The Neo-Militia News Archive: October -- November 1996
Last Updated November 13, 1996
Police Raid Leftist Cult
Abstracted from the New York Times.
Ever since the Weather Underground became the Weather Channel, Sparky the Militia Watchdog's cousin Red Rover (the Communist Watchdog) has seldom seen the light of day. However, recent events have suggested we dust Red Rover off and at least let him out for air. So for our longtime readers, we present the following special feature.
When they followed up on a routine child abuse complaint on the late evening of November 11, New York City social workers certainly did not expect to stumble upon a cult of intransigent leftists, but that is exactly what they discovered when they tried to enter the Brooklyn apartment building and were denied entrance. When the inhabitants also refused entry to local police officers, police surrounded the block of apartments and forced their way in. Eventually 35 arrests were made.
What they discovered was a collection of followers of a dead cult leader, Gerald William Doeden, who called himself Eugenio Perente-Ramos before his death in 1995. Doeden had headed a group called the National Labor Federation, which espoused leftist action and revolution, but which according to some experts was actually a cult that brainwashed young people through sleep deprivation and intense activity.
Police who raided the apartments found a small arsenal of weapons, including 16 pistols, 26 rifles, and two "working replicas" of tommy-guns. Five of the 35 arrests were for possessing illegal weapons, but it is not clear why the others were held. Police said they knew of no illegal acts on the group's part.
More than anything else, however, the police found paper: cabinets and cabinets stuffed with folders, applications, forms and other information. According to a private investigator who had previously studied the group, members of the cult were subjected to endless bureaucratic makework, such as making membership files and filling out index cards. "They were always saying, 'We have to organize,' but they didn't do anything," the investigator said. A California woman who spent several months with the cult corroborated the investigator's statement. "They had a good line," she explained. "That they were going to help poor people. And once you start working for them you are so busy with the minutiae that you don't realize that they aren't living up to their promises. They would talk all this revolution then take in all this money, and then they wouldn't do a thing."
Not doing a thing is apparently something the group did well. Police were not aware of the group's existence, nor were many local figures. But other tenants in the buildings (apparently owned by the group) were glad to see the police come; they had long been suspicious and scared of the group's surreptitious activities. Members of the group told tenants they were the buildings' "supers."
Convictions Obtained for Georgia Republic Militia Members
Abstracted from the Macon Telegraph, Internet sources, Militia Watchdog sources.
Just say no to pipe bombs was the message a middle Georgia jury sent to three militia members on November 6, when it arrived at guilty verdicts on charges of possession of unregistered pipe bombs and conspiracy to build them, ending a case that had galvanized the militia movement nationwide since the militiamen were arrested last April. The jury found the defendants not guilty on several additional charges, but they could still face 17 to 20 years in prison each, according to federal sentencing guidelines.
Defendants Robert Starr III and James McCrainie were arrested last spring amid great publicity, largely caused by an erroneous report that the suspects had plotted to bomb the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; a third suspect, Troy Spain, turned himself in later. The defendants, members of the 112th Georgia Republic Militia (there are not 111 other units), were charged with various conspiracy and weapons charges largely involving attempts to build a stockpile of pipe bombs.
The arrests of marginal members in the militia movement acquired a greater significance as prominent militia leaders, including J. J. Johnson of Ohio and Mike Kemp and Jeff Randall of Alabama, made the arrests a cause celebre. Even more vocal was Robert Starr's attorney, Nancy Lord, a prominent Libertarian who had been moving closer to the patriot movement. What angered members of the movement was the government's heavy reliance on informants in the case. To "patriots," it seemed as if the three militiamen had been entrapped or framed. The fires were fueled by Nancy Lord in a widely-publicized preliminary hearing in which by questioning an ATF agent she made it sound as if Starr had had nothing to do with the building of pipe bombs at all.
The attempts by Lord and Johnson to publicize their side of the case led the judge finally to issue a gag order, which had relatively little effect. When during the Olympics the Atlanta Centennial Park was bombed, Lord and Johnson claimed to the news-hungry media that they had turned over the names of two suspects to the authorities--suspects who just happened to be the government informants in the Georgia Militia case. By this time the whole affair had taken on something of the air of a surreal soap opera, with militiaman Johnson allegedly leaving his wife in Ohio to take up a relationship with Lord. But in yet another twist, Lord and Johnson were found by James McCrainie's wife on her property digging up evidence; this eventually led to the judge removing Lord from the case before the trial started. Shortly thereafter, Johnson returned to Ohio.
The trial itself proved more damaging to McCrainie, Starr and Spain than it did to the government. McCrainie admitted building a pipe bomb, while Starr's voice was caught on tape discussing the need to build pipe bombs and other subjects that damaged his defense, as was Spain's. The government informants, Kevin and Danny Barker, held up relatively well to fierce questioning, and the combination of the Barkers' performances and the tape recordings probably made the difference in the jury's deliberations.
New England Militia Leader Arrested for Stealing Military Items
Abstracted from the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, Internet sources.
A New Hampshire militia leader was apparently tricking the government in order to treat himself this Halloween, but authorities weren't biting. Self-described "Brevet Lieutenant Colonel" Fitzhugh MacCrae, also known as Kenneth Nepil, 51 is head of the "Hillsborough County Dragoons," an anti-government paramilitary group that claims to have companies in three different New England states. This October 30, MacCrae was charged with stealing government property and making false statements to the FBI.
According to the indictment, MacCrae and two others, including an Army reservist, stole $100,000 worth of aviation night-vision devices and other equipment from an Army warehouse at Fort Devens between July 1995 and March 1996. MacCrae not only stole the equipment, but tried to get the FBI to pay for getting it back, by claiming he had recovered it from an "organized crime" group that he said had stolen it. MacCrae got $4,300 from the FBI for what he claimed were the costs of recovering the stolen goods.
The version propagated by the Dragoons, not surprisingly, is somewhat different. The Dragoons claim that an "agent provocateur," one Eldon Brooks, "attempted to involve" MacCrae in the theft of the night vision devices, but that MacCrae refused to participate. Brooks and another individual, "under the observation of another militia officer who had deliberately placed the warehouse under scrutiny" (one Brian Chabot, apparently later arrested), entered the warehouse and stole the devices. According to the Dragoons, Brooks then entered MacCrae's home, unloaded the devices, then left. Naturally, MacCrae was upset. He had the devices removed, "until it could be arranged to have them returned to their rightful owners through an intermediary party." However, into the picture, say the Dragoons, marched one Thomas Aaron Clark, a "self avowed national socialist and white supremist who had been refused membership in the Dragoons." Clark informed the U.S. Army, which "conducted a series of raids and interrogations throughout southern New England." This brought about the downfall of MacCrae, who was found to have a night vision device in his possession.
MacCrae, naturally enough, says he is innocent, that he and his group are being targeted by federal authorities. His militia, he says, is more inclined to shovel snow for the elderly and raise money for the hungry.
Arms Cache Becomes Mountie Bounty
Abstracted from wire services.
The great white north took on a slightly more ominous tone on Friday, October 25, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police admitted to having seized a sizable collection of arms and material from a trailer in a remote area of northern British Columbia. Law enforcement officials believe the trailer and surrounding area was used as a training camp for an American militia group.
A tip to authorities led to a raid in Smithers, British Columbia (population: 5,000; location: some 430 miles north of Vancouver, near the Alaskan border), some three months ago, but the news was only made public recently. Sergeant Peter Montague stated that release of the information was delayed while the investigation continued, but there has been no sign that any arrests are imminent. The Mounties are working with the FBI and the ATF on the investigation.
Neighbors only seldom saw the inhabitants of the trailer, who reportedly wore camouflage or hunting gear. The raid netted seventeen guns, a large amount of ammunition, gas masks, chemical suits, and various survival goods. Religious literature was also found. The Mounties provided no reason for their statement that the items belonged to an American militia group.
Neo-Secessionist Group Confrontational After Arrests
Abstracted from the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, the Austin-American Statesman, the Dallas Morning News, and wire services.
The 'Republic of Texas,' a neo-seccessionist common law group which claims that the state of Texas was unlawfully annexed, is moving closer to confrontation with the legitimate government following the arrest of the group's president and his bodyguard.
A routine traffic stop in College Station, Texas, on October 18, 1996, resulted in the arrest of "President" Archie Lowe, 55, and his bodyguard, Richard Ray, 30; like many common law court activists, Lowe was driving his 1978 Cadillac with an expired vehicle registration and no proof of insurance. Ray, a self-declared "Texas Ranger," was carrying a stun gun and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon (he did not have a concealed weapons permit).
Archie Lowe, a former musician and electronics designer, is the "president" of the Republic Texas, a non-paying job that involves driving around Texas talking to various groups of right-wing extremists and pitching his Posse Comitatus ideology. He is actually the group's second president; the first, John C. VanKirk, was impeached almost immediately after his appointment. Lowe's vision of Texas is one where there are essentially no laws or regulations at all, one where citizens could do anything they wished as long as it did not directly harm other people or their property. It is also one without taxes, except for import or export taxes. Extra money would be gained from selling postage stamps.
Police arrested the two, Lowe because he was a judged a high risk not to appear in court after he stated he did not recognize the laws of the state. They refused to post bail and declared themselves "prisoners of war." The real commotion started, though, when word of the arrests leaked out. 'Republic of Texas' supporters from across the state bombarded the college town's police station with calls and demands, including a threat to release Lowe and Ray within 24 hours or "they wouldn't be responsible for what might happen."
ROT supporters claimed it was an "international incident" and that Lowe should have diplomatic immunity. "I don't know if the chief of police understands the gravity of the situation," said spokeswoman Jeanette Kinman of Dallas. Because of the threats, all local law enforcement personnel were put on alert. After one called-in threat, local officials shut down a polling place located on the first floor of the courthouse, and allowed courthouse employees to leave if they so wished.
Early the next day the two ROT members posted bond and left, but still refered to themselves as "political prisoners." "When I identified myself as a citizen of the Republic of Texas," he stated, "they should have dismissed us. It seemed to me the whole thing was a set-up." Lowe faces only the possibility of $1,000 in fines, but Ray, if convicted, could face a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
However, following the release, the governing council of the ROT announced it was forming militia groups in every county. This is just the latest in a series of increasingly serious confrontations on the part of the neo-secessionist group with local, state and federal law enforcement. In the past, ROT members have tried to set up their own courts and have issued bogus liens against people deemed their opponents. On October 16, ROT leader Richard McLaren threatened that thousands of members of "Texas Defense Forces" would take up arms if Texas Attorney General Dan Morales attempted to enforce a motion for civil contempt filed against the ROT. "The order is that if they try to take any action against us, the Texas Defense Forces will intervene," McLaren threatened. "We have our own Texas Rangers now, and they will be ordered to take action."
Would-be Bomber Gets 36 Years
Abstracted from Reuters.
A failed bomber received a 36 year jail sentence for his attempt to blow up an IRS building in Reno, Nevada last december. The bomber, tax protester Joseph Bailie, 42, who had not paid taxes since 1985, was found guilty in June on three bomb-related charges.
Bailie, a "sovereign citizen" who repeatedly argued in court that the judicial system had no jurisdiction over him, had built a 100-pound bomb with fertilizer and fuel oil, which he left in the car park of the IRS building, but its fuse burned out and the bomb did not explode. Bailie claimed he was with friends sixty miles away at the time the bomb was planted. The chief witness against Bailie was fellow plotter Ellis Hurst, 52, who pleaded guilty in March; he will be sentenced later this month.
Adding insult to injury, Bailie was ordered to pay the IRS $141,000 in restitution.
Abortion Opponent Finds "Common Law" Tactics Not Helpful
Abstracted from the (Madison, Wis.) Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal.
A jury returned six guilty verdicts on October 16, 1996, against an anti-abortion activist who placed bogus liens totalling $100 million on the property of Catherine Doyle, a lawyer, abortion rights activist and sister to the attorney general of the state of Wisconsin. The charges--three of forgery and three of slander of title--could put David Kanz, 36, in prison for up to 36 years. He also faces a possible $60,000 fine.
Kanz forged Doyle's name on several documents that claimed Doyle owed Kanz $100 million, then filed them with the Secretary of State's office. It was not the first time that Kanz had harassed Doyle with Posse-style documents; he hated her because she was suing the radio station he worked at for accusing her of kicking a child at an anti-abortion rally in Milwaukee in 1993.
Kanz picked the wrong state in which to use Posse Comitatus style tactics, since Wisconsin has been dealing with them for years, first with the original Posse, then its offspring Family Farm Preservation. State officials have little patience for such maneuvers, particularly when used against their relatives.
Tax Protester Sentenced to Life in Prison
Abstracted from the Associated Press.
Gordon Sellner, the 57-year old tax protester who became famous for shooting a Montana sheriff's deputy in 1992, was sentenced on October 16, 1996, to life in prison, with an additional ten years tacked on for using a weapon in the attempted murder.
After shooting the Missoula County deputy, Sellner fled, eventually ending up back at his Swan Valley home, beginning a three year standoff that was less publicized than other Montana standoffs, including those of Calvin Greenup and the Montana Freemen. Sellner was finally arrested in July 1995, following a gun battle.
Bank Robbery Foiled, Cell Members Arrested
Abstracted from the (Bend, Oregon) Bulletin, National Public Radio, The Seattle Times, wire services and Militia Watchdog sources.
Authorities achieved partial success in cracking a "cell group" of militant white supremacists when on October 8 they arrested three of its members during an attempt to rob a bank in Portland, Oregon. Suspects Jay Merrell, Charles Barbee, 44, and Robert Berry, 42, all from Sandpoint, Idaho, were caught at an AM-PM Mini Market, but one or more suspects still remain at large.
The group had achieved notoriety for its tactic of setting off bombs to create diversions while they robbed banks. They also left behind letters marked with the emblem of the Phineas Priesthood, a white supremacist sect whose members dedicate themselves to opposing racial mixing, abortion and homosexuality. All three of the arrested suspects have ties to America's Promise Ministries, a Christian Identity church in Sandpoint. Christian Identity is a racist religion which believes that Jews are the descendants of Satan, and minorities the product of a different "creation" than white people. The suspects also claimed to be "sovereign citizens," and at one robbery spoke out in favor of the Montana Freemen.
Though hailing from Idaho, the robbers liked Spokane, Washington, as a target. In April 1996 they struck at the Spokane Valley branch of U.S. Bank, first bombing a newspaper office to distract attention. At least four men rushed into the bank dressed in camouflage uniforms, robbed the bank, and set off another explosion as they left. Several months later they bombed a Planned Parenthood office, then robbed the same bank again. The armed robbers netted more than $100,000 in the two heists.
Banks put up large rewards and the FBI set over 100 agents to working on the case, but the suspects were extremely elusive and kept a low profile. "It was the perfect example of a cell group," said one law enforcement official. But long before any of the robberies the suspects had given indications to the authorities that they were up to no good. In 1995, Barbee gave an interview in which he openly stated he belonged to a cell training to fight the federal government. "We have to be ready to conduct guerilla warfare," he said. 'That's how it will be won." In May 1995, local Washington deputies actually arrested two of the suspects--Barbee and Berry--at a Motel 6. A maid found a pistol left under a pillow after they left and called the police. When they returned two hours later to get the gun, authorities were waiting for them. Moreover, they had discovered that the gun had been stolen during a burglary of a deputy sheriff's home. Barbee and Berry had with them .22 caliber pistols, an automatic pistol with a silencer, a small amount of plastic explosives, night vision goggles, and ammunition, as well as some maurijuana. However, a weak prosecution resulted in only a couple of minor charges and the two were sentenced to time already served.
But the FBI finally made progress, though through what means is not currently known. The FBI learned that the group was about to rob a Portland branch of the U.S. Bank. Warned by the authorities, the bank closed its doors. The robbers, under surveillance the whole time, left without robbing the institution. The FBI followed them for 200 miles before making the arrests when the suspects stopped at a convenience store. The three vehicles of the suspects were filled with weapons and grenades. Searching the homes of the suspects revealed a plethora of guns and ammunitions, as well as flak jackets, camouflage uniforms and bomb-making materials.
In court, the suspects were defiant, Morell claiming that "Yahweh is my defense." Judge Cynthia Imbrogno ordered them held without bond. The suspects are charged with two counts of armed bank robbery, three counts of detonating bombs, one count of possessing hand grenades, two counts of interstate transportation of stolen cars, and conspiracy. Berry, a convicted felon, was also charged with being in possession of a weapon.
If found guilty on all counts, the three men could receive prison sentences of more than 100 years apiece.
Lien Queen Meets Fate of Marie Antoinette, More or Less
Abstracted from the Los Angeles Times, City News Service of Los Angeles, and the Washington Post.
The woman who did for bogus checks what Henry Ford did for the automobile finally had her come-uppance in a southern California courthouse when in early October a jury returned guilty verdicts on 26 charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering. Defiant to the end, M. Elizabeth Broderick now faces up to 200 years in prison.
The native Canadian had tried other scams in the past, but she seemed to hit the jackpot after visiting Montana Freeman Leroy Schweitzer at his cabin in Montana, where she learned from the master the tactics of creating counterfeit checks and money orders. Broderick took the scheme to California, where she created an assembly line of bogus check passers. She held weekly seminars that cost attendees up to $200 per person, where she taught them how to pass the illicit money orders (which cost $100 each, payable to Broderick in all but her own currency). Between Broderick, her accomplices and her students, over 8,000 bogus checks with a paper value of over $800 million were issued. Most attempts to pass the checks failed, but Broderick made her money at the door, and it is estimated she netted at least $1.2 million.
The group was involved in other Freeman-style tactics as well, including filing bogus liens against Internal Revenue Service employees.
The crack-down on the Montana Freemen swept Broderick's operation up in its net, but Broderick remained undaunted, defending herself during the five-week trial, the whole time denying that the government had any jurisdiction over her. But prosecutors claimed she was simply being hypocritical, noting that despite the "sovereign citizen" ideology she so loudly proclaimed, she had never revoked her social security card or her California driver's license.
Co-conspirators Julian Cheney and Barry Switzer were convicted on 16 and 11 counts, respectively; another accomplice, Adolf Karl Hoch, pleaded guilty. His daughter, Laura Hoey, faces trial in November. Sentencing for Broderick and her accomplices will not take place until January.