The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Pro-gun and Patriot activists say they are planning a demonstration next Friday at the U.S. Courthouse plaza in Spokane, where one of their leaders was arrested after brazenly carrying a loaded assault rifle and a semiautomatic pistol.
The arrest of one-time “constitutional sheriff” candidate Anthony Bosworth last Wednesday looked almost like a scripted event. Th 41-year-old Iraq war veteran, his wife and their two children showed up for a sparsely attended “10th Amendment” rally at the federal courthouse plaza. Bosworth was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, his two children were carrying .22 rifles and his wife was shooting video with a cell phone.
Word of his arrest was posted immediately to various antigovernment, pro-gun blogs and social media sites, causing a frenzied reaction. Supporters were urged to call the Spokane Sheriff, asking the only “constitutional law enforcement official” recognized by the antigovernment movement to intervene with federal officials.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich did just that.
“I went down there to make sure this did not get out of hand,” Knezovich later told The Spokesman-Review.
Bosworth has been a leader of a group opposing Washington state’s voter-approved Initiative 594, which requires background checks on all gun sales. He and other pro-gun activists say they are planning an “Arms Expo” campout in central Washington in June.
Bosworth, who lives in Yakima, also was armed when he showed up earlier this month in Olympia, Wash., with antigovernment Patriot leader Mike Vanderboegh, of Alabama, at a pro-gun rally where locked doors prevented demonstrators from entering the state capitol.
As expected, Vanderboegh was among the antigovernment figures quick to support Bosworth. The leader of the “III percent” movement – a reference the alleged number of American colonists who stood up to the British – wrote on his website, “DHS thugs crap all over their jackboots – again. Another skirmish with the forces of the evil empire in Washington state.”
Vanderboegh also applauded “the critical support of local (that is to say, constitutional) law enforcement with the intervention of the Spokane County Sheriff.”
Vanderboegh said Bosworth supporters will show up March 6 at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane for “Our State, Our Rights: The Patriots Answer” rally.
“Bring your side-arms. Bring your long guns. This is a peaceful rally. But it is an armed one,” Vanderboegh said. “This rally is the Patriots’ answer to a tyrannical and out of control government. Their abuses will not stand. But we will. We will not comply.”
There were only a handful of people on the courthouse plaza when Bosworth was arrested, and some of them were protesting a marijuana possession trial that was underway.
As though he was anticipating an encounter, Bosworth is heard on the video directing his wife to get the telephone number for the local sheriff. Antigovernment ideologues– quick to call federal agents “Gestapo” – frequently seek assistance or intervention from local sheriffs.
Uniformed Department of Homeland Security officers quickly approached Bosworth and told him he was violating federal law by carrying a firearm on the federal plaza. Bosworth engaged the officers, saying he only was prohibited from taking his rifle inside the courthouse.
“We’re exercising our rights,” Bosworth is heard telling the DHS officer.
“What do you hope to achieve by carrying a rifle?” DHS officer asked Bosworth.
“I ain’t achieving nothing, except for practicing my rights,” Bosworth responded.
The officer on the courthouse plaza asked Bosworth to leave federal property, directing him to stand on a nearby city sidewalk. Puffing a cigarette and drinking coffee, Bosworth didn’t immediately leave when a deputy U.S. marshal then intervened as Bosworth’s wife continued shooting video.
“This is federal property,” the deputy marshal told Bosworth. “You can’t bring guns here. You need to leave right now or we’re going to arrest you. It’s that simple. You are not protesting. You are violating the law.”
In short order, Bosworth was arrested and taken into custody. His wife almost immediately posted word and video of the event on various social media sites and antigovernment blogs, listing the phone number for the Spokane sheriff.
Knezovich, who said he just happened to be in the area, went to the courthouse and apparently attempted to intervene and mediate.
“This became an instantaneous social media event,” Knezovich told the Spokesman-Review, which also reported the sheriff’s office “was slammed with calls about the incident.”
Sam Wilson, a spokesman for a Washington state group called “Liberty for All,” also blogged about the arrest of Bosworth, who is a member. Bosworth was “only released after a furious storm of social media exposure erupted and the County Sheriff stepped in,” Wilson wrote.
Not to be left out of the hysteria, antigovernment activist Alex Jones contended the FBI tried “to flip” Bosworth and make him a federal informant after the incident.
“Feds tell military veteran to ‘be quiet’ for a year to avoid charges,” a headline on Jones’ blog said.
“Bosworth’s treatment, from the clearly unlawful arrest to the attempt to quell free speech, is standard operating procedure among federal agents tasked with surveying politically active conservative Americans,” Jones wrote.
FBI Arrests West Virginia Man Who ‘Hated Government’ for Plotting to Blow Up Courthouse, Other Targets
A West Virginia man who authorities say “regularly espouses venomous anti-government, anti-law enforcement rhetoric” was arrested on Valentine’s Day on charges of possessing stolen explosives that he allegedly intended to use in attacks on a federal courthouse, a local festival, and a bank.
Jonathan Leo Schrader, 30, of Elkins, was arrested by FBI agents on Feb. 14 after a search warrant for his home revealed a bomb cache that included C-4 explosive compound and a half-stick of dynamite.
According to the West Virginia MetroNews, the investigation began when a cooperating witness began alerting sheriff’s deputies to Schrader’s activities, which included obtaining C-4 from a juvenile whose father had used the compound on a job. The witness also told deputies that Schrader had blown up a stump with some of the C-4, had altered an AK-47 to fire automatically, and had left a fake pipe bomb near police barracks in order to gauge their response.
Schrader intended to use the C-4 to blow up the Jennings Randolph Federal Center in Elkins, the witness said, as well as to attack the crowd at the local Mountain State Forest Festival, which is held every fall in the town. On another occasion, Schrader told the man he wanted to blow a hole in the wall of a local bank to get at its money, according to the FBI affidavit.
The man also intended to use a sniper rifle to shoot first responders at the scenes of the explosions, according to the witness, who also regularly relayed information about the man’s hatred of the government and law enforcement.
A detention hearing on Friday in Clarksburg was scheduled by U.S. Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull, who ordered Schrader held in the U.S. Marshals’ custody until the hearing. It was not clear if Schrader had an attorney.
A man who spent 26 years wearing a badge and enforcing the law in Florida now thinks he’s above the law as a self-described “natural, free-born sovereign citizen.”
James Michael Sims, 56, was arrested late last month and will be arraigned on Feb. 27 in Manatee County Circuit Court on three felony charges: two counts of grand theft and a third count of intimidating a public official.
Sims, a former deputy and detective for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly rented foreclosed properties, intimidated his former fellow law enforcement officials and attempted to file $100 million in bogus liens against judges — a common act among many sovereigns who believe they are immune from courts, judges and licensing requirements.
The judges who Sims targeted with liens previously had entered foreclosure orders on several homes he owned so banks could initiate legal actions to claim their full ownership when he failed to make timely payments.
Court documents say even though a bank had recovered ownership of one home and changed the locks, the locks and realty signs were removed and Sims continued renting the property, fraudulently collecting monthly payments.
Sims’ actions “forced the bank” to take its foreclosed property off the sale market because its officials “feel the situation is way too dangerous for realtors and the public to go view the property,” court document say. Meanwhile, the bank is losing money by not having the property on the market.
Sims worked as a commissioned officer for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office from 1985 until 2011, the Bradenton Herald reported. The following year, court documents say, Sims filed an affidavit with the county clerk “where he made it known that he [now] was a natural free-born Sovereign individual.’’
Dave Bristow and Randy Warren, public information officers for the sheriff’s office, did not immediately return phone calls for comment.
Court documents say when questioned by Detective Mark Franczyk of the Manatee Sheriff’s Office, Sims told the investigator “he was wrong” and that if charges were pursued Sims “was going to probably come after everybody.” The sheriff’s office subsequently received a “packet” of legal claims from Sims.
The plan was for everyone carrying a gun into the chambers of the Washington House gallery on Saturday to get arrested — an antigovernment act of civil disobedience to call attention to the state’s new gun control law. But as the crowd of about 50 antigovernment gun owners gathered in the drizzle, waiting for the right moment to go it, the plan hit a snag.
The legislature was not in session. The governor was gone. The House gallery was closed and the doors to it locked. In other words, there was nothing there that the gun owners — who toted a variety of weapons to the protest — could do as an act of civil disobedience to protest a ban on citizens bringing weapons in the state House and Senate chambers.
“What’s the world coming to when there are people who want to break the law and they won’t let you do it?” Dave Grenier, 58, of Tumwater, a protest participant, told the Associated Press.
A judge in Alabama—tired of the blather and repeated interruptions from a man police say is an antigovernment “sovereign citizen”—found an answer to silence courtroom outbursts from the antigovernment activist: threatening to tape the man’s mouth closed.
Calhoun County Circuit Judge Bud Turner suggested using tape to silence outbursts last week from Everett Leon Stout, 73, but ultimately decided it would be better judicial decorum to have the defendant removed from the courtroom and returned to jail.
Stout was in court on Jan. 28 with his common-law wife, Miriam Claire Shultz, 69, both of Oxford, Ala., for an arraignment. They were arrested in December on multiple felony charges, including filing fraudulent liens and attempting to extort $1.6 million from various businesses, including the purchase of a $300,000 recreational vehicle with a worthless sovereign citizen check. All are common crimes of sovereign citizens who believe laws, licensing requirements, taxation and most rules don’t apply to them.
Stout, shackled and wearing an orange-and-white-striped jail uniform, told the court that he wanted to be his own lawyer and refused to waive the reading of 15 charges against him, the Anniston Star reported.
“I do not accept the appointment of counsel,” Stout said, later asking the judge to read the definition of extortion. Stout said that laws didn’t apply to him before later interrupting the court, demanding to be the legal representative for his wife.
“If he says anything else, get some masking tape and put it on his mouth,” the frustrated judge told a bailiff, the newspaper reported.
“Go ahead and put it on me, if that’s what you want to do,” Stout responded. At that point the judge Turner directed bailiffs to remove Stout from the courtroom.
Ratcheting up their resistance to Washington state’s new gun-control law, anti-government gun owners are planning to show up at the state Capitol in Olympia this weekend in an open attempt to be arrested for violating newly-installed rules against carrying weapons into legislative hearings.
The effort to overturn Washington’s Initiative 594, which mandated background checks for most gun sales in the state and was approved by nearly 60 percent of state voters in the 2014 election, originated in December with a “We Will Not Comply” rally at the Capitol. At that rally, which drew hundreds of participants as well as some leading antigovernment figures, gun owners openly exchanged weapons in defiance of the law’s reporting requirements.
Then, on Jan. 15, about 200 protesters showed up at the Capitol to again protest the new law while the state Legislature was in session. During that event, a number of protesters went inside the Capitol and displayed their long guns in the upper gallery of the House chambers. Such defiance sparked concern among state officials and legislators, who worried that the display was a bald attempt to intimidate lawmakers.
Lt. Gov. Brad Owen huddled with state legislators, and in short order both the House and Senate passed bills banning open displays of firearms in their respective chambers. Shortly after that, weapons were similarly banned from all public hearings in the Capitol.
So now, the same protesters are planning to return in larger numbers on Saturday and defy new Capitol rules. Some of the organizers make clear that they intend to be arrested by state police when they do so.
A Facebook page dedicated to the protest, titled “Our Capital, Our Rights: A Rally For Freedom”, declares, “We call upon the Governor of Washington to uphold his oath and respect our unalienable rights. Liberty For All and The Patriots Stand are teaming up to stand on February 7 and demand that Jim Moeller step down, and our rights be recognized. “
Another “Patriot” organization calling itself the Patrick Henry Society, led by sometime legislative “Liberty Candidate” Sam Wilson, issued a press release titled “Gun Owners Prepare for Arrest at WA State Capitol”.”
“If the legislature feels the need,” said Sam Wilson of Liberty for All, “to prohibit peaceful citizens from openly carrying firearms into the people’s viewing chamber, it certainly makes a reasonable person question what motivates them to disarm the people viewing them while they are in session, serving as the representatives of the people.”
Already, it appears to be an uphill climb for widespread acceptance of the protest.
The Jan. 15 incursion into the House chambers was denounced by the mainstream gun-rights groups that organized the rally, notably Alan Gottlieb of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, who told the Seattle Times that the gun-waving incursion was “the result of a few stupid extremists on our side who not only handled their firearms unsafely, but made the hundreds of Second Amendment supporters at the rally look foolish.”
“Irresponsible actions get us bad results,” he said. “This kind of childish theater hurts our cause.”
“Tyranny is not an option,” Shea said in a rising voice. “The right to bear arms is unalienable. It can’t be taken away by a majority vote. It can’t be taken away by the Legislature. It can’t be taken away by the Supreme Court. God gave us that.”
While most American-born activists who become involved in defending Palestinian rights avoid becoming overt anti-Semites even while steadfastly criticizing Israel, Kenneth O’Keefe is not one of them.
O’Keefe, a former Marine-turned-antiwar and anti-environmental activist who specializes in what he calls “direct action,” has morphed in recent years into a raving, David Duke-endorsing anti-Semite, particularly in the speeches he gives to well-known white-supremacist groups.
The most noteworthy of these was O’Keefe’s speech to the IONA London Forum, a gathering of academically oriented white supremacists and anti-Semites held last August. The speech was noteworthy for its crude ugliness: the 50-plus-minute-talk by O’Keefe revolved around the repeated phrase “fucking Jews.”
“You know, I remember as a kid, the worst insult you could say to somebody — which I didn’t even know the origin of it, but we used to all use it — and it was no basis of any kind of discrimination, it was just this term — and it was Jew. In the worst way, fucking Jew. You know, you’re a fucking Jew, or something like that.
And you know, I never really thought about it. I didn’t have any Jewish friends as far as I knew, and yet I look back at it now and I realize it must be that there is some truth behind this, that it would be the ultimate insult, that’s somehow there’s this awareness without even being aware of the historical reality of Jewish impact on human history.”
That’s only the start of what was an epic emission of hate speech from O’Keefe at the forum. In the past, he has specialized in “straight talking” appearances before various groups, but now he has shaped them in the mold of a profane David Duke, the neo-Nazi and former Klan leader.
As his mainstream-seeming bio at Veterans Today explains, O’Keefe was a Gulf War veteran who first garnered attention in the 1990s by exposing the use of depleted uranium in that war.
O’Keefe also was involved for many years in fairly radical environmental causes, having hooked up in 1998 with Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, where he eventually became the organization’s regional director in Hawaii and led the group as it rescued sea turtles and spoke out against Navy sonar activities.
A turn in O’Keefe’s career occurred in May 2001, when he was aboard the Turkish ship M.V. Mavi Marmara when it attempted to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and was subsequently boarded by Israeli commandos, resulting in the deaths of nine activists. Then, in 2003, he began leading delegations of peace activists who attempted to act as “human shields” to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
In 2004, he burned his U.S. passport in an attempt to renounce his American citizenship — he was replacing his old documents with a “world passport,” he explained, and called himself a “Citizen of the World” with “ultimate allegiance to my entire human family and to planet Earth.” However, as O’Keefe’s Wikipedia page explains, the State Department has never recognized this renunciation, even though O’Keefe describes himself at his website now as the holder of “Irish, Hawaiian and Palestinian citizenship.”
O’Keefe became closely identified with the Palestinian cause, and even appeared as the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund in 2012.
As it happened, that was the same year that O’Keefe began forming a close association with David Duke. The first signs of this came in August 2012 when O’Keefe defended Duke on his Facebook page, saying: “I had a lovely 2 hour conversation with David yesterday and as per usual, the slander and lies made about anyone who is truth telling is obvious.” A little later, in the comments on his Facebook page, he claimed that Duke no longer was a white supremacist (a false claim that Duke himself is fond of making).
Then, O’Keefe appeared on Duke’s radio show in February 2013, where the pair discussed, according to Duke’s description, “the Hollywoodism Conference in Tehran, Iran. It exposes the Zio control of Hollywood which not only promotes lies about the enemies of Jewish extremism, but literally poisons the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people in West and all over the world.”
Later that year, Duke’s website featured an exchange between O’Keefe and anti-Semitic saxophonist/“scholar” Gilad Atzmon, a self-described “self-hating ex-Jew” whose writings and pronouncements are rich in conspiracy theories, Holocaust trivialization and distortion, and open support of anti-Israeli terrorist groups.
O’Keefe also made an appearance on a Russia Today interview program in October 2013, where he declared that President Obama should be tried for treason and added that “this man is a dictator who has assigned himself the right to execute anyone.”
When he was introduced at the London gathering in August 2014, his host boasted that O’Keefe was “a friend of David Duke.” But even that couldn’t have prepared the audience for the profanity-laced rant against “the fucking Jews” that followed.
Notably, O’Keefe savagely disavowed his onetime involvement in the peace movement:
“The mantra that I’ve gone by for many years now is TJP: truth, justice, peace. It’s pissed me off, the peace movement – what do you mean, “peace”? Fuck peace in this world. Fuck that shit, I’d rather die. I’d rather kill some of these bastards that are trying to destroy this world and take control of everything. Fuck you. I’d rather die. Peace without justice is not worth having, bottom line. Peace at the barrel of a gun is not fucking peace.”
And he predicted that eventually the scenario would play out in mob violence and retribution:
“I really feel that as long as we know the truth, the truth, an honest truth about what these people have done, then justice will play itself out quite naturally. We won’t really need to even manipulate it or set it up. It’ll happen. But we need to know the truth. And a lot of people are going to be hanging from lampposts or worse, I’m sure. I don’t doubt that for a second. All these people — they’ve got hell to pay.”
O’Keefe described former Rep. Ron Paul, a frequent candidate for the presidency with a penchant for attracting extremists to his cause, as “an incredible exception” to the corruption of American politics, which he described as “a servile, disgusting, treasonous body of assholes who actually have sold the American nation down the river.”
“The rest of ‘em, almost without exception, are a bunch of fucking puppets, and they’re a disgrace. And they should be rounded up and arrested for fucking treason — forthwith.”
For adopting such extremist beliefs and espousing such hateful nonsense, O’Keefe and Atzmon have been heavily marginalized within the larger Palestinian-rights and antiwar communities.
Even before O’Keefe made his presence known on the extremist scene, a group of pro-Palestinian activists and writers published a letter denouncing the kind of anti-Semitism being peddled by Atzmon and his cohorts:
“We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism, including the illegitimate power of institutions that support the oppression of Palestinians, and the illegitimate use of Jewish identities to protect and legitimize oppression, must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity.
Indeed, we regard any attempt to link and adopt antisemitic or racist language, even if it is within a self-described anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist politics, as reaffirming and legitimizing Zionism. In addition to its immorality, this language obscures the fundamental role of imperialism and colonialism in destroying our homeland, expelling its people, and sustaining the systems and ideologies of oppression, apartheid and occupation. It leaves one squarely outside true solidarity with Palestine and its people.”
A similar group of Palestinian intellectuals and activists co-signed a lengthy statement denouncing Atzmon and his supporters, concluding: “At this historic junction — when the need to struggle for the liberation of Palestine is more vital than ever and the fault lines of capitalist empire are becoming more widely exposed — no anti-oppressive revolution can be built with ultra-right allies or upon foundations friendly to creeping fascism.”
For his part, O’Keefe dismisses these critics by labeling them “cultural Marxists” – a far-right concept regarding the sources of liberal politics that inspired Anders Behring Breivik to kill 77 people in Norway in July 2011.
Editors’ Note: This article will appear in our forthcoming Intelligence Report.
It was two years ago today that President Obama was sworn in for a second term.
My, how the world has changed.
The economy is purring like a kitten after years of growling like a sour tummy. Jobs are coming back, wages are beginning to rise. The stock market is way, way up.
The war in Afghanistan is finally over. Finally.
More than 10 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance.
Did I mention the price of gas? I could go on. But I won’t, because this isn’t an article extolling the policies and virtues of our commander in chief.
No, this is a look back at what, two years ago, we called the paranoid prophecies of the right’s most rabid Obamaphobes — the most frightening predictions of the doom that awaited all of us if Obama were to be reelected in 2012. You remember: real end-of-the-world stuff.
Just for fun, let’s review.
Joseph Farah, the proprietor of WorldNetDaily, the supermarket tabloid of the black helicopter crowd, seemed to have a firm grasp of his fate in a second Obama term. The scribe had already reported drones surveilling his Northern Virginia property. “If [Obama is] re-elected, it’s gonna be war,” he said. “We will be hunted down like dogs.”
Anyone seen signs of war on American soil? Nope. Not real war, anyway.
We believe that if Obama wanted to round up Farah, he could find him. And if, say for dramatic effect, he wanted to send in the hounds to chase him like a fox, he would do just that. Perhaps he’s just waiting for the right moment.
Let’s move on. A motivational speaker and self-help author named Robert Ringer (it’s OK if you haven’t heard of him) predicted the “Marxmeister” would quickly unleash the “dictatorial full monty”: instant citizenship for all Third World immigrants, a new sedition act criminalizing criticism of the government, forced equalization of income, suspension of habeas corpus, the end of fossil fuel production, and more.
Not yet — though Obama has been exercising his executive powers. We don’t know where that will lead!
Next up: Wayne LaPierre, the NRA chieftain who makes nearly $1 million a year scaring the bejesus out of gun lovers, claimed Obama would take away our firearms and “erase” the Second Amendment. His first term was, of course, a clever ruse “to ensure re-election by lulling gun owners to sleep.”
We don’t know if Obama’s veto pen has an Amendment eraser on it, but he still has two more years. So, we’ll see. For now, guns abound!
Not to be outdone (which would make him irrelevant), the former Clinton aide Dick Morris prophesied to Fox’s Sean Hannity that the president’s “big focus” would be to make the U.S. a “vassal state to a globalist entity.” To make it even worse, he would sign a treaty so that we’d need permission from Russia and China just to launch a new war. (But what if we wanted to attack Russia and China? They’d probably say no.)
We’ll put this one in the too-soon-to-tell category, though if vassal-ness (vassalitude?) is the president’s “big focus,” we’ve seen no sign of it. Yet.
In Texas, some county judge named Tom Head called for a property tax INCREASE to help defend his county during the coming civil unrest.
Here’s what he told a TV station: “He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County, OK? So I’m gonna stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’”
Two years later, we’ve seen no sign of UN troops invading Lubbock County. Or any other of Texas’ proud (but militarily vulnerable) counties.
Finally, we reach our favorite prediction.
The actor Chuck Norris and his wife, Gena, posted a video on YouTube warning of “socialism or much worse.”
All right. That’s fair. You could argue we have all sorts of socialism built into our system: Social Security, the Post Office, etc.
But then Gena quoted a 1964 speech by Ronald Reagan: “We will preserve for our children this last best hope for man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into 1,000 years of darkness [emphasis ours].”
A full millennium. Of darkness!
Now that would take an act of Congress.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for homegrown domestic terrorism suspects, who can’t seem to get it into their troubled heads that plotting murderous mayhem on the Internet is not the best way to stay out of jail.
On Wednesday, federal agents swooped in and arrested a 20-year-old Ohio man in connection with a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol in an apparent act of jihad he allegedly discussed and planned with an informant on an instant messaging platform.
Last week in an unrelated case in Georgia, three alleged antigovernment militia members pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, according to the Rome News-Tribune. During several online conversations last winter, the men allegedly discussed using guerilla war tactics and bombings, targeting government buildings and offices, hoping to trigger an uprising of other militia groups and the overthrow of the government.
In the Ohio case, Christopher Lee Cornell and the informant first made contact with each other, according a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Ohio Wednesday, on Twitter in August 2014. The informant, seeking leniency in an unrelated criminal case, contacted the FBI in the fall of 2014 and told the authorities that Cornell had “posted comments and information supportive” of the Islamic State on Twitter.
On the Twitter accounts, Cornell used the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, and, according to the complaint, “voiced his support for violent jihad, as well as support for violent attacks committed by others in North America and elsewhere.”
Cornell allegedly wrote to the informant on a separate messaging platform in late August that he had been in contact with people overseas but did not think he would receive the green light to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States. Nevertheless, he allegedly told the informant he wanted to “go forward with violent jihad and opined that this would be their way of supporting” the Islamic State.
During a meeting with the informant in November, Cornell allegedly said that he “considered members of Congress as enemies” and his plan was to “detonate pipe bombs at and near the U.S. Capitol, then use firearms to shoot and kill employees and officials” there.
Cornell, who lived with his parents in an apartment in Green Township, was arrested Wednesday as he was loading into a car two rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition he had just purchased from a gun shop near Cincinnati. He was charged with attempting to kill a federal officer and with possession of a firearm with the intent to commit a violent crime.
His father, John Cornell, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he was skeptical of the charges against his son, a “momma’s boy who never left the house.”
“Everything you’re hearing in the media right now, they’re already painted him as some kind of terrorist,” the father told the paper. “They’ve painted him as some kind of jihadist. …(Christopher) is one of the most peace-loving people I know.”
The father said his son was a practicing Muslim and his son’s long beard and traditional Muslim dress made him a target for harassment. The father said once as his son was crossing a street “people driving by threw (objects) at him.”
In the Georgia case, which has not gotten much national attention, Brian Cannon, Cory Williamson and Terry Peace were arrested last winter. According to a nine-page federal criminal complaint, their goal was to force a declaration of martial law and spark a national uprising of militia groups by conducting a coordinated terror campaign that would create mass hysteria.
The men were originally arraigned last March on a charge of conspiracy to receive and possess a destructive device, according to the paper. But they have now been hit with a new indictment and a much more serious charge of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction as well as charges of conspiring to defraud the government. The new indictment and charges supersedes the previous indictment, the News-Tribune reports, adding that the weapons of mass destruction charge can carry up to a life term in prison.
The trio, the original complaint alleged, hatched much of the plot “in online chat discussions, which were monitored by [the] FBI, during which they chatted about carrying out an operation against the government.”
As Extremist ‘Constitutional Sheriffs’ Meet With Senators, Their Supporters Call for Obama’s Lynching
In one of the spacious meeting rooms of the Russell Senate Building in Washington, D.C., last month, three conservative members of Congress had an unusual meeting with a small group of law-enforcement officers who ascribe to far-right “constitutionalist” theories.
U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and David Vitter, R-La., and Rep. Martha Blackburn, R-Tenn., all met with former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, the far-right former lawman from Graham County, Ariz., who now leads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group of “constitutionalist” sheriffs who see themselves the last line of defense against those who would seek to infringe on the U.S. Constitution.
Originally billed in the National Review as a “massive gathering” of sheriffs from around the nation to protest immigration, the event was organized by two sheriffs who are active leaders in former Mack’s CSPOA and drew a much smaller crowd. And while CSPOA promoted the event and reported on it afterward, Mack told Hatewatch that it was not the chief organizer.
“I was invited to attend and we provided a little hors d’oeuvres,” he told Hatewatch. Still, he said, “I was really proud of these sheriffs for trying to take care of something on their own.”
The focus of the event was to stand in protest of President Obama’s executive action, taken after years of congressional inaction, to offer temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and whose children were born here and are U.S. citizens, provided they pass a background check and pay taxes. But it wasn’t long before a group of extremists supporting Mack made itself known.
Just down the Capitol Mall that same day, a small group of protesters supporting the sheriffs gathered at the White House and began shouting slogans and demanding the removal of President Obama. Some in the crowd demanded the president be lynched–”Hang the lying Muslim traitor!” one of them shouted.
The same group of protesters then proceeded to the Senate building where the sheriffs were meeting, but were not permitted inside and instead lingered in the foyer. When the meeting ended, the demonstrators lustily greeted the emerging law enforcement officers and Congress members, some of them shaking hands and hugging the participants.
Mack told Hatewatch that he was unsure who organized the supporting protest. But he stressed, “That was not us.”
Obama’s executive action, taken after years of congressional inaction, offers temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and whose children were born here and are U.S. citizens, provided they pass a background check and pay taxes.
The rhetoric used by the various officials during the press conference that followed was not nearly as incendiary, but it also reflected some of the paranoia inherent in the “constitutionalist” movement–even though some of it was coming from U.S. senators.
Obama’s executive action “is taking jobs and benefits directly from struggling American lawful immigrants and our native-born,” Sessions said. “A government must serve its own citizens.”
The sheriffs were largely on the same page. “When it comes to immigration, there is no law because there are no consequences, and that is something we in law enforcement have to deal with and have to fight,” Paul Babeu, sheriff of Arizona’s Pinal County, said. “Instead of putting illegals first and their rights, what about putting Americans and our rights and our security once, first?”
But what measure and reserve was on display inside the Senate Building was not apparent outside the White House.
That rally organized by an antigovernment group calling itself Operation American Freedom,” which had issued an “arrest warrant” to government officials in Washington earlier this year–was intended to support the sheriffs. An earlier video by Blaine Cooper, a “Patriot” who help organized a livestream of the event, announced that “we are gonna be at the White House at 10 o’clock tomorrow. The sheriffs are gonna be here doing their rally, and Operation American Freedom, or O.A.F., are gonna be there as well.”
Cooper’s livestream video also provided an unusual inside look at the protest.
There appear to have only been a couple dozen gathered to protest. Most of the noise at the demonstration was created by one man, wearing a tricorn hat and shouting into a bullhorn. One protester in particular—a bearded man toting an American flag—seemed especially intent on seeing Obama hung.
“Hang the lying Kenyan traitor terrorist piece of shit,” he shouted at one point. “He’s a traitor! Hang him!” The same man kept shouting variations of this throughout the protest.
When a large wood chipper drove past the scene, one of the protesters remarked: “Hey, a wood chipper! That gives me an idea” – suggesting he would like to run the president through the machine. When the press conference had finished, the participants were swarmed by the sheriffs’ supporters in the foyer, who cheered loudly as they exited and swarmed Sessions to express their admiration.
“We love you, God bless you,” one said. “Thank you for all your work in the Senate, and thank you for all of this – fighting Obama tooth and nail.”
In the video, Mack could be seen embracing a man with the tricorn hat as he departed. However, he could not tell Hatewatch afterwards anything about the man or the group: “I didn’t know if they were pro or con,” he said via e-mail.
Afterward, Mack was less than optimistic about the outcome of the event.
“My overall feeling was that Washington D.C. wasn’t going to do anything to enforce the law or fix the problem,” he said. “I don’t believe the leadership will allow the problem to be fixed. … And it’s really a slap at the black community that so many millions are going to be competing with low income minority groups for jobs. I don’t think there is any way around that. The president has once again shown that he’ll do anything he wants, whether its lawless or not, no matter who it hurts.”