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Posse Comitatus believes that all government should be rooted at the county, rather than the federal, level.
Posse comitatus means “power of the county.” The original Posse Comitatus Act was passed by Congress in 1878 to prevent federal troops from enforcing community laws or from acting as police officers. In the days of the old West and the Reconstruction era after the Civil War, the army often became involved in what should have been traditional police actions. The Posse Comitatus law was passed to remove the army from civilian law enforcement and to return it to its role of defending the nation’s borders.
In the 1970s retired army colonel William Potter Gale formed a group of armed anti-tax and anti-federal-government survivalists who agreed with his political philosophy that all government power should be rooted at the county, rather than the federal, level. Posse Comitatus members resist paying taxes because the federal government is controlled by Jews. Some members won’t even apply for driver’s licenses because to do so would be to submit to an illegal, subversive authority. The Posse soon attracted Klan members and other anti-Semites, including David Duke.
This intermittently active, loosely organized group of antigovernment agitators and avowed followers of Christian Identity received nationwide attention in 1983 when Posse member Gordon Kahl murdered two federal marshals who had come to arrest him for a parole violation in connection with a conviction for nonpayment of taxes. Kahl became a fugitive and was later killed in a shootout with Arkansas law-enforcement officers.
In October 1987 Posse founder William Potter Gale and four associates from the California-based Committee of the States were convicted of threatening the lives of Internal Revenue Service agents and a Nevada state judge. Sentenced to federal prison in January 1988, Gale died in April of that year, at age seventy-one.
In 1991 an Identity minister and Posse leader based in Michigan, James Wickstrom, was convicted of scheming to distribute $100,000 in counterfeit bills to white supremacists at the 1988 Aryan World Congress. While he was doing time in prison, Wickstrom transferred his leadership position to Mark Thomas, an Identity preacher from Pennsylvania. Wickstrom was released from prison in 1994 and remains involved in the Posse movement by operating a website. August Kreis, who assumed leadership of Aryan Nations in 2005, still maintains a significant role in Posse Comitatus and believes that their group will bring the United States back under God’s laws.
What the Posse Comitatus Believes
- Northern European whites are the true “Chosen People” referred to in the Bible.
- Jews are members of Satan’s synagogue.
- African Americans and other people of color are subhuman “mud races.”
- Abortion is capital murder, punishable by death.
- Taxes should not be paid to the Zionist Occupied Government that controls the United States.
- The present government should be replaced with an Identity-based theocracy.