Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Just Another 'Isolated Incident:' Georgia Militiamen Arrested For Plotting Ricin Attack

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.] 

We know that right-wing thinkers like Peter King and Bill O'Reilly believe the only serious domestic-terrorism threat Americans face is from "radical Islam" and its adherents. So no doubt they will again turn a blind eye to the most recent case of right-wing domestic terrorism, this time involving a plan involving one of the most toxic biological agents -- ricin, which is lethal in small doses -- and explosives.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
Four North Georgia men accused of being members of a fringe militia group were arrested Tuesday by federal authorities for planning to make the deadly toxin ricin and obtain explosives, federal authorities said.

Authorities said that, beginning in March, the men held clandestine militia meetings and discussed using toxic agents and assassinations in an effort to undermine federal and state government and advance their interests.

The four men taken into federal custody are: Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, and Toccoa residents Dan Roberts, 67; Ray H. Adams, 65; and Samuel J. Crump, 68.
"These defendants, who are alleged to be part of a fringe militia group, are charged with planning attacks against their own fellow citizens and government," U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said. "To carry out their agenda, two of the defendants allegedly purchased purported explosives and a silencer, while the other two defendants took steps to attempt to produce a deadly biological toxin."
AP's Greg Bluestein has more details:
They have been talking about "covert" operations since at least March 2011, according to court records, discussing murder, theft and using toxic agents and assassinations to undermine the state and federal government.

At one meeting, investigators say, Thomas openly discussed creating a "bucket list" of government employees, politicians, corporate leaders and members of the media he felt needed to be "taken out."

"I've been to war, and I've taken life before, and I can do it again," he told an undercover investigator, according to the records.

Thomas' wife, Charlotte, called the charges "baloney."

"He spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy. He would not do anything against his country," she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

Thomas and Roberts are accused of buying what they believed was a silencer and an unregistered explosive from an undercover informant in May and June 2011. Prosecutors say he discussed using the weapons in attacks against federal buildings.

Prosecutors say Crump also discussed making 10 pounds of ricin and dispersing it in Atlanta and various cities across the nation. Adams, meanwhile, is accused of showing Crump the formula to make ricin and identifying the ways to obtain the ingredients.
Of course, we've been reporting for some time that militias have been quietly resurgent across the rural landscape since about 2008, which was confirmed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in its 2009 investigative report on the subject. And as we noted then, this resurgence will be accompanied by the inevitable wave of domestic-terrorist attacks and attempts.

Most recently we had the would-be bomber of the Spokane Martin Luther King Day parade, as well as the rampaging militiaman still hiding out somewhere in the Montana woods. It's all added to the growing list of right-wing violence since 2008.

Which again begs the question: If we need to hold hearings on the threat of domestic terrorism, why doesn't that include our most prolific domestic terrorists, both historically and currently -- right-wing extremists?

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism; the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

Opportunistic Neo-Nazi Claims To Support #OccupyPhoenix...Asked To Leave

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Our favorite Arizona Nazi border watcher, J.T. Ready, recently reached new opportunistic depths by showing up and pretending to support Occupy Phoenix -- even though he was apparently confronted by other participants, who made it clear he wasn't welcome.

Let's be clear: J.T. Ready is a neo-Nazi, a classic totalitarian/authoritarian, someone who despises and loathes and sneers at the kind of democracy-in-action that the Occupy movement represents. He likes chaos, though, and he sees the movement's unsettling effect as something he can use. And showing up at protests always is good for a little attention. That's why he did this.

Predictably, as Matt Gertz at Media Matters reports, the same right-wing bloggers who have been trying to smear the Occupiers as anti-Semites picked this up and ran with it:
For some time, the right-wing media has been attempting to brand Occupy Wall Street and related protests as anti-Semitic. In the latest example, conservative blogger Jim Hoft is pointing to video of heavily armed Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready patrolling the Occupy Phoenix protest and saying nice things about the movement.

Hoft sarcastically concludes, "Yup. They're just like the tea party."

It's worth pointing out that much of the rhetoric Ready spouts during the video -- decrying fiat money, saying that he and others were "exercising our Second Amendment right so that everybody can have a First Amendment right," claiming that Operation Fast and Furious was intended to "take away our rights" and the perpetrators are traitors who should be put to death -- sounds much more like the rhetoric of a conservative protestor than an OWS supporter.

And indeed, that's the problem for Hoft: Ready previously attended and reportedly spoke at Tea Party rallies ...
Gertz then details all the times Ready has appeared in support of tea party events.

And who can forget Ready's recent excursion into the world of vigilante border watches? That, as it happens, is also the territory embraced by tea partiers, not Occupy.

Along the same lines, Ready has a history of associating with -- and being empowered by -- major tea party figures in Arizona, most notably Senate President Russell Pearce, the author of SB1070, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the publicity-hound sheriff of Maricopa County.

Indeed, Ready has been working tirelessly at making himself a familiar presence on the Arizona landscape. This is just the latest desperate bid for attention.

Andrew Breitbart, just as predictably, resorted to the same technique in his ongoing effort to smear Occupy as anti-Semitic. published a list detailing "#Occupy Wall Street's Supporters, Sponsors, and Sympathizers" that included a handful of neo-Nazi organizations.

Of course, this is an old technique of the racist far right: Embrace a mainstream entity as an entry point for legitimizing your agenda. It was perfected by David Duke during his political career as a Republican, and has been replicated ever since by the many racists seeking to mainstream themselves -- most recently, as the NAACP's 2010 report laid bare, through the auspices of the tea party.

You'd think conservatives would be a little sensitive to this issue. After all, they complain bitterly whenever someone points out that their side of the aisle attracts all kinds of racists and domestic terrorists.