Nel's New Day

May 26, 2022

1/6 Insurrectist Probe Moves Forward

Recent tragic murders have given Republicans a distraction from the possible anti-abortion Supreme Court decision, the new tell-all books about Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), book banning, and all the other negative news about the Party of Trump. But the House has not stopped probing the insurrection on January 6, 2021. This news shows progress in holding people responsible.

The 4th Circuit Court ruled that insurrectionists against the U.S. government can be blocked from being elected to the federal legislative and executive branches. The decision is legally binding for only Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—states ruled by the 4th Circuit, but it provides a precedent. This ruling overturns one by DDT-appointed Chief District Judge Richard E. Myers II for the Eastern District of North Carolina allowing Rep. Madison Cawthorn to continue his campaign. Cawthorn lost his primary, but the ruling can apply to him in the future and others such as these candidates who admitted taking part in the January 6 insurrection.

  • Derrick Van Orden (Wisconsin)
  • Annie Black (Nevada)
  • JR Majewski (Ohio)
  • Sandy Smith (North Carolina)
  • Gary Leffler (Iowa)
  • Ian Smith (New Jersey)

Cases have also been brought against Republicans Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), two Arizona representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, and Arizona state representative, Mark Finchem.

The Constitution blocks any insurrectionist or anyone giving “aid or comfort to the enemies, thereof” from being elected to the federal legislative and executive branches. The 14th Amendment clause bans participants in coups to overthrow the government from this election. The argument from Cawthorn’s lawyers was that the 1872 Amnesty Act applied only to the past by preventing Confederate insurrectionists from being elected to the U.S. government. The 4th Circuit disagreed.

In other January 6 news, the House investigative committee has scheduled public meetings in June to announce its findings. These sessions begin and end with prime-time hearings on June 9 and 23 with 10:00 am hearings on June 13, 25, 16, and 21. Meetings are scheduled to last between 1.5 and 2 hours in the evening and 2 and 2.5 hours in the morning.

Testimony about January 6 stated that DDT supported the chant to “hang Mike Pence!” Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said DDT complained about Pence being taken to safety. The allocation lacks verification, but it’s backed up by DDT’s anti-Pence tweet accusing him of treachery, and DDT did not reach out to Pence to check on his wellbeing. The two men have been estranged since January 6, and Pence has said he would run for president even if DDT also decided another go at the White House.

In the past nine months, DDT and his allies have filed 25 lawsuits to block the committee, but House members fought only four of them to narrow the focus. An early House win gave them a rich trove of documents from the National Archives. Cases also largely concentrated on Meadows, the Republican National Committee, and John Eastman, attorney architect of DDT’s final attempt to overturn the election, and a last-minute offensive to obtain more sensitive documents.

Key cases:

Trump v. Thompson: DDT tried to block the committee from obtaining his White House records but lost in a January Supreme Court ruling. The documents, including the White House “daily diary” of DDT’s movements and photographs from DDT’s official photographer, keep rolling in.

Eastman v. Thompson: A federal judge kept dismissing the lawyer’s attempt to block his emails from the committee and issued a ruling that Eastman and DDT probably engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election. From evidence at the hearings, the public found out about excerpts from depositions, and the committee will share more evidence this week.

Meadows v. Pelosi: This case revealed more deposition transcripts, including the text messages between Meadows and other people planning to overturn the election.

Republican National Committee v. Pelosi: Data from internal RNC documents could disclose the extent to which DDT’s fundraising lies were read after the 2020 presidential election and if those misrepresentations helped radicalize the insurrectionists on January 6. Earlier this month, a DDT-appointed judge ruled for the House committee. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals put that ruling on hold until mid-June. A decision overturning the judge’s ruling could be appealed to the full 11-member bench or the Supreme Court which would conceal the information until after public hearings.

Budowich v. Pelosi: In an accidental boon for the panel, the panel found his involvement in the January 6 rally finances through a search of his records from J.P. Morgan. A judge upheld the committee’s validity. The committee was searching for the rally’s source of funding, as much as $3 million with some of it from the heiress to the Publix supermarket chain, and the possibility that Budowich’s company is hiding information and funds about these donations. A judgment against Budowich would allow the government to take back the funds as a “fraudulent transfer.”

Rejects: The committee is now filing motions to dismiss less worthy lawsuits to them, including those filed by a founder of the rally Ali Alexander, the mother of a man entering the Capitol, and Eastman in a separate lawsuit. The panel ignored Phil Waldron, who claimed voting machine irregularities; Amy Harris, photographer tied to Proud Boys; Kelly Meggs, leader of the Oath Keepers; Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona GOP; and Alex Jones, pro-DDT broadcaster.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to protest against the committee’s requests to speak with GOP members and the subpoenas if they refuse to cooperate. He declared these subpoenas “unprecedented,” ignoring the fact that DDT’s insurrection are unprecedented. The request to Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) came after the discovery that the House member lied about not conducting a tour on January 5, 2021, the day before the attack on the Capitol. One of 147 Republicans voting to overturn the presidential election results, Loudermilk was communicating with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6.

House Republicans threaten to release Capitol Police video to clear Loudermilk of conducting the tours, but they don’t have the footage. Obtaining the external drive could cost as much as $20,000. Capital Police said it has extensively cooperated with the committee and won’t release the footage “while their work is still pending.” Bipartisan members of the investigative group who saw the footage disagreed with the Republicans description showing “no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.” Loudermilk said he did give a tour but only to a constituent family, about a dozen people “that we met at church.”

Reps. Scott Perry (PA) and Andy Biggs (AZ) formally objected to House subpoenas. Texts show Perry’s key role in reversing or delaying the election certification, sometimes with the excuse that China hacked Dominion voting machines, and strategizing ways to eliminate electoral votes in states DDT lost. Despite a law requiring records to be preserved for the archives, Meadows burned documents after a meeting with Perry, according to testimony from a former White House aide. Biggs participated in planning meetings at the White House and worked with Meadows to persuade state legislators to overturn the election.

After receiving his subpoena, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), allegedly part of the scheme to overturn Biden’s election, went from his “I have nothing to hide” about the insurrection to refusing cooperation until the committee turns over all the information they have on him. Jordan’s reputation of lying includes denial about being told about his athletes’ sexual abuse while he was assistant wrestling coach at the University of Ohio.

On January 6, 2022, the first anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, this article covered what was known at that time. The hearings will update it:

DDT inspired the attack: He seeded the attack with baseless claims that he continued, no matter the evidence. Then he invited people to attend the “big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild.”

DDT aides and supporters actively sought to overturn the election: The most loyal lieutenants such as former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliana and strategist Steve Bannon set up the plan to overturn the election from suites and rooms in the Willard Hotel with John Eastman guiding their work. Unfortunately for them, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was in charge of the congressional session to count electoral college votes.

The attack was violent: No matter how Republicans try to deny any insurrection, videos and photos depict the assaults and the damage, much of it with weapons intended to wound and possibly kill congressional members and Capitol Police. The images show that the “antifa” were not the insurrectionists and the event was not “staged.”

DDT took inadequate steps to calm the attackers: DDT watched the events unfold with no concern and did nothing for hours despite pleading from his family and other supporters. He even goaded on the insurrectionists by tweeting complaints about Pence.  

Many Republicans and Trump supporters, at least briefly, were appalled: Initially, private texts and public speeches from GOP leaders condemned the attack and DDT’s part in it, calling him responsible.

Capitol Hill security was deficient in part because of concerns about Trump: The National Guard wasn’t deployed in time to save the situation because of the fear that DDT invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to declare martial law for his complete control of the U.S.

More details are here. In a month, people will hopefully know much more.

October 23, 2021

DDT’s App Fails, Parnas Convicted, House Investigates

Reddit’s WallStreetBets is playing games with the stock for Digital World Acquisition (DWA), the special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) connected with the new technology effort from Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). The price quadrupled on day, indicating a meme stock false inflationary rise as Reddit did with GameStop. SPACs make money by getting money from investors by going public before finding a private company for a merge. Thus big investors in DWA didn’t know the tie with Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) until the deal was reached. Now DDT wants the invested money to build his new social app, TRUTH Social, in 2022 as a rival to the “Big Tech” companies.

Although people justified voting for DDT as a “smart businessman,” wealthy people in the business world don’t agree. Hedge fund manager Boaz Weinstein took out his investment in DWA after he discovered its connection with DDT’s social media company. The stock is still ten-fold it’s start but heading down.    

Washington Post tech reporter Drew Harwell called DDT’s project a crude, uncreative knockoff of Twitter:

“The site looks almost entirely like a Twitter clone: A user can post Truths, which are like tweets, or Re-Truths, which are retweets. There’s also a news feed, called the Truth Feed, a notification system so users can know ‘who’s interacting with your TRUTH’s,’ the social network’s App Store profile states…

“When you publish posts you don’t hit “Tweet” — you hit a button that says ‘TRUTH!’ Every post from every user is a ‘Truth,’ not because of the substance of what someone is saying, but by virtue of where they are saying it.”

“TruthSocial” has already disappeared—at least temporarily—because DDT’s company violated its software licensing agreement. According to a policy fellow of the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), TMTG used the software program Mastoden which didn’t give software users “an opportunity to receive the entire Corresponding Source for the website based on that code.” TMTG tried to hide its use of Mastoden, according to The Verge, and called the service “proprietary,” but the HTML coding and site appearance showed Mastoden’s open-source code. After TMTG was caught, it took down the site with 30 days to make the site available to every user who logs in before its permanently termination. Terms of service on DDT’s “free speech” app states that users may not “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.”

Before DDT’s website was taken down, hackers broke into it and created fake accounts. One posted a defecating pig with the hashtag @donaldjtrump in what it called an “online war against hate.” Hackers noted the ease with which they could gain access to the site.

DDT’s effort is not his first try. The last one, From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, evaporated last June in 29 days to much ridicule. A blog-like webpage sharing his comments required donations for responses. At that time, DDT said he planned join “another social media platform.” DDT’s site attracted fewer visitors than the pet-adoption service Petfinder and the recipe site Delish. Called a “beacon of freedom” by DDT’s advisers, the effort garnered only 1,500 shares or comments on Facebook and Twitter on its last day.

Lev Parnas, an associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy, Giuliani, was quickly found guilty of using a Russian financier’s campaign donations to influence several state and federal political candidates and lying about it. One was a $325,000 donation in 2018 to a fundraising committee supporting DDT. Parnas faces a second trial in a Manhattan federal court for defrauding investors in his company, Fraud Guarantee, supposedly protecting companies from fraud. In Ukraine, he searched for damaging information on President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, for DDT’s 2020 campaign. DDT’s first impeachment trial accused him of withholding congressionally-approved aid to Ukraine if the country’s officials didn’t announce a criminal probe into the Bidens.

Parnas’ guilt is connected to GOP voter fraud. Some of the donation went to Adam Lexalt’s campaign in Nevada. Former state AG Lexalt claimed dead people voted in the 2020 election. The husband of one of the two women cited in the claim called it “sickening” before admitting he had submitted his dead wife’s ballot. He is an executive with a company fined for providing space for DDT’s rally months earlier against state’s limits on crowds. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also took donations from Parnas. 

In more financing issues, the January 6 Committee is investigating any election law violations or financial crimes by domestic terrorists and foreign extremists funding the pro-DDT rallies preceding insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Four different teams are tracking money, participants’ motivation, group coordination, and DDT’s executive authority to pressure lawmakers, former VP Mike Pence, and the DOJ. Buses, meals, hotels, etc. cost millions of dollars with staffing by DDT’s former campaign employees. The committee has hired people such as financial investigators to create a “comprehensive inventory of everything that took place,” according to committee member Jamie Raskin (R-MD). Persons of interest include rally organizers for Women for America First, Amy Kremer and Caroline Wren, the latter a major fundraiser for DDT’s campaign. Other questions are about private security forces, some associated with DDT’s friend Roger Stone and permits for the grounds.

The House may also probe the part of Oath Keepers in the Capitol insurrection, assisted by hackers finding data about almost 40,000 members of the self-described militia who are part of the GOP mainstream. On the list are 48 state and local GOP government officials, ten sitting state lawmakers, two former state representatives, one current state assembly candidate, a state legislative aide, a city council assistant, two town aldermen, state investigators in Texas and Louisiana, a New Jersey town’s public work’s director, a retired Alabama assistant school superintendent, a California award-winning elementary school teacher, and county commissioners, sheriffs, and constables in Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, and Texas. Others are police officers, active military troops, and veterans. State Arizona lawmaker and member Wendy Rogers was active in the fake Arizona ballot count.

Nearly 1,000 people joined the militia or renewed their memberships immediately after the insurrection. The surge included combat veterans, retired servicepersons, at least one serving national guardsman, several members of the clergy, and others involved in security contracting and the firearms industry. The NYPD has started an internal investigation after hackers found two active officers among Oath Keepers members.

Valuable to the Oath Keepers are the almost 200 former and active law enforcement officials who swear allegiance to the group instead of the United States. They present credentials such as law enforcement experience, weapons, etc. and vow to not obey government orders such as disarming people in the U.S. The group’s anti-government conspiracy theories and penchant for violence have led them to armed standoffs with the federal government and a role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The NYPD has started an internal investigation after hackers found two active officers among Oath Keepers members.  

In Oregon, Oath Keepers, including over two dozen current and former law enforcement officers refused any comment and sometimes denied being members but ridiculed indigenous people, ignored inmates’ medical needs, etc. A former military police officer and current corrections officer at Snake River Correctional Institution, one of six current or former correction officers in the militia, posted a Facebook message calling for “all illegals” to be deported, suggested wealthy Democrat George Soros paid protesters “to riot and burn down Ferguson,” and accused congressional Muslims of trying to destroy the country from within.

Founding member and former board member Richard Mack also founded the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association in Oregon which believes county sheriffs can ignore state and federal law because they are the highest government authority. Several Oregon sheriffs joined Mack’s group, including then-Linn County Sherriff Tim Mueller who led eight other Oregon counties in sending a letter in 2013 to then-VP Joe Biden, declaring they would not enforce any new federal gun laws. Now, Mack’s sheriffs have told Gov. Kate Brown they will not enforce the state mask mandates, something Brown has not required.

During a campaign speech for election to Congress, Arizona’s state representative Walt Blackman praised the Proud Boys, another far-right extremist group, saying their attending his rallies “was one of the proudest moments of my life.” He called them “the example on how to be an American.” The speech was at a rally organized by Look Ahead America to support insurrections charged in the January 6 riot. He also thanked McCarthy and the NRCC for putting him on the Young Guns program as an “on the radar” candidate. One of Blackman’s GOP opponents is Ron Watkins, a QAnon leader. Congress has also constituted hearings to investigate the number of military-related people attracted to such extremist organizations as the Proud Boys. 

February 2, 2021

AOC Tells Her Story about Abusive GOP

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—frequently called AOC—was a relative unknown when she swept onto the national scene less than three years ago when she defeated a ten-term incumbent in Democratic primary election. The youngest member to serve the U.S. Congress when she was sworn in, the 29-year-old soon gained the hatred of now-Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because of her progressive ideas.

Yesterday, 26 days after the far-right attack on the U.S. Capitol, she released a powerful video telling of her terror about being killed by the insurgents and her experience with sexual assault. It is a must watch for everyone, and her subsequent message about the sedition describes the lead up to and the events on the day itself as well as the impact on her.   

Her message:

Monday night, I hopped on IG live to talk about what happened at the Capitol. My story is one of many. It’s not the only story or the central story.

But, it’s important to share because so many of the people who helped perpetrate what happened are trying to tell us to move on and forget about what happened—saying it isn’t a big deal.

They’re asking us to move on for their own convenience. These are the same tactics used by abusers. What they are really asking is: “Can you forget about this so we can do it again?”

I’m a survivor of sexual assault, and I haven’t told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, whether we have neglectful parents or any kind of trauma, these episodes can compound on one another. Part of my hesitancy to tell this story until now has to do with some of my trauma. As a survivor, I struggle with the idea of being believed.

Many Republicans have done everything they can to try to rewrite history. They say we’re exaggerating or stoking tensions or even that I should apologize. Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz have had nearly a month to apologize for their role, but over and over they’ve doubled down and said they did the right thing and if they could go back, they’d do it all again. That’s why they need to resign, because they will do it again.

First, let’s dispel the idea that this insurrection happened suddenly—that there was no way for Hawley, Cruz. or Trump not to see this violence coming or anticipate their role in stoking it. Everyone knew something was going to happen.

One week before, I started to get text messages from other members of Congress saying that I needed to be careful on Wednesday. So I started thinking through a security plan with my staff.

Insurrectionists arrived in town starting on Monday. That day, as I exited the Capitol, a crowd of Trump supporters were gathered directly behind my car. All there was to protect myself and other members of Congress was a waist-high fence.

My heart was beating fast. They were yelling insults my way. I tried to lighten the mood to create enough space for me to drive away and get out of there.

Later that day, I went to the grocery store and saw all these people in MAGA hats. It felt tense. And, I guess it felt like—whether you’re from the Bronx, New York City, Queens, or wherever—you can just catch a vibe and kind of know a general sense of when things aren’t right. And things started to feel “not right” when I was in that grocery store that Monday night.

By Tuesday, 24 hours before the events on January 6th, I had already resolved that I wouldn’t go back outside except to vote. Myself and other members asked about security plans, and we were told that it was being handled by Capitol Police and couldn’t be shared.

Fast forward, Wednesday, January 6: At 12:45pm, my chief of staff called me and asked how I was feeling. In that moment, I was feeling great—Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff had just won. I was on cloud nine. It took a weight off my shoulders—and I hoped maybe it would take the wind out of the sails of the growing mob outside the Capitol.

Shortly after we hung up, I heard violent bangs on my office door and all the doors into our congressional office. My legislative director—G—told me to hide. I ran into the bathroom—then quickly realized I should have gone to the closet instead. When I opened the door to move, I heard that someone had already gotten into my office. It was too late. Then, they started to yell: “Where is she?” “Where is she?” “Where is she?”

This is the moment I thought everything was over. As a spiritual person, I thought: if this is the plan for me, people—you all—would be able to take it from here. I felt that things were going to be okay and that I had fulfilled my purpose.

Peeking through the hinges of the door behind which I was hiding, I saw a white man with a black beanie come into my direct office. He continued to ask, “where is she?” “where is she?” Finally, I heard G follow him and say “Boss, it’s OK to come out.”

The man in the black beanie was a Capitol Police officer—he was alone with no partner, and I never heard him identify himself as Capitol Police or anything. We weren’t sure if he was there to help us or hurt us. He was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.

Yelling, he told us to go to a different building where all Members would be extracted—not providing the room number or any other exact information on where in the building that extraction point was.

Still, we started running. Alone with no escort and no specific location, we could hear the rioters outside. Not knowing where to go, I ran to find the offices of members I knew in the building. After running up and down the stairs, googling frantically to find room numbers, I eventually found Rep. Katie Porter’s office and asked if we could shelter with her.

She welcomed us in, and we started searching for where we could hide. We pushed couches against the door. I found clothes and sneakers to change into in case I needed to run, jump out of a window, or blend in with a crowd. We turned off all the lights.

Shortly after we finished barricading ourselves, we received intelligence that bombs were found not far from where we were. We discussed what we’d do if the building exploded. Staffers were making decisions to put their lives on the line to save us.

When I finally learned the location of the extraction point, I didn’t feel safe going there, knowing that some Republican members were live tweeting the locations of the Speaker and others. I knew the National Guard hadn’t been called. We were in Rep. Porter’s office for hours.

After the building was secure, I walked over to Rep. Pressley’s office where she and her staffers made sure I was fed. We were at Ayanna’s office until 4:00 am as Congress finally proceeded with voting to certify the electoral college. There are more details to share at some point, but not today.

Rep. Pressley told me that night that what I experienced was traumatizing. Hearing her say that, it forced me to pump my brakes. If you have experienced any type of trauma, just admitting and recognizing it is already a big step. The moment you admit that a thing happened to you is hugely important.

I look back on this and Ayanna really helped my healing. Telling your story is an important tool for healing, which is why I’m telling mine. Together, we have 435 stories and we need to tell them because every time a Republican gets on television and tells us to forget, these stories are reminders of what they’re trying to absolve.

What happens now should not be a partisan issue. This moment is not about a difference of political opinion. This is about basic humanity.

We knew that violence was expected on January 6. We knew the rioters depended on someone upholding the lie that the presidential election was fraudulent. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley chose to tell the lie because they thought it would be politically advantageous.

Six people have lost their lives, eyes and limbs have been lost, and many more people traumatized. Even after all of that, not even an ‘I’m sorry.’ Not even an: ‘I didn’t realize what I said would contribute to this violence and if I had known, I wouldn’t have done it.’ Instead the response has been, ‘I did the right thing and I would do it again.’

If that is their stance, these members will continue to be a danger to their colleagues. Given the same conditions, they will choose to endanger their colleagues for political gain again. That’s why we need accountability.

It’s not about revenge, it’s about creating safety. We are not safe with people who hold political power who are willing to endanger lives for political gain.

Today the U.S. House adopted rules to keep conservatives from carrying guns onto the chamber floor and intimidating others. Instituting large fines for violating these rules was necessary because gun carriers stepped around metal detectors, pushed Capitol Police officers out of the way, and asked other members to carry guns for them. Campaign funds or congressional office budget funds cannot be used to pay these fines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “The People’s House must and will be safe, so that we can honor our responsibility to do the People’s work.” Weapons have been banned from the House floor for over 50 years, but the new conservatives think they, like DDT, are above the law.

Tonight, the remains of Brian Sicknick, killed by the January 6 mob in the U.S. Capitol, were taken to the Capitol rotunda, allowing people, including President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, to pay their respects. 

The U.S. has passed 27 million verified infections from COVID-19, and the nation had 3,672 deaths today from the disease. 

February 27, 2017

White Supremacists in Control of U.S.

DDT wants to hire another 15,000 border agents, but the country can’t even train the ones they’ve already hired. Egyptian-born, French citizen, World War II scholar, member of the National Center for Historic Research Henry Rousso was detained for ten hours at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, accused of coming to the country to work on an illegal visa, subjected to a body search, forced to give an oath, and threatened with deportation on the first flight back to Paris with no explanation. He came to the United States to speak at a Texas A&M symposium about the French collaboration with Nazi Germany to round up and deport tens of thousands of Jews from France during the Holocaust. Egypt is not one of DDT’s targeted countries, and French citizens to not need special visas to come to the United States.

mem-foxMem Fox, world-famous Australian children’s author of over 30 books, said she may never return to the United States after she was detained and insulted by border control agents in Los Angeles for almost two hours. She was en route to a conference in Minnesota. The 70-year-old woman said, “I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness.” Agents questioned the validity of her visa although she had traveled to the U.S. 116 times with no incident.

A 25-year-old British math teacher traveling with a group of children and other teachers was denied entry into the United States and removed from a plane in Iceland a week after a U.S. court had already overturned DDT’s Muslim ban. Security personnel escorted Juhel Miah, who had valid visa documentation, from the aircraft with no reason.

adam-purintonWhile trying to keep innocent people out of the United States, the federal government may not address home-grown terrorism—such as the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding of Alok Madasani, immigrants from India who worked for the Garmin technology company. They were peacefully sitting in Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe (KS) when Adam W. Purinton (left) returned after being thrown out for his ethnic slurs and insults about the two men’s immigration status and shot them.

A DDT proposal is to eliminate its focus on white supremacist terrorism by completely concentrating on what is calls “radical Islam terrorism.” The White House has denied that DDT’s policies have any relationship with the increased anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim occurrences since the election, yet the number of white supremacist groups is rapidly growing. The renaming of the federal program Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) to Countering Radical Islamic Extremism ignores far-right attacks and mass shootings, such as the massacre of black churchgoers last year, which U.S. officials don’t classify as “terrorism.” This change sends a signal to white supremacy extremists that they are safe to commit violent actions and kill people.

It’s been five days since Purinton yelled “Get out of my country” and shot the two Indian men as well as Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene in the shooting. DDT has said nothing about the killing. Press Secretary Sean Spicer has not even mentioned the killing in his press briefing until today when he called it “disturbing.”

This past month, Mark Charles Barnett, was arrested in Florida because he planned to bomb several Target stores. He wanted to cause the stock price for the corporation to drop so that he could have a cheaper investment. DDT made no comment about this action. Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell told an undercover officer that he wanted to attack non-whites just like Dylann Roof had killed nine blacks in a church. DDT said nothing about Barnett or McDowell.

According to Charles Kurzman, who teaches sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University, 74 percent of the law enforcement agencies they surveyed listed anti-government extremism as one of the top three terror threats in their jurisdictions, a far greater percentage than the 39 percent who listed Al Qaida and similar groups. Since 9/11, an annual average of nine U.S. Muslims per year has been involved in terror plots compared to the 337 each year by right-wing extremists. With a one in a six million chance in 2016 of a person in the U.S. being killed by a Muslim terrorist, DDT is declaring more war in the Middle East and asking for a nine percent increase in the military budget.

DDT promotes distrust and hatred within and toward the United States. During the first hours of his Muslim ban, videos of families torn apart, children in detention, elder women blocked from board planes, and more horrific visuals circled the world and spread on pro-Isis social media. These messages reinforced the Al-Qaeda prediction that the “West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.” No matter how many times people say that no immigrants from the seven nations on the Muslim ban have killed anyone in a U.S. attack, however, the white supremacists in the White House ignore the facts. The West is fighting not a religion but an ideology that DDT is helping to spread. The border agents who pick up innocent people like teachers, authors, and famous scholars are helping ISIS increase their recruitment.

In developing this hatred, DDT and the entire country is losing the support of those most able to fight a war against ISIS—Muslims. They are the ones who can root out violence and identify the few dangerous people. In the past Muslims have turned in their extremist relatives and friends to Muslims because they believe in the United States. Their knowledge of the language and culture give them a unique advantage that almost all law enforcement officials lack. Muslims, including students, also challenge the extremist narratives on social media with positive information, an action that the past Department of Homeland Security deemed essential. Many of these people supporting the fight against ISIS are now banned from entering the United States, even with the Muslim ban overturned.

Overseas, local Muslims fight terrorism efforts while putting their lives at risk. The new message for them is that the U.S. hates all Muslims equally. The countries identified in DDT’s ban show that he cannot identify between Sunnis and Shiites. In the past, the U.S. used Shiite governments as an ally to fight ISIS, and Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen have large Shiite populations that are less extremist than Sunnis.

While DDT has declared war on all Muslims, he has welcomed the message of white supremacy, largely through his strongest advisors headed by Steve Bannon. Many of their threats are against Jewish institutions. The unprecedented 69 bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers during the first weeks of January have terrified children who had to be evacuated, and historic Jewish cemeteries are being vandalized. The most recent desecration was this weekend in Philadelphia. In the past 45 days, there have been 190 incidents against Jews and Jewish institutions across the U.S. This is terrorism.

DDT largely ignored the threats of violence until the media pushed him into a few tepid answers in which he briefly talked about the Jewish members of his family. These weak statements, however, followed ugly anti-Semitic stereotypes in his speeches and advertisements, and the threats continue—20 of them today directed toward children’s schools and community centers throughout 13 East Coast states.

The first month following DDT’s election saw 1,094 reports of “bias-related incidents” against Jews, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people—and that number may have been underreported because people didn’t want to talk about them. Social media is a useful place to spread bigotry, but white supremacists know that they have one of their own in the nation’s highest office. After DDT refused a question from a religious Jewish reporter representing an ultra-Orthodox Jewish magazine, a tweet celebrated by the statement, “Sit down Jew boy! The goyim have had enough.” Now DDT has further given the haters a safe place by ignoring them in a federal counter-terrorism program.

Meanwhile, the killing in Kansas has not been declared either a hate crime or an act of terrorism, despite the killer claiming that he had killed “a couple of Iranians.” Last week, press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the link between the president’s rhetoric and the rise of reported hate crimes in the U.S. He said that “any loss of life is tragic” and added that “to suggest that there’s any correlation, I think, is a bit absurd.” DDT’s condemnation is saved for people he assumes are Muslim and people of color.

The nation is becoming much less safe under DDT’s policies. White supremacists have declared open season on everyone in the United States, and DDT’s policies are supporting them.

January 26, 2016

A Tale of Two Occupations

 

Insurgents at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are in their fourth week of occupation since a small group of armed white people came to central Oregon with the original intent to get two ranchers, in prison for a variety of charges including arson on public lands, released. Occupiers then transferred to a goal of getting all the public land in Harney County given back to ranchers. To accomplish this end, they are keeping the public from using the refuge and rummaging through 4,000-year-old Native American artifacts. Other illegal acts are tearing down a federally-built fence and surveillance cameras while stealing federal vehicles—wrecking at least one of them.

glenn palmerThe debacle took a bizarre turn last weekend when Glenn Palmer, sheriff of nearby Grant County, said he wants the government “concede” to the occupiers by releasing the ranchers from prison and send the FBI away. That action would be just “a start,” according to Palmer. According to the Oathkeeper’s website, Palmer offered occupier leader Ammon Bundy a sanctuary in Grant County if he would leave the Refuge. Palmer has been very definite about not having spoken to Bundy personally, but he has texted him.

Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe, who has been helping Harney County Sheriff David Ward in Burns, said that Palmer “doesn’t help the cause. If anything, it hampers the effort to end this.” Wolfe, president of the Oregon State Sheriffs Association, said the state’s other sheriffs are concerned with Palmer’s conduct.

Palmer’s discussion with the occupiers started almost two weeks ago when he met in John Day with three insurgents and ten Grant County residents. John Day is 100 miles north of the refuge. After meeting privately with the sheriff, occupier Ryan Payne said, “[Sheriff Palmer] has a practical plan for helping unravel the federal government.” Palmer is a part of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a national nonprofit which interprets the constitution to severely limit federal government powers. Founder Richard Mack urges officials to overthrow county governments one by one to pursue a right-wing agenda.

Logger Tad Houpt, whose complaints about federal land management are promoted by the Koch-backed American Lands Council, has advertised a meeting in Grant County to learn about the Constitution and consider a Committee of Safety. Occupiers used the “committee” in Harney County to first establish credibility and then control the committee. Lead occupiers plan to attend the Grant County meeting. Grant County may provide fertile ground for the dissidents with residents unhappy about the slowness in restoring logging on the Malheur National Forest and plans to close forest service roads.

A community meeting in Burns regarding the occupiers scheduled for Monday, January 24, has been cancelled because of safety concerns. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty stated, “Preparations to protest and block entrance to the Senior Center have led me to determine that it’s time to take a time out.” He added that he “will not give these agitators what they want most, which is attention.”

The occupiers have voted to convene a “common law grand jury” overseen by Tea Party activist and so-called “sovereign citizen” Joaquin Mariano DeMoreta-Folch. Earlier illegal “grand juries” have resulted in government officials being kidnapped and beaten. Jury members have also filed fraudulent liens against officials’ homes and stalked or harassed them for years afterward. Typical indictment from extralegal grand juries is usually treason that carries a death penalty.

The FBI refuses to allow media to tape its “negotiations” with the occupiers, but the insurgents have taped and released them to the public. Insurgents have said they will leave only after investigations into a large number of federal agencies and the complete turnover of public lands throughout the nation to private citizens. Law enforcement have allowed armed infiltrators throughout Harney County, creating danger for all residents. Ryan Payne has voiced the opinion of the occupiers that they have the legal authority to kill police officers who, according to the occupiers, are “unlawfully trying to arrest” them.

The Paiute tribe is requesting that occupiers be blocked from free access to come and go from the refugee. Tribal chair, Charlotte Roderique, also told U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch that the government that it is obligated under its treaty with the Northern Paiutes to inflict punishment for “any crime or injury…perpetrated by any white man upon the Indians.” Roderique is concerned that the insurgents will finance their occupation by selling valuable Indian artifacts, especially if they can continue to mail materials. Videos have shown the occupiers rifling through these artifacts.

Drone hobbyist Mark Cooper made this video of the refugee last Saturday.

Palmer is up for re-election in May, and former Grant County Undersheriff Todd McKinley has filed to run for sheriff. McKinley, director of Grant County Community Corrections, said that he decided to run after witnessing the “audacity of individuals who think they can dictate the course of Grant County, without the input of all.” He pointed out that the oath of office states that he “would support the Constitution and the laws of the United States and of the state of Oregon, and to honestly and faithfully perform the duties imposed upon the member under the laws of Oregon. I do not remember that there were any clauses that told me this was optional, and up to my interpretation of the Constitution and laws.”

The peaceful life of the occupiers of federal property is a huge contrast to another occupation over 40 years ago. While the occupiers can come and go from the refuge whenever they want, shopping at local stores and eating at local restaurants, Leonard Peltier, leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM), has been imprisoned since the federal government’s armed raid on Indian land at Wounded Knee in 1973. Peltier was convicted on the word of Myrtle Poor Bear who retracted her statement 16 years ago, explaining that FBI agents had abused her to get the testimony. The FBI admitted that they didn’t know who was responsible for the deaths of two FBI agents, but Peltier is not scheduled to be released from prison until 2040 when he will be 96 years old.

Beatings, deprivation of medical care, inadequate nutrition, and a disregard for his failing health are causing Peltier to die a slow isolated death. A stroke left him almost blind in one eye, he can barely walk because of untreated bone spurs, and an ever-worsening jaw condition from a prison beating causes difficulty in eating. Peltier has had a heart attack, a severely inflamed prostate condition, and diabetes. Early this month he was diagnosed with a serious abdominal aortic aneurism requiring immediate surgery, but nothing has been done about it. White insurgents, several of them at Malheur, have never been charged for pulling guns on federal officials last year on Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada.

Bill Means, veteran of the Vietnam War and the standoff at Wounded Knee, said:

“The Feds didn’t serve us coffee and pizzas. They came heavily armed, ready to do battle, and opened fire before they asked the first question. The laws are recast and enforced in order to suppress any type of minority movement to shift all the power of recognition to the white community. So that when the posse comitatus or bunch of racist ranchers take over a piece of land, they do it in the name of their country, and they become immune to the criminal laws of the United States.”

Means remembered his experience in 1973:

“We were immediately surrounded by over 7 or 8 federal jurisdictions: FBI, U.S. marshals, U.S. Border Patrol, BIA police. I’m missing a few, but you can understand the type of response we get as Indian people.”

Native American activist Morningstar, a member of the Pit River Tribe that shares a boundary with the Paiute, also commented about the people whose land has been “occupied again by armed white people,” this time white ranchers and cattlemen. They claim “sovereignty” over land that has been inhabited by these tribes for thousands of years, calling themselves the “original caretakers of the land.” She is highly concerned about the occupation of the refuge that contains sacred burial grounds of their tribes’ ancient ancestors and extensive personal records about the community and its people.

“The Paiute have 420 members enrolled, half of whom live on and near the reservation. And so they have essentially taken over the bird refuge. The main concern right now is that there are over 4,000 artifacts. There are maps within the BLM offices. These are maps that are not disclosed to the public, and so we’re hearing stories now of the militia members, Bundy’s faction, you know, going through personnel files of the staff members there, many of which include tribal members. They have access to this classified material, and to the 4,000 artifacts.”

Morningstar also mourned the damage from driving large herds of cattle over sacred Indian land:

“[The occupiers] are contaminating our springs, our waterways, our creeks. They’re inside the rivers and stream ways. We’re having to do a lot of restoration work along the creek ways because we have cattle that are just pushing the soil and dirt into the water.”

Whenever unarmed black people are killed, conservatives are fond of saying, “If you don’t comply, you die.” They become enraged when President Obama trades prisoners with Iran. Yet the current conservative position is that the lawbreakers at the refuge should be given everything they want.

January 18, 2016

MLK Day: Bundy Clueless about Civil Disobedience

MLK Day honors a man who tried to makes lives better for poor and black people through civil disobedience while Malheur occupiers use firearms to keep people from using public land. 

If Martin Luther King, Jr. had not been murdered in 1968, he might have turned 87 years of age last Friday. For 30 years, the man who espoused nonviolent civil disobedience has been remembered by a federal day in his honor, but the country has not been solidly behind King’s achievements. Ninety representatives and 22  senators, mostly Republican, still opposed this commemoration, arguing that the nation had been “misled into believing MLK was a great man.” President Ronald Reagan threatened to veto the federal holiday of Martin Luther King Day until Congress passed the bill by a veto-proof majority.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended his state’s governor, Evan Mecham, in rescinding the state holiday in 1986. Mecham told a group of black community leaders, “King doesn’t deserve a holiday. You folks don’t need another holiday. What you folks need are jobs.” Arizona started celebrating MLK Day only after NFL threatened to boycott hosting Super Bowl XXVII in 1990.

South Carolina was the last state to recognize the day as a paid holiday for all state employees. Prior to that, Southern states avoided the celebration of MLK Day by forcing employees to choose between this day or one of three Confederate holidays. Even today, three states—Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi—honor both MLK and Robert E. Lee, Confederate general on the third Monday of January.

Eight men who voted against honoring MLK are still serving in Congress: all are Republicans although Richard Shelby was a Democrat when he cast his vote in 1983. Senate: Richard Shelby (AL), Chuck Grassley (IA), John McCain (AZ), and Orrin Hatch (UT). House: Jim Sensenbrenner (WI), Hal Rogers (KY), Jim Scalise (LA), and Johnny Isakson (GA).

This is the first year that the Confederate flag has not flown over the South Carolina state capitol on MLK Day. North Carolina educator and activist Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot flagpole in front of the statehouse and removed the flag ten days after a white man, showing white supremacy symbols including the Confederate flag on his website, killed nine black people during a prayer service in their church. This tragedy occurred in a state where the governor, Nikki Haley, said last week, “We’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion.” After heated arguments last summer, the state authorized moving the flag to a museum at a cost of over $3 million.

Today, MLK Day, people were allowed to go into national parks for free—except for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Oregon. That’s because a group of armed white people occupy the refuge, asserting that the public land belongs to “we the people.” Yet their occupation keeps everyone else from being able to use land that belongs to all the people, not just the few who patrol the land with semi-automatic rifles.

Environmentalists are taking on these men. A group of almost 300 people gathered at a protest in Bend, 150 miles southeast of Malheur.  Bitterbrush Broadband and their parent group, Old Broads for Wilderness originally designed to protect the country’s public lands on behalf of the elderly and not-so-able, are joining the Audubon Society and other advocacy groups against the occupation of Malheur. According to the broads, it’s time for people to push back against the hooligans. At their rally, they explained how Malheur had been the poster child for collaboration between locals and the feds and how hypocritical and racist the militants are. A “bro,” or male broad, described how he had been turned away from the refuge by a man with a large assault rifle.

hendersonToday environmental activist Candy Henderson, 64, attended a briefing by Malheur occupiers on her way from Walla Walla to Houston for breast cancer treatment. when occupiers claimed that the U.S. must turn the land back to the people because the government has no right to purchase property, Henderson asked if Alaska should be returned to Russia or if the Louisiana Purchase was to return to France. She said that she wanted the government to keep the refuge and other federal properties:

“I want to go to Mt. Rushmore again. I want to go to the national forests and the national Parklands.”

Bundy

One of the occupiers asked if the people behind Henderson were FBI informants and yelled at a man holding a sign that read, “Ideas, not guns”:

“Do you remember what I said to you about that sign? Don’t bring a butter knife to a gun fight.”

When Newsome came down from the South Carolina flagpole on June 17, 2015, she said, “I’m prepared to be arrested.” That is an act of civil disobedience, a peaceful type of protest used by Henry David Thoreau when he refused to pay his taxes in protest of the Mexican-American War and slavery in 1846 and continued by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his attempt to improve the plight of poor and black people. King was arrested 30 times and peacefully went to jail each time.

In contrast, Malheur occupiers threaten violence to anyone who opposes them and aren’t willing to be imprisoned to highlight what they perceive to be injustices. Instead they are capitalists living off the government and donations to get attention. Occupier spokesman is Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy who owns almost $1 million worth of cattle and grazes them free on public lands in Clark County (NV) because he has refused to pay any fees since 1993.

Bundy wants to “return” the land to the “people,” meaning ranchers although the land was Northern Paiute Indigenous territory called Malheur (“misfortune” or “tragedy” in French) in the 1870s where occupiers now live. Malheur, like much of public land in the United States, is owned by “we the people” because native peoples were forced to leave them and the federal government purchased the land. Ranchers like the Bundys have broad expanses of land because the federal government privatized land after dispossessing indigenous peoples or maintained public land for their use.

The two ranchers of Harney County, imprisoned for arson and illegal activities, have received federal largess. Hammond Ranches received $295,000 in payments between 1995 and 2012 under various conservation, livestock disaster, crop disaster and other federal assistance programs. Other federal bonuses for the Hammonds:

  • A government program that protects ranchers’ and farmers’ livestock from predators, including killing five coyotes for the ranchers between 2009 and 2011.
  • Charges to the ranchers of only $1.35 for a cow and calf per month, a savings of 93 percent for the ranchers for using public rather than private lands.
  • Reimbursement of half the grazing fees to the ranchers for range betterment to benefit the ranchers.
  • A federal drought disaster relief program that provided two insurgent rancher families in Nevada $2.2 million in 2013.
  • The federal “emergency feed program” providing money for feed even with no emergency.

Removal of wild horses from public lands to make way for cattle.

Many people in Harney County suffer from poverty, but these aren’t the people who would get the land if the Bundys were successful. Occupiers want to give the land to other ranchers like these:

Treetop Ranches, controlled by Larry and Marianne Williams who complain about government overreach, owns 6000 cattle impacting 750,000 acres and 100 race horses, one of them finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby. The Williams also made millions in timber.

Roaring Springs Ranch with its manager, Stacy Davies, extols the virtues of cattle grazing and subsidized taxpayer-funded clear cutting of Western juniper. The Sanders family, timber mill barons, purchased the ranch in 1992. Its 1,011,792 acres, three-fourths leased from the government, sustains over 6,200 head of cattle and 150 horses as well as 2,500 acres of meadow hay and 1,200 acres of alfalfa. The owners of six sawmills have an agreement with the federal government that precludes an endangered-species listing while government subsidizes projects, disguised as watersheds and redband trout protections, that maintain high levels of grazing disguised as watersheds and redband trout protections. Taxpayers provided the Sanders with $300,000 over five years starting in 2007 to provide the ranch with fencing. Davies praised this “funding and expertise” as a “fantastic partnership.”

Ranchers have succeeded in exempting agreement information from Records Act requests in Oregon, and the federal Farm Bill prevents anyone from discovering who is receiving government munificence. The Roaring Springs Ranch has its own biologist to ensure that these agreements keep benefitting themselves. The result is use of federal funding to protect wildlife going to wealthy ranchers who destroy wildlife.

Bundy wants these people to get public lands purchased by taxpayers—i.e., “we the people.” He and others claim the occupiers use “civil disobedience,” but their using weapons to keep people off public land mark them as insurrectionists trying to destroy the federal government. Lack of prosecution for the Bundy family and their followers in 2014 after they pulled guns on federal agents and anyone near the Bundy ranch in Nevada has led to a geometric increase of white supremacists who are terrorizing the United States. It’s past time for the government to stop the current insurgency.

January 15, 2016

Insurgents Intimidate Oregon Residents; One Arrested

Filed under: Terrorism — trp2011 @ 9:42 PM
Tags: , ,

Thirteen days after a small group of armed militants took over federal buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Oregon, one of them finally got arrested. After a number of law enforcement agencies monitored their illegal activities, Oregon State Police on Friday arrested 62-year-old Kenneth Medenback of Crescent (OR) for driving a stolen federal vehicle into Burns to the grocery store. Medenback is facing federal charges in Medford and had been released on the condition that he would not “occupy” any federal land. The man has a long history of convictions.

Opinion about their insurgency was mixed, but the residents have become increasingly concerned by the insurgents’ intimidation, threatening and following people who live in Burns. Refuge employees have been forced to leave the area, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “is taking necessary steps to ensure employee and family safety.” Harney County Sheriff David Ward said that his deputies and own family members had been followed home, photographed, and had personal property damaged in recent months.

Members of the Pacific Patriots Network from Oregon, Washington and Idaho, carrying rifles and sidearms and clad in military attire and bulletproof vests, tried to join Bundy’s group at Malheur. Told to leave, they moved on to Burns where they harass the residents. The occupation has developed the feeling of a siege.Malheur

The insurgents’ illegal actions began with taking over a federal building and the surrounding lands. If a person “knowingly converts to his use” property of the federal government, that person could face a fine and a prison sentence of up to 10 years if the value of the property is greater than $1,000. Willful property destruction at protected sanctuaries could yield a six-month prison sentence. A separate statute says that if someone “willfully and maliciously” destroys property on certain federal lands, then he or she could face a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.

The militants promised that they wouldn’t damage any property while they squatted on the land in their attempt to get public land given to private individuals, but thus far they have

  • Used the site’s kitchens, beds, offices, museum, and other buildings.
  • Driven federal vehicles around the compound and into Burns.
  • Used federal IDs found on the premises.
  • Accessed government computers to find personal information about employees such as addresses and Social Security numbers.
  • Used a federal excavator to remove government fencing between private and public lands.
  • Built new roads with no attention to cultural artifacts, habitat, and wildlife.
  • Removed surveillance cameras near Burns.

Ammon Bundy claimed that rancher Tim Puckett asked him to take down the fence, but Puckett denied Bundy’s allegation and said that the occupiers are not allowed on his land. A federal statute prohibits the possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in federal facilities, with only limited exceptions for law enforcement. Violation could lead to a fine and a one-year prison sentence, and the use of the weapon in the commission of a crime can extend the sentence to five years.

The cost for the occupiers exceeds $133,400 per day amounting to over $1.8 million for just the first 13 days:

$23,400: Almost 120 refuge BLM and refuge employees now on paid administrative leave with another 50 employees also on paid leave.

$40,000: Lost tourism from a variety of outdoor recreationalists, about 119,000 annual visitors to the refuge who spend about $15 million a year.

$70,000: Security costs and school closures.

Self-described ISIS supporter and new “recruit” David Fry is using government computers to build a website for the occupiers. A big fan of Adolf Hitler, Fry said that “there has to be some point where people have to put their foot down against [government] problems” and he thinks that the insurgents are “pretty good people.” The website liberally uses videos that Fry made of himself playing video games almost a year ago.

The occupiers have decided that they will develop an alternative legal system in the area with their own judge, sheriff, and other elected officials. Partnering with self-proclaimed “Superior Court Judge” Bruce Doucette, they would declare themselves “sovereign citizens” with no mandate to follow any city, county, state, or federal laws. Doucette is a conspiracy theorist who thinks that the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing are government hoaxes and that the earth is flat. The occupiers could then use a “grand jury”—and their guns—to arrest people. Self-proclaimed “sovereign citizens” have a history of extremist violence.

Tensions have been building at the refuge.

Joe “Capt. O” Oshaugnessy left after a drunken argument with participants over bringing their wives and children to the standoff.

Brian “Booda” Cavalier left the compound because news reports revealed he had lied about serving in the military. (Since then, Cavalier has been arrested in Maricopa County, OR on an outstanding warrant.)

Blaine Cooper, sucker-punched one of his former friends, sending the man to the hospital with a concussion and serious facial injuries.

Lewis Arthur, the recipient of the injuries, said he came to remove a “radicalized” and “suicidal” veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has a tendency toward violence when he’s placed under stress. He said that Cooper attacked one of Arthur’s three-man team over an argument about removing women, children, and Ryan Payne, a U.S. Army veteran who had bragged about his sniper teams to target federal agents during the 2014 Bundy ranch standoff. Cooper said that Arthur started the fight.

John Hildinger, arrested on a Maryland firearms charge on his way to the anti-Obama “Operation American Spring” rally in 2013, described Cooper, Payne, and Cavalier as loose cannons.

Jon Ritzheimer had a temper tantrum on video after people sent “a bag of dicks”—Ritzheimer’s description—following the insurgents’ begging for a long list of items including tampons, cigarettes, and snacks.

Many members of the so-called “militia” take advantage of government financial support such as the $530,000 Small Business Administration loan that Ammon Bundy received in 2010. Ritzheimer has only his government disability check and “a wife that works.” Mark Pitcavage, researcher of far-right movements for 22 years and studier of the Harney County occupiers said, “Right-wing extremists, generally speaking, have very little money.” Daryl Johnson, a former DHS domestic terrorism analyst, said that the militants “think nothing” about spending half their money “to buy ammunition and guns.”

Occupier LaVoy Finicum said earlier this week that the group would outline their exit strategy today, but nothing has been said about it since then. They’ve also said that they would leave if the community didn’t want them. It doesn’t, but they’re still there. Residents have repeatedly told the insurgents to leave, including the call for one of the insurgents to stop talking at a community meeting this past week. The audience applauded as law enforcement ushered Pete Santilli, earlier arrested in Ohio for illegally carrying a concealed weapon, out of the building. In 2013, Santilli was investigated after he threatened to shoot Hillary Clinton “in the vagina” and described 15-year-old Ashley Presley, granddaughter of a county judge, as a political “prostitute” after she said she was afraid of the insurgents.

Malheur flockOne protester holding a sign said, “I never thought I’d have to say this, but I’m here to oppose the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge.”

So a bunch of white people, mostly men, have forced a public school of 800 to close down for a week, followed and harassed citizens of a town, illegally accessed government computers to gain personal information about federal employees, destroyed public property, blocked public land from use by U.S. residents, illegally occupied a federal facility and used its utilities, stolen federal vehicles, and broken other laws. They cost taxpayers millions of dollars as well as create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in a formerly sleepy Oregon town. These are members of the Tea Party that want to save money and throw immigrants out of the country because they “break the law.”

The insurgents’ actions are clearly domestic terrorism, but their white skin protects them from death—and possibly future imprisonment. Conservative candidates campaign by raging against ISIL while domestic terrorists—mostly white Christian men—take over the United States.

November 14, 2015

Fear, Hatred Make People Victims of Terrorism

Filed under: Terrorism — trp2011 @ 8:43 PM
Tags: , , ,

People around the world are still reeling from yesterday’s attack on Paris that killed at least 129 people in a coordinated attack on several targets including a musical performance, a soccer game, and restaurants. Juan Cole writes that a surviving radio and television professional reported that he heard the attackers say to the hostages, “It is [President Francois] Hollande’s fault, it is the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria.” They also spoke of Iraq. ISIS, which holds territory in Syria and Iraq, has already taken responsibility for the attacks. Another possibility is the Support Front (al-Jabha al-Nusra) in Syria, but it does not have territory in Iraq, and France has not specifically targeted it in the west of Syria. Cole wrote:

“When I was in France in mid-October, I was told by a former diplomat that President Hollande had decided to begin flying missions against ISIL in Raqqa, Syria, last September because French intelligence had learned that ISIL was planning to hit France. It is estimated that there are some 3,000 radical French Muslims fighting in ISIL (though remember that this number is proportionally tiny, since there are on the order of 3 million French Muslims, some 5% of the population– and the majority of them is not religious)….

“The French air force has been inflicting substantial damage on ISIL in Raqqa and its hinterlands. On Tuesday, AFP reported that France launched a fourth wave of airstrikes on Daesh targets in Syria, targeting the oil infrastructure that is a source of much of ISIL’s budget.”

The attacks may be an attempt to replicate the 2004 Madrid train bombings which also aimed at “soft targets” and persuaded Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Attackers tend to perform their acts for a goal, not just from generalized anger. The “war on terror” has made little distinction between noncombatants and alleged militants with a shrug of the perpetrators toward “collateral damage,” killing hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

The GOP has reacted to the attacks by peddling more fear and hatred. The right-wing media latched onto the jihadists’ action by claiming that all Muslims are responsible for last night’s atrocities. In tonight’s Democratic presidential debate, all three candidates agreed that they would not use the term “radical Islam” because it insinuates that all 1.7 billion Muslims in the world are affiliated with these violent groups. Hillary Clinton said, “We are not at war with Islam or Muslims. We are at war with violent extremism.” Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley argued a better term would be “radical jihadists.”

President Barack Obama said last February that he refuses to say “radical Islam” because the term grants them a religious legitimacy they don’t deserve.

“They are not religious leaders; they are terrorists. We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is “desperate” to portray itself as a group of holy warriors defending Islam. It uses to recruit and radicalize young people. He added:

“They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills in the name of Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism. No religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism.”

GOP presidential candidates called the Democrats’ positions one of “weakness.” [As you read the following comments, please note that President Obama said that he wanted his team to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the upcoming fiscal year. He did suggest 83,000 refugees, but most of these would be from other countries. The numbers over 200,000 Syrian refugees came from a right-wing parody news website. “RealNewsRightNow”–not to be confused with the respected TheRealNews.com–is not at all “real.”]

Donald Trump: “It was just reported, one [attacker was] from Syria. Our president wants to take in 250,000 from Syria.

Rick Santorum: “ISIS is a creation of a political decision by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to abandon Iraq — against all of our generals’ recommendations, against all of the policy recommendations.” [Actually, George W. Bush made the arrangements to leave—or “abandon”—Iraq.)

Carly Fiorina: “I am outraged because the murder, the mayhem, the danger, the tragedy we see unfolding in Paris, throughout the Middle East, around the world, and too often in our own homeland are the direct consequence of this administration’s policies.”

Mike Huckabee: “During the debate last week, I stated that we should not admit those claiming to be Syrian refugees and was condemned by the left for that position. I was right, and the events in Paris affirm that …. It’s time for a President who will act to protect Americans, not just talk and protect the image of Islam.”

Ted Cruz:  “I call on Congress to pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act. We should not allow jihadists to come back to America using U.S. passports to murder innocent men and women. We are at war.” “We need to immediately declare a halt to any plans to bring refugees that may have been infiltrated by ISIS to the United States.” [That to Cruz is probably all of them.] He also wants to kill more civilians: “The radical Islamism … will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life.”

Ben Carson: “I think America’s involvement should be trying to eliminate them, completely, destroy them. Boots on the ground would probably be important.” “If we’re going to be bringing 200,000 people over here from that region—if I were one of the leaders of the global jihadist movement and I didn’t infiltrate that group of people with my people, that would be almost malpractice.”

Jeb Bush: “This is an organized effort to destroy Western civilization [and the U.S. should] re-garner the alliances, fortify those alliances, reconnect with our counterintelligence and intelligence capabilities with our European allies, and engage in the Middle East to take out ISIS.”

Marco Rubio: “We must increase our efforts at home and abroad to improve our defenses, destroy terrorist networks, and deprive them of the space from which to operate.”

John Kasich: “You know, our thoughts and our prayers go to the people of France but that’s not enough. Action is required. Time is of the essence. Negotiation, ambivalence, or delay, are not acceptable,” he said in a speech that focused entirely on the terror attacks.”

Eschewing the hateful feedback from GOP presidential candidates, including immediately blocking the Iran agreement, President Rhouhanni of Iran sent this message to France:

“In the name of the Iranian people, who have themselves been victims of terrorism, I strongly condemn these crimes against humanity and offer my condolences to the grieving French people and government.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari declared that the extremist death cult does not “believe in ethical principles” and is “not loyal to any type of divine religions — including Islam.” Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo called for International cooperation to fight terrorism, and the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia called the attacks “heinous” and “criminal.” They called for an end to the “plague” of terrorism.

Conservatives delight in their misrepresentation of President Obama’s statement about having “contained” Isis, but he mean that the terrorist group had not gained ground in Iraq. Donald Trump doubled down on his position, which he first stated in January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, that gun control doesn’t prevent the violence. Yet one suicide bomber stopped by guards at the stadium location turned away before he detonated his bomb.

On Fox, people like Bill O’Reilly and Brian Kilmeade push the myth that  “all terrorists are Muslims.” Terrorists in the U.S. are usually Christians, but Fox fails to identify them as such.

People need to deny that the attacks are related to religion. Muslims are not terrorists. Terrorism has no religion. We need to repeat this over and over. If we let unreasonable hatred take over our lives, then we are the victims of the attackers.

August 21, 2015

Justice Denied

Filed under: Terrorism — trp2011 @ 9:21 PM
Tags: , ,

On December 4, 2014, the oldest living victim of the McCarthy era paranoia that gripped America in the 1950s went to court to vacate her 64 year old conviction and restore her good name. Miriam Moskowitz and her lover, Abraham Brothman, were convicted on November 28, 1950, for conspiring to obstruct justice in the same courthouse where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg would soon be put on trial for treason for giving secretive atomic bomb information to the Soviet Union. Moskowitz was sentenced to two years in prison. Her trial judge, Irving Kaufman, also handled the trial for the Rosenbergs who were executed in 1953.

Throughout her prison term, she thought everyday about how she was going to make the prosecutors, judge, and others involved in her conviction pay for their wrong doing. At 98 years of age, almost 64 years after her conviction, Moskowitz is the only one alive to tell her story.

moskowitz 1At the age of 34, Moskowitz, a secretary, became involved with a married man, Abraham Brothman, a chemical engineer whose known associates included Harry Gold, a U.S. citizen and admitted Soviet spy. The Red Scare was front page news. The FBI began following her while they brought in and interrogated Brothman and Gold, trying to tie them together as co-conspirators involved in espionage with the Soviet Union.

Gold initially told the FBI that Moskowitz was not involved in any espionage. To escape the electric chair, however, Gold agreed to deal and described Moskowitz as a co-conspirator along with Brothman. Her conviction was solely based on the grand jury statements and FBI interviews with Harry Gold that were not available to her original attorneys for use in cross-examination.

Moskowitz believed she was innocent and refused to testify before the grand jury because it would expose her relationship with the married Brothman. At the trial, Brothman and Moskowitz were charged with conspiring to lie to the grand jury and federal agents investigating a suspected spy plot involving Gold. Later Gold was charged with espionage. Brothman and Moskowitz were found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison. Gold was sentenced to 30 years but served only 15 years because he testified against the Rosenbergs.

After their release from prison in 1952, Moskowitz and Brothman broke up, and her life as a convicted felon began. Hounded and harassed by the FBI, Moskowitz couldn’t keep a job because agents constantly questioned her activities and patriotism. She “found it painful to reveal [her] past” and tried for decades to maintain a “low social profile” to avoid drawing attention to herself. Finally, desperate and depressed, she contemplated suicide.

Her life finally took a turn when she got a job as a junior high school math teacher in 1970. A longtime violinist and violist, she began playing in chamber orchestras. “It was the greatest time of my life. I have never known such bliss,” Moskowitz said. She told the Los Angeles Times that she still regrets that she was never able to serve on a jury, never had any serious romances, and never had any children.

“I would have wanted that very dearly. If it had never happened, I’d have had a houseful of children. By now, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. It would have been nice.”

miriam-278In 2008, over the United States’ objection, the grand jury minutes exposing the deal and initial investigation of Gold were ordered unsealed because of their “substantial historical importance.” In the minutes, Gold claimed Moskowitz was not involved. In August, 2014, Moskowitz petitioned the court to have her felony conviction vacated because the soon-to-be Rosenberg prosecutors had withheld critical grand jury testimony relating to the only witness that would testify against her during trial—Harry Gold. According to the papers filed with the court, Moskowitz did not discover the contradictions in Gold’s damming testimony against her until 2010 when she was doing research for her 2010 book, Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice, about her case.

The petition that Moskowitz filed described how her shame of the conviction kept her from marrying and having friends. The trial and its aftermath changed the course of her life. “I was portrayed as a monster, and I did nothing wrong,” she said, “and it affected my relationships, my entire life.” Her petition read, “The Court has the opportunity to correct a miscarriage of justice from the McCarthy era, of which Ms. Moskowitz is perhaps the last living victim.”

Moskowitz explained why she wanted her conviction overturned. “I am probably the last living victim of the McCarthy era. I am a generous law-abiding citizen, and I don’t want this to be the end of how I am regarded.” In response to Moskowitz’s plea to the court to act “ before it is too late” and “correct this historical wrong by vacating the conviction,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filed opposition claiming that Moskowitz had not established an error in 1950 trial, “let alone an error of the most fundamental character.”

Ignoring the idea that Gold had admitted lying to the FBI about Moskowitz’s knowledge or involvement, the government continued to rely upon Gold’s admittedly false testimony to uphold the conviction. Dismissive of the claim that the government withheld evidence from Moskowitz at trial, Bharara claimed that at the time of her trial and conviction there was no obligation by the government to disclose prior witness statements or turn over exculpatory evidence. The government’s position was that she suffers no greater disability than any other felon.

Miriam Moskowitz did not seek money from the government as a result of her conviction. She only wanted to clear her name.

“The trial was held at the height of the McCarthy period, when people were simply not rational politically,” Moskowitz said. “The prosecutor saw a golden opportunity to rack up a conviction on his credit, and he went to town.”

After hearing oral arguments on December 4, 2014, District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that Moskowitz’s lawyers could not show the newly released records that might have exonerated her. The government said her conviction was supported by the evidence. “Too bad,” Moskowitz said as she walked out of the court with a cane. “My 98-year-old life goes on, and it’s not affected.” She told a film crew, “Okay, that’s the end. You can finish your documentary now.”

Miriam Moskowitz, 98, accompanied by her nephew Ira Moskowitz, leaves federal court in New York on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 after a judge rejected her request to erase her 1950 conviction for conspiracy to obstruct justice in the run-up to the atomic spying trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. She served a two-year prison sentence. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Miriam Moskowitz, 98, accompanied by her nephew Ira Moskowitz, leaves federal court in New York on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 after a judge rejected her request to erase her 1950 conviction for conspiracy to obstruct justice in the run-up to the atomic spying trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

“People need to know about this history,” Moskowitz said. “This has to open up people’s minds. This has to make them think.” Miriam Moskowitz is right. Hatred and suspicion now sweeping throughout the United States will most surely lead to more lives destroyed and justice denied unless the perpetrators are stopped.

 

June 22, 2015

Racist Media Shields Racist Killers

 

Conservative faith was front and center last week as every announced and some potential GOP presidential candidates—except Donald Trump—spoke at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Summit last week. Especially notable was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who managed to completely ignore the killing of nine black people by a white 21-year-old in the Charleston (SC) church on the previous day. To boost his B+ rating with the NRA, however, he reassured his audience that “if I am president of the United States, we will appoint justices and we will have an attorney general who will protect our second amendment rights.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did allude to the tragedy by saying that “it appears to be racially driven,” but by Friday he told an audience that Texas defines gun control as “hitting what you aim at.” The next day he said, “There’s a famous saying, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. There is a reason why the Second Amendment is right after the First.”

Another horrifying response to the white man killing nine black people because of his racist beliefs was a segment on Meet the Press that interviewed three black murderers who expressed regrets in killing someone. Host Chuck Todd described the program “color-blind” and concluded that “passing a law isn’t going to change the culture.” Fortunately, columnist Eugene Robinson was on a panel and told Todd that the video didn’t fit the discussion:

“Right now, we’re talking about a horrific crime committed by a white man, we’re talking about the search for two escaped murderers who are white men.”

The men in the video said they had no intention of killing anyone whereas the killer in Charleston carefully planned his murders of black people. Todd defensively concluded his post by saying, “Meet the Press should make all viewers uncomfortable at some point or we are not doing our job.” His continuation of the stereotype of associating blacks, and not whites, with murderers shows that he fails to understand the white culture of guns in the United States.

In a white wash of the Charleston killer, NBC ran a story of how his relatives saw him as a “sweet kid” who became “painfully shy.” Media consistently projects this image of white kids while presenting black children as thugs. To the media, a white killer is known as a “lone wolf” who lose his path while blacks are born bad or have such bad families that its natural that they would be criminals. Bill Reilly calls the problem “black people’s rejection of education.” While Freddie Gray, alleged to have an illegal switchblade, died during a rough ride to the police station, the white killer of nine people in a Charleston (SC) church was politely returned to Charleston on a private plane after cops gave him a Burger King hamburger. Vanessa Baden Kelly wrote, “I am black and I’ve come to believe we are more violent than others by watching the news [although] 83% of white murder victims are killed by white people.”

After the killer openly announced his racism, conservatives had to drop their idea that the tragedy was a “war on Christianity” and move to another spin. The Fox network blames the killings on the nation’s “cultural diversity.” Frequent Fox guest Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson said on Newsmax that President Obama is at fault because he said that racism still exists in the United States.

After the killer’s words destroyed Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) argument that the killer was prejudiced against Christianity, Graham said, “I just think he was one of these whacked out kids. I don’t think it’s anything broader than that.” About the Boston bomber of 2013, Graham had said:

“[Dzhokhar Tsarnaev], in my view, should be designated as a potential enemy combatant and we should be allowed to question him for intelligence gathering purposes to find out about future attacks and terrorist organizations that may exist that he has knowledge of, and that evidence cannot be used against him in trial. That evidence is used to protect us as a nation.”

Both killers are U.S. citizens, but the Boston bomber is a Muslim. What a difference a religion and 3,000 miles make.

The Charleston killer reported that he was influenced by a website from the Council of Conservative Citizens that lists Black on White murders. The name states “citizens,” but Southern politicians, primarily Republican, have been involved with the group with some still in office. The CCC is a renewal of the White Citizens Councils, formed a half century ago to fight school desegregation. Now it spreads false information while funding GOP candidates such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).

Racist billboard

The killer didn’t come out of nowhere. His worldview of racism, white supremacy, and fear of blacks is popular as shown by this billboard. The words come from white supremacist Robert Whitaker’s Mantra that has inspired racial killings, including 77 people in Norway in 2011 and heavily promoted by Timothy Gallagher Murdock on White Rabbit Radio. The Charleston killer’s manifesto is greatly in alignment with the Fox network and other conservatives:

“Blacks were the real racists [in school].”

“It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right.” (Like many other white people tutored by the Fox network and other conservative media, the stalker and killer of Trayvon Martin is a hero.)

“Black people view everything through a racial lense.” (He quotes Fox and other conservatives who accuse blacks of playing the “race card.” He continues, “The … reason is the Jewish agitation of the black race.”)

“We are told to accept what is happening to us because of ancestors wrong doing, but it is all based on historical lies…”

“Segregation was not a bad thing. It was a defensive measure.” (The killer sees segregation as a way “to protect us from them…. Not only did it protect us from having to interact with them, and from being physically harmed by them, but it protected us from being brought down to their level.”

“I have read hundreds of slaves narratives from my state. And almost all of them were positive.” (The killer believes that slaves thought they were better off in slavery. Rancher Cliven Bundy, who refuses to pay the government for feeding his cattle, was supported by Fox and a number of lawmakers—at least until he stated that black people have less freedom after they are no longer slaves.)

Two subjects that conservatives cannot address in the United States are racism and guns. Following the killings in the Charleston church, President Obama called on the country to take action against mass murders. On the Fox network, Tucker Carlson indicated that the president is a hypocrite because he’s protected by armed people after he said that guns aren’t killing people and that people need guns to save lives. Fox News contributor Jehmu Greene pointed out that his comments were offensive and asked if he was comparing armed Secret Service people to the person who walks into a church and kills nine people. She asked, “Is that literally where we are as a country, to compare that [the president] shouldn’t have protection?” Carlson stuck to his opinion that he shouldn’t be exempt from disarming—a position that President Obama has never taken.

Greene replied:

“The president did not say guns are inherently bad. The president is saying we’ve had this conversation too many times and there is something we can do about it. There was something we could do about it after Newtown, there was something we could have done about it after Columbine.”

Charleston (SC) Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (D) said yesterday on CNN’s State of the Union:

“It is insane: the number of guns, and the ease of guns in America. It just doesn’t fit with the other achievements of this country. It’s a small- really small group, well-funded–that keeps this issue from being appropriately addressed.”

If people cannot control themselves with guns, then they must be controlled to protect other people. Those who oppose any kind of gun control need to learn that they are destroying the United States.

It is a sad commentary on media in the United States when the best commentary came from the Comedy Channel. Everyone should read the words of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show the day after the killings when he stopped his comedy to talk about the tragedy of the Charleston killings.

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