The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Authorities say a Michigan couple – both school bus drivers – face assorted felony charges after they allegedly embezzled money to purchase an arsenal of weapons that included a machine gun and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Steve Nick, 33, and his wife, Sarah, 32, of Davison Township, both belong to the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. Steven Nick is a gunner for the militia and Sarah Nick is as a medic and grenadier, WNEM-TV in Saginaw reported.
The couple was arrested on March 27 on a combined total of 15 felony charges, including embezzlement, larceny by conversation, unlawful use of a credit card and possession of an illegally shortened firearm. The arrests came after an 8-month investigation that started when law enforcement received a tip about the abuse of an elder.
The Nicks were released on bond and are scheduled to appear tomorrow at a probable cause hearing.
“In all my 16 years this is probably the most unusual case we’ve had,” the sheriff told the Saginaw television station. “If they were going to attack they would have been well armed and would have out manned any police agency in Genesee County.”
The sheriff said the couple allegedly embezzled more than $50,000 from Sarah Nick’s 67-year-old mother to buy the arsenal they stored in a bunker in the basement of their home. The arsenal included a 50-caliber machine gun, a sniper rifle with a suppressor, 17,000 rounds of ammunition, various firearm accessories and bulletproof vests, including one for their 9-year-old daughter.
The sheriff’s office investigating the couple began in August 2014 after an elder abuse task force discovered that the suspects allegedly were writing checks to themselves drawn on accounts belonging to Sarah Nick’s mother, who was ill.
Pickell said detectives discovered the weapons in a bunker, accessible through a wall in the basement, and a Gadsden “Liberty or Die” flag hanging in their bedroom.
The suspects worked as school bus drivers for Davison and Flint school districts.
After her arrest, Sarah Nick was fired from her job. Steven Nick’s current status with the Davison school district is unknown, according to media reports.
Authorities in Missouri say a heavily armed man with antigovernment views and a “Rambo” personality threatened to kill police officers and expressed hatred of blacks and Muslims before his arrest Wednesday in St. Louis.
David Michael Hagler, 53, who lived on food stamps and part-time work as a landscaper, faces four federal firearms charges, including illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun and an unregistered machine gun. He is being held without bond until a preliminary hearing next week, according to court document information.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that FBI agents and police bomb squad teams spent Thursday searching for booby traps in two adjacent St. Louis homes where informants said Hagler had stockpiles of guns, 10,000 rounds of ammunition and had talked of “mass attacks on (police) officers at funerals or fundraisers.”
Investigators wearing body armor used at least three robots during the search of the properties in St. Louis’ Baden neighborhood, near Halls Ferry Circle. They feared an underground tunnel connected the two houses, and that Hagler had put steel plates in exterior walls in the event of a shootout with police.
Results of the search weren’t disclosed. A federal court affidavit describing the evidence against Hagler has been sealed from public inspection.
The FBI in St. Louis did not immediately return a call from Hatewatch, nor did the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Missouri.
Media reports suggest the suspect’s antigovernment and anti-police views were growing and that his arrest may have thwarted a potential tragedy.
“The law enforcement action being taken you might describe as proactive in terms of trying to address something before something worse happens,” U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan told the St. Louis newspaper.
One of two informants told investigators that Hagler “had a seething hatred for his ex-wife and was becoming more agitated after events in Ferguson and in fear of losing his homes because of unpaid taxes,” the Post-Dispatch reported.
That same informer described Hagler as a very intelligent survivalist type whose goal was to live off the grid while holding “extreme anti-government and anti-law enforcement views,” the newspaper reported.
Court records show Hagler has a criminal history going back 35 years. One of his first arrests was for selling marijuana to an undercover officer. He wasn’t convicted of those charges, but subsequently faced other marijuana charges, domestic violence and assaulting neighbors with firearms.
In early March, a package filled with grief and pride was left on the doorstep of Tracy Jahr and her spouse, Jacquie Gilmore. Wrapped in cardboard and plastic, the package weighed nearly 20 pounds. The women had been waiting for it for years.
Inside was a bronze grave marker that read: “Michael Brett Roark US Army Dec 23 1991 + Dec 6 2011 Cavalry Scout.”
“At first I was angry when I saw it,” Jahr told Hatewatch last week from her home in Washington State. “I was flabbergasted. I felt, really, after all this time. The Army has been dragging its feet from the beginning. That’s why the kids are dead. But at least the marker is some recognition, recognition that Michael was a soldier. He wanted to be a one since he was a little boy.”
Roark was Jahr’s son and, like any parent, she worried she might never see him alive again when he joined the Army. The war on terror was raging overseas.
Her worst fears were realized two and a half weeks shy of her son’s 20th birthday when he was lured into an ambush, forced to his knees and shot in the head by terrorists. But he was not killed in the dusty streets of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan. Roark was killed in the Georgia woods, along with his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York, by a group of domestic terrorists, a renegade band of American soldiers, jacked up on drugs, PTSD nightmares and delusional plans to overthrow the government of the United States.
The killer soldiers have all been held to account, the ringleaders sentenced to life in prison for murdering the young sweethearts to keep the group’s plans secret. But Jahr and the family of York say it is time – past time – for the Army to also be held to account for allowing the homegrown terrorists to organize and grow right before its eyes, on the Fort Stewart military base, into a deadly antigovernment militia called FEAR. The group was led by a troubled but charismatic 19-year-old Pvt. Isaac Aguigui.
The families are suing the United States, arguing that Army commanders should have – and could have on numerous occasions – intervened in FEAR’s activities long before their children were killed in what the suit describes as “a heartbreakingly preventable tragedy.”
A few days after her son’s grave marker arrived, Jahr learned that a federal judge in Seattle had set a July 2016 trial date for the civil wrongful death lawsuit, which, in chilling detail, claims that “Army officials recklessly allowed FEAR to form and fester within its ranks at Fort Stewart, Georgia, despite abundant signs that Pvt. Aguigui and his cohorts were dangerous and mentally unstable soldiers in desperate need of arrest and treatment.”
In court papers, lawyers for the government replied to the suit, maintaining, “[T]he United States denies said allegations and puts the Plaintiffs to their proof.”
A First Murder Missed
Jahr and her ex-husband, Brett Roark, with the parents of York, Brenda Thomas and Thomas’ ex-husband, Timothy York, allege in their lawsuit that the most significant failure by the Army in preventing the wrongful death of their children “was also the most shocking.”
On July 17, 2011 – almost six months before Roark and York were killed – Aguigui murdered his wife, Sgt. Deirdre Aguigui, who was six months pregnant at the time. He strangled her in their home on Fort Stewart. Even before her death, the suit contends, “The Army was aware that Isaac and Deirdre Aguigui had a violent and troubled marriage.” Just three months before she died, according to the lawsuit, the sergeant went to see Fort Stewart’s lead advocate for victims of domestic violence and reported that she was “the victim of physical and verbal abuse by her husband, Pvt. Aguigui.”
“Like the murders of Roark and York,” the suit claims, “this was a preventable tragedy that should not have occurred.”
At the time of her death, the lawsuit says, “Sgt. Aguigui’s body showed signs of a struggle, including more than twenty bruises and scrapes on her wrists, arms, head, back and inside her mouth, as well as signs of a sexual assault.”
Army investigators initially suspected foul play. But when an autopsy, conducted by what the suit characterizes as an inexperienced military medical examiner, proved inconclusive as to the cause of death, Aguigui was not charged and the Army soon paid him more than $500,000 in military death benefits.
Aguigui used the money to fund FEAR, which stands for, “Forever Enduring, Always Ready.” ( continue to full post… )
Defying a federal judge’s order, about 40 armed protesters marched onto the outdoor plaza at the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane where one of their leaders was arrested last week for carrying a loaded assault rifle onto federal property – a seemingly scripted event that galvanized concern nationwide from pro-gun, militia and antigovernment groups.
“We will re-take the plaza today,” Anthony Bosworth, the leader of an antigovernment Liberty for All group said just moments before he walked on the plaza with an AR-15 military-style rifle slung over his shoulder on Friday. He was joined by another unidentified man who also was carrying a rifle slung over his shoulder.
As Bosworth spread out his arms at the main entrance, inviting other armed demonstrators on the sidewalk to join him on the plaza, the Iraq War veteran was greeted by uniformed Department of Homeland Security officers.
But instead of arresting Bosworth as they did last week, the officers told the one-time candidate for sheriff in Yakima, Wash., to have the demonstrators move to the western-edge of the plaza and not block doorways. There were no arrests during the three-hour demonstration, but federal law enforcement agents were present in great number.
The rally supporting Boswick drew nationwide attention from assorted pro-gun groups and antigovernment critics ranging from Alex Jones to Mike Vanderboegh, the self-proclaimed leader of the “III percent” movement, a reference to the alleged number of American colonists who stood up to the British.
The demonstrators were part of the same group that earlier protested a new Washington state gun sale law at the capitol in Olympia. They also champion state’s rights issues and the 10th Amendment, and called the demonstration “Our State, Our Rights.”
It wasn’t immediately known what caused federal authorities to balk and not allow the protest in spite of the issuance of a court order on Monday by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson. A public notice released Thursday by U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby and U.S, Marshal Craig Thayer said anyone coming on the plaza or attempting to enter the courthouse with weapons or firearms would be subject to arrest for contempt of court and violating federal law.
“We stood up for our rights and they backed down,” Sam Wilson, a spokesman for the Liberty for All group, shouted through a bullhorn to demonstrators. “My fellow patriots, this is only the beginning.”
The crowd cheered and sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” Some waved American flags and the Gadsden flag, frequently used by antigovernment activists who favor its “Don’t Tread on Me” message.
Federal officers were vigilant but made no arrests, making use of snipers with spotting scopes on nearby rooftops and a camera-equipped helicopter overhead.
Those in the group included individual gun-rights activists, military veterans, an ex-Marine in a wheelchair with his service dog, members of Oath Keepers and the 63rd Lightfoot Militia battalion from eastern Washington. Some members of the militia group were in combat gear.
Bosworth said federal authorities violated his “God-given birth rights” by arresting him last week for carrying an AR-47 military-style rifle, and that Friday’s demonstration — with no arrests for the same conduct — underscored “the unlawfulness and stupidiy” of that action.
Bosworth was issued a misdemeanor citation for last week’s acts by DHS officers and deputy federal marshals seized his assault rifle and a handgun.
“I want those arms back,” Bosworth told the crowd. “They not only violated my rights, they violated yours.”
Pro-gun and Patriot activists say they are planning a demonstration next Friday at the U.S. Courthouse plaza in Spokane, where one of their leaders was arrested after brazenly carrying a loaded assault rifle and a semiautomatic pistol.
The arrest of one-time “constitutional sheriff” candidate Anthony Bosworth last Wednesday looked almost like a scripted event. Th 41-year-old Iraq war veteran, his wife and their two children showed up for a sparsely attended “10th Amendment” rally at the federal courthouse plaza. Bosworth was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, his two children were carrying .22 rifles and his wife was shooting video with a cell phone.
Word of his arrest was posted immediately to various antigovernment, pro-gun blogs and social media sites, causing a frenzied reaction. Supporters were urged to call the Spokane Sheriff, asking the only “constitutional law enforcement official” recognized by the antigovernment movement to intervene with federal officials.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich did just that.
“I went down there to make sure this did not get out of hand,” Knezovich later told The Spokesman-Review.
Bosworth has been a leader of a group opposing Washington state’s voter-approved Initiative 594, which requires background checks on all gun sales. He and other pro-gun activists say they are planning an “Arms Expo” campout in central Washington in June.
Bosworth, who lives in Yakima, also was armed when he showed up earlier this month in Olympia, Wash., with antigovernment Patriot leader Mike Vanderboegh, of Alabama, at a pro-gun rally where locked doors prevented demonstrators from entering the state capitol.
As expected, Vanderboegh was among the antigovernment figures quick to support Bosworth. The leader of the “III percent” movement – a reference the alleged number of American colonists who stood up to the British – wrote on his website, “DHS thugs crap all over their jackboots – again. Another skirmish with the forces of the evil empire in Washington state.”
Vanderboegh also applauded “the critical support of local (that is to say, constitutional) law enforcement with the intervention of the Spokane County Sheriff.”
Vanderboegh said Bosworth supporters will show up March 6 at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane for “Our State, Our Rights: The Patriots Answer” rally.
“Bring your side-arms. Bring your long guns. This is a peaceful rally. But it is an armed one,” Vanderboegh said. “This rally is the Patriots’ answer to a tyrannical and out of control government. Their abuses will not stand. But we will. We will not comply.”
There were only a handful of people on the courthouse plaza when Bosworth was arrested, and some of them were protesting a marijuana possession trial that was underway.
As though he was anticipating an encounter, Bosworth is heard on the video directing his wife to get the telephone number for the local sheriff. Antigovernment ideologues– quick to call federal agents “Gestapo” – frequently seek assistance or intervention from local sheriffs.
Uniformed Department of Homeland Security officers quickly approached Bosworth and told him he was violating federal law by carrying a firearm on the federal plaza. Bosworth engaged the officers, saying he only was prohibited from taking his rifle inside the courthouse.
“We’re exercising our rights,” Bosworth is heard telling the DHS officer.
“What do you hope to achieve by carrying a rifle?” DHS officer asked Bosworth.
“I ain’t achieving nothing, except for practicing my rights,” Bosworth responded.
The officer on the courthouse plaza asked Bosworth to leave federal property, directing him to stand on a nearby city sidewalk. Puffing a cigarette and drinking coffee, Bosworth didn’t immediately leave when a deputy U.S. marshal then intervened as Bosworth’s wife continued shooting video.
“This is federal property,” the deputy marshal told Bosworth. “You can’t bring guns here. You need to leave right now or we’re going to arrest you. It’s that simple. You are not protesting. You are violating the law.”
In short order, Bosworth was arrested and taken into custody. His wife almost immediately posted word and video of the event on various social media sites and antigovernment blogs, listing the phone number for the Spokane sheriff.
Knezovich, who said he just happened to be in the area, went to the courthouse and apparently attempted to intervene and mediate.
“This became an instantaneous social media event,” Knezovich told the Spokesman-Review, which also reported the sheriff’s office “was slammed with calls about the incident.”
Sam Wilson, a spokesman for a Washington state group called “Liberty for All,” also blogged about the arrest of Bosworth, who is a member. Bosworth was “only released after a furious storm of social media exposure erupted and the County Sheriff stepped in,” Wilson wrote.
Not to be left out of the hysteria, antigovernment activist Alex Jones contended the FBI tried “to flip” Bosworth and make him a federal informant after the incident.
“Feds tell military veteran to ‘be quiet’ for a year to avoid charges,” a headline on Jones’ blog said.
“Bosworth’s treatment, from the clearly unlawful arrest to the attempt to quell free speech, is standard operating procedure among federal agents tasked with surveying politically active conservative Americans,” Jones wrote.
FBI Arrests West Virginia Man Who ‘Hated Government’ for Plotting to Blow Up Courthouse, Other Targets
A West Virginia man who authorities say “regularly espouses venomous anti-government, anti-law enforcement rhetoric” was arrested on Valentine’s Day on charges of possessing stolen explosives that he allegedly intended to use in attacks on a federal courthouse, a local festival, and a bank.
Jonathan Leo Schrader, 30, of Elkins, was arrested by FBI agents on Feb. 14 after a search warrant for his home revealed a bomb cache that included C-4 explosive compound and a half-stick of dynamite.
According to the West Virginia MetroNews, the investigation began when a cooperating witness began alerting sheriff’s deputies to Schrader’s activities, which included obtaining C-4 from a juvenile whose father had used the compound on a job. The witness also told deputies that Schrader had blown up a stump with some of the C-4, had altered an AK-47 to fire automatically, and had left a fake pipe bomb near police barracks in order to gauge their response.
Schrader intended to use the C-4 to blow up the Jennings Randolph Federal Center in Elkins, the witness said, as well as to attack the crowd at the local Mountain State Forest Festival, which is held every fall in the town. On another occasion, Schrader told the man he wanted to blow a hole in the wall of a local bank to get at its money, according to the FBI affidavit.
The man also intended to use a sniper rifle to shoot first responders at the scenes of the explosions, according to the witness, who also regularly relayed information about the man’s hatred of the government and law enforcement.
A detention hearing on Friday in Clarksburg was scheduled by U.S. Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull, who ordered Schrader held in the U.S. Marshals’ custody until the hearing. It was not clear if Schrader had an attorney.
A man who spent 26 years wearing a badge and enforcing the law in Florida now thinks he’s above the law as a self-described “natural, free-born sovereign citizen.”
James Michael Sims, 56, was arrested late last month and will be arraigned on Feb. 27 in Manatee County Circuit Court on three felony charges: two counts of grand theft and a third count of intimidating a public official.
Sims, a former deputy and detective for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly rented foreclosed properties, intimidated his former fellow law enforcement officials and attempted to file $100 million in bogus liens against judges — a common act among many sovereigns who believe they are immune from courts, judges and licensing requirements.
The judges who Sims targeted with liens previously had entered foreclosure orders on several homes he owned so banks could initiate legal actions to claim their full ownership when he failed to make timely payments.
Court documents say even though a bank had recovered ownership of one home and changed the locks, the locks and realty signs were removed and Sims continued renting the property, fraudulently collecting monthly payments.
Sims’ actions “forced the bank” to take its foreclosed property off the sale market because its officials “feel the situation is way too dangerous for realtors and the public to go view the property,” court document say. Meanwhile, the bank is losing money by not having the property on the market.
Sims worked as a commissioned officer for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office from 1985 until 2011, the Bradenton Herald reported. The following year, court documents say, Sims filed an affidavit with the county clerk “where he made it known that he [now] was a natural free-born Sovereign individual.’’
Dave Bristow and Randy Warren, public information officers for the sheriff’s office, did not immediately return phone calls for comment.
Court documents say when questioned by Detective Mark Franczyk of the Manatee Sheriff’s Office, Sims told the investigator “he was wrong” and that if charges were pursued Sims “was going to probably come after everybody.” The sheriff’s office subsequently received a “packet” of legal claims from Sims.
The plan was for everyone carrying a gun into the chambers of the Washington House gallery on Saturday to get arrested — an antigovernment act of civil disobedience to call attention to the state’s new gun control law. But as the crowd of about 50 antigovernment gun owners gathered in the drizzle, waiting for the right moment to go it, the plan hit a snag.
The legislature was not in session. The governor was gone. The House gallery was closed and the doors to it locked. In other words, there was nothing there that the gun owners — who toted a variety of weapons to the protest — could do as an act of civil disobedience to protest a ban on citizens bringing weapons in the state House and Senate chambers.
“What’s the world coming to when there are people who want to break the law and they won’t let you do it?” Dave Grenier, 58, of Tumwater, a protest participant, told the Associated Press.
A judge in Alabama—tired of the blather and repeated interruptions from a man police say is an antigovernment “sovereign citizen”—found an answer to silence courtroom outbursts from the antigovernment activist: threatening to tape the man’s mouth closed.
Calhoun County Circuit Judge Bud Turner suggested using tape to silence outbursts last week from Everett Leon Stout, 73, but ultimately decided it would be better judicial decorum to have the defendant removed from the courtroom and returned to jail.
Stout was in court on Jan. 28 with his common-law wife, Miriam Claire Shultz, 69, both of Oxford, Ala., for an arraignment. They were arrested in December on multiple felony charges, including filing fraudulent liens and attempting to extort $1.6 million from various businesses, including the purchase of a $300,000 recreational vehicle with a worthless sovereign citizen check. All are common crimes of sovereign citizens who believe laws, licensing requirements, taxation and most rules don’t apply to them.
Stout, shackled and wearing an orange-and-white-striped jail uniform, told the court that he wanted to be his own lawyer and refused to waive the reading of 15 charges against him, the Anniston Star reported.
“I do not accept the appointment of counsel,” Stout said, later asking the judge to read the definition of extortion. Stout said that laws didn’t apply to him before later interrupting the court, demanding to be the legal representative for his wife.
“If he says anything else, get some masking tape and put it on his mouth,” the frustrated judge told a bailiff, the newspaper reported.
“Go ahead and put it on me, if that’s what you want to do,” Stout responded. At that point the judge Turner directed bailiffs to remove Stout from the courtroom.
Ratcheting up their resistance to Washington state’s new gun-control law, anti-government gun owners are planning to show up at the state Capitol in Olympia this weekend in an open attempt to be arrested for violating newly-installed rules against carrying weapons into legislative hearings.
The effort to overturn Washington’s Initiative 594, which mandated background checks for most gun sales in the state and was approved by nearly 60 percent of state voters in the 2014 election, originated in December with a “We Will Not Comply” rally at the Capitol. At that rally, which drew hundreds of participants as well as some leading antigovernment figures, gun owners openly exchanged weapons in defiance of the law’s reporting requirements.
Then, on Jan. 15, about 200 protesters showed up at the Capitol to again protest the new law while the state Legislature was in session. During that event, a number of protesters went inside the Capitol and displayed their long guns in the upper gallery of the House chambers. Such defiance sparked concern among state officials and legislators, who worried that the display was a bald attempt to intimidate lawmakers.
Lt. Gov. Brad Owen huddled with state legislators, and in short order both the House and Senate passed bills banning open displays of firearms in their respective chambers. Shortly after that, weapons were similarly banned from all public hearings in the Capitol.
So now, the same protesters are planning to return in larger numbers on Saturday and defy new Capitol rules. Some of the organizers make clear that they intend to be arrested by state police when they do so.
A Facebook page dedicated to the protest, titled “Our Capital, Our Rights: A Rally For Freedom”, declares, “We call upon the Governor of Washington to uphold his oath and respect our unalienable rights. Liberty For All and The Patriots Stand are teaming up to stand on February 7 and demand that Jim Moeller step down, and our rights be recognized. “
Another “Patriot” organization calling itself the Patrick Henry Society, led by sometime legislative “Liberty Candidate” Sam Wilson, issued a press release titled “Gun Owners Prepare for Arrest at WA State Capitol”.”
“If the legislature feels the need,” said Sam Wilson of Liberty for All, “to prohibit peaceful citizens from openly carrying firearms into the people’s viewing chamber, it certainly makes a reasonable person question what motivates them to disarm the people viewing them while they are in session, serving as the representatives of the people.”
Already, it appears to be an uphill climb for widespread acceptance of the protest.
The Jan. 15 incursion into the House chambers was denounced by the mainstream gun-rights groups that organized the rally, notably Alan Gottlieb of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, who told the Seattle Times that the gun-waving incursion was “the result of a few stupid extremists on our side who not only handled their firearms unsafely, but made the hundreds of Second Amendment supporters at the rally look foolish.”
“Irresponsible actions get us bad results,” he said. “This kind of childish theater hurts our cause.”
“Tyranny is not an option,” Shea said in a rising voice. “The right to bear arms is unalienable. It can’t be taken away by a majority vote. It can’t be taken away by the Legislature. It can’t be taken away by the Supreme Court. God gave us that.”