The following is an excerpt from my book Thank You Rick Perry: The End of Texas.
It was during the Tea Parties, those staged astroturf corporate sponsored rallies endlessly promoted by Fox, that the whole mess began....
Up at a Tea Party rally in Austin, a reporter asked Perry about some people associating him with the idea of secession from the US or independence for Texas.
“Oh, I think there’s a lot of different scenarios. Texas is a unique place. When we came in the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that.” Perry answered.
He continued, “You know, my hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what may come out of that?
....The conference was sponsored by and included members of the Texas Nationalist Movement and the Tenther Movement. But even more unsavory characters attended. Dan Miller is the leader of a far right militia group calling itself the so called “Republic of Texas” or ROT.
The ROT militia began in 1995, claiming they had begun again the provisional government of the original “Republic of Texas.” Like many other so called freemen or sovereign citizen groups, they set up their own “banks,” printed their own “currency,” and began harassing state officials with a blizzard of phony liens, affidavits, orders, summonses, and arrest warrants. Federal judges and prosecutors had to step up security and were guarded by US Marshalls to prevent possible kidnappings. Then-Governor George W. Bush and the Internal Revenue Service offices in Texas were both ordered by the ROT militia to vacate their offices. The ROT demanded more than $92 trillion in “war reparations” from the federal government. ROT militia leader Richard McLaren publicly depicted Texas as a “captive nation” he would free.
In less than two years, the ROT militia filed more than two billion dollars in phony claims and liens. Militia members also passed more than two million dollars in phony checks. At one point, over 300 angry militia members stood on the Texas Capital Building steps, trying to deliver papers demanding that Bush leave office. The ROT militia also worked with another militia, the Washitaws, issuing fraudulent cashier’s checks, money orders, passports, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates. In the most audacious single one of these schemes, members of both militias tried to issue $1.5 billion in deposit warrants to a Spanish bank in Puerto Rico, and tried to buy Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, and Lexuses, along with pieces of real estate.
The ROT militia split into three groups in 1996, one led by Richard McLaren operating out of an “embassy” (actually a trailer) in the remote small town of Fort Davis in west Texas (which wasn’t even part of the original “Republic of Texas.”) Another ROT militia faction was led by by David Johnson and Jesse Enloe. Yet a third ROT faction was headed by Archie Lowe and Daniel Miller.
In 1997, McLaren and other members of his faction kidnapped their neighbors Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe and held them hostage at the “embassy.” The ROT militia, so convinced they were leaders of a reborn Texas nation, for a time destroyed much of the sympathy that all but the most delusional Texans had for secession by getting into a standoff with over 200 Texas state police lasting over a week. Police even brought in armored vehicles.
The ROT militia kidnappings made headlines worldwide. McLaren’s bizarre and delusional behavior only made things worse. McLaren claimed to be an ambassador and counsel general. He claimed diplomatic immunity, and that state officials seemed willing to negotiate. In fact, Governor Bush had a hands-off approach, leaving everything to state police on the scene. As much of a loose cannon as Bush was as president, determined to expand government power in ways that can only be called oppressive, as the Governor of Texas was remarkably restrained.
McLaren publicly insisted, “We’re not going to surrender. We’re going to press for our international rights.” His bluster worsened day by day, darkly suggesting a civil war was coming. “Most of the [militia] people feel that if there’s a battleground, it might as well be Texas….We consider we’re still engaged in a war.” In another interview, he declared, “We are at war with the United Nations and all foreign entities….we are at war with the federal agencies which have no jurisdiction here.”
At the end of the week, though, McLaren’s wife talked him into giving up and releasing the kidnap victims. As the state police closed in, McLaren suffered one final outburst of delusion and self-importance, issuing an SOS by radio and calling for other militias to come defend his faction. But other militias, including those in Texas, publicly refused to consider coming to his aid, arguing McLaren had done enormous damage to their image and causes.
On trial, the full extent of the ROT militia’s lunacy came out. McLaren had tried to buy stockpiles of American military weapons, including surface-to-air missiles. The ROT planned to shoot down Governor Bush’s airplane. A jury from conservative west Texas took only ninety minutes to find McLaren guilty. All told, seven ROT members were convicted because of the standoff, one not being captured until later and another killed in a shootout with police. Later evidence also showed the ROT militia monitored the US Army Base at Fort Hood, Texas, intending to attack it because they falsely believed it housed foreign or United Nations troops.
The leadership of one faction of the ROT had dissolved, with its leaders being jailed. A second faction, led by David Johnson and Jesse Enloe, was no less dangerous. Jack Abbot Grebe Jr. and Johnie Wise, two members of the Johnson-Enloe faction, were arrested and convicted in 1998 of planning and threatening to assassinate a number of government officials, including President Bill Clinton.(A third man, Oliver Dean Emigh, was arrested but acquitted, and died in 2003 of natural causes. For all the militia tough talk about independence and self sufficiency, Emigh was buried in a grave at public expense.) In June of 1998, the men sent an email with a “Declaration of War” to President Clinton, the FBI director, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Attorney General, and their families:
“Your [government] employees and their families have been targeted for destruction by revenge....Non-traceable, personal delivery systems have been developed to inject bacteria and/or viruses for the purpose of killing, maiming, and causing great suffering.”
The planned method of attack used biological weapons, cactus thorns coated with deadly toxins. They were arrested in Olmito, Texas, near the Mexican border. The men told an FBI informant they planned to modify cigarette lighters so they could expel air, shooting cactus needles dipped in anthrax, botulism, or the AIDS virus. On trial, both men made rambling speeches, saying they refused to accept the government’s authority and that their names were invalid because the court documents spelled them in all capital letters.
In the same year, another ROT militia leader, Jacque Jaikaran, tried to purchase a four story building in Houston with machine gun turrets, a bomb shelter, and an operating room. Jaikaran was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion. He claimed not to be part of the ROT militia, but instead to be associated with the Constitution Party and the Christian Party of Texas. But there is no sign either party has any history of violence, promotes secession, or breaks the law.
In 2000, members of the ROT militia planned to attack the Houston Federal building. Federal agents arrested Mark McCool, leader of the ROT’s “Militia and Combined Action Program.” McCool was arrested buying C-4 plastic explosives and automatic weapons. McCool pled guilty and served time on the federal charges.
....In 1998, ROT militia member Carolyn Carney was sentenced to ten years in prison for threatening a highway patrolman with a gun. The officer was one of several serving an arrest warrant on her for failing to appear in court on other charges.
In 1999 in Trinidad, Texas, ROT militia member John Joe Gray was in a car pulled over for speeding. He was carrying a gun without a permit and resisted arrest. Gray tried to take one officer’s gun and actually bit the other officer’s hand during the struggle. He went to jail. Though he was known to be a militia member, alleged to be part of a plan to bomb a highway, and alleged to have had others make threats to carry out violence unless he was released, Gray was allowed out on bond.
Two months later, Gray sent a letter telling the authorities, in essence, if you come on my property, bring body bags. For twelve years, the authorities have refused to try to arrest him. Gray has remained hiding out on his small country property. Gray’s extended family living with him includes up to sixteen people, some heavily armed, some children. Gray has also avoided prosecution for unpaid taxes and has sheltered his daughter defying a court order giving up custody of her children to an ex-husband. Gray was also once part of the Embassy of Heaven, a cult that issues its own licenses and passports since they believe the US to be a “pervert nation.” Gray began stockpiling for what he believed would be the end times in Y2K. When the end of society did not come, Gray continued to stay in hiding. Martial arts champion Chuck Norris even offered to pay for legal representation if Gray would surrender. Gray continues his standoff, for over twelve years now and counting.
In 2010, ROT militia member Victor Dewayne White shot two deputies and an employee of an oil company in Odessa, Texas in a dispute over property rights. From behind homemade barricades, White challenged officers to come get him in a siege lasting twenty-two hours. White finally surrendered and was indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
These are the type of people Governor Rick Perry chose to associate with, endorsed, and sought out their support.
By my count, the ROT militia is guilty of:
Treason, seeking to overthrow the US and Texas governments by force
Plots to assassinate one American President and one Texas Governor
Plotting to murder soldiers at an American Army base
Plotting to murder federal employees
Over $2 billion in various forms of fraud
Three other attempted murders, including of two law enforcement officers
Three assaults on law enforcement officers
Numerous threats against law enforcement officers
Numerous threats against public officials
Attempts to stockpile missiles, plastic explosives, other military weapons
Paper terrorism using phony liens, court orders, summons, warrants
Numerous counts of forging passports, driver’s licenses, other documents
The ROT militia claims to have 40,000 members statewide.
Recall the phony charges against President Obama in 2008: Charges Obama was “palling around with terrorists” for briefly serving on a committee that met a few times a week with a man who, a quarter of a century earlier, had blown up property but taken care not to injure anyone, who had never been convicted, and who renounced even that limited violence and become a respected education reformer.
But Rick Perry shared the stage with real terrorists, and sought out their support. The ROT militia tried to assassinate a Democratic president and a Republican governor, murder police and innocent civilians, force elected officials from office using threats, steal on a scale most organized crime can only dream about, and intimidate any who disagree with them. This militia was guilty of terrorism while Perry shared the stage with them. Victor Dewayne White tried to murder cops within a year of Perry’s conference. John Joe Gray remained in his armed standoff with law enforcement at the same time as the conference, and still is as this is being typed.
It is just a matter of time until we see another violent spree from more members of the ROT. It would be extremely unlikely if the ROT militia leadership is not plotting terrorism at this very moment, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Their leaders are utterly unrepentant or dismissive of that violence, and continue to promote treason and secession. The ROT militia is guilty of no less than crimes against America when Perry shared the stage with this militia and endorsed them.
For more on Perry's history of extremism, and how his reckless ties to extremists could have led to a violent crisis in Texas, see my book Thank You Rick Perry: The End of Texas at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005QRPHB4