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Michael Ralph Tubbs

Michael Tubbs is the leader of the Florida chapter of the League of the South and president Michael Hill’s right-hand man and chief of staff.

About Michael Ralph Tubbs

A former United States Army Green Beret and demolitions expert, Tubbs was arrested in 1990 while on deployment in Saudi Arabia for his role in the theft of arms and munitions from the United States military. An adherent of the rabidly antisemitic Christian Identity ideology, Tubbs planned to use the stolen weapons and explosives to bomb black and Jewish-owned businesses and instigate a race war. After a brief prison sentence, he emerged as a leader of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS) and has spearheaded the group’s public activism since 2014.

In his own words

“The League is my church. The League is my home. The League is my extended family. I will kill or die for the League.”
– Facebook post, 2017

“We ALL Failed Dylann Roof.”
– Facebook post, 2017

“The anniversary of the OKC bombing reminded me of an old newspaper article from 1996. ‘Before there was Timothy McVeigh there was Michael Tubbs.’”
– Facebook post, 2016

“Of course, while we’re worried about Muslims coming over here to rape our women we already have a non-white rape epedimic [sic] to contend with from our Black and Hispanic populations. But it’s only politically correct to talk about the Muslim scourge right now and what it may do in the future rather than discuss the here and now.”
– Facebook post, 2017

“Comfort zones need to be breached. Only blood will settle our future. Let the vermin bring it on and don’t be shy about it.”
– Facebook post, 2017

“Since the right to self-defense is an inalienable right, convicted felons still have the right to bear arms. It’s just that the government doesn’t recognize that right.”
– Facebook post, 2016

“The attack on this monument is not an isolated incident. It is part of a larger, far-reaching plan of cultural genocide against the Southern people conducted by numerous organizations and fronts working in unison and we need you to help stop it here.”
– Address to the Alachua County Board of Commissioners, July 2016

“I dedicate my blood to this great nation and the white race which created it. I dedicate my heart to oppose the enemies of my race, my nation and the New Order. I dedicate my soul to the free practice of the Christian faith but also the separation of church and state. I dedicate my life from this moment forward to fostering the welfare of the white Aryan race.”
Knights of the New Order Manifesto

Background

Michael Ralph Tubbs was born in 1960. He grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, before joining the United States Army. Tubbs was selected for entry into the Army’s Special Forces and rose to the rank of sergeant first class.

During his tour of duty in January 1987, Tubbs and a co-conspirator dressed in black camouflage and ski masks and ambushed a pair of fellow soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Armed with silenced, fully automatic Uzis, they tied the soldiers to a tree, stole their M-16 rifles and fled shouting, “This is for the KKK.”

Over a period of years, Tubbs and a group of co-conspirators calling themselves the Knights of the New Order amassed a stunning arsenal that they transported from Clarksville, Tennessee, to a Jacksonville, Florida, warehouse and four other cache sites. Authorities eventually recovered a stockpile of stolen weapons and almost 90 pounds of explosives. An ATF agent in charge of the agency’s Jacksonville office described the munitions as “enough to destroy a city block.”

Among the group’s stolen machine guns, silencers, mines and grenades – as well as an anti-aircraft rifle ­– authorities also uncovered a trove of racist literature from various far-right groups.

The Knights of the New Order had authored their own manifesto. One section stated:

“I dedicate my blood to this great nation and the white race which created it. I dedicate my heart to oppose the enemies of my race, my nation and the New Order. I dedicate my soul to the free practice of the Christian faith but also the separation of church and state. I dedicate my life from this moment forward to fostering the welfare of the white Aryan race.”

As part of their plan to instigate a race war, Tubbs and his fellow Knights intended to target journalists, TV stations and black- and Jewish-owned businesses.

In December 1990, authorities indicted Tubbs, his brother John, and two other men on charges stemming from the 1987 theft and a string of other heists. Tubbs was arrested while on deployment in Saudi Arabia and held in custody at his station at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, while awaiting trial.

Tubbs ultimately pleaded guilty to one of three charges, “knowingly willfully, intentionally and unlawfully stealing two Colt M-16 riles, of a value in excess of $100, said rifles being the goods and property of the U.S.; & aiding & abetting.” According to court records, he was sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

When he emerged from prison in 1995, four years early, Tubbs returned to far-right politics immediately. His first venture was aimed at helping “political prisoners,” or fellow white nationalists convicted of lawbreaking. Tubbs began “Kinsman’s Comitatus” with the help of his new wife Vicki Gonce, the ex-wife of a North Carolina Klan member.

Tubbs joined a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a neo-Confederate heritage organization, in 1999. He served as the chaplain of the Florida Division of the SCV until 2004, when the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report detailed his role in the Knights of the New Order plot. The Report also revealed for the first time his involvement with the League, which he had joined that year.

Although SCV leaders spoke out in Tubbs’ defense, he resigned from the group in October 2004, stating that he did "not want those events that are a part of his personal history to cause any black marks on the Florida Division or the Sons of Confederate Veterans.”

Michael Hill, LOS leader, described Tubbs as “a reformed man,” and refused to boot Tubbs from the group. From then on, Tubbs proved to be a diehard member of the Florida League and served as its state chairman.

Over the next decade, Tubbs continued to speak at League conferences and events.

In August 2011, Tubbs spoke at the League’s annual conference in Abbeville, S.C. Tubbs told the national gathering to withhold loyalty from the federal government and instead pledge allegiance to the Southern National Congress, a neo-Confederate group focused exclusively on advancing a new secession.

Later that year, Tubbs represented the League while manning a table at the antigovernment Tenth Amendment Center’s conference.

In late 2014, Tubbs was promoted to Hill’s chief of staff, and began to take a much more public role in the group’s day-to-day operations.

Around this time the League debuted a new public outreach strategy centered around hosting rallies alongside highways in small, Southern towns.

The League’s rhetoric on race intensified sharply in the aftermath of the murder of nine black parishioners at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Tubbs took to Facebook as LOS members raged over efforts to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from public spaces. In August 2015, Tubbs chided LOS members in the following post:

The attack on your flags, monuments, and symbols didn't start because of anything Dylan Roof did. It didn't start with Obama. It didn't start with the NAACP’s 1991 resolution against the Confederate flag. It didn’t start because the Klan, the Nazis or the Skinheads used the flag as a symbol of resistance to the government's anti-White racial policies. It didn't start in the 50’s when Southerners used the flag as a symbol against school desegregation.

It started in 1865 when your forefathers lost their war of Southern independence.

Your flags, your monuments, your symbols, the graves of your dead Confederate ancestors serve as a constant reminder that the American experiment failed in 1861. The Empire cannot tolerate reminders of its failure. They must be erased from history. YOU must be erased from history. …

They’re destroying your flag and they’re destroying you.

What are you going to do about it?

Tubbs and the Florida League were the group’s most active chapter during a time when the League sought to increase its public visibility, hosting dozens of small rallies across Florida and earning the moniker “the tip of the spear” from Hill.

Leaked Facebook chats between members of the Florida League show how Hill and Tubbs worked together during this time to encourage and further inculcate racist ideology in young members and to quell dissent among a small group rife with infighting.

In February 2017, the League announced a paramilitary branch called the Southern Defense Force. Tubbs was identified as its commander several times, including by Florida LOS member William Finck.

In addition to being one of the most visible League chapters, the Florida League has also been one of the most violent.

At a May 2017 League rally in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tubbs looked on while Florida League member Christopher Rey Monzon punched a fellow demonstrator to the ground. Video of the incident shows Tubbs escorting Monzon away from the scene before he was arrested by police. Monzon would be arrested again four months later in Hollywood, Florida, for attempting to assault counterprotesters. Monzon’s Facebook revealed that Tubbs had repeatedly encouraged the young man to commit acts of violence, in one instance telling him “if it involves punching commies, going to jail is worth it. It is all honorable.”

This came weeks before two of Tubbs’ chapter members were arrested for their actions during the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally. Tyler Watkins Davis was arrested for his alleged involvement in the beating of Deandre Harris. Davis, the fourth individual arrested in connection to the beating, will go on trial later this year. (Florida League member Jim O’Brien was arrested for illegally carrying a concealed firearm immediately after the event.)

Tubbs took to Gab to praise Davis and asked other movement members contribute financially to Davis’s legal fees, pleading, “This is our boy. He and his family will need our help.”

The Florida League was the first LOS chapter to hold an event in 2018. Dwarfed by a sizeable counter-demonstration, the Florida event set the tone for the League’s activities in the months to come. Although the group as a whole did not hold any additional public, pre-announced rallies that year, Florida members were visible at rallies in Shelbyville, Tennessee, Newnan, Georgia, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

In March 2018, Tubbs and other LOS leaders signed a consent decree preventing the League from participating in any public rallies in the city of Charlottesville.

Tubbs was a featured speaker at the League’s June 2018 conference under a favored pseudonym, “Mike Sable.”