”I am traveling light. Unlike the others, I don’t view southern Arizona as a war zone, so I didn’t put steel plates in my chest rig.”
So begins Mother Jones investigative reporter Shane Bauer’s latest adventure in undercover reporting, an infiltration of the militia movement that has taken on the job of helping secure America’s southern border.
“Next to everyone else’s commando-style AR-15s, my Ruger Mini-14 with a wood stock is slightly out of place,” Bauer continues. “But everything else is square—I’m wearing a MultiCam uniform, desert tan combat boots, and a radio on my shoulder. I fit in just fine.”
Shane began his assignment with on the job training with the California State Militia, going on several Forward Training Exercises in the boondocks on Northern California.
Then, he headed for the front line and an Op, operation along the Mexican border near Nogales, AZ. He joined an encampment of the Colorado branch of the 3% United Patriots, whose name derives from an historical speculation that 3% of the American colonial population liberated all the rest in the American Revolution, and that 3% of today’s American population will defend the freedoms of the US Constitution against a Federal government that wants to pervert them into a One World tyranny run by the United Nations. The designated villain behind this conspiracy, and data derived by The Southern Poverty Law Center suggests, the inspiration for a radical revival of the militia movement in America is President Barack Obama.
The route to his invitation to join the 3%ers at the border began with a Facebook account, using Shane’s real name and having a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag as his avatar.”
A little media socializing, and “within a couple of days, I had more than 100 friends, and virtually any militia member who looked at my page would likely find that we had at least one friend in common.”
Discovering 3UP’s website, he learned of an upcoming border exercise. …”No one asked me anything about myself. All I had to do was show up.”
What Shane found at the militia camp were a lot of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a lot of wannabe’s who wanted to help save America from change that they associated with a new demography dominated by American people of color and immigrants undercutting wage scales and driving up the cost of social services.
How far were these volunteers ready to go to make their mission succeed? Their language suggested they’d act violently in support for their fears and hatreds. Lots of talking of hunting and killing Mexicans. But the only casualties of militia violence Shane witnessed were stabbed water bottles and trampled clothes left by human rights activists for illegal border-crossers.
Shane Bauer is Senior Reporter for Mother Jones Magazine. His previous article covered 4 months of undercover reporting on a privately run prison in Louisiana. In the Summer of 2009, Shane, his friend Josh Fattal and his future wife Sarah Shourd were captured by Iranian forces and accused to illegally entering the country. They spent more than 2 years in prison in Tehran before thy were finally released.