Another 'Isolated Incident': Alaska Militiamen Arrested In Conspiracy To Kill State Troopers, Judges
Gee, I wonder if Bill O'Reilly is still so certain that the radical right isn't the country's most significant domestic-terrorism threat:
Five people in the Fairbanks area were arrested Thursday by state and federal law enforcement on charges connected with an alleged plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks judge, according to the Alaska State Troopers.
Francis "Schaeffer" Cox, Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson are accused of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, and arson, as well as weapons misconduct, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence, according to trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters in a written statement late Thursday.
An investigation "revealed extensive plans to kidnap or kill Alaska state troopers and a Fairbanks judge," the statement said. The plans included "extensive surveillance" on the homes of two Fairbanks troopers, the statement said.
"Investigation also revealed that extensive surveillance on troopers in the Fairbanks area had occurred, specifically on the locations of the homes for two Alaska state troopers," the statement said. "Furthermore, Cox et. al. had acquired a large cache of weapons in order to carry out attacks against their targeted victims. Some of the weapons known to be in the cache are prohibited by state or federal law."
U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said Lonnie Vernon, 55, was arrested for threatening to kill a federal judge. She said more information about federal charges would be released today Fairbanks Police Chief Loren Zager said the operation involved multiple police actions related to Fairbanks-area members of the "sovereign citizen" movement.
Of course, we were pointing out earlier this week how law enforcement officers are the first in line to be targeted by these extremists -- which is why conservative hysterics over disseminating intelligence about these extremists can be so harmful.
Clearly, the troopers in Alaska were well aware of the nature of the problem they had on their hands. Because it's been around awhile. Notably, in the more recent past, Cox and his pals were part of the militia faction that supported Joe Miller in his Palin-sponsored run for the Senate.
David Holthouse at Media Matters has more.
It appears Cox's issues with law enforcement first cropped up in a court hearing in December:
Schaeffer Cox appeared at the Fairbanks courthouse Wednesday morning as scheduled despite saying last week he would treat another court date "like an invitation to a Tupperware party."
However, Cox, the 26-year-old head of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, did not address the issue of a trial date on a weapons charge as the hearing was intended to do. He instead attempted to serve criminal papers and a restraining order from a "de jure court" on District Court Judge Patrick Hammers.
He also told an Alaska State Trooper after the hearing the militia has the troopers "outmanmed, outgunned and we could probably have you all dead in one night." But Cox added he could not see himself shooting someone who lives in the same town as him.
About a half-dozen supporters and members of the militia accompanied Cox at the hearing. Initially, militia member Ken Thesing spoke for Cox, calling himself Cox's representative and "counsel before God."
Hammers identified himself as a judge at Cox' request, which was not enough to dissuade Cox in his belief that the Alaska court system is a for-profit corporation. Cox, who also refused to take off his trademark hat in the courtroom, insists the positions of the state judiciary were never actually filled and the court system is a "pre-processing company" with no jurisdiction over Alaskans.
"You're now being treated as a criminal engaged in criminal activity and you're being served in that manner," Cox said.
As with so many other cases where law enforcement is being targeted, "sovereign citizenship" ideology appears to be a significant component of Cox's belief system:
Cox, who is facing a misdemeanor weapons misconduct charge for not immediately letting a Fairbanks police officer know he was carrying a concealed weapon last March, has in recent weeks been advocating for the concept of "sovereign citizenship."
Cox claims he and all Americans are sovereigns, or kings and queens, and no one is required to obey laws unless not doing so would directly harm other sovereigns. Much of his claims center around the belief President Lincoln subverted the original Constitution and replaced it with a copy that incorporated the United States.
Much more on "sovereign citizens" here.
UPDATE: Reader ricky directs us to the following cartoon commentary: