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Gathering Wind: Morris Dees and The Rise of Mental Flatulence in America

Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat by Morris Dees with James Corcoran.

Reviewed by Michael A. Hoffman II. Copyright ©1996 by Michael A. Hoffman II. All Rights Reserved.

A windbag stalks the land, casting its dessicating shadow over our American heritage of personal freedom. This vessel of gas is Morris Dees, witchfinder general of the American hinterland and proprietor of the Southern "Poverty Palace" Law Center, from which he has reaped millions of dollars in personal profit, (cf. "Poverty Palace," John Egerton, "The Progressive," July, 1988).

Dees is in the business of stampeding his vast mailing list into a panic at the spectre of a massive threat to the American people, posed by wicked militiamen who are hiding under every bed.

He is not ringing any alarm bells however, over the threat posed by inner city youth gangs who, armed with machine guns provided by our Most Favored Nation trading partner, the dear Chinese Communists, commit an estimated half-million crimes a year.

Nor does Dees have much interest in any threat from the Federal government, with its hundreds of thousands of mercenary killers, such as the late CIA director William Colby, who, as station chief in Vietnam from 1962 onward, ordered the assassination of at least 20,000 Vietnamese, as part of "Operation Phoenix."

Assassins like Colby, occupying high office, with billion dollar budgets at their disposal, are no threat to liberty, in the eyes of Morris Dees. Now that the forces of liberalism and Zionism have the Federal government firmly in hand (no matter which Republican or Democrat fills the President's shoes), neo-Marxists like Dees are all in favor of it.

No, what rankles ol' Morris are those trailer-park Americans hiking in the weeds with their surplus-store rifles, readying themselves for the apocalypse. By golly, there's a "threat" Dees can market to his yuppie mailing list.

He opens his book (actually it's only half his, since Mr. Dees is semi-literate and cannot author a book without the collaboration of a factotum), with a melodramatic profile of the main villain of his piece, "the most dangerous," Louis R. Beam Jr.

Mr. Beam was charged in 1987 with sedition and placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. He fled to Mexico where pursuing FBI agents told the Mexicans that Beam was a drug trafficker. Beam was seized and his wife assaulted by Mexican troops. Mrs. Beam fired back, wounding one Mexican (Dees erroneously claims that the Mexican was killed).

Mrs. Beam was tortured (a fact Dees omits). It was only after her husband informed the Mexicans that he was not a drug dealer, but an opponent of the Federal government, that the Mexicans understood how badly they had been used by the Feds. They subsequently freed Mrs. Beam.

Louis Beam was extradited to Arkansas where he was acquitted of all charges in the landmark Federal sedition trial (which was only the third such trial in American history); a trial in which the presiding judge declared the prosecutor's case a disgusting travesty.

In Gathering Storm, Dees implies that Beam is the head of the militia in the U.S. This is the tabloid style of prevarication that sells the lucrative wolf tickets from which Dees derives his fortune.

In truth, Louis Beam has never been a member of any militia. But as a white separatist, he's just the scapegoat Dees requires in order to stigmatize the entire militia movement with volatile smear and bogey epithets intended to press the buttons of the corporate media.

Dees attempts to link the contemporary militia with a grab-bag of mostly defunct Klan groups, from out of Dees' aging hit-parade of lawsuits. But there is little evidence of such linkage.

In fact, white racist leaders such as Rick E. Cooper of Oregon, have decried the militia movement for its black membership and its refusal to make race--rather than resistance to the Federal government--its primary focus.

In any dissident movement one will encounter a whole spectrum of radical opinion, and undoubtedly persons concerned about the integrity of the white race are attracted to the militia, but that hardly renders the militia itself a racist core group. The phenomenon is too disparate for any such sweeping generalization.

However, if one examines Mr. Dees' own organization, one finds a host of erstwhile government bureaucrats and repackaged Marxists, using the court system and their direct line to crony Janet Reno, to hammer their political opponents.

This is Dees' actual agenda--demonizing those whose politics are repugnant to his imperial personality, and then using the power of Federal repression to silence or jail those dissident activists.

Dees momentarily allows his mask to drop when he defends the government's mass murder at Waco and the slaughter of Randy Weaver's wife and son, at Ruby Ridge:

"Viewing the Waco incident...the deaths were by accident...The FBI pleaded with Koresh and the Davidians to come out of their compound for 51 days....

"Randy Weaver...and his wife inflamed the situation by making threatening statements...Weaver and his wife also used their children to help shield Randy from arrest." (Dees, pp. 195-196).

This claim of hiding behind children is the same ignominious one the Israeli regime and its American mouthpiece-media make, whenever Palestinian kids are gunned down, along with their parents, by Zionist soldiers and police.

Apparently, when governments--whether in occupied Palestine or the U.S.--target the homes of civilians, where children are quite naturally going to be present, then the victims are blamed, for "using their children as shields." Such a charge is beneath contempt.

Dees' analysis of the Oklahoma City bombing is surreal. One the one hand, he cites the militia belief that the government bombed the facility itself. Dees characterizes that allegation as "absurd." 

Then, forgetting his own agit-prop, he says later, in a bid to paint the militia as inhuman, that, "The militia fanatics who rail against the New World Order do not even pretend that Oklahoma City bombers thought they had anything to worry about from the little children in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building."

How could they, when they believe Federal agents perpetrated the bombing? Most militiamen have championed the cause of the deceased children in Oklahoma from the beginning, magnifying the cry of one dead child's mother, who wondered why the parents were not given the same advance warning that key government officials apparently possessed, when those officials absented themselves from their offices in the Murrah building, that fateful day.

Dees can't keep his lies straight however and factoring subtle aspects of the Oklahoma case are clearly not in his interest or perhaps even within his intellectual capacity.

Furthermore, he claims that, "President George Bush did the nation a great service when he resigned from the National Rifle Association. The organization had described ATF agents as 'jack-booted government thugs..." (p. 195).

Of course Dees would be the first to condemn Nazi stormtroops, but he upholds ATF stormtroops. It's not the tactics Dees disagrees with, but the targets. Suppressing the yeomanry of America by placing them under the iron heel of a police state, is necessary for the imposition of the kind of plutocracy of which Dees is an adherent.

The contention of Gathering Storm is that the militia movement has a hidden, Klan-like agenda, but for the time being, is attiring itself in more palatable imagery and rhetoric.

The same can be said of the well-connected Dees, who came close to being named Attorney General during the Jimmy Carter administration. Dees is in favor of the disarmament of the poor and working class through gun confiscation schemes advanced by his ideological soul-mate, Rep. Charles Schumer of New York.

Schumer is a rabid gun-controller who, like his cohorts at the N.Y. Times, does not believe in gun control for Jewish "settlers" on the West Bank, however. Israeli "settlers" (the Palestinians are presumably, the Indians), are allowed to have the most powerful automatic weapons. Only American working stiffs are to be disarmed. The rich and the well-connected, whether in Hebron or Brooklyn, can be assured of receiving weapon permits.

Dees, like the Bolsheviks he emulates, ardently desires to use the police and the jails against his political foes. But he articulates little of this overtly. Rather, he strikes a chameleon's pose and presents himself as a "concerned citizen" determined to halt "extremism" and "fanaticism."

That he himself is a frontman for fanatical Zionists and Marxist extremists is never mentioned. Dees denounces "private militias" when they are of a political philosophy which he execrates. He has not one word of condemnation however, for the private Jewish paramilitary groups such as the JDL, who maneuver with tacit government approval in the California desert and the Catskill mountains of New York. Dees himself employs a heavily armed private goon squad.

Morris Dees is a political soldier, fighting an unconditional war on behalf of the Money Power, for the extirpation of nationalist and nativist communities. The bottom line lurking beneath Dees' humanitarian jargon, is the disarmament of his political enemies as a prelude to their slaughter.

"Gathering Storm" is a tedious, p.c. flop, bound for the remainder shelves. Its solipsistic fantasies, cycled through the distorting prism of the hysterical alarmism of liberal hypocrisy, make the Report of the Tenth Plenary Session of the the People's Republic of Albania, compelling reading by comparison.

Matters are not helped by Dees' incessant self-promotion and whining, which managed to exasperate even a couple of employees of the corporate media.

Bill Wallace, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle states that "...the self-congratulatory tone of Gathering Storm soon begins to cloy..."

Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post Intelligencer says, "Gathering Storm' is the work of a windbag. Morris Dees is a man of towering ego. Page upon page is given over to the author blowing his own horn...The reader gets a gassy account of how Dees took his quarter-horse for a long ride, to work off his frustrations after the 1994 election."

Indeed, this book is the 254 page equivalent of Dees breaking wind. The militia "threat" seems not half so odious as the mental flatulence retailed by the authors.

©1996 by Michael A. Hoffman II. Distributed by The Independent History and Research Co.