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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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