anti-government extremist » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘anti-government extremist’
December 3, 2015

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

August 18, 2015

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 21, 2015

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,