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A federal fugitive with past ties to the Patriot group Oath Keepers was arrested without incident Thursday southwest of Houston, Texas, just days after fleeing a campground during a law enforcement dragnet.
Charles Alan Dyer, 31, a former Marine, was arrested after leaving a Sonic drive-in where he had purchased a Route 44 red cherry limeade, The Houston Chronicle reported. Fort Bend County sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Goodrich, who made the arrest, said Dyer was wearing a baseball cap, blue jeans, with a T-shirt over his shoulder. After providing a fictitious name, he was arrested without resisting and seemed very tired, the deputy said. ”He said he was just done,” Goodrich said.
Deputies found $1,000 in cash and a GPS device on Dyer, who had been hiding along the Brazos River during the day. Officials say he had been in the Fort Bend County area for three to four days. The wanted man apparently hung out along the Brazos River during the day and would come out at night, searching for food, sheriff’s deputies said.
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The Liberty Counsel for Law and Policy is traditionally known for its pro bono litigation work with regard to perceived slights against the practice of Christianity in schools and other public venues, as well as its work against abortion and LGBT rights. It was no surprise, therefore, when its president, Mathew Staver, and Matt Barber, on staff at Liberty University, recently assailed the American Psychological Association (APA) for its support of LGBT people and same-sex marriage on their Faith and Freedom radio show.
It was standard Liberty Counsel rhetoric: Gay men and lesbians can and should change their orientation, because the Liberty Counsel considers it harmful and immoral. Barber and Staver dismissed leading, reputable mainstream organizations and instead touted the findings of small religious (often Christian-only) groups like the American Association of Christian Counselors, which the Liberty Counsel has said is larger than the APA (the APA has 154,000 members, while the AACC claims “nearly 50,000″).
What’s more surprising is that the Liberty Counsel seems to be dipping its toes into the anti-government “Patriot” pool. Patriot groups see the federal government as part of a conspiracy to impose a socialistic one-world government – or “New World Order” – on freedom-loving Americans. They often rail against involvement with the United Nations, worry about government instituting martial law, and express fears about “creeping socialism” (more recently, “creeping Shariah law”) and other government plots to undermine freedom. ( continue to full post… )
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A new Tea Party group in Florida is boldly going where no Tea Parties have gone before – space.
Tea Party in Space, an offshoot of the South Florida Tea Party, is, of all things, pushing to end the government’s supposed monopoly on space exploration.
“Our goal is nothing less than the expansion of American civilization into the solar system,” says the group’s platform. “We must return to traditional American free-market principles to expand permanently into space.”
Tea Party in Space is complaining that, as its founder Andrew Gasser said, “NASA is being forced to fund programs that are behind schedule and ridiculously over budget.” But that’s not all. Gasser sees a great ideological principle here: “It is socialism when you have the government coming down and saying, ‘this is what we want to build, and this is how we want you to build it.’”
According to Tea Party in Space logic, the Erie Canal, Hoover Dam, our national highway system, and Mount Rushmore are all just examples of unnecessary government socialism. ( continue to full post… )
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A nationwide “family rights protest” set for next week – and billed as one of the biggest ever — is attracting attention and support from antigovernment militia, “Patriot” and “sovereign citizens” groups.
Protests organized by a group called “govabuse” are planned outside courthouses in more than 300 counties in at least 42 states on Aug. 12. Organizers say the protests – fueled by a Facebook campaign and utilizing a special red, white and blue ribbon — are intended to shed light on “abuse of constitutional rights” by family court judges, guardians ad litem and child protective service workers. The group complains that the system is “used to separate and financially demolish families.”
Although nothing on the group’s site suggests that it agrees with the antigovernment conspiracy-mongering of Patriot groups and individuals, it’s not entirely surprising that such groups have glommed on to the protests. Over the last 15 years, Patriot organizations have taken up a number of causes in which the rights of individuals, often ones with heterodox ideas, seemed to be pitted against the government. ( continue to full post… )
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Nullification — the idea that a state can simply refuse to follow federal laws when it doesn’t like them — has been popular of late. A traveling conference called “Nullify Now!” has been roving the country in the last year pushing this notion, with its events headlined by prominent figures in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.
In addition, state lawmakers in recent months have introduced, but not passed, numerous bills to nullify federal initiatives like gun regulations and the new health care reform act. Some have sought to deny the authority of federal agents to act in state jurisdictions. Arizona’s Senate even passed a sweeping bill earlier this year that would create a legislative committee to “recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the United States Constitution.”
Now, the movement is going national, with some Congressional GOP lawmakers pushing for legislation affecting the entire country. Their proposed constitutional amendment, a Tea Party favorite, would allow a vote by two-thirds of the states’ legislatures to override any federal law. According to the Talking Points Memo website, the amendment is being pushed by Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) in the Senate and is co-sponsored by Sens. John Barasso (R-W.V.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). In the House, U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) are backing the amendment. These lawmakers, using traditional antigovernment language, claim their goal is to stop the tyranny of Washington over the economy and circumscribe other federal powers. ( continue to full post… )
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Militia members and other antigovernment “Patriot” types have a new social network where they can share and discuss the latest conspiracy theories about the looming “New World Order” and its enablers.
The site, which calls itself the “Social Network of the Revolution,” is run by Patriot leader Gary Franchi, producer of “Camp FEMA,” a film that promotes the FEMA camp conspiracy theory. The site, named RTR, apparently stands for Restore the Republic, since Franchi heads a Patriot group and website with that name.
It’s just been about a month since Franchi posted a welcome message on RTR, but already more than 30,000 people have signed up. Only 12, however, have responded to a recent fundraising email, according to the site. ( continue to full post… )
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Pamela Geller, one of America’s most rabid Islamophobes and a woman who is scheduled to testify today to the Alaska House of Representatives, thinks people like her should be able to decide what news people like you get to see. And she doesn’t think you can handle news presented by Middle East-based Al Jazeera English.
Geller, writing for the right-wing Daily Caller website Saturday, offered her insight on the constitutional rights and privileges of foreign media in the U.S. market. “Al Jazeera is planning to expand into the United States, and the chattering classes are treating it as a simple free speech matter,” Geller wrote.
“Let’s not let the Islamic supremacists once again invoke the freedom of speech to kill our freedom of speech,” Geller continued. “The ruse of using freedom of speech to allow propaganda broadcasts over our airways is another stealth attack on the United States of America. The issue of the expansion of Al Jazeera into the United States can only be likened to an expansion of [Nazi propagandist Joseph] Goebbels’s media network into the U.S. at the height of World War II.”
To protect freedom of speech, in other words, Geller bizarrely suggests America should suppress certain speech and control the media. Because, after all, Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the recent uprisings in the Arab world was widely lauded because it was so much more comprehensive than that of other media, is just like the Nazis.
Remarkably, given her radical views, Geller is set to testify today on behalf of Alaska’s House Bill 88, yet another proposed state law meant to stop the purported spread of Shariah, or Islamic religious, law. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has asked the Alaska House to rescind its invitation to Geller, citing her history of hateful commentary against Muslims. Geller quickly denounced CAIR’s request, accusing it of “using freedom of speech to kill freedom of speech” — essentially recycling the same charge she levied against Al Jazeera. ( continue to full post… )
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The U.S. government wants ownership of $7 million worth of coins manufactured and sold by Bernard von NotHaus, a 67-year-old antigovernment icon who became a “high priest” in his own marijuana-smoking church.
A federal jury in Statesville, N.C., decided on March 18 that the “Liberty Dollars” and other silver, gold and copper coins manufactured in North Idaho and sold throughout the United States by von NotHaus and his sales team violated federal laws. Von NotHaus, the founder of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act (NORFED), was convicted on charges of conspiracy and two counterfeiting-related charges.
No sentencing date has been set for von NotHaus, who could get up to 15 years in prison. Three other co-defendants are still awaiting a separate trial.
The Liberty Dollars are still a hit with some coin collectors without a political or philosophical agenda. But most buyers, it appears, came from the ranks of anti-tax or radical “sovereign citizen” movements. The common denominator: challenging the authority of the federal government to tax and regulate, along with the notion that the Federal Reserve is controlled by private Jewish bankers. ( continue to full post… )
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The Anchorage Daily News is reporting this morning that five people in the Fairbanks area were arrested yesterday on charges connected with a plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks judge. They are accused of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, and arson, as well as weapons misconduct, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence. One of those arrested, Francis “Schaeffer” Cox, 26, is the head of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as an antigovernment “Patriot” group.
The four others arrested with Cox are Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson. The announcement of these arrests as well as the arrest on Wednesday of a white supremacist suspect in the attempted bombing of a Martin Luther King Day parade, are another reminder, in the wake of hearings held yesterday by Rep. Peter King that specifically focused on Islamic-inspired terrorism, that domestic terrorist groups can be just as dangerous.
Cox and his compatriots had allegedly already begun planning their activities, according to a statement released by the Alaska State Troopers. The troopers’ investigation showed that “extensive surveillance on troopers in the Fairbanks area had occurred, specifically on the locations of the homes for two Alaska state troopers.” The statement also said that, “Cox et. al. had acquired a large cache of weapons in order to carry out attacks against their targeted victims. Some of the weapons known to be in the cache are prohibited by state or federal law.” ( continue to full post… )
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Editor’s Note: The Southern Poverty Law Center is today releasing its annual count of groups on the American radical right and analysis. What follows is the main essay from the new issue of the Intelligence Report, the SPLC’s investigative magazine. In the story, you’ll find links to our new hate group map and additional lists of antigovernment “Patriot” groups and nativist vigilante organizations. The issue also contains my editorial and stories on Cliff Kincaid, a homophobic propagandist at the far-right Accuracy in Media group; the adoption of an Oklahoma law forbidding the use of Shariah law; a racist group’s funding of two Mississippi private academies; a white supremacist’s new novel targeting the SPLC; the National Center for Constitutional Studies and its extremist version of American history; candidates with extreme-right ideas who ran in last year’s elections; an interview with a former “esoteric Nazi,” and more. The new issue’s table of contents is here.
For the second year in a row, the radical right in America expanded explosively in 2010, driven by resentment over the changing racial demographics of the country, frustration over the government’s handling of the economy, and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at various minorities. For many on the radical right, anger is focusing on President Obama, who is seen as embodying everything that’s wrong with the country.
Hate groups topped 1,000 for the first time since the Southern Poverty Law Center began counting such groups in the 1980s. Anti-immigrant vigilante groups, despite having some of the political wind taken out of their sails by the adoption of hard-line anti-immigration laws around the country, continued to rise slowly. But by far the most dramatic growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement — conspiracy-minded organizations that see the federal government as their primary enemy — which gained more than 300 new groups, a jump of over 60%.
Taken together, these three strands of the radical right — the hatemongers, the nativists and the antigovernment zealots — increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% rise. That followed a 2008-2009 increase of 40%. ( continue to full post… )