By Anonymous
on December 15, 2020 - Last updated: February 27, 2021

William G. Boykin

[This article was submitted to us anonymously. It seems in part based on William Boykin's English Wikipedia entry, but with many additional resources.]

William Gerald "Jerry" Boykin, born April 19, 1948, in Wilson, North Carolina, is a fundamentalist Christian1 retired three-star general who was the U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2007.

Boykin, a born-again Christian, has generated considerable controversy with his religiously fanatic and Islamophobic remarks, particularly with framing the War on Terror in religious terms;2 for example, Boykin had repeatedly referred to the United States as a "Christian nation" engaged in a battle against Satan.3 In a Salon article, Boykin is described as "a right-wing nut whose hatred and paranoia over Muslims leads him to embrace [ridiculous] conspiracy theories."4

That Boykin's religious fanaticism is dangerous and delusional is evident from episodes such as  him having "seen" marks of demonic forces on aerial photographs he had taken from a helicopter in Somalia, which reaffirmed him in his mission.3 According to a CBS News article, Boykin "prays over every significant decision in his life," including whether or not to do interviews.1

During his 36-year career in the military, Boykin spent 13 years in the Delta Force and was involved in numerous high-profile missions, including the 1980 Iran hostage rescue attempt, the 1992 hunt for Pablo Escobar in Colombia, and the Black Hawk Down incident in Mogadishu, Somalia.5 Since many of Boykin's military activities are still classified (such as his service in Panama, Somalia and Grenada), and his CV omitting several key operations he was involved in, there is more to be learned from his anecdotes at Pentecostal gatherings than from official statements.3

Boykin is involved in several ultra-reactionary organizations, the most outwardly militant being the Black Robe Regiment,6 a clerical fascist militia, of which he is a member since its foundation in 2012. Under the slogan "join or die," the BRR provides the psychological justification for violence by stating that God approves of war, the Crusades, or domestic militias for that matter.

As of 2020, Boykin is also executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC),7 an American fundamentalist Protestant activist group and lobbying organization. Its stated mission is "to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview."8 Boykin sits on the Committee on the Present Danger: China, a Cold War neocon think tank revived for the fourth time in 2019, and as of September 2020 is a member of the "pluto-theocratic"9 right-wing club Council for National Policy (CNP). He also sits on the board of Oliver North's Freedom Alliance.10

Boykin spends his retirement years authoring religio-militaristic tracts, such as The Warrior Soul: Five Powerful Principles to Make You a Stronger Man of God.11 He has also appeared as an advisor to Republican Ted Cruz in his 2016 presidential campaign.4

Early life

According to a 2003 article by the Washington Post3:

Boykin was born into a Pentecostal family in rural New Bern, N.C. "His mom taught Sunday school. This guy grew up in the church," said Jack Kelley, executive director of men's ministries for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, a denomination that claims 3.5 million members in more than 100 countries. Boykin, whom Kelley called a "prayer warrior," recently completed a two-year stint on the men's ministries board.

In 1971, Boykin joined the Army, and first held positions in the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, and in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, and served as a company commander in the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Georgia.3

In 1978, shortly after the foundation of the elite Delta Force (19 November 1977), he was accepted into the "toughest counter-terrorism and hostage rescue squad," the military had to offer.3 According to an article by CBS News1, Boykin says

... when he was a young captain, God actually spoke to him, telling him to join the Army’s elite Delta Force: “There are times when God speaks to you in an audible voice. He spoke to me that morning because I said, ‘Satan is gathering his forces.’ He said, ‘Yes, son, but so am I.’ And I knew I was to be there.”

Already back then, a Fort Bragg psychologist recommended not to take on Boykin because of his fanatical religiousness, but that proved rather a virtue than a handicap in the eyes of the creator of the Delta Force, Col. Charlie Beckwith, as Col. L.H. "Bucky" Burruss recalled, "who helped run the assessment and selection program"3:

... the late Col. Charlie Beckwith ... preferred "God-fearing men," according to Burruss. "Beckwith believed it made a better officer." A religious soldier would not be disqualified unless his beliefs "would interfere with him committing slaughter on behalf of the United States," Burruss said. "If so, he should not be a combat arms officer. You have to have officers and soldiers prepared to commit slaughter on behalf of the United States, when provoked and when necessary."

One of the Delta unit's first missions in which Boykin took part was Operation Eagle Claw, the failed effort to free 52 American hostages held in the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which ended in a disaster when a helicopter ran into a transport plane which caused the death of eight U.S. soldiers, and was ultimately aborted. Boykin called it "the greatest disappointment" of his career,12 yet his "faith was strengthened" believing he had witnessed "a miracle": "Not one man who stood with us in the desert and pleaded for God to go with us was killed or even injured that night."13

As the U.S. forces prepared to withdraw from Desert One (a salt flat 200 miles southeast of Tehran), one of the remaining helicopters crashed into a transport aircraft that contained both servicemen and jet fuel. The resulting fire destroyed both aircraft and killed eight servicemen.

In October 1983, Boykin took part in Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada. He was wounded by anti-aircraft fire during the Delta helicopter assault on Richmond Hill prison. In 1989, Boykin took part in the U.S. invasion of Panama, whereby part of the mission was to apprehend Manuel Noriega that succeeded on 20 December 1989.3 "Operation Just Cause"  was followed by Operation Acid Gambit, a Delta Force operation to retrieve Kurt Muse, an American CIA operative14 living in Panama, from the Cárcel Modelo, a notorious prison in Panama City. Muse had been arrested in 1989 for setting up covert anti-Noriega radio transmissions in Panama.

At the Delta Force, Boykin held numerous leadership positions including operations officer, troop commander, squadron commander, deputy commander and finally unit commander from July 1992 to July 1994.

1990s

From 1990 to 1991 Boykin attended the Army War College. In 1992 and early 1993, as a colonel, Boykin was in Colombia leading a mission to hunt for drug lord Pablo Escobar. The prominent journalist Seymour Hersh later claimed in The New Yorker that there were suspicions within the Pentagon that Boykin's team was going to take part in the assassination of Pablo Escobar, and that US Embassy officials in Colombia were acting as support. Hersh refers to Mark Bowden's book Killing Pablo which made allegations that the Pentagon believed Boykin intended to break the law and exceed his authority in the operation. Mark Bowden states that "within the special ops community... Pablo's death was regarded as a successful mission for Delta, and legend has it that its operators were in on the kill." Hersh quotes an anonymous retired army general as saying, "That's what those guys did. I've seen pictures of Escobar's body that you don't get from a long-range telescope lens. They were taken by guys on the assault team."15

In April 1993, Boykin helped advise Attorney General Janet Reno regarding the stand-off at Waco, Texas, between the Federal Government and the Branch Davidians religious sect, between February 28 and April 19, 1993.165 Suspecting the group of stockpiling illegal weapons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) obtained a search warrant for the compound and arrest warrants for sect leader David Koresh and a select few of the group's members. When the ATF attempted to serve a search and arrest warrant on the ranch, an intense gunfight erupted, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Upon the ATF's entering of the property and failure to execute the search warrant, a siege lasting 51 days was initiated by the FBI, which eventually launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. Shortly thereafter, the Mount Carmel Center quickly became engulfed in flames, and the fire resulted in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidians, including 25 children, two pregnant women, and David Koresh himself.17

In October 1993, Boykin was deployed in Somalia and took part in the Battle of Mogadishu, also called the Black Hawk incident. It was fought on October 3-4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, between forces of the United States—supported by UNOSOM II—and Somali militiamen loyal to the Somali general Mohamed Farrah Aidid.3 As a result of mortar shelling, he was wounded again.

Sometime around 1995, Boykin left the army and served in the Special Activities Division, a CIA division responsible for covert operations and paramilitary operations. According to author Richard D. Mahoney18:

In 1995, the CIA's top-secret Military Special Projects was redesignated the Special Activities Staff (and later Special Activities Division) when General William G. Boykin assumed command of the division ...

As of September 26, 1995, Boykin's title was "Chief, Special Operations Division" at the "Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."19

As of January 1998 his title was "Deputy Chief of Staff for Combat Developments, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Virginia,"20 but it is unclear whether this title refers to a later position than the one in the Special Activities Division.

In January 1998, Boykin got a new assignment as Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.20

In January 1998, William Boykin, then "Deputy Chief of Staff for Combat Developments," was reassigned to serve as Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

2000s

From 2000 to 2003, he was the commanding general, United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, N.C. In June 2003, he was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence under Dr. Stephen Cambone, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

In 2003, Seymour Hersh claimed in The New Yorker that Boykin was a key planner, along with Stephen Cambone, behind Rumsfeld's Special Forces approach to fighting the War on Terror.15 Furthermore, when Boykin was questioned in a congressional inquiry regarding similarities between current War on Terror special operations and USA's Phoenix Program during the Vietnam War, he said: "I think we're running that kind of program. We're going after these people. Killing or capturing these people is a legitimate mission for the department. I think we're doing what the Phoenix Program was designed to do, without all of the secrecy."2122

A December 9, 2003, item in The Guardian connected Boykin with secret Israeli counterinsurgency assistance in Iraq, allegedly including assassination squads.23 In another Guardian article, Sidney Blumenthal, President Bill Clinton's former senior adviser and current Washington bureau chief for Salon.com, claimed that towards the end of 2003, it was Boykin who, under Donald Rumsfeld's orders, advised then Camp X-Ray head Major General Geoffrey Miller in Guantanamo to transfer the same Camp X-Ray methods to Abu Ghraib and the Iraqi prison system.24

In 2003, Boykin started to make negative headlines when his public remarks which cast the War on Terror in religious terms became known. In an October 2003 speech to a community church in Oregon, Boykin was recorded stating that Islamic extremists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan."2 William Arkin, military analyst for NBC News, was the source of the video and audiotapes of Boykin. The following day the Los Angeles Times ran a piece on Boykin. Among several quotes, the article revealed Boykin giving a speech about hunting down Osman Atto in Mogadishu: "He went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, 'They'll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.' Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."25

Outrage by the press and variouus Muslim organizations led President George W. Bush to distance himself from the statements, saying that Boykin didn't "reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration."26 Donald Rumsfeld defended Boykin, describing him as "an officer that has an outstanding record in the United States armed forces," and that the War on Terrorism was "not a war against a religion."27

Boykin issued a public statement stating, "My comments to Osman Otto in Mogadishu were not referencing his worship of Allah but his worship of money and power; idolatry. He was a corrupt man, not a follower of Islam. My references to Judeo-Christian roots in America or our nation as a Christian nation are historically undeniable."28 CNN later revealed that several parts of his statement were removed on the advice of Pentagon attorneys, i.a. Boykin's assertion that "the sensitivities of my job today dictate that further church speeches are inappropriate", and "As a Christian, I believe that there is a spiritual war that is continuous as articulated in the Bible. It is not confined to the war of terrorism."29

Boykin himself then requested an investigation by the inspector general into the allegations.30 A ten-month investigation carried out by the Department of Defense later concluded in August 2004 that Boykin had broken three rules in giving the speeches: that he did not clarify that he gave the remarks in a private capacity;31 that he hadn't received clearance for making the remarks; and that he hadn't declared the reimbursement of travel funds by one of the religious groups hosting the speaking events. However, the report made no comment on the actual remarks made, and little action was taken against Boykin. An anonymous senior Pentagon official stated that the infractions were relatively minor and rarely subject to prosecution.32 The report defended the decision not to comment on Boykin's actual comments for several reasons, primarily because "freedom of expression considerations under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution apply in this case."33

In 2005, Seymour Hersh claimed that the US had begun to undertake secret, off-the-books, covert missions in Iran to identify key targets for possible strikes in destabilizing its nuclear facilities, and against the larger War on Terror, with the chain of command for the commando operations falling to Rumsfeld, Cambone and Boykin.34

Boykin retired on August 1, 2007, and began teaching at Hampden–Sydney College, Virginia, an all-male college founded by the belligerent founding father Patrick Henry ("Give me liberty, or give me death.") at the end of the 19th century, which seems to be rather a sentimental than a career choice. Boykin said about his teaching stint at Hampden-Sydney College35:

I teach at Hampden-Sydney College. Everyone knows, where that is? Farmville, Virginia. What you may not know is, first of all, this is the tenth oldest College in America ... See, the first Great Awakening was 1732 to 1740, but in 1798 there were two young men that came back to Hampden Sydney College. It's an all-male College still is today. It was founded by Patrick Henry. 1798 two young men came back from working the fields all summer. And by the way, Patrick Henry College was also a Presbyterian seminary, and they were so filled with god's spirit that they wanted to know what god wanted to do with the rest of their lives. And they took their bibles, and they would go out in the woods when school started, and they would begin to sing hymns and seek god, and they would pray out loud and act like a bunch of Pentecostals...

On September 26, 2009, Boykin gave an address at a How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, hosted by the Eagle Forum. According to the Canada Free Press, General Boykin asked the audience. "What are you prepared to give up for America? Are you willing to pay the ultimate price?" He followed up with warning, "there is no greater threat to America than Islam."36

2010s

In 2010, Boykin was one of two supervisors of an Islamophobic report entitled Shariah: The threat to America. An exercise in competitive analysis,37 published by the Center for Security Policy, a neoconservative think tank.38 The other team leader was Lt. General Harry Soyster (Ret.), former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and other team members included R. James Woolsey, Jr., former CIA Director and CSP President Frank Gaffney, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting).39

The book "describes what its authors call a 'stealth jihad' that must be thwarted before it's too late," and argues that "most mosques in the United States already have been radicalized, that most Muslim social organizations are fronts for violent jihadists and that Muslims who practice sharia law seek to impose it in this country."38

Ecumenical Knights Hospitallers

In June of that year Boykin became the Grand Chancellor of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem /  Knights of Malta - The Ecumenical Order.40 According to Hendrik Dijkhof, who wrote a PhD thesis about "The Ecumenical Order,"41 it is one of the many "Orders of Malta" claiming to be the only legitimate successor of the Knights of Malta after they had been expelled from Malta by Napoleon Bonaparte's troops in the beginning of the 19th century. What makes Boykin's Ecumenical Order stand out is the fact that it traces its "history" back to the Russian tradition of the Knights Hospitaller, alleging that the Russian knights had established an "American Order" in the United States before being suppressed by the Russian Revolution.42 Dijkhof states43:

The Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (The Ecumenical Order) are ... allegedly founded or reconstituted in 1890/1908 or able to trace back their lineage to this date. The organisation allegedly transferred or reconstituted or formed in 1890/1908, is called here ‘the American Order’ or ‘the Shickshinny Order’. The Ecumenical Order presently claims to be under the ‘Protection’ of a Prince Wassili Alexandrovitch Romanov,44 under the Royal Protection of H.M. King Michael I of Romania (born 25 October 1921, King of Romania 1927-1930 and 1940-1947) and under the Protection of a certain Patriarch of Antioch.

Although the "history" of the Ecumenical Order seems to have rather sprung from a teenage Dungeons and Dragons fantasy than reality, the cast of people supporting the operation, and their military and clerical background, is astounding.45

Since at lest 201146 Boykin is a member of The Oak Initiative, a conservative Christian group that describes itself as "a grassroots movement to Unite, Mobilize, Equip, and Activate Christians to be the salt and light they are called to be by engaging in the great issues of our time from a sound biblical worldview." Other well-known board members include Rick Joyner, founder of Morningstar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries, and formerly, Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, who died May 29, 2020.

Family Research Council

On July 16, 2012, Boykin was named executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), a fundamentalist Protestant and ultra-reactionary lobby organization founded in 1983 by James Dobson, an evangelical Christian author and founder in 1977 of the evangelical parachurch organization Focus on the Family (FOTF), which he led until 2010. According to the FRC's own history47:

After attending a research planning meeting for President Carter's 1980 White House Conference on Families, Dr. James Dobson met and prayed with a group of eight Christian leaders at a Washington hotel. From that beginning, resolve was formed to establish Family Research Council, and one of those present that night, Gerald P. Regier, became our first president.

FOTF was supported with money from the Prince (i.e. Blackwater Erik Prince) family. A plaque on the wall of the FOF headquarters in Colorado Springs gives thanks to the Prince family's support for FOF. So was the FRC, which lists in its own history that it is funded by the Prince and DeVos families,47 two super-rich families with a long track record of funding the religious Right. Both families are intermarried ever since Prince's sister, Betsy, currently U.S. Secretary of Education, married Richard “Dick” DeVos Jr. It is unclear whether both families still fund the FRC. "In 1988 FRC merged with and became a division of" James Dobson's Focus on the Family (FOF).47

Boykin joined the FRC in 2012 because he wanted to "restore the values that made America a great nation."48 He also stated that FRC's current president Tony Perkins "needs some grizzled old people around him who will not be deterred by the criticism of the media."48 Tony Perkins was formerly a Marine Corps and also a police officer. Perkins biography says he graduated from Liberty University, which was run by Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the first major US religious right organization, the Moral Majority.

Black Robe Regiment

According to an article sympathetic to the cause, the America's Black Robe Regiment / Black Robe Regiment of Virginia was founded by Rev. William Cook in July 2012"49:

The Black Robe Regiment of Virginia is a fellowship of Virginia clergy and laymen who identify with the faith, patriotism and fighting spirit of Reverend John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg and the Black Robe Regiment of the Founding Era, the preachers who inspired, led, fought in and recruited soldiers from their own congregations to fight in the American War for Independence. We stand together with other patriotic ministers and ministries across Virginia and America, the vanguard of a national clergy-led movement to restore America's godly heritage and Constitutional Government of, by and for the American people.

William Boykin had been a speaker at the inaugural event on September 12, 2012, at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, and is a "charter member" of the Black Robe Regiment of Virginia.6

 

 

Members of the Black Robe Regiment Virginia. The caption on the source website reads: "From Left to Right: Father Tom Simmons- Rector St Peters Episcopal Church, Purcellville, VA, Rev. Alfred Archer, Sr. Pastor, Cedar Lane Bible Way Church, Purcellville, VA, Rev. Jack Stagman, Founder, Restore Virginia PAC/The Shepherd's Table and Transformation Forum Network, Bishop Rev. E. W. Jackson, President S.T.A.N.D. (Staying True to America's National Destiny), Rev. William Cook, Founder & Executive Director, The Black Robe Regiment of Virginia, Rev. Lt. Gen. William G. ("Jerry") Boykin (Ret.), Executive Vice President, Family Research Council, Rev. Gary Smith, Senior Pastor, Leesburg Church of the Nazarene, Leesburg, VA, Rev. Michael Hirsch, Senior Pastor, Calvary Christian Church, Fredericksburg, VA, Don Blake, Chairman/President, Virginia Christian Alliance, John Nuzum, Pastoral Associate, Church of the Holy Spirit (Anglican), Leesburg, VA, Rev. Travis Witt, Supply Pastor, Strawberry Baptist Association, Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg Re-enactor."

Some biographical details on the founder and CEO of the Black Robe Regiment of Virginia, Rev. William Cook, can be found on a bible truther website, American Prophet, to which he has contributed several articles, revealing that he also had a career as systems engineer at several intelligence agencies50:

Rev. William Cook is Founder and Executive Director of the Black Robe Regiment of Virginia, a clergy-led movement of Christian “Minutemen” actively committed to restoring the Foundations of Liberty in America, and the Pulpit’s Founding legacy as Wellspring of the political ideology that ignited a Revolution to “secure the Blessings of Liberty” to itself and its posterity.

Rev. Cook has held a variety of pastoral positions spanning fifteen years. He served as Assistant Campus Minister and Director of Student Life at Regent University in Virginia Beach for seven years and subsequently as an associate pastor at three different churches for ten years. He was employed as a federal contractor while his five children were growing up, providing systems engineering support to various federal agencies including the Intelligence community, Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Administration. During the five years he was at DHS, Rev. Cook provided systems engineering and project management support to the Director and Science Adviser at the Science and Technology Directorate’s Explosives Division, and to the Transportation Security Administration, pursuant to evaluating a variety of airport screening systems at the TSA Systems Integration Facility.

During the summer of 2012, he sensed God calling him back into full-time ministry with an emphasis on activating and mobilizing clergy and their congregations in efforts to secure the “Blessings of Liberty” to this and future generations of Americans. He founded the Black Robe Regiment of Virginia in July 2012 as part a growing national movement of clergy at the vanguard of efforts to restore America’s decidedly Christian heritage, and the Church's vital leadership and influence at every level of government.

Network map showing the charter members of America's Black Robe Regiment / Black Robe Regiment Virginia, as well as speakers at the inaugural event on September 12, 2012, in Purcellville, VA, based on the information provided on their website.

In 2014 Boykin appeared as a speaker at the "Maryland Thursday Meeting," organized by the "Maryland Center-Right Coalition," an event at which Black Robe Regiment founder Rev. William Cook had spoken the year before. On their website, Boykin is introduced as follows51:

The Constitution gives us "freedom of religion, not merely freedom of worship." Boykin recounted several incidents of resistance to recent federal initiatives to suppress expression of Christianity in the military. The veteran of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu ("Black Hawk Down") pointed out that the military has long been a cultural repository of traditional virtues. (March 13, 2014).

In 2016, Boykin was named as one of the national security and foreign policy advisers to Senator Ted Cruz's presidential campaign.4 When it became clear that Ted Cruz would loose the race, on September 6, 2016, along with 87 other retired US generals and admirals, Boykin endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.52

End of March 2019, it was reported that a group of predominantly senior former intelligence personnel and policy advisors had "revived a cold war-era advocacy organisation to take aim at China,"53 including Steve Bannon as well as Boykin. In its announcement on 25 March, the Committee on the Present Danger: China (CPDC) stated it would be dedicated to “public education and advocacy against the full array of conventional and non-conventional dangers” posed by the Chinese Communist Party.53

The first iteration of the CPD emerged in 1950, established by Tracy Voorhees, to promote the plans proposed in NSC 68 by Paul Nitze and Dean Acheson.54 According to scholar Ernest R. May, NSC 68 "provided the blueprint for the militarization of the Cold War from 1950 to the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s."55 the CPD was privately revived in March 1976, and after Jimmy Carter won the election, CPD went public again and spent the next four years lobbying, particularly against a détente with Russia and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) agreement. This iteration of the CPD provided 33 officials to the Ronald Reagan administration. The current revival of the group has around 45 members.56

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