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“Sovereign Citizen” Accused of Setting Huge Southern California Wildfire

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COMMENT: The sus­pect accused of set­ting the Holy Fire–the iron­i­cal­ly named For­rest Gor­don Clark–appears to have been a “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen from Kansas.

If the infor­ma­tion in the arti­cle below is accu­rate, it adds to the inven­to­ry of appar­ent male­fac­tors who are influ­enced and/or asso­ci­at­ed with right-wing/­fas­cist caus­es.

The may­hem pro­duced with mass shoot­ings has been exe­cut­ed to a con­sid­er­able extent by alleged per­pe­tra­tors with appar­ent links to var­i­ous forms of fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy:

  1. Patrick Edward Pur­dy was in touch with Aryan Nations and Uni­fi­ca­tion ele­ments.
  2. As dis­cussed in FTR #1011, Stephen Pad­dock was also, appar­ent­ly, a “Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen.”
  3. As dis­cussed in FTR #1003, both Niko­las Cruz (the accused Park­land High School shoot­er) and the Columbine High School shoot­ers were influ­enced by online Nazi cul­ture and ide­ol­o­gy.
  4. Dim­itrios Pagourtzis–the accused San­ta Fe school shoter–was also influ­enced by online fas­cist cul­ture and ide­ol­o­gy, as high­light­ed in FTR #1011.
  5. Jar­rod Ramos–the accused shoot­er of jour­nal­ists at an Annapo­lis (MD) news­pa­per, was a fol­low­er of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, as dis­cussed in FTR #1016.
  6. Damon Pashilk, accused of set­ting the 2016 Clay­ton Fire in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia was also appar­ent­ly dri­ven by Nazi ide­ol­o­gy.

We have also not­ed that “wild­fire ter­ror­ism” is among the tac­ti­cal method­olo­gies in ter­ror­ist arse­nals. The pos­si­ble use of wild­fires by the Axis pow­ers in World War II gave rise to the icon­ic fig­ure of Smokey the Bear.

“Man Accused of Ignit­ing CA Wild­fire Is Sov­er­eign cit­i­zen with Pos­si­ble KS Con­nec­tion” by Judy L. Thomas; Kansas City Star; 08/13/2018

The man accused of set­ting the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia fire last week that has scorched thou­sands of acres of nation­al for­est is a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen who appears to have a Kansas con­nec­tion. For­rest Gor­don Clark has described him­self on social media as an “inter­im con­gress­man for Repub­lic for Kansas” and has been involved in an orga­ni­za­tion that believes the U.S. gov­ern­ment is not legit­i­mate, accord­ing to J.J. Mac­Nab, an expert on anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists.

Clark, 51, was arrest­ed Aug. 7 and is charged with aggra­vat­ed arson, arson of inhab­it­ed prop­er­ty, arson of for­est, mak­ing crim­i­nal threats and resist­ing arrest. He is being held on $1 mil­lion bond and faces a life sen­tence if con­vict­ed.

The blaze, called Holy Fire, start­ed Aug. 6 in Holy Jim Canyon. It has burned more than 22,000 acres of Cleve­land Nation­al For­est and forced tens of thou­sands of res­i­dents to flee their homes, mak­ing it one of the most destruc­tive wild­fires of 2018. As of Sun­day night, the fire was about 52 per­cent con­tained.

The area’s vol­un­teer fire chief said that the week before the fire start­ed, Clark had sent him text mes­sages threat­en­ing to start a fire and that Clark had run scream­ing through the area. He’d also been involved in a long­stand­ing feud with a neigh­bor and oth­er cab­in own­ers in the area, the fire chief said.

Mac­Nab exam­ined eight years of Clark’s social media posts and deter­mined he’d been pro­mot­ing sov­er­eign cit­i­zen argu­ments since at least 2010.

 

For­rest Gor­don Clark

Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens say the gov­ern­ment is cor­rupt and out of con­trol, so they do not rec­og­nize local, state or fed­er­al author­i­ty or tax sys­tems. Not all are vio­lent, but in recent years the FBI and oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies have come to con­sid­er them a top domes­tic ter­ror­ism threat.

Mac­Nab, a fel­low with the Pro­gram on Extrem­ism at George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, said that in 2010, Clark was active in the Restore Amer­i­ca Plan, which she said lat­er became the Repub­lic for the unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca (RuSA). The RuSA, she said, is an alter­na­tive-gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion that believes the real U.S. gov­ern­ment ceased to exist in 1871 and that an “imposter” or “de fac­to” gov­ern­ment has been in pow­er ever since.

To rem­e­dy this sit­u­a­tion, Mac­Nab said, RuSA cre­at­ed a sub­sti­tute gov­ern­ment and is wait­ing until the cur­rent gov­ern­ment col­laps­es so it can step in and take con­trol.

Clark was such an enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of the RuSA, Mac­Nab said, that in 2010 he trav­eled to the first real gath­er­ing of the group in Col­orado. His Face­book page con­tains a pho­to of a grin­ning Clark wear­ing a shirt with a large sun­flower on it and a nametag that says, “For­rest Clark Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kansas.”

In a notice dat­ed Sept. 16, 2011, and post­ed on his Face­book page, Clark says “I Am A Sov­er­eign Man” and calls him­self a “Kansas free state — Inter­im Rep­re­sen­ta­tive” and “DeJure grand Juror in ser­vice for the Lord, you, our repub­lic, our nation.”

In anoth­er post, he describes him­self as “a gen­er­al contractor/builder, a med­ical mis­sion­ary, and a inter­im con­gress­man for Repub­lic for Kansas, try­ing to save Amer­i­ca for those who are wor­thy & take the time to learn of free­dom. Free­dom is not free.”

It’s unclear why Clark was rep­re­sent­ing Kansas in the alter­na­tive-gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion. Online search­es show he has lived in Ohio and Cal­i­for­nia.

His Face­book posts include push­ing such con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries as 9/11 was an inside job and insist­ing the FBI has mur­dered wit­ness­es in the 2017 Las Vegas sniper shoot­ing that killed 58. The site also con­tains posts about cannabis, reli­gion and numer­ous close-up pho­tos of what he says is skin can­cer on his face and leg. It also sug­gests that he was involved in a dis­pute with a neigh­bor who he says was cook­ing meth.

“Based on his social media pages,” Mac­Nab said in a Twit­ter post, “Clark is a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen who believes in just about every kooky con­spir­a­cy out there, includ­ing QAnon, Piz­za­gate, Jade Helm 15, flat earth the­o­ries, NESARA, Jesuit con­ser­van­cies, shape-shift­ing lizard over­lords. You name it, he believes it.”

Clark appears to have a his­to­ry of finan­cial and per­son­al trou­bles, accord­ing to the Palm Springs Desert Sun. In addi­tion to mul­ti­ple cred­it card col­lec­tion cas­es, he was a defen­dant in a civ­il breach of con­tract case, accused of defraud­ing an employ­er of about $85,000. The law­suit claimed that Clark and his co-work­ers were paid for land­scap­ing work that his com­pa­ny nev­er com­plet­ed, the Desert Sun said.

 

 

Discussion

2 comments for ““Sovereign Citizen” Accused of Setting Huge Southern California Wildfire”

  1. Yeah, the new nor­mal as Gov. Brown por­tends. But it does­n’t end with the “wild­fires” . Just wait for that first rain and flash floods and mud­slides.

    Posted by Christian Beck | September 2, 2018, 9:10 pm
  2. Here’s an arti­cle that’s a chill­ing reminder both the pre­vi­ous reports on phys­i­cal attack on the Cal­i­for­nia elec­tri­cal grid and the reports of a Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen inten­tion­al­ly start­ing a South Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire: PG&E just released a more detailed account of what it was expe­ri­enc­ing on the day the Camp Fire broke out, turn­ing it into the largest wild­fire in Cal­i­for­ni­a’s state his­to­ry. Accord­ing to the report, about 15 min­utes after the util­i­ty expe­ri­enced a trans­mis­sion line out­age in the area near a high-volt­age tow­er near the town of Pul­ga, a PG&E employ­ee spot­ted flames in the vicin­i­ty. This was around the time the Camp Fire first broke out, sug­gest­ing that this was the source of the fire. And inves­ti­ga­tors lat­er dis­cov­ered that a hook con­nect­ing part of the trans­mis­sion line to the trans­mis­sion tow­er was bro­ken and found a flash makr on the tow­er.

    So was this a ran­dom acci­dent that caused the trans­mis­sion line to unhook? Per­haps, but but PG&E also reports of a sec­ond out­age that was report­ed just a few miles away about 15 min­utes after the wild­fire start­ed and when crews when to check that out­age the next day they “observed that the pole and oth­er equip­ment was on the ground with bul­lets and bul­let holes at the break point of the pole and on the equip­ment.”

    So the Camp Fire is believed to have start­ed in an area where some sort of event cause a trans­mis­sion line to get dis­con­nect­ed from the high-volt­age tow­er, and only 15 min­utes after the start of the wild fire we learn that there was a sec­ond out­age report­ed in the area and that sec­ond out­age appears to have been caused by some­one shoot­ing at elec­tri­cal equip­ment. In oth­er words, some­one may have been inten­tion­al­ly try­ing to sab­o­tage the elec­tri­cal equip­ment to start the fire that day:

    CNN

    PG&E work­ers found dam­aged tow­er and bul­let holes near Camp Fire ori­gin site

    By Nicole Chavez, CNN
    Updat­ed 6:00 AM ET, Thu Decem­ber 13, 2018

    (CNN)A Cal­i­for­nia util­i­ty com­pa­ny said its crews found a dam­aged trans­mis­sion tow­er and holes in a pow­er pole at sep­a­rate loca­tions near the site where the Camp Fire start­ed.

    More than a month after the dead­liest and most destruc­tive wild­fire in the state’s his­to­ry broke out, Pacif­ic Gas & Elec­tric Co. released a more detailed account of out­ages it expe­ri­enced that day.

    In a let­ter to the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion, PG&E said one of its employ­ees called 911 on Novem­ber 8 — the day the dead­ly wild­fire began — after spot­ting flames in the vicin­i­ty of a high-volt­age tow­er near the town of Pul­ga in Butte Coun­ty.

    That fire was report­ed almost 15 min­utes after the util­i­ty expe­ri­enced a trans­mis­sion line out­age at the same loca­tion, the com­pa­ny said. It was also around the same time the Camp Fire broke out.

    The elec­tric util­i­ty had dis­closed in a reg­u­la­to­ry fil­ing last month that it “expe­ri­enced an out­age” on a trans­mis­sion line in Butte Coun­ty about 15 min­utes before the wild­fire began but had not released addi­tion­al details.

    PG&E said in its Tues­day let­ter that inspec­tors lat­er dis­cov­ered that a hook con­nect­ing part of the trans­mis­sion line and the trans­mis­sion tow­er was bro­ken. They also found a flash mark on the tow­er.

    The com­pa­ny also detailed a sec­ond out­age at anoth­er loca­tion. That inci­dent was report­ed a few miles away from the first out­age and about 15 min­utes after the wild­fire start­ed.

    When crews went to check the out­age a day lat­er, the let­ter states, they “observed that the pole and oth­er equip­ment was on the ground with bul­lets and bul­let holes at the break point of the pole and on the equip­ment.”

    Mered­ith E. Allen, PG&E’s senior direc­tor of reg­u­la­to­ry rela­tions, explained that details about the inci­dents are pre­lim­i­nary and they remain under inves­ti­ga­tion.

    “The cause of these inci­dents has not been deter­mined and may not be ful­ly under­stood until addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion becomes avail­able, includ­ing infor­ma­tion that can only be obtained through exam­i­na­tion and test­ing of the equip­ment retained by CAL FIRE,” Allen wrote to reg­u­la­tors.

    The Camp Fire burned through more than 153,000 acres in Butte Coun­ty, killing at least 85 peo­ple and destroy­ing thou­sands of struc­tures. It was con­tained Novem­ber 25 after becom­ing the dead­liest and most destruc­tive wild­fire in Cal­i­for­nia his­to­ry.

    Cal Fire, the state’s forestry and fire pro­tec­tion agency, has said the cause of the Camp Fire is still under inves­ti­ga­tion.

    ...

    PG&E made its find­ings pub­lic weeks after a fed­er­al judge ordered the com­pa­ny to explain any poten­tial role it played in caus­ing the dead­ly Camp Fire and any oth­er major wild­fires in the state.

    The com­pa­ny has until Dec. 31 to sub­mit writ­ten answers to fed­er­al offi­cials, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    ———-

    “PG&E work­ers found dam­aged tow­er and bul­let holes near Camp Fire ori­gin site” by Nicole Chavez; CNN; 12/13/2018

    “More than a month after the dead­liest and most destruc­tive wild­fire in the state’s his­to­ry broke out, Pacif­ic Gas & Elec­tric Co. released a more detailed account of out­ages it expe­ri­enced that day.”

    So this is just the first round of details that PG&E is releas­ing more than a month after the fire. And accord­ing to the com­pa­ny, there was a fire in the vicin­i­ty of a high-volt­age tow­er spot­ted around the same time the Camp Fire broke out and this fire appears to have been caused by a hook con­nect­ing part of the trans­mis­sion line to the tow­er break­ing, with flash mores on the tow­er. That sure sounds like this was at least one of the loca­tions where the Camp Fire start­ed and it was caused by this trans­mis­sion tow­er event:

    ...
    In a let­ter to the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion, PG&E said one of its employ­ees called 911 on Novem­ber 8 — the day the dead­ly wild­fire began — after spot­ting flames in the vicin­i­ty of a high-volt­age tow­er near the town of Pul­ga in Butte Coun­ty.

    That fire was report­ed almost 15 min­utes after the util­i­ty expe­ri­enced a trans­mis­sion line out­age at the same loca­tion, the com­pa­ny said. It was also around the same time the Camp Fire broke out.

    The elec­tric util­i­ty had dis­closed in a reg­u­la­to­ry fil­ing last month that it “expe­ri­enced an out­age” on a trans­mis­sion line in Butte Coun­ty about 15 min­utes before the wild­fire began but had not released addi­tion­al details.

    PG&E said in its Tues­day let­ter that inspec­tors lat­er dis­cov­ered that a hook con­nect­ing part of the trans­mis­sion line and the trans­mis­sion tow­er was bro­ken. They also found a flash mark on the tow­er.
    ...

    But we still don’t know what exact­ly that event was? Was there some sort of strong pow­er surge that caused the flash mark on the tow­er and the hook to break? Or did a bul­let cause the flash mark on the tow­er and the hook to break? That still needs to be inves­ti­gat­ed, but the pos­si­bil­i­ty of sab­o­tage is look­ing a lot more pos­si­ble when we learn that there was a trans­mis­sion out­age report­ed at a sec­ond loca­tion, just miles away from the first loca­tion, that was also report­ed on the day the fire broke out. And at that sec­ond loca­tion, employ­ees found a col­lapsed pole and oth­er equip­ment on the ground with bul­let holes at the break point on the equip­ment. That sure sounds like some­one decid­ed to shoot up this pole and pow­er equip­ment and they were appar­ent­ly doing in the gen­er­al area of where the fire start­ed and at the gen­er­al time of the start of the fire:

    ...
    The com­pa­ny also detailed a sec­ond out­age at anoth­er loca­tion. That inci­dent was report­ed a few miles away from the first out­age and about 15 min­utes after the wild­fire start­ed.

    When crews went to check the out­age a day lat­er, the let­ter states, they “observed that the pole and oth­er equip­ment was on the ground with bul­lets and bul­let holes at the break point of the pole and on the equip­ment.”
    ...

    So was anoth­er one of Cal­i­for­ni­a’s recent wild fires inten­tion­al­ly caused by some­one shoot­ing at elec­tri­cal equip­ment? At this point we don’t know, but it’s a chill­ing reminder that phys­i­cal attacks on the US pow­er grid can dou­ble as attempts to spark wild­fires too. It’s a domes­tic ter­ror twofer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 17, 2018, 1:09 pm

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