Sedition Watch: Signs of the Times


“Sedition Watch.” This feature brings up “dots” of data that come onto my radar screen, which I’m working to connect.

The implications of the potential connections are unsettling, and I hope the authorities are watching. The elements here are straightforward: there are a lot of upset people, mostly guys, with guns out there, and with a high level of training in how to use them. And they are being fed a diet of sedition — talk of violent insurrection, or perhaps mounting a coup d’etat.

One of the main “factories” for this population is the Special Forces qualification course run out of Fort Bragg. It graduates about eight classes of “Operators” per year, and it not the only location for this process. The “final exam” for this course is a two-week wargame called “Robin sage,” which takes place across ten mostly rural North Carolina counties.

All three armed services, plus the Marines, have their own version of these programs. The number of graduates is classified, but must be in the high three or four figures annually. The Army’s “Robin Sage” has been going on for fifty years.

Once awarded their berets, these “operators” go off on secret missions, which usually stay secret unless they go very wrong. This likely happens more often than we know. (How do these three things fit together: Pat Tillman, General McChrystal, and coverup?)

Many of these “operators” make careers in the military. But many others get out, and then go to work for private contractors, like the former Blackwater Corp. There they do still more secret missions, with as many or more guns and other weapons, but with much less public scrutiny.

It is this burgeoning population of heavily armed, highly trained “operators,” especially those now employed by “private contractors,” that worries me. Many of them are believers in a crusader version of fundamentalist Christianity — one of the most visible being former green beret commander, retired General “Jerry” Boykin. See examples of his views, and their chilling echoes in this piece by Jeff Sharlet in a recent issue of Harpers. Its chilling title is, “Jesus Killed Mohammed.”

The possibilities for misuse of these skills and belief system should give lovers of freedom nightmares. And since the election of 2008, the rumblings of discontent within the subset of the population where many of them dwell has reached a fever pitch. If this seditious propaganda should ever take concrete form, there would be plenty of highly trained shock troops to act it out.

Hence we come to Sedition Watch. it is suggestive rather than comprehensive. But as 2009 has unfolded, there have been dots accumulating. One of them that brought me up short was reported on November 2, 2009: a Special Forces soldier at Ft. Campbell KY was arrested after 100 lbs of C-4 plastic explosive was found buried in what sounds like his back yard.

C-4 is serious explosive stuff, more powerful than TNT, and widely used in military and paramilitary operations. The reports say it has few if any civilian uses. What was he planning to do with it? There has been little reporting on the case since then; chances are good that the public will never know what the investigation of this incident turns up..

Less specific but indicative of the atmosphere are two local events.

First, in October, billboards went up around Fayetteville NC (home of Ft. Bragg, where the Special forces are headquartered). big-gun-billboard-fayetteville-10-2009

And in case you didn’t catch the message, Get-guns-now-closeup

About a month later, on November 8, our local paper greeted readers of the front section of its Sunday edition (the most widely-read of the week) with a half-page ad by a local gun shop. The ad was dark-colored, and difficult to scan. But here it is, followed by a few annotations for clarity.

If you have trouble reading the banner, it announces the “‘Yes We Can’ Extravaganza.” And in case the top-right photo is fuzzy, it features a rifle and a long bayonet to go with it, The Mosin Nagant 91/30 7.62 x 54R, for the low price of $99.95.

The top left is a Delton AR-15 Flat Top .223 calibre, with 5 30-round magazines. It’s more pricey at $739.95.

It’s safe to say that neither of these is designed for something as mundane as, say, deerhunting. Nor is the centerpiece, a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol, a mere $299.95 , after rebate. Gun ad-Yes-We-Can extravaganza

In the lower left is an array of high-power weapons flashlights, which go with or attach to various of these firearms for nighttime targeting.

And what do you suppose it means to call a sale the “Yes We Can Extravaganza”?

These are, of course, local dots, invisible to the general public. More recently there are the now-notorious tee shirts calling for prayers that Obama’s children be made orphans (fill in the rest at Psalm 109.)


One person who has connected some of these dots is a former stalwart of the religious right, Frank Schaeffer. He talked about this in an interview with Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show, on November 19. The whole transcript is worth reading, but the money quote is here:

Schaeffer: What we‘re looking at right now is two things going on. We see the evangelical groups that I talk about in my new book, “Patience with God,” enthralled by an apocalyptic vision that I go into in some detail there. They represent the millions of people who have turned the “Left Behind” series into best sellers. Most of them are not crazy, they‘re just deluded.

But there is a crazy fringe to whom all these little messages that have been pouring out of FOX News, now on a bumper sticker, talking about doing away with Obama, asking God to kill him.

Really, this is trolling for assassins. And this is serious business.


So, there you have some initial ruminations for Sedition Watch. Sleep well, friends; but beware nightmares of trolls.

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