Army Of God Terrorist Group Essay, Research Paper
Is it possible for one to believe in Christianity so much that he/she feels it is morally acceptable to commit sin to punish those who are the real sinners? The members of the North American terrorist organization named “The Army of God” obviously believes it is so. Having declared war on the United States of America the army of god has bombed abortion clinics and homosexual nightclubs in the name of God him/herself. This group is definatly no joke, it has produced three editions of its own terrorist manual and has many websites devoted to its cause. Additionally, the army of god has been linked to numerous terrorist activities, including but not limited to, the Olympic building bombing in Atlanta, Georgia and the bombing of women’s abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. But, ask yourself, how can a group that is pro-life be pro-life if they are taking the lives of the innocent victims in each bombing they commit? In this sense the army of god is a terrorist group whose actions contradict its cause. Consequentially, this makes the group a very ineffective terrorist organization. Therefore, the army of god is an unsuccessful terrorist group, which is against abortion, which has bombed and kidnapped trying to get its message out to no avail since the 1980’s.
In 1973 the Supreme Court passed a controversial decision which effectively nullified all U.S. laws which declared abortion to be illegal, and most states had them. This was a landmark case, which gave a woman the right to choose on her own whether or not she wanted to have an abortion within the first trimester of her pregnancy. This was in 1973 and still today abortion remains a very touchy subject. If you were to go up to anyone on the street whether the person is a bum or whether he/she is a banker that person is going to have an opinion on abortion. Thus the U.S. government which was a target of violence and criticism before this critical decision has fallen prey to many activist and religious group’s outrages. The upstart of many women’s clinics has also fueled this criticism. Fore, it seems like nowadays that every couple miles or so you can find a women’s clinic and because of this there has been a growing concern that abortion is just becoming a fundamental part of a women‘s life. Thus, a larger more violent, more powerful, more determined group was bound to be established. This group is the Army of God.
The Army of God is just a North American terrorist group which has a strong religious background and also strongly disagrees with the notion that abortions are a woman’s right to choose.
History on the group is very scattered and also documented very little. At best this is what one can dig up the name the army of god has been used for the last 20 years. “In the early 1980s, a women’s clinic at Granite City, Ill., was mobbed repeatedly by fundamentalist protesters. Then the clinic operator, Dr. Hector Zevallos, and his wife Rosalee were kidnapped by a gang of men calling themselves the Army of God. The couple was held eight days in an abandoned ammunition bunker. The captors said they’d kill both unless Dr. Zevallos pledged to stop performing abortions. He did, and they were released.
Three men later were convicted of the kidnapping. The leader, Don Benny Anderson, said God had told him to wage war against abortion. Anderson got a 30-year prison term. He also was convicted of torching two Florida abortion clinics, and drew a second 30-year term.
In 1984, when a Norfolk women’s clinic was firebombed, the initials “AOG” were scrawled on a wall. Soon afterward, a clinic outside Washington was firebombed, and a man claiming to represent the Army of God called news media to take credit.
In 1993 an Oregon fundamentalist named Rachelle Shannon shot a clinic doctor at Wichita, Kan. She boasted that she was enforcing “God’s will.” She had written laudatory letters to an imprisoned “pro-life” killer, Michael Griffin, who had murdered a Pensacola doctor.” (Haught, 1997)
In 1997 “two more nail-studded bombs struck Atlanta — on Jan. 16 at a women’s clinic, and on Feb. 21 at a gay nightclub. After the second blast, a crude, unsigned, semi-literate letter was sent to the Reuters news agency, which turned it over to the FBI.
The letter said both bombs were placed by “units of the Army of God.” It said anyone involved with abortion “may become victims of retribution.” As for the homosexual club, it said, ungrammatically: “We will target sodomites, there organizations, and all those who push there agenda.”
In militia-like tones, the letter threatened both the United Nations and the U.S. government. With misspellings, it said:
“We declare and will wage total war on the ungodly communist regime in New York and your legaslative-bureaucratic lackey’s in Washington. It is you who are responsible and preside over the murder of children and issue the policy of ungodly preversion thats destroying our people…. Death to the New World Order.”“ (Haught, 1997)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation sent out copies of this letter (see pictures 1) in hopes that somebody would recognize the writing or the style and would turn in whoever wrote them. Eventually, Eric Robert Rudolph was convicted of the Atlanta bombings as well with the bombing in the Centennial Olympic Park in 1997. Rudolph has been put on the FBI’s ten most wanted list in hopes that someone will turn him in. (see pictures 2)
“The police are starting to realize there may be a network of support for violence against doctors and not just a single sniper. That’s why police are looking for James Kopp, a hero of the radical pro-life fringe. He was part of many demonstrations before he disappeared. He was no stranger to conflict, like all of those who take part in these protests.
Police don’t know whether James Kopp killed the Buffalo doctor (an abortion doctor), but they think he has information. All they have found so far is his car. Kopp joined the pro-life movement after a girlfriend had an abortion. Friends say he was devastated. His last known address was a Vermont farmhouse. Police say he’s crossed the border into Canada many times, notably just before two sniper attacks on Canadian doctors.
Like all abortion providers, Maria Corsillo knows all about James Kopp and this apparent network of support for those who commit violence.
“You can’t just can’t somehow drop out of sight totally without help from someone,” Corsillo says. “Someone has got to be hiding him, helping him. So I have no way of knowing, you know, how these people are able to do all of these things without, you know, ever getting caught. I mean they seem to be finding his cars, his this, his that, just not him.”
The FBI knows of one group who might be helping James Kopp, something called the Army of God; a loose affiliation of radical activists who exchange information on how to bomb and burn clinics and how to kill and maim doctors. In their manual, James Kopp is acknowledged under his code name “Atomic Dog.”
Michael Bray is reported to have written part of the manual, though he is coy about the Army of God.
“The Army of God is, I suppose — well that’s a mystery — what is the Army of God?,” Bray says. “It could be, it could be a group of people plotting and scheming and orchestrating all anti-abortion activity throughout the world, or throughout at least the United States. And who knows? I am not omniscient. I don’t know. The Army of God could be a group of any two or three people who come together with the intention to stop abortion. Whether the name is simply picked up and used, or whether it is a name of an organization to which people are members, remains for Janet Reno to find out.”“ (www.tv.cbc.ca)
But this does not matter because since James Kopp is also on the FBI’s most wanted he will have a lot of explaining to do when caught. (Pictures 3)
The tactics that the Army of God uses is mostly explosive devices but they also have other ways to attack specified targets. In the terrorist manual the Army of God put out the group goes through many terrorist tactics, here is a brief summary of what the manual says,
“ After giving instructions on gluing locks, jamming phone systems, car blockades, blocking sewer systems, and butyric acid attacks, the manual proceeds to more “advanced” techniques such as staging auto accidents to delay a doctor on the way to work. However, the Mad Gluer cautions these tactics should only be attempted by the young and strong who are spiritually old and wise because they can result in bigger consequences. He advises,
“Remember, the reason that things like bombs and arson techniques are relegated to the Appendix of this manual (for ‘Eyes Only’) is not because they are wrong or ineffective. On the contrary, those methods are powerful, appropriate and discriminate. The difficulty is cost i.e., charges, jail time, etc.”
Some soldiers, such as Ms. Shannon, have been willing to pay those costs. Others, convicted on lesser charges, are out of prison in 5 or 10 years, time enough to carry out the Mad Gluer’s suggestion of a Furlough for Life. This tactic is intended to keep law enforcement distracted by a released felon and some friends while they travel around the country “visiting” clinics. The manual says police will be so busy concentrating on the traveling companions they will not have time to monitor another activist who will actually stage an attack on clinics.
In a prescient paragraph, the Mad Gluer says the day may come when “rescuers” may be hit with felony convictions for doing nothing worse than “blocking public access.” (Now that the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act is law, those who blockade clinics or harass staff and patients can be charged with a federal crime punishable by jail and stiff fines.) The Mad Gluer warns,
“If the system is going to hand out felony convictions for rescue, the powers that be have guaranteed that the bombs and fires are not going to be just here and there every now and again, but here, there, and everywhere, now and again and again and again. This War is going to end – one way or another.”
The Mad Gluer ends his part of the manual with a final note warning readers that material contained in the Appendix is only for the “serious and committed covert activist.” If anyone decides to use the information, they are on their own,
“but what we do we do for the babies, and God knows, and God helps. God bless!”
The first tactic mentioned is one Shelley Shannon wrote about in her diary–instructing your fellow prison inmates that clinics (Blood Banks) are great targets for robbery because they have large sums of cash that must be deposited each day. (Apparently there are limits to what an anti-abortion zealot should be willing to do for the cause. Armed robbery is no fit occupation for anti-abortion zealots, and should be left for “hardened criminals.”)
Besides promoting armed robbery, the second edition suggests disabling cars with high-powered rifles and armor piercing bullets, flying ultralights to “brick bomb” clinics and using chemical warfare, this time with an extremely explosive and dangerous chemical designed to, not just damage property, but injure staff. It was in this part of the manual that Ms. Shannon found instructions on how to destroy a building that uses natural gas for heating.
The author even suggests that if a member of the AOG is diagnosed with a terminal illness, before they die, they should plan clinic attacks across the nation.
“The main fear of performing certain activities has been miraculously removed. Why bankrupt yourself (or your family) over a few more days or months of life? Whatever activities are undertaken (torching, bombing, thumb removal, other) carry on with prodigal, reckless, abandon.”
Appendixes from Hell
Final chapters of the AOG are appendixes loaded with instructions on many how-to-do it projects. There is a discussion of a non-explosive demolition agent which can be mixed with water and injected into a building causing foundations to crack. The address and phone number of the company that manufactures the chemical is given with the encouraging note that the company will gladly send information to you and provide the product because “they really don’t care or want to know why you want it.” (When contacted in 1994, the company acknowledged they did indeed manufacture this chemical, but were aghast that their product had been promoted for such a use and in such a document.)
For those unable to find time or tools to crack building foundations, the AOG offers detailed instructions, including pictures, on the manufacture of C4 or plastique, a powerful military explosive. In typical anti-federal government language, the AOG says,
“… the federal government monopolizes C-4, making it next to impossible to purchase. We can’t count on buying and caching military explosives for use against the killers.”
There follows a knowledgeable discussion of the ingredients used in C-4 and how to obtain them. While cautioning this is a dangerous project, pictures, obviously taken in someone’s home, show step by step what to do.
Instructions are included for making improvised detonators plus a list of chemical companies where materials can be purchased. Like any good textbook, the AOG contains a Recommended Reading list such as Soldier of Fortune magazine, which “the enterprising termite can readily put to use to supplement the information in this manual.”
Alpha Boycott Hell
The best way to long term covert success is found by adding new activist blood. Your children are your greatest resource–especially if you keep them out of public school or, “hell”.
“The public school system (read: government school system) is a jungle. The jungle is just down the street from you. And so are the pushers: drug pushers, values clarification pushers, contraception and abortion without parental notification pushers, man is a product of evolution chance pushers, anti-religion, anti-parent, anti-American pushers.”
The author asserts that nearly all of the committed covert teen activists have been home schooled. Single parents are cautioned against covert activity because it will take them away from their children. The suggestion is made that the most dedicated activist should consider celibacy because,
“…practically speaking, a covert activist with no ties could save thousands of children and their mothers in a lifetime.”
The Mad Gluer “Talks to God”
The final pages of this manual contain a fictional interview conducted by the Mad Gluer with The Army of God in which the AOG says he/she will “drive the abortion industry underground” by the use of explosives. In response to the question, what about non-violence, the AOG makes the usual claim that destroying a building or removing a doctor’s thumbs is not violent because it stops the violence of abortion. (After Paul Hill assassinated Dr. Britton one activist said the doctor’s family should thank Mr. Hill for what he did.) As to claims that violent activity harms the Pro-Life Movement, the AOG says, when more citizens take matters into their own hands, the media will portray their actions in a more favorable light and violence will then be rewarded.
In response to the question, “What should concerned citizens do?” the AOG says,
“Every Pro-Life person should commit to destroying at least one death camp, or disarming at least one baby-killer. The former is a relatively easy task – the latter could be quite difficult to accomplish.”
After admitting that most violent anti-abortion activists incarcerated at the time of this fictitious interview were not AOG members (or they might still be free), the AOG closes the interview saying one becomes an AOG member with great difficulty but issues a call for “single lone-rangers” who will destroy at least one clinic before they die.
Epilogue of Death
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Army of God manual has gone through three editions. Beginning with criminal mischief, then progressing to felony crimes, the Epilogue of the third edition simply calls for murder.
A small note at the beginning of the Epilogue claims it was written in November 1992 after Dr. Karpen of Houston and two clinic workers in Springfield, Missouri had been shot and wounded. However, this preface to the Epilogue was clearly written after November 1992 because it says that Dr. David Gunn, killed March 1993, was the first “direct action” attributed to the AOG.
In just five paragraphs, the Epilogue effectively renders the preceding manual obsolete by claiming all tactics to date have not stopped abortion. Rescuing has not worked. Neither has burning down or blowing up clinics. Consequently, the only course left is articulated by their final Declaration — a call to arms heeded by Shelley Shannon and Paul Hill.”’ (Bower, January 1996)
This manual is not to be taken lightly as can be seen and if it got into the wrong hands it could definitely become trouble for the government and for its citizens.
The U.S. government has not done a whole lot to thwart the actions of the Army of God, but this is not really the governments fault because the group seems to be very inactive and their organization is not organized enough to be called a terrorist group.
Personally I do not think that this group is a very successful terrorist organization at all. I think that the group is just people using the name Army of God and since it has been used on numerous occasions some people like to believe that there is another religious terror in the U.S. running around killing people. The group is not very well known at all and the only thing they have done that nobody else has is killing a police officer in a bomb blast. I think one thing that makes a terrorist group what they are is completing their objectives while relaying o the public that the group is not wrongful in its actions. The Army of God has not done this at all. Because they have bombed women’s clinics I think they have lost some support of whatever support they could have had. By bombing these clinics the group is killing and injuring people; this is something that a group can not do if they claim themselves to be so pro-life. It just makes the group seem as if they are hypocritical in the public eye. I think that the manual the group made was probably just some friends that all got together and made so book or made this book in adolescence much like the author of “The Anarchist Cookbook” did in the 1970’s. It is more effective to do passive protesting when it comes to such controversial topics as abortion. This is because every time that a group does something like go and blow up an abortion clinic they loose support because it shows that the pro-choice group has patience and does not have to resort to violence like pro-lifers do. The actions of groups like the Army of God just produce bad stereotypes for pro-lifers. Thus, it is my opinion that the Army of god is not really a terrorist organization but rather just a name that people use to spread their message of pro-life.
Haught, James A., The Army of God: More Religious Killers? (Secular Humanist Bulletin, Fall 1997) www.wvinter.net/~haught/army.html
Bower, Anne , Army of God: Still Marching (The Body Politic, Vol. 5, No. 11- December 1995- Page 8) www.bodypolitic.org/mag/back/art/0511pg08.html
Bower, Anne , Army of God: Still Marching Part 2 (The Body Politic, Vol. 06, No. 11 – January 1996, Page 11) www.bodypolitic.org/mag/back/art/0601pg11.htm
Unknown Author, www.tv.cbc.ca/national/pgminfo/abortion/
Army of God Claims Credit for Birmingham Bombing, February 2, 1998, http://www.feminist.org/news/pr/pr020298.html
‘Army of God’ letters claim responsibility for clinic bombing, February 2, 1998
Web posted at: 6:19 p.m. EST, http://www.cnn.com/US/9802/02/clinic.bombing.530pm/
Army of God Linked to Latest Clinic Bombing http://www.datalounge.com/datalounge/news/record.html?record=2719
Nifong, Christina , Anti-Abortion Violence Defines ‘Army of God’ http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1998/02/04/us/us.9.html
Feds seek public input on ‘Army of God’ letters: Could hold clues to Atlanta bombings
June 9, 1997, Web posted at: 1:04 p.m. EDT http://www.cnn.com/US/9706/09/atlanta.bombing/
FBI Places Eric Robert Rudolph on “10 Most Wanted” List: $1 Million Reward Offered
Daulton, Jack A. and Enderson, Woody R., FBI National Press Release, November 18, 1997, http://www.fbi.gov/majcases/rudolph/presrel1.htm
Army of God Not Pro-Life: Not Now, Not Ever http://www.reagan.com/HotTopics.main/HotMike/document-2.4.1998.3.html
Freedom Fox, A.O.G., The Army of God, “Annihilating abortuaries is our purest form of worship.” http://www.re-focus.com/RATexArm.html
‘Army of God’ Claims Responsibility for Abortion Clinic Bombing
A 16-Year Reign of Terror