Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ya Hala! Sorry, I haven't been neglecting you guys, but I've been jammed on an assignment. Sort of a big deal. I've been researching the Christian Identity movement here in western North Carolina, and one of the local prominent figures I've doing background on, Silas Troublefield, was extradited from a little town near here called Jefferson, just here a couple of days ago.

I've been gathering information on him since I got here in January. All of a sudden I'm sitting on a story! Anyway, here it is:

From Al Jazeera
17:32 MECCA TIME, 14:32 GMT
By Siraj Talal


7/27 Crusaders had link to Mainstream American Evangelicals

Reverend Silas Troublefield, a well loved champion of expository preaching, and longtime member of the National Association of Evangelicals, was nevertheless shunted out of a Houston mega church in 1987.

It is now known the popular Texan minister was asked to resign following allegations that he had sympathies for the Christian Identity movement. Not only had he diverted church funds to Identity causes, but Troublefield was believed to be recruiting members of the US military from the church's own congregation for the now notorious Global Crusade known as PURE.

In contrast to the mission stated by the National Association of Evangelicals, the 'Christian Identity' is a label applied to a variety of loosely affiliated believers with a racialized theology. Many promote a Eurocentric interpretation of Christianity. The following represent the three pillars of the movement's core ideology:

* Jews are not 'true' Israelites; they are descendents of Satan and Eve.
* White Aryans are the actual descendants of biblical tribes of Israel, and they are born with an inherently divine mission to make God's will manifest on earth.
* The war on evil will end in a final conflict we know as the Apocalypse.

Both Evangelicals and members of the Identity movement consider themselves to be 'Christian', but that's where the similarity ends. The groups are otherwise as different as Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and each would say that the other preaches heresy.

Naturally, Silas Troublefield was forced to abandon his post in Houston, much to the dismay of many in the community who considered him not just charismatic and capable, but truly inspired.

Born in Kenya as a son of missionaries, he was educated at the Duke Divinity School, and wrote several prominent books in his career, including ‘Transforming The World With The Word’, co-written with his son, Michael, who is Vice President of Troublefield Ministries International.

In 2005 Silas Troublefield moved his family and found a new home, and assembled a new congregation in Jefferson, set among the rolling valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains, far from the cries of indignation back in Texas, but still close enough to three state borders that he had no problems building another mega church, drawing congregants from not just North Carolina, but from Tennessee and Virginia as well.

Two years later he started broadcasting his sermons. The broadcasts grew to enjoy such popularity, that up until the OPEC oil embargo on the United States started last December, his Christian radio station netted tens of millions of dollars every year from all across the United States, Canada and overseas.

Over the last two decades, the Reverend Troublefield managed to eek out an informal truce with the National Association of Evangelicals. But one thing Troublefield did not ever do –sources close to his inner circle say– was stop recruiting for PURE.

Rather, according to an Indonesian security analyst, Troublefield simply found a new home where he could mingle freely with others who drew no distinction between being Evangelical and identifying themselves as Christian Soldiers, with an emphasis on 'Soldiers'.

It also helped that Troublefield built his new church within modest driving distance of several major US military populations, from which Troublefield filled the pews with new recruits to the cause as well as the congregation.

Troublefield's ousting from Houston may sound in hindsight like much ado about nothing, but many members of the Christian Identity movement also happen to believe in organizing an overthrow of the US government.

As it happens, the movement has already accumulated a substantial and notorious history for waging a guerilla insurgency against the federal government, inspired by William L. Pierce's novel of Aryan cessation, 'The Turner Diaries', a book many consider every bit as important as the Bible.

It is widely known today that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the men responsible behind one of the most shocking terrorist attacks within America, the Oklahoma City Bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, used the Turner Dairies as a blueprint for terror.

But regardless of the depth of Troublefield's closely held personal core beliefs, the preacher managed to keep up the appearance of a repentant Evangelical.

In fact, during the strike against Southeast Asia on 7/27, the charismatic figure was attending a theological conference at Lynchburg College, in Virginia, as 'the CEO and President of Troublefield Ministries International', and taking meetings with old friends who were themselves present as representatives of The National Association of Evangelicals.

It was a perfect cover.

Unfortunately for members of National Association of Evangelicals, Pan Moslem authorities are now conducting formal inquiries to see if any of them did anything more than 'rub elbows' with their former colleague.

The principal question is to what extent Troublefield may have infiltrated the Evangelical community, an organization whose members number in the tens of millions. And if a link can be made, what role any implicated Evangelicals may have played on behalf of Troublefield's Christian Identity crusade, specifically in regard to the planning, funding and execution of the July 27 attacks.

Intelligence inputs say that at roughly the same time that $100,000 was wired from an undisclosed Houston account to Troublefield’s fundraising office in North Carolina, the same amount was wired from Troublefield Ministries to a mission in Australia where Christopher Kemper worked, ostensibly spreading the Gospel, but only a few days before Kemper would execute his final mission as a highjacker.

Many in the Southeast Asian intelligence community firmly believe that the July 27 attacks "were not the act of an individual terrorism cell, but rather they were part of a coordinated Christian-intelligence operation, whose membership goes well beyond the immediately identifiable network of Christian Identity groups, and draws substantial support from the mainstream Evangelical community", a sizable group which observers point out includes among its members President Bush.

It is now clear that Silas Troublefield did not choose the backwoods of North Carolina so much for its sublime natural beauty, as he told acquaintances at Christian conferences over the years, but rather because North Carolina has long been a hotbed of extremist groups and movements.

Today, domestic hate groups and anti-government extremist groups can be found in every section of North Carolina, and threats to Muslims in the region have emerged at an exponential rate in recent years.

If only Mr. Troublefield hadn't been so vocal on his radio show about his support for the 7/27 crusaders, he might have continued to go unnoticed by Pan Moslem authorities. But of Christopher Kemper in particular, a German national who took the controls of Al-Qadar, Flight 1013, and sent it spiraling to its tragic end in the Strait of Malacca with 67 passengers and crew aboard, –Troublefield said:

"Christopher was a loyal friend, and he touched literally thousands and thousands of lives through his words and deeds. He will be dearly missed. We have lost a dear friend and a great role model and mentor for Christian Soldiers."

In another broadcast Troublefield announced:

“As an evangelical Christian I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I take the Bible seriously as my rule of faith and practice. That is who evangelicals are and what evangelicals believe. Just as Muslims want us to know about Islam I want Muslims to know about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I believe I am the man who can make them stop and listen.”

In an ironic turn of events, Troublefield may now well have his chance. On Sunday evening, February 25, 2007, a private Gulfstream Jet leased by the Indonesian government departed Ashe County Airport (three miles (5 km) east of Jefferson), with the Reverend and several others aboard.

The next day, on the morning of Monday, February 26, the world learned of the Christian preacher's extradition to Indonesia, home to over 200 million Muslims. Sources within the Indonesian Intelligence community tell us they are all ears to hear what the American preacher has to tell them.