Kerry Noble was one of the founders of the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord, a cult paramilitary group with headquarters on Bull Shoals Lake in northwest Arkansas. James Ellison, the so-called “King James of the Ozarks,” was the leader of the CSA. Both men went to prison in 1985 after a four-day standoff with federal agents.
After Jim Ellison finished his sentence, on April 23, 1995, he moved to Robert Millar’s commune, Elohim City, in Oklahoma, which has been called the “Holiday Inn of Hate.” On May 19, he married one of Millar’s granddaughters, 26-year-old Angie, who was already carrying his child.
The fusion of Ellison’s blood and seed into Millar’s is similar to the old medieval times when kings’ families intermarried. Now “King James of the Ozarks” had covenanted with “Robert of Oklahoma.” Elohim City, it is reported, presented Ellison with a sword embedded in a rock. The rock and the sword sit on display in Elohim City’s sanctuary building. The only one allowed to remove the sword is Ellison.
By the end of May, reports were connecting the Oklahoma City bombing to Elohim City, where authorities said Timothy McVeigh had called just prior to the bombing. Millar gave a press conference at Elohim City. One of the reporters there had recently interviewed me, and asked Millar what he thought about me.
“I don’t like to speak negatively about anyone,” Millar replied, “but Kerry Noble is an embittered person. It would have been better if he hadn’t negotiated during the siege at CSA, because he prevented God from doing what He had purposed to do. A mighty victory for our people would have occurred had Kerry not negotiated for Ellison’s surrender.”
Since the Oklahoma City bombing I have spoken to several civic organizations, the Cult Awareness Network, and law-enforcement seminars about the right-wing movement, what to expect in the future and how to handle the various groups. I have been interviewed by the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society, the Associated Press, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, by Dan Rather for the CBS Evening News, Dateline, on NBC, Channels 5 and 8 in Dallas, Channel 9 in Oklahoma City, the Denver Post, the Kansas City Star, Time Magazine, the Die Woche German newspaper, and other radio, television, and newspaper media. With each speaking engagement or interview, I try to share my insight into the mindset of the right-wing:
The basic premise of the right-wing is that they envision a dark and gloomy end-time scenario, where some Antichrist makes war against Christians. Everything that happens now is simply a step toward that
goal. All hope for the future and all trust of law-enforcement and the government in general is lost.
This places the government in a “lose-lose” situation. No matter what it does to help the country, the right interprets it as steps toward taking away the rights of citizens and establishing complete governmental control. The right-wing believe the government has some ulterior motive in whatever they do.
Because the majority of members in the right-wing grew up in the traditional churches, they have been ingrained with the false interpretations of good versus evil, that man is basically evil, and that the end-time before Jesus returns will be an evil time period. It was this basis that propelled our group in Arkansas, and it was this basis that I began to question in 1983. I began to examine our belief system and looked at the Scriptures from another angle. Eventually I concluded that the end-times would not be dark and sinister and evil, but instead would be prosperous and godly in nature.
Therefore, the first key in dealing with the right-wing is to make them re-examine their beliefs. In my opinion, the greatest problem facing America today is our lack of hope for the future.
I break down the right-wing groups into three categories: religious, nationalist, and racist. All three are most dangerous when they feel cornered.
The religious groups are God-centered. Their vision is to do the will of God, and they look forward to the Kingdom of God. This would include groups like the Branch Davidians, Elohim City, and CSA. They are concerned about issues like abortion, school prayer and morality. These groups are the easiest to guide or direct into a surrender if law-enforcement will understand their doctrine or “revelation.” It is important for law-enforcement to never try to directly tear down these group’s doctrines, but to build on them, steering the groups away from their dangerous misunderstanding of God’s will.
The religious groups have a pride mentality that can lead them into sexual perversions or “freedoms.” How far has a group gone? Look at its sexual habits. At CSA, two years before our demise, we were practicing polygamy. Many of these Bible-based groups believe in the “Kingship” teaching, that the leaders will someday rule various parts of the United States. This teaching will also be connected to the leadership’s “Christ-Mentality,” believing themselves to be perfect and sinless.
The most dangerous doctrine going around the religious groups today is the “resurrection” or “never-die” doctrine. This doctrine states that someone must be resurrected soon as a sign of God’s vindication of the right-wing. If the government goes against a group that absolutely believes in the resurrection doctrine, then why should the group members fear death? They’ll be raised from the dead three days later. Why should they care if police officers die? That would only be eliminating the agents of sin.
The second type of group—the nationalists—include the survivalists, the Posse Comitatus, the paramilitary groups, the Constitutionalists, the Patriots, and the Militia. These are “America First” in their orientation and seek the will of the Founding Fathers. They want to go back to 1776. They are concerned about crime, bureaucracy, and gun- control. These groups are harder to direct or guide in a siege situation because the have no hope, no trust in government. This is seen in examples like Gordon Kahl.
The most dangerous doctrine in these groups is the “sovereign citizen” doctrine, where members rescind their driver’s licenses, marriage licenses, birth certificates, social security numbers, and all other ties to the government. This means they no longer recognize the authority of federal or state governments. If law enforcement comes against them, they will justify their actions on the basis of self-defense. These groups are founded on fear and paranoia.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that wanting to go back to 1776 means no rights for women, no rights for minorities. These groups believe that the problems in the country started when rights were recognized for women and minorities. They are white-male centered. They oppose the IRS and gun control. Not because of the Constitution, but because they want power.
Their hypocrisy is seen in the Militia movement. The right-wing and the Militia in particular love to quote the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The individual citizens, the say, make up the Militia. Yet what does the rest of the Constitution say about the Militia? The Fifth Amendment categorizes the Militia with “the land or naval forces…when in actual service in time of War or public danger…” In other words, the Militia is part of our Armed Services. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says that Congress shall “provide for calling for the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union.” Therefore, Congress (not some self-appointed Militia President or Commander) sets down the rules for the Militia. Then finally, Article 2, Section 2 of the United States Constitution reveals who the Founding Fathers say is in charge of the Militia: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…”
Therefore, even if “the Militia” of the Founding Fathers is not a reference to the state or National Guard (which, I believe, it is), how can these so-called Militia groups who justify their existence under the Second Amendment not also recognize their Constitutional responsibility of submission to the United States governmental powers and their commander in chief, the President?
The racial groups, of course, include the Klan, Skinheads, Aryan Nations, and neo-Nazis. They are hate-oriented, with a vision of medieval times and doing the will of the “warrior.” The classic example of this group is I the Order and Bob Mathews.
The racists’ major gripes are affirmative action, quotas, immigration, and race-mixing. Their most dangerous doctrine is the belief that they are in a state of war already, that the Order’s Declaration of War is still in effect. They are the most dangerous and hardest to direct or guide, because everyone but a small remnant is the enemy, or “just like dogs.”
How dangerous are the right-wing groups? Richard Butler of the Aryan Nations in Idaho refers to himself as “Der Führer.” He believes the FBI killed Randy Weaver’s wife and son at Ruby Ridge in 1992 because the defendants at the Sedition Trial in Arkansas in 1988 were acquitted. The right-wing preaches that federal agents actually blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City as a reason to crack down on the Militia and other so-called patriots … The Militia threatens and intimidates government workers with its “common-law” lawsuits … A white supremacist was sentenced to nearly 13 years for planting a bomb in a Dallas movie theater during the 1993 showing of Malcolm x … Two members of the anti-tax Minnesota Patriots Council were convicted on federal terrorism charges in a plot to use chemical poison against unnamed human targets … A white supremacist was arrested on allegations that he obtained bubonic plague bacteria through the mail … Militia groups are preparing for the inevitable war to come … Books are easily ordered through the mail instructing the reader how to build C-4 explosives, improvised explosives, mortar and fertilizer explosives … The Internet is full of web-pages from the various hate groups, trying to recruit youth and stirring violence and hate into society.
The common doctrine between all the groups is Identity and the belief in earning a place or position in the Kingdom. Religious, nationalist, and racist groups believe they have a three-fold destiny. The premise for Identity—a white, Christian America—contains the potent combination of race, religion, and nationality. How dangerous is this combination? Look at Middle East countries that have this type of fundamentalist government and ask yourself if this is what you want for America.
There are three types of people in the extremist movement: the Leader/Manipulator (making up about .1%), the Feeders (98.9%), and the Sacrificial Lambs (1%). The leaders knows not everyone will cross the line into domestic terrorism, so he seeks out the one percent that will, the sacrificial lambs. By manipulating them, he hopes to push the end-time scenario into place. Meanwhile, in order to live off his rhetoric, he uses the feeders to support him, knowing they are not the true warriors, but useful nonetheless.
I believe we are at a turning point, especially when talking about right-wing extremists. In 1978–‘79, the groups believed that we had entered a transition period in God’s calendar. Five years later, the Order and CSA emerged with their Declarations of War and we got busted by the government. After that, the movement died down. Then, in 1993, Waco.
The groups are looking at the year 2000 now, another important time period. The teenagers of the 1980s will be the leaders of the right-wing in the next five to ten years. The generation that founded the groups want something major to happen before they die. Everyone is tired of waiting; therefore, members experience pressure from above and pressure from below.
The best example I know of this is the merging of Jim Ellison and Robert Millar’s efforts and beliefs. Elohim City has a religious, nationalist and racial focus, mixed with resurrection and “earning a position in the Kingdom” doctrines. Millar is concerned that as spiritual as his group tries to be, there has not been “a real move of the Spirit” there in several years. Ellison and Millar both believe that I cheated them of their destinies in 1985 and kept God from performing some kind of miracle. Ellison has sworn not to surrender again. He has sworn to go down in history in a major way.
As far as the right-wing are concerned, they are still in a state of war. Tom Metzger of the White Aryan Resistance stated on the Montel Williams talk show that the Order’s Declaration of War has never been rescinded. The right-wing are trying to outdo each other. Everyone wants to be bigger than the one before them. First Waco, with four agents killed. Then, a federal building is bombed, killing 168 people. What’s next?
At CSA we had thirty gallons of cyanide that we planned to drop into city water supplies. We had planned an assassination of government officials. Wayne Snell, an associate of ours, murdered two men. The Order murdered two men and committed armored car robberies. Plans that were discussed in the 1980s came to pass in the 1990s.
I fear that we will have another domestic terrorist act in this country within the next five to seven years, one that will be of even greater impact than Oklahoma City. The result will be so extreme and so catastrophic that even many we now consider right-wing may denounce the action.
What can law enforcement do? First of all, they must understand the symbology and doctrines of the groups. Symbols and dates are important to the right-wing. By law enforcement understanding their importance, they will begin to understand the mentality and direction of the groups.
Group members and leaders should be treated with respect when at all possible. Be friendly with them where possible. Establish trust. Get to know them. The trust that I gained for Gene Irby and Bill Buford led to my being able to trust Danny Coulson.
Law enforcement must do the opposite of what the groups expect them to do. The agents at our search actually cleaned up after themselves and fed our animals while we were off the property. Danny Coulson allowed Jim Ellison to come down to the government encampment during the siege and then return to the compound. Neither Ellison nor I were handcuffed upon our arrests. This was not what we expected.
If possible, law enforcement should never storm a group in force. That will only make them react in force. They should try to go in peaceably, with two or three agents, to arrest a leader of a group. In doing so, another Waco might be prevented. The right-wing respects courage and will trust a man of courage.
It is vital that a law enforcement agent keep his word. If I thought for a moment that Danny Coulson was lying to me or trying to con me, negotiations would have ceased.
Law enforcement should wait as long as required. Evaluate the group. Realize that divisions within these groups are constant and the group may disintegrate on its own. Then they can go in at the group’s weakest moment. It is important to remember that people in the right-wing movement mistrust government and feel their way of life is being threatened. Often a member of the right-wing will feel confused, isolated, paranoid. The member wants assurance from the government and other people that no one is out to hurt them or theirs without cause. It is not uncommon for the belief structures of a right- wing member or group to change from time to time. Those times of change are important in understanding the mentality and direction of the member or group.
Most importantly, I think, is for law enforcement (and others) not to believe everything reported about a group. Inaccuracies written about CSA reveal how prevalent rumors can be. To set the record straight: Gordon Kahl never hid at CSA nor was he killed at CSA; CSA did not own a gold mine in Costa Rica; Ellison had two wives at CSA, not four; CSA did not kidnap hitchhikers; no one was murdered and buried at CSA; we never called ourselves “Dragons of God” and our children never begged on the streets of nearby towns. Be critical of the information received about a group—lives could depend on it.
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From Tabernacle of Hate: Seduction into Right-Wing Extremism by Kerry Noble, first published in 1998. Copyright © 2010 by the Syracuse University Press. Reprinted with permission.