CNN reported this week on Sarah Palin's close ties to the Alaska Independence Party, which favors secession from the United States. The CNN report is the first in the corporate media to cover this story. These revelations about Palin's ties to the secessionist party have circulated widely on the Internet ever since McCain nominated Palin as his vice presidential running mate at the beginning of September.
Tuesday, Oct. 14th, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez interviewed Salon.com writer David Neiwert, who is also the author of the definitive work on the militia movement in the 1990s titled, In God's Country, about Palin's ties to the extreme right-wing secessionist party.
According to Neiwert, Sarah Palin's husband Todd Palin joined the Alaska Independence Party in the 1990s and held his membership until recently. While the evidence suggests Sarah Palin may not have joined, she did participate in at least two Alaska Independence Party conventions, in 2006 in person and in 2008 by video. Neiwert also suggested that she may have attended a third convention.
According to Sanchez's reporting, former Alaska Independence Party founder, Joe Volger stated, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won't be buried under their damn flag."
At another point Volger said, "My government is my worst enemy. I am going to fight them with any means at hand."
On the issue of violence, Volger stated, "I hope we don't have to take human life, but if they go on tramping on our property rights, look out, we're prepared to die."
According to Neiwert, the Alaska Independence Party shares much of the ideological poison of the far-right "patriot" and militia movements that sprouted up in the 1990s, many of whom advocated terrorism and race war. Indeed, Neiwert also indicated that the Alaska Independence Party shares "the same ideological background" as Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, convicted for their roles in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Whether the Alaska Independence Party is ready to commit acts of terrorism as its founder recommended or not, Neiwert refused to speculate. But he did say that Volger's expressions of hatred for America is "pretty standard even today" in the Alaska Independence Party.
Neiwert then reported on Sarah and Todd Palin's ties to the party, after which CNN played the video-taped message Sarah Palin delivered to the 2008 convention of the Alaska Independence Party. In that message, Palin expressed wide agreement with the views of the Alaska Independence Party and congratulated its members on the convention and urged them "to keep up the good work."
Neiwert also reported on Sarah Palin's ties to the local John Birch Society activists as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. According to Neiwert, Palin tried to appoint a member of the John Birch Society to the city council. Neiwert suggested that this person may have also been linked to the Alaska Independence Party. The John Birch Society advocated conspiracy theories about the New World order in the 1990s and had strong ties to the militia movement, Neiwert said.
Sanchez frequently interrupted the interview with Neiwert to try to report on the McCain-Palin campaign's response to the story. While the McCain-Palin campaign refused to respond in person, the campaign sent CNN an e-mail. The e-mail described CNN's reproting about the facts of Palin's ties to the Alaska Independence Party as a "smear" and ironically compared it to Republican Party and McCain campaign's own distortions of Obama's religious background. The McCain-Palin campaign did not directly deny any of the revelations made in the news segment, however.
See the CNN segment on this story here.