Hatewatch

New Intelligence Report Spotlights ‘Sovereign Citizens’


Today, we’re releasing a major report on “sovereign citizens,” a radical-right movement that has grown to include as many as 300,000 adherents who believe that the government has no right to tax or impose laws on most Americans. Adherents can be incredibly dangerous, especially to police officers, and our new report is pegged to the murders of two West Memphis, Ark., officers who were murdered by a father-son team during a May traffic stop. Like most sovereign citizens, Jerry and Joe Kane did not believe police have any authority to regulate travel on the roads, in particular by requiring driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations.

Our package includes profiles of a dozen key sovereign leaders and ideologues; a sidebar offering tips to law enforcement officials, who are commonly targeted by sovereigns; a lexicon of the bizarre terms and phrases favored by sovereigns; an interview with one of the leading scholars of American conspiracy culture; and my editorial on the link between conspiracy theories and political violence.

These stories all appear in the latest edition of the Intelligence Report, which we’re calling “the conspiracy issue.” We also offer stories on the top 10 conspiracy theories of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement (of which the sovereigns are a part); a story on a Russian English-language TV station that specializes in plugging U.S. conspiracy theories; an article on a conspiracy-minded Harlem pastor who recently put President Obama on “trial” for not being a U.S.-born citizen; and a number of other pieces (for the table of contents, click here).