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Creating Electronic Community of Hate
Inspiring/Guiding Criminal Activity
Providing Inspiration 
Giving Guidance
Coordinating Extremist Events
Hate Rock Concerts
"Patriot" Confrontations
Making Money Online
Selling Goods
Promoting Products Sold Online by Others.
Marketing Scams
Soliciting Donations
  
The Consequences of Right-Wing Extremism on the Internet RULE
Coordinating Extremist Events: "Patriot Confrontations"

"Patriot" confrontations  prove the impact of online requests for an immediate, rapid response to a particular crisis. These confrontations are  spontaneous happenings created when anti-government extremists attempt to "rescue" fellow extremists who are resisting law enforcement authorities,

The Indianapolis Baptist Temple

Indianapolis Baptist Temple (IBT), a church run by Pastor Greg J. Dixon and his son, Pastor Greg A. Dixon. was involved in a long dispute with the IRS.

The Dixons are the leaders of the "unregistered churches" movement which believes that churches should obey no laws or regulations whatsoever. In 1984, IBT stopped withholding employee income taxes and paying Social Security and Medicare taxes in an attempt to sever all ties to the federal government.  In September 2000, a Federal District Court ordered law enforcement to seize IBT for failure to pay its taxes.

Following the announcement of this court order, a flood of online propaganda, in conjunction with printed newsletters and shortwave radio broadcasts, helped rally anti-government extremists to defend IBT. Many extremists wrote online articles in support of IBT, and some posted personal accounts of their visits to the church.

The official IBT site featured frequent updates on the state of the church, which supporters could choose to receive via E-mail, and extremist mailing lists often republished these messages. In one message, the Dixons pleaded, "We must have your help immediately. Please come and stand with us no matter how long you can stay. We can provide food and an area to sleep while you are at the church."

Greg A. Dixon claimed that hundreds of supporters called or E-mailed him to offer help. "I tell them to come, bring all the friends you can," he explained.

The November 14 date set for the seizure of IBT came and went, and church supporters, among them many anti-government extremists, continued to arrive. Ultimately, after 92 days, the standoff ended peacefully when the government repossessed the church.

Two Year Stand-off in Tennessee

In 1987, when the Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee Airport Authority instituted a noise abatement program that involved purchasing and demolishing homes in an area near the Memphis airport, the family of Bill and Carolyn Cockrell refused to sell their house, despite the fact that the government offered to pay them more than the market rate for it. By 1994, the Cockrell house was the last one standing in the neighborhood. Finally, a county court issued a warrant to remove the family on January 17, 1997.

Bill Cockrell looked for help from Drew Rayner, head of the Mississippi Militia. Rayner penned a message that "patriots" distributed widely on the Internet. "Billy has requested militia support regarding the illegal and unconstitutional seizure of his house and property," Rayner wrote. After attorneys notified the Cockrells that a demolition notice had been posted, more calls for assistance appeared online. "You are cordially invited to a campout…on the grounds of the Cockrell home," read one. "The purpose of this little get together will be to witness that the Cockrell’s home will not be unlawfully demolished." On January 30, 1997, when the house was due to be bulldozed, more than a dozen militia members stood watch there. Not until March 1999 did law enforcement successfully seize the Cockrell home.

Confrontation in Massachusetts

Another confrontation took place in Hamilton, Massachusetts, where John and Rhetta Sweeney resisted Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) attempts to repossess their estate. The Sweeneys argued that the bank loaning them money had reneged on a promise to provide them the funds needed to develop profitable housing lots on their land. In June 1997, the Sweeneys blocked all roads leading to their property. They proceeded to set up a Web site publicizing their plight, and the standoff became a topic of discussion among anti-government extremists online. Militia members traveled to the Sweeney home, stood guard, and used the Internet to communicate with their compatriots. In February 1998, the authorities finally ended the standoff, removing John Sweeney from the property when his militia supporters were temporarily absent.

 

Related Links
Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online

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