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September 30, 2014

Deceased Congressman Had Ties to Anti-Semitic, Anti-Government Groups

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James Traficant at Freedom Palooza 2011. Source: American Third Party

Obituaries about former Ohio Congressman James Traficant, who died on September 27 from injuries sustained in an accident on his farm near Youngstown, detail his life. However, nearly all failed to mention that in the past five years Traficant was a prominent and active figure on the extreme right, appealing both to anti-government extremists of the “Patriot” movement as well as to white supremacists and anti-Semites.

The obituaries did, however, allude to Traficant’s past criminal activities that culminated in a 2002 conviction on charges of racketeering, bribery, tax evasion and obstruction of justice.  Traficant received an 8-year prison sentence and became one of the few representatives ever expelled from Congress.

According to one obituary, after his release from prison, Traficant “lived a quiet life on his farm.”  In reality, however, he was far from quiet. He was a regular columnist for the American Free Press (AFP), a conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic newspaper, attended extremist events, and expressed anti-Semitic views. Traficant’s alliance with the extreme right began years earlier.

Traficant was a Democrat but by the 1990s had become popular among the extreme right.   His strong support of Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk drew the approval of white supremacists and anti-Semites.  Later, during his trial, Traficant sought to remove Jewish jurors, saying that “I have concern about certain political and religious organizations who have targeted me.”

Anti-government extremists liked his growing anti-government rhetoric, particularly in the late 1990s as his own criminal troubles intensified.  Traficant repeatedly invoked the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco, called Attorney General Janet Reno a “traitor,” attacked the Federal Reserve, and stated that “we have a federal government that Americans fear.”

During his trial and imprisonment, white supremacists such as David Duke spoke out on his behalf and urged people to send him money.  In particular, Traficant developed a close relationship with AFP, published by Willis Carto, one of the leading American anti-Semites.  AFP vocally supported Traficant, while one of its writers even wrote a book about the former Congressman.

After Traficant’s 2009 release, the relationship became closer.  AFP announced an “appreciation dinner” for him, while Traficant even became a columnist for the anti-Semitic publication—which he continued until his death.  In his columns, as well as elsewhere, Traficant railed against Jewish organizations like the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee and accused Israel of controlling the American media, the American economy, and both houses of Congress.  Traficant appeared as a speaker at AFP events, some of which were organized around him, such as a 2010 “Town Hall” with Traficant in Washington, D.C.

During these years, Traficant also spoke at other extremist events.  He spoke several times at “Freedom Palooza,” an annual event in eastern Pennsylvania run by Paul Topete, a long time anti-government extremist and anti-Semite, which attracted anti-government extremists and white supremacists.  At one such event, according to a white supremacist who attended, Traficant allegedly discussed the “Jewish dominance of the press, money supply, New York and Hollywood.”  Traficant also spoke at events such as Conspiracy Con and the Freedom Law School, the latter a group associated with the anti-government extremist tax protest movement.

Shortly before his death, Traficant and AFP had begun a new joint venture, “Project Freedom USA,” intended to be an effort by “grassroots patriots…to end the financial tyranny that is strangling our nation.”  Among other things, the project intended to abolish the Federal Reserve and “our communist, progressive income tax.”

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July 15, 2014

Militia Activist Has History of Inciting Revolution

In a response to the on-going crisis involving juvenile undocumented migrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico, members of a small right-wing extremist militia group in Texas recently issued a call for militia groups to “guard” the border.chris-davis-anti-government

Local media noticed the leader of the group, “Commander” Christopher Davis of Poteet, had posted a YouTube video in which he seemed to instruct people to point weapons at migrants and threaten to shoot them.

In response, Davis removed his YouTube videos and Facebook profile and assured reporters that he was just going to “supplement” law enforcement and “help them.” Said Davis, “There’s nothing malicious …We’re just here to serve freedom, liberty, and national sovereignty.” Davis even announced intentions to meet with law enforcement in the Laredo area.

Yet a closer look at Davis reveals a history of attitudes towards government that seems not nearly so helpful and benign. In fact, until Davis started “Secure Our Border – Laredo Sector” in recent weeks, his anger and rhetoric were directed not at immigration, but almost totally against the federal government.

An analysis of Facebook and Twitter postings by Davis dating back to 2012 reveals extreme antagonism towards the federal government. Claiming not to recognize any law or authority that “goes against the Constitution,” Davis has repeatedly expressed his willingness to physically confront a “tyrannical” federal government.

Waiting on the government to make the first move, Davis claimed in December 2012 on Twitter, “is like stepping into a bear trap to disengage it.” Rather, as he explained the following April, “when tyranny becomes law, revolution becomes duty.” In January 2014, Davis swore an oath on Facebook to defend America “against the current tyrannical government.”

Davis has repeatedly claimed that people have only two options left: “mass civil disobedience or another 1776.” Sometimes Davis has urged the former, while at other times, as in a February 2014 twitter comment, he has warned people not to be content “to merely march” when the government is using “fear, force, and violence as weapons of oppression.”

In March, Davis declared on Facebook that “we will attempt to arrest the tyrants” and that there was only “a minimal chance of success without violent confrontation.” But Davis said that he and others were “willing to lay down our lives, if needed.”

Whatever path Davis envisions, war with the government seems to be at the end of it. In a June 2 tweet, Davis argued that there are only three options: 1) a “plan of action in a last ditch effort to take our country back,” 2) “take up arms and physically remove the tyrants,” and 3) “stay reactive, they drop the hammer down…pockets of resistance…try to fight back.” All three options “will lead to war.”

To date, Davis’s efforts to mobilize militia groups at the border have met with little success, raising the question of whether he may once again turn his focus to his favorite perceived enemy: the federal government.

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June 17, 2014

Murder Suspect Fan Of “Patriot” Movement Survivalist Guru

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Gary Alan Lewis

After a manhunt that lasted several days, police in Portland, Oregon, have arrested Gary Alan Lewis on murder and unlawful use of a weapon charges for allegedly killing a female tenant and hiding her body in the wall of a shed.

The search for both Lewis and the victim was complicated by the fact that Lewis had built an underground bunker on his property.  Police also feared the possibility of booby traps as they searched the property.

The bunker, which Lewis built a number of years ago, was apparently a product of his “Patriot” movement anti-government and survivalist philosophy.  Lewis viewed the government as a “Total Mafia Organization run by the Elites who want us as Slaves.”  In 2013, Lewis claimed he wanted to move out of Portland and find a “safe place to escape to when the city becomes untenable,” a reference to the common survivalist belief of an imminent collapse of civilization.   A year earlier he posted to a survivalist “Meetup” group that “collapse is eminent [sic] if you have been watching long.”  People, he wrote, “need to prep for Martial law or UN law.”

Lewis, who also used the names Gary Allan Lewis and Gary Loomis, was in particular a devotee of survivalist guru James Wesley Rawles.  Rawles, a blogger, author and survivalist consultant, is most well-known for having written a series of novels popularizing the notion of a “coming global collapse.”  Rawles, though more well-known as a survivalist, has also been an adherent of the anti-government “sovereign citizen” movement.

Rawles’ best known book is a novel called Patriots, about a band of survivors of a global collapse who find a refuge in northern Idaho where they rebuild a society based on “true Constitutional law.”  Lewis described Patriots as “the book that tells it all” on one of his Facebook pages and repeatedly recommended it in on-line postings and comments.

Lewis is even listed on the Meetup group page as having attended a “Preppers Book Club” meeting in the Portland area in June 2012 to discuss another Rawles book, How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It.

Lewis also described Rawles’ Survival Blog as his favorite website.

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