The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Chris Simcox, the erstwhile border vigilante Minuteman movement leader, has been sitting in the Maricopa County Jail for over a year as he awaits trial on two counts of child molestation, one involving his own preteen daughter. But, judging from a recent court appearance, he is confident that he will win his freedom.
How? Apparently Simcox has some secret evidence.
According to a report from Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times, Simcox indicated during a recent court hearing on a possible plea agreement that there is previously unknown reasons for his arrest.
Documents filed by Simcox’s attorneys suggest he will attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political profile, and that the charges against him are built on evidence from two daughters who were subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.”
However, Judge Joseph Welty of Maricopa County Superior Court apparently was not buying. Saying that Simcox was suggesting “some grand conspiracy at play,” he reminded Simcox, 53, that the evidence against him also involved victims who were not his daughters, and that the charges he faced were not political crimes.
The purpose of the hearing last week was to review the plea bargain that prosecutors had offered to Simcox earlier this year that would limit his prison time to seven years in exchange for a guilty plea. However, Simcox adamantly continued to refuse the deal, saying he intended to prove his innocence in court.
Simcox’s refusal ensures that the two victims in the case—one of them his now-teenage daughter, the second being a friend of hers who Simcox was supposed to be babysitting at the time—will be required to testify on the stand. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 17, but Simcox’s decision on the plea bargain probably means it will be pushed forward to January.
According to Lemons, a previous judge in the case ensured that so-called “propensity evidence”—involving previous incidents that suggest the defendant’s crime is part of a behavior pattern—would also be admitted.
As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife—the mother of his current accuser—took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.
If convicted, Simcox could face up to life in prison.
Kevin “K.C.” Massey III contacted Hatewatch this weekend to explain that the explosive found among his belongings when he was arrested at the “Camp LoneStar” hotel room on federal weapons charges, thought to be ammonium nitrate, was in fact a legal form of explosive.
Massey said in an email that the explosive, which was found inside an ammo can and listed in the inventory filed by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents after his arrest Oct. 20 in Brownsville, Texas, was in fact a completely legal explosive called “Tannerite.”
Unlike the version of the explosive used by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh in his bomb-truck attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, Tannerite is a legal form that uses an aluminum powder, instead of diesel oil, as the fuel that creates an explosion. It requires mixing in order to become an explosive, and in its unmixed form, it is legal to transport it anywhere. However, when mixed, it becomes an explosive and is subject to strict regulation.
After Hatewatch’s original post noted that the ingredients for a bomb were found in his belongings, Massey wrote and explained:
The “ammonium nitrate” and “fuel” is Tannerite a legal product sold in almost every sporting goods store in the USA. It was not mixed and is COMPLETELY legal in all 50 states. Second, the Tannerite was NOT in my/Camp Lonestars [sic] room, it was in my truck in an ammo can to keep it dry and to stop from someone having access to “misuse” it.
Massey went on to explain that Tannerite is a favorite target device for people practicing with long-range weapons, since it lets a shooter know from a distance if he or she has hit their target.
It is for long range target shooting which we did not have at Camp. I had it since I went to the border four months ago, and never had a place or reason to use it for its intended purpose.
He then went on to explain that his arrest for weapons possession stems from a felony committed in 1988.
I am no terrorist and my felony conviction was when I was 22 years old. I am now 48. Are you the same man at your age as you were at 22? I have proven by my actions and all who know me, KNOW I am not a racist. Nor am I a member of any militia OR hate group. I love all Americans no matter their color or creed.
Ask the people who really know me and you will see I am telling you the truth. My grandson is half black, and I have a lot of Hispanics in my family. I have NEVER been in any HATE group. I don’t like racists of ANY color.
Massey is currently awaiting trial on two counts of being a felon in possession of weapon.
The death of Oin Oakstar at the age of 43 was probably not a surprise to anyone familiar with the Arizona man’s drug-and-alcohol-fueled lifestyle.
What surprises many, however, is where he died: In a homeless encampment under a freeway overpass in Everett, Wash., more than a thousand miles from Arivaca, his longtime home near the border.
Police found Oakstar’s body on Wednesday in a tent near an area frequented by homeless people, on railroad property near Interstate 5. There were no obvious signs of how he died, though natural causes are suspected, and police say they are awaiting word on an autopsy, the Everett Herald reported.
Border militiaman K.C. Massey III was slightly apologetic about detaining three border-crossing immigrants during one of his outfit’s vigilante
patrols awhile back—handcuffing the men behind their backs with zip ties—along the Rio Grande in southern Texas.
“Sorry we had to ‘Detain’ them,” Massey, one of the leaders of the militiamen that began gathering several weeks ago in Texas, wrote in a Facebook comment after video of the detentions was posted online. “[B]ut they were wore out and just fell down and gave up while the other 7-8 ran like gazelles!”
As the post explained, the militiamen detained the people—described as Honduran, Guatemalan, and Mexican—after they encountered a group of about 11 border crossers, most of whom took off through the brush. The three men they kept were “ziptied, debriefed, and given water,” and U.S. Border Patrol officers eventually arrived and took them away.
“WE DO NOT AIM TO DETAIN, we would much rather send them back into the river into Mexico and dissuade them and the cartel from crossing on the property we patrol,” the post explained. “All encounters were conducted in a humanitarian, professional fashion. Stay vigilant. Thank you for your support.”
But behind the guise of humanitarian treatment was a not-so-subtle smirking contempt. “One of the guys pissed himself!” remarked Massey. Another chimed in, “Dude pissed himself bad.”
Welcome to Camp LoneStar, a border militia outpost on the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas where antigovernment “Patriots,” heavily armed and
hunting for immigrants, have seemingly taken the law into their own hands in recent weeks and made residents near their operation increasingly fearful and resentful.
The most recent attempt to protest federal immigration policies by shutting down the nation’s ports of entry along the Mexico border has, to no one’s great surprise, turned out to be another fizzle.
Calling itself a coalition of antigovernment “Patriot” groups angry about immigration enforcement, “Shut Down All Ports of Entry” had attempted to organize a protest Saturday morning at a number of the United States’ border crossings wherein participants would drive up to the port, turn off their trucks and cars, and walk away from them.
But on Friday, the organization took down its Facebook page and removed all content from its website except for a notice announcing that the protest had been cancelled out of fears of retaliation by the drug cartels.
“There has been an unsubstantiated threat of mass violence to attendees, along with very suspicious activity on the Facebook site,” wrote organizer Satsyi Barth. “These two items are more than enough for me to immediately stop any protest that was going to occur. Your lives, and the lives of our law enforcement, are more important than any protest.” ( continue to full post… )
Border militiamen like to tell the public that they offer a simple solution to a complex problem – putting “boots on the ground” along the United States’ border with Mexico as a way to deter would-be immigrants from making illegal crossings, or as they are more inclined to put it, “stopping the illegal invasion of America.”
But already, federal agents have found that their unsought presence in recent weeks on the border in Texas and Arizona is making a difficult job much more complicated and possibly lethal. In some cases, agents are drawing down on the border vigilantes, and in one incident actually fired upon them. Another confrontation involved bat scientists who happened to be gathering field data when they encountered the armed militiamen.
Pete Santilli keeps trying –– and failing –– to organize protests that will shut down border crossings between the United States and Mexico. What’s more, he hasn’t been completely honest about it.
The latest effort by the extremist right-wing radio host was a multi-state “Border Convoy” campaign that featured protests at various stops along the multi-day route. Participants signed a petition declaring that they “oppose Barack Obama’s foreign invasion of our country” and demanding that authorities “secure our border.”
And while at least this time there were no problems with his vehicle’s license plates (unlike Santilli’s previous border-shutdown effort, which collapsed into a small heap of frustrated protesters), the campaign was once again notable for failing to achieve anything.
But you wouldn’t know that if you listened to Santilli. ( continue to full post… )
As the Minuteman Project attempts to restore its influence amid what some feel is a new crisis brewing on the border, the project’s co-founder Jim Gilchrist has been barnstorming media outlets in an effort seemingly aimed at saving a public image marred by criminality as he works to rebuild the project.
On VCY America’s “Crosstalk” show Tuesday, for example, Gilchrist felt free to tell his interviewer that hundreds of thousands of Central American children were going to form the “vanguard” of a “Trojan-horse invasion” of the United States, and even sympathized with a caller who suggested gassing the children to death at the border.
But the more difficult realities of the Minutemen came during an interview with Ed Berliner, host of Newsmax’s “MidPoint” program. Rather than serve up softball questions as one might expect from the frequently far-right media outlet, Berliner challenged Gilchrist about the original incarnation of the Minutemen, noting that the movement unraveled amid “criminal charges against some of the people involved, and that includes the former leader, Chris Simcox,” who now faces trial on three counts of child molestation. ( continue to full post… )
With thousands of undocumented children amassing at the U.S. border, Robert Jones, Imperial Wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, doesn’t want amnesty. He wants “corpses” on the border.
Speaking to Al Jazeera America, Jones, in full Klan robes, warned that immigrant children crossing the border are a threat to a “white homeland” and simply one more way President Obama has “sold out the American people.”
“If we can’t turn them back, I think if we pop a couple of them off and leave their corpses laying at the border maybe they’ll see we’re serious about stopping immigration,” Jones said.
The situation at the border has intensified in recent weeks as violence has forced many families to help their children cross the border for safety –– an option available due to legislation signed by President George W. Bush that gave new protections to children entering the country by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country of origin, the New York Times reported in early July. In response, militia members armed with assault rifles have once again begun border patrols, and groups like the Klan, long obsessed with a white homeland, have focused their hate toward the border once again.
Though more than three years have passed since the Arizona-based Minuteman organization run by movement co-founder Chris Simcox shuttered its operations, would-be vigilantes are still patrolling the Arizona desert for border crossers. They are generally operating in smaller and, some say, more radical cells.
One of these militiamen made headlines recently when he got into an armed confrontation with a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy. This was especially noteworthy, since Sheriff Joe Arpaio – a well-known nativist figure himself – made a point of denouncing the vigilantism of the border watchers.
Last week, KPHO in Phoenix aired video of one militia in action in the desert and at a recruitment gathering. The militiamen, who insisted on anonymity and used such monikers as “Reaper” and “Raptor,” said they were only performing a public service ( continue to full post… )