As reported earlier, Francis "Schaeffer" Cox and five members and associates of a Fairbanks, Alaska, militia group were arrested yesterday for allegedly plotting to kidnap or kill Alaska State Troopers and a Fairbanks judge.
Last year, Cox was arrested on a misdemeanor firearms charge. During a December 10, 2010 pre-trial hearing before District Judge Jane Kauva, Cox made this statement: "There are a lot of people out there who would just as soon come and kill you in your home at night as argue with you in your court by day."
His comments were captured in a video espousing Sovereign Citizen ideology that was circulated among right-wing groups online.
Earlier in the same pre-trial hearing, Cox said in open court:
"Soulless federal assassins have made threats on the lives of my wife and children. This, coupled with your long established and well documented practice of refusing to ascertain the truth leaves me but one inescapable conclusion: You are rebellious impostors to reduce [sic] us under absolute despotism."
The following week, Cox returned to the Fairbanks court house and tried to serve a different judge with a sovereign citizen arrest warrant.
|Francis "Schaeffer" Cox Photo from Anchorage Press|
Five members and associates of a Fairbanks, Alaska, right-wing militia group were arrested yesterday for allegedly plotting to kidnap or kill Alaska State Troopers and a Fairbanks judge.
The five include Francis "Schaeffer" Cox, the founder and leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia. Cox also founded a pro-gun group and advocates armed resistance to gun control.
Cox and the other defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and conspiracy to commit arson, in addition to gun charges and other crimes.
According to an Alaska Department of Public Safety statement, an investigation of the militia group "revealed extensive plans to kidnap or kill Alaska State Troopers and a Fairbanks Judge."
"Cox et. al. had conspired a plan to launch an attack on Alaska State Troopers and Court Judges. Investigation also revealed that extensive surveillance on troopers in the Fairbanks area had occurred, specifically on the locations of the homes for two Alaska State Troopers. Furthermore, 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."
Also arrested were Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson.
An arrest warrant for Cox was issued last month when he failed to show up for a court appearance on a separate weapons charge.
I previously reported for the Anchorage Press the unusual circumstances surrounding that gun charge and Cox's subsequent bizarre court appearances in an article on the Alaska militia movement last December:
"Back in March, right around the time he was organizing his militia ... Cox responded to a distress call on the Liberty Bell Network, an online community of anti-New World Order conspiracy theorists, which sends out mass email bulletins whenever one of its members feels his or her constitutional rights are being violated."
"In this case, a Liberty Bell Network member in Fairbanks claimed that police were conducting a warrantless search of his residence. (Police said they were responding to a 911 hang-up). Cox arrived on the scene armed with a concealed Ruger .380 semiautomatic pistol. Alaska state law requires that anyone carrying a concealed firearm must immediately notify any law enforcement officer they come into contact with of the concealed weapon.
"Cox, who doesn't regard state or federal laws as valid, did not do so and was subsequently charged with a crime."
Cox is a self-declared "sovereign citizen," a movement that preaches violent resistance to the federal and Alaska state government.
In a major report covering the rise of the sovereign citizen movement in recent years and the corresponding violence against law enforcement officers, the Southern Poverty Law Center last fall characterized it as a "sprawling subculture" of "hundreds of thousands of far-right extremists who believe that they -- not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials -- get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and who don't think they should have to pay taxes."
Cox is also the founder of the Alaska-based Second Amendment Task Force, a "pro-gun rights" group. Its website details a supposed United Nations-orchestrated conspiracy to deprive Americans of theirs constitutional right to bear arms.
Yesterday, as conservative media hyped the commencement of Rep. Peter King's contentious hearings on Muslim radicalization in America, details continued to emerge about Kevin William Hardham, the 36-year-old Army field artillery veteran accused of planting a "weapon of mass destruction," along the route of a Martin Luther King Day unity parade route in Spokane, Washington earlier this year.
The backpack bomb Hardham allegedly planted contained shrapnel dipped in rat poison. It was discovered just minutes before hundreds of MLK Day marchers arrived. Hardham appears to have a long track record of fantasizing about politically and racially motivated violence in various online extremist forums.
The attempted MLK Day bombing in Spokane was hardly an isolated incident. Right-wing domestic terrorist plots and extremist violence are on the rise in America. Earlier this year the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) released a report analyzing domestic terrorism statistics reported by the FBI and other crime agencies since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The MPAC report shows that since 9/11, right-wing extremists including neo-Nazis and other white supremacists have been involved in 63 domestic terror plots, while radical Muslims have been involved in 45.
Meanwhile, the number of hate groups tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) topped 1,000 this year for the first time since the SPLC began counting such groups in the mid 1980s, and the resurgent antigovernment militia movement is exploding, with more than 300 new groups forming in the last year alone.
SPLC Intelligence Project director Mark Potok attributes this dramatic increase in right-wing extremist activity to three factors: "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."
July 27, 2008
Unemployed truck driver Jim David Adkisson opens fire on the congregation of a Unitarian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, killing two people and seriously wounding six. Adkisson tells police he targeted the congregation because its members included gay men and mixed-race couples. A suicide note that Adkisson left in his car outside the church describes the attack as a "hate crime," "a political protest," and "a symbolic killing."
"I'd like to encourage other like-minded people to do what I've done," Adkisson wrote. "If life ain't worth living anymore don't just kill yourself. Do something for your country. Go kill liberals."
Adkisson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
October 22, 2008
Two white power skinheads are arrested for allegedly plotting a multi-state robbery and murder spree that would have culminated in an attempt to assassinate then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Daniel Cowart, 20, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, were later charged with conspiracy, possessing a sawed-off shotgun and threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm upon a major presidential candidate. Both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 14 years and 10 years, respectively.
The skinheads told police they formulated their plot in Bells, Arkansas, after shooting out the windows of a black church. According to a written statement they provided to investigators, the skinheads planned to rob gun stores and kill 88 non-whites, beheading 14 of their victims.
Those numbers are significant in the white supremacist movement. Eighty-eight stands for "Heil Hitler," as H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. The number 14 refers to the number of words in the white supremacist catchphrase coined by domestic terrorist David Lane: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
"The final thing we had discussed was dressing in white tuxs [tuxedos] with a top hat and trying to assassinate Obama. We did not plan on living past that day," Cowart wrote in his statement. "One day, while riding in my car, Paul told me that he wanted to go to a predominately [predominantly] black school and kill as many as he could."
A Secret Service agent testified at Cowart's sentencing hearing that in dozens of chat messages found on his computer he discussed wanting to kill African-Americans and start a race war.
December 9, 2008
Law enforcement investigators find radioactive materials and other components for making a "dirty bomb" in the home of Belfast, Maine neo-Nazi James Cummings after Cummings is shot to death by his wife, who told police she killed her husband after years of physical and mental abuse.
According to an FBI field intelligence report from the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center, investigators found containers of uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon, along with neo-Nazi materials, including a completed application to join the National Socialist Movement, a major neo-Nazi group.
A local painter who worked inside the Cummings residence earlier in 2008 told police that Cummings expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and showed off the swastika flag hanging in the house.
Amber Cummings reportedly told police that her husband was "very upset" over the election of President Obama, was in contact with white supremacist groups, and had been mixing chemicals in their kitchen sink.
National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre is the last person a responsible media outlet should have on its airwaves to comment on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). That's because LaPierre once referred to ATF agents as "jack-booted government thugs" and reportedly called for "lifting the assault weapons ban to even the odds in the struggle between ordinary citizens and 'jack-booted government thugs.' "
But that's just what Fox News has done. Today, Fox News did a report on a controversial ATF program that appears to have allowed weapons to flow into Mexico and hosted LaPierre to discuss the issue. LaPierre proceeded to attack the ATF and other federal government officials.
The man arrested today in connection with the attempted Martin Luther King Day parade bombing in Spokane, Washington, appears to have longtime connections to the white supremacist movement.
Kevin William Harpham, 36, was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and receiving and possessing an improvised explosive device.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Harpham was a member of the National Alliance, an infamous neo-Nazi organization, in late 2004. It's not clear when he joined the National Alliance or whether he's still a card-carrying member.
But an individual identifying himself as Kevin Harpham, who says he's a neo-Nazi who lives near Spokane, has been active on the crudely racist, anti-Semitic website Vanguard News Network since joining the online forum in November 2004.
Since then, Harpham has posted 1,069 comments to VNN using the moniker Joe Snuffy, slang for a low-ranking U.S. soldier. (Kevin William Harpham was apparently in the army in 1996-1997 and was based at Fort Lewis, Wash., the Southern Poverty Law Center reported earlier today.)
Harpham last posted to VNN on January 16, the day before the attempted MLK Day parade bombing.
Ten days before that, Harpham offered shelter to violent neo-Nazi activist Craig Cobb, a part-time resident of Kalispell, Montana who is a fugitive from justice in Canada, where he's wanted on hate crimes charges.
"Craig, if you read this and you need a place to stay for the winter I have an empty basement with a couple rooms, a bed and bathroom you can live in till spring," Harpham posted. "I live in Washington not too far from Kalispell."
Kevin William Harpham was arrested today in a rural area south of Colville, Washington, just across the Idaho panhandle from Montana.
A white supremacist website founded by Cobb in 2007, Podblanc, features tribute videos to "lone wolf" white supremacist killers, including Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, who in July 1999 went on a three-day shooting rampage targeting Jews and non-whites. Smith killed two people and wounded nine before turning his gun on himself.
On Jan. 8, Cobb apparently posted a message to supporters on VNN encouraging them to follow the examples of lone wolf terrorists such as Joe Stack, who flew a small plane into a building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas in 2010, and James von Brunn, the neo-Nazi who killed a security guard after he opened fire at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in 2009.
"Ask all to seriously internally take direct personal action upon furthering Our Cause, doing something they haven't yet done before, or repeating something that has been highly effective," Cobb wrote.
Cobb wrote there was a "small chance" he'd take Harpham up on his offer of basement space.
Harpham wrote about lone wolf violence in response to an August 2009 article in USA Today that reported, "Federal authorities have launched an effort to detect lone attackers who may be contemplating politically charged assaults." Harpham wrote: "A lone Wolf would be hard pressed to compete with the level of destruction the jew bankers are doing to the country right now."
Fox figures and guests have continued their aggressive promotion of Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) upcoming hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims.
From the March 9 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
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From the March 8 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the March 8 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the March 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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On Tuesday, Fox & Friends ran a segment about a new portable DNA analyzer soon to begin testing by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The facts are these: The analyzer is entering preliminary testing, and it will be used in situations where DNA analyses are legal and authorized, such as establishing familial relationships in refugee cases. A document that details USCIS policies clearly explains that all such tests are completely voluntary. The TSA will not be involved in the testing the device, and has no intention to explore DNA testing.
None of that stopped Fox & Friends from pushing the completely concocted falsehood that the TSA will test passengers' DNA at airport security checkpoints. Co-host Steve Doocy teased the segment by saying, "And if you thought you thought pat-downs were bad, just wait. Now the TSA wants your DNA." In the segment, co-host Gretchen Carlson said the government claimed it would "build a database of terrorists and ... profile." On-screen graphics during the segment were particularly egregious, containing phrases such as, "New TSA Device Will Check Genes," "TSA Will Check Passengers' DNA Results," and "DNA Swap At Airports; 'Genetic Patdown' Device To Be Introduced."
Another misleading story about the same device appeared in the February 26 edition of the News Corp. iPad newspaper The Daily. Where the Fox & Friends segment was brazenly false, The Daily article simply fearmongered that the DNA analyzers could be abused. The text of the article did not mention the TSA -- although the URL does -- but the article led by discussing airport scanners: "Airport scanners already get under your clothes, but federal officials aren't stopping there: They want to get inside your genes, too." The implication of the headline presentation is, let's just say, explicitly clear:
The National Shooting Sports Foundation's (NSSF) logo features a young man aiming a shotgun under the watchful eye of an older man, below them is a deer in a forest. Similar imagery is featured in logos used by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
National Rifle Associaition Youth Hunter Education Challenge
These images are attempts to brand the gun industry as focusing on hunting and hunters, but that quaint branding hides the gun lobby's political agenda and the gun industry's increasing emphasis on lethality.
National Shooting Sports Foundation Logo
The gun lobby ceased to be about hunting and hunters long ago, but maintaining that image is a critical marketing tool for the NSSF and the NRA. The NSSF's idea of a modern hunting rifle are AR platforms, such as the M-16 civilian variant AR-15. The blurring of the lines can be explained by the gun industry's need to sell new firearms products to the eroding percentage of the population which owns firearms, when the firearms currently owned by Americans have very long lifetimes. While NSSF may present AR-15's as the modern hunting rifle don't expect them to redo the logo anytime soon.
Of course not all gun lobbyists are afraid of rejecting the hunting label:
The juxtaposition of these two faces was apparent at the 2011 SHOT Show where Kel-Tec salesman Chad Enos discussed his company's new model the KSG shotgun, which holds more then twice as many shots as a police shotgun, 15, and is designed to be as compact as legally possible. As Media Matters' David Holthouse reported not everyone at the SHOT Show was buying Enos' marketing pitch:
"This is good for self-defense, home defense, quail hunting, you name it," Enos said. "Those gangsters will never know what hit 'em."
One onlooker, Cedric Steele of Knightcross Publishing, replied, "It's a lot of gun for the price, but the problem is, you're going to wind up selling a lot of them to gangsters."
"No, no, no, no," said Enos. "Quail hunters. Not gangbangers. Quail hunters."
That line got a big laugh.
A Fox & Friends segment reported that the Transportation Security Administration will begin testing airline passengers' DNA at airports. In reality, the Department of Homeland Security is planning to test a portable DNA screener for use in certain immigration cases; the TSA is not testing the device and says it has no plans to test DNA.
The right-wing media have repeatedly mischaracterized Attorney General Eric Holder's recent reference to "my people" to claim that he is a "black nationalist" or that the Obama Justice Department is motivated by "racial bias." In his statement, Holder actually took issue with the suggestion that a 2008 incident involving the New Black Panther Party was a more "blatant form of voter intimidation" than what occurred in the 1960s; Holder said the suggestion "does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all."
From the March 2 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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