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Chris Simcox, the former leader of one of the largest militia groups patrolling the Arizona border during the peak of the nativist Minuteman movement, has been charged with molesting three young girls.
Simcox, 52, was arrested yesterday after detectives found probable cause that he had molested the girls, all under the age of 10, police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson told Reuters. The charges stem from incidents over the last few months. Simcox has denied all charges, according to a press release from the Phoenix Police Department. ( continue to full post… )
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In mid-2009, nativist leaders scrambled to distance themselves from Minuteman American Defense (MAD) founder Shawna Forde, after the immigrant-bashing former child prostitute was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the slaying of an Arizona man and his 9-year old daughter.
Few were as adamant in their repudiations of Forde – who now sits on death row for the murder of Raul and Brisenia Flores – as Minuteman Project (MMP) President Jim Gilchrist. Within hours of the announcement of her arrest, he stripped MMP’s website of its many laudatory references to Forde’s group, extended his “condolences” to the victims and “all those who have been affected by the alleged incident,” and wrote, “Jim Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project, Inc. is not affiliated with the Minuteman American Defense or Shawna Forde. The Minuteman American Defense is an independent patriot organization which participates in systematic border observation and reporting operations.” ( continue to full post… )
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A 2010 U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo warned that a new Minuteman-style border vigilante group had popped up in Arizona that posed “a possibility of violence between armed civilians and smugglers.”
The confidential memo — dated April 28, 2010, and leaked last Thursday by LulzSec, a group that hacked the Arizona Department of Public Safety — warned that an “unknown group” calling itself “A Concerned Citizen” was seeking recruits to help shut down a 30-mile section of Interstate 8. The idea was to create a roadblock, allegedly for the purpose of stopping any smugglers who might be traveling along the route.
“[I]t is not surprising that another contingent of Minuteman types has come to life. The tone of this information is quite unlike that of the MCDC Locked and Loaded Operation,” the memo’s author wrote, referring to Chris Simcox’s nativist extremist group Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) and appearing to suggest that the new group was even more militant. MCDC dissolved in March 2010 in part because it did not want to take legal responsibility for the potential actions of its fired-up volunteers after its leader announced a “locked and loaded” plan that encouraged volunteers to bring rifles with them to the border and “forcefully engage” the “criminals” who try to cross without documentation. ( continue to full post… )
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Arizonans who fretted that the recent cancellation of Glenn Spencer’s testimony before the state Senate Border Security Committee meant that Spencer would be prevented from sharing his paranoid visions of marauding migrants can rest easy. Even if Spencer never makes it to the Senate, interested senators are going to see Spencer — and so can everyday citizens wanting to hear the hate group leader’s nativist propaganda straight from the source.
Visits to Spencer’s Cochise County ranch, including a tour and a briefing from Spencer, are being sponsored by the Arizona 2012 Project, an affiliate of the Tea Party Patriots. The Maricopa County Republican Committee promotes upcoming tour dates on its website.
During the most recent tour Saturday, two Republican Arizona state senators, Sylvia Allen and Al Melvin, were among the approximately 50 people that Spencer estimated visited his ranch on Saturday, Spencer reported on his website. Allen, who chairs the state Senate Border Security Committee, had initially invited Spencer to testify about border issues in March. The hate group leader was disinvited after the two Democrats on the committee sent Allen a public letter requesting that his appearance be cancelled because of his “divisiveness” and “hatred.” ( continue to full post… )
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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last Thursday signed into law a bill authorizing herself and future Arizona governors to deploy an “Arizona State Guard” at any time and for any reason she sees fit. This state guard – in essence, a kind of all-volunteer militia that is immune from being federalized – would be a force that can be “activated” to do much of the same work that the National Guard does.
Republican State Rep. Jack Harper, who co-sponsored the bill and has been pushing the issue since Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was governor of Arizona, told newspapers he hoped to see the militia established immediately and used to patrol the U.S.-Mexican border for undocumented immigrants. Arizona has already been the subject of much controversy around its harshly anti-immigrant policies, especially the S.B. 1070 law that critics say subjects all Latinos in the state to racial profiling and is currently held up in the federal courts.
Harper is not the only one enthused about the new law. Now comes a campaign — apparently led by an extremist nativist hardliner once sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center — to push Brewer into activating the guard immediately. ( continue to full post… )
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A superior court in Arizona has ruled that Chris Simcox, the disgraced former head of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), must continue to maintain distance from his estranged wife Alena and their children. In recent years, MCDC was one of the most important of the country’s anti-immigration extremist groups, but the organization has been considerably weakened of late.
“The court finds that conflicting testimony has been presented on every allegation and the court must make a determination of credibility,” The Washington Times quotes Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner J. Justin McGuire as writing in his decision. “The court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant has committed an act of domestic violence within the last year. The court further finds that good cause exists to continue the order of protection in this case.” ( continue to full post… )
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Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman movement and a principal nativist leader, threatened to kill his wife and family last year, according to a petition filed in Maricopa County Court in mid-April by his estranged spouse, Alena Simcox.
According to Phoenix New Times’ Steve Lemons, who broke the story yesterday, a Maricopa County court commissioner granted the petition April 16 and ordered Simcox to remain 200 yards away from Alena, their two children, and Alena’s child from a previous relationship. The order prohibits Simcox from possessing, receiving or purchasing firearms or ammunition.
The filing describes several violent incidents, Lemons reports. On Nov. 29, 2009, Alena alleges, Simcox was “drinking” and threatened her “with a gun. Repeatedly pointed it at me, saying he was going to kill me, and my kids, and the police. Kids were present and saw him. Very verbally abusive to me throughout the incident.”
On Aug. 22, 2009, Alena alleges, Simcox again confronted her with a weapon: “On our wedding anniversary, he was drinking and angery [sic]. Got a revolver gun and loaded with kids present. Then proceeded to ask me to ‘shoot him.’ I said ‘no,’ so then he said he would shoot entire family and cops.”
In late April, Alena Simcox file a petition for divorce from Simcox after five years of marriage. She was temporarily granted legal custody of the children, pending resolution of the divorce. A reply to the court, filed by Simcox’s lawyer John Acer, denies the allegations of domestic violence. The two were married in late 2005, when Simcox was 44 and Alena was 25.
This isn’t the first time Simcox has been accused of violent and bizarre behavior by a spouse. In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that Simcox’s second wife, Kim Dunbar, had filed an emergency appeal in September 2001 to obtain full custody of their teenage son because she feared that Simcox had suffered a mental breakdown and was dangerous. ( continue to full post… )
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A major nativist group known for its armed border patrols is disbanding.
In a Monday E-mail to supporters, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps President Carmen Mercer said the MCDC will no longer exist as an organization, though she encouraged supporters to continue its work independently. “I predict Americans, on their own, will lock, load and do what the feckless cowards in Washington refuse to do — and frankly I hope Americans do take up arms to defend this great nation,” she wrote in the “urgent alert.”
MCDC is an offshoot of the Minuteman Project, a month-long civilian border patrol that was covered extensively by journalists five years ago. (Then-President George W. Bush called the Minutemen “vigilantes” in March 2005.) In 2009, MCDC had at least 74 chapters in nearly 30 states, making it the biggest of the Minuteman spin-off groups. But MCDC and the larger Minuteman movement have been plagued by infighting, allegations of financial impropriety and civil litigation. In addition, the leader of Minuteman American Defense (MAD) was charged with the May 2009 murder of a 9-year-old Latina girl and her father during a home invasion in Arivaca, Ariz., setting off furious accusations and counter-accusations over who had supported MAD’s Shawna Forde over the years.
The announcement of MCDC’s dissolution also followed an E-mail Mercer sent a week earlier, in which she urged supporters to bring their long arms to the border and to “forcefully engage” the “criminals” who try to cross without documentation. Mercer wrote on Monday that she received hundreds of responses to that E-mail, including some that sounded over-enthusiastic. “It was obvious that many had decided to return to the border who had tired of the sometimes futile watch and observe methods. It showed me that people are not willing to be silenced anymore; it also showed me that people will be less likely to follow the rules of engagement in a desperate attempt to stop the criminals who violate our borders every day. That is not what we want and we cannot take the responsibility for this.” ( continue to full post… )
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It didn’t have to end this way for Lou Dobbs. He could have been a contender.
But Dobbs, a supremely self-confident man who often mentions his Harvard education in private conversation, just wouldn’t listen. Time after time, as the “Lou Dobbs Tonight” show he has hosted on CNN since 2003 grew more rabidly critical of undocumented immigrants, he was warned of the kind of people he was putting on his show. He was told that many of the “facts” he was presenting just weren’t so. At first, he was gently called out for his defamations of Latino immigrants, then, as his tone grew sharper still, he was subjected to all kinds of public criticism from human rights groups, the journalism trade press, even a leading New York Times financial columnist. Instead of righting his course, or even slightly moderating his tone, Dobbs called his critics “commies” and “fascists.” He fudged facts, defended earlier falsehoods, and promoted racist conspiracy theories. He fumed.
It all ended last night, when Dobbs announced on his program that he was resigning from CNN effective immediately. In a moment of supreme irony, he complained that public political debate was now overtaken with “partisanship and ideology,” and promised to use “the most honest and direct language possible” in whatever future role he plays in public life. For once, he did not attack his critics.
My colleagues at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and I were some of those critics, and early ones at that. I began speaking to Lou Dobbs in 2004, not many months after he started airing virtually nightly segments entitled “Broken Borders.” By that time, he had already run “reports” complaining about “illegal aliens” getting free medical care, educating their children in public schools, committing sex crimes, getting breaks on college tuition, filling the prisons and spreading diseases. ( continue to full post… )
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The leaders of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, the largest and richest border vigilante organization in the United States, have long been accused of scamming donors and members with shady fundraising practices. These practices included the supposedly “Israeli-style” border fence fundraising campaign, in which the MCDC solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the construction of a high-tech security barrier that turned out to be nothing more than a barbed wire cattle fence.
Now the president of the MCDC, Carmen Mercer, has been called out by her state’s chief prosecutor for allegedly participating in a mail fraud conspiracy.
Last Friday, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard filed a lawsuit against Mercer and the President and CEO of Property Tax Review Board Inc., a Granada Hills, Calif., company that in recent weeks mailed thousands of deceptively official-looking letters to Arizona homeowners soliciting $189 in exchange for a “property-tax-assessment analysis.”
According to Goddard, the letters were designed and written in a way intended to deceive recipients into thinking the letters were official government communications from their county assessor’s office. Goddard said his office had received hundreds of calls about the letters, including complaints from Arizona’s 15 county assessors, whose offices were likewise inundated with calls.
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