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5/29/01

Rumors of the demise of United Patriot Radio have proven to be false; whether or not this is a good thing, only time will tell.

United Patriot Radio is a shortwave pirate broadcasting from somewhere in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Run by a self-described militiaman named Steve Anderson (no relation), UPR originally came to life as Kentucky State Militia Radio (KSMR) in March, 2000, relaying militia-related news and advocating resistance to further encroachment by the Federal government on the lives of America's citizenry.

Broadcasting on the upper sideband of 3260 kHz with a handful of watts and a homemade antenna, KSMR caused a small stir in the shortwave pirate community: never before had a clandestine station targeting the United States government actually broadcast from within its own borders.

But, as more and more people tuned in KSMR, more and more began not to like what they heard.

On the air at the start for just an hour a day, Steve Anderson would begin each KSMR broadcast with David Von Kleist's pro-militia song "Take My Gun (From My Cold Dead Hands)." He would then proceed to ramble for about 60 minutes, passing on tidbits of militia news from around the country, relaying contact information for various militia groups, and engaging in some personal commentary.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), armed with a nationwide network of monitoring stations that scan the shortwave bands, noticed KSMR almost immediately after it signed on and sent Anderson a letter warning him about the consequences of broadcasting without a license.

Anderson replied on the air, claiming that the FCC was a "fictitious entity" with no power to shut him down. He also ominously warned that any such attempts at silencing KSMR would be met with active resistance.

This did not sit well with the commander of the Kentucky State Militia, who did not want to get into an armed conflict with the Feds over Anderson's shortwave station. After about three weeks of broadcasting, the KSM's commander told Anderson to stop broadcasting, and Anderson said he would.

Then, at a gathering of militia groups in Kentucky in April, 2000, KSM's commander caught Anderson soliciting donations for his station, which he'd renamed United Patriot Radio. This was the last straw: Anderson was formally expelled from the Kentucky State Militia for disobeying a direct order from a commanding officer.

After a couple of weeks of silence on 3260, most people thought United Patriot Radio was no more. But the station is now back from the dead and Steve Anderson has plans to stay on the air until he's forcibly silenced.

Not only does this bring up some disturbing possibilities for the endgame of United Patriot Radio, but as we learn more about the man behind the mic, the entire story is turning into something more sinister.

United Patriot Radio has expanded its programming with syndicated right-wing shows and is now on the air for more than 12 hours at a time.

While most of the shows heard on UPR spew typical antigovernment rhetoric and conspiracy theories about the powers-that-be, Steve Anderson himself steps over the line of decency.

On his personal show, "The Militia Hour," Anderson advocates a Christian-only philosophy of what America should be. He's taken to regularly denouncing "religious minorities" in the United States, preaching that they should convert to his one True Faith or leave the country.

The Anti-Defamation League has also been monitoring the station: it reports that Anderson has also publicly stated that he's a follower of the Christian Identity movement.

Holding to the belief that white-skinned Christians are superior to all others on the planet, and that Jews especially are spawns of Satan himself, the Christian Identity movement has long been considered by hate group watchdogs to be a cover for numerous racist elements in the United States, most notably linked to the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations.

In June, Anderson says he'll put United Patriot Radio on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will conduct all broadcasts on 6900 kHz USB (since not all shortwave receivers tune down to 3260). That will mean a potentially wider audience for him, but bad news for other shortwave pirates, who typically use frequencies near Anderson's new spot on the dial.

How will the FCC react? That remains to be seen: officials with the agency's Enforcement Bureau won't comment on their pending case against United Patriot Radio.

The FCC has tried in the past to fabricate propaganda to justify its war on pirate radio. The most notable recent example took shape in the late 1990s, when it claimed FM pirates regularly interfered with aircraft communications and police and fire frequencies, thereby posing a "danger to public safety." Although such claims have never been proven, the agency continues to trot them out in news releases relating to pirate radio enforcement activity.

Just imagine what the FCC might do with one isolated case of a right-wing racist shooting at them: watch it justify needing a fully-armed response to EVERY pirate broadcaster because of the inherent threat of "violence" advocated by a single man.

Fortunately, other shortwave pirates have already mobilized to defuse the situation somewhat with typical tongue-in-cheek humor. One station calling itself "Ground Zero Radio" took to the air on Memorial Day weekend broadcasting a special United Patriot Radio parody show: a Steve Anderson impersonator described a government conspiracy to spike dog food - his only source of sustenance - and also hinted at a canine-human love affair in the making.

While that is worth a few chuckles, the Real United Patriot Radio is a serious issue worth watching, due to the danger it presents on multiple levels.