The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Three former U.S. Army soldiers are among five additional suspects indicted Tuesday in Georgia for their alleged roles in a secret militia plot that led, allegedly, to a double homicide.
The group, calling itself the FEAR Militia, was secretly formed by soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart. Its members armed themselves with $87,000 in assault weapons and discussed taking over the military base, poisoning fruit crops and blowing up a dam in Washington state, and assassinating President Obama, authorities say.
There are now 10 defendants facing state charges in Georgia in connection with the alleged militia plot and murders. No federal charges have been filed, but the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is closely monitoring the case. ( continue to full post… )
An Alaska couple who are antigovernment “sovereign citizens” face lengthy prison terms after pleading guilty Monday to charges they plotted to kill a federal judge and an IRS agent involved in a tax case against them.
Lonnie Vernon, 56, a member of Schaeffer Cox’s Alaska Peacemakers Militia, and his wife, Karen Vernon, 66, admitted conspiring to kill U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline and IRS officer Janice Stowell in 2011 in retaliation for ruling the couple owed more than $165,000 in back taxes. ( continue to full post… )
Four members of a secret militia group, now facing murder charges in Georgia, operated inside the ranks of the U.S. Army and discussed blowing up a dam and poisoning fruit crops in Washington State, authorities said Monday. The motives of the alleged plotters remained murky.
The revelation came as Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, struck a plea bargain with prosecutors in Long County, Ga., agreeing to testify against three other soldiers who called themselves the FEAR militia (Forever Enduring Always Ready). ( continue to full post… )
Update: The AP is reporting that members of the militia “wore distinctive tattoos that resemble an anarchy symbol,” according to a prosecutor.
Prosecutors today said that four active-duty soldiers in Georgia formed what was described as an “anarchist militia” and took steps aimed at overthrowing the U.S. government, The Associated Press reported.
One of the four, Pfc. Michael Burnett, told a judge in Ludowici, Ga., today that former soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York, were murdered in December because he knew of the militia’s plans and was a “loose end,” the AP said. Burnett pleaded guilty today to manslaughter and gang charges.
The group spent $87,000 on guns and bomb-making materials, according to prosecutor Isabel Pauley. The AP also quoted Pauley saying the men intended to take over Fort Stewart, bomb unnamed sites in Savannah, Ga., and Washington state, and assassinate the president.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Aug. 19 in The Spokesman-Review, based in Spokane, Wash. The 11-day siege at Ruby Ridge began 20 years ago today, on Aug. 21, 1992. The author of this post covered the Aryan Nations and other extremist groups during his 37-year career as a reporter with The Spokesman-Review.
Who would have thought 20 years ago this week that those two words would become an icon, a reference point in American culture? ( continue to full post… )
Alaska militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox has fired his attorney, likely laying the groundwork for an appeal of his nine convictions, which include conspiring to kill a judge and law enforcement officials.
In a two-sentence document filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, the 28-year-old leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia said he had discharged defense attorney Nelson Traverso. “I do so voluntarily and intelligently and will seek other counsel,” Cox said.
The basis for the firing, Cox contends, is that Traverso was ineffective and didn’t provide a proper defense, leading to Cox’s jury conviction and, quite likely, a lengthy prison sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 14, but that date could be postponed to allow his new attorney time to review the case. ( continue to full post… )
In the end, a federal jury in Alaska didn’t believe militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox’s claim that he was just a free-speech loudmouth — more like Gandhi than Rambo — and convicted him of heading a conspiracy to murder a judge and law enforcement officials.
The jury also convicted Lonnie Vernon, a member of Cox’s Alaska Peacemakers Militia, of conspiracy to commit murder. But it couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on that same charge against a third defendant, Coleman Barney.
Cox, 28, of Fairbanks, and Vernon, 56, of Salcha, both face a term of up to life in prison when they are sentenced Sept. 14 in Anchorage by visiting U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan from Tacoma. Barney, 38, of North Pole, faces sentencing after being convicted of conspiring to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices. ( continue to full post… )
The Justice Department has cut a deal with a former member of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia to bolster its case against the group’s leader Schaeffer Cox and two others on trial in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.
Michael O. Anderson, who was arrested with Cox and co-defendants Lonnie Vernon and Coleman Barney in March 2011, will testify for the prosecution, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday as opening arguments were heard. ( continue to full post… )
Two members of a Georgia militia — arrested late last year in a plot to bomb federal buildings, assassinate public officials and attack cities with deadly ricin — pleaded guilty today to conspiracy charges in a Gainesville, Ga., courtroom.
Accused ringleader Frederick W. Thomas, 73, and Emory Dan Roberts, 67, both entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiring to possess explosives and firearms.
The case was labeled by the FBI as one of its top domestic terrorism investigations of 2011 following the arrests of Thomas and Roberts and two others last November. ( continue to full post… )
The two remaining defendants in the government’s case against members of Michigan’s Hutaree Militia pleaded guilty today to federal firearms charges, just two days after a judge dismissed antigovernment conspiracy charges against the pair and five others.
David Stone Sr., 47, and his son Joshua Stone, 23, pleaded guilty to possessing machine guns. They admitted to U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts in a Detroit courtroom that they had two .223-caliber rifles, knowing that the weapons would fire automatically with one trigger pull. Possession of such firearms without proper registration is a federal crime.
After the pleas were entered, the elder Stone – identified by authorities as the Hutaree leader – told the Detroit Free Press that he thinks the case “will only lead to more mistrust of the government by militias.” ( continue to full post… )