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Infiltration & Extremist: A Look Inside The Wisconsin 3% Militia Part III

Wisconsin. Meet Thomas Leager and Gary Oliver and take a look at a month long conversation with the Midwest Defense Tactical Team.

Submitted to Enough 14.

We’re finally reporting back from the cold wastelands of Wisconsin with details of an extended conversation with five Wisconsin militia members including members of MDTT (Midwest Defense Tactical Team.} These militia members claim to have had enough of the LARPing antics of the Wisconsin 3% militia. Swathed in wholesale Velcro tactical gear and name brand wraparound sunglasses, this community is known for backyard glamor shots with their fully assembled AR-15 man-child Lego playsets. That they’ve been infiltrated by Federal Law Enforcement makes it even more tempting to laugh. To imagine the sloppy security culture, the absolute bumbling and comedic circumstances that led to these dipshits becoming infiltrated by the Feds can tempt one to consider these fools a benign malady.

Until you remember the racism, transphobia, homophobia, jingoism & xenophobia they mobilize behind. The violent rhetoric and the threats against intellectuals, press, and urban populations make one quickly lose any illusion that any of this could be funny. As ignorant, backwards, and downright embarrassing as these people act, they are genuinely a threat to the communities they invade during their rallies.  

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to prop up MDTT, the militia itself is full of the types that we are not even aware of and dont care to be involved with in any way. One thing that we are aware of is that their ranks are full of the types who believe in ‘heritage not hate’ and other sorts of undesirables. MDTT clearly associates with transphobes, homophobes, anti-anti fascist, and others who would gladly cause our friends and other loved ones harm if they had the chance. -Bottom Of The Lake, Crew, Interviewing Party 

Meet Gary Oliver 
Gary Oliver, (center right, black sweatshirt, circled in red) displaying a White Power hand gesture. Gary Oliver’s son Joe Oliver (center left, circled in orange) displaying a White Power hand gesture. This photo was posted to the page of the former Wisconsin State Rep. Joel Kleefisch (center, black top, circled in yellow) R-Oconomowoc, on August , 2017, after he spoke to the Wisconsin chapter of the Three Percenters. When the photo picked up media attention after the violence associated with the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, NC, Kleefisch attempted to disavow knowledge of the Three Percenters anti government sentiments by claiming he was merely invited to speak to a “patriot” group by his “longtime friend Gary Oliver.” Joel did not seek re-election in 2018. His wife Rebecca, Lt. Governor to Scott Walker in Wisconsin from 2011, only recently lost her re-election in 2019. 
Sources: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel I The Cap Times 

As you’ll recall, Thomas Leager, right-wing populist grifter and self-styled “journalist” co-founder of The Free Men Report, spearheaded the organization, planning and hosting of the November 2nd We Will Not Comply Rally (WWNCR) in Madison, Wi.  

In mid-September, a security meeting took place leading up to the WWNCR, the meeting consisted of multiple militia groups, including the 3% militia and MDTT. Thomas Leager put Gary Oliver, a 3% militiaman, to lead the security teams. Oliver’s plans instantly led to some great concerns from some of the other groups working on security. Gary Oliver attended the meeting with four others, who were all brought in by Thomas Leager. Several of them exhibited a set of language and behaviors while planning tactics that made the other members feel that they were “too militant” and others spent that time boasting and talking up their bona fides. Another unidentified individual was seemingly trying to sow dissent amongst the faction of the security planning team which Thomas Leager had personally selected through Oliver. This individual along with Oliver set about spreading discord among the security team. Another member who was brought in by Thomas Leager through the Gary Oliver team was revealed to be a confidential informant for the FBI. 

The informant was brought in by Gary Oliver through Thomas Leager. He apparently was one of Oliver’s trusted group members. I don’t know if they are still on speaking terms or if he was ousted. We know he associates with Mark Groom, (self-proclaimed commander of the WI 3% militia) another pompous loser we avoid. All I have is a first name. Steve. Because of the nature of the informant and the damage caused by him, MDTT has taken the position to avoid him and MDTT does not talk to or keep in contact with this individual. We consider him a severe threat, and a danger to any patriotic organization. -MDTT 

MDTT’s concern was that the larger 3% group may have been infiltrated, and they were agent provocateurs seeking to cause problems with antifascists and deliberately give the rally participants a bad reputation.  

Thomas Leager seemed oblivious to what was going on. He seemed preoccupied with planning other aspects of the rally, while the rest of the small group was attempting to plan security operations amongst the unraveling team. MDTT backed out because too much seemed off. Gary Oliver was the reason that MDTT decided not to attend or run security for WWNCR on November 2nd 2019. Gary Oliver’s plan was to position sniper teams in the parking garages at the rally surrounding the capitol building, which took place during one of the final outdoor farmer’s market and arts & crafts fair of the year, an event that forms a tight square of vendors all around the capitol building and leading straight down State St, an event attended by families with young children, by teens at college, by working class folk of all kinds enjoying one of the final markets of the year before winter.  

This was crossing the line for most of the group within MDTT, many of whom were likely already looking at Oliver’s clique and wondering who the fuck they’d gotten themselves involved with. When they challenged Gary Oliver’s decision, he became aggressive and confrontational.  

Oliver wanted four sniper teams positioned in two different parking structures. Two teams were to have full view of the rally, and the other two were to have full view of all side roads leading to the rally, in order to locate/track and radio in the location of potential Antifa activity. One militia wanted no part in participating in a sniper team or covering from those positions for several reasons:  

  1. The parking structures are clearly marked as “gun-free zones.”  
  2. The Madison PD and Dane County SWAT had their own sniper teams on various rooftops, which could have led to an incident. An incident, as in SWAT sees militia sniper in a parking structure looking through the scope of a high-powered rifle down at the rally. Dane County SWAT would have two options: radio it in and send officers to intercept; or take a shot under the impression that a sniper or mass shooter is about to potentially open fire on the rally. Imagine the following shitshow if 300 armed people hear a gunshot. The potential for panic and hysteria would be a catastrophe. Not just the panicked rally members, but families, students, basically any and all kinds of folk. Sometimes as many as 40,000+ people from the surrounding areas of Wisconsin flood downtown Madison Farmers Market.  
  3. It was one militia’s opinion that there was no benefit from positioning snipers in the garages and that it was too much risk. The request to have simply spotters with binoculars was quickly rejected by Oliver.  

After the meeting concluded, MDTT unanimously voted to reject participation in any aspect of the security detail. Gary Oliver seemed hyper aggressive, threatening and hot-tempered.  

Oliver’s “team” only had about 12-16 members. He wanted multiple 2-man teams on the ground at key locations throughout the rally. It is believed he was directly in charge of several teams during the actual rally. They all exhibited behavior, language, and a pattern of actions that made it seem like they wanted a direct confrontation with antifascists. They certainly were excited about the potential of having Antifa present, “We should just light ‘em all up.” One participant commented at Thomas Leager’s security meeting.

Gary Oliver (center, circled in red) and his son Joe Oliver (left, circled in red)
Joe Oliver at a militia event in Madison, WI in 2018.

Some of the unnerving comments on the We Will Not Comply Rally FB event discussion wall hosted by Thomas Leager seem less surprising alongside the information that’s come to light regarding the issues at the security meeting in mid-September. But what is still surprising is that Thomas Leager never once addressed any of the alarming comments in public, or in private. One of these comments stated, “Out of 200 (militia members) 25-50 of us could form a perimeter around the 150, using their weapons to shoot the AntiFa and/or Federal agents that would seek to infiltrate our ranks. That would work until one of the AntiFa and/or Federal agents were shot.”

“The question was raised are we there to protect the 2nd amendment rally attendees from Antifa, or protect Antifa from potential extremists in our own rally? When that question couldn’t be answered to satisfaction, that was it. We were out.” MWTT (Midwest Defense Tactical Team)  

Our group asked if there were any concerns with the obviously violent people who Thomas Leagers chooses to associate with. There is one main concern that Leagers has a ‘do or die’ mentality when it comes to his rallies and that his own ego will cause him to gather support at any and all cost –  One member of MDTT stated that as far as Leager associating with those buffoons, it doesn’t concern him. “They are all morons by my standards. Leager preaches constitutional freedoms through unification, but he either chooses to overlook the crimes of these individuals, is too preoccupied to look into it deeper, or is just flat out ignorant to what’s going on within his own ranks.” -MDTT 

It was asked again if these issues are really no concern and if not, why? One member of MDTT stated- Because there is nothing I can do to fix it…Just like I can’t fix Washington DC. It would take a million-armed men surrounding the White House to fix that problem. Even more so to fix the 3% group. How do you even begin to change an organization that literally has a revolving door of personnel flowing in both directions? The personnel turnover rate is greater than 50%. That means out of 100 members, less than half are truly committed. The other half are a mix of undesirables and nationalists.  

So how does the 3% keep ending up here? It’s so funny (it’s not) that people keep committing violence and murder as official members of the group, that this group that claims to only want to protect our right to bear arms seems to attract a certain kind of person. The organization claims that members of the 3% militia are vetted for extremism, racism, and criminal history. But all these issues are continuing problems within this movement. 

Dishonor Before Death: Snitches get stitches reduced sentences and become confidential informants  

In one specific incident, one member was successfully able to conceal their criminal history (and therefore not legally eligible to possess/own firearms) and when pinched by the authorities, he also turned in another member who had firearm that was “illegally modified” which prompted ATF involvement. The wife of this member who owned an AR pistol (with a barrel length of less than 10.5 inches) swapped the equipped arm-brace stock for an adjustable shoulder stock, changing the firearm’s designation as a pistol to a short-barreled rifle. That first member took a deal with the ATF for reduced sentencing if he would become a confidential informant. Wisconsin 3% militia Commander Mark Groom was caught back in 2016-17 talking to the FBI. Another member of Groom’s group was raided by the ATF recently and became a federal informant. That first member took a deal with the ATF for reduced sentencing if he would become a confidential informant.  

Sloppy vetting, racism, & poor security culture  

Every member of the 3% is required to fill out a registration form that requires sensitive personal information such as an individual’s birth date and SSN, which is stored on a singular unsecure computer. This is run at a state/district level. New members were never properly vetted, and this allowed dangerous extremist individuals into the group, such as racists and felons. It’s been revealed that these types of extremists are employed in our schools, in law enforcement, and even within our government. A great majority of the 3% believe that the nation is so divided, that the only inevitable outcome is an all-out civil war.  

There are, and will continue to be individuals who are in fact racists and white supremacists who will try to align themselves within these “patriotic” groups because it’s the most socially acceptable way for them to express any kind of nationalist sentiment, but also because they view themselves as a “superior race.” The 3% claim to do their best to both prevent these kinds of people from joining and eject them once they are discovered amongst their ranks. However, it seems that due to the nature of the organization itself and its piss poor security culture, this will only continue to happen.  

During our conversations, the 3% defectors claimed that the extremists and racists that slipped through almost never showed any signs of violence or racist ideals. Those that were proficient at blending in, would occasionally “slip up” and show themselves for what they truly were. They claim that if someone had a suspicion a member may be racist, they would be “tested” or baited into revealing themselves. But does this narrative really hold up?  

They claim that sloppy vetting is mostly because your average citizen doesn’t have access to the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) system. For them background checks would be so much easier if NICS networks were available to the public. But one can hardly imagine a scenario more horrifying than armed reactionary militias having access to law enforcement databases for recruitment purposes and targeted kill lists. This is more of a formula for a “Night of the Long Knives” than any notion of citizen led safety culture. In this specific detail of conversation about the NICS law enforcement database, a lot of their strategic thinking can be gleaned. These are the same people that show up open carrying their kitted-out rifles at a farmer’s market protesting things like background checks. But they clearly fetishize the power that such information offers to any organization in possession of it.  

Is 3% militia’s inability to screen for extremists and bigots a matter of plausible deniability on behalf of the militia or just ineptitude? From the outside looking in, it appears that the group has a “don’t ask don’t tell” attitude towards a wide range of bigotry, racism, and white supremacy. The 2nd amendment smokescreen publicly espoused by 3% hardly gives cover to the consistent character of its membership.   

Please also read: Meet Jon Lawrenz, A Look Inside The WI 3% Militia Part I

Please also read Meet Mark Groom, A Look Inside The WI 3% Militia Part II

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