2012 March » ADL Blogs
March 30, 2012 0

Members of Florida White Supremacist Biker Club Arrested

Kaval­lerie Brigade logo

Six bik­ers, some of whom were mem­bers of a white suprema­cist biker gang, were arrested in Florida and Chicago on drugs and explo­sives charges fol­low­ing a three-year under­cover police inves­ti­ga­tion by a vari­ety of fed­eral, state, and local law enforce­ment agencies.

Arrested were Leah Klose and Brian Klose of St. Cloud, Florida; Ronald Cusack of St. Cloud; Deb­o­rah Plow­man (arrested in Chicago); Car­los Eugene Dubos of Orlando, and Harold John­son Kin­law of Orange County, Florida. Brian Klose, Cusack, Dubose, and Kin­law were charged with threat­en­ing to throw a destruc­tive device, while sev­eral sus­pects were charged with traf­fick­ing in pre­scrip­tion drugs and other offenses.

Kusack and sev­eral other sus­pects were mem­bers of the 1st Kaval­lerie Brigade of Aryan Nations, a white suprema­cist biker club started in early 2008 by white suprema­cist August Kreis, who also headed a fac­tion of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations at the time. A small group, its mem­bers mostly came from South Car­olina, Florida, and Ten­nessee. Ron Cusack was the “brigade com­man­der” for the Kaval­lerie Brigade.

The remain­ing sus­pects arrested were mem­bers of the far larger Out­laws Motor­cy­cle Club. This club, one of the major out­law biker gangs in the United States, has had strong ties with white suprema­cists in Florida.

The arrests are likely to lead to the demise of the Kaval­lerie Brigade, espe­cially since its founder Kreis pleaded guilty in 2011 to fed­eral fraud charges and is in ill health.

The Anti-Defamation League recently pro­filed the Kaval­lerie Brigade in its major report, Big­ots on Bikes: The Grow­ing Links between White Suprema­cists and Biker Gangs, which also describes other sim­i­lar white suprema­cist biker crews.

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March 30, 2012 0

Hutaree Militia Verdict Shows Sedition Charges Risky

In a rebuke to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Vic­to­ria Roberts on March 27 threw out sedi­tious con­spir­acy charges against seven Michi­gan mili­tia mem­bers whom the gov­ern­ment had accused in 2010 of plot­ting to start a war with the U.S. government.

Only weapons charges remained against two defendants–David Stone, Sr., the leader of the so-called Huta­ree Mili­tia, and his son, Joshua Stone—and they pleaded guilty the fol­low­ing day to pos­sess­ing a machine gun. Accord­ing to Roberts, though there was evi­dence to con­clude that “some­thing fishy” was going on, the gov­ern­ment did not present enough evi­dence to prove that defen­dants had “reached a con­crete agree­ment to forcibly oppose the United States government.”

The Huta­ree case illus­trated vividly how prob­lem­atic the very issue of sedition—currently defined in U.S. law as a con­spir­acy to over­throw or destroy the U.S. gov­ern­ment, to oppose by force its author­ity, or to delay by force the exe­cu­tion of U.S. laws—is in the United States. From the very first sedi­tion law, the Sedi­tion Act of 1798, such acts have been highly con­tro­ver­sial. One of the major prob­lems has always been dis­tin­guish­ing between speech and conduct—it is for this very rea­son that cur­rent sedi­tion law spec­i­fies “by force,” though it has not made attempts to imple­ment the law much easier.

In recent decades, another rea­son why sedi­tion tri­als are often prob­lem­atic is that increas­ingly jurors find it dif­fi­cult to believe that defen­dants could have pos­si­bly thought they could suc­cess­fully wage war against the gov­ern­ment. After the Huta­ree trial, one of the jurors told a reporter that “I was shocked by their effort to bring the defen­dants to trial…Do you think a group that small can go up against the mighty U.S. government?”

The mod­ern track record of sedi­tion cases in the United States has been rel­a­tively poor. In 1941, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment indicted 28 union activists and left-wing extrem­ists for vio­la­tions of the Sedi­tion Act and a related act, the Smith act, but the jury acquit­ted all of the defen­dants of the sedi­tion charge. In 1944, 30 right-wing extrem­ists and Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers were accused of vio­lat­ing the same acts, but their lengthy trial ended in a mis­trial. In one of the few suc­cess­ful sedi­tion cases, a num­ber of rad­i­cal Puerto Rican lib­er­a­tion activists were con­victed of sedi­tious con­spir­acy in the mid-1980s for an exten­sive ter­ror­ist campaign.

How­ever, in 1987, 14 promi­nent white suprema­cists charged with sedi­tious con­spir­acy were acquit­ted in what came to be called the “Fort Smith Sedi­tion Trial.” In 1995, Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called “Blind Sheikh,” and nine other Mus­lim extrem­ists were con­victed of sedi­tious con­spir­acy for plans to com­mit a vari­ety of ter­ror­ist acts in the greater New York area, as well as other vio­lent acts actu­ally committed.

The his­tory of sedi­tion cases in the United States sug­gests that other types of con­spir­acy or other crim­i­nal charges might well be a bet­ter pros­e­cu­tion strat­egy when deal­ing with extremist-related plots and conspiracies.

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March 29, 2012 0

Israeli Knesset Members Shouted Down by Brandeis Students

Anti-Israel activists, includ­ing mem­bers of Bran­deis University’s Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP), inter­rupted a pre­sen­ta­tion by five Israeli Knes­set mem­bers, includ­ing an Israeli-Arab MK, on Mon­day.
After the event began, the stu­dents stood up and revealed t-shirts with the word “apartheid” writ­ten in Hebrew and began shout­ing, “Israel is an apartheid state” and “The Knes­set is an apartheid par­lia­ment.” They were sub­se­quently removed from the event, which was tak­ing place at a local syn­a­gogue in New­ton, Massachusetts. 
The event, titled “A Dis­cus­sion on Israel and the Dias­pora,” was co-sponsored by Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity and the Rud­er­man Fam­ily Foun­da­tion in an effort to strengthen the rela­tion­ship between Israeli gov­ern­ment offi­cials and the Amer­i­can Jew­ish community. 

The dis­rup­tion is notable for two rea­sons. The first is that Bran­deis SJP described the action on its blog as a sig­nal that Israeli Knes­set mem­bers are “not wel­come by stu­dents at Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity.” It is, how­ever, fairly cer­tain that many Bran­deis stu­dents do wel­come Israeli politi­cians, and that only an infin­i­tes­i­mal per­cent­age of stu­dents engage in and sup­port these dis­rup­tive tac­tics. For some rea­son, it seems that the pro­test­ers believe their inter­ests (a minor­ity view) should trump those of the majority.
The sec­ond point to note is that the indi­vid­u­als involved pro­moted their dis­rup­tion as a “mic check” and labeled the action as “Occupy the Knes­set!” This lan­guage evokes (and refers to tac­tics used by) the Occupy Wall Street move­ment and other Occupy protests that took place around the U.S. last sum­mer. Anti-Israel groups have con­sis­tently tried to seize on the momen­tum of the pop­u­lar social protest move­ment and apply its tac­tics to anti-Israel efforts.

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