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Thread: The Militia Movement Continues to Grow: Record number of anti-government militias in USA

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    Default The Militia Movement Continues to Grow: Record number of anti-government militias in USA

    The Militia Movement Continues to Grow: Record number of anti-government militias in USA

    Dissent is on the rise.

    By Donna Leinwand Leger, USA Today



    http://attackthesystem.com/2014/11/2...litias-in-usa/
    http://whitenationalist.org/forum/sh...1754#post11754
    http://christian-identity.net/forum/...1754#post11754


    Radical anti-government “patriot” groups and militias, galvanized against gun control, will continue to grow even as the number of groups operating in the USAreached an all-time high in 2012, a report Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds.

    The center tracked 1,360 radical militias and anti-government groups in 2012, an eightfold increase over 2008, when it recorded 149 such groups. The explosive growth began four years ago, sparked by the election of President Obama and anger about the poor economy, the center says. That growth is likely to continue as the groups recruit more members with a pro-gun message, the center’s senior fellow Mark Potok said.

    President Obama’s second term and a gun control movement bolstered by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School is intensifying anti-government rage and will lead to more growth for the groups, Potok said.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights advocacy group based in Montgomery, Ala., defines the patriot movement as groups of people who believe the federal government is conspiring to confiscate Americans’ guns and curtail liberties to create a socialist government or “new order.” Most are non-violent citizens groups. Some groups also include militias, which arm themselves and conduct military-style training, the center said.

    Conservative critics say the center uses its rhetoric to undermine right-wing and conservative groups.


    The Southern Poverty Law Center uses its extremism report as a way to raise funds, says Bill Hahn, a spokesman for the John Birch Society, a conservative, anti-communist group based in Appleton, Wis, that advocates limited government. The group is on the center’s list of anti-government groups.

    The center “is very adept at creating the specter that armed groups will overthrow the government or that the continuously dying supremacy movement is lurking behind every rock,” Hahn said in a written statement. “The SPLC will continue to utilize fear to fill their bank accounts.”

    The John Birch Society opposes violence and urges its members to take action to restore and preserve constitutional freedoms, Hahn said.

    Everett Wilkinson, whose Florida-based National Liberty Federation is not listed in the report, says many of the groups simply engage in peaceful rallies and letter-writing campaigns aimed at promoting free markets, fiscal responsibility and limited government.

    “The Southern Perversion Law Center is a liberal organization that likes to spread propaganda about right-wing and conservative groups,” Wilkinson said.

    He recently sent an e-mail addressed to “Patriots” seeking land “to hold training sessions for prepping, Constitution classes, militia training, medical, alternative communications, etc.” Wilkinson said some of his members had expressed interest in firearms training.

    “We do respect people’s right to defend themselves, but we are not a military-type organization or anything like that,” he said. “We’re a grassroots activist organization focused on legislative issues and changing what’s happening in government. We’ve had thousands of rallies since 2009 and we’ve yet to have a violent incident.”

    The patriot groups’ rhetoric and some groups’ threats of domestic terrorist plots mirror the mood in the six months before the Oklahoma City bombing, a domestic terror attack in 1995 by anti-government militia sympathizer Timothy McVeigh that killed 168 people, center President J. Richard Cohen said in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The center has called for a task force to assess the groups.

    “In the last four years we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of conspiracy-minded, anti-government groups as well as in the number of domestic terrorist plots,” Cohen wrote. “We now also are seeing ominous threats from those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns.”

    The number of anti-government groups grew 7% from 1,274 in 2011 to 1,360 in 2012. The center gathers its data from the groups’ publications, websites, law enforcement, news reports and other sources.

    Daryl Johnson, a former domestic terror intelligence analyst at the Department of Homeland Security whose report on the resurgence of the radical right in April 2009 was withdrawn by the department after criticism by conservative groups, said the center’s estimate of radical anti-government groups is low and does not account for some of the most radical groups that operate underground.

    Some groups stockpile weapons and their “ability to inflect mass violence is quite high,” Johnson said.

    A January study from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point found a dramatic rise since 2007 in the number of attacks and violent plots originating from people and groups identified with the far right of American politics.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest count surpasses the record number of groups formed in the 1990s in response to the passage of sweeping gun-control measures in 1993 and a ban on assault weapons in 1994. In 1996, the number of patriot groups peaked at 858, then declined until 2009, the center reports.

    Recently, some of the groups have threatened politicians who have proposed gun-control measures, the report says. In one instance, neo-Nazi Craig Cobb posted Rep. Diana DeGette’s address and photograph on the racist, anti-Semitic VanguardNews Network forum after the Colorado Democrat proposed a ban on high- capacity magazines, the report says.

    The report cites groups that predicted civil war and tyranny after Obama’s executive orders on gun control, including Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes, who tweeted, “Freedom ends. Tyranny begins” and ConservativeDaily.com’s Tony Adkins, who wrote, “Martial law in the United States now a very real possibility.”

    The center quotes the United States Patriots Union, which in a letter to legislators in several states called the federal government “a tool of International Socialism now, operating under UN Agendas not our American agenda.” The group said states should defend freedom and liberty “or we are headed to Civil War wherein the people will have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.”

    “Their rhetoric is a barometer of the rage that is building in certain quarters,” Cohen said.


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    Default This is how the US military would put down an armed rebellion

    This is how the US military would put down an armed rebellion

    by Blake Stilwell - Aug 12, 2016 3:00:54 am



    http://www.wearethemighty.com/articl...rmed-rebellion
    http://christian-identity.net/forum/...5038#post15038
    http://www.businessinsider.com/us-mi...bellion-2016-8
    http://whitenationalist.org/forum/sh...5038#post15038


    What if the “2nd amendment people” Donald Trump mentioned recently during a campaign rally were actually able to spark an armed rebellion to overthrow the United States?

    In a 2012 article for the Small Wars Journal, two academics took a stab at such a scenario and tried to figure out how state and federal authorities would likely respond to a small force taking over an American town.

    In their paper, retired Army colonel and University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies professor Kevin Benson and Kansas University history professor Jennifer Weber wargamed a scenario where a Tea Party-motivated militia took over the town of Darlington, South Carolina.

    The circumstances may seem far-fetched, but in today’s deeply partisan political environment, it’s at least worth looking into how the feds would respond if an American town tried to go it alone.

    Precedents for fighting an insurrection

    Benson and Weber cite Abraham Lincoln’s executive actions during the Civil War and Dwight Eisenhower’s 1957 intervention in Little Rock, Arkansas as precedents for the executive use of force in crushing a rebellion. The President would be able to mobilize the military and Department of Homeland Security to recapture a secessionist city and restore the elected government.

    The government would invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to form a response.


    From Title 10 US Code the President may use the militia or Armed Forces to:

    § 331 – Suppress an insurrection against a State government at the request of the Legislature or, if not in session, the Governor.

    § 332 – Suppress unlawful obstruction or rebellion against the U.S.

    § 333 – Suppress insurrection or domestic violence if it
    (1) hinders the execution of the laws to the extent that a part or class of citizens are deprived of Constitutional rights and the State is unable or refuses to protect those rights or
    (2) obstructs the execution of any Federal law or impedes the course of justice under Federal laws.)
    The Insurrection Act governs the roles of the military, local law enforcement, and civilian leadership inside the U.S. as this type of scenario plays out.

    How it could go down

    An extreme right-wing militia takes over the town of Darlington, South Carolina, placing the mayor under house arrest and disbanding the city council. Local police are disarmed or are sympathetic to the militia’s cause and integrated into the militia.

    The rebels choke traffic on interstates 95 and 20, collecting “tolls” to fund their arsenal and operation. Militiamen also stop rail lines and detain anyone who protests their actions.

    The insurgents use social media and press conferences to invoke the Declaration of Independence as their rationale, arguing they have the right to “alter or abolish the existing government and replace it with another that, in the words of the Declaration, ‘shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.’ ”


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    Default U.S. militia girds for trouble as presidential election nears

    U.S. militia girds for trouble as presidential election nears

    By Justin Mitchell and Andy Sullivan
    Reuters November 2, 2016



    https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-militia...102009970.html
    http://christian-identity.net/forum/...5448#post15448
    http://whitenationalist.org/forum/sh...5448#post15448


    JACKSON, Ga. (Reuters) - Down a Georgia country road, camouflaged members of the Three Percent Security Force have mobilized for rifle practice, hand-to-hand combat training -- and an impromptu campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

    "How many people are voting for Trump? Ooh-rah!" asks Chris Hill, a paralegal who goes by the code name "Bloodagent."

    "Ooh-rah!" shout a dozen militia members in response, as morning sunlight sifted through the trees last weekend.

    As the most divisive presidential election in recent memory nears its conclusion, some armed militia groups are preparing for the possibility of a stolen election on Nov. 8 and civil unrest in the days following a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    They say they won't fire the first shot, but they're not planning to leave their guns at home, either.

    Trump's populist campaign has energized militia members like Hill, who admire the Republican mogul's promise to deport illegal immigrants, stop Muslims from entering the country and build a wall along the Mexico border. Trump has repeatedly warned that the election may be "rigged," and has said he may not respect the results if he does not win. At least one paramilitary group, the Oath Keepers, has called on members to monitor voting sites for signs of fraud

    Armed paramilitary groups first gained prominence in the early 1990s, fueled by confrontations in Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas, culminating in a militia sympathizer's 1995 bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.

    Their numbers dwindled following that attack but have spiked in recent years, driven by fears that President Barack Obama will threaten gun ownership and erode the power of local government. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, estimates there were 276 active militias last year, up from 42 in 2008.

    In recent years, armed groups have confronted federal authorities in a series of land-use disputes in the western United States. Federal officials fear more clashes could come after seven militants were acquitted on conspiracy charges for occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

    Many fear Clinton would push the county further to the left.

    "This is the last chance to save America from ruin," Hill said. "I'm surprised I was able to survive or suffer through eight years of Obama without literally going insane, but Hillary is going to be more of the same."

    EXTREMIST GROUPS EMBOLDENED

    The Oath Keepers, a prominent anti-government force that sent gun-toting members to the 2014 race riots in Ferguson, Missouri, called on members last week to monitor voting sites on election day for any signs of fraud.

    An hour south of Atlanta, the Three Percent Security Force started the day around the campfire, taking turns shooting automatic pistols and rifles at a makeshift target range. They whooped with approval when blasts from one member's high-powered rifle knocked down a tree.

    The group operates independently, but is affiliated with a national armed movement that calls for members to defend individual rights in the face of what they see as an overreaching federal government. The movement draws its name from the notion that no more than 3 percent of the American population fought in the Revolutionary War against Britain.

    Amid the war games, Hill weighed plans for a possible armed march on Washington if Clinton wins.

    He said he doesn't want his members leading the way, but they will defend the protesters if need be. His group will not hesitate to act if a President Clinton tries to disarm gun owners, he said.

    "I will be there to render assistance to my fellow countrymen, and prevent them from being disarmed, and I will fight and I will kill and I may die in the process," said Hill, who founded the militia several years ago.

    Trump's candidacy has emboldened extremist groups to speak more openly about challenging the rule of law, said Ryan Lenz, a researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    "Prior to this campaign season, these ideas were relegated to sort of the political fringe of the American political landscape," he said. "Now these ideas are legitimized."

    Over the past week, some prominent Trump supporters have hinted at violence.

    "If Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket," former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh wrote on Twitter last week. Conservative commentator Wayne Root fantasized about Clinton's death while speaking at a Trump rally in Las Vegas on Sunday.

    Back in Georgia, the Three Percent Security Force wrapped up rifle practice in the midday sun. They then headed further into the trees to tackle an obstacle course with loaded pistols at their sides, ready for whatever may come.

    "We've building up for this, just like the Marines," he said. "We are going to really train harder and try to increase our operational capabilities in the event that this is the day that we hoped would never come."

    (Editing by Stuart Grudgings)


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    Default Washington Rep. Matt Shea engaged in domestic terrorism against U.S., says state House report

    Washington Rep. Matt Shea engaged in domestic terrorism against U.S., says state House report


    By David Gutman , Jim Brunner and Joseph O’Sullivan
    Seattle Times staff reporters
    Dec. 19, 2019 at 3:24 pm
    Updated Dec. 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm



    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle...house-inquiry/
    http://christian-identity.net/forum/...0743#post20743
    http://whitenationalist.org/forum/sh...0743#post20743


    State Rep. Matt Shea planned and participated in domestic terrorism against the United States before and during the armed takeover at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, an investigation commissioned by the Washington state House found.

    The 108-page report found that beginning in November 2015, Shea, working with militia leader Ammon Bundy, helped “in the planning and preparation” of the Malheur takeover, a six-week conflict in which dozens of armed protesters occupied the refuge in rural Eastern Oregon. The standoff ended after one protester was shot and killed and dozens were arrested.

    “Representative Shea, as a leader in the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the state of Washington over a three-year period,” according to the report released Thursday. “In one conflict Representative Shea led covert strategic pre-planning in advance of the conflict.”

    Immediately after the report was released, Rep. J.T. Wilcox, the Republican minority leader of the House, said Shea “has been suspended from any role in the House Republican Caucus.”

    “He should resign,” Wilcox wrote on Twitter. “He cannot use House Republican staff, he cannot meet with the caucus, his office will be moved.” Shea’s name and picture were removed from the House GOP website.

    Shea said he would not step down, calling the investigation a “sham.”

    “I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook Thursday night. “Stand strong fellow Patriots.”

    The report concluded that Shea, a Spokane Valley Republican first elected in 2008, is closely associated with several armed militias and uses his prominence in the Patriot Movement to dispatch militia members to conflicts with government officials. The Patriot Movement is a loose organization of conservative groups and individuals in mostly rural areas that includes organized militia members and so-called sovereign citizens, who are generally united by deep suspicion and fear of the federal government.

    The movement grew after standoffs at Ruby Ridge in Idaho and Waco, Texas, in the 1990s; the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by Patriot Movement members.

    Shea, 45, also traveled to an armed standoff in 2014 in Bunkerville, Nevada, and “publicly supported” the armed militia’s standoff involving rancher Cliven Bundy, and engaged in a 2015 armed conflict in Bonner County, Idaho, the report found.

    The report has been forwarded to the FBI and to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said incoming Democratic House Speaker Laurie Jinkins.

    “This is about a state lawmaker who, according to the investigative findings, engaged in an act of domestic terrorism rather than choosing political or legal avenues to change laws and policies he disagrees with,” Jinkins said. “This is why we believe formal action needs to be taken that sends a clear message upholding the values of a free and democratic society, and supports the safety of all Washingtonians.”

    In Washington’s 130-year history, only one lawmaker has been expelled from the Legislature, an action which requires a vote of at least two-thirds of the House.

    The House Republican caucus was briefed on the report in a Thursday conference call. One legislator on the call, which did not include Shea, said “one or two” representatives questioned whether the report was biased, but the overall sentiment to suspend Shea from the caucus was “overwhelming.”

    Shea participated in four phone calls with Ammon Bundy in advance of the January 2016 Malheur occupation, the report found. The day after the occupation began, Shea, using the code name Verumbellator, created a detailed military-style plan called Operation Cold Reality that laid out roles and responsibilities for militia members and for an organization that Shea chaired, the Coalition of Western States.

    Days later, Shea traveled to Burns, Oregon, the site of the standoff, identified himself as a state representative and met with local and national law enforcement, the report found. He “gathered intelligence” about law enforcement strategies and operations from that meeting and then met with Ammon Bundy and other armed occupiers of the refuge, the report found, despite warnings from law enforcement.

    In 2016, Shea told a House Ethics investigator that he traveled to Oregon only on a “fact-finding mission.”

    Two other Washington Republicans, then-state Rep. Graham Hunt and Steve McLaughlin, the party’s 2016 nominee for state lands commissioner, were included on emails planning the Malheur occupation, the report found.

    Commissioned this summer and conducted by an outside firm led by a former FBI agent, the investigation examined whether Shea promoted or planned political violence, and the extent of his association with people involved in those activities. Investigators interviewed 34 witnesses and reviewed more than 120,000 documents in compiling the report.

    House leaders of both parties initiated the investigation into Shea this year after reports that he participated in group chats that discussed violence against and surveillance of political opponents. Those reports were among a recent deluge of news articles detailing ties between Shea and extremist movements.

    The outside firm, the Rampart Group, submitted its report in early December, but it was tightly held by House leadership for weeks, its contents unknown to the public, legislators and even Shea himself.

    Thursday morning, before the public release of the report, Shea, who rarely speaks to the media, issued a statement calling the House’s investigation “unprecedented” and saying they were investigating “lawful communications between a member of the House and citizens of this country.”

    “Due process is the right of every citizen, and should be afforded to all members of the House regardless of their views or party affiliation,” Shea said. “I will not back down. I will continue to fight for our shared values that have made this country such a blessing to the rest of the world.”

    But the report found that Malheur was the third armed conflict in which Shea played a role. It found no evidence that Shea presents an imminent threat to any individual or group, but “considerable evidence” that, since 2014, Shea has presented a “significant threat of political violence against employees of the federal government and state and local law enforcement officers.”

    “Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence,” investigators wrote.

    In 2014, Shea played a crucial role in escalating the armed conflict in Nevada, where armed protesters led by rancher Cliven Bundy were in a standoff with federal agents, according to the report. Five days after that conflict began, Shea posted to a blog, instructing “patriots” to rally at the Bundy ranch. At the time of his post, 100 protesters were at the site, the report found. Less than a day later, 1,500 armed militia members were “armed and ready to fight the federal government.”

    Shea then traveled to the ranch, staying for three days and speaking in support of Bundy.

    In August 2015, Shea traveled to Priest River, Idaho, to protest on a behalf of a veteran who had suffered a stroke and was added to a federal list making him ineligible to buy a firearm. About 100 protesters, many of them armed, followed suit, after Shea posted a “call to arms” on Facebook. Investigators later found a document entitled “IDAHO DEPLOYMENT — Operation Armed Backyard,” with the initials VB, which they believe refer to Shea’s code name of Verumbellator.

    Investigators wrote it was likely they “were preparing for a conflict that carried with it significant risk of violence.”

    Last year, Shea acknowledged distributing a document titled “Biblical Basis for War” that provides guidelines for conducting holy war. The document included guidelines like, “If they do not yield — kill all males.” Shea has said he distributed it purely as a historical sermon and that it has been taken out of context.

    News stories reported that Shea allegedly discussed tracking political opponents with methods like GPS devices; purportedly keeps a list of Washington law-enforcement officers; and was tied to a group of young men in Eastern Washington that has trained with firearms in preparation for religious war.

    Some of those reports emerged with the help of two former Shea allies who grew troubled by the lawmaker and his actions.

    Before Thursday, several Spokane-area officials and groups — Ozzie Knezovich, the Republican sheriff of Spokane County; the former Republican mayor of Spokane, and the Spokane Police Guild — had called for Shea’s resignation.

    State Democratic Party chair Tina Podlodowski called Thursday for Shea to resign and face prosecution.

    Knezovich, a vocal Shea critic, also reportedly advocated criminal charges. “I believe there’s enough to charge Shea with domestic terrorism, if not treason,” he said, according to a Spokane television station reporter.

    Over the years, corporate and advocacy groups donating to his campaign have perhaps unwittingly bankrolled a campaign operation that Shea has used to air his far-right views on a radio show, advance his dreams to secede by forming a 51st state and even travel to “anti-terrorism” training.

    In an interview on Infowars this month, Shea called the investigation a “Marxist smear campaign” and “political warfare according to a Maoist insurgency model.” He also compared it to the inquiries into President Donald Trump, which he did again Thursday on Facebook.

    Shea also said during the interview that he had “not been provided a meaningful opportunity to respond” to the investigation.

    But Shea, according to the report, declined to be interviewed, despite repeated attempts from investigators.

    Staff reporters Joseph O’Sullivan and Mike Carter contributed to this report.

    David Gutman: 206-464-2926 or dgutman@seattletimes.com; on Twitter: @davidlgutman
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    Default G.O.P. Lawmaker Had Visions of a Christian Alternative Government

    G.O.P. Lawmaker Had Visions of a Christian Alternative Government

    A Washington State legislator was accused of participating in the occupation of a federal wildlife refuge. Behind the scenes, he and right-wing activists were preparing for civil strife.

    By Mike Baker
    Dec. 23, 2019



    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/23/u...extremism.html
    http://christian-identity.net/forum/...0765#post20765
    http://whitenationalist.org/forum/sh...0765#post20765


    SPOKANE, Wash. — Matt Shea was 34 years old when he ran for the State Legislature in eastern Washington, but he had already established credentials that made him a promising Republican candidate.

    A lawyer trained at Gonzaga University who had served a tour in Iraq with Washington’s Army National Guard, Mr. Shea pitched voters in 2008 on a platform of limiting taxes and punishing criminals, opposing same-sex marriage and supporting gun rights. He went on to win with nearly 60 percent of the vote, then moved up the ranks in the Legislature, reaching the powerful position of chair of his party’s caucus in 2017.

    But back in his home district, Mr. Shea also began attracting the attention of law enforcement for his growing embrace of fringe ideologies and conspiracy theories. He networked with local militia groups, talked about plans to create a 51st state called Liberty and distributed to his closest followers a “Biblical Basis for War” document that calls for the “surrender” of those who favor abortion rights, same-sex marriage, “idolatry” and communism. “If they do not yield — kill all males,” it said.

    Last week, a report commissioned by the State Legislature asserted that Mr. Shea had engaged in domestic terrorism in his support of the armed takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by militant ranchers and their supporters in 2016 — part of a protest over federal ownership of public lands in the West.

    The scrubby pines and sparsely settled hills of the inland Northwest have long been seen as a potential homeland by fringe white supremacists and armed loners who are militantly suspicious of government power. But for the sheriff here in Spokane County, Ozzie Knezovich, Mr. Shea’s activities are part of a troubling trend: Far-right organizers have begun plying their message of civil conflict in mainstream political circles, building new networks that include elected politicians and voters who would never consider themselves part of an extremist group.

    “I think a lot of people underestimate the size and the growth of what’s going on,” said Sheriff Knezovich, a longtime Republican who supports President Trump.

    The report prepared for the Legislature found that Mr. Shea had played a role in planning the Malheur standoff, which sought to challenge the federal government’s control and management of public lands. Leaders in the standoff were charged but acquitted of crimes related to the event, which resulted in state troopers fatally shooting one participant.

    But Mr. Shea and about two dozen of his trusted allies have quietly pursued ambitious plans that went far beyond the standoff at Malheur, preparing for what they saw as a fracturing United States.

    They compiled manuals on everything from how to escape handcuffs to the operation of military weaponry and, according to the report to the legislators, laid the groundwork to form an alternative government that would be poised to take over after the expected fall of the United States government.

    “He’s not about preserving America. They are about starting their own country,” said Sheriff Knezovich, who was concerned enough about Mr. Shea’s activities that he has gathered what he had found over the years and sent it to the F.B.I.

    He said he had seen the appeal of conservative antigovernment philosophies like Mr. Shea’s grow around his part of the world; people who had not been part of fringe movements in the past started to show up for meetings and embrace his messages.

    Mr. Shea did not respond to a request for an interview but has insisted he visited the instigators of the occupation only as a fact-finder, not as an organizer. Ammon Bundy, the Nevada rancher who led the Malheur occupation, also disputed that Mr. Shea played a role in organizing the event.

    Mr. Shea called the state investigation a “coup” in a message to supporters. “The outcome of this report, like the President’s impeachment, was pre-ordained,” Mr. Shea posted to Facebook on Saturday. “What they cannot not control is our response as Patriots & Christians.”

    After a dinner gathering of far-right Christians in a remote corner of Washington State in June 2018, Mr. Shea and the online radio personality John Jacob Schmidt, whose real name is Jack Robertson, talked directly about a looming confrontation.

    Mr. Robertson is a prominent voice in the “American Redoubt” movement, which seeks to establish the inland Northwest as a place for religious conservatives to live with like-minded people.

    In the meeting, captured in an audio recording, they both described a divided country and warned about the dangers of left-wing agitators. Mr. Shea told the group that “liberty must be kept by force.” Mr. Robertson told attendees that he saw signs of a coming civil war and insisted that those in the room should have an AR-15 and a thousand rounds of ammunition ready.

    “Defend for when the bad guy comes, right?” Mr. Robertson said, as the crowd gave affirmative feedback. “Are you ready for that? But the bad guy is already here. How many of you have pulled your trigger on your AR-15 in the fight we are in yet? Not one. But there is a fight. Right now. The war is here. The bad guy is here.”


    ‘No Saving You’

    Shortly after Mr. Shea was elected in 2008, he began to slide toward more extremist ideologies than those he campaigned on, first aligning himself with fringe portions of the Tea Party movement and later going on to embrace conspiracy theories about the federal government.

    Sheriff Knezovich said he approached Mr. Shea and tried to counsel him away from adopting increasingly antigovernment sentiments.

    “My message was: ‘Matt, if you get involved in this stuff and get that label, there will be no saving you,’” the sheriff said.

    But Mr. Shea became an increasingly important figure in those circles, regularly networking with activists and political leaders.

    In 2014, Mr. Shea co-founded the Coalition of Western States, a group of conservative state lawmakers, sheriffs and others formed to counter what its advocates said was a “war on rural America” waged by an overreaching federal government.

    More recently, Mr. Shea has advanced a political campaign to cleave Washington State in half, hoping to create a 51st state in the conservative counties east of the Cascades.

    He found additional partners in groups such as Oath Keepers, which has claimed tens of thousands of members among current and former police officers and veterans around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the organization as “one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today.”

    In 2015, Mr. Shea and the leader of Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes — who has been public about his concern over the growing divisions in the country — met as part of a larger group at a Spokane-area restaurant. After Mr. Trump used his Twitter account in recent months to suggest that his impeachment might trigger a civil war, the Oath Keepers posted on Twitter that the president’s reference to a civil war was “the truth.”

    “This is where we are,” the group wrote. “We ARE on the verge of a HOT civil war. Like in 1859.”


    ‘This Is Not What Liberty Is’

    Mr. Shea and his network have been readying for such a clash, though he has insisted that they have been discussing preparations to respond, not instigate. He has admitted preparing the “Biblical Basis for War” document but said it was a summary of church sermons on Old Testament war that could help place current events in historical context.

    Jay Pounder, a former supporter and helper of Mr. Shea, said that in the summer of 2016, he was among about 30 of Mr. Shea’s closest allies who gathered in the Spokane area to discuss plans for how they would respond to what they believed was a coming civil war.

    He said they discussed possible catalysts for such a conflict — immigration, economics, left-wing antifa protests. They planned which of the members would take control of geographical regions of the Northwest, Mr. Pounder said, and chose Mr. Shea to be the eventual leader of their overall government.

    Mr. Pounder provided The New York Times with a variety of planning documents shared at the 2016 meeting laying out what actions should be taken in the event of a “collapse event” and describing a detailed structure of a makeshift government they would create.

    The documents called for setting up sheriff’s posses, community kitchens, a “militia-based military” and communications carried out by ham radio operators. The planners called for “constitutional changes” to “sanctify to Jesus Christ” in the new government.

    Mr. Pounder said the group also gathered military manuals on how to operate various weapons, such as an AT4 antitank weapon.

    Mr. Pounder said he spent two years as a close ally of Mr. Shea but pulled away when he became convinced that Mr. Shea was not just a Christian conservative but was hoping to install a Christian government in the wake of civil strife that he almost seemed to welcome.

    Among the other things that alarmed Mr. Pounder were conversations over encrypted messages, made public this year by The Guardian, in which some participants who were close allies of Mr. Shea talked about violent attacks on political opponents.

    In the end, he took much of what he had learned working with Mr. Shea to the F.B.I.

    “I’m deeply sorry for moving this stuff along,” Mr. Pounder said. “I thought I was doing God’s will by being involved and helping Matt. This is not Christianity. This is not what liberty is.”


    ‘To Support Armed Insurrections'

    The efforts by Mr. Pounder and Sheriff Knezovich to expose Mr. Shea ultimately led leaders in the Legislature to request an investigation.

    In the report released last week, investigators found that Mr. Shea engaged in intimidation tactics against a political opponent as well as counterintelligence gathering. Much of the report focused on his role at the Malheur standoff, concluding that he had helped plan the event. It found that Mr. Shea “participated in an act of domestic terrorism.”

    The report, prepared by a company led by a former F.B.I. agent, said investigators found that Mr. Shea went to both Malheur and an earlier standoff with federal authorities in Nevada “specifically to support armed insurrections at both locations in furtherance of his Patriot Movement agenda.”

    Mr. Bundy, one of the leaders in the Malheur standoff, disputed the findings of the report, saying in a text message on Saturday that Mr. Shea played no role in the planning of the takeover even though he supported the reasons for it. Mr. Bundy and others involved in the armed Malheur dispute were acquitted in 2016 of federal conspiracy and weapons charges related to the event challenging the federal government’s control and management of public lands.

    In response to the report, J.T. Wilcox, the leader of Republicans in the State House, said Mr. Shea had been suspended from any role in the caucus. He also urged Mr. Shea to resign.

    .


    Whatever shit that fits we maybe sometimes print

    http://nytimes.com


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