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Updated: 1 week 6 days ago

IREHR Letter to Ahern Luxury Boutique Hotel

Tue, 04/09/2024 - 17:17

Dear Ahern Hotel:

It has come to our attention that a notorious group with ties to insurrectionists and white nationalists has scheduled a conference at the Ahern Luxury Boutique Hotel next week.

We are reaching out to you with a sense of urgency and concern regarding the upcoming plans by the so-called Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) for an all-day event at your hotel on April 17th. (See flyer below).

In addition to the concerns of our organization, it is important to note that both the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center categorize CSPOA as an “anti-government extremist” group. This classification should raise serious concerns and prompt a cautious approach towards any involvement with the CSPOA.

The far-right pro-paramilitary group promotes the long-discredited idea derived from the violently racist and antisemitic Posse Comitatus that sheriffs can usurp the judicial branch’s role in interpreting the Constitution and unilaterally override federal, state, and local laws.

This event is likely to garner significant negative national media coverage. As other hospitality professionals will tell you, hosting such a toxic event can be severely damaging to a hotel’s reputation and brand.

As you consider a timely response, here are some facts about the group’s founder, the current CEO, the advisory board, and members for you to consider.

CSPOA Founder Richard Mack

The CSPOA was founded by former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack—a longtime militia movement figure and founding board member of the insurrectionist paramilitary group, the Oath Keepers. Six Oath Keepers leaders were convicted of seditious conspiracy for their part in the January 6th insurrection. According to the Department of Justice, the “manners and means” used by defendants convicted in two separate Oath Keepers trials included “using force against law enforcement officers while inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”

While Mack told Reuters that he left the Oath Keepers’ board around 2016 because the group became too militant, he and other CSPOA leaders maintained a relationship with the insurrectionist group. In fact, on January 5, 2021, CSPOA CEO Sam Bushman had Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes on his radio program the day before the insurrection to encourage others to join his insurrectionary plans. Bushman continues to defend Rhodes on his program.

Mack has also made clear that he would support using private militias against government officials, writing, “People get all upset when they hear about militias, but what’s wrong with it? I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to call out my posse against the federal government if it gets out of hand.”

During the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, Mack encouraged standoff participants to use women as human shields.

Before returning to efforts to infiltrate law enforcement, in 2021, Mack toured the country with an antisemitic conspiracy theorist spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

While Mack spends considerable time stressing his devotion to Constitutional rights, his record and that of other law officers affiliated with CSPOA has too often been wanting in this regard.

Richard Mack’s history in law enforcement is also worthy of consideration. In 1985, while serving in the Provo, Utah, police department, Mack’s apparent misconduct landed a man on death row and in prison for nearly 30 years. As described in a 116-page federal court ruling, during the investigation into a high-profile murder case, Mack arranged to pay the rent, heat, and phone bills of two key witnesses and give them cash – totaling some $4,000 across several months. As a result, a Fourth District Court Judge overturned the conviction and death sentence of the man based on the misconduct of Mack, other officers, and the prosecutor. One witness also “testified that Officer Mack threatened her and [her husband] with arrest, deportation, and loss of their son, and that this occurred three times.” In addition, witnesses testified that they were coached to lie about having received gifts and about the defendant planning to rape the murder victim. The judge wrote, “Officer Mack’s inconsistent statements—all aimed at painting the police and his own conduct in a more favorable light— seriously undermined his credibility.”

CSPOA CEO Sam Bushman

When Richard Mack took a $20,000-a-month position on the board of a group spreading COVID misinformation, Sam Bushman was promoted to CEO of CSPOA. Sam Bushman never served in law enforcement. He has, however, been involved with promoting troubling white nationalist organizations, including groups advocating secession and killing law enforcement.

Already facing growing pressure for ties to white nationalists, last October, Bushman appeared on the podcast of a Hitler-loving white nationalist. On that program, Bushman confessed that he’d been a longtime reader of and remains a supporter of the white nationalist publications Spotlight and American Free Press.

CSPOA CEO Sam Bushman has used his radio show to promote and build a relationship with the white nationalist, antisemitic, and secessionist League of the South. In 1990, League of the South Chief of Statt Michael Tubbs pleaded guilty to stealing M-16 rifles from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, serving four years in prison. In 2017, Tubbs was named commander of the League of the South’s paramilitary branch, the Southern Defense Force.

Identity Dixie leader Jim O’Brien, aka Padraig Martin, a guest on Bushman’s radio show, League of the South ally, and co-editor of a pro-secessionist book promoted by Bushman, wrote this troubling passage about murdering law enforcement:

“The lesson of the egregious Stewart Rhodes prison sentence – as well as every other J6 Protester languishing in a prison, – is the following: if you are going to start a revolution of any kind, even if your purpose had legal or Constitutional merit, you better not stop at the gates. You better go all in. Do not leave a single police officer, Congressman, judge, or any other functionary of government alive…[T]he next time you take part in a rightwing protest be prepared to kill them all. Half measures are no longer an option.”

Bushman also recently announced on his radio show that he is a member of fugitive paramilitary figure Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights network. While the group is most well-known for threatening hospitals and public health officials, one People’s Rights network member is serving an 18-year sentence for a northern Idaho shootout with law enforcement. Another is awaiting trial in Nevada for threatening law enforcement.

CSPOA Advisory Board

Mack and Bushman aren’t the only CSPOA figures of concern. The group’s advisory board includes a former member of a white nationalist secessionist group and a sheriff involved in an attempt to seize voting machines.

Michael Peroutka was a national board member of the white nationalist secessionist group, the League of the South, a group that seeks a whites-only ethnostate in the U.S. South, promotes vicious antisemitism, and has forged alliances with neo-Nazis. Peroutka has denounced the Union’s victory in what he calls the “War Between the States.” Peroutka even led the League of the South convention in singing what he called the “national anthem” – “Dixie.” While Peroutka later backed away when his ties were exposed, he stated, “I don’t have any problem with the organization.”

Peroutka currently leads the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC). This group promotes anti-Muslim bigotry and state nullification. It has distributed material stating that “We see no reason why men should not discriminate on grounds of religion, race, or nationality if they wish.” Peroutka even pledged to use the Institute on the Constitution to aid the League of the South and advance the cause of imposing biblical law.

CSPOA Advisory Board member Barry County, Michigan, Sheriff Dar Leaf was an unindicted co-conspirator in a Michigan voting machine tampering case. Emails obtained by Bridge Michigan show that Sheriff Leaf tried to enlist fellow “constitutional sheriffs” to seize Dominion voting machines at the heart of the election conspiracy promoted by then-President Donald Trump.

In May 2020, Sheriff Leaf shared the stage with members of the Michigan Liberty Militia, including one of the men arrested in the plot to kidnap the governor.

Other CSPOA-Affiliated Sheriffs

CSPOA ranks are filled with members who have tarnished the image of law enforcement and harmed communities. Multiple CSPOA-affiliated law officers have engaged in intimidation and illegal and potentially illegal practices.

  • Former Edwards County (TX) Sheriff Pam Elliot, a CSPOA member featured on the cover of Mack’s book, Are You a David?, and her department engaged in activity that intimidated political opponents and voters, including Edwards County deputies appearing at polling stations. Election attorney Buck Wood described the latter as “pure and simple intimidation.”
  • In 2022, Real County (TX) Sheriff Nathan Johnson, who attended a Texas CSPOA training, was put under criminal investigation for repeatedly seizing money from undocumented immigrants, even if they were not charged with a state crime – actions to which he admitted.
  • Culpepper County, Virginia, Sheriff Scott Jenkins, a featured speaker at CSPOA’s 2020 conference, was indicted in June on a slew of corruption charges related to a scheme thatoffered police badges and gun permits in exchange for payments or political contributions.
  • CSPOA member Frederick County, Maryland Sheriff Charles “Chuck” Austin Jenkins wasindicted in April by a federal grand jury for breaking federal gun laws. Jenkins is alleged to have defrauded the United States by interfering with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) by making false statements and representations in paperwork submitted to the ATF to obtain machine guns that were used by campaign supporter Robert Justin Krop’s firearms business, The Machine Gun Nest.
  • Riverside County, California Sheriff Chad Bianco, is not only a prominent CSPOA member, he’s also been a member of the insurrectionist group, the Oath Keepers.
  • Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff who received a 2012 CSPOA award, was convicted of criminal contempt in 2017 after refusing to end his department’s racial profiling practices. As of 2015, taxpayers had paid $8.2 million for the case.
  • In 2019, CSPOA presented former Republic, Washington Police Chief Loren Culp with its “Police Chief of the Decade” award. On April 3, 2024, the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs issued Loren Culp a “notice of…proposed expulsion” from the Association because of “numerous offensive public social media posts and comments” deemed to be “unbecoming of a WASPC member.”

We could go on, but I think you get the idea. You have a vital opportunity to disconnect the exquisitely crafted luxury brand of the Ahern Luxury Boutique Hotel from the toxicity of CSPOA’s pro-paramilitary and white nationalist brand. As this issue is time-sensitive, we would appreciate a rapid response. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Devin Burghart

Executive Director

IREHR

 

The post IREHR Letter to Ahern Luxury Boutique Hotel appeared first on Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Categories: D2. Socialism

CSPOA Gathering Scheduled for North Idaho Anti-Mormon, Anti-LGBTQ+ Church

Mon, 04/08/2024 - 17:45

The troubling ties of Richard Mack and his far-right pro-paramilitary group, Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, have been well documented by IREHR and others. This weekend, Richard Mack looks to add to his organization’s list of bigoted associations when he makes an April 13 appearance at The Altar Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The senior pastor of the host church is former state representative Tim Remington (R-2B), appointed in 2020 by Governor Little.

Titled “LIBERTY, THE CONSTITUTION, AND KOOTENAI COUNTY,” the all-day CSPOA event is slated to include an afternoon session open to the public and a morning session “Open to Law Enforcement, Incumbents and Candidates,” in the words of a flyer circulating about the event.

Anti-Mormon Bigotry

Interestingly for Richard Mack and Sam Bushman, who are Mormon, the church also aims animus at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon church.

The website of The Altar Church features a section on “Apologetics,” which includes multiple videos attacking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In a December 2018 sermon, Pastor Danny Cleave quoted the Apostle Paul in Galatians warning against those that would “pervert the Gospel of Christ, directing, “But that we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed.”[1] Cleave concluded, “I believe that that passage of scripture was prophetic in regards to both Mormonism and the religion of Islam.”

Pastor Danny Cleave

Cleave went further in another video on the topic. Describing a Mormon claim of experiencing a “burning in your bosom,” in part as evidence of the Book of Mormon’s veracity, Cleave said he would “caution anyone to base truth off of a feeling. Feelings can be given by things other than God for certain…it’s no question that Satan himself could generate those feelings and cause us to feel something.”[2]

Cleave criticized Mormonism for a lack of archaeological evidence in support of the history told in the Book of Mormon, even as his own church claims that “an honest” reader of the Bible would have “plenty of confidence” that the universe was created in “six literal days;” that the theory of evolution is a “lie;” and the idea of an earth millions-of-years old “unscientific.”[3]

Anti-LGBTQ+ and Anti-Abortion

The Altar Church makes clear its religiously-constructed bigotry against LGBTQ+ people, lumping “homosexuality, lesbianism, [and] bisexuality” with “bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography” as “sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex.” Continuing that, “We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance,” the group declares, “We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman.”[4]

The Altar Church also holds that the state should be “answerable to God and governed by His Word” and rejects rape, incest, and “physical mental well being (sic) of the mother” exceptions for abortion:

“Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical mental well being of the mother are acceptable.”[5]

CSPOA Idaho Connections

CSPOA and its leaders have some known interactions with Idaho law enforcement. In May 2021, sitting Idaho County Sheriff Doug Ulmer posted a photo of himself with CSPOA trainer KrisAnne Hall on his “Doug Ulmer Idaho County Sheriff” Facebook page. Ulmer wrote, “Had the opportunity to meet KrisAnn (sic) Hall…Great speaker if you get the opportunity to attend one of her events it’s very informative.”[6]

KrisAnne Hall is a CSPOA trainer who holds that the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution – cornerstones of civil and voting rights– are unlawful. Hall’s ideas have also influenced Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights network.

That same year, at a meeting of the Nez Perce County Republican Committee, Sheriff Ulmer was photographed with Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb—head of the “Constitutional Sheriff” group, Protect America Now (PAN) and a CSPOA member. Lamb’s group PAN is a far-right sheriff group that, like CSPOA, has entered the fray of activism around allegations of electoral fraud. Ulmer thanked sitting Nez Perce County Sheriff Bryce Scrimsher (also in the photo) for the invite to the event.

In 2014, CSPOA circulated a petition opposing Obama-administration gun policies and a related list of “sheriffs, state sheriff’s associations, and police chiefs [that] have vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution against Obama’s unconstitutional gun control measures.” CSPOA described that “the list below includes members of the CSPOA and any others who have gone on record to uphold their oath by having made public statements, written open letters or contacted us personally and asked to be included.”[7]

Currently sitting sheriffs whose names appeared on the CSPOA list include Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter, described as a “CSPOA Member,” Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman, listed as signing the petition, and Bonner County Sheriff Darryl Wheeler, Canyon County Sheriff Kiernan Donahue, Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz, and Washington County Sheriff Matt Thomas.[8]

According to the Boundary County Sheriff’s Department, a corporal who “may have had contact with the CSPOA and/or Richard Mack” retired effective April 1, 2024.[9]

The website Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs described Sheriff Wheeler, Sheriff Donahue, Sheriff Goetz, and Sheriff Carter as CSPOA members. However, this claim’s source is unclear and may be based simply on their appearance on the CSPOA list.[10]

The Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs declares its website “designed to be a one-stop place where citizens in the state can see if their sheriff, or candidate running for sheriffs, has pledged to uphold the Constitution, rather then (sic) the whims of the Federal Government;” that the website “will include the details of why we gave them this rating;” and describing that “If the sheriff in your county belongs to CSPOA we’ve given them a rating of Constitutional Sheriff for the time being. That can change if you have verifiable information we can use. We’ll still include the detail that they are a member of CSPOA.”[11]

Writing in 2022 for the far-right Idaho Dispatch, Doug Traubel cited CSPOA-trained officers as those who “know what the Constitution is.” In contrast to “weak establishment office holders…up for re-election in two years,” Traubel named current Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler and Adams County Prosecutor Chris Boyd as “the only two exceptions I am aware of that put their oath in action.”[12]

IREHR has sent public records requests and our concern about CSPOA’s recruitment efforts to sheriffs across Idaho. In the meantime, community members and law officers must make clear that CSPOA has no business in law enforcement.

NOTES

[1] The Altar Church Dec. 5, 2018 Apologetics, Mormonism Part I Pastor Danny Cleave.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3bG_YInb7o

[2] The Altar Church Dec. 5, Dec. 18, 2018, Apologetics, Mormonism Part II, Pastor Danny Cleave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tS2t1SF2D4

[3] The Altar Church. Did God Create the World in Six Literal Days?. https://altarcda.com/did-god-create-the-world-in-six-literal-days/; The Altar Church. Is the Theory of Evolution True?. https://altarcda.com/evolution/; The Altar Church. Dec. 18, 2018, Apologetics, Mormonism Part II, Pastor Danny Cleave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tS2t1SF2D4Accessed April 5, 2024

[4] The Altar Church. Statement of Faith. https://altarcda.com/statement-of-faith/. Accessed April 5, 2024.

[5] The Altar Church. Statement of Faith. https://altarcda.com/statement-of-faith/. Accessed April 5, 2024.

[6] Doug Ulmer Idaho County Sheriff. Facebook. May 7, 2021.

[7] Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. GROWING LIST OF SHERIFFS, ASSOCIATIONS AND POLICE CHIEFS SAYING ‘NO’ TO OBAMA GUN CONTRO. February 1, 2024. WayBackMachine. https://web.archive.org/web/20140530105709/http://cspoa.org/sheriffs-gun-rights/

[8] Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. GROWING LIST OF SHERIFFS, ASSOCIATIONS AND POLICE CHIEFS SAYING ‘NO’ TO OBAMA GUN CONTRO. February 1, 2024. WayBackMachine. https://web.archive.org/web/20140530105709/http://cspoa.org/sheriffs-gun-rights/

[9] Boundary County Sheriffs Office. Email response to public records request. April 4, 2024.

[10] The Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs website states the following; Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman: “a solid Consitutional (sic) Sheriff. He has partnered with sheriffs from Washington and Payette counties, as well as Malhuer (sic) County in Oregon, in an effort to defend the citizens of their counties from federal government overreach.”

Bonner County Sheriff Darryl Wheeler: “Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler is a member of the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officer Association.

Canyon County Sheriff Kiernan Donahue: “Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue is a member of the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officer Association. However, there are reports that this is a recent development. According to sources Sheriff Donahue didn’t even know what the CSPOA was until recently and according to his opponent had called organizations like OathKeepers ‘anti-Law Enforcement’ organizations.”

Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz: “Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz is a member of the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officer Association.

Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter is a member of the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officer Association.

Washington County Sheriff Matt Thomas: “Washington County Sheriff Matt Thomas is a solid Consitutional (sic) Sheriff. He has partnered with sheriffs from Adams and Payette counties, as well as Malhuer County in Oregon, in an effort to defend the citizens of their counties from federal government overreach. Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs. Adams County. https://www.idahocs.org/Adams.html; Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs. Bonner County. https://www.idahocs.org/Bonner.html; Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs. Canyon County. https://www.idahocs.org/Canyon.html; Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs. Clearwater County. https://www.idahocs.org/Clearwater.html; Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs. Twin Falls County. https://www.idahocs.org/TwinFalls.html; Idaho Constituti0nal Sheriffs. https://www.idahocs.org/Washington.html. Accessed April 5, 2024.

[11] Idaho County Sheriffs. https://www.idahocs.org/. Accessed April 4, 2024.

[12] Traubel, Doug. Op-Ed: WWCSD? What Would a Constitutional Sheriff Do?. The Idaho Dispatch. Octdober 28, 2022. https://idahodispatch.com/op-ed-wwcsd-what-would-a-constitutional-sheriff-do/

The post CSPOA Gathering Scheduled for North Idaho Anti-Mormon, Anti-LGBTQ+ Church appeared first on Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Categories: D2. Socialism

IREHR’s Letter to Idaho Sheriffs and Governor

Mon, 04/08/2024 - 12:33

With the far-right pro-paramilitary group CSPOA attempting to infiltrate Idaho law enforcement, we alerted sheriffs across the state about the dangers and urged them to reject CSPOA’s advances. Here’s the letter we sent to sheriffs and Governor Brad Little. 

April 8, 2024

Dear Sheriff:

It has come to our attention that a notorious group with ties to insurrectionists and white nationalists is attempting to recruit law enforcement in Idaho, potentially including you and your deputies.

We are reaching out to your department with a sense of urgency and concern regarding the upcoming plans by the so-called Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) for an all-day event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on April 13th. CSPOA leader Richard Mack also announced a special morning session “open to law enforcement.” It is crucial to consider the potential risks and implications of participating in this event.

In addition to the concerns of our organization, it is important to note that both the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center categorize CSPOA as an “anti-government extremist” group. This classification should raise serious concerns and prompt a cautious approach towards any involvement with the CSPOA.

The far-right pro-paramilitary group promotes the long-discredited idea derived from the violently racist and antisemitic Posse Comitatus that sheriffs can usurp the judicial branch’s role in interpreting the Constitution and unilaterally override federal, state, and local laws. The sheriff’s job is challenging enough without being saddled with these unconstitutional burdens.

Here are some facts about the group’s founder, the current CEO, the advisory board, and members for you to consider.

CSPOA Founder Richard Mack

The CSPOA was founded by former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack—a longtime militia movement figure and founding board member of the insurrectionist paramilitary group, the Oath Keepers. Six Oath Keepers leaders were convicted of seditious conspiracy for their part in the January 6th insurrection. According to the Department of Justice, the “manners and means” used by defendants convicted in two separate Oath Keepers trials included “using force against law enforcement officers while inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”

While Mack told Reuters that he left the Oath Keepers’ board around 2016 because the group became too militant, he and other CSPOA leaders maintained a relationship with the insurrectionist group. In fact, on January 5, 2021, CSPOA CEO Sam Bushman had Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes on his radio program the day before the insurrection to encourage others to join his insurrectionary plans. Bushman continues to defend Rhodes on his program.

Mack has also made clear that he would support using private militias against government officials, writing, “People get all upset when they hear about militias, but what’s wrong with it? I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to call out my posse against the federal government if it gets out of hand.”

Before returning to efforts to infiltrate law enforcement, in 2021, Mack toured the country with an antisemitic conspiracy theorist spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

While Mack spends considerable time stressing his devotion to Constitutional rights, his record and that of other law officers affiliated with CSPOA has too often been wanting in this regard.

Richard Mack’s history in law enforcement is also worthy of consideration. In 1985, while serving in the Provo, Utah, police department, Mack’s apparent misconduct landed a man on death row and in prison for nearly 30 years. As described in a 116-page federal court ruling, during the investigation into a high-profile murder case, Mack arranged to pay the rent, heat, and phone bills of two key witnesses and give them cash – totaling some $4,000 across several months. As a result, a Fourth District Court Judge overturned the conviction and death sentence of the man based on the misconduct of Mack, other officers, and the prosecutor. One witness also “testified that Officer Mack threatened her and [her husband] with arrest, deportation, and loss of their son, and that this occurred three times.” In addition, witnesses testified that they were coached to lie about having received gifts and about the defendant planning to rape the murder victim. The judge wrote, “Officer Mack’s inconsistent statements—all aimed at painting the police and his own conduct in a more favorable light— seriously undermined his credibility.”

CSPOA CEO Sam Bushman

When Richard Mack took a $20,000-a-month position on the board of a group spreading COVID misinformation, Sam Bushman was promoted to CEO of CSPOA. Sam Bushman never served in law enforcement. He has, however, been involved with promoting troubling white nationalist organizations, including groups advocating secession and killing law enforcement.

Already facing growing pressure for ties to white nationalists, last October, Bushman appeared on the podcast of a Hitler-loving white nationalist. On that program, Bushman confessed that he’d been a longtime reader of and remains a supporter of the white nationalist publications Spotlight and American Free Press.

CSPOA CEO Sam Bushman has used his radio show to promote and build a relationship with the white nationalist, antisemitic, and secessionist League of the South. In 1990, League of the South Chief of Statt Michael Tubbs pleaded guilty to stealing M-16 rifles from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, serving four years in prison. In 2017, Tubbs was named commander of the League of the South’s paramilitary branch, the Southern Defense Force.

Identity Dixie leader Jim O’Brien, aka Padraig Martin, a guest on Bushman’s radio show, League of the South ally, and co-editor of a pro-secessionist book promoted by Bushman, wrote this troubling passage about murdering law enforcement:

“The lesson of the egregious Stewart Rhodes prison sentence – as well as every other J6 Protester languishing in a prison, – is the following: if you are going to start a revolution of any kind, even if your purpose had legal or Constitutional merit, you better not stop at the gates. You better go all in. Do not leave a single police officer, Congressman, judge, or any other functionary of government alive…[T]he next time you take part in a rightwing protest be prepared to kill them all. Half measures are no longer an option.”

Bushman also recently announced on his radio show that he is a member of fugitive paramilitary figure Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights network. While the group is most well-known for threatening hospitals and public health officials, one People’s Rights network member is serving an 18-year sentence for a northern Idaho shootout with law enforcement. Another is awaiting trial in Nevada for threatening law enforcement.

CSPOA Advisory Board

Mack and Bushman aren’t the only CSPOA figures of concern. The group’s advisory board includes a former member of a white nationalist secessionist group and a sheriff involved in an attempt to seize voting machines.

Michael Peroutka was a national board member of the white nationalist secessionist group, the League of the South, a group that seeks a whites-only ethnostate in the U.S. South, promotes vicious antisemitism, and has forged alliances with neo-Nazis. Peroutka has denounced the Union’s victory in what he calls the “War Between the States.” Peroutka even led the League of the South convention in singing what he called the “national anthem” – “Dixie.” While Peroutka later backed away when his ties were exposed, he stated, “I don’t have any problem with the organization.”

Peroutka currently leads the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC). This group promotes anti-Muslim bigotry and state nullification. It has distributed material stating that “We see no reason why men should not discriminate on grounds of religion, race, or nationality if they wish.” Peroutka even pledged to use the Institute on the Constitution to aid the League of the South and advance the cause of imposing biblical law.

CSPOA Advisory Board member Barry County, Michigan, Sheriff Dar Leaf was an unindicted co-conspirator in a Michigan voting machine tampering case. Emails obtained by Bridge Michigan show that Sheriff Leaf tried to enlist fellow “constitutional sheriffs” to seize Dominion voting machines at the heart of the election conspiracy promoted by then-President Donald Trump.

In May 2020, Sheriff Leaf shared the stage with members of the Michigan Liberty Militia, including one of the men arrested in the plot to kidnap the governor.

Other CSPOA-Affiliated Sheriffs

CSPOA ranks are filled with members who have tarnished the image of law enforcement and harmed communities. Multiple CSPOA-affiliated law officers have engaged in intimidation and illegal and potentially illegal practices.

  • Former Edwards County (TX) Sheriff Pam Elliot, a CSPOA member featured on the cover of Mack’s book, Are You a David?, and her department engaged in activity that intimidated political opponents and voters, including Edwards County deputies appearing at polling stations. Election attorney Buck Wood described the latter as “pure and simple intimidation.”
  • In 2022 Real County (TX) Sheriff Nathan Johnson, who attended a Texas CSPOA training, was put under criminal investigation for repeatedly seizing money from undocumented immigrants, even if they were not charged with a state crime – actions to which he admitted.
  • Culpepper County, Virginia, Sheriff Scott Jenkins, a featured speaker at CSPOA’s 2020 conference, was indicted in June on a slew of corruption charges related to a scheme that offered police badges and gun permits in exchange for payments or political contributions.
  • CSPOA member Frederick County, Maryland Sheriff Charles “Chuck” Austin Jenkins was indicted in April by a federal grand jury for breaking federal gun laws. Jenkins is alleged to have defrauded the United States by interfering with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) by making false statements and representations in paperwork submitted to the ATF to obtain machine guns that were used by campaign supporter Robert Justin Krop’s firearms business, The Machine Gun Nest.
  • Riverside County, California Sheriff Chad Bianco, is not only a prominent CSPOA member, he’s also been a member of the insurrectionist group, the Oath Keepers.
  • Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff who received a 2012 CSPOA award, was convicted of criminal contempt in 2017 after refusing to end his department’s racial profiling practices. As of 2015, taxpayers had paid $8.2 million for the case.
  • In 2019, CSPOA presented former Republic, Washington Police Chief Loren Culp with its “Police Chief of the Decade” award. On April 3, 2024, the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs issued Loren Culp a “notice of…proposed expulsion” from the Association because of “numerous offensive public social media posts and comments” deemed to be “unbecoming of a WASPC member.”

We could go on, but I think you get the idea. At a time when law enforcement and community relations are already strained, efforts of a far-right group to infiltrate law enforcement pose a grave and growing threat to both officers and department credibility. I think we can all agree that groups like CSPOA have no place in law enforcement. We urge you to speak out to make it clear that CSPOA has no place in American law enforcement. As this issue is time-sensitive, we would appreciate a rapid response. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Devin Burghart
Executive Director
IREHR

 

 

The post IREHR’s Letter to Idaho Sheriffs and Governor appeared first on Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Categories: D2. Socialism

International Day to Remember the Holocaust

Fri, 01/26/2024 - 23:17
Remembering Jewish Resistance

 

The United Nations General Assembly, in a November 2007 vote on Resolution 60/7, established January 27 as its official worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Day. It honors the memory of Holocaust victims, “one-third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities.”  As a matter of historical record, Jews, Roma, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those deemed either mentally or physically “unfit” all were murdered.

According to historian Yehuda Bauer in Rethinking the Holocaust, abstract ideology motivated its perpetrators, rather than the “pragmatic” concerns “central with all other genocides.” (They keep the camps running with men and materials they needed elsewhere.)  Second, it was “global” in scale rather than geographically limited. (Mr. Bauer cites Turkish indifference to Armenians in Jerusalem as a counter-example.) Third, the Nazis intended to round up and eradicate Jews of every age and description, without exception. It was the very targeted industrial murder of people that made this genocide, unlike all those genocides before and after it, a “Holocaust.”

January 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union’s Army. The vast role the Soviet Union played in defeating the Nazi monster is not usually remembered in the West. North Americans usually think of D-Day, June 6, 1944, as the turning point in World War II. It certainly was one juncture of importance as it opened up a second front in Europe. Before that, in May 1943, the United States and the British Empire defeated German and Italian armies in North Africa. Churchill named that victory “the end of the beginning.”  It was the Battle of Stalingrad, however, from August 1942 through February 1943, when the Soviet Union defeated Germany and its Axis partners, that changed the war. The Soviet Army, pushing eastward, liberated the Auschwitz camp in January 1945.

Neither the Soviet Union nor the United States, despite repeated entreaties, bombed the rail lines that fed Jews and others into the concentration camp system.

The United Nations intended Holocaust Remembrance Day as a time when we should memorialize the victims, fight against Holocaust denial, and educate future generations about what happened. It is in that spirit, on this January 27, a Jewish sabbath, I would like to devote the rest of this article to Jewish resistance to the Nazi killing machine.

I know from talking with survivors that the only reason they were still alive is their own quiet determination to resist and through lying (often pretending not to be Jewish), deception, fast legs (as in running away from a camp), and blind luck.

In the late 1970s, while I was still welding beer truck frames, I read They Fought Back, edited by Yuri Suhl, an anthology of Jewish resistance.

I read about Niuta Teitelbaum, codename “Wanda,” a 24-year-old, “Aryan looking” blond-haired Jewish woman who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto. She ran communications and goods between the ghetto and the Polish outside, shot German officers point blank, joined the partisans in the forest, and helped destroy one of their bigger guns. In 1943, she was eventually caught by the Gestapo and was killed. But she never broke.

Suhl also wrote about Rosa Robota,  a young Jewish girl working in Auschwitz II, Birkenau. At home in her Polish hometown, she had been a member of Hashomer Hatzair, the secular Labor Zionist organization. She became part of a bomb-making-smuggling operation that eventually blew up one of the four crematoria in the camp. It also killed four Nazis and led to a mass escape of 600 souls. She was captured by the Gestapo and brutalized. Nonetheless, she sent out the message “Be Strong and Brave” before she was hung.

Suhl commented that “in practically every ghetto and in every labor and concentration camp, there existed a Jewish underground organization that kept up prisoners’ morale, reduced their physical suffering, committed of sabotage, organized escapes, collected arms, planned revolts, and, in many instances, carried them out.”In thirty chapters, he or his co-authors described these revolts.

Chief among them is the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I have read a number of books on this revolt, including Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto by Emmanuel Ringelblum. He lived and died in the Ghetto, and it is because of his daily notes and archives that we know so much about life in that ghetto. There are also a couple of chapters in Suhl’s book on Warsaw, including one entitled “Comrade Mordecai,” by Ringelblum, describing the Hashomer Hatzair member who became the commander of the 600-member strong Jewish Fighters Organization.

There were two fighters’ organizations in the ghetto; the second, a smaller group was associated with the Revisionist Jews. Once the fighting began, many other families made bombs, threw them at the Nazi soldiers, and shot at them as well.

The date of the Uprising is usually given as April 19 to May 16, 1943, almost four full weeks of fighting. I would like to offer different dates. Fighting actually began on January 18, when the German military tried to enter the camp to expel Jews to concentration camps and death. Fighting broke out again on April 19, 1943, when the Nazis tried once again to enter the camp. They were pushed back and fighting see-sawed after that. No one ever formally surrendered, and there were Jews hunkered down among the ruins until August 1944, when the general Polish population of Warsaw rose up.

By my count, the Jews of Warsaw fought longer and harder than the Polish Army did in the 35 days they defended their country in 1939.

There are many other stories to tell and other books to read. Including Defiance, the story of an armed camp of Jews who lived in the forests and survived. Recently, The Light of Days tells the story of resistance by women. Memorializing those who fought back should be part of every Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The post International Day to Remember the Holocaust appeared first on Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Categories: D2. Socialism

International Day to Remember the Holocaust

Fri, 01/26/2024 - 23:17
Remembering Jewish Resistance

 

The United Nations General Assembly, in a November 2007 vote on Resolution 60/7, established January 27 as its official worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Day. It honors the memory of Holocaust victims, “one-third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities.”  As a matter of historical record, Jews, Roma, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those deemed either mentally or physically “unfit” all were murdered.

According to historian Yehuda Bauer in Rethinking the Holocaust, abstract ideology motivated its perpetrators, rather than the “pragmatic” concerns “central with all other genocides.” (They keep the camps running with men and materials they needed elsewhere.)  Second, it was “global” in scale rather than geographically limited. (Mr. Bauer cites Turkish indifference to Armenians in Jerusalem as a counter-example.) Third, the Nazis intended to round up and eradicate Jews of every age and description, without exception. It was the very targeted industrial murder of people that made this genocide, unlike all those genocides before and after it, a “Holocaust.”

January 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union’s Army. The vast role the Soviet Union played in defeating the Nazi monster is not usually remembered in the West. North Americans usually think of D-Day, June 6, 1944, as the turning point in World War II. It certainly was one juncture of importance as it opened up a second front in Europe. Before that, in May 1943, the United States and the British Empire defeated German and Italian armies in North Africa. Churchill named that victory “the end of the beginning.”  It was the Battle of Stalingrad, however, from August 1942 through February 1943, when the Soviet Union defeated Germany and its Axis partners, that changed the war. The Soviet Army, pushing eastward, liberated the Auschwitz camp in January 1945.

Neither the Soviet Union nor the United States, despite repeated entreaties, bombed the rail lines that fed Jews and others into the concentration camp system.

The United Nations intended Holocaust Remembrance Day as a time when we should memorialize the victims, fight against Holocaust denial, and educate future generations about what happened. It is in that spirit, on this January 27, a Jewish sabbath, I would like to devote the rest of this article to Jewish resistance to the Nazi killing machine.

I know from talking with survivors that the only reason they were still alive is their own quiet determination to resist and through lying (often pretending not to be Jewish), deception, fast legs (as in running away from a camp), and blind luck.

In the late 1970s, while I was still welding beer truck frames, I read They Fought Back, edited by Yuri Suhl, an anthology of Jewish resistance.

I read about Niuta Teitelbaum, codename “Wanda,” a 24-year-old, “Aryan looking” blond-haired Jewish woman who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto. She ran communications and goods between the ghetto and the Polish outside, shot German officers point blank, joined the partisans in the forest, and helped destroy one of their bigger guns. In 1943, she was eventually caught by the Gestapo and was killed. But she never broke.

Suhl also wrote about Rosa Robota,  a young Jewish girl working in Auschwitz II, Birkenau. At home in her Polish hometown, she had been a member of Hashomer Hatzair, the secular Labor Zionist organization. She became part of a bomb-making-smuggling operation that eventually blew up one of the four crematoria in the camp. It also killed four Nazis and led to a mass escape of 600 souls. She was captured by the Gestapo and brutalized. Nonetheless, she sent out the message “Be Strong and Brave” before she was hung.

Suhl commented that “in practically every ghetto and in every labor and concentration camp, there existed a Jewish underground organization that kept up prisoners’ morale, reduced their physical suffering, committed of sabotage, organized escapes, collected arms, planned revolts, and, in many instances, carried them out.”In thirty chapters, he or his co-authors described these revolts.

Chief among them is the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I have read a number of books on this revolt, including Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto by Emmanuel Ringelblum. He lived and died in the Ghetto, and it is because of his daily notes and archives that we know so much about life in that ghetto. There are also a couple of chapters in Suhl’s book on Warsaw, including one entitled “Comrade Mordecai,” by Ringelblum, describing the Hashomer Hatzair member who became the commander of the 600-member strong Jewish Fighters Organization.

There were two fighters’ organizations in the ghetto; the second, a smaller group was associated with the Revisionist Jews. Once the fighting began, many other families made bombs, threw them at the Nazi soldiers, and shot at them as well.

The date of the Uprising is usually given as April 19 to May 16, 1943, almost four full weeks of fighting. I would like to offer different dates. Fighting actually began on January 18, when the German military tried to enter the camp to expel Jews to concentration camps and death. Fighting broke out again on April 19, 1943, when the Nazis tried once again to enter the camp. They were pushed back and fighting see-sawed after that. No one ever formally surrendered, and there were Jews hunkered down among the ruins until August 1944, when the general Polish population of Warsaw rose up.

By my count, the Jews of Warsaw fought longer and harder than the Polish Army did in the 35 days they defended their country in 1939.

There are many other stories to tell and other books to read. Including Defiance, the story of an armed camp of Jews who lived in the forests and survived. Recently, The Light of Days tells the story of resistance by women. Memorializing those who fought back should be part of every Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The post International Day to Remember the Holocaust appeared first on Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Categories: D2. Socialism

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