In the latest flareup of extremist anti-government activity, the FBI is investigating a fringe group that says it wants to “restore America” by peacefully dismantling the government.
The group, Guardians of the Free Republics, recently sent letters to at least 30 state governors informing them that if they didn’t step down within three days, they would be removed, according to an internal federal intelligence memo obtained by TPMmuckraker.The memo, issued jointly by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, warns that the group’s plan also calls for “establishing bogus courts, calling of ‘de jure’ grand juries, and issuing so-called ‘legal order’ to gain control of the state.” It goes on to note that the government is not aware of any plan to use violence, but adds: “We are concerned, however, that unidentified individuals could attempt to follow through with this call to action through violent and criminal means.”
A spokeswoman for Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm told the AP that her office was notified by authorities that a letter from the group was coming, and that it arrived Monday or Tuesday. She said the letter was “non-threatening,” and was given to Michigan State Police. The governors of Louisiana, Nevada, and Iowa, among other states, also have reportedly received the letter.
Guardians of the Free Republics is a “sovereign citizen” group, which believes that its members do not have to abide by the duties of U.S. citizenship, such as paying taxes. According to the group’s website, it seeks to appeal to people who are “tired of being subjected to a corporation posing as a legitimate government that would arrest you for refusing to pray to corporate courts or give up your land or pay taxes to the Rothschilds or exhibit a state-issued confession of subject-class citizenship.” For more on the Soveriegn Citizens movement, see this 2008 Washington Monthly story.
In late January, the group’s leader, a radio host who uses the name Dr. Sam Kennedy, announced in an email to supporters that was posted online that he was planning “a final remedy to enslavement at the hands of corporations posing as legitimate government,” which he said had been “proposed to us by the military more than a year ago.”
The plan, Kennedy continued, “will reverse the wicked deeds of 1933 and 1865 BEHIND THE SCENES, with the same cleverness the bankers used to remove money, law and dignity, and without disturbing the peace.”
The letter sent to the governors appears to be a part of this plan. It comes at a time of increased concern about anti-government violence. This week, nine members of the Hutaree Christian militia group were charged with conspiring to kill police officers and oppose by force the US government.
Kennedy did immediately not respond to a request for comment from TPMmuckraker.