Inside the Army of God Manual

Introduction

Several years ago I happened across an archived copy of most of the anti-abortion domestic terrorism handbook the Army of God Manual.  I thought it might be useful for background research somewhere down the line, so I saved PDFs of the archive and they’ve been sitting in a Google Drive folder ever since. With the news in the New York Times that Planned Parenthood attack terrorist Robert Dear was influenced by the domestic terror group Army of God, I’ve decided it’s time to publish some excerpts from the Army of God Manual.

All of the parts of the manual that I have were at one point readily available on the Army of God website. I’m not going to link you to the website because I have a policy against linking to terror groups. Today and tomorrow I’m going to publish excerpts that are still available on the Army of God website as of the time I’m writing this. These are materials that were readily available for Dear to access. After that, I’m going to publish excerpts from my archives. It’s still possible to find those archived documents without too much trouble, however because they do include detailed how-to instructions for making bombs and incendiary devices I’m not going to provide links or publish those portions of the manual that could provide others with the information necessary to carry out a terror attack.

The reason for this series is because I believe it’s important for the general public to understand that this isn’t lone wolf terrorism. Just like Al Qaeda and ISIS publish online “terrorism starter kits” that enable others to take up the cause without contact with the main group, the Army of God website provides plenty to inspire would-be terrorists.

The excerpts that I’m posting today show that Army of God not only anticipated, they encourage “lone ranger” terrorists like Dear. As you read this, keep in mind that Robert Dear was not only aware of Army of God, he described them as “heroes.”

The Army of God website has the “third edition” of the Army of God Manual. It’s not clear what date the manual was published, though there are references to events in 1983 and 1985. It appears to have been updated at some point in the early 1990s because there is a reference to a non-fatal 1990 shooting. There’s nothing in the “interview” (whether it’s really an interview isn’t clear) that gives away a date, so this part could have been written anywhere between the mid-1980s and the early-1990s. Again, the full text is currently available on the Army of God website as “Chapter 8 An Interview: The Army of God Speaks Out”. I’ll be posting screenshots of the page with the text quotes below.

As you can see from the page title below, they certainly are not lacking in hyperbole.

“An interview with an underground leader of the American Holocaust Resistance Movement – also known as the A.O.G.”

M.G.: Why an interview, and why now?

A.O.G.: You asked for one, I know I can trust you, and I can’t do it alone.

M.G.: Can’t do what alone?

A.O.G.: Drive the abortion industry underground with or without the sanction of government law.

M.G.: By what method?

A.O.G.: Explosives, predominantly.

M.G.: Would you care to elaborate?

A.O.G.: Certainly. First by disarming the murder weapons. That is, by destroying the structures where the actual crimes are being committed. Second, by disarming the persons perpetrating the crimes by removing their hands, or at least their thumbs below the second digit.

Sound familiar? Where else have we seen cutting off hands as a solution?

Advice for Novices

Up next we have advice for the novice terrorist. When I said this was equivalent to an Al Qaeda or ISIS “terrorism starter kit” I wasn’t joking.

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M.G.: What do you recommend that concerned citizens do at this time?

A.O.G.: 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. The preferred method for the novice would be gasoline and matches. Straight and easy. No tracks. You’ve kind of got to pour and light and leave real fast because of the flammability factor. Kerosene is great, but a little more traceable, so you will not want to buy it and use it in the same day.

Explosives

On the use of explosives:

M.G.: What about explosives?

A.O.G.: With time delays, a most wondrous method, and my personal favorite.

Suicide Bombing

This next section is particularly interesting because it introduces an idea we have not yet seen in anti-abortion terrorism, but as you can see was considered as far back as the ‘80s or early ‘90s. The anti-abortion suicide bomber.

M.G.: O.K. Do you have any special heroes who give you inspiration ?

A.O.G.: Well, there are many heroes of the Faith throughout history, but one of my personal favorites is Major Von Gersdorf.

M.G.: Who worked with Bonhoeffer, right?

A.O.G.: Yes. He was the guy who always wore a trench coat – a loaded trench coat. Once, when the Resistance was planning a Putch, Von Gersdorf had bombs, one in each pocket, that he was going to detonate in Hitler’s presence. There is one vivid scene I recall reading about, where Bonhoeffer and friends were all sitting around a room practicing the piano and singing, in preparation for Bonhoeffer’s father’s seventy-fifth birthday. Major Von Gersdorf was sitting around trying not to be nervous, but, well, they were all looking at the phone nervously, knowing that any second it would ring, and that he would have to drive to the munitions factory where Hitler was going to be doing an inspection, or something. Von Gersdorf was not going to take any chances of having a dud bomb, so he took two, one in each pocket – he was going to blow himself to kingdom come (and Hitler, too, in the process). As it turned out, it never happened. But he had the heart at least to attempt it.

Lest you think this was merely an example from history and not something that was being set forth for the readers to follow, here is the next paragraph.

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M.G.: That’s quite a story. I think that here must be some Army of God persons who have that kind of resolve and commitment.

A.O.G.: There are some. most certainly. The babies are just so precious, I can’t fathom any commitment less than “resistance unto death”, to use the biblical imagery.

Again, that “resistance unto death” described above is the use of suicide bombs. This is readily available where anybody can find it in a few seconds on Google. Christian terrorists discussing suicide bombing as “resistance unto death.” We haven’t seen Christian suicide bombers thus far, but again, that’s not because it hasn’t been contemplated as a possibility.

Lone Rangers

As a final excerpt for today, we have the Army of God Manual specifically calling for “lone-rangers.” When we talk of lone wolf terrorists, it’s important to note that even if an individual is acting alone, that doesn’t mean that the individual wasn’t influenced by others. The Army of God contemplated the lone wolf terrorist, their website is geared towards recruiting and radicalizing even those who aren’t specifically affiliated with anyone in Army of God. They don’t need to be specifically connected, not when there’s a website with all the information they need to know.

M.G.: How does one become a member of the Army of God?

A.O.G.: With great difficulty.

M.G.: Would you care to elaborate?

A.O.G.: No. Not in an interview. My main goal in this interview is to encourage others to take certain actions at certain times in solidarity with the resistance effort. In other words, when the mills begin to smoke, add some fuel to the fire. We desperately need single lone-rangers out there, who will commit to destroy one abortuary before they die. Most genuine Pro-Lifers praise and worship God when an abortuary is destroyed. It matters little what stripe of activist you are talking about. Rescuers, political activists, or covert operators are all thankful. And it’s common knowledge what the insurance costs are like after a good bombing.

Right there in black and white (or rather, black and green), it’s stated that the purpose of this document is to encourage others to join in.

In the weeks and months ahead, we’re going to see policy debate about right-wing domestic terrorism, whether it is terrorism to begin with, and what, if anything we should do about it. As you read the rest of this series on the Army of God manual, compare what you read to what you know about other terror groups around the world. This manual speaks for itself and the message comes through loud and clear.