Norman Olson

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Norman Olson (born 1946) is an American militia movement activist. Olson is a Baptist minister and retired United States Air Force non-commissioned officer originally from Alanson, Michigan. In 1994, he and Ray Southwell founded the Michigan Militia, an organized paramilitary group established in response to perceived threats on the rights of citizens by the federal government, specifically what they perceived was then-President Bill Clinton's desire to pass strict gun control laws.[1] Olson owned a 120-acre (0.49 km2) wooded property in Northern Michigan which served as the militia's training base, where members learned paramilitary skills.[2]

Olson drew the attention of the U.S. government to himself and the Michigan Militia when he reported that Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols had attended one of his meetings. He also claimed that the bombing was carried out by the government of Japan in retaliation for a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, which Olson claimed was perpetrated by the United States.[3] The conspiracy theory was deemed so extreme by fellow militiamen that he was expelled from the Michigan Militia after losing four elections for commander.[2][4]

Also in 1995, Olson testified about the militia movement to the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security.[5]

In 2000, Olson ordered militias across the United States to defend the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, whose property was to be seized after multiple failures to pay taxes. He ordered militia to surround the church to prevent the government from entering, and claimed the incident could be "Waco II".[6]

In 2004, Olson purchased 22 acres (89,000 m2) near Nikiski, Alaska, on the Kenai Peninsula, where he and Southwell moved with their families. Upon moving to Nikiski, Olson and Southwell established the Alaska Citizens Militia


  1. ^ Potok, Mark (April 17, 1996), "Militant militia fringe is setting off alarms", USA Today 
  2. ^ a b Associated Press (26 August 2002). "Militia founder leaving state for Alaska". Rick A. Ross Institute. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Holthouse, David (16 September 2009). "Olson, Michigan Militia Leader in ’90s, Back in Action in Alaska". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  4. ^ D'oro, Rachel (22 November 2009). "Militia movement resurfaces in Alaska". Juneau Empire. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "Testimony of Norman Olson of the Michigan Militia". The Potomack Institute. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "Militias Mobilize To Prevent Another Mt. Carmel". 25 February 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2009.