The would-be organizers of The Citadel -- the latest entry in the long-running saga of right-wing extremists who try to move to the Idaho woods to get away from evil liberals and brown people -- are the subject of a thorough IREHR investigation.
September 11, 2013

[H/t Heather]

You remember the most recent entries in the "let's move to the Idaho wilderness so we can escape liberals and get eaten by mosquitoes" tradition -- the people who have bought property in Benewah County and plan to build a place called The Citadel -- right?

Let's recall their residency requirements:

The Citadel is not to be a closed society, instead a refuge for genuine Patriots who wish to live without neighbors who are Liberals and Establishment political ideologues.

That's right: Their community "bans Liberals from living among us." But it's not closed.

In the event, my friends at the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) did a proper and thorough investigation of The Citadel and its would-be organizers.

The results are now available for all to read at The Nation:

Is America’s Militia Movement on the Rise?

Up an unpaved Idaho road, self-styled “patriots” gather to plan and train in close-quarters battle.

... Now, after a year of justifiable skepticism about the walled city’s prospects, expressed by the Benewah County Sheriff, and criticism of the project’s leadership by rival militia factions, the group behind the Citadel is taking the next steps. On September 6–8 it gathered at a twenty-acre plot it had already purchased as a starter base-camp, according to county records.

A couple dozen or more militia-types are thought to have traveled off the main highways and up the unpaved logging roads for close-quarters battle training and a self-styled patriot convention. They housed themselves in tents and RVs. Jim Miller, a fully licensed arms manufacturer at the heart of the Citadel’s plans, was in attendance. Perhaps he sold some of the guns he has recently built, AR-15s—a civilian replica of the American military’s M-16s. Chris Kerodin, the Citadel’s central idea man and principal propagandist, taught hand-to-hand combat courses known as CQB—close-quarters battle.

They also were slated to make plans to eventually attract 300 “patriots” to their ranks, people willing to “go into harm’s way,” and “clear Black Panthers from the voting stations,” according to one of Kerodin’s frequent blog posts.

At IREHR's site, there's more detail about what they found there -- including the reaction of locals, including the sheriff of Benewah County, who is not much impressed:

On his desk and others in the office sat a stack of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, pocket-sized editions provided by the Cato Institute. "I believe in the Constitution," Resser declared. "These guys claim to have a mindset in the Constitution, but that's not what they're about," he said about Kerodin's Threepers. The Citadel was against the Jeffersonian ideals they claimed to be protecting, he claims. "From the sounds of it, only a few honchos would be calling all the shots, which makes it an oligarchy, not a republic," he explained.

Resser also had his doubts about the future of the operation, however. "A scam. It's obviously some sort of scam," Resser added, tipping back his hat. He compared the Citadel plan to a cult and drew parallels between it and the disaster of Jim Jones and Jonestown. Resser later added that Kerodin and his ilk were "preying on the fears of well-intentioned good-minded people."

Be sure to read the whole thing.

The Pacific Northwest Inlander has also been reporting on The Citadel plans, and noted back in February that locals have long memories about far-right separatists moving into the northern Idaho backwoods:

“You’re a little worried because it’s a little out of the box, and you always worry a little about the anti-government types,” says Bryan Chase, who runs Timber Country, a sports apparel store his mother owns on Main Street. “I think back to when Coeur d’Alene had the Aryan Nations, and that gave all of North Idaho a bad name.”

Notably, these cultural separatists were given a big shot in the arm by Glenn Beck not too long ago. This should not come as a surprise, really, since Beck has a long record of endorsing and empowering various kinds of far-right extremism -- particularly the notion of such cultural separatism and eliminationism directed at liberals -- as well as inspiring various acts of extremist violence. There's a reason we call him the "fearmonger in chief."

Cross-posted at Orcinus.

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