The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
The U.S. military’s plan to conduct a training exercise this summer across seven states has become the latest hot-button topic for antigovernment conspiracy mongers who are advancing a plethora of wild-eyed theories.
The exercise, called “Jade Helm,” is tantamount to martial law, they say, where special operations forces from four branches of the U.S. military will secretly train and further militarize local police, blending in with local populations and gearing up for an eventual battle to disarm Americans.
“They’re training to attack and beat and arrest and shoot and kill Patriots,” conspiracy theorist Alex Jones recently said on his television show. “This is what a slow-motion martial law scenario looks like!”
The U.S. Army’s Special Operations command has dismissed those conspiracy theories, saying Jade Helm is nothing more than “routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for (special forces) since they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice.” ( continue to full post… )
It wasn’t exactly a black helicopter, but it was close enough to spook the Oath Keepers keeping watch on the Sugar Pine Mine in southern Oregon.
Someone flew a private helicopter over a tract of land near the mine north of Grants Pass last week and set off a panic among the assembled “Patriots” – Oath Keepers, so-called “III Percenters,” and various other militiamen. And somehow, in militialand, this translated into a certainty that not one, but three helicopters were circling the mine and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was bringing in “troops.”
The militia gathered issued a coded call to arms, bringing the entire collection of would-be defenders rushing to the armed encampment’s staging area near the town of Merlin, bristling with guns and ready for action.
“THIS IS NOT A DRILL. CODE WORDS HAVE JUST BEEN GIVEN THAT OR MINE IS IN DISTRESS. ANY PATRIOTS IN THE AREA. ROLL OUT. ANYONE WHO CAN GO BETTER” read the callout on Facebook.
But according to Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel, it was all a false alarm. The helicopter did not belong to the BLM or any government agency, but instead was privately owned. It was landing on a mountain far from the Sugar Pine Mine. ( continue to full post… )
An Oregon pastor and his wife — tax protesters who appear to have morphed into antigovernment “sovereign citizens” — are now federal fugitives after refusing to appear for sentencing last week in Eugene, Ore., following their convictions for income tax evasion.
Ronald D. Joling, 71, and his wife, Dorothea, 72, of Coquille, Ore., “have engaged in a shameless scheme to defraud the United States and to evade payment of $1.2 million in federal taxes since 1992,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott E. Bradford said in court filings.
As a deterrent to such antigovernment tax protesters, the prosecutor recommended that the 71-year-old pastor of the conservative Hope Covenant Reformed Church in Coquille be sentenced to 121 months in prison, with 60 months recommended for Dorothea Joling.
Prosecutors have seized multiple rental properties and land owned by the couple and have asked the federal court to order the Jolings to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the U.S. government.
But Assistant Federal Defender Mark Bennett Weintraub said such a sentence was excessive, claiming it “is unreasonable to believe” that antigovernment activists like the Jolings will be “deterred or dissuaded b y the federal government’s exercise of its immense power.” ( continue to full post… )
Perturbed by the influx of armed militiamen bristling with guns and angry rhetoric into their normally quiet little town, residents of rural Josephine County, Oregon, are fighting back, asking the assorted “Oath Keepers” and other “Patriots” who have arrived recently to ostensibly defend a local miner to pack their bags and leave.
As if to prove their point, a number of Oath Keepers showed up on the scene last week and heckled local residents, intimidating them into retreating through the courthouse where they had stood to hold a news conference on Friday.
The community residents – who included a sporting-goods business owner, a former dean at the local community college, and several local church leaders, each of whom read a prepared statement – spoke to reporters outside the Josephine County Courthouse in Grants Pass.
“Certainly the miners are entitled to get their fair day in court and not have anything done to them until after the legal process, but they don’t need gun toting people coming around, threatening the whole community,” said Jerry Reid, a former dean of Rogue Community College. ( continue to full post… )
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.” ( continue to full post… )
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.
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.”
The bombing by antigovernment zealot Timothy McVeigh and several co-conspirators shocked the nation, awakening it to the threat of terrorism from far-right extremists. It remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.
Today, the threat from extremists like McVeigh remains very real.
The SPLC has documented a powerful resurgence of the extremist movement that motivated McVeigh. In fact, the movement has spawned numerous acts of terror and violence in recent years.
The SPLC today offers both a look at the movement’s history and an assessment of the current threat:
- MSNBC: “20 years after Oklahoma City bombing, domestic terror threat remains,” by SPLC President Richard Cohen.
- POLITICO: “Don’t Ignore the Homegrown Terror Threat,” by SPLC Senior Fellow Mark Potok.
- An SPLC timeline of the militia movement.
- Terror from the Right, a list of more than 100 domestic terrorist attacks, plots and racist rampages since Oklahoma City.
Also, here’s SPLC Senior Fellow Mark Potok discussing his personal experience as a reporter on the scene in Oklahoma City, as well as the current state of the militia movement:
Less than six hours after a 7,000-pound truck bomb ripped through the Oklahoma City federal building 20 years ago this Sunday, self-described terrorism “expert” Steve Emerson already was on CBS News, speculating.
“Oklahoma City, I can tell you, is probably considered one of the largest centers of Islamic radical activity outside the Middle East,” Emerson claimed, speaking while the building’s rubble still smoldered over the corpses of 168 men, women and children. The bombing, he declared, “was done with the intent to inflict as many casualties as possible. That is a Middle Eastern trait.” Emerson went on to instruct CBS’s audience not to believe Islamic groups’ denials of involvement.
The next day—still before any suspect was identified—an Iraqi refugee named Suhair Al Mosawi was at home a few miles from the city with her two-year-old daughter when a hail of bricks smashed her windows. Seven months pregnant, the terrified Muslim woman fled with her child to a bathroom, where she began to miscarry. Racing to the hospital a short while later, according to an account in The Boston Globe, her husband asked her to take off her veil, hoping to avoid still more abuse.
But it was an ugly lesson that Americans would do well to remember. ( continue to full post… )
A Pennsylvania supporter of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has pleaded guilty in federal court to threatening a Bureau of Land Management enforcement official during Bundy’s armed standoff last year with federal officials.
Will Michael, 24, pleaded guilty this week to threatening a federal law enforcement official as well as making interstate communication threats, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. He will be sentenced in July.
While Michael did not travel to Nevada during the April 12, 2014, standoff, he did leave a profanity-strewn telephone message with Mike Roop, the chief Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ranger for Washington and Oregon, in which he said, “We’re going to kill you,” according to federal court documents cited by The Times.
Bundy, who last weekend celebrated the anniversary of his standoff with BLM agents, seemed concerned that this would send a troubling message to his supporters. Michael is the first person arrested or charged in connection with the Bundy case, despite widespread calls across the nation for justice.
“I’m concerned,” Bundy told the Times. “It looks to me like they’re looking for someone easy to pick on. This guy was back in Pennsylvania. He wasn’t even out here in Nevada. I don’t even know what he said.” He added, “It sort of seems like this could be the government’s first move – I hope not.”
After the standoff, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a special report that, based on interviews with militia commanders on scene that day, documented a plan to coordinate the dozens of militias that responded to Bundy’s call for help, the Bundy family and other supporters to face off with the BLM.