This week, reporters have finally noticed that the PAC is operated by a Gary Franchi, a kook who sees conspiracies everywhere from 9/11 coverups to FEMA concentration camps and the New World Order. Oh, and it wouldn't be a conspiracy theorist without claiming that President Barack Obama is ineligible to be President of the US.
The leader of the group, its founder, chairman and treasurer, is Gary Franchi, a promoter of conspiracy theories and sophisticated social-media entrepreneur in the resurgent movement known as the Patriots.No surprise that Franchi has been a regular guest on Alex Jones' conspiracy-minded talk show.
The 34-year-old political activist from the Chicago suburbs told msnbc.com that his goal is a "non-violent intellectual revolution, which results in a full restoration of the federal Constitution."
Online videos produced by Franchi, and online interviews with him, add specifics:
- Franchi has supported the 9/11 Truth Movement, which supports the idea that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, werean inside job to create a pretext for a reduction in American liberty, or at least involved a cover-up, with the World Trade Center brought down by a planned U.S. demolition, instead of terrorist-controlled airplanes. Franchi founded the Lone Lantern Society (a reference to Paul Revere indicating that foreign enemies are on American soil). The group supports "the birth of freedom and the death of the New World Order," a secretive elite that is supposedly trying to set up a world government. Lone Lantern has held street demonstrations on the 11th of every month in Chicago and elsewhere, demanding an investigation of 9/11. In New Hampshire in 2008, a video shows Franchi asking Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, who was campaigning for Sen. John McCain, whether Ridge would support an investigation of the "controlled demolition" of the World Trade Center. Ridge was having none of it, saying, "I just don't buy into that. That's a conspiracy theory that has no basis in fact. It's almost out of the Twilight Zone."
- According to a 2010 reportby the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks domestic fringe groups, "Gary Franchi is one of the leading promoters of a resurgent Patriot conspiracy theory that alleges the government is creating concentration camps for U.S. citizens." In 2009 he co-wrote and co-produced the video "Camp FEMA: American Lockdown," which claims that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is creating concentration camps on air bases and in vacant buildings to house political dissenters when the federal government proclaims martial law. "Your church may have already signed a deal with the devil," reads promotional material for the film. The film questions whether Census data will be used to round up Americans. Clips from Franchi's film on YouTubeshow Hitler youth marching while the narrator ominously describes President Obama's plans to expand AmeriCorps and the USA Freedom Corps, the volunteer initiative launched by the Bush administration after 9/11.
- Franchi operates Restore the Republic, which opposes the Federal Reserve, the IRS and the income tax, decries the control of the economy by the Rockefellers and the "banking cartel," and warns of government plans to plant RFID microchips into all Americans. The group was founded by Franchi and filmmaker and Libertarian presidential candidate Aaron Russo, and has been operated by Franchi since Russo's death from cancer in 2007. RTR shares an address with Revolution PAC in Northbrook, Ill. The group, which describes itself as a social media platform for like-minded individuals, promotes Russo's film, "America: Freedom to Fascism," in which Ron Paul declares, "If that's the definition of a police state — that you can't do anything unless the government gives you permission —we're well on our way." In a YouTube video interview with Franchi in 2008, Paul credited the Russo video with bringing a lot of people to his presidential campaign. The group has also placed billboards fueling the bogus claim that Obama is not an American citizen, asking, "Where's the REAL birth certificate?"
What's surprising is that the media hasn't taken a closer look at Paul's supporters and super PACs until now. It's fertile ground for exposing the extremist views that are permeating Paul's campaign, to say nothing of the spillover effect on the rest of the Republican party, who feels that catering to extremists is the way to go.