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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

4 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
  3. Mis­souri man flies to Cal­i­for­nia, sets 13 wild­fires, then tries to fly home, cops say

    https://www.kansascity.com/news/state/missouri/article235503592.html?fbclid=IwAR2JuVxWOmy4kVgA-3cT524m0ECc6a_tQFuvPqCOdDX5Z0HBcmZQ_RQ13Ms

    Posted by Roberto Maldonado | October 1, 2019, 8:44 am
  4. Here’s a pair of arti­cles that relate to the ongo­ing and increas­ing­ly per­va­sive right-wing push to foment some sort of civ­il con­flict by char­ac­ter­iz­ing Antifa and Black Lives Mat­ter as domes­tic ter­ror­ist out­fits. The arti­cles poten­tial­ly relate to both the report back in May about the dis­cov­ery of the encrypt­ed “Red Storm” chat serv­er that was oper­at­ing as a plan­ning nexus where neo-Nazis, QAnon adher­ents, and more tra­di­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tives hashed out plans to infil­trate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cam­paigns and run influ­enc­ing oper­a­tions in the 2018 elec­tion cycle and the 2018 sto­ry about a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen being respon­si­ble for inten­tion­al­ly start­ing a large South Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire:

    There’s been such a del­uge of hoax sto­ries about Antifa being respon­si­ble for start­ing wild­fires that 911 oper­a­tors are appar­ent­ly get­ting flood­ed with calls ask­ing if the infor­ma­tion they read online about Antifa start­ing wild­fires is true and now local offi­cials in areas cur­rent­ly expe­ri­enc­ing wild­fires are call­ing on res­i­dents to stop spread­ing the Antifa rumors and stop call­ing in reports about Antifa start­ing fires:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    False Rumors About Antifa Start­ing West Coast Fires Fol­low Months-Long Con­ser­v­a­tive Hys­te­ria

    By Matt Shuham
    Sep­tem­ber 11, 2020 11:55 a.m.

    The dead­ly wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia, Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon have blan­ket­ed the West Coast in smoke and dis­placed hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple. But on top of the chaos, locals — includ­ing first respon­ders deal­ing with the cri­sis itself — are fac­ing a wave of rumors about “antifa” pur­pose­ful­ly start­ing fires.

    ...

    “STOP. SPREADING. RUMORS.” read a Face­book post shared by the Dou­glas Coun­ty, Ore­gon Sheriff’s Office.

    “Remem­ber when we said rumors make this already dif­fi­cult inci­dent even hard­er?” the office wrote. “Rumors spread just like wild­fire and now our 9–1‑1 dis­patch­ers and pro­fes­sion­al staff are being over­run with requests for infor­ma­tion and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa mem­bers have been arrest­ed for set­ting fires in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON.

    Police in Molal­la, about 45 min south of Port­land, even­tu­al­ly edit­ed a gener­ic Face­book post about report­ing “any sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty” to clar­i­fy they were talk­ing about pos­si­ble loot­ers, “not antifa or set­ting of fires.”

    “There has been NO antifa in town as of this post­ing at 2:00 am,” they said ear­ly Thurs­day.

    A jour­nal­ist who’d been check­ing out the area, Gabriel Trumbly, told Buz­zFeed News that he and his part­ner Jen­nifer Paulsen were the sub­ject of a fake antifa rumor cycle them­selves in the area. A poster in a local Face­book group claimed to have “just wit­nessed a fire being start­ed” and flagged the couple’s vehi­cle. Sev­er­al peo­ple, com­ment­ing on the post, called for vio­lence.

    “This was kin­da fun­ny to me at first. How­ev­er, after talk­ing to Molal­la PD, I was way too close to get­ting shot tonight,” Trumbly sub­se­quent­ly wrote on Twit­ter. “If my part­ner didn’t see one of the reposts, I was plan­ning to go back a few hours lat­er and film some more. Sounds like I would have been met by armed cit­i­zens.”

    I am offi­cial­ly #AntifaTer­ror­ist. Went out to Molal­la, filmed some fires. Locals report­ed me to the police, and are look­ing for me to “shoot on sight.” With­in an hour of this post there were 180 com­ments, includ­ing a desire to “shoot on site” and to dep­u­tize locals. pic.twitter.com/UPrxBabPpp— Every­thin­gUn­derthe­Sun (@sun_everything) Sep­tem­ber 10, 2020

    Snopes and Poli­ti­fact iden­ti­fied a tweet from Turn­ing Point USA’s Katie Davis­court, which was shared thou­sands of times, that point­ed to the police department’s orig­i­nal notice about “sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty” and claimed “These fires are alleged­ly linked to Antifa and the Riots.”

    Sep­a­rate­ly, Paul Romero, who lost Oregon’s Repub­li­can Sen­ate pri­ma­ry this year to QAnon believ­er Jo Rae Perkins, wrote in a tweet shared more than ten thou­sand times that “Pal­let Com­pa­ny in Ore­gon City con­firmed Antifa arson­ist on cam­era.”

    Romero told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press that the fires could be pinned on an “army of arson­ists” with fire­works, but offered no evi­dence. The only list­ed pal­let com­pa­ny in Ore­gon City, Willamette Week lat­er report­ed, “said they had expe­ri­enced no fire or arson.”

    To the north, Washington’s State Patrol and Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources were inun­dat­ed with calls Thurs­day about the reports of antifa start­ing fires, The Spokesman-Review report­ed. While one man was arrest­ed on sus­pi­cion of start­ing a fire on a high­way, he made “no polit­i­cal state­ments” a patrol spokesper­son told the paper. Accu­sa­tions about the man’s affil­i­a­tion with “antifa” appeared to stem from the 2014 arrest of a man with the same name at a protest in Wash­ing­ton. He faced charges relat­ed to weapons the police found in his back­pack.

    The AP tal­lied yet more rumors, one about a woman who pur­port­ed­ly tried to start a fire in Spring­field, Ore­gon (she didn’t) and anoth­er about a report­ed shootout between a landown­er and arson­ists.

    “So my broth­er is a log­ger as you all know,” a text mes­sage pic­tured in the false, viral Face­book post, began. It described the landown­er dis­cov­er­ing “a group of antifa throw­ing molo­tov cock­tails on his prop­er­ty” and sub­se­quent­ly exchang­ing fire with the pur­port­ed arson­ists. Police told the AP that, con­trary to the Face­book post’s claims, the described event nev­er hap­pened.

    The rumors, in some cas­es, turned into armed con­fronta­tions.

    “So we just got a few guns pulled on us,” jour­nal­ist Alis­sa Azar tweet­ed, before post­ing a pic­ture of the men who stopped her and oth­er jour­nal­ists with her, includ­ing Ore­gon Pub­lic Broadcasting’s Ser­gio Olmos.

    Ore­gon wild­fires pic.twitter.com/j7LQ9JKMil— Ser­gio Olmos (@MrOlmos) Sep­tem­ber 10, 2020

    In recent months, armed right-wingers have tak­en rumors as grounds to stage shows of force at the scene of sus­pect­ed antifa sight­ings, such as when a mul­tira­cial fam­i­ly going camp­ing in Wash­ing­ton was trapped at their camp­site after armed men felled trees all around them. (Local high school stu­dents even­tu­al­ly cleared the way with their own chain­saws.)

    In Bethel, Ohio, motor­cy­cle gangs coun­ter­protest­ing a Black Lives Mat­ter demon­stra­tion assault­ed sev­er­al demon­stra­tors in front of local law enforce­ment.

    In July, armed groups includ­ing far-right extrem­ist flocked to Get­tys­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia, after a hoax event orga­niz­er promised an antifa flag burn­ing. Ulti­mate­ly, armed men con­front­ed a man at Get­tys­burg Ceme­tery in a Black Lives Mat­ter t‑shirt. But the man in ques­tion, sem­i­nar­i­an Trent Somes, wasn’t light­ing fires — he was vis­it­ing an ancestor’s grave, he told The Wash­ing­ton Post.

    ————-

    “False Rumors About Antifa Start­ing West Coast Fires Fol­low Months-Long Con­ser­v­a­tive Hys­te­ria” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 09/11/2020

    “Police in Molal­la, about 45 min south of Port­land, even­tu­al­ly edit­ed a gener­ic Face­book post about report­ing “any sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty” to clar­i­fy they were talk­ing about pos­si­ble loot­ers, “not antifa or set­ting of fires.”

    The Antifa hys­te­ria is now at such a fevered pitch that author­i­ties are pre­emp­tive­ly ask­ing for no more ‘Antifa start­ing fires’ reports. And while some of the hys­te­ria is no doubt from peo­ple who have been legit­i­mate­ly duped there’s unde­ni­ably an active cam­paign of com­plete­ly fab­ri­cat­ing false events:

    ...
    The AP tal­lied yet more rumors, one about a woman who pur­port­ed­ly tried to start a fire in Spring­field, Ore­gon (she didn’t) and anoth­er about a report­ed shootout between a landown­er and arson­ists.

    “So my broth­er is a log­ger as you all know,” a text mes­sage pic­tured in the false, viral Face­book post, began. It described the landown­er dis­cov­er­ing “a group of antifa throw­ing molo­tov cock­tails on his prop­er­ty” and sub­se­quent­ly exchang­ing fire with the pur­port­ed arson­ists. Police told the AP that, con­trary to the Face­book post’s claims, the described event nev­er hap­pened.

    The rumors, in some cas­es, turned into armed con­fronta­tions.

    “So we just got a few guns pulled on us,” jour­nal­ist Alis­sa Azar tweet­ed, before post­ing a pic­ture of the men who stopped her and oth­er jour­nal­ists with her, includ­ing Ore­gon Pub­lic Broadcasting’s Ser­gio Olmos.
    ...

    So giv­en the keen inter­est in sell­ing the pub­lic on the idea that Antifa and BLM are domes­tic ter­ror orga­ni­za­tions and giv­en the recent his­to­ry of far right indi­vid­u­als actu­al­ly start­ing wild­fires, we have to ask: are any of these wild­fires being start­ed by the far right for the pur­pose of pro­mot­ing this ‘Antifa is start­ing the fires!’ pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign? At this point it’s hard to rule the idea out.

    Next, here’s an update on the sto­ry of Pres­i­dent Trump’s ‘plane loaded with thugs’ sto­ry that he was glee­ful­ly pro­mot­ing last week that pro­motes the idea that Antifa and BLM are paid fronts of George Soros: It turns out the like­ly anony­mous source for the sto­ry is Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Devin Nunes. That’s what peo­ple were able to deduce after it was noticed that Nunes had recount­ed to Bre­it­bart News an anec­dote that sound­ed awful­ly close to what Trump was describ­ing. An anec­dote that turns out to be a per­fect exam­ple of how the GOP sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly dis­torts real­i­ty for the pur­pose of por­tray­ing lib­er­als as dan­ger­ous vio­lent ter­ror­ists. So what hor­ri­ble behav­ior to Nunes wit­ness on this plane? They mooed at him. Specif­i­cal­ly, one of the BLM activists filmed her­self ask­ing Nunes if he sued any cows late­ly and then mooed at him and then returned to her seat. That was it. She post­ed the video. And from that amus­ing inci­dent — which is a ref­er­ence to Nunes suing a fake Twit­ter pro­file called “Devin Nune’s cow’ for $250 mil­lionwe end­ed up with Pres­i­dent Trump repeat­ed­ly hint­ing to the Amer­i­can pub­lic that he heard cred­i­ble reports about a plane being filled with “the loot­ers, the anar­chists, the riot­ers.”:

    The Salt Lake Tri­bune

    Trump’s ‘plane loaded with thugs’ appears to be a Salt Lake City flight with Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers

    By Bryan Schott
    ·
    Pub­lished: 09/06/2020
    Updat­ed: 09/08/2020

    Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump raised some eye­brows ear­li­er this week when he stat­ed a plane “loaded with thugs wear­ing dark uni­forms” flew into Wash­ing­ton, D.C., recent­ly as part of his claim that shad­owy groups were con­trol­ling Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Biden. Turns out that con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry might have a con­nec­tion to Salt Lake City.

    Trump first made the claim about a plane full of agi­ta­tors dur­ing an inter­view with Fox News’ Lau­ra Ingra­ham.

    “We had some­body get on a plane from a cer­tain city this week­end, and in the plane it was almost com­plete­ly loaded with thugs, wear­ing these dark uni­forms, black uni­forms, with gear and this and that,” Trump told Ingra­ham.

    The fol­low­ing day, Trump dou­bled down on the sto­ry, telling reporters ” a per­son” got on a flight, which quick­ly filled up with “the loot­ers, the anar­chists, the riot­ers.”

    Yup, and he just dou­bled-down. Here’s the clip: pic.twitter.com/pcLwuM2Acb— The Recount (@therecount) Sep­tem­ber 1, 2020

    Where did Trump get this sto­ry? And who was this unnamed per­son?

    The answer to both of those ques­tions may well be Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Rep. Devin Nunes.

    Dur­ing an inter­view with Bre­it­bart News, Nunes spun an eeri­ly sim­i­lar sto­ry about his recent jour­ney to attend the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. He said his trip to D.C. includ­ed a stop in Salt Lake City, where he got on a flight with a num­ber of Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers who were head­ed to the nation’s cap­i­tal for the anniver­sary of the March on Wash­ing­ton.

    “So these peo­ple that descend­ed on Wash­ing­ton, D.C., most of them were not local. In fact, I flew in with a bunch of them where I got on a plane in Salt Lake City where I had to com­mute through and I saw maybe two dozen BLM peo­ple,” Nunes said.

    “The irony is they were all white peo­ple, they weren’t even Black, but some­one was pay­ing for them to go there — they were coor­di­nat­ed, pay­ing for that, and then what they did was they were not protest­ing,” he con­tin­ued. “This is not protest­ing when you block the exits of the White House.”

    The Nunes/Salt Lake City con­nec­tion was first report­ed by The Dai­ly Beast.

    ...

    Salt Lake City res­i­dent Jamie Carter says when Trump float­ed the “antifa plane” idea, she imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nized her “very mild encounter” with Nunes was the like­ly gen­e­sis of the tale.

    In a post for the lib­er­al Dem­cast USA, Carter said she was trav­el­ing to D.C. with a group of activists to take part in the 2020 March on Wash­ing­ton, which arose out of protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

    “I knew from the moment I heard this that some­how the sto­ry of my very mild encounter with Devin Nunes on the flight from Salt Lake City to D.C. had made its way to Trump,” she wrote.

    Carter said she real­ized that Nunes was on the plane when she board­ed. After mak­ing a trip to the restroom, she says she “decid­ed to have a lit­tle fun” with the con­gress­man on her way back to her seat.

    Antifa Air­lines full of thugs and anar­chist moo­ing at every­one’s favorite CA rep. I’m shocked he sur­vived the angry mob. ??????I would also like to ask who paid for the 1st class flight tick­et and why he was wear­ing the mask around his neck? pic.twitter.com/z7rtVdfhNY— Jamie Carter #AntifaAir­Pro­tes­tor (@JCTheResistance) Sep­tem­ber 1, 2020

    “I pulled out my phone and hit record. Stop­ping at his seat, I asked him ‘Have you sued any cows late­ly?’”

    Carter is refer­ring to Nunes’ efforts to sue Twit­ter over posts by a par­o­dy account called @DevinNunesCow that were crit­i­cal of him. Nunes brought a law­suit assert­ing posts by the account were defam­a­to­ry. His law­suit was dis­missed by a judge ear­li­er this year.

    In the video post­ed to Twit­ter, Carter moos at Nunes, then returns to her seat.

    After Carter returned to Salt Lake City, she said she heard about Trump’s claim and said she sus­pect­ed the inci­dent with Nunes was the cat­a­lyst.

    “I thought, ’No, that can’t be me,’” she said dur­ing a tele­phone inter­view on Sat­ur­day. “When I read about Nunes’ inter­view, I was shocked.”

    Carter, who works for a left-lean­ing grass­roots dig­i­tal media com­pa­ny, describes her­self as a polit­i­cal junkie, which is why she rec­og­nized Nunes. And it’s why she decid­ed to say some­thing to him.

    “I thought it would be fun to heck­le him a lit­tle bit. Maybe it was a lit­tle rude, but it was noth­ing dark or unsa­vory,” she said.

    “Our entire inter­ac­tion last­ed 12 sec­onds. I didn’t touch him at all,” she con­tin­ued.

    Carter said that she had no idea that her brief encounter with the Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can would explode in this way.

    “It’s sur­re­al,” Carter said. “You don’t expect some­thing so inno­cent to be a week­long sto­ry, some­thing that was sup­posed to be a joke. It’s alarm­ing that it led to some­thing like this.”

    Carter con­firmed many of the pas­sen­gers on the flight were wear­ing Black Lives Mat­ter or oth­er social jus­tice mes­sages on their clothes. She was wear­ing a BLM mask when she approached Nunes. She, though, denies that the group was “thugs” or agi­ta­tors or that they were part of a shad­owy orga­ni­za­tion that’s con­trol­ling Biden.

    ————-

    “Trump’s ‘plane loaded with thugs’ appears to be a Salt Lake City flight with Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers” by Bryan Schott; The Salt Lake Tri­bune; 09/06/2020

    ““It’s sur­re­al,” Carter said. “You don’t expect some­thing so inno­cent to be a week­long sto­ry, some­thing that was sup­posed to be a joke. It’s alarm­ing that it led to some­thing like this.””

    Yes indeed it is sur­re­al and alarm­ing that a sil­ly joke first led to Nunes recount­ing his appar­ent­ly har­row­ing expe­ri­ence to Bre­it­bart. And even more sur­re­al and alarm­ing that Trump decid­ed to take Nunes’s inter­view and turn it into some big mys­tery sto­ry that he repeat­ed­ly dan­gled in front of the pub­lic:

    ...
    Trump first made the claim about a plane full of agi­ta­tors dur­ing an inter­view with Fox News’ Lau­ra Ingra­ham.
    “We had some­body get on a plane from a cer­tain city this week­end, and in the plane it was almost com­plete­ly loaded with thugs, wear­ing these dark uni­forms, black uni­forms, with gear and this and that,” Trump told Ingra­ham.

    The fol­low­ing day, Trump dou­bled down on the sto­ry, telling reporters ” a per­son” got on a flight, which quick­ly filled up with “the loot­ers, the anar­chists, the riot­ers.”
    ...

    And yet this is all exact­ly what we should expect at this point. Just as fan­ning false flames about Antifa and BLM start­ing fires is exact­ly what we should expect. Cre­at­ing false nar­ra­tives and warp­ing real­i­ty is the con­tem­po­rary Republ­cian Par­ty’s pri­ma­ry polit­i­cal tac­tic. It’s how they win elec­tions. It’s why the ‘QAnon’ move­ment is sup­port­ed by a major­i­ty of Repub­li­can vot­ers. Repub­li­can Big Lies are a major the­atri­cal pro­duc­tion run­ning 24/7. The future of the par­ty is based on sell­ing these Big Lies and right now that means sell­ing the pub­lic on the idea that Democ­rats are being secret­ly led by ter­ror­is­tic Antifa/BLM groups. Which, again, rais­es the ques­tion: is the far right inten­tion­al­ly start­ing wild­fires in order to blame it on Antifa and BLM? Or to put it anoth­er way, we already have a grow­ing num­ber of exam­ples of the ‘Booga­loo’ move­ment plot­ting to infil­trate the protest move­ments to car­ry out arson, vio­lence and stoke con­flict. Is start­ing wild­fires amidst a far right pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign about Antifa and BLM start­ing the fires real­ly a stretch at this point?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 11, 2020, 2:08 pm

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