The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Five white supremacist gang members in Portland, Ore., are accused of kidnapping and torturing two men they suspected of cooperating with authorities in “Operation White Christmas,” a major investigation that subsequently led to more than 70 arrests in Oregon.
The massive investigation — resulting in charges including murder, attempted murder, assault, kidnapping, drug possession and identity theft — is a case study in the relationship between white supremacists and outlaw motorcycle gang members on the streets and in prisons.
Authorities say criminal enterprises identified in the investigation include the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle gang and five street- and prison white supremacist gangs: the Rude Krude Brood; European Kindred (EK); All Ona Bitch (AOB); Fat Bitch Killers (FBK) and Insane Peckerwood Syndicate (IPS).
Criminal charges against 70 defendants have been filed in state and federal courts. “We’ve also seized over 100 guns as part of this investigation,” Multnomah County Sheriff’s Detective Joshua Zwick told Hatewatch today.
Most of the crimes, investigators say, involved gang members victimizing other gang members, including those suspected of cooperating with investigators.
In the first incident, David Ray Bartol, 34, and David Bruce Corbit, 47, are accused of kidnapping a man at gunpoint from his Gresham, Ore., home on Dec. 21, 2012, and taking him to Tom’s Auto Painting & Body Shop in southeast Portland. There, the attackers stripped the victim, struck him with bats and used a belt sander on his left upper arm, the Oregonian reports.
The attackers then are accusing of putting a helmet on the victim’s head and firing a silencer-equipped rifle, striking the man’s head four or five times. They then injected the victim with heroin and dumped the unconscious man in the street about a mile away.
The second incident occurred Feb. 12, 2013, in the same auto body shop. Four suspects, Michael Philip Donald O’Malley, 25, Michael O. Newcomb, 27, and Joseph Gerald Schwab, 51, and Bartol are accused of torturing, robbing and twice shooting another man in a spray booth in the auto shop before dumping him on Southeast Powell Boulevard. That victim was hospitalized for several months and sustained permanent injuries, investigators say.
Corbit, an admitted heroin addict, is an enforcer in for the Rude Krude Brood white supremacist gang and co-owner of the auto shop where the alleged attacks took place, the Portland newspaper reported.
Bartol is named in a 14-count state indictment related to the two body shop assaults. He is charged with attempted aggravated murder, four counts of first-degree kidnapping, first- and second-degree assault, four firearms counts and two counts of forcing another to ingest a controlled substance.
For his role in the first kidnapping, Corbit pleaded guilty in January to unauthorized use of a weapon, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault and injecting drugs into the victim.
He hated Muslims.
They got what they deserved.
Things happen for a reason.
Those were the chilling words and sentiments the homeless man charged in the arson fire of a Houston mosque allegedly told a convenience store clerk shortly after part of the house of worship went up in flames Friday morning around 5:30.
The office of the Harris County District Attorney revealed the alleged statement yesterday evening when the suspect, 55-year-old Darryl Ferguson, made his first court appearance in the case, according to KPRC 2.
“He told a nearby convenience store clerk,” a court official said yesterday during Ferguson’s probable cause hearing, “that he hated Muslims, they got what they deserved, and things happen for a reason.”
Despite Ferguson’s alleged statements, the arson that heavily damaged a portion of the Quba Islamic Institute mosque and school in a residential neighborhood of Houston has not been classified as a hate crime. “It’s still under investigation,” Jeff McShan, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney, told Hatewatch today. “Who knows if that guy [the store clerk] is telling the truth?”
Ferguson, who has a lengthy criminal record, was arrested Monday evening after he approached arson investigators who were canvassing the neighborhood near the mosque. The authorities said Ferguson had been staying in the area and confessed to setting the fire, claiming it was accidental and he was simply trying to stay warm.
He has been charged with first-degree arson and faces from five to 99 years in prison if convicted. He is being held without bond.
McShan, the district attorney spokesman, said even if it turns out that Ferguson actually said those chilling words of hate to the store clerk he would not be charged with a hate crime because he has already been charged with the highest level of offense. In Texas, McShan said, a hate crime offense adds one degree to a charge “and he’s already at first degree and he wouldn’t be moved up.”
McShan said Ferguson’s alleged words, however, could be used against him at trial to establish guilt.
No one was injured in the blaze that took about two dozen firefighters roughly an hour to knock down. One of the three buildings – primarily used for storage – that comprise the mosque and school complex was gutted.
A telephone call to the mosque for comment today about Ferguson’s alleged statement was not returned.
A young woman from Illinois with an apparent taste for neo-Nazi symbolism and white-supremacist beliefs was one of two people arrested last week in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for plotting to commit a mass murder at a Halifax mall on Valentine’s Day.
Lindsay Kanittha Souvannarath, a 23-year-old from Geneva, Ill., was arrested along with Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Halifax, at the local airport after she had flown in to meet him there. According to authorities, she confessed to the plot shortly after her arrest.
A young man associated with the plot, James Gamble, 19, of nearby Timberlea, Nova Scotia, shot himself in the head as police surrounded his home on Friday morning. A fourth young man was arrested with Shepherd at the Halifax airport and then released after police determined he had nothing to do with the plot.
Canadian authorities said the trio planned to invade a local mall on Valentine’s Day, armed to the teeth, and begin killing as many people there as they could. However, all of the officials involved insisted that it was not a terrorist act, since there was no “cultural” component to the plotters’ motives.
“The attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore not linked to terrorism,” Justice Minister Peter Mackay told assembled reporters at a press conference devoted to the case on Saturday.
However, several Canadian media outlets have questioned this, including Halifax blogger Robert Cevet and Derrick O’Keefe at Ricochet Media, noting that several of the would-be perpetrators, notably Souvannarath, had clear ideological affinities that seemed to motivate them — far-right affinities.
The website Political Gates collected a number of Souvannarath’s online postings from over the years, dating back to when she was a teenager, and found a long list of images and posts that made clear that she advocated fascist and neo-Nazi ideologies, and similarly was a fan of mass violence and fantasized about it.
These images included one that she dubbed “me taking notes in class” that was a classic “White Power” logo complete with a swastika and SS symbol. Another photo shows an arm with the bloody words “White Power” carved into it with a razor. Other images include fascist flags over America and young men posing in a swastika shape with their arms. One features Adolf Hitler surrounded by prancing cartoon ponies.
The Internet sleuths at the site Kiwi Farms, where she had at one time been an active member, further tracked Souvanarrath’s activities and ascertained that she had also been an active member at a forum devoted to fascist ideology called Iron March, which is apparently operated by a man named Alexander Slavros.
Nor was Souvannarath the only member of the trio with such leanings. James Gamble’s online postings also included a fascination with mass killings, and some of his Tumblr blog posts contained admiring references to Hitler and Nazis.
Both Souvannarth and Shepherd were initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder. On Tuesday, additional charges came down against the pair, including conspiracy to commit arson, illegal possession of weapons for a purpose dangerous to the public and making a threat through social media.
Souvannarath graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2014. Her family in Geneva is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.
A former neighbor, Eva Schooley, recalled the woman as a young girl. “My granddaughters ran around with Lindsay,” she said. “Lindsay was a little strange. I think at one point she went kind of gothic on us for a while. She liked to dress in black, the whole gothic style.”
In his denials that the planned mass murder was a terrorist event, Justice Minister Mackay remarked: “An individual that would so recklessly and with bloody intent plot to do something like this I would suggest would also be susceptible to being motivated by groups like ISIS and others. This is the main concern — that any individual in Canada, whatever their motivation or proclivities might be, would also be susceptible to being recruited or radicalized.”
Clearly, these young people had indeed been radicalized, but not by ISIS.
A 28-year-old man who threatened to kill school children and Jews is in custody in Kalispell, Mont., after a weekend fusillade of tweets that were intercepted and monitored by the spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
David Joseph Lenio was arrested by FBI agents and local police Monday afternoon at a ski resort, about 12 hours after his last tweet using variations of the name “psychic dog talks.”
Lenio, who apparently moved to Kalispell from Grand Rapids, Mich., is being held in the Flathead County Jail on two felony charges on intimidation and malicious intimidation for making online threats of violence. A search of his apartment in Kalispell turned up a handgun and two rifles – a bolt action and a semi-automatic.
Now, he also may face federal criminal charges.
In a YouTube video three years ago, the suspect, believed to have used the name “David Dave,” brandished a .32-caliber Caltech semi-automatic handgun and said that he used it for concealed carry.
FBI agents and local law enforcement agencies in Montana, Oregon and Michigan were able to track and ultimately locate the suspect because of the work of Jonathan Hutson, the chief spokesman for the Brady Campaign.
“Of all the people on Twitter with whom this white supremacist chose to tangle, he picked me,” Hutson told Hatewatch today. “I just happen to be a spokesman for the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence and I have a background as an investigative journalist.”
Hutson has 53,000 followers on his Twitter account. Lenio, using the handle @PyschicDogTalk, responded after Hutson posted a Twitter message about double killings at a free-speech event and a synagogue on Saturday in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Since last Thursday, Hutson learned, the Holocaust-denying Lenio has tweeted comments saying he wants to execute 30 or more “grade school students” and “shoot up a school” and a synagogue, and put “two in the head” of a rabbi or Jewish leader. He also said he hoped to go on a killing rampage until “cops take me out.”
Hutson, who lives near Washington, D.C., became aware of the threatening tweets from “@PyschicDogTalk2” late Saturday evening. “After I alerted Twitter to @PyschicDogTalk2’s threat to murder grade school kids, he tweeted to me, asking where my kids go to school,” Hutson told Hatewatch. “That turned my blood cold and kept me going all night long to shut this guy down.”
When Hutson reported @PyschicDogTalk2 to Twitter for account violations, Twitter shut down the account, but the user bounced back with the name @PsychicDogTalk3. Using that account name, he fired off another 91 tweets.
Early Sunday, after being awake and worried all night, Hutson said he decided to call the FBI in Portland and in Linn County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office after developing a profile that led him to belief “psychicdogtalk” might be in Oregon. Hutson sent the agencies E-mails containing the Twitter threats he had collected.
When Twitter shut down the second account, the user became @PsychicDogTalk3,” boasting about his ability to “level up,” as in a video game.
In one tweet, the poster complained of being homeless and working as a “wage slave.” His post said: “Even animals without money get land to live on, hunt & forage; but Americans without dollars must be homeless? I want to shoot up a school.”
At 2:57 a.m. on Feb. 12, he posted: “I bet I could get at least 12 unarmed sitting ducks if I decide to go on a killing spree in a #school. Sounds better than being a wage slave.”
Less than 45 minutes later, he followed that with: “USA needs a Hitler to rise to power and fix our #economy and i’m about ready to give my life to the cause or just shoot a bunch of #kikes…”
And seconds later: “What do you think costs more in most U.S. cities? A gun with enough ammo to kill 100 school kids or the security deposit on an apartment?”
On Feb. 14, the poster opined that “no one faults slaves who snapped & violently lashed out at their masters or the society which enslaved them. Why different for wage slaves?”
“If I can’t even afford habitat to live on, why the fuck shouldn’t I shoot up a #school and #teach the world something about ‘mental health’?” he said in a follow-up tweet.
“This working and not having a god damn thing to show for it bullshit makes me wanna execute grade #school #kids til the cops take me out too.”
Asked if he believed his actions may have averted a tragedy, Hutson was modest in his reply. “I think if you see something, say something. The swift action of law enforcement definitely averted a Sandy Hook-style tragedy.”
A homeless man has been charged with arson in connection with a fire last week that heavily damaged a portion of the Quba Islamic Institute mosque and school in a residential neighborhood of Houston.
Suspect Darryl Ferguson, 55, was arrested Monday evening after he approached arson investigators who were canvassing the neighborhood near the mosque, the Houston Chronicle reported. Investigators said Ferguson, who has a lengthy criminal record and had been staying in the area, confessed to setting the fire, claiming it was accidental.
Authorities have not said if they intend to classify the arson as a hate crime.
In a Facebook posting and media interviews, mosque officials say they were told by investigators that the fire at 5:30 a.m. Friday was deliberately started by someone using accelerants.
Two dozen firefighters from the Houston Fire Department had the fire knocked down within an hour but the blaze gutted one of three buildings — primarily used for storage — that comprise the mosque and school complex.
No one was injured. A damage estimate hasn’t been released.
It is the latest in a string of at least four suspicious fires or arson attempts at Houston-area mosques in the past decade.
The arson fire in Houston occurred just three days after the murder of three Muslim university students in Chapel Hill, Va. The FBI is now conducting an initial inquiry to determine if those killings constitute a hate crime, warranting a federal investigation.
“A lot of people have the feeling that perhaps the mentality is the same,” Ahsan Zahid, son of the Houston institute’s imam, told the Los Angeles Times after the fire at the mosque.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Zahid noted the preliminary finding of arson and added, “I hope it’s not a hate crime.”
Houston — the fourth largest city in the United States — has the largest population of Muslims in Texas, an estimated 57,000 people. The state of Texas, meanwhile, has the nation’s eighth largest Muslim population, 420,000 people, who are served by 166 mosques.
Some of them, it appears, have been targets of hate crimes.
In March 2011, a fire at the Clear Lake mosque in southeastern Houston damaged a library, kitchen and women’s prayer room. Two months later, three masked men captured on security cameras poured gasoline on prayer rugs at the Madrasah Islamiah mosque, but a large fire failed to ignite.
In May 2004, a late-night arson fire damaged the Msjiad Almuhaymin mosque in Houston while the facility was locked and vacant.
There have been no arrests in any of those arsons, according to media reports.
But last May, at the end of a lengthy sting investigation, the FBI arrested a man from a Houston suburb who allegedly plotted to kill police officers and blow up government buildings and mosques.
Robert James Talbot Jr., 38, of Katy, Texas, who used the online alias of “Robert Liberty,” pleaded guilty in October to attempted interference with commerce by robbery and solicitation to commit a crime of violence.
Most court documents in his case are sealed from public viewing, but the docket report shows Talbot is scheduled for sentencing on April 10.
Rather than risk a second jury trial, a woman described as a ringleader of an Orange County, Calif., white supremacist gang pleaded guilty this week to charges of kidnapping, extortion and aggravated assault.
Ruthie Christine “Big Mama” Marshall, a 45-year-old bartender who lived in Garden Grove, Calif., faces 20 years in prison when she is sentenced in March, the Orange County Register reported.
Marshall is the wife of Wayne Jason “Bullet” Marshall, identified as a “shot-caller” with a lengthy record of violence and ties to the white supremacist gangs in Southern California.
The Marshalls were among three dozen reputed white supremacy gang members arrested in Orange County in late 2010 in a multi-agency task force called “Operation Stormfront.” The operation targeted white racist prison and street gangs whose criminal reach spanned from the prisons and county jails to the streets.
A man just arrested in Virginia on murder-for-hire charges has ties to racist Christian Identity and KKK groups that hosted a “whites only” gathering and cross burning in 2012 in Alabama, a television station reports.
Dallas W. Brumback Jr., 35, of Sterling, Va., was arrested on Jan. 22 by Loudoun County sheriff’s detectives on a charge of attempted capital murder. The suspect is accused of making a $2,500 down-payment last November to have his ex-wife murdered in a $5,000 deal with a hit-man, charging documents allege.
Brumback is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday for a bond hearing. The suspect’s attorney, Caleb A. Kershner, of Leesburg, Va., did not return telephone calls from Hatewatch seeking comment.
Julie Carey, the Northern Virginia bureau chief for NBC4 Washington who broke the story on Monday, reported that court documents and interviews with Brumback’s neighbors revealed his ties to a “whites-only Christian organization.”
In July 2012, Brumback helped organize a racist gathering near Birmingham, Ala. where Ku Klux Klan banners were displayed and only certain white Christians were allowed, the station reported.
During that three-day racist gathering, Brumback, who said he lived in Virginia, told ABC 33/40, a television station in Birmingham, that he was a “pastor” with Christian Identity Ministries.
“The Ku Klux Klan is a political organization for white Christians,” Brumback told the Birmingham station in explaining the purpose of the gathering and cross-burning. He appeared with short hair in the 2012 video, a stark comparison to long hair and a beard at the time of his arrest.
News video from that gathering shows a banner listing the Ku Klux Klan Realm of Virginia and a website that’s no longer active.
The NBC4 report said Brumback and the woman he allegedly wanted killed filed for divorce in 2006, with his then-wife complaining he was in the Ku Klux Klan and that he “threatened to commit suicide by cop, prompting her to call police because of his erratic behavior.”
Brumback denied the suicide claim but not his KKK ties before the couple’s divorce was finalized in 2007, the Washington station reported. It’s unknown what motivated the murder for hire plot.
Brumback lives with his new wife and 3 children in a home on Redrose Drive in Sterling. His mother, Fay Brumback, lives next door. She hung up and wouldn’t respond to question and hung up when contacted by Hatewatch today.
Her ex-husband and the suspect’s estranged father, Dallas W. Brumback Sr., who also lives in Sterling, told Hatewatch he didn’t participate in the 2012 racist gathering in Alabama and wasn’t aware of his son’s involvement with hate groups.
NBC4 also reported that said some of Brumback’s neighbors “considered a threat because he frequently fired his weapon in his yard, killing crows and other animals” and frequently wore camouflage clothing. Other neighbors told the station that his activities didn’t bother them, but they confirmed his ties to white supremacist groups.
In a rural corner of Oregon — a microcosm of what once was the Wild West — local authorities decided they wouldn’t wait for “the feds” to put the snare on a gang of white supremacists that had been shooting up the town, causing mayhem.
Umatilla County Sheriff Stuart Roberts and District Attorney Daniel Primus took their case against members of the United Aryan Empire to a county grand jury last week and returned with three state racketeering indictments.
The grand jury, composed of local citizens, heard evidence against the white supremacist gang in a secret session in Pendleton, a western-theme community of 16,000 best known for an annual rodeo called the “Pendleton Roundup.”
The racketeering indictment is a “roundup” of its own sort — one that encompasses multiple alleged criminal acts in one charging document.
Named in separate indictments were Jeremiah Jerome Mauer, 30, the alleged founder of the United Aryan Empire, and members Warren Gerald Browning, 35, and Gregory Charles Tinnell, 43, all of Pendleton. Because of their prior records, they each face lengthy prison terms if convicted.
The racketeering indictments were returned less than three weeks after Pendleton police arrested the three felons on charges of shooting into occupied homes, detonating an explosive device and involvement in a large gang fight. At least five firearms, including an illegally sawed-off shotgun, were recovered during the investigation. Two other affiliates of the gang, Steven Ray Grangood, 22, and Sarah Frankfort, 30, also were arrested and face related criminal charges.
Federal authorities were made aware of the investigation and, at a minimum, easily could have brought federal firearms charges against the three defendants. But the federal investigative timeline, involving assistant U.S. attorneys in Portland and a federal grand jury, is a much longer one.
Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts made it clear in an interview with Hatewatch earlier this month that his department was aggressively pursuing the gang of white supremacists and was uncovering new crimes that had gone unreported for fear of reprisals.
The United Aryan Empire was a start-up white supremacist gang founded by Mauer, who failed in his attempt to join European Kindred, a neo-Nazi skinhead gang with multiple members in Portland and the state’s prison system, the chief said.
Mauer was charged with racketeering and 16 other counts, including conspiracy to commit murder, assault, riot, unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The racketeering count against him lists 15 separate crimes – “predicate acts” – he allegedly carried out as part of the gang’s enterprise.
Tinnell was charged with racketeering and 20 other counts, including two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, assault, riot, six counts of recklessly endangering another person and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The racketeering count against Tinnell lists 18 separate crimes.
Browning is charged with 12 counts, including racketeering, listing nine separate criminal acts. The counts against him include conspiracy to commit murder, assault, riot and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The state “riot” charge brought against each of the defendants alleges they engaged in “tumultuous and violent conduct recklessly creating a grave risk of causing public alarm.”
The Utah State Supreme Court has taken what it describes as a “drastic measure” in forfeiting a convicted racist killer’s right to an attorney for a pending appeal.
Curtis Michael Allgier has forfeited his right to an attorney — paid for by taxpayers — because he “has repeatedly engaged in extreme dilatory, disruptive and threatening conduct,” the state’s highest court said in an 8-page ruling on Friday. Specifically, Allgier threatened the lives of his court-appointed defense attorneys, even mailing a letter to the home of one of them, the ruling said.
Forfeiture of the constitutional right to a court-appointed defense attorney “is a drastic measure,” the state high court ruling said, and a “defendant must engage in extreme conduct” before it may be imposed. “We conclude that making threats to the welfare of appointed counsel may constitute extreme conduct justifying a forfeiture of counsel,” the ruling said.
Allgier faced a possible death penalty for the 2007 shooting death of Utah corrections officer Stephen Anderson, who was killed with his own service revolver as he escorted Allgier to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. But in a plea deal, prosecutors removed the death penalty in exchange for Allgier’s pleas in 2012 to charges of aggravated murder, disarming a peace officer, aggravated escape, aggravated robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon.
A judge sentenced Allgier to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Almost immediately, he appealed, arguing he had ineffective assistance of counsel.
Allgier — whose body is covered with neo-Nazi and white supremacist tattoos — was given a court-appointed attorney from the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association for the appeal. But shortly thereafter that attorney filed a motion to withdraw because of an “irreparable breakdown in attorney-client relationship,” the Supreme Court ruling said.
To bolster his request to withdraw, the defense attorney said Allgier had filed a bar complaint against him and threatened “it [would] get very ugly” if the attorney didn’t bow out. Allgier’s bar complaint said he was “trying to be nice, but [would] resort to other means of removal” if the defense attorney wasn’t removed.
“He don’t [sic] want to learn how much I don’t give a damn,’’ Allgier said in the complaint.
Once that attorney was released, two new court-appointed attorneys were named to represent Allgier, but within a few weeks he filed his own motion demanding their removal, too. The convicted killer said he “refuse[d] these quacks forced upon [him]” and asked for another defense attorney appointed by a different judge.
The court denied that motion, but that didn’t stop Allgier from filing three more pro se motions, demanding removal of the two new defense attorneys without providing adequate documentation to support his claims, the Supreme Court justices said.
Allgier said his court-appointed attorneys “are the dumbest ass clowns I’ve ever had the EXTREME dishonorable displeasure of being forced to know.” He called them incompetent and ineffective and said “NEVER will they have the honor of being in my Aryan GOD presence or having any kind of contact with me, period!”
When those new attorneys attempted to withdraw from representing Allgier, the issue was appealed to the Utah State Supreme Court. The attorneys said as part of the “irreparable breakdown in attorney-client communication,” Allgier had removed the attorneys from his visiting list and refused delivery of their correspondence. Their motion also said Allgier has “leveled threats against counsel,” including statements that he “knows how to find people outside of prison” and has mailed documents to the home address of one of his new attorneys, an address that wasn’t provided to the inmate.
Court-appointed defense attorneys “perform an indispensable service to the administration of the criminal justice system,” the Supreme Court ruling said. Some defendants “may be very difficult to work with and unwilling to accept responsibility for their own actions” and others “may mistakenly assume that they are entitled to the appointed counsel of their choosing,” the ruling said.
“This is work that warrants gratitude from a client, yet it is work that actually may receive less gratitude, and doing it may require an exceptionally thick skin,” the court said. Even so, “appointed defense attorneys should not be required to fear for their own safety or that of their professional associates or families.”
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.”