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Posse Comitatus Manual Urged Terrorism, Sheriff Says

September 12, 1985

SHAWANO, Wis. (AP) _ A manual evidently written by the militant anti-tax group Posse Comitatus calls for members to prepare for terrorism and guerrilla warfare in pursuit of the group’s aims, says Sheriff Walter Schardt.

The book tells adherents of the group to seek out enemies,″Fight ’em; blow them apart with gunfire, booby traps, cannons, mortars, rockets, mines, flame throwers and whatever you can muster. Pound them down into the rubble.″

Schardt said Wednesday that because of the manual, authorities expected violence when they raided a trailer park inhabited by a number of Posse members, including James P. Wickstrom, the group’s former leader.

There was no opposition, he said.

Schardt said Wickstrom, who is now believed to live in Pennsylvania, apparently used the manual for paramilitary training classes in 1983.

He said deputies and other officials raided the Tigerton Dells trailer park on June 23 because it violated zoning codes. Residents argued they were exempt from zoning and property taxes because they had willed their trailers to Wickstrom’s Life Science Church.

Wickstrom, who lived at the Tigerton Dells compound until he was sent to jail on charges of impersonating a public official, once called himself ″national director of counterinsurgency.″ He was released from jail in April.

Among instructions in the manual:

″Find ‘em; with reckon, intelligence, binoculars, tactical sense... If you can’t find ‘em, you can’t fight ‘em. Fix ’em,″ it says. ″Cut off your enemy.″

Trainees at the paramilitary classes were told to bring camouflage clothing, pistols, shotguns, notebooks and lunch to the two-day sessions.

Guerrilla war ″is a war of attrition″ that can ″bring people together against who is in power, connected with economic, racial, ethnic and social issues,″ the manual says. It calls for ideals that ″continue on to terrorism and-or guerrilla war.″

Schardt made his comments and showed a copy of the manual in announcing that Shawano County intends to bill the state for the $72,422 cost of mounting the raid on the trailer camp.

Two Posse Comitatus spokesmen still living at the Tigerton Dells park, denied knowledge of the manual, which is signed with the initials ″MOD,″ and whose author is otherwise unidentified.

Donald Minniecheske, whose tavern was headquarters for the settlement and who still lives in a house at the site, denied to the Shawano Evening Leader in an interview that he had ever seen the manual.

″Where’d you get that?″ he asked.

Delbert Larson, who lives at the park, also denied knowledge of the manual.

Schardt declined to say how the manual was acquired by authorities, but showed a letter advertising classes in ″weapons safety, ambush . . . search and destroy″ and seeking a $100 fee. It specifically invited Anglo-Saxons, offering Bible classes to help ″prepare fellow Christians for the national chaos.″

The Posse Comitatus has existed since the 1960s. It has members in several states and no national headquarters.

Posse members generally oppose taxes and bureaucratic regulation. Wickstrom has said rural residents must arm themselves against mobs that someday will flee urban breakdown, seeking food and shelter.

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