The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
So much for a repeat of the Bundy Ranch standoff.
A collection of antigovernment “Patriots” gathered Thursday in the parking lot of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Medford, OR, to protest what they believe was the federal government’s “tyrannical” treatment of miners in the region.
But the organizers of the affair were adamant they were uninterested in a standoff with federal authorities similar to the confrontation between BLM agents and hundreds of heavily armed “Patriots” a year ago at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada. All they wanted, organizers claimed, was to defend ordinary citizens from federal abuses.
“You have untrained people, uneducated people, throwing around their weight, abusing people who are trying to earn a living, and they think it’s OK,” Joseph Rice, coordinator for the Josephine County chapter of Oath Keepers, told about 50 people gathered. “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic, and a domestic enemy is anyone who will abuse someone’s rights within that Constitution.”
Rice added, “Today it is the BLM, because they did not allow the due process to occur. They need to seriously look at their administrative process and procedures and address that. It’s a cultural issue. We saw it a year ago. Here we are again today. It doesn’t seem to be willing to change or improve that.”
At issue is a dispute between the BLM and the owners of the Sugar Pine Mine near Merlin, Ore., who were given a “letter of noncompliance” last spring telling them they either needed to clear out of the mine within 60 days or file an appeal of the ruling that they were not in compliance with BLM mining regulations.
What followed was a nationwide call to help defend a couple of Oregon miners in imminent danger of having their constitutional right to due process destroyed by the BLM, according to the local chapter of the Oath Keepers that made the plea. And they called it a “security operation” because owner Rick Barclay insisted that the BLM was notorious for burning down miners’ cabins in the backwoods, and he believes they would have destroyed his mine if he had not called for help.
BLM spokesman Jim Whittington told Hatewatch that these were absurdly groundless fears. “The idea that we would go in on Friday and wipe everything off the claim is just not true,” he said. “It has no basis in reality.”
There were few guns on display, and no threats or intimidation. A large group of black-clad “III Percent” movement followers from Idaho made their presence known, but the crowd and the speakers remained relatively sedate. Even with such sedate activists, the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service closed their joint offices as a precautionary measure. Only five people spoke, including both of the mine owners and two local Oath Keepers. Within an hour, everyone was gone.
The issue persists, however. The miners and the “Patriots” insist the BLM’s issuance of a letter of non-compliance amounts to a denial of due process, and the Oath Keepers have insisted their presence is about “defending the Fifth Amendment rights” of the miners.
Rick Barclay, one of the mine owners, told Hatewatch that the BLM had violated his due process in the letter. “They short-circuited the due process by telling me I have to remove my equipment before I ever even get a hearing,” he said.
However, the letter of noncompliance is clear that removal of the cabin and equipment are only among the mine owners’ three options, and says at the end: “If you do not agree and are adversely affected by this decision you may ask for a review by the State Director … or you may appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.”
Barclay filed paperwork in his appeals process on Wednesday, but indicated that he hoped the Oath Keepers would stay on site until he actually has a hearing. “After I get my day in court and get a stay, then they will go home,” he said. “Just because I turned in my paperwork doesn’t mean the BLM won’t come up there tomorrow and set everything on fire.”
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Salon: Iowa Rep. Steve King says he wants to save the Constitution from gay marriage by ignoring the Constitution.
Talking Points Memo: Why racial politics is so often a zero-sum game for white people.
An arson charge is pending against a 33-year-old antigovernment “sovereign citizen” accused of starting a fire outside a home occupied by his relatives last weekend in suburban Phoenix.
Court records show Ismael Roman Mota’s antigovernment “sovereign citizen” views likely go back to 2007, when he was arrested in Maricopa County on a charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Mota was arrested again on Saturday when his young niece called to report that her uncle was trying to start a fire to burn down the residence.
When police and fire crews arrived, one side of the house was “engulfed in flames and several people were attempting to put out the fire with garden hoses,” KPHO-TV in Phoenix reported. No one was injured in the fire.
Police have said neighbors saw Mota start the fire and yelled at him to put it out. Mota responded that he didn’t care because the house belonged to him before fleeing the scene. He was arrested when he returned several hours later.
Firefighters determined the fire was started in a large bucket containing charcoal and gasoline, ignited about a foot from the house before spreading to the exterior wall of the residence.
Mota, who self-identified as a sovereign citizen, refused to acknowledge that officers had read him his Miranda rights, and he refused to cooperate with routine fingerprint and mug shot processes during the jail booking, police said.
Court records show Mota, who was arrested in 2000 on a felony charge of sexual (contact) with a minor, has used various combinations of his first, middle and last names, sometimes spelling his middle name as Ramon – all of which are common practices for sovereign citizens, who believe they are the sole arbiters of the law.
In 2007, when he was arrested in Maricopa County for failing to register as a sex offender, Mota submitted an affidavit to the court that resembles sometimes nonsensical, paper terrorism submitted to the judicial system by sovereign citizens. He said he was filing the paperwork as a “full recanting of any and all statements and pleas made by ‘Ismail Roman Mota.’”
That name, he contended, “is a fictitious entity and my real name is Ismael Mota Roman. Both names are prohibited for use in any type of communication whatsoever,” he told the court.
Mota also has displayed sovereign citizen views by refusing to comply with motor vehicle and driver’s licensing laws, court records show. He has been involved in 31 traffic court cases since 1999.
Some of the most prominent anti-immigrant groups in the nation, including the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), will be in Dallas this weekend to participate in a large Earth Day gathering.
While the established anti-immigrant movement in the United States has attempted for decades to coax environmentalists into taking an anti-immigrant stance by blaming immigrants for environmental degradation – a tactic called “greenwashing,” this year is different. At least five anti-immigrant groups will have exhibitor’s booths, including NumbersUSA, which routinely takes credit for stopping comprehensive federal immigration reform.
What began as a paper dispute over the language in a claim for an old gold mine in the hills of southwestern Oregon has lurched into what the antigovernment “Patriots” arriving on scene seemingly hope will be an armed confrontation with federal authorities.
Most of those arriving at the scene of the dispute over the Sugar Pine Mine near tiny Merlin, Ore., and nearby towns such as Grants Pass and Medford, believe they are engaging in a stand against a tyrannical federal government and the Bureau of Land Management – the second chapter in a fight that began a year ago with the Bundy Ranch standoff.
But as the mine owners now are stressing to the militia members and antigovernment activists pouring into the valley after heeding the call: “This is NOT a standoff with BLM. We are NOT promoting any confrontation with BLM. This is a security operation for the protection of Constitutional Rights.”
“If you are on a fringe element, and you’re here to protest, or provoke a reaction with the federal government, I don’t want you here,” said Joseph Rice, the “security coordinator” for the Josephine County chapter of the Oath Keepers, in a YouTube video on the Oath Keepers site. “Let me repeat that: If you’re here to protest and to provoke a reaction with the federal government, I do not need you.”
New York Times: Deputy blames Sheriff Joe Arpaio for disobeying court over immigration sweeps.
Right Wing Watch: FRC’s Tony Perkins claims that Obama and gay-rights movement inspire ISIS to execute Christians.
Wonkette: Men’s rights activists tells Fox & Friends why marriage is just a female scam to take men’s money away.
Raw Story: Woman donates savings for new house to anti-LGBT rally because gays are ‘like Hitler’s Nazi regime.’
Huffington Post: Seven states’ designation of April as ‘Confederate History Month’ is an embarrassing abomination.
Think Progress: The U.S. Congress could be the next legislative body to fall victim to the ‘religious freedom’ scam.
A large Confederate battle flag snapping in the wind at the top of a pole in front of the county courthouse in the small rural Georgia town of Summerville must come down and “it shouldn’t have been put up there in the first place,” the city’s first black mayor told Hatewatch today.
“It certainly sheds a negative light on the city and the county,” Mayor Harry Harvey said. “We have a lot of positive things going on in the area, a lot of progress, and this distracts from it. It’s not something we want to be known for.”
With permission from the Chattooga County Commissioner, Jason Winters, the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) raised the flag at the beginning of April (Confederate History and Heritage Month in Georgia) with plans to replace it at the end of the month with a rotation of other Confederate emblems, such as the Bonnie Blue flag, according to journalist Tyler Jett.
Jett said Commissioner Winters had told him two weeks ago that he would consider removing the flag if it caused any controversy in the city of 4,600 residents, about 28 percent of whom are black.
It has done just that, yet the flag remains, just yards from the front door of the Chattooga County Courthouse.
“County governments in Georgia should not approve another permanent display of the Sons of Confederate Veterans,” Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson, a civil rights attorney and president of the Georgia NAACP, said in a statement on April 13. “[SCV}’s insistence on using the Rebel Battle flag, a patently offensive symbol of hate, for display from the Courthouse and places of sovereignty such as flagpoles is a part of their effort to win a war that was lost 150 years ago.”
The flag overlooks a 7-foot tall granite monument on the courthouse lawn honoring Confederate soldiers. Stan Hammond, commander of the local SOCV chapter, told Jett that the monument and flag commemorate the fallen sons of the South. “They’ll never be forgotten,” he said.
But it is not just Summerville’s black population that wants the flag to come down, Jett said. “A ton of white people, that I’ve talked to in that town, aren’t happy with it either,” he said.
Sutton Connelly, an attorney who practices law in Summerville with his legendary grandfather Bobby Lee Cook, told Hatewatch that “people are starting to galvanize against” the battle flag.
“I do not believe that flag should be flying in front of the courthouse given the connotations it carries,” Connelly said. “We should have two flags in front of the courthouse: the Georgia State flag and the flag of the United States of America.”
Mayor Harvey, who took office in 2013, said the monument, which has been in place for about eight months, should also be removed from the front lawn of the courthouse – “one of those places where justice is supposed to be dispensed to everybody fairly.”
The mayor said he has spoken with Winters about removing, at the very least, the battle flag and the commissioner is “working hard on a resolution.”
“I don’t have a time table for when that will happen,” the mayor said. “But the commissioner wants to see the city progress, too.”
The telephone at Commissioner Winters’ office was repeatedly busy on Wednesday, and Hatewatch was not able to reach him for a comment.
When members of his congregation recently told Rev. Solomon Missouri that there was a large Confederate battle flag in front of the courthouse, the young pastor was incredulous. He could not believe that local and county officials would allow such a display on government property, not in 2015, 150 years after the Confederate surrender, not with a black man in the White House, not with Summerville’s black population pushing 30 percent and not, for the first time in the town’s history, with a black mayor and a black police chief.
“The flag must come down,” the pastor said in a letter he personally delivered to Winters’ office, according to Jett. “If this sign is part of your collective heritage, then your heritage bears the stench of oppression. If this sign evokes feelings of pride than (sic) your pride is indeed a sin.”
Members of the League of the South (LOS), the Republic of Florida Militia (ROF) and student protestors from Florida State University faced off last weekend in front of the Old Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Fla.
Prominent LOS leaders, including Brad Griffin, a key organizer, and Michael Tubbs, LOS chief of staff and an ex-Green Beret who stole weapons and explosives from the U.S. Army for the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in 1987, stood alongside members of the ROF to protest the school’s Students for Democratic Society (SDS) recently burning a Confederate flag to protest increased KKK recruiting in the Tallahassee area. Within days, the League and ROF, led by Jordan Jereb, organized a protest that culminated with a tit-for-tat response –– burning a Soviet flag.
“After talking it over, we decided that we would show up in Tallahassee, confront SDS, tell the communists to get out of Florida, and then spit on, stomp on, and burn the Soviet flag in front of them,” Brad Griffin, who sometimes goes by Hunter Wallace and runs the racist blog Occidental Dissent, wrote.
“A crowd of about 30 spoiled brats, communists, and trannies chanted for a while, shouted some unimaginative slogans, and gave a few speeches about the tyranny of ‘cisgender heteronormative privilege’ while 13 or us starred them down in bemusement while holding Reds Out of Florida Signs” and two flags, the Florida State Flag and the Bonnie Blue Flag,” Griffin wrote. “We unfurled the Soviet flag, laid it out before them, and took turns spitting on it, stomping on it, and standing on it underneath our boots.”
What seems especially notable about the event is the alliance between ROF and the League, which in recent years has grown more radical despite serious efforts to perfect its public image. While League members are encouraged to wear black polo shirts and khaki pants to public events in order to improve the public perception of the group, clothes can only do so much to make the man.
In fact, the League’s public makeover has proved to be nothing more than a mirage. Despite his desperate wishing for the LOS to become a respected voice in an imaginary struggle for the future of the South, Griffin, one of the standard-bearers for the League’s new image, has brought to the table an angry coalition of misfits and ex-cons – like Jereb and Tubbs.
“I’m angry. I’m full of HATE,” Jereb wrote on Facebook last week. “I’m not gonna lie about it. If there were a few hundred clones of me this system would have quite a situation on its hands. That is really how I feel. Is feeling that way a crime? Maybe. But blacks feel the same way and nobody seems to get mad at them for it.”
Days before that, barely a month after being released from jail on burglary charges, Jereb also professed his love for Molotov cocktails and shared a video that details an argument for when it’s okay to shoot a police officer.
As a convicted felon who can no longer own firearms, Jereb need not worry about shooting anyone, let alone a police officer – a fact he may be coming to terms with if his recent stream of Facebook photos is any indication. Photos of Jereb toting firearms have been replaced by workout selfies with captions such as, “Turning my body into a weapon.”
But perhaps LOSers hanging with criminals isn’t that surprising given recent developments in the organization.
Last September, Hatewatch revealed that LOS leadership, after years of increasingly violent rhetoric, had taken steps to make its vision for a new southern uprising a reality by forming its own paramilitary organization called the “Indomitables.” LOS president Michael Hill also recently espoused an anti-Semitism worldview in his online writings, posting articles written by disgraced, anti-Semitic professor Kevin MacDonald, claiming the South’s biggest problem is the “Jewry” problem.
Despite its best attempts to sterilize its vitriolic message, the façade put forth by the LOS continues to crumble.
Members like Jereb demonstrate the realities of its increasingly extreme membership — a membership that, at the end of the day, spends its free time harassing student organizations under the guise of moral outrage.
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Talking Points Memo: Michelle Bachmann thanks President Obama for bringing on the Apocalypse.
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Media Matters: Meet ‘Oregonians for Immigration Reform,’ the nativist group using the media to derail reform.
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Raw Story: Michigan Man taunts neighbors with yard display featuring Confederate flag and nooses.
Buzzfeed: Pennsylvania high school students organize ‘Anti-Gay Day,’ complete with a ‘lynch list.’
Right Wing Watch: On Oklahoma City bombing anniversary, Alex Jones claims it was a ‘false flag’ operation to demonize conservatives.