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December 3, 2015 0

Bonnie and Clydes Rare—But Not Unheard Of—In Violent Extremism

Syed Farook

Syed Farook

Back­ground infor­ma­tion on Syed Farook and Tash­feen Malik, the mar­ried per­pe­tra­tors of the tragic mass shoot­ing at the Inland Regional Cen­ter in San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, is still sparse, as is clar­ity con­cern­ing the motive behind the vicious attack that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

How­ever, accord­ing to media reports from the in-progress inves­ti­ga­tion, there is grow­ing con­cern among law enforce­ment offi­cials that the shoot­ings may have had a con­nec­tion to Islamic extrem­ism or that there might have been a mixed extremist/workplace motive behind them.  The FBI has said that it is now treat­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion of the killings as a counter-terrorism investigation.

One thing that is exceed­ingly rare in tra­di­tional work­place shoot­ings is for there to be mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors, as there was in this case.  As one law enforce­ment offi­cial told The New York Times, “You don’t take your wife to a work­place shoot­ing, and espe­cially not as pre­pared as they were.  He could have been rad­i­cal­ized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dis­pute at work and decided to do something.”

Mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors are cer­tainly com­mon in extremist-related crimes, of course, despite the exis­tence of the “lone wolf” phe­nom­e­non.  Women are also fre­quently involved in extremist-related crim­i­nal activ­ity in almost every extrem­ist move­ment in the United States.

How­ever, when one exam­ines recent crim­i­nal cases in the U.S. involv­ing domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, one finds that female part­ners of male perpetrators—even when them­selves involved in crim­i­nal activities—have not typ­i­cally engaged in vio­lence.  Over­seas, women have some­times taken on more vio­lent roles, includ­ing as sui­cide bombers.

If an Islamic extrem­ist motive is con­firmed in the San Bernardino shoot­ings, the fact of husband-and-wife shoot­ers would be a new wrin­kle in the his­tory of the vio­lent tac­tics of that move­ment in the United States.

Extremist-related vio­lence involv­ing hus­bands and wives—or non-married partners—is actu­ally not unheard of in the United States, but it tends to come from a very dif­fer­ent source:  right-wing extrem­ism.  Though not what one could call a com­mon phe­nom­e­non, such vio­lent “Bon­nie and Clyde” cou­ples do emerge with reg­u­lar­ity from within both the white suprema­cist and anti-government extrem­ist move­ments in the United States.

In fact, right-wing extrem­ism even pro­duced an exam­ple of the exceed­ingly rare phe­nom­e­non of a mar­ried cou­ple both of whom were on death row:  anti-government extrem­ists Linda Lyon Block and George Sib­ley.  In 1993, the two sov­er­eign cit­i­zens non-fatally stabbed Block’s ex-husband, then while on the run mur­dered an Alabama police offi­cer in a shootout.  Both were exe­cuted in the 2000s.

In more recent years, extrem­ist cou­ples have been involved with every­thing from stand­offs with police to hate crimes to ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cies.  But some of the most shock­ing “Bon­nie and Clyde” inci­dents have involved mul­ti­ple homi­cides com­mit­ted by white suprema­cists and anti-government extremists:

  • Jerad and Amanda Miller, a young mar­ried cou­ple who adhered to the anti-government ide­ol­ogy of the mili­tia move­ment, tar­geted two Las Vegas police offi­cers for assas­si­na­tion in June 2014, killing them at a pizza restau­rant as they ate their Sun­day lunch.  The cou­ple crossed the street to a Wal-mart in antic­i­pa­tion of a final shootout with first respon­ders, where Amanda killed an armed civil­ian try­ing to stop them.  As they had intended, they did both die dur­ing a shootout with law enforce­ment at the store, with a wounded Amanda killing her­self after Jerad was shot.
  • Jeremy and Chris­tine Moody, white suprema­cists from Union County, South Car­olina, killed a nearby mar­ried cou­ple in July 2013 in a par­tic­u­larly grisly dou­ble homi­cide in which both vic­tims were shot and stabbed.  The Moodys had tar­geted the vic­tim because they wanted to kill a reg­is­tered sex offender and found the male victim’s name and address on the Inter­net.  They killed his wife because she had mar­ried a sex offender.  Both pleaded guilty to mur­der in 2014, receiv­ing life sen­tences with no parole, but were unre­pen­tant, with Chris­tine Moody call­ing the day of the mur­ders “the best day of my life.”
  • Holly Grigsby and David Ped­er­sen, a white suprema­cist cou­ple from Ore­gon, embarked upon a multi-state mur­der spree in 2011 that totaled four killed before police could find and stop them.  The pair trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton to mur­der Pederson’s father and step­mother, each killing one vic­tim, then killed a young man in Ore­gon to steal his car and because they thought he might be Jew­ish.  They killed an African-American man in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia in another car­jack­ing attempt, though they did not end up tak­ing the vehi­cle, then were finally appre­hended by the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol.  Grigsby told the arrest­ing offi­cers that they were to Sacra­mento to “kill more Jews” when they were stopped.  Both pleaded guilty to a vari­ety of crimes and received life sentences.

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August 18, 2015 2

California Strengthens Laws Against “Paper Terrorism”

Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor Jerry Brown signed into law this past week a new mea­sure designed to increase pro­tec­tion for Cal­i­for­ni­ans from the so-called “paper ter­ror­ism” tac­tics of anti-government extremists.ab1267

Mem­bers of the anti-government sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment often file bogus liens or other sim­i­lar doc­u­ments in order to encum­ber the prop­erty of their ene­mies in retal­i­a­tion for some per­ceived wrong­do­ing. Although fil­ing a bogus lien is a crime in Cal­i­for­nia, once such harass­ing liens are filed, it still takes sig­nif­i­cant time and money for vic­tims to get them removed—which is why they are so effec­tive as a retal­ia­tory tactic.

In the 1990s, Cal­i­for­nia enacted leg­is­la­tion to pro­vide a fast-track removal process for such bogus encum­brances. How­ever, the law only applied to pub­lic offi­cials or employ­ees, com­mon vic­tims of such sov­er­eign cit­i­zen tactics.

Now, thanks to Assem­bly­mem­ber Richard Bloom (D– Santa Mon­ica), who spon­sored the bill, California’s laws will extend fast track pro­tec­tion to pri­vate indi­vid­u­als and busi­nesses who are tar­gets of “paper terrorism.”

Addi­tion­ally, the new law will allow any­one tar­geted by a false encum­brance to seek civil reme­dies up to $5,000. With this leg­is­la­tion, Cal­i­for­nia joins the 25 other states that have passed sim­i­lar laws.

The Anti-Defamation League pro­posed and drafted the mea­sure and, early in the process, helped gain sup­port for it from a num­ber of orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Cal­i­for­nia Dis­trict Attor­neys Asso­ci­a­tion and the Cal­i­for­nia Police Chiefs Association.

The bill received bi-partisan and unan­i­mous sup­port in both the Assem­bly and Senate.

Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that gov­ern­ment has no author­ity over them because an insid­i­ous con­spir­acy infil­trated and replaced the orig­i­nal legit­i­mate gov­ern­ment with an ille­git­i­mate, tyran­ni­cal one. They claim to owe alle­giance only to the “orig­i­nal” gov­ern­ment. Con­se­quently, sov­er­eigns often claim that they are out­side the juris­dic­tion of the “ille­git­i­mate” gov­ern­ment and that they can ignore all laws and regulations.

In addi­tion to “paper ter­ror­ism” crimes, sov­er­eigns engage in other ille­gal activ­ity rang­ing from scams and frauds to deadly shootouts and standoffs.

The mort­gage cri­sis and the reces­sion of 2008 sparked a surge in the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, who exploited the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion to grow in num­bers and activ­ity. The Real Estate Fraud Pros­e­cu­tion Unit of the San Bernardino Dis­trict Attorney’s office, for exam­ple, has esti­mated that their cur­rent case load con­sists of 85% sov­er­eign cit­i­zen cases.

ADL tracks the activ­i­ties of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment and has trained tens of thou­sands of law enforce­ment offi­cers, gov­ern­ment offi­cials, pros­e­cu­tors and judges about the movement’s ide­ol­ogy, activ­i­ties and ille­gal tac­tics, includ­ing ter­ror­ism and deadly violence.

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May 21, 2015 5

Texas County Considers Adopting Militia Group

Update — 6/2/15: Orange County Judge Brint Carl­ton later told the Anti-Defamation League that he has no inten­tion of cre­at­ing a county militia.

A south­east Texas county has drawn atten­tion recently after it became known that county offi­cials were con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing a local anti-government mili­tia group as an offi­cial “county mili­tia.” Orange County Judge Brint Carl­ton endorsed the idea, call­ing it a “good thing.”

David W. Smith

David W. Smith

County com­mis­sion­ers decided at the last minute to post­pone the vote after a com­mis­sioner voiced reser­va­tions, say­ing he needed more information.

The mili­tia move­ment is an anti-government cause whose adher­ents believe that the U.S. gov­ern­ment is col­lab­o­rat­ing with a shad­owy “New World Order” con­spir­acy to strip Amer­i­cans of their free­doms, start­ing with their right to bear arms, in order to even­tu­ally enslave Amer­i­cans to the New World Order. The mili­tia move­ment has a long his­tory of vio­lence and crim­i­nal acts; the Anti-Defamation League has tracked at least eight vio­lent acts, con­spir­a­cies or major crimes linked to the mili­tia move­ment just since 2011.

How­ever, David W. Smith, the “com­man­der” of the Golden Tri­an­gle Mili­tia, a small south­east­ern Texas mili­tia group formed in 2014, has lob­bied county offi­cials to adopt his mili­tia group, even­tu­ally get­ting some support.

Though Smith has claimed to reporters that his Golden Tri­an­gle Mili­tia is not anti-government but rather a “civil defense force which works with law enforce­ment,” to his own group he has showed a more con­spir­a­to­r­ial side, argu­ing that “we must never let ourselves…be com­pla­cent to the schemes of the world elit­ists” and demand­ing that Amer­i­cans “rid our­selves of tyran­ni­cal government.”

Smith, a for­mer phle­botomist who now sells “mono­lithic domes,” has expressed sup­port for views that are far from the main­stream. Through his Face­book pro­file, he is linked to a wide vari­ety of extrem­ist groups and fig­ures, from anti-government con­spir­acy the­o­rist Alex Jones (who pop­u­lar­ized the recent notion that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was plan­ning to invade Texas) to var­i­ous Three Per­center groups (anti-government extrem­ists who view them­selves fight­ing against the fed­eral gov­ern­ment as Amer­i­can colonists fought against the British). Smith ran for U.S. sen­ate in 2014 on a plat­form of oppos­ing “this uncon­sti­tu­tional de facto government.”

Iron­i­cally, Texas law has no pro­vi­sion to allow its coun­ties to cre­ate county mili­tias. Smith has argued that Texas law allows Orange County to “rec­og­nize” his unit as the “Orange County Ready Reserve Mili­tia.” How­ever, the Texas Reserve Mili­tia is only a statu­tory man­power pool that exists to con­form to an obso­lete fed­eral mili­tia law dat­ing back orig­i­nally to 1792. The­o­ret­i­cally, the gov­er­nor of Texas can call por­tions of the reserve mili­tia into ser­vice in times of emer­gency by hav­ing county emer­gency boards insti­tute a draft. Such boards have no power to call up the reserve mili­tia on their own, how­ever, much less “adopt” para­mil­i­tary groups. The self-styled “mili­tias” of today have no legal rela­tion­ship to the his­tor­i­cal and statu­tory militia.

Despite this, Smith has claimed that coun­ties have the author­ity to orga­nize the Texas Reserve Mili­tia. He has also asserted that the mili­tia could come into ser­vice “by gen­eral con­sen­sus of the pop­u­la­tion should the state fail in the exe­cu­tion of its con­sti­tu­tional duties.” Smith has even claimed that county com­mis­sion­ers could be jailed if they refused to autho­rize a militia—a seri­ous mis­read­ing of Texas law.

Smith will have to wait to see if Orange County offi­cials sched­ule another vote or aban­don his plan altogether.

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