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Back to VISTA Library Far Right Radio Review
Voices of Hate

By James Latham

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?
Caller: Yes.

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 Clarence.

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, working together.

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 approach.

"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 9.

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 York City."

"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.

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