Militia and Moles . . . FBI Stops Militia Plot

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Re: Militia and Moles . . . FBI Stops Militia Plot

Postby American Dream » Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:25 am

Islamophobic terrorist cell planned a "bloodbath" in Kansas, wanted to kill Muslim babies


The Department of Justice has announced that it has arrested three Kansas men who called themselves "Crusaders" and planned "a bloodbath" in an apartment complex where many Somali people lived, which was to including bombings followed by house-to-house shootings sparing no one, "not even babies."

The three men, Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Eugene Stein, spoke admiringly of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and planned to make bombs on the same lines as him.

The plot was revealed after Allen beat up his girlfriend, who went to the police and told them about his plans.

The "Crusaders" were pretty unsubtle. Stein would "surveil" the apartment block, as well as a nearby mall and mosque, by driving around in a car full of guns, along with a bullet-proof vest and night goggles. He'd stand nearby and shout racial epithets at the people as they came and went.

‘It will be a bloodbath’: Inside the Kansas militia plot to ignite a religious war [Cleve R. Wootson Jr./Washington Post] ... ll-pl.html
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Re: Militia and Moles . . . FBI Stops Militia Plot

Postby American Dream » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:00 pm ... are_btn_tw

Extremist Militias Recruiting in Fear of Clinton Winning Election, Activists Say

Jason Wilson
October 18, 2016
The Guardian

Extremist surge got national attention during the Oregon militia standoff and has continued to rise with Trump, with his legitimization of white nationalist politics

In the past 12 months, Jessica Campbell has had her car’s fuel line cut and its wheel nuts loosened. Late last year, she had a GPS tracker surreptitiously attached to her vehicle.

She is now accustomed to being tailed by unfamiliar vehicles on Interstate 5 near her home in Cottage Grove, just outside Eugene, Oregon. Strangers have regularly come uninvited onto her property; someone even stripped the barbed wire on her fence “just to send a message”. Online, she has repeatedly been threatened with rape and death.

And last week, when she showed up at the Canyon City community hall in Grant County, she told me that someone shot at her and her entourage. They misread their GPS, took a wrong turn and stopped to get their bearings when a crack rang out with what Campbell thought was a .22 bullet whizzing by their vehicle.

Such threats are part of the pushback her work has sparked in rural Oregon.

Campbell co-directs the Rural Organizing Project, a not-for-profit group that sets out to confront the rightwing insurgency that has been bubbling away in parts of rural Oregon and throughout the west. A political organizer since high school, she now coordinates groups attempting to respond to divisive tactics from rightwing activists on immigration, race and public land ownership.

This extremist surge received national media attention during the occupation of the Malheur national wildlife refuge by the Bundy group, but it has continued to rise alongside Trump, with his legitimization of white nationalist politics and his apparent inspiration of insurrectionists across the country.

The Patriot movement is an overarching description for a range of anti-government groups – from organised militia groups to tax protesters and so-called “sovereign citizens”. They have burgeoned during the Obama years and have carried out actions, such as the occupation of a wildlife refuge to border patrols in Arizona.

This year, Patriot members have run for office in rural counties, and at least one militia leader, Joseph Rice, attended the Republican national convention to cast his vote for the Donald Trump. Some sheriffs, such as Glenn Palmer in Grant County, have clear sympathies and links with the movement.

Elsewhere, according to Campbell, Patriot sympathizers are moving into communities in order to tip the electoral balance towards far-right candidates. She fears this trend will continue long after a Trump defeat. “I’m seeing a lot of paramilitary groups recruiting on the basis of a likely Hillary Clinton win,” she said.

When Trump started talking about rigged elections and how a Clinton win would show that democracy was broken, “it was just amazing seeing how that resonated with people – a sense of democracy being broken, feeling like the candidates don’t represent them or anything they want to see happen in this country,” she added.

Campbell would vastly prefer that Clinton wins but acknowledges that it may be like it was “after Obama won, where there was a huge growth in Patriot movement organizing. I’m worried that we are going to see the same thing.” The alleged bomb plot by militia members in Kansas, timed for the day after the election, shows the way in which those fears might be borne out.

The Rural Organizing Project is not waiting idly for this tide to roll in. The group has just finished a statewide tour in which they presented a report on the growth of the Patriot movement, which they collaborated on with Political Research Associates, a think tank that watches the far right.

Instead of inviting people to view it online, Campbell and her colleagues went to eight rural towns and delivered the main points in a series of lectures. The tour finished late last week.

Each event followed a pattern developed through long experience confronting those who would prefer that progressive voices aren’t heard. At each stop, after Campbell’s brief Powerpoint summary of Patriot movement organizing in Oregon, they invite written comments that are then read out. In Bend, one question asked about the impact of Patriot movement organizing on tourism; in Canyon City, people wanted to know about the economic roots of the far-right insurgency. Small-group discussions follow. The format is designed to de-escalate the tension that has increasingly riven small-town politics in Oregon, and to minimize opportunities for disruption.

Campbell and her crew also travel with a highly visible security detail, partly made up of Portland members of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party. Earlier this year, attendees of a workshop were harassed in the carpark outside the event, and they decided that positive, protective steps were needed.

The events are hosted by local progressive organising groups, and at the largest events, such as the one in Canyon City in Grant County, 50 to 60 people showed up – a large number in a county of about 7,000 residents. Although many who come represent the active, progressive minority in small towns, resistance to the militia movement has a way of binding people together who may disagree on a range of issues. Campbell says that the Grant County group features people from “across the political spectrum” who share a concern about who is directing county politics.

These numbers underscore something Campbell stresses: while media reports often suggest that patriots and the far right are representative of community opinion, they are frequently no more than a vocal minority. ROP’s presence encourages those who disagree to the far right’s prescriptions to rise above the intimidation they use to silence their opponents.

There were clear signs that their strategy – which for now Campbell calls “an experiment” – is working to empower locals, and even open up a dialogue with those who have been drawn into the orbit of the far right.

In Canyon City last January, Judy Schuette heard about the plans of militia members to meet in Grant County and perhaps spread the occupation there. Schuette called for a response and a public meeting on Facebook. On the floorboards of the community hall, she recalls: “I didn’t know how many people would show up, and we wound up with about 70 people.”

After being formally organised in February, the group carried out several actions. They visited Harney County to show support for a protest there, and attended meetings of the county court, the local governing council, to protest increasing militia and Patriot disruption of the body.

But ROP’s tour doesn’t just let them put on another big public gathering. Activists also get de-escalation training from the security detail and much-needed information about how to fight and win a long-term campaign against the rightwing insurgency in their community.

“They’re incredibly dedicated and brilliant. They’re mostly women who care about their community. In Grant County and other counties where people are feeling that their lives could be on the line if they don’t act now, that’s where people are doing the best work.”

But Campbell is clear-eyed about the roots of the problem, and her diagnosis cuts through a lot of the armchair debate about where the resentment that underpins rightwing insurgency comes from. “In rural areas the conditions have been ripe for a white nationalist populist movement. Especially in Oregon where we’re facing demographic shifts in a lot of places, and the economy’s hurting so badly, and we’ve had decades of scapegoating of people of colour as the reason why our economies are so bad.”

In some Oregon counties, as in other rural areas, libraries are shutting, and sheriff’s departments can’t provide 911 dispatch after dark. Dwindling services lead to a sense of abandonment. The right can easily step in and provide both a clear political narrative to explain this, and a set of simple-seeming solutions.

“The Patriot movement is attracting people who feel disenfranchised. It’s real out here, where people feel like they have not been listened to at the state level, and particularly by Democrats,” Campbell says.

The same dynamic has been driving the election. “The appeal of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders was that they didn’t feel like establishment figureheads. It didn’t feel like they were going to uphold the status quo.”

Democrats, who hold a rare trifecta of both state houses and the governorship, see no point in outreach to deep red counties in the east and south of the state. “It’s been pretty clear that rural Oregon has been written off. We’re often the only game in town.”

The focus of the tour might be the militia movement, but the real goal is addressing this sense of lost political agency.

“Our goal isn’t to take down the Patriot movement. It’s to build a rural Oregon where people have some access to democracy and are able to create change and have an impact on their communities.”

Helping these communities to demand the resources they need to shut down rightwing insurgencies means having a conversation with them, and not simply dismissing or scapegoating them. It also requires bravery: if you confront the far right on their own turf, you might be threatened, followed or shot at.

We haven’t all been given as big a share of courage as Campbell, the rest of the ROP, and local organizers have. But we can at least listen to what they have to say about the origins of America’s rightwing surge.
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Re: Militia and Moles . . . FBI Stops Militia Plot

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:51 pm

Trump Backers Charged In Anti-Muslim Terror Plot May Argue They’re Just Facebook Warriors

The Kansas militiamen charged in the plot argued that the government shouldn’t call them terrorists.
Ryan J. Reilly
WICHITA, Kansas ― Jury selection begins here Tuesday in the trial of three militia members arrested by the FBI for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack against Muslims in southwest Kansas.

Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen were arrested in an FBI sting a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Operating under the belief that either Hillary Clinton would be elected or that President Barack Obama would declare martial law if Donald Trump won, they allegedly planned to “wake people up” by bombing a Garden City, Kansas, apartment complex and mosque occupied by “cockroaches” ― their term for Muslim immigrants.

“The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim,” Stein allegedly said, adding that he would “enjoy” shooting Muslims and that he wouldn’t even spare the life of a baby. “There’s no leaving anyone behind, even if it’s a one-year-old,” he allegedly said. “I guarantee, if I go on a mission, those little fuckers are going bye-bye.”

The trial of the defendants, who are facing both a terrorism-related charge as well as a civil rights charge, will be a test of the federal government’s ability to prosecute non-Muslim extremists.

Sting operations targeting white extremists are much less common, and tend to result in lower punishments for defendants. That’s because federal law makes it much harder for the federal government to target and secure convictions against terrorists who sympathize with domestic extremist groups than those who support foreign groups like ISIS.

The trial, anticipated to last six weeks, comes amid heightened concerns about domestic terrorism and an increase in murders committed by white supremacists.

Members of an Illinois militia led by a former sheriff’s deputy who put in a bid to build Trump’s border wall were arrested last week for allegedly bombing a mosque in Minnesota as well as a women’s clinic in their home state. A white supremacist who attended an extremist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the summer was charged earlier this year with an attempted attack on an Amtrak train. Separately, a left-wing extremist shot at Republican members of Congress ― wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise ― over the summer as they practiced for a softball game.

A series of bombings targeting Austin, Texas, this month have renewed calls for the federal government to treat apparent terrorist attacks seriously even if there’s no readily apparent link to radical Islamic terrorism.

Stein, Wright and Allen appeared in a small federal courthouse in Wichita on Monday wearing either orange or blue jail jumpsuits and handcuffed at their feet, where a pretrial hearing and what U.S. District Judge Eric F. Melgren described as a “virtual tsunami of motions” gave a preview of their expected defense.

There’s a dispute about when precisely the trio’s plot began, and what exactly the conspiracy entailed. Melody J. Brannon, a federal public defender representing Allen, argued that the plot changed so much that there was no actual conspiracy the government could point to as a final plan.

“We don’t have any specific plan that the government can point to that says this is the conspiracy and this is what we are planning to do,” Brannon said.

Anthony Mattivi, one of the lead federal prosecutors on the case, told the court Monday that a “pivotal moment” in the plot came two days after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Then-candidate Trump tweeted at the time that he appreciated “the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism” and called for “toughness & vigilance.”

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Judge Melgren, the George W. Bush appointee overseeing the trial, said that all of the actions the trio contemplated were violent in nature. After all, he said, it wasn’t as though they were conspiring to petition their lawmakers for legislative changes. Rather, they appeared to be in agreement to commit an act of violence against Muslims.

“The defendants said lots of things. They were extraordinary loquacious,” Melgren said. “Obviously to their regret at this point.”

Defense lawyers plan to argue that the violent rhetoric their clients used amounted to ugly, but protected, speech. There was a lot of discussion over their use of Facebook, where the defendants regularly posted anti-Muslim and pro-Trump memes and fake news stories.

As a result, Facebook could play a major role in the trial, and defense attorneys had sought to have all the Facebook evidence suppressed, arguing that a Facebook warrant that resulted in at least 28,000 pages of material was flawed as well as overbroad and “highly invasive.”

There was also a dispute about what exactly Facebook likes indicate. The federal government argued that a Facebook like was an “affirmative gesture” indicating support. Judge Melgren said a Facebook like amounted to a “very mild statement” and told the government they would need to seek permission each time they wanted to introduce a Facebook like as evidence.

Defense attorneys tried to argue that the government should not be allowed to refer to their clients as terrorists, domestic terrorists or even extremists. Judge Melgren wasn’t buying that argument.

“Terrorism is obviously stated in the indictment, it’s part of the charge,” Melgren said.

But Melgren isn’t allowing the government to use video from a bomb test that would’ve illustrated what sort of damage the bombs could have done. “The jury probably didn’t need the help” to know what an explosion looks like, Melgren said. The judge also said he wouldn’t allow testimony from any of the residents who would have been victimized by the plot, saying that they only knew about the plot because the government told them about it.

As jury selection begins Tuesday, a major part of the defense strategy will also be packing the jury with as many Trump supporters as possible. Federal prosecutors have already expressed concern that the defense will attempt to discriminate against non-white potential jurors.

Next month, as the trial continues, the courthouse will host a naturalization ceremony for new U.S. citizens. Downstairs in the courthouse, an extensive display tells the history of immigration in Kansas. ... c7f1545?8f
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Re: Militia and Moles . . . FBI Stops Militia Plot

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:57 pm

Right-Wing Extremists Guilty In Terror Plot Against Muslim Refugees

Attorneys argued the Trump-backing trio were radicalized by “chaos news,” and wrongfully targeted by the feds for “locker room talk.”

By Ryan J. Reilly and Christopher Mathias

WICHITA, Kan. ― Three right-wing militiamen from rural Kansas were found guilty on Wednesday in a 2016 plot to slaughter Muslim refugees living in an apartment complex in Garden City.

Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen were found guilty on charges of weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights. Wright was also found guilty on a charge of lying to the FBI. The defendants will face a potential life sentence.

The jury decided the case after slightly less than a day of deliberations. In closing arguments, attorneys for the defendants had accused the FBI of overstepping and targeting the group because of rhetoric that, while hateful, was protected by the First Amendment.

The prosecution’s case depended largely on secret recordings made by Dan Day, an FBI informant who masqueraded as a militia member, infiltrating the three men’s group for months. An undercover officer working on behalf of the FBI had also met with Stein, posing as an arms dealer who shared the group’s anti-Muslim beliefs.

Jurors heard recording after recording of the men expressing a murderous hatred of Muslims, who they called “cockroaches.”

“The fucking cockroaches in this country have to go, period,” said Stein, who went by the code name “Orkin Man” in text messages with other militia members. “They are the fucking problem in this country right now. They are the threat in this country right now.”

In another recoring, the men could be heard mapping out targets on Google Earth, dropping a “pin” labeled “cockroaches” over areas they knew to have a high concentration of Muslims. They eventually settled on a main target: a Garden City apartment complex that’s home to many Somali Muslim immigrants and the mosque where they worship.

The prosecution presented evidence that the men had started to collect explosive materials. Per the recordings made by Day, their plan was to detonate bombs at the apartment complex in November 2016. They wanted the explosions to occur during Muslim prayer times when more potential victims would be there, “packed in like sardines,” as Stein put it. The bomb’s shock waves, he hoped, would make “Jello out of their insides.”

Defense attorneys had attempted to characterize such comments as mere bluster. But prosecutors pre-empted this line of argument, in part, by calling another militia member to the stand.

Brody Benson, part of the Kansas Security Forces militia, held anti-Muslim beliefs himself. “Fucking Islam,” he wrote in a Facebook post in June 2016. “I’m done. Kill them all. Bring on the DOJ.”

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But Benson testified that when he heard Stein talk about his plan to kill Somali immigrants in Garden City, he knew Stein was for real.

“I actually thought it was not just talk — it was more of an actual action, action,” Benson said in testimony. “I had a gut feeling that what was just banter back and forth, ranting and everything else, was turning into something more serious and concrete.”

The men were enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump, who vilified Muslims during his presidential campaign and has continued to do so while in office. During the plotting, Stein reportedly referred to then-candidate Trump as “the Man.” The men had planned their attack for after the 2016 election, so as not to hurt Trump’s chances of winning. Delaying the attack until then would avoid giving “any ammunition” to their political opponents, Stein said. ... 0207801?jb
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