HOUSTON -- An instructor at a Ku Klux Klan 'survival camp' who says communists and homosexuals are his only enemies is teaching boy scouts and Civil Air Patrol cadets how to strangle people and fire guns, the Houston Post reported Sunday.
In a copyright story, the newspaper said the survival skills taught by ex-Marine cook Joe Bogart include how to strangle people, cope with obstacle courses and fire semi-automatic weapons.
It said Bogart, a drill instructor from La Porte, Texas, conducts the course for Explorer scouts and Civil Air Patrol cadets at Camp Puller near Houston.
The Chronicle earlier reported that Camp Puller -- called a 'survival camp' --is frequented by right-wing extremists and is used as a training camp for the Texas Emergency Reserve, a Klan paramilitary arm.
The camp is run by Robert John Sisente of Deer Park, who denies he is a Klan member, and Louis Beam of Pasadena, grand dragon of the Texas KKK. Sisente is associated with an Explorer post.
'I am proud to be a member of the Klan,' saidBogart, who said he had been a member for two years. 'There are only two groups I'll battle with -- communists and homosexuals. That's the basic reason I joined the Klan.'
Bogart said he was invited to teach the youths by John Bryant, on federal probation for illegal weapons sales in Memphis and a leader of the Explorer post. It has not been chartered fully by the Boy Scouts of America.
Bogart said he served four years in the Marines as a cook and participated in some boot camp training exercises.
Bryant, who was expelled from the CAP Oct. 20, said CAP superior officers were trying to 'assassinate' his character by associating him with the Klan. He described himself as an 'asset protection officer' aiming to 'develop young men.'
'I have no connection whatsoever with the KKK,' he said. 'Half my post is Mexican-American. We're not teaching these guys how to snipe. They only shoot a few rounds, not proficiently by any means.'
CAP Maj. Paul Renfro said he had been investigating the training of scouts and CAP cadets at the camp. He said parents had complained their sons were learning guerrilla warfare and had heard racial slurs from leaders.
'There was nothing boy scout about it,' Renfro said of a recent weekend camping trip. 'They were on maneuvers. They were firing, unloading, using live ammunition and the parents were very upset because they were told nothing about this. These guys misled the scouts.'
Some 12 to 30 Explorers and CAP cadets reportedly were involved in the training. The Explorers were members of Post 2125, hosted by the Marine Corps Reserve at Ellington Air Force Base. The CAP cadets came from the Ellington CAP unit.
Houston Explorer Director Don Townsend of the Boy Scouts of America said the post at Ellington was supposed to teach boys about military careers.
'It is not uncommon for this type of survival post to handle weaons, but it's not supposed to be an exposure to boot camp,' Townsend said.