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Recent examples of right wing extremist violence

By JJ MacNab | October 26, 2011

In the last ten years, right wing extremists have been involved in several dozen violent and terroristic plots in the United States. A number of factors have contributed to this crime wave including the economic crisis, high foreclosure rates, election of a Democratic president, increasingly violent rhetoric among politicians, pundits, and on internet forums, and, ironically, the rise of the Tea Party movement. The majority of the recent events have come from adherents of the sovereign citizen movement, a loosely knit group of approximately 300,000 people who believe that they are above all laws.

The following is an incomplete list of the most recent stories – both terrorist-related and otherwise – involving the sovereign citizen, militia, and related movements.

2011

 

October, 2011:  Unable to control his impulses to harm government employees, bank robber and sovereign citizen Kyle Richards informed the court that he was too dangerous to be sent back to prison.

September, 2011:  Sovereign trucker Martin Jonassen was charged with kidnapping, beating, and raping his 21 year old, homeschooled daughter. Even after his arrest, court documents show that he used the prison phone to call his wife and sons to convince them to pressure the daughter into recanting her statement to the police.  Jonassen currently faces criminal trials at both the state and federal levels.

August, 2011:  Sovereign Erin Crawford was accused of kidnapping her 4 year old child in North Carolina.

August, 2011:  A sovereign named Laurine Arnold was charged with kidnapping her 5 year old grandson and hiding him in a Hare Krishna temple in Florida.  Arnold is currently awaiting trial.

July, 2011:  When a police officer attempted to pull over sovereign citizen James Tesi during a traffic stop, he refused, and the officer followed him  to his home in Hurst, Texas.  According to police reports, he then emerged with his truck with a gun and started firing at the officer.  Tesi, who claims he is exempt from all laws as a member of the Moorish Temple – a black sovereign group – was wounded in the return fire, and has been released on bond pending his criminal trial.

June, 2011:  Militia leader David Burgert fired at two sheriff’s deputies before disappearing into the woods.  Burgert remains a fugitive at this time, and is facing two counts of attempted murder in Missoula, Montana.

June, 2011:  When a Page, Arizona officer responded to a domestic violence call, there was a scuffle, and sovereign leader Bill Fouts attempted to grab the officer’s Taser. The officer then shot and killed Fouts.  Fouts was a leader in the Republic for the united States, a sovereign alternative government group.

May, 2011:  Larry Wayne Kelly was charged with shooting up a Florida seafood store with an AK-47 because he was angry that they were out of crawfish.  When he was apprehended, the police found a book called The Sociopath Next Door in the suspect’s car.  Kelly is awaiting trial and is being held on a sizable bond.

April, 2011:  Angry over a friend’s traffic court case, Florida sovereign Robert Chapman gave his friend John Ridge Emery, III a sealed envelope that was purported to contain anthrax to hand to the judge.  Both men have been charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and are awaiting trial.

March, 2011:  White supremacist Kevin William Harpham was arrested and charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and possessing an unregistered explosive device.  Harpham’s plan, according to the federal indictment, was to detonate a backpack bomb filled with shrapnel dipped in rat poison at a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Washington.  Harpham is currently prison, awaiting his criminal trial.

March, 2011:  Sovereign leader Schaeffer Cox was indicted with four others for conspiring to kidnap and murder multiple State Troopers and state court officials. According to court filings, they scouted out the homes of the Troopers, and purchased grenades, machine guns, and assault rifles. They called their plot the “2 4 1” plan – kidnap two troopers or officials for every militia member arrested, and murder two for every militia member who dies in the struggle. Eight days after the state indictment, four of the defendants were also indicted in federal court, accused of conspiring to murder a federal judge, an IRS employees, and their families.  Defendants are currently in custody pending both trials, which are currently scheduled to take place in 2012.

January, 2011:  Jared Loughner, whose online posts and videos display numerous sovereign markers, kills six, and injures 14 others, including his main target, a US Representative, in Tucson, Arizona.

2010


September, 2010:  
Militia member Victor Dewayne White was accused of shooting two officers and one citizen in Texas during a day-long standoff at his residence.

September, 2010:  Sovereign guru David Myrland was arrested and charged with threatening to kidnap the mayor of Kirkland, Washington.  Myrland plead guilty in August 2011 and is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

July, 2010:  Right wing extremist Byron Williams was pulled over for driving erratically by California police.  He was heavily armed and wearing body armor, and engaged them in a shootout, injuring two officers before surrendering. His plan was to kill employees at two charities, thereby acting as a catalyst in what he hoped would grow into a bloody revolution.

May, 2010: 16 year old sovereign Joseph Kane shot and killed two police during a traffic stop. Young Kane and his father, Jerry, were later involved in a shootout, injuring two more officers before dying in the gunfire.

April, 2010: Court-martialed Navy officer and “birther” Walter Fitzpatrick attempted to “arrest” a grand jury foreman in Madison, Tennessee because Fitzpatrick wanted the grand jury to indict President Obama for treason over his birth certificate.

April, 2010:  A group calling itself the Guardian of the Free Republics issued a letter to all 50 state governors demanding that they step down immediately. 1,300 sovereign citizens signed on to act as “common law grand jurors.”

April, 2010:  Armed with an AK-47, Darren Wesley Huff drove from Georgia to Tennessee with plans to take over the Monroe County Courthouse.  According to law enforcement, Huff was angry that the grand jury had refused to criminally indict President Obama for failing to show his long form birth certificate. Huff was convicted on 10/25/11 and is scheduled to be sentenced in February, 2012.

March, 2010:  Anti-government extremist John Patrick Bedell, killed two security guards at the US Pentagon before he was killed.

March, 2010:  Brody Whitaker attempted to shoot two highway patrolmen during a traffic stop in Florida. He fled the scene and was arrested a few weeks later.

March, 2010:  Nine members of a Christian Patriot militia called the Hutaree were arrested for plotting to murder a significant number of law enforcement in Michigan.  According to court documents, the plan was to murder a police officer, and then ambush and bomb the sizable police funeral.

February, 2010:  Tax protester Joseph Stack flew his airplane into an IRS building in Texas, killing one government employee and wounding several others.  Stack died in the crash.

January, 2010:  Tax protester/ militia leader Ed Brown was sentenced to 37 years in federal prison for engaging the US Marshals in a nine month standoff involving numerous guns, bombs, IEDs, and more than 60,000 rounds of ammunition.

 

2009

June, 2009:  White supremacist James Von Brunn killed a security guard inside the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Braun was shot by a second guard and died a few months later before he could be brought to trial.

May, 2009:  After arguing with his wife over where his acne lotion was kept, anti-government extremist Joshua Cartwright shot and killed two police officers in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Cartwright died in the gunfire.

May, 2009:  Arizona anti-government extremist Shawna Forde had a plan. She would rob suspected drug dealers, and use the money to fund a revolution against the US government. During a home invasion / robbery, Forde shot a family of three, killing the father and nine year old daughter, and wounding the mother. Forde and her accomplice, Gunny Bush, were convicted and on currently on death row, pending appeal.

May, 2009:  Right wing extremist Scott Roeder shot and killed Dr. George Tiller in the doctor’s Wichita, Kansas church.  Roeder was found guilty and is currently serving a life sentence.

April, 2009:  When Pennsylvania extremist Richard Poplawski’s mother called police over an argument involving his dog, Poplawski grabbed his body armor and multiple guns, including an AK47, and waited to ambush the officers that answered the call.  He was convicted for murdering three officers and is currently on death row, pending appeal.

April 2009:  When Viola, Wisconsin deputies arrived at the home of sovereign citizen Robert Bayliss to serve an eviction notice for failure to pay property taxes, the anti-government extremist started firing at the officers. He surrendered after a violent, day-long standoff, was convicted by jury on 13 felony counts including attempted first degree murder, and was sentenced to 48 years in prison.

April, 2009:  Serial bank robber and right wing extremist Richard Bauer was sentenced to four life sentences in Gassville, Arkansas for aggravated bank robbery and kidnapping. Bauer believed that robbing banks was justifiable because they were in cahoots with the IRS.

April, 2009:  Sovereign citizen Andrew Stephen Gray was charged with weapons and drug violations. Twenty rifles, a machine gun, four silencers, two bulletproof vests and 9,000 rounds of ammunition were found in Gray’s storage locker. He is currently serving a four-year prison sentence.

March, 2009:  A trio of prominent sovereign leaders was arrested in Las Vegas, CA.  Harold Call was charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun, gurus Sam Davis and Shawn Talbot Rice were charged with money laundering. Davis plead guilty in 2011 and is awaiting sentencing, Rice is currently a fugitive, and Call is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence.

February, 2009:  Minnesota sovereign citizen Robert Beale was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison for conspiring with three other sovereigns to kidnap a federal judge. Beale had earlier been convicted on tax charges, and the new prison sentence was in addition to the 134–month sentence on that case. Two of his co-defendants are currently serving 24-month sentences.

January, 2009:  When anti-government extremist Ronald L. Struve failed to pay the rent on his Washington storage locker, the new owner found 37 machine guns, 2 grenade launchers, 54 high explosive grenades, 6 blocks of plastic explosives, 12 silencers, 25 feet of detonator cord, and 7 blasting caps. A search of his home turned up anti-government literature, an “End the Fed” bumper sticker, 7 machine guns, a Russian sniper rifle, and an AK-47 assault rifle. He is currently serving a four-year prison sentence in California and is scheduled to be released in July of 2012.

Topics: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The politics of terrorism

By JJ MacNab | October 26, 2011

It’s been quite a year for Islamic terrorism news. Bin Laden and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki were killed. There was a credible threat on 9/11/11 about a potential attack by Al Qaeda, and in Texas, a Muslim American soldier gone AWOL was apprehended with the makings of two bombs. Just last week, the underwear bomber plead guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill 289 people on a commercial flight.

These were big news stories in the US, as well they should be, and the dialogue addressing the issue of Islamic terrorists has been robust on news shows, on the Internet, and in the halls of Congress.

In comparison, when terrorist plots, bombings, murders, and arrests involved non-Islamic villains, you could almost hear the crickets chirp.

Americans have a curious blind spot when it comes to home grown violence, a willful ignorance that is unfortunately mirrored in our political leaders, federal law enforcement agencies, and press.

The first problem is the terrorism label itself. When an Islamic radical intentionally flies a plane into a building, it’s clearly terrorism. When a Texas tax protester flies his plane into an IRS building, the FBI is quick to call it “a criminal matter … not to be considered terrorism.” When a US soldier who is also an Islamic extremist pulls out a gun and shoots 42 people at the Fort Hood military base, it’s terrorism, but when a 21 year old college drop-out shoots 20 people in Arizona, including a Congresswoman and a federal judge, he’s just mentally ill.

Why does it matter? Because we’re in a perfect storm for domestic terrorism in the US right now and the last time right-wing extremist anger, paranoia, and desperation reached these levels, Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more.

The White House

The problem – a lack of meaningful dialogue – goes all the way to the top. On August 3, 2011, President Obama released an eight-page plan entitled “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.” The report, which was disappointingly short on practical solutions, contained a fatal flaw.

Throughout our history, misguided groups – including international and domestic terrorist organizations, neo-Nazis and anti-Semitic hate groups – have engaged in horrific violence to kill our citizens and threaten our way of life.

Today … al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents represent the preeminent terrorist threat to our country.

This may sound reassuring, but it simply isn’t true. While symbolic targets like DC and Manhattan may worry about future attacks by Al Qaeda, ask any police chief in the rest of the country and they’ll all say the same thing: it’s only a matter of time before the United States sees one or more significant acts of domestic terrorism take place at the hand of a right-wing extremist. Future Timothy McVeighs are a very real concern.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Interestingly, the White House didn’t always have its head in the sand when it comes to homegrown extremism.  In 2004, the DHS assembled an analytical team to monitor the various factions that make up the “patriot” community, and in 2009, this team issued a report to law enforcement agencies warning them of the rapid growth and inherent violent risk in the right wing extremist movement. Someone in law enforcement leaked the report to the conservative press, and, pressured by Fox News and conservative pundits, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano back-peddled rapidly in an attempt to distance the Obama administration from the politically incorrect findings in the report.

In a move that may one day soon prove disastrous, the unit charged with monitoring non-Islamic, homegrown extremists – groups that could very well be incubating the next Timothy McVeighs – was dismantled.  Today, there is only one person in all of Homeland Security keeping track of a movement that has grown exponentially in recent years.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Once again, ask any police chief in the country about the flow of useful intelligence from the federal government to the state and local level on the subject of domestic terrorists, and you’ll hear a common complaint. Bound by complex rules, and a culture of secrecy, quite simply put, the Bureau does not play well with others. While there may be more analysts tracking the right wing extremist movement, such information rarely gets passed down to the local agencies most likely to encounters these groups.

Even with the introduction of Fusion Centers around the country, which were designed to facilitate communication between federal and local agencies, the complaint is the same.

We haven’t been properly briefed on these right wing extremists. We get a lot of information from the DOJ on Al Qaeda, but nothing on domestic terrorists.  – Police Chief, West Memphis, Arkansas

Local law enforcement

When Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols decided to bomb the federal building Oklahoma City, they didn’t live in the area. The target was chosen out of phone book.

On May 20, 2010, sovereign citizens Jerry and Joseph Kane shot four police officers in West Memphis, Arkansas, killing two, before they died in a gun battle with law enforcement. The Kanes lived in Florida, had license plates from Ohio, and were traveling across the country from Las Vegas.

Thanks to the internet, the extremist movement is now national in scope, and must be monitored at the national level. Local police departments have absolutely no way of knowing what nightmares are heading their way and have to rely on federal agencies such as the DHS and FBI to keep them informed. With only one person monitoring an enormous movement, no intelligence reports on the subject have been produced by DHS since early 2009 and key information is no longer being provided to local law enforcement agencies, and the FBI close lipped policy means that any information provided is somewhat generic.

Congress

On March 10, 2011, the House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing on domestic terrorism. The only issue addressed was the radicalization of Muslims in America, and no comparable hearings have been held on the issue of right wing extremism, even though the vast majority of domestic terrorist acts in the US involve non-Islamic terrorists.

While it may be politically incorrect to focus attention on extremists from only side of the spectrum, simply ignoring that there’s a problem and a potential for mass casualties is irresponsible and dangerous.

Sometimes, to win a fight, you have to be willing take a few hits. If an unpopular report gets leaked to the press, the appropriate response isn’t to dismantle the team that wrote it and pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

Conclusion

Maybe we’re too close to the issue of non-Islamic homegrown extremism to have a meaningful dialogue. Maybe the political environment is just too toxic to address the potential for right wing violence calmly. But we’d better find a way to deal with it quickly, because the consequences of ignoring it are too high.

Three months ago, news spread quickly about a bombing and mass murder in Oslo, Norway, and the press and pundits instantly assumed that it was the work of an Islamic terrorist. When it turned out to be a young Norwegian man with right-wing extremist beliefs, the comments made to the press by Oslo residents sounded eerily familiar.

I can’t believe this is happening in Norway.

Some of the Oslo comments went further.

It’s the kind of thing you’d expect in America.

Pay attention, DC.

Topics: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Jared Lee Loughner: Lost in Translation

By JJ MacNab | January 10, 2011

On Saturday afternoon, my phone was hopping out of its cradle and email started pouring in. A gunman had just shot multiple victims in Tucson, Arizona, including a US Congresswoman and a federal judge, and everyone from friends to press to government employees wanted to know: Was the shooter one of “my guys”?

For more than 10 years, I have tracked, studied, and infiltrated various factions of the right-wing extremist world, including tax protest and sovereign citizen groups. There are approximately 300,000 of “my guys” in the US today.1

It was good question, and considering that 20 people had been shot resulting in six fatalities, it was an important question. Online battles were already raging on political websites and in the comment sections of various news articles. Cable news pundits were bending over backwards assigning blame to their political enemies, attempting to use the dead and wounded to score “points” over their opponents. This made it a smokin’ hot question.

So what’s my answer?

Yes, he’s one of my guys.

I downloaded and watched 22-year old Jared Loughner’s now-famous YouTube videos, grabbed a cache copy of his MySpace pages and postings, and have read as many articles quoting his friends and neighbors as I could find. There are a significant number of pointers that place him squarely within the sovereign belief system, and none so far that suggest that he isn’t a sovereign.

Is he insane? Maybe, and that will be for a judge and jury to decide, but it doesn’t change my answer or even make it any less likely.

Is he as insane as the press, sheriff, and pundits are making him out to be? Probably not. They just don’t speak his language or understand his obscure references, so they reasonably dismiss what they don’t understand as meaningless babble.

For example, James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal writes:

To the extent that the suspect, Jared Loughner, had political views, they were disjointed and impossible to categorize–think John Hinckley meets No Labels.

I disagree with Mr. Taranto.

Ironically, this is what the shooter refers to as “literacy” and “grammar” in his writings. Sovereigns have their own set of complex cultural references and vocabulary, which they think that outsiders are just too stupid to understand.

The Sovereign sub-culture is based on conspiracy theory

In general, a sovereign believes that every individual has more rights and power than any government agency or political body, but that sinister forces behind the government have systematically suppressed this secret knowledge in order to better enslave us all as “subjects.” Depending on the sovereign group, the conspiracy behind the government is run by rich bankers, the Federal Reserve, Jews, Zionists, the Pope, the Queen of England, or in one extreme case, shape-shifting reptiles.

Now, stay with me here.

Sovereigns believe that, if they could just get the combination of words right to expose the conspiracy, we could all live in a world of unlimited freedom with no traffic laws, taxes, debts, child protective services, or nasty ex-spouses. Our individual wealth would magically be unlimited, since people behind the government would no longer be using us to enrich themselves.

Different leaders within the movement sell different secret solutions to their flocks.

  1. Some believe that if the nation could just return to the gold and silver standard, all economic woes would end.
  2. Most engage in what I call “Founding Father worship” in which they take excerpts from the Constitution and American Revolution leaders and either misread them or twist them out of context to suit their purposes.
  3. Many think that the Federal Reserve is run by a secret cabal, and that banks commit fraud every time they loan you money. Therefore, a sovereign believes he’s not legally required to make mortgage or credit card payments.
  4. Earlier sovereigns focused on income taxes, and that has recently expanded to property taxes.
  5. Some of the more extreme preach a return to a more “racially pure” time where all community decisions are made by white men.

Sovereigns often don’t have a driver’s licenses or passports, and they may not register their cars or businesses. They often don’t pay income taxes or child support, and they get extraordinarily frustrated – even violent – when law enforcement attempts to infringe on their make-believe freedoms by daring to write them a ticket or file a tax lien on their assets.

Once such recent case of violence by sovereign, was the recent cop killings in West Memphis Arkansas, when 16 year old sovereign named Joseph Kane, fired on and killed two police officers during a traffic stop. Joseph and his father Jerry fled the scene and later died in a shootout where two more police officers were shot and wounded.

The new Sovereignty appeals to all generations and races

While the sovereign movement was started several decades ago by white supremacist leaders in Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas, in recent years, new joiners have been young and old, male and female, from all races and religions.

Loughner’s writings

The various YouTube videos posted by Loughner are filled with sovereign-type references.

If he’s like most sovereigns, at some level he knows his beliefs are inherently absurd, so he tries to bolster his conclusions with weak syllogisms, desperately trying to show that it was deductive reasoning that led him to his ideas, not gullible or weak thinking.

His fascination with the meaning of words, what he terms “grammar,” is very common in the movement, and fits into the belief that the secret to freedom can only be accessed through the right combination of words and quotes, a kind of magic incantation.

Many sovereigns suffer delusions of grandeur. Simply put, they believe that they hold the key to the secret knowledge because they’re so much smarter than the rest of us. Loughner labels this as “literacy.”
Faux number theory, the focus on the gold standard, new age practices, and the desire for an alternative currency are all common sovereign concepts.

All sovereigns believe in some form of conspiracy theory. Loughner may have thought that Congresswoman Giffords, as a political insider, knew all about the dark forces behind the government but was ignoring his attempt

to communicate with her using the magic incantation language. In his eyes, this would make her evil and treasonous, and the punishment for treason is death.

Sovereigns believe that they are part of some new American Revolution, and that violence is a necessary part of the revolutionary process. They want to be the spark that triggers the war that leads the nation to freedom.

Violent domestic terrorist such as Timothy McVeigh, tax protester Joseph Stack who flew his place into the IRS building in Austin, and New Hampshire sovereign Ed Brown, who engaged US Marshals in a heavily armed standoff in 2007, all used such language.

And, as for the mental illness issue, no one becomes a sovereign without some factor or triggering event that effectively turns off a person’s common sense switch. In ordinary circumstances, the sovereign belief system is patently absurd, and the ordinary person sees right through the whole conspiracy / magic incantation stuff as nonsense.

But not all sovereigns are mentally ill. In fact, most aren’t, according to the courts. They’re simply gullible, greedy, financially desperate, or anxious to feel powerful and important. And while most people who don’t speak sovereign think that their ramblings are incoherent, they actually follow a complex set of rules that is fairly consistent.

Conclusion

The world of sovereign extremism exists outside of our traditional political spectrum, so labeling someone like Loughner a left-wing extremist or right-wing Teapartier doesn’t make any sense. Sovereigns tend to be anti-government, but don’t really see much difference between a Republican politician and a Democratic. Both sides of the political aisle are seen as impediments to the sovereign notion of freedom.

Jared Lee Loughner may have acted alone but he is not alone in his beliefs.

1 [1] See my latest article “Sovereign Citizen Kane” in the Intelligence Report magazine, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and my Congressional Testimony before the US Senate for additional information on my research.

Topics: Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

New article in the Southern Poverty Law Center Magazine

By JJ MacNab | September 13, 2010

On May 20, 2010, two “sovereigns” named Jerry and Joseph Kane murdered two policers and wounded two others over a routine traffic stop. To read more about that tragic day and the sovereign movement in general, be sure to check out my article in The Intelligence Report, a magazine published by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Topics: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Extremist radio

By JJ MacNab | January 21, 2010

Listening to online talk radio is like trying to navigate the Los Angeles freeway system at the peak of rush hour while hitting your forehead repeatedly with a hammer. Even if you make it to your final destination without shooting anyone, you worry that you’ll emerge from the car just a little bit dumber than when you climbed in.

The typical right-wing extremist show goes something like this: The host introduces himself and describes in titillating detail his most recent victimization at the hands of the evil feds – the US government apparently has an endless supply of silent, black helicopters and wastes billions of dollar annually bugging the homes and phones of small-time radio hosts – all because he’s determined to share “The Truth” with his vast army of listeners. His fans, all 42 of them, are thrilled to think that they’re in on some secret truthiness, and are therefore more than happy to overlook the obvious lies and exaggerations the show host slips in next. Just when you think the fibs about the topic du jour are so outrageous that the listeners will have to slap their knees and admit that the whoppers being told are truly funny stinkers, the show breaks for commercials.

And for pure entertainment value, there’s nothing better than the advertisers who peddle their goods on the extremist talk show circuit.

Worried about the impending apocalypse? Just buy gold coins, freeze-dried food, and a few dozen cases of ammunition from us and you’ll be the king of your county when the world economy collapses. Have the Jews rigged the Federal Reserve to ensure your financial failure? Here’s a $3,000 debt elimination package that guarantees you’ll never have to pay off your mortgage and credit card debt to those evil Jew bankers again. Cash only, please. Feeling like you’re coming down with the flu? A little colloidal silver in your water will make you right as rain again. Just because your skin turns permanently blue, it’s a small price to pay for thwarting the government’s plan to kill you with those sinister flu vaccinations. Angry with Uncle Sam for taking 191.4% of your hard-earned money each week? Quick, buy our detax toolkit and you can be a tax-free hero, just like the founding fathers, Ross Perot, and the Kennedy clan. Call now and we’ll throw in an offshore Ponzi scheme for free!

After the break, the host continues his lengthy rant on whatever news event or paranoid fantasy pissed him off that day, punctuated with occasional calls from supporters who tell him that he is obviously correct because they can’t find anything on the topic in the Illuminati-controlled, mainstream media.

The show invariably ends with an impassioned request for donations. Taking on the entire US government ain’t cheap, you know.

The topics may be racist and hate-filled, and the medical and financial advice may land the listener in a god-awful mess, but in general, most online talk radio shows are relatively harmless. Few of the hosts openly advocate violence, and even fewer have more than a couple dozen scattered listeners, many of whom are too paranoid to leave their homes because the black helicopters are hovering in the shadows and the airplanes overhead are spreading mind-control chemicals through their condensation trails. A host’s success is measured in terms of donations with the ultimate goal of having enough money come in to avoid that depressing get-a-real-job alternative. After all, it’s easier to collect unemployment or disability if you don’t have an employer reporting your earnings to those jack-booted thugs at the IRS.

But then there are the rare birds – the hosts that manage to gain a significant following measured in the thousands rather than dozens – who believe that the only solution to their paranoid problems is to hunt and kill the perceived enemy. Primary targets may include Jews, blacks, immigrants, UFOs cleverly disguised as famous people, gays, state and federal employees, and even strategic government buildings. While gathering donations is still a fundamental objective, these gurus have an ultimate goal of inciting others to do their dirty wet work for them, for free.

They’re not as funny as the other guys.

Topics: Right wing extremists, Tax Deniers | 4 Comments »

Illuminati Alert!

By JJ MacNab | January 20, 2010

I received the following email from Republic Magazine yesterday.  Conspiracy theory, a tax denier  scheme, and a get-rich-quick plan all in one convenient place!!!!!

See, what I just wrote must be true because I used lots of exclamation points!!!!!

!!!!!!

Ok, I’ll stop now.

Email:

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!! TUESDAY !! 3pm EST William H. McIlhany!!!

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Tuesday, 1/19/10, 3PM EST: “Exposing Manifestations Of The Illuminati’s Hand In Major Areas Of Our Lives!”

Phone # to Dial: 949-333-4806  Use Conference ID: 733552# Live Web Stream: http://www.republicmagazine.com/webinar

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!! WEDNESDAY !! 3pm EST Michael-Edward

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Wednesday, 1/20/10, 3PM EST: “Take Back Your Power Now While Stopping Major Intrusions Into Your Liberties!”

Phone # to Dial: 949-333-4806  Use Conference ID: 733552# Live Web Stream: http://www.republicmagazine.com/webinar

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!! THURSDAY !! 3pm EST Sue Barrow

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Thursday, 1/21/10, 3PM EST: “Learn The Dynamics To Live A Free & Prosperous Life With The Liberty Wealth Club!”

Phone # to Dial: 949-333-4806  Use Conference ID: 733552# Live Web Stream: http://www.republicmagazine.com/webinar

Topics: Tax Deniers | 1 Comment »

Utah "sovrun" arrested for threatening to kill an IRS employee on MySpace

By JJ MacNab | January 18, 2010

Contrary to public belief, most right-wing extremists don’t spring from the womb with a Constitution in one little hand and a loaded firearm in the other, gurgling and cooing anti-government rhetoric and crying about gold fringe on the hospital diapers.

Sure, a few have extremist parents to blame, but usually, they’ve chosen to walk the “patriot” path as adults. There’s almost always a triggering event such as a bankruptcy, a business failure, or an ugly divorce that somehow turns off the common sense switch in their brains, and turns on the narcissistic rebel switch.

And once that common sense switch is thrown, there’s no flipping it back. After all, the world of the extremist is a glorious place, at first. It’s not your fault if you’re struggling to pay your credit card debt. It’s those evil Jewish bankers that have conspired to keep you down. The court says you have to pay child support for your three little kids? Pfui. You’re a sovereign entity and the court has no jurisdiction over you. The ex-wife that dumped you and took the kids can starve, for all you care. Are taxes keeping you from the lifestyle you know you deserve? Not anymore, because the 16th Amendment was never ratified, so you’re tax free for life! Anyone who still pays is a chump.

Without that pesky common sense around, your failures are never your fault, and your responsibilities can be conveniently sidestepped with a legal-sounding excuse.

Of course, without that common sense around, you are also gullible to every con artist that comes calling. As long as the tax scam, medical quackery, debt elimination scheme, or sovereign citizen package is wrapped in suitably angry, right–wing, paranoid rhetoric, the typical extremist will believe even the most absurd get-rich-quick scam.

Case Study: Michael Lee Wight

Michael Wight has a long history of tangling with the courts. His rap sheet includes driving under the influence, driving without registering his car, carrying a dangerous concealed weapon, driving with a suspended license, a red light violation, driving without a license plate, driving without car insurance, theft, and interfering with a legal arrest. Whenever he went to court on these charges and lost, he sued the arresting officer and/or agency in state or federal court. And when he inevitably lost those cases, he filed an appeal. All at taxpayers’ expense, of course.

Here’s an example of what the Judge had to say in Wight v. Utah, 1999 Colo. J. C.A.R. 5822:

Appellant’s complaint consisted of a plethora of incoherent, unsupported constitutional and other allegations arising out of sundry traffic infractions and the towing and impoundment of his vehicle. Appellant had provided no facts in support of his claim for relief.

According to public records, Wight also filed UCC statements against himself in 1999 in what is commonly known as a “redemption” scam. The general belief in this scheme is that a sovereign citizen can magically separate his flesh and bone sovereign self (Michael Lee Wight, expressed in a mix of upper and lower case letters) from his corporate strawman self (MICHAEL LEE WIGHT.) Since criminal indictments are usually typed out in ALL CAPITAL letters, a sovereign can doing anything he wants, and never be prosecuted. That’s the theory, and they’re sticking to it no matter how many times they lose.

And in the true litmus test of any right-wing extremist, Mr. Wight is even less keen about paying income taxes than he is about registering his car. Two liens, dating back to 2004 and 2006, show that he owed the federal government at least $12,400 and another five liens filed by the State of Utah total more than $3,000.

When the IRS tried to collect these back taxes, he expressed his displeasure on the internet, in such places as MySpace and on survivalist forums.

When most people get behind on their income taxes, their options are usually difficult, but doable. They can file for bankruptcy, arrange an installment plan with the IRS, or find a second job. Mr. Wight took a slightly different approach. He vented his frustration on his MySpace page and threatened to murder the IRS employee who pissed him off.

The federal government, of course, does not take kindly to death threats against their employees, and Mr. Wight was indicted in December 2009.

Here’s an excerpt from the FBI’s Affidavit in support of the Complaint in Wight’s criminal case:

As recently as November, 2009, your affiant saw … [a] photograph on WIGHT’s MySpace page showing a number of firearms laying on the bed … [T]he following writing appeared underneath the aforementioned photograph of the firearms on the bed: “Dedicated to the Assholes and Government Tyrants who Fuck with me and the other REAL Americans!” WIGHT continued: “I was just thinking about this video today and I have this song on my MP3 App on my Blackberry phone..I dedicate this to the Bitch and her Husband that cause me Lifetime injuries when the Bitch hit me with her Car and THEY HAD NO FUCKING INSURANCE and then LIED about the Accident to try and Blame me! I also dedicate this to the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICES ACS Collection Manager, [name deleted for purposes of this Affidavit] in Fresno, Califuck-Ya who steal My money every Month for the last 2 ½ Years I got Your Vengance and Justice Coming to You all with My Guns Bitches!!!! These Guns and others like them will Insure Your Death and the return of Freedom in America!…” (sic)

Mr. Wight, of course, is using a taxpayer-funded federal public defender in his upcoming trial.

If convicted on the two felony counts, Wight faces a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison. For his sake, I hope his common sense switch turns back on in time to cut a deal. I’m not going to hold my breath…

Topics: Michael Wight, Tax Deniers | 5 Comments »

37 years in prison for Ed Brown, and not one drop of remorse

By JJ MacNab | January 13, 2010

Summary: In short, Ed Brown was found competent to participate in his sentencing and the judge sent him off to spend 444 months in federal prison. Not that it matters, but this prison term is in addition to the 63 months from the tax-related case. Even if he qualifies for the maximum time off for good behavior, Ed will be 100 years old at the time of his release.

Bottom line, it sucks to be Ed. But my guess is that anyone reading this blog already knew that.

The big day

8:00 am, Monday morning. Security was fairly high, as it has been throughout the Ed and Elaine Brown-related trials. There was no sign anywhere of Joe “You Ruin People’s Lives” Haas, who had been threatening all week to intercept the prison van as it delivered Ed from the Strafford County Jail to the courthouse for the hearing. A cute but tail-less bomb sniffing doggie was there, as well as several law enforcement officers, court security staff, and oodles of US Marshals.

I had expected six-foot walls of snow in New Hampshire in mid-January and was surprised that the accumulation was only slightly more than what I had in my yard at home in the DC area. It was, however, very very cold. While I have experienced single digit temps three or four times in my life, this is the first time that I’d ever gone below the dreaded zero mark. It was so cold that water oozing through the cracks in the granite walls lining the freeway looked like frozen waterfalls. It was so cold and dry that when I brushed my hair, it formed a ball of static on my head. It was so cold that a few seconds after I’d used my windshield wipers to clear away the ice, the glass surface flash-dried into an opaque layer of crystals.

I once had a federal prosecutor I’d never met, walk up to me and ask somewhat imperiously, and with no introduction whatsoever, how I chose which trials to blog. When I replied, “I go where it’s warmest,” she mumbled something about Wyoming in February, looked relieved, and walked away without ever telling me her name.

I made an exception for Ed Brown. His case is an excellent example of the worst things the right-wing extremist world has to offer – conspiracy theories, tax denial, threats, delusional beliefs, violence, sovereign citizen myths, bombs, paranoia – heck, this case has it all. So I bundled up and headed north.

The courtroom was full as everyone waited for the judge to come in. Roughly forty or so people were in the audience section of the room, mostly government employees and press, with only one Brown supporter in attendance. Ed clanked into the room in his khaki prison jammies and leg shackles, and almost immediately got belligerent with his defense counsel. He kept waiving around a manila envelope as if its mere presence were proof that he was right, and his experienced lawyer was just too stupid to understand. During this childish display, the room was absolutely silent as everyone simply watched Ed’s tantrum play out.

The Competency Hearing

The judge took his seat, and the prosecutor introduced their only witness, a Bureau of Prisons forensic psychologist named Shawn Channell.

Ed: Objection!

Judge: Sit down, Mr. Brown.

Dr. Channell sported a prison-chic, “van dyke” beard, and was comfortable on the stand. He has done more than 300 competency evaluations in the past, including six or seven sovereign citizen exams.

He said that Ed was surprisingly compliant during his exam, but was irritated that he’d been referred for a psychiatric evaluation. Ed had made several unusual comments about the government and his trials, and the doctor explained that Ed had an atypical level of “suspiciousness and paranoia.”  Ed, for example, claimed that he had been tortured with chlorine bleach gas following his arrest. When the doctor looked into the allegation, no such event had taken place. This caused Ed to jump up and start yelling at the doctor, so the judge had Ed hauled out of the courtroom for a 5-minute time-out, “just like a 6-year old child.”

As he was leaving, Ed yelled out to the audience.

Ed: Jesse Ventura is correct. It is not a conspiracy; it’s a fact.

Fifteen minutes later, the hearing resumed. The doctor said that he’d spent more time than usual with Ed.

Dr. Channell: He’s very talkative but is not amenable to a question and answer type of interview. He only wants to talk on his terms, so I let him talk and gathered information that way.

By the end of the 30 day evaluation period, the Dr. had ruled out mental illness, but had determined that Ed met the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as predicted in my earlier blog post.

Ed: The narcissistic part of it is probably a little bit true.

The witness said that Ed suffered from grandiosity (Ed laughed out loud in delight), and was boastful, patronizing, arrogant, and tended to exaggerate his achievements (Ed nodded his head in agreement.)

Dr. Channell: He believes he is superior in many ways and said that I should be ashamed of myself and the role that I play at the Bureau of Prisons.

Dr. Channell: Ed claimed that he was fired from his previous jobs because he was so skilled that he was a threat. For example, he believed he could eradicate roaches worldwide.

Ed made a number of claims to the psychologist. When Karen Carpenter was dying of anorexia, Ed said he had contacted her agent with a cure. He also said he provided his expertise to law enforcement during the Waco standoff.

However annoying and arrogant a person with a narcissistic personality disorder may be, it is not a mental illness, according to the witness. Ed understood the charges against him, the role of the prosecutor, the role of the defense attorney, and the duties of the judge.

Dr. Channell: According to Mr. Brown, the judge should be there with the Bible in one hand, and the Constitution in the other.

Cross examination was brief but interesting.

Dr. Channell again explained that there was no record of Ed being gassed or put into “a 50 degree cell with a 10 knot wind.”

The defense attorney pointed out that some of Ed’s beliefs were original – the US Attorneys Office was secretly behind the Waco standoff, the Ruby Ridge standoff, the World Trade Center bombing, 911, the Oklahoma City bombing, and millions of deaths around the world. Ironically, Ed never mentioned the one theory that would actually have been true – that the US Attorneys Office was indeed behind his criminal indictment and conviction.

The Dr. said that these beliefs were consistent with his anti-government theories and the narcissistic personality disorder, and explained that having strong beliefs in something that was unbelievable to outsiders did not mean that someone was incompetent. He compared the sovereign citizen movement to a subculture or organized religion in that regard.

Every time the psychologist mentioned one of Ed’s pet theories (flag fringe, the Illuminati, UCC bonds, and so forth) Ed proudly waived his manila envelope around in the air and smiled knowingly.

During his examination, Ed had taken a 300+ question written exam, and a couple of the answers did raise red flags: Ed believed 1) that he was the target of a conspiracy, and 2) that others sometimes could hear his thoughts.

The judge found Ed competent to participate in his sentencing hearing, and so the proceedings move on to the next and final act of this melodrama.

The Sentencing

Throughout the proceedings, Ed turned to the audience to address his followers and explained to the judge that the people acting as his counsel were seated there as well as some of his fans.

In fact, only one person had actually shown up to support Ed that day – Marie Miller, who some of you may remember as the mother of both Bill “Ed is worth more to me dead than alive” Miller, who ended up institutionalized in a mental facility following his brief stay at the Brown house, and John Miller who is currently doing time in prison for threatening to kill the family of a witness in his brother’s criminal case. Marie was quick to tell reporters after the sentencing that she was not Ed’s “counsel.” There were no family members there to provide emotional support. There were no Freestaters there to sponge off Ed’s press coverage.

The federal prosecutor gave a brief speech detailing what was found in the Brown house (guns, ammo, bombs, explosives, tripwires, etc) and said that they agreed with the pre-sentencing report. The recommended sentence was 570 to 622 months.

Throughout the presentation, Ed tried to talk to the Chief Deputy Marshal in the audience and when the judge told him to be quiet and wait his turn, he started to pantomime his reactions for his fans.

Again, the judge warned him to be quiet.

Ed: I’m going to address the public, not the court.

When the prosecutors reminded the judge that the Special Operations Group sniper had established a sight on Ed’s temple and was ready to pull the trigger, Ed laughed aloud in derision.

The Allocution

When it was finally Ed’s turn to talk, he started reading from the US Constitution Ranger’s manual, which continuing to refer to his friends and counsel in the audience.

The judge interrupted and asked that Ed please use the microphone since no one could hear him.

Ed: I will not, and I won’t do anything the court asks.

His defense counsel turned the microphone in his direction, and Ed thanked him.

Ed claimed that he was just doing research all those years to “expose a cell within the criminal government that will murder millions of Americans.” That cell was the US Attorneys Office.

Ed said that he had always admired the US Marshals Service.

Ed: I thought they were pretty good dudes… And women.

He pointed out that the Zionists were responsible for the world’s problems and hastened to add that he was referring to “Zionists, not Jews,” because “Jews are my brothers.”

In fact, Ed blamed everything on the US Attorneys Office – “they orchestrate everything” – along with the Order of St. John, the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, the Knights Templar, the Jesuits, the Moose Lodge, the British Accredited Registry, Internal Order of Police, and the Freemasons.

Judge: Did you say the Moose Lodge was responsible?

Ed: Yes, I did.

Ed said that a US Marshal had spent three days in his house and he knew who the person was the whole time. He also claimed that on the infamous Dogwalker Day in June 2007, he knew that there were five special ops snipers in the woods.

Ed: Those US Marshals that came to my land that day are alive because I made a quick decision. I could have killed all five of them.

According to people who have spent time at the Brown house, Ed was such a bad shot, he’d have a hard time shooting the side of a barn.

Ed: I don’t lie. I don’t lie about anything, ever.

He again detailed the evil deeds of the US Attorneys Office – Waco, Ruby Ridge, Flight 800, 911, Oklahoma City.

Ed: They’re murdering people all around the world right now through the State Department.

As Ed’s time ran out for his allocution, I think he realized that this would be his last stand. Towards the end of his speech, Ed’s personality morphed quickly from pompously self-righteous / kind of goofy to malignantly evil. He finally gave us a taste of the private side of Ed, and all I could think about is how Elaine must have felt when this side was turned on her.

He accused the judge of being filthy rich and protested that he was a miss-labeled.

Ed: I am not anti-government, sir. I am the government.

The Sentence

It was now the judge’s turn to speak. He explained that a sentence must serve multiple purposes, including a “need to promote respect for the law.”

Ed stood up mid-sentence, and demanded to be removed from the room. The Judge agreed and the Marshals escorted him out. That will likely be the last time that anyone but law enforcement, prison guards, and fellow prisoners ever see Ed.

The Judge continued his speech. He said that he found Ed to be entirely unrepentant.

Judge: He prides himself for his ability to kill multiple Marshals but didn’t out of the goodness of his heart.

Judge: Mr. Brown confuses the ability to promote his views with his decision that everyone must agree with him.

The judge outlined what had happened to the many people who believed in Ed Brown – lives effectively ruined by long prison sentences – yet Ed didn’t care about or feel remorse for any of those ruined lives.

Judge: Mr. Brown, throughout his life, never quite garnered the status he felt he deserved.

The Judge then sentenced Ed to 444 months in federal prison and the proceedings were over.

Interesting bits:

Danny Riley’s proffer statement contained a number of intriguing items:

What next?

Stay tuned. There are some really big trials coming up this winter in places with deliciously warm climates…

Topics: Cirino Gonzalez, Daniel Riley, Ed Brown, Elaine Brown, Jason Gerhard, Robert Wolffe, Tax Deniers | 13 Comments »

Ed Brown's Judgment Day

By JJ MacNab | January 10, 2010

Almost two years to the day after Ed Brown decided not to return to court to defend himself in his federal income tax case, he’ll appear before a federal judge in Concord, NH to learn his sentence in his kill-as-many-US Marshals-as-possible case.

Bright and early on Monday, January 11, 2010, the judge will first hold a competency hearing, requested by Ed’s defense attorney as a last ditch effort to do something for his client. My prediction? A Bureau of Prison psychologist will have examined Ed for a minimum of 30 days and found that, while he is a cranky and abusive jerk, his delusions are not particularly consistent or original, which means he’s mentally competent for the purposes of sentencing. If the doctor does provide a diagnosis beyond “fit to be sentenced”, my guess would be narcissistic personality disorder. If you read the DSM-IV description of NPD, they might as well rename it EBD (Ed Brown’s Disease.)

Since the minimum sentence Ed faces for building bombs, zip guns, and other IEDs is 30 years, the judge doesn’t have a choice other than to send Ed to prison for the rest of his life. Realistically, he’ll get more time than Elaine or any of the other defendants – being the head of the conspiracy and the one who made the most violent threats, that’s a given. Assuming he gets a sentence of 40 years, for example, the earliest he could possibly be free is October 2045, at which time he’ll be 102 years old. The federal prison system doesn’t have parole, and I’ve already factored in the maximum time off for good behavior.

Ed’s lawyer has asked for a reduced sentence of 361 months, but even that would effectively be a life sentence. Here’s my favorite bit from the lawyer’s filing:

C. The Defendant Should Receive a Two Point Reduction for Acceptance of Responsibility

The Defendant testified in this case. Although he may have been at times surly and disorganized in his testimony he testified truthfully. In fact he admitted essentially every element of each offense when examined by the prosecutor.

Hmmm. I’m pretty sure that taking responsibility for your crime means saying you’re sorry and that you were wrong…

And for those of you who are feeling sorry for Ed right now, let me refresh your memory about some of the things he promised during the standoff:

Source:  Ed Brown on the DezertOwl radio show 2/2/2007.

This is the beginning of one very huge movement. I’m not quite sure you understand the ramifications of what’s going on right now. This is massive. This is international. We are fed up with the Zionist Illuminati. That’s what this is all about. Loud and clear. Zionist Illuminati. Lawyers, whatever they are, ok, it’s going to stop. And if the judge is a member of that, I know that McAuliffe is, I know that US Attorney Colantuono is, they’d better stop. This is a warning. You can do whatever you want to me. My job is to get the message out and I’m getting the message out, and I’m warning you guys (not you guys [referring to the show hosts]) them to cease and desist their unlawful activity in this country and every other country because once this thing starts, we’re going to seek ‘em out and hunt them down. And we’re going to bring them to justice. So anybody wishes to join them, you go right ahead and join them. But I promise you, long after I’m gone, they’re going to seek out every one of you and your bloodline.

Source: Ed’s 2/4/2007 telephone conversation with an attorney

Minute Mark 2:14
Ed: I don’t surrender to criminals. I don’t even talk to them, hardly. This is a total, total violation of all laws of this nation. These people need to be strung up, they’re so criminal. Well, why would I even talk to these people first-hand? They are beneath me — they are my public servants – they are my employees — I have fired them for treason and sedition, so why would I communicate with them under any circumstances?

Minute Mark 3:00
Ed: They don’t have a choice, because if they go any further than what they are, then they’re going to bring this whole thing to another level. That’s their choice. I did give them a choice: Go away, I don’t negotiate with my enemy.

Minute Mark 3:26
Ed: I’ll tell you what. We won’t arrest them if they bother to go away. For now. Because they are subject for charges of arrest right now, there’s no question about it.

Minute Mark 3:55
Ed: I’m not interested in living and dying and all that crap. I’m interested in what the law is supposed to be and I will stand by that lawful law at any cost. Period. Why don’t you understand that? You think that I’m afraid to die?

Minute Mark 4:45
Ed: You can record this and give it to them. This is a warning to them. They really don’t want to do this. They do it to me, and I wouldn’t want to be this U.S. attorney. I wouldn’t want to be this judge or these other people. This James John or anybody else that decides to come down here. Their names are already out there, just like my name is in their books.

Minute Mark 5:39
Ed: They are just as vulnerable as I am. And if they’re so foolish and stupid to think that they’re not, hey, doom on them. So if they don’t want to negotiate properly, in a lawful manner, they’re going to be surprised at how many people whose lives they’ve destroyed that’s going to get back up and kick their ever loving asses. I don’t say that lightly, you know damn right well I don’t say that lightly. You know how many people are pissed off at them and how many lives they’ve destroyed. A lot of people would love the opportunity to rip out their hearts and shove them back down their throats.

Minute Mark 6:16
Ed: I suggest they take their money and go away. It’s the last chance they’re going to get. Because if they decide to make that move against me, go ahead, watch. It ain’t going to be as easy as they think it is.

Minute Mark 6:33
Even if I lose the battle, all it’s going to do is infuriate a hell of a lot more people. I guarantee you, McAuliffe and Morse and Colantuono and the rest of those people down there will join me. That’s their choice.

Minute Mark 7:23
I have no illusions about living or dying with these people, these evil SOBs. But that’s ok, I forgive them, but my friends won’t.

Topics: Ed Brown | 3 Comments »

Domestic Goddess vs. Domestic Terrorist: the Sentencing of Elaine Brown

By JJ MacNab | October 3, 2009

Yesterday, “Elaine Alice: of the Family Brown, spelled in upper case and lower case letters” was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.

Keep in mind that that’s 35 years in addition to the 63-month sentence from the earlier, income tax-related charges.  Even if she’s a model prisoner, and earns the maximum amount of “time off for good behavior,” the earliest she can ever hope to see a world without bars and guards is January 31, 2042, at which time she’ll be two weeks shy of her 101st birthday.  She’ll likely be housed in a maximum security facility for women, in their “administrative” unit to ensure that she doesn’t try to retaliate against government employees by filing phony liens and other such sovereign citizen silliness.

Had she accepted the plea agreement offered to her when she first decided to flee her income tax trial in 2007, her estimated release date would have been October 30, 2009, just a few weeks from today.  Much of that time would have been spent in a minimum security camp à la Martha Stewart, with an early release to a half-way house.

Of course, had she never met Ed Brown, she’d be a wealthy and successful professional with a long and prosperous retirement ahead of her, free from the notion of a life behind bars, with a jelly cupboard full of stuff like jelly, rather than bombs and explosives.

During yesterday’s sentencing hearing, however, Elaine blamed everyone but Ed and herself.  It was the court’s fault for not recognizing that while ELAINE BROWN had been convicted, “Elaine Alice: of the family Brown” had not.  It was the local press’ fault for making her and Ed look like crooks, thus stunting their mission to spread the religion of tax denying on a nationwide scale.  It was the government’s fault for daring to impose those evil income taxes.

The Hearing

When Elaine was escorted into the courtroom at 9 am, she looked haggard, old, and hardened.  She was wearing navy blue deck shoes and a long-sleeved, white shirt under khaki prison scrubs.  Her legs were shackled, which caused her to amble awkwardly when she walked.

For the first several minutes of the hearing, the defense counsel entered his objections to the pre-sentencing report into the record.  According to the defense attorney, Elaine didn’t assemble the many pipe bombs and explosive devices around the Plainfield house, and of all of the dozens of guns found at the residence, only one belonged to her for the purpose of self defense.

The judge didn’t buy it.  He pointed out that Elaine was very much aware of the bombs and guns in her home, and that she had “constructive possession” of the firearms.  They were everywhere, all she had to do was pick one up and use it.  Furthermore, it was her income and savings that financed the purchase of the guns, explosives, and bomb parts.

In July, 2009, Elaine had been convicted by a jury on six felony counts, one of which had a minimum sentence of 360 months in federal prison attached to it.  According to the presentencing report prepared by a Bureau of Prisons probation officer, the federal sentencing guidelines for these six counts resulted  in a sentencing range of 495 to 528 months.  The defense attorney requested a sentence of 361 months, and the prosecutors endorsed the recommended range from the report.

When it was the federal prosecutor’s time to speak, he gave an eloquent monologue. He reminded the court that while Elaine may have been claiming her acts were in self-defense, to anyone grounded in the real world, her acts were obviously “aggressive conduct”, and pointed out that giving her a below-guideline sentence, even if she was highly unlikely to outlive that lower sentence, would send a message to future wingnuts and kooks that engaging in an armed standoff with lethal bombs and explosives was somehow justifiable self-defense.

OK, the prosecutor didn’t actually say “wingnuts and kooks,” but anyone who listened to Ed and Elaine rant on their daily radio show about the worldwide Zionist Jesuit Illuminati conspiracy behind their tax charges or the odd teachings of the guru who called himself The Body of the Lord, understood that that’s who the prosecutor was referring to when he euphemistically said “others.”

He pointed out that, in Elaine’s mind, since no one was hurt in the standoff and arrest, there was no harm done.  While no one may  have been hurt, he continued, that was only because the Marshals were patient and professional.  He paraphrased Elaine’s argument as, “Please be compassionate because I didn’t have the opportunity to kill anyone.”

Good stuff, that.

He then moved on to the theme of the day.  Elaine was an odd mix; an educated, polite, matronly woman who knowingly engaged in a violent, and bomb-filled standoff.  She lived in a home that was a “fortress” even prior to her arrest.

She was carrying a 9 mm Glock pistol at the time of her arrest that was equipped with a large capacity magazine.  This meant that she was capable of firing 17 hollow-point rounds before reloading.  A second, loaded, high-capacity magazine was stored in her fanny pack.  She slept in a bedroom that had 22 pipe bombs, explosive devices, guns, and ammunition side by side with her stuffed animals.  She slept a few feet away from night-vision goggles, a shotgun, a 50 caliber rifle, his and her Scott Air packs, Kevlar helmets, and more.  There were explosive devices in her laundry room and jelly cupboard.

Prosecutor:  This was a house you walk into and say “Holy Expletive Deleted.”

According to the prosecutor, Elaine acted as a mother-like figure to 21-year old Jason Gerhard, which resulted in the young man throwing away his life.  (Jason was recently sentenced to 20 years in federal prison as a result of his association with the Browns.)

Throughout all of the oral arguments, Elaine sat still.  Her legs were crossed, her right hand lay limp on the chair arm, and her left hand supported her chin, covering her mouth.  She stared fixedly at a piece of paper on the table in front of her, never looking up, and rarely reacting to anything that was said about her.

When the prosecutor talked about her willingness to kill US Marshals, she picked at her fingernails.  When he mentioned her vulgar outbursts following her arrest, she pursed her mouth slightly.  Otherwise, nothing.

Elaine’s lawyer answered by pointing out that she had worked hard for 65 years without any criminal record, and had put herself through dental school at age 30 with the help of a scholarship and loans.  She and Ed had committed no “overt acts of aggression” and had never left the property once the standoff started.

Then it was Elaine’s turn to speak.

Elaine:  My name is Elaine Alice of the family Brown spelled in upper and lower case letters.

She then followed with the typical UCC nonsense that had trickled into the court docket since her arrest two years earlier.  She claimed that she and Ed chose to go down the tax denying path because they wanted to “awaken the public to the corrupt and unlawful practices of the US government.”

Elaine:  We didn’t submit to the courts because Moses did not submit to Pharaoh, and the founding fathers did not submit to King George.

She then referred to the standoff as an act of “civil disobedience”, cited the New Hampshire Constitution right to revolution, and the New Hampshire state motto of Live Free or Die.   She recited the standard Edmund Burke quote (“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”) and complained that her patriotic efforts had all been thwarted by a local New Hampshire reporter.

Elaine:  Those Americans who do something are ridiculed and vilified.

She ended with a bitter promise:

Elaine:  I will continue to expose the fraud from prison.  I will always resist.

Two supporters clapped loudly at her grand finale.  One (the financial analyst from Rhode Island who testified during the trial) was escorted out of the courtroom, and the other left voluntarily.

The judge’s ruling was particularly interesting.  He talked about the difficulty in reconciling the fact that someone who appeared so normal on the surface had committed such serious crimes.  On one hand, Elaine was a “person next door,” and on the other, she was promising to send US Marshals home in body bags.

The Judge disagreed with Elaine’s characterization of her acts as civil disobedience and contrasted her acts to those of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr..

Judge:  The conduct engaged in by Mrs. Brown was purely criminal.  She wanted to kill without trial, attorneys, due process, or the protection of the law.  She wanted the immediate execution of law enforcement officers who were trying to enforce a warrant.

Judge:  It’s difficult to imagine a person who sleeps near both stuffed animals and explosive devices.

Judge:  She fully understood what she intended to do, and in the end, the US Marshals gave her more consideration than she gave them.

Judge:  When Mrs. Brown was talking earlier, she excused herself politely when she paused for a drink of water, but gave no excuses for her crimes.

The judge then sentenced Elaine to 420 months, considerably less time than the federal sentencing guideline range.

Throughout the judge’s monologue, Elaine sat emotionless.  She stared at and straightened the piece of paper that contained the text of her final speech, and looked up at the ceiling once.  When the judge asked her if she understood that she had a right to appeal, she answered yes so quietly and meekly, I could barely hear her.

Epilogue:

A few mornings ago, and without prior warning, Ed Brown was whisked away to a Massachusetts prison for a 30-day psychiatric evaluation.  This means that Ed and Elaine had little or no opportunity to say goodbye, and they will likely never see each other again.

Ed, Elaine, Danny, Jason, Reno, Bob, and so many others – all in prison because they bought into a fairly ridiculous and obvious scam.  Instead of working towards the reduction or elimination of the federal income tax, Ed and Elaine tried to argue that there were no income tax laws that applied to them.  Instead of engaging in real civil disobedience and just refusing to pay taxes, they maintained a smirking facade of “if you just show us the law, we’ll cut you a check today.”   And instead of going to prison when they were shown the law during their first criminal trial, they escalated the situation to a nine-month standoff, armed to teeth, just itching to murder anyone who tried to arrest  them.

What a freakin’ waste.

Interesting bits:

Topics: Cirino Gonzalez, Daniel Riley, Ed Brown, Elaine Brown, Jason Gerhard, Robert Wolffe, Tax Deniers | 6 Comments »

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