Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Rampant Misinformation and Bad Journalism (original post by dbra)
Submitted by Historian on Thu, 03/24/2011 - 16:14.
What IS the Sovereign Citizen Movement ?
Submitted by dbra on March 20, 2011 - 1:07pm.
Since we have recently been frequented by members of the Sovereign Citizen Movement, and some of our regular contributors have been threatened by them, I thought it might be helpful to take the time and find out what this "movement" is and "who" its people are.
If you're not into the history, you can skip to the section SCM and Violence, below and info from the FBI.
"The sovereign citizen movement is a loose network of litigants, commentators and financial scheme promoters. Self-described "sovereign citizens" believe that they are answerable only to English common law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state or municipal levels. They especially reject most forms of taxation as illegitimate. Formed in 1969 by William Potter Gale, an anti-Jewish Christian Identity adherent, and by Henry Beach, a former pro-Nazi leader of the "Silver Shirts" in the 1930s, they rapidly spread throughout the Mid-Western and Western states.
They claim that a Jewish conspiracy had taken over the government and was responsible for passing "illegal" laws mandating the income tax code. The only valid laws are based on the English Common Law and deriving from the Magna Carta. The power to interpret these laws is held to rest with common law associations composed of white, Christian males. Sovereign Citizens believe the government tricks people into becoming 14th Amendment citizens by signing contracts for privileges such as vehicle registration, Social Security and even fishing licenses. They proclaim the USA is a republic and not a democracy,and that the "individual is sovereign." This movement is based on theories that The People are either "Fourteenth Amendment citizens", who are subject to the federal and state laws and taxes, or "sovereign citizens", who possess a Birthright and constitutionally secured unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and Happiness (Property) over which the individual is Sovereign.
SCM employs tactics "Paper terrorism," including frivolous lawsuits, frivolous liens, fictitious financial instruments, fictitious automobile-related documents, and misuse of genuine documents such as IRS forms; and various frauds and scams. “Paper terrorism,” is the most frequently used form of assault used by "Sovereign Citizens" to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against public officials, law enforcement officers, and others. Most common is the filing of bogus liens on the property of perceived enemies. At the same time, Sovereign Citizen members seize and illegally occupy abandoned homes or those foreclosed because of default in payment.
One of the first tactics of the resurgent sovereign citizen movement was the formation of vigilante "common law courts." Members of these courts used them as a forum for grievances against the "de facto" government or for assistance in attempts to harass their enemies. A number of "common law courts" issued threats of various kinds against public officials. One of the earliest and most visible such courts was established in Tampa, Florida, in 1993 by Emilio Ippolito and various followers. Calling itself the "Constitutional Court of We the People," the court moved in short order from granting divorces to issuing arrest warrants against judges. Eventually Ippolito and six followers were convicted in 1997 for interfering with trials in Florida and California and for sending letters threatening to kidnap and arrest judges and jury members. Other common law courts were equally defiant; in the Midwest, two leaders of a central Ohio common law court became involved in violent confrontations during traffic stops, resulting in one death. In Missouri and Illinois, dozens of common law court members were arrested in 1996 on harassment-related charges related to their use of bogus liens.
Closely tied to extremists groups and churches, such as the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas, the Sovereign Citizen demands that the US Constitution guarantees him or her the right to carry weapons at all times...The Southern Poverty Law Center* has reported on the Sovereign Citizen Movement, now deeply imbedded within the Tea Party and stalwarts in the Republican (GOP) Party buttressed by Sarah Palin, one-time/part-time governor of Alaska and vice-presidential running mate of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, stating "Sovereign citizens believe most Americans have no obligation to obey laws, regulations or tax codes, especially those imposed by the federal government. They justify their beliefs on the basis of decades-old conspiracy theories and intricate, nonsensical legal theories." The SCM are supported by corporate-inspired right-wing extremist broadcast hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others who cry out for the limitation of all basic human rights that are extended to Blacks, Latinos, Gays and Lesbians, and other marginalized groups.
When President Obama was elected at the height of the recession that was generated by George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that plunged the USA into a back-breaking debt to communist mainland China, these theories gained a fresh wind with the appearance of large numbers of ‘birthers’ and ’9/11 truthers’ and those pushing “immigration reform” especially in Arizona where all Latinos were considered to be illegal aliens until they showed proof of citizenship.
SCM and Violence
In the 1980's William Potter Gale announced a Holy War: "Yes, we are going to cleanse our land. We're going to do it with a sword. And we're going to do it with violence." He told his listeners to "start making dossiers, names, addresses, phone numbers on every damn Jew rabbi in this land or JDL leader in this land. ... You get these roadblock locations where you can set up ambushes, and get it all working now." Other similar messages attacked African-Americans and Communists.
In April 1992, an angry resident of Sanilac County, Michigan, wrote a letter to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stating he was no longer a "citizen of the corrupt political corporate State of Michigan and the United States of America" and was answerable only to the "Common Laws." He therefore expressly revoked his signature on any hunting or fishing licenses, which he viewed as contracts that fraudulently bound him to the illegitimate government of Michigan.
That obscure Michigan hunter would, three years later, become known to the entire world. He was Terry Nichols, friend and accomplice of Oklahoma City Federal Building bomber Timothy McVeigh.
In 1997, New Hampshire extremist Carl Drega killed two officers and two civilians and wounded another three officers before being killed–his death being condemned by members of his cult as “senseless police brutality.”
1996, the Montana Freeman held off federal authorities attempting to arrest them (on a variety of charges) for 81 days near Jordan, Montana.
1997, in the Republic of Texas standoff, Richard McLaren's faction of the so-called "Republic of Texas" initiated another armed confrontation in far-West Texas when they kidnapped a local couple in response to the arrest of one of their members. One member was killed during the standoff.
In May 1998, sovereign citizen and Christian Identity adherent George Wolf shot two volunteer firefighters in Ashtabula County, Ohio, because their vehicle blocked him.
In two incidents in April and May 2009, a Tennessee sovereign citizen, Walter Fitzpatrick III, and a Georgia sovereign citizen, Darren Huff, were arrested in connection with attempts to make “citizens” arrests of various local officials in Monroe County.
In April 2010, a sovereign citizen group calling itself Guardians of the Free Republics issued ultimatums to all 50 governors to vacate their offices within 72 hours.
On May 20, 2010, two West Memphis, Arkansas, police officers were killed and two Crittenden County sheriff’s officers wounded in two linked shootouts involving an anti-government sovereign citizen with ties to Ohio and Florida. Jerry Kane, was a “guru” in the movement who traveled around the country, often with his teenaged son Joseph. Kane specialized in a set of sovereign citizen theories called “Redemption;” he told audiences that his theories could get them out of their mortgages. Returning from a seminar in Las Vegas, their vehicle was pulled over by West Memphis Police Department Sergeant Brandon Paudert and Officer Bill Evans, who were engaged in a drug interdiction exercise along the interstate. The Kanes allegedly got out of the vehicle with firearms and opened fire on the two officers, killing them both. They drove off.
An hour and a half later, an extensive manhunt located the vehicle at a Wal-Mart parking lot. As police closed in on the vehicle, a second shootout occurred. During this shootout, Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby was shot in the arm and Deputy W. A. Wren received a serious wound to the abdomen. Jerry and Joseph Kane were killed in the return fire.
And most recently:
Jared Loughner, the man who allegedly emptied a 31-round clip into Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and dozens of bystanders Saturday was preoccupied with theories on a massive government fraud. Many of his seemingly random statements—on "grammar," "the ratifications," "the new currency," and more—echo the teachings of the "sovereign citizen" movement, a right-wing school of thought alleging that Americans have been surreptitiously stripped of their God-given rights. In reviewing Loughner's YouTube videos, there are multiple instances where he uses the precise talking points "sovereign-citizen" theorists teach via a thriving cottage industry of books, websites, bogus legal companies, and seminars.
As the Guardian's Peter Walker and Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown reports have pointed out, this is the basic premise of the sovereign-citizen argument, which posits that government has used linguistic devices in certain laws to strip us of our rights. "This is an extraordinary freaking word game," says Alfred Adask, a guru of the sovereign movement and former publisher of the sovereign-citizen magazine AntiShyster, told me. "Not many people know how to do it or even understand it. The government has ensnared us with the sophisticated use of words and put us back into bondage. You have to master the definitions and start working out with a law dictionary."
SCM and Jews
The primary base for radical Sovereign Citizen groups is in Texas. Carolyn Yeager is a Texas-based (Ingram, Texas) neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier who runs her own Web site. The site is filled with racist and anti-Semitic material, as well as essays promoting motherhood and home-schooling. Yeager is the Texas State Leader of the neo-Nazi American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP), a group that descended from the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi group in the country. Not only does Yeager deny the Holocaust, but claims that the Jews who carry tattooed numbers were self-inflicted in an effort to extort money from Allied Forces. To strengthen her claims, Yeager authored the book Auschwitz: The Underground Guided Tour; What the Tour Guides Don’t Tell You at , published by The Barnes Review. In the book, she claims that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp and that Nazi guards looked after the health of inmates–although all authenticated records show that 1.1 million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz
Why You Might Not Want To Associate With These People (aside from the above)
Many SCM members engage in a variety of frauds and scams, often targeting people with similar ideological beliefs in what might be called affinity fraud. A few of these schemes, most notably those perpetrated by the Colorado-based We the People and the Florida-based Greater Ministries International in the 1990s, took in millions of dollars. Other sovereign citizen groups, like the Embassy of Heaven and the Washitaw Nation, have specialized in the creation of fictitious car-related documents ranging from drivers' licenses to license plates.
Still others, including the Civil Rights Task Force and the Constitution Rangers, have created fictitious law enforcement agencies, complete with fake identification cards, badges and even raid jackets. People associated with the Civil Rights Task Force have advocated what they term "reverse intimidation": interrogating the spouses of law enforcement officers who have had dealings with members.
The most recent surge in the use of fictitious financial instruments began in 1999 with the development of a tactic called "Redemption" (sometimes known as "Accept for Value"), based on the theories of Roger Elvick, a sovereign citizen and white supremacist convicted on fraud charges in the 1980s. Redemptionists argue that by using a complicated process known as "regaining one's straw man" they can establish special Treasury Department accounts and issue bogus instruments they call "sight drafts" to pay off debts or make purchases. Should law enforcement officials or others interfere with this activity, redemptionists are told to file falsified I.R.S. Form 8300s against them, alleging that such officials engaged in a suspicious currency transaction. By the end of 1999, Redemption had swept across the country. Sovereign citizen organizations like The Aware Group, Rightway L.A.W. and the Republic of Texas, among others, regularly hold Redemption seminars to teach the tactic to eager audience members. A number of practitioners have been arrested since 1999 in Idaho, Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia and other states for attempting to pass the fictitious sight drafts or for harassing public officials attempting to halt the practice. In 2001, it is probably the single most popular sovereign citizen tactic.
In the past year, in Sacramento, two sovereign citizens were convicted of running a fraudulent insurance scheme. Operating outside state insurance regulatory guidelines, the men set up their own company and sold “lifetime memberships” to customers, promising to pay any accident claims against their “members.” The company collected millions of dollars, but paid out very few claims. more...
In Kansas City, three sovereign citizens were convicted of taking part in a conspiracy using phony diplomatic credentials. They charged customers between $450 and $2,000 for a diplomatic identification card, which would bestow upon the holder “sovereign” status—meaning they would enjoy diplomatic immunity from paying taxes and from being stopped or arrested by law enforcement. more...
In Las Vegas, four men affiliated with the sovereign citizen movement were arrested by the Nevada Joint Terrorism Task Force on federal money laundering, tax evasion, and weapons charges. The investigation involved an undercover operation, with two of the suspects allegedly laundering more than a million dollars from what they believed was a bank fraud scheme. more...
Close to Home
Rightway L.A.W. With headquarters in Akron, Ohio, this group is one of the most active sovereign citizen groups in the country, with 15 chapters in at least 10 states. Led by Rick Schramm, Jack Smith, Jeanne Collins and Mary Keane, it is one of the major promoters of Redemption. Some chapters also reach out to prison inmates.
The FBI is educating the American public about the threat of domestic terrorism; it has already provided information on its Web side about eco-terrorists and lone offenders, and in the latest installment it discusses the Sovereign Citizen Movement.
Forgery is the process of making or adapting objects or documents (see false document), with the intention to deceive. ...
Extortion is a criminal offense, which occurs when a person either obtains money, property or services from another through coercion or intimidation or threatens one with physical harm unless they are paid money or property.
From the Office of the FBI:
You can help. First, “be crime smart”—don’t fall for the bogus claims and scams of sovereign citizens. And second, if you have information on any suspicious activities or crimes, please contact us.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has produced and posted online an instructional video intended for showing during roll call at law enforcement agencies. Narrating the 12-minute film are two men who fully understand the dangers some sovereigns present to authorities: West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert, father of one of officers murdered in May by Joe Kane, and Jim Cavanaugh, who retired earlier this year after 33 years at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Cavanaugh was a top official at the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas, during the five-year hunt for abortion clinic bomber and cop-killer Eric Rudolph, and in many other investigations involving right-wing radicals. Last year, he was honored for this work with the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Civil Rights Award.
(I would embed it but RealNEO does not yet accomodate member embedded videos): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_y-gLm9Hrw&feature=player_embedded
ps - much of this material is copied and pasted from other sites - the FBI, the ADL, SPLC primarily. I expect they would want the information disseminated and they have my thanks.
and to the admin at RealNEO -
not to be redundant but to MAKE A POINT:
Submitted by dbra on March 14, 2011 - 3:49pm.
a few days ago? dw and another poster tried to warn you -- they're baaccckk... but you and a few others took the whackos' defense.
don't you trust dw any more?
i mean rEAlly - who wants to read this kind of garbage. they have the thought process of a .... god i can't even think of any creaton that unoriginal, that devoid of logic, that uneducated..........
AND I DON'T SEE TOO MANY OTHERS STEPPING UP AND CLEANING HOUSE HERE!!!!???????????????????
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