just great,” Olson said. “And when I was asked to run as their lieutenant governor in the upcoming elections I jumped on the bandwagon and accepted the nomination and threw my hat in the ring, so to speak.”

But by Sunday, Olson was withdrawing his acceptance of the party’s nomination. He wouldn’t say why, but issued a statement saying the decision to withdraw came after being briefed by militia co-founder Ray Southwell of “actions taken in the days prior to the meeting.” Southwell, also of Nikiski, is running under the AIP for the state House District 34 seat against current Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski.

Olson’s statement quotes Southwell as saying, “I’ve known Norm Olson for 25 years and I knew that once he was appraised of the situation or the circumstances leading up to the Friday meeting that he would withdraw his name.” Continue reading

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Militia leader on the ballot — Ray Southwell challenges Mike Chenault for District 34

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

The Alaskan Independence Party offers a banner for candidates and voters with divergent views from the more mainstream platforms of Republicans and Democrats, and has fielded a candidate for House District 34 that certainly fits that bill.

Ray Southwell, of Nikiski, co-founder of the Michigan Militia and Alaska Citizens Militia, speaks out vehemently against current governmental policies and is having his wages confiscated by the Internal Revenue Service for failure to file tax returns for the last 19 years. He has filed to challenge current Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, of Nikiski.

Southwell focuses on issues of nationwide and worldwide scale, as well as on the local, borough level, yet has chosen the Alaska Legislature as the level of government from which he’d like to effect change.

“I think that there’s so many economic issues facing the nation and I want to challenge the current economic model as a nation because it has led us down a path of destruction,” Southwell said in explanation of why he chose to run for elected office. “On the national level, I think it’s too late. I’ve been quoted as saying both Democrats and Republicans have sold us out, and that’s at a federal level. I think at the state level, currently, most of these legislators are ignorant of the economic model that the federal government has really followed that has led us to this economic collapse that we’re going through.”

Southwell rails against the role of corporations and their power in today’s economy.

“I think that the current economic model is based on, ‘The corporation can’t do anything wrong.’ When you go back and look at our original Constitution and economic plan, there were always checks and balances, and for quite some time the economic mode is, ‘What’s good for corporations is what’s good for America,’” Southwell said. “It’s failed, it’s wrong, that’s why we’re disintegrating right now economically, globally, because of that behavior.”

Southwell has several examples of how this laissez-faire, free-market capitalist attitude has played out, including the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act in 1999 that deregulated the banking industry and led to the nation’s financial collapse, he said.

The corporate structure that’s developed is one that prizes profits more than safety or compliance with regulations, Southwell said, which leads to incidents like the deadly mining explosion West Virginia in April, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, BP’s oil spills on the North Slope and the current Gulf of Mexico spill, he said.

“The economic model says that the corporation has two objectives — one is to pay the biggest dividend that can be established, and also for growth. So what happens with these large corporations is that economic model of growth and expansion and dividends is what the driving faction is. So you end up with a corporation that will ignore the rules and pay the fines because it’s cheaper to pay the fines than to go by the rules,” Southwell said.

A position in the Alaska Legislature wouldn’t give Southwell say on national issues, but he said he could apply his views to state issues. One of the platforms of the Alaskan Independence Party is that the Alaska statehood vote should be taken again, this time with all options on the table — remain a territory, become a separate and independent nation, accept commonwealth status or become a state. Southwell said he agrees with the AIP’s view that Alaska is a colony, rather than a full-fledged state with rights on par with the original 13 colonies. He’d like to see Alaska demand its authority and follow the nullification movement, whereby Alaska simply does not follow federal government dictates that it does not feel it should be subject to. If that had happened in the 1970s, Southwell said, when the state Legislature passed incentives for double hulls on oil tankers coming to and leaving Alaska, which was tossed out in 1978 in federal court, it might have prevented the Exxon Valdez spill.

“I wonder what would have happened or how many lives would have been economically saved if those had been double-hulled. Now (the federal government) is going to require it by 2015 — 40 years after the Alaska state Legislature took a stand and tried to do what’s right,” he said.

Southwell said he doesn’t believe the state Legislature is doing what’s right in most cases these days. He cites continuing negotiations over construction of a natural gas line from the North Slope as an example. Southwell favors an all-Alaska route with a liquefied natural gas plant in Valdez, as favored by 62 percent of voters in 2002 and as supported by the Alaska Port Authority, established in 1999.

“What happened to that vision of that pipeline? What happened with Alaska jobs? What did the people want and what did the borough want and what did the cities want? Why aren’t these politicians listening to the people?” Southwell said.

He said he believes a portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund could be invested to develop an in-state gas line infrastructure, rather than investing it wherever fund managers think the biggest dollar signs may be found — be they in Greece, Exxon or other investments of dubious moral standing, he said.

“You have to look at the corporate mind-set. They’re going to put our money into whatever corporations make the most money,” he said. “Why aren’t we taking that money, a percentage of it, and investing it in Alaska? We have got the mind-set of we only care about that permanent fund interest on stock markets and ventures outside of Alaska. Isn’t it time we do it ourselves? We look to corporations, we look to stock markets, we look to Washington. We need to look to Alaskans. We’re billionaires. We need to start acting like billionaires and investing in our own home.”

Southwell said he has concerns about the state’s too-lax relationship with resource extraction companies, such as the Pebble Mine Partnership, and is concerned that legislation like Senate Bill 309, which encourages expanded oil and gas exploration and development, doesn’t do enough to enforce safety.

“It’s more the big picture of the corporate xxmind-set. We’re at a pivotal time in history that if we as a state don’t step up to the plate and start looking at things differently, we’re going down with the rest of the country and the globe, or at least a large percentage of the globe. We cannot sustain $1.5 trillion worth of deficit spending,” Southwell said. “My hope is that Alaskans will rally and start talking about an economic system that is sustainable regardless of what happens in the rest of the country, and that is infrastructure and that is checks and balances on corporations.”

Southwell addresses a few specific pieces of legislation, such as being in support of House Bill 50, which would limit overtime for nurses — he’s an emergency room nurse at Central Peninsula Hospital. He also voices concern over the possible sale of CPH to a private entity, which would remove local control over health care management in the area, he said.

But overall, Southwell said he isn’t running with a list of specific bills he’d like to address or propose. He’s more out to bring attention to his causes.

“There’s multiple issues that need to be addressed. I think the biggest thing is we need have to start having a dialogue of what’s an economic plan for success for Alaska? I think that if I have a true platform or true opportunity to discuss it at the state level, I can stir the pot up and get this discussion and get people having dialogue, because it’s logical. So I don’t have to generate a bill. You know what happens when you have dialogue is people who are smarter than me come along and say, ‘I understand what you’re saying, and can’t we do this and can’t we do that?’”

Southwell said this is a crucial time to make Alaska economically sound, given the economic climate of the rest of the country and world. He said he doesn’t support secession from the U.S., but said he thinks Alaska will be standing on its own soon enough, by the state’s choosing or not.

“I would prefer staying in the union as a state with equal footing to those original 13 states,” he said. “I personally don’t support secession … but what I do recognize today is that with the economic disintegration going on, Alaska is going to be thrown into independence. Just like when the Soviet Union disintegrated, all of a sudden there were all these independent states that were thrown into their independence.”

He said he would not use a seat in the Legislature to push for support of the militia movement. It’s not necessary, he said, because the rights and existence of the militia are “self-evident,” he said.

“The people are armed and the people will stand up for and protect their communities. I don’t have to preach that, the Supreme Court has acknowledged that. (James) Madison acknowledged that, our founders acknowledged that,” he said. Continue reading

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Fired up — Firearms on display in open-carry Kenai march

By Matt Tunseth

Photos by Matt Tunseth. Norm Olson, of the Alaska Citizens Militia, left with American flag, leads an open-carry march through Kenai in support of the Second Amendment.

For the Redoubt Reporter

Protest and dissent against the government continue to simmer on the Kenai, where vocal, visible public gatherings have become as frequent as the steam and ash clouds often seen puffing from Redoubt volcano 60 miles to the west.

Since mid-March, four such events have taken place in the Kenai-Soldotna area. In the wake of a Second Amendment/Constitutional Task Force Rally — a meeting that garnered national media attention — held at Kenai Central High School last month, a man hoping to shed light on public corruption has drawn more than 100 people to hear his case, “Tea Party” activists have staged a tax day rally, and armed, flag-waving Second Amendment supporters have marched through town.

For Norm Olson, whose Nikiski-based Alaska Citizens Militia led Monday’s open carry march through downtown Kenai, the movement on the peninsula is a good first step — but not enough.

“I don’t think we’re adequately prepared yet to go to battle against this regime in Washington, or the ones that follow,” Olson said.

A half dozen of Olson’s camouflage-clad militia members led more than 30 people on Monday’s march through Kenai, with about half of the participants carrying firearms. Many proudly waved American flags or yellow, “Don’t Tread on Me” banners, waving enthusiastically to passersby along the route. Marchers ranged in age from young children to seniors, united in a staunch belief in the sanctity of the Second Amendment.

“Our rights come from God, not from government,” read a sign at the rally.

A common theme running through each event has been the idea that agents of the government, both state and federal, are systematically eroding the rights and freedoms of individual Americans.

That was the idea behind a presentation given by hunting guide David Haeg earlier this month at the Soldotna Sports Center. Haeg, who says he was wrongfully convicted in 2004 of illegal aerial wolf hunting by a corrupt justice system, drew more than 100 people to his event after promoting it on local radio and even flying over town with an anti-corruption banner.

A youth with a rifle listens to speakers.

During his presentation, Haeg said defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and state troopers in Alaska conspired to lie, cheat and downright steal his livelihood and airplane in an effort to make him the scapegoat for state-sponsored predator control that was under siege from animal rights activists. Haeg told a sympathetic crowd that the rampant corruption adds up to a violation of his basic rights under the U.S. Constitution.

“We have irrefutable proof that our Constitution is being sh– on,” he said.

Many in Haeg’s audience seemed willing to listen to his case, but also brought their own beefs with the government to the meeting.

“Why is the president refusing to prove he’s a citizen?” asked one woman.

“We need to get rid of the whole (Kenai) District Attorney’s office,” a man cried out.

Nikiski Middle-High School teacher and recent U.S. Senate candidate Bob Bird’s face has been a familiar one at many of the recent public gatherings. Bird spoke out during both Haeg’s presentation and the Second Amendment march — the latter with a .45-caliber handgun strapped to his hip — about the need for citizens to stand up against the government’s trampling of people’s constitutional and God-given rights.

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