Monday, November 28, 2011
AZMEX EXTRA 2 28-11-11
AZMEX EXTRA 2 28 NOV 2011
Note: The shoot the messenger special.
The blogger who broke Fast and Furious prepares for US revolution
Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Monday, November 28, 2011 2:35 pm | Comments
The man who is breaking news on Operation Fast and Furious also called for readers to break Democratic office windows amid the healthcare debate in March 2010. The door to U.S Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' office was smashed two days later, one of a half-dozen around the country.
The Republic published a long, interesting story Sunday on Operation Fast and Furious, and it included interviews with Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea. These are the two pro-gun-rights bloggers who first opened the window on the disgraced ATF investigation in late December 2010.
As often happens when you break a story, the scoops have kept coming, and Vanderboegh in particular has become a go-to source for information on the Fast and Furious scandal. What newcomers to his Sipsey Street Irregulars blog may find surprising is the broader theme of the blog, which perhaps can be summarized as: The out-of-control federal government is poised to start a new American revolution among gun owners.
While Vanderboegh has done a good job exposing Fast and Furious in the last year, he remains what he was before: A man so convinced that the federal government has turned totalitarian that he has declared himself willing, even occasionally seeming eager, to engage in war against it. As with many gun-rights activists, he foresees the moment of truth as when the feds come to take Americans' guns — that's when the shooting war would begin.
I've emailed Vanderboegh some questions about his views outside of the Fast and Furious case and am awaiting a response. I'll update when I get it.
Vanderboegh may have first come to the attention of Southern Arizona residents last year during the debate over health-care reform. On March 19, 2010 he posted this blog item, encouraging "all modern Sons of Liberty" to break windows at Democratic Party offices around the country. Two days later, the glass door at U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Tucson office was smashed. It was one of about a half-dozen such incidents in the days after his call.
Vanderboegh was involved in the militia movement of the 1990s and appears to blame the U.S. government for the excesses that came out of that movement. Not only was the Waco disaster the government's fault, according to Vanderboegh, but the Oklahoma City bombing was as well. He calls it "The greatest crime ever perpetrated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
This was Vanderboegh's first claim to fame, says Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League, who has been aware of Vanderboegh for 15 years.
"He became a big early proponent — and this is where he got his notoriety in the 1990s — of Oklahoma City conspiracy theories. 'Timothy McVeigh was a patsy. The government was actually involved.' He did a lot to popularize this," Pitcavage said.
Pitcavage traced Vanderboegh's post-militia career this way:
"In the late 90s and early 2000s, the militia movement went into a tailspin. It was at that point that Mike jumped ship. In the mid-2000s, he became involved in the Minutemen."
"He rode that pony for a while. More recently, he dropped that and started his Sipsey Street Irregulars blog. He started the Three Percenter concept, which has caught on among anti-government extremists."
The Three Percenter idea derives from the fact (as Vanderboegh explains it) that at the time of the American Revolution, only three percent of the population fought against the king. Vanderboegh explains the present-day Three Percenters this way:
"We are committed to the restoration of the Founders' Republic, and are willing to fight, die and, if forced by any would-be oppressor, to kill in the defense of ourselves and the Constitution that we all took an oath to uphold against enemies foreign and domestic."
Most recently, Vanderboegh was in the news when four Georgia men were arrested and accused of plotting terrorist attacks against the federal government. A book Vanderboegh has written, titled Absolved, inspired the men, though Vanderboegh said he has never communicated with them. The U.S. News and World Report had this interesting story on the case.
Why does all this background on Vanderboegh matter? Well, I enjoy reading his blog, and have found in my couple of months following the Fast and Furious story that he has often been first in putting out details of the scandal. (He also had an impressive scoop last week when he published what he said were portions of an original draft of a Newsweek story about a man who for years worked as an FBI informant among white supremacists.)
But I read the blog just for new facts on Fast and Furious and as a measure of what is interesting gun-rights fundamentalists. I often find Vanderboegh's interpretation of the facts to stretch the limits of credibility and and to derive from his view of himself as a rebel leader in the run-up to the next American revolution.