17 May 2014, 12:57

Operation American Spring: Big plans by militias, no turnout - interview with organizer

Operation American Spring: Big plans by militias, no turnout - interview with organizer
Download audio file

On May 16th, what could have been millions of people were to descend on Washington DC in what was being called "Operation American Spring". Groups of militias and veterans, formed after the closure of a monument to World War II veterans during the recent US Government shutdown had joined forces to put an end to the illegality that exists at the highest levels of the US Government. We spoke to Roberto Tonnizo, one of the organisers of Operation American Spring about the events before they took place.

Hello, this is John Robles I am speaking with Mr Roberto Tonnizo, he is the leader for Operation American Spring for Washington DC, as well as the State of Virginia.

Robles: Hello Sir, I understand you are driving down the Interstate right now. If you don't mind telling us a little bit about Operation American Spring, I would really like to hear about this.

Tonnizo: Excellent! I would first say hello to everyone there in Russia, and very happy to have this opportunity to speak to you, and tell everyone about our movement here in Washington. We are gathering on May 16th all over the United States, representing just about 49 States minus Hawaii here in the District of Columbia. We are going to gather on the National Mall, which is in front of the White House in the Capitol Hill area.

We are going to Washington DC because as Americans, of all walks and backgrounds, we are not very happy that our government has become so corrupt. This is not an issue between Democrat or Republican. Our government is on certain sections, on certain individuals are working outside the Law in lining their pockets and acting in a corrupt and an anti-constitutional manner.

What we are planning is to assemble in Washington DC. We have sent our grievances to all 535 members of the House and Senate, and we are actually going to be going after a few politicians in their voting districts for criminal wrongdoing. We are going to meet in Washington and stay indefinitely. We are going to stay until Congress hears us, our government hears us.

We also have a few Congressmen that are going to join us, coming down from Capitol Hill to join us.

Robles: For the listeners here, you are not planning events in the 49 States; these are people from 49 States, they're all going to be on the Mall in Washington, right. Is that correct?

Tonnizo: They are all converging in Washington DC. This organization was started by a Lieutenant Colonel Harry Riley. Well our government shut down over a budget stalemate between the two parties, and what the President did was, we have World War II veterans that come and see our veteran memorial. Some of these people spend a whole year to make these plans, these people are of course in the later years of their lives.

When this government was closed, the White House, the President put a gate around the World War II memorial so these veterans could not see their memorial. So the veterans here, the younger veterans went there and they tore down the barricades and they dumped them on the White House.

So a lot of these veterans decided they had had enough of the government that politically they are playing games, and the veterans saw that they had insulted the older veterans. So our Operation American Spring is born of the World War II memorial demonstration.

Colonel Harry Riley got together with a few other people to decide go on the Mall and go and make our voices be heard. Now we are a veteran organization but there's peoples from all walks of life, I myself am not a veteran, but we have people left, right, we have Christians, we have Buddhists, we have atheists, Americans from all backgrounds and all walks of life that have just had enough with our government.

We are extremely embarrassed at how our foreign policy is working around the globe. Even with Russia, many, many, many Americans feel that President Obama has made a mockery of our country and I think it's time to set the record straight.

Robles: Yeah, he's certainly not done anything for the prestige of the US worldwide.

Tonnizo: I want to very clear that our movement is not against them all, it's about the administration and the government itself and its policy. He is one of many people that are making a mockery, but yes I have to agree with you there.

Robles: You are talking about going after criminality and criminals in the government. Would this be going back to the Bush years, to 9/11 and things like that?

Tonnizo: This was set into to play for so many years and decades. In the beginning it was subtle, Nixon took us off the Gold Standard, before that it was the New Deal. It's the growth of government, EPA, so it's just bureaucracy over bureaucracy.

And what happens is the States who is powering the Federal Governments, so there is many, many levels to this. This administration goes very, very far in covering up and working outside the constitution.

Now clearly he stated I have a pen and a phone and I'll use it. Which clearly meant forget Congress that's our legislative branch that makes laws. I'll make my own. You have to remember that it's not just like Obama, it's not just Bush, you have the Congress that's involved, you have spy that you can see that, the CIA runs independently of pretty much any government agency.

Robles: Obama, he's neutralized the left, but nobody can criticize him. Bush, he represented the conservatives. But they are doing the same illegal operations and crimes and raping the country and the economy, both of them, I don't see any difference.

Tonnizo: Absolutely correct. It's a combination of Obama and a combination of Bush, and it's just what's the difference? We are still bombing people under Obama. Now under Bush we united as a country after 9/11, we were thinking more patriotic, we were hurting more, so we bound together.

Our agencies weren't talking to each other. The FBI did not talk to the CIA. The FBI did not talk to the State level Police. They wanted to go ahead, and the idea was to make sure that all agencies got together and spoke, and that's why they circled them together under what's called the Department of Homeland Security. Well, that's become just a huge fiasco, and once we hear America made an agency like that you'll never get it undone, and it's become more of a problem than it has been ability to solve problems.

After so many years of this, so you look at this: well how come the United States and foreign policies always on the wrong side of what's right or wrong. Maybe after a while you start thinking "well maybe that's happening on purpose", you know. We seem to be always arming the wrong people.

Robles: Yeah Al Qaeda, now Nazis in Ukraine, and the list goes on. As far as your events coming up, how many people do you think are going to be in attendance?

Tonnizo: Colonel Riley, he wanted 10 million people, that's what his goal was. I was born and raised in Washington DC, the last time I was there in the Mall for, it was certified one million people, it was 1985 during a concert on the 4th July. It's very hard to get that many people in Washington.

I'm not making excuses, but we don't know how many people are going to show up. But it's going to be a significant amount, so Friday will tell us. But also understand that this is an event that could be just a spark for something bigger later.

All we can do is put down the laptops, put down the Facebook, put down the Twitter, and actually put our bodies there together. It's inevitable, activism is like … activism is great, activism on line is great we really need to do it for ourselves, our country and actually for the world.

Robles: I think part of the tactic of all the computer stuff is it's great to hear all that and read all of it, but then you have people in these little isolated environments and they're easier to control that way.

Anyway, I've heard the term militia used, that there's going to be militias. Are these going to be armed people, or what's going on with that?

Tonnizo: The District of Columbia, Washington DC, is a gun-free zone. They've just changed the laws recently, so that homeowners only are allowed to have a shotgun in their closet. So no-one is allowed to bring an arm … no-ones brings arms there.

Many people are staying outside of the district of Columbia, just like all the tourists do – they stay in Virginia. Virginia is a very conservative State, and we have many laws that allow open carry of pistols and any rifles and such stuff.

Militias are coming; they are coming unarmed. We are going there peacefully. These are ex-veterans. Just remember that in the United States, outside of the large city that you see on TV, in normal Virginia for example it is not uncommon to see people with a gun, a pistol, on the side of their belt, and the theory is that if you don't use the Second Amendment right to hold your firearm, then they will take it away from you.

So that's the mentality. So we have militia sure!, the same militia are the people that come when the town floods and they help rebuild homes. The militias are the same people that go and bring drinking water when they accidents like in Tennessee.

So yes, there's no issue, they'll be there. They're not going to be in uniform, they're going to be in casual clothing. It sounds very strange but the militias are … it's a way for people to take care of themselves without having the government involved.

Robles: Are these militias, are they like multi-cultural or are they just white people, or what's the make of it?

Tonnizo: It depends on where they live. In Maryland we did a lot of promoting, basically getting the word out, and I met a whole group of militia in Maryland that were there in Virginia, and they were their own militia. And there were Tea Party members that were conservative, and the biggest convern for them was that they wanted the right to carry their rifles. And in Maryland the laws are very, very extreme, very "Socialist" we call them. Gun rules are very, very strict, but these people they protect their own neighborhoods, and these are all black Americans, you know, so …

During the LA riots, years ago, the Koreans, even though they didn't call them militia, they had their own groups that protected their own property. It does happen; it's just a name that's given. Even the local neighbourhood watch, it's the same thing.

Robles: Americans have had right after right, after civil right, after civil liberty, after constitutional protection taken away for the last 20 years, especially since 9/11. Why is it that gun rights is such a hot issue that people are ready to take to the streets to keep their guns, but to keep their privacy they're willing to just it seems give that up?

Tonnizo: You have to understand that all Americans here are misfits from all over the world. My parents immigrated from Italy, they did not like how socialist it got there and they left, and immigrated in the early 60s. So everyone here has come from other countries, and they gave us rights, the freedom of speech. Well the freedom of speech is guarded by the Second Amendment, which is the right to bear arms.

That Second Amendment right gave the American person the right to hold firearms, that can keep up with modern times to make sure that the government doesn't come back in and become interfering or unruly. We the people rule the government, and what's happened over the last 20 years, like he said, they've turned it around and now they think that we work for them.

So the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not just for hunting, and what they're doing is slowly picking all of that away. And the reason why Americans seem like John Wayne cowboys, unlike the rest of the world, that for the last over 200 hundred and some years has kept us from tyranny. Because we are the rulers and we keep the government in check.

Robles: It doesn't seem that way anymore.

Tonnizo: No, absolutely, that's one of the reasons why we are going there, so they can't take away our right to bear arms. For example what Bill Clinton did was he halted importation of arms, which was legal. Now what they're doing at the administration is, all the American manufacturers for ammunition, their first dedication is to the government and then they can sell privately. Well, what did the government do, they ordered a billion rounds of 9 mm and now they are busy only doing government contracting and they don't have enough time to make private citizens ammunition available.

So they are really working overtime to take our rights away, and we feel as Americans if they take our ability to defend ourselves we're done, we're just like any other country.

Robles: Why does your government need nine billion 9 mm rounds?

Tonnizo: What they did was they advertised, it's called a GSA, a Government Services Agency contract, and then contractors can fill those orders. So we started to see that they were ordering all these rounds.

Now what's happened is, well just recently after a couple of years of this, there was just a report done, an audit done, the army has such a large volume of 9 mm rounds that they are going to destroy them, over a billion rounds. And the Americans clearly see that as a way to keep ammunition out of our hands, because once the ammunition producers, the manufacturers, are busy making the government agency ammunition it's not for sale to us.

Robles: What about the cost? Aren't tax payers upset, the US Army they're famous, like in Afghanistan they built huge multi-billion Dollar bases and then just tore down. And the same thing with these bullets you're saying, they're ordering them and then they're going to destroy them. Haven't the American people had enough of paying welfare to the military industrial complex?

Tonnizo: The Americans are tired of overpaying for everything. I absolutely agree with what you are saying. We had those MRAPS that were built thousands of them. Now they're in Afghanistan and they don't know what to do with them. You know, hundreds and hundreds of millions of Dollars, and they're giving them to anyone that will take them, anyone in Europe, South Africa, anywhere. They're just trying to unload them and it's just a waste of money.

You see the government of the United States, they are not a business, they do not run as a business. They are a bureaucracy that every year increase their budget. If you don't spend your budget then they will start deceasing your budget. So in every agency they have to outspend their budget every year or else they'll get in trouble.

So waste is king here, and that's very unfortunate and it's one of the things we're trying change. We are starting to smarten up here in the United States. We're starting to see that, hey, you know what, the Federal Reserve and the London Bankers, I think Mr Putin is exactly correct. I think that this is not for all the of us in the US but for many of us see that the paper trails leading back to our banking society, it's just corrupt, it's all bankrupting us all.

And we absolutely see the fact: why does Ukraine want to go join the European Union? Everyone wants to leave the European Union.

Robles: It wasn't the Ukrainian people who wanted to join the European Union. It was Nuland's puppets who wanted Ukraine to join the European Union.

Tonnizo: We know for example Mr Kerry was the first one to tell us that "Oh they're writing down a list of all the Jews". And then we quickly noticed, the first thing that we said was "that didn't even make the news, how did our Secretary of State know all about this?" There is a lot of misinformation going on.

Robles: Oh they knew exactly, because they were paying and funding and training these people for 10 years. They don't care about you, they don't care about the American taxpayer, they don't care about the American people. They don't care about the Ukrainian people, they don't care about unleashing Nazis in Europe. They have their plan, their agenda and that's all they care about, it doesn't matter if you are Jewish or black or conservative or liberal as long as you are on board with the money train.

Tonnizo: We are starting to see this isn't about left or right. This isn't about Republicans or Democrats, this isn't about black and white.

You were listening to an interview with Roberto Tonnizo, he's the organizer for Operation American Spring in Washington DC and Virginia. Thank you very much for listening and I wish you the best wherever you may be.

    and share via