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February 3, 2015 3

House Judiciary Committee Extends Invitation To Sheriff Paul Babeu

The House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee, which held a meet­ing on Feb­ru­ary 3 on the enforce­ment of immi­gra­tion laws in the U.S., invited Sher­iff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Ari­zona to tes­tify. Babeu is known for his anti-immigrant views and claimed that many of the undoc­u­mented immi­grants cross­ing the bor­der have crim­i­nal back­grounds. Babeu is a con­tro­ver­sial figure.

Sheriff Paul Babeu

Sher­iff Paul Babeu

In the sum­mer of 2014, when there was a surge of chil­dren flee­ing to the United States across the Mex­i­can bor­der, Babeu report­edly leaked details of where some of those chil­dren would be bused in Ora­cle, Ari­zona, to receive social ser­vices. This led to chaos when about 80 anti-immigrant activists con­fronted school buses filled with chil­dren in the town and tried to halt the buses. Some held signs that said, “Return to Sender.” It turned out, how­ever, that the school buses were filled with local chil­dren head­ing to YMCA camp. Local media chas­tised Babeu for stir­ring up trou­ble in the town. In response, he said that he was just inform­ing the public.

Babeu has courted con­tro­versy on other occa­sions too. In 2012, when five bod­ies were found in a burned-out SUV in Pinal County, he declared that the deaths appeared to be related to a drug car­tel. Later on, author­i­ties learned that the inci­dent was actu­ally a murder-suicide of a fam­ily from Phoenix and unre­lated to drugs.

In addi­tion, Babeu has appeared on extrem­ist shows. In July 2010, he was a guest on “The Polit­i­cal Cesspool,” a white suprema­cist show, where Babeu talked about immi­gra­tion and bemoaned what he referred to as the inva­sion of Ari­zona. After Babeu’s appear­ance on the show became pub­lic, he claimed he did not know about the show’s politics.

Accord­ing to media reports, he also appeared on Alex Jones’ radio show. Jones is one of the most promi­nent con­spir­acy the­o­rist in the United States, and has been respon­si­ble for spread­ing and pop­u­lar­iz­ing a wide vari­ety of con­spir­a­cies, the major­ity espous­ing some form of anti-government view­point. Babeu report­edly spoke about an inci­dent in which his deputy was allegedly shot by mem­bers of a Mex­i­can drug car­tel. Although Babeu exploited the deputy’s story to jus­tify Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070, the deputy was later fired for allegedly mak­ing false state­ments about the incident.

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January 9, 2013 4

CNN Gives Platform to Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones

On Mon­day, CNN aired a prime­time inter­view with con­spir­acy the­o­rist Alex Jones on Piers Mor­gan Tonight. Jones’s appear­ance might have been an eye-opening expe­ri­ence for those unfa­mil­iar with what extrem­ists are say­ing, but to the extent that the inter­view allowed him to pro­mote both his views and his media out­lets to hun­dreds of thou­sands of new view­ers, it was quite troubling.

In his ini­tial intro­duc­tion of Jones, the host, Piers Mor­gan, only iden­ti­fied him as the host of “The Alex Jones Show” and also “one of the peo­ple behind” the peti­tion call­ing for Mor­gan to be deported for his views on the sec­ond amendment.

Jones uses his radio show and his web­sites, Infowars and Prison Planet, to pro­mote a host of right-wing and anti-government con­spir­acy theories.

For exam­ple, in a 2011 inter­view with Rolling Stone, Jones com­mented on the shoot­ing of for­mer Con­gress­woman Gabrielle Gif­fords (D-AZ), stat­ing “The whole thing stinks to high heaven. This kid Lough­ner dis­ap­peared for days at a time before the shoot­ing? My gut tells me this was a staged mind-control oper­a­tion. The gov­ern­ment employs geo­met­ric psychological-warfare experts that know exactly how to indi­rectly manip­u­late unsta­ble peo­ple through the media. They implanted the idea in his head by repeat­edly ask­ing, ‘Is Gif­fords in danger?’”

A descrip­tion on Jones’s web­site Infowars for his film “911 The Road To Tyranny” describes how the film exam­ines “Bill Clinton’s involve­ment in the Okla­homa City bomb­ing and how it was car­ried out by intel­li­gence agen­cies to be blamed on the right-wing.  Accord­ing to the descrip­tion, the film also addresses “how the FBI ordered their infor­mants to cook the bomb and train the dri­vers in the first World Trade Cen­ter attack in 1993.”

Jones’s con­spir­acy the­o­ries, while eas­ily dis­missed as ludi­crous, can influ­ence peo­ple to take action. In August 2009, a man pleaded guilty to send­ing a threat­en­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion after he wrote a mes­sage on Infowars threat­en­ing to kill a San Fran­cisco police offi­cer and his fam­ily after read­ing a dis­cus­sion about a sub­way shoot­ing by a police offi­cer in Oak­land, California.

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August 17, 2012 33

Possible Extremist Connection to Louisiana Police Shootings

Two Louisiana sheriff’s deputies were killed on Thurs­day in LaPlace in two sep­a­rate but related inci­dents.  One or more of the sus­pects in the killings may have ties to extremism.

Terry Lyn Smith

The first shoot­ing inci­dent occurred at a Valero cor­po­ra­tion facil­ity, when a gun­man opened fire on a St. John the Bap­tist Parish sheriff’s deputy, wound­ing him.  Deputies fol­lowed a vehi­cle to a trailer park.  How­ever, another per­son exited a nearby trailer with an assault rifle and opened fire on the offi­cers.  Two deputies were killed and another was wounded.

Seven peo­ple have been arrested in con­nec­tion with the mur­ders:  Terry Lyn Smith, 44; Brian Lyn Smith, 24; Der­rick Smith, 22; Chanel Skains, 37; Kyle David Joekel, 28; Teniecha Bright, 21; and Brit­tney Keith, 23.  All except Keith and Skains have been charged with prin­ci­pal to attempted first degree mur­der of a police offi­cer.  Keith and Skains face charges of being acces­sories after the fact to attempted first degree mur­der of a police officer.

Reports emerged in early media cov­er­age from law enforce­ment sources that one or more of the peo­ple arrested may be involved with an extrem­ist group or move­ment, includ­ing pos­si­bly the extreme anti-government sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment.   Author­i­ties in Nebraska have said that Joekel was on an FBI watch­list.  Joekel is wanted in Nebraska and Kansas on mar­i­juana charges and on alle­ga­tion of mak­ing ter­ror­is­tic threats regard­ing attack­ing law enforce­ment offi­cers.  In June 2012, while still a fugi­tive, Joekel posted his resume as a welder and pip­efit­ter to an on-line jobs site, includ­ing an address and phone num­ber.  Terry Lyn Smith is also a pipefitter.

The sus­pects had recently been under police sur­veil­lance in DeS­oto Parish after the sheriff’s office had received reports of peo­ple at a trailer park enter­ing and leav­ing vehi­cles with assault weapons.  How­ever, they left the trailer park in June.

As of this writ­ing, no infor­ma­tion has emerged to clearly con­firm the alle­ga­tions of sov­er­eign cit­i­zen con­nec­tions, but one of the sus­pects, Terry Lyn Smith, has indi­ca­tors of anti-government extrem­ist lean­ings on his var­i­ous social net­work­ing pro­files.  In par­tic­u­lar, on a Myspace pro­file Smith lists, as either “heroes” or peo­ple he’d “like to meet,” Alex Jones, the Texas-based conspiracy-oriented and anti-government radio talk show host; Randy Weaver, the white suprema­cist at the cen­ter of the 1992 Ruby Ridge, Idaho, stand­off; and David Koresh, the leader of the Branch David­i­ans dur­ing the 1993 Waco, Texas, stand­off.   Those two stand­offs were the main sparks for the resur­gence of right-wing extrem­ism in the mid-to-late 1990s, includ­ing the Okla­homa City bombing.

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