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Sovereign Citizen Movement Slide 2 Sovereign Citizen History The "sovereign citizen" movement is a loosely organized collection of groups and individuals who have adopted a right-wing anarchist ideology that adherents believe that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate and they seek to "restore" an idealized, minimalist government that never actually existed. Slide 3 Sovereign Citizen History Sovereign citizen movement is a subculture that has its roots in hate groups like the KKK or extremist groups similar to the Posse Comitatus of the 1970s. Slide 4 Sovereign Citizen History Sovereign citizens wage war against the government and other forms of authority using "paper terrorism" harassment and intimidation tactics, and resorting to violence; particularly directed at police officers and judges. Slide 5 Sovereign Citizen History The FBI lists them among the nation's top domestic terror threats. Slide 6 Sovereign Citizen History In the mid-1990s, the IRS estimated that there were approximately 250,000 such tax protesters in the U.S., not all of whom were full-blown sovereign ideologues. Slide 7 Sovereign Citizen History Since the late 1990s, an abundance of evidence suggests that the sovereign citizen movement's growth has been explosive, although there have been no more recent IRS estimates because Congress in 1998 prohibited the agency from tracking or labeling those who file frivolous arguments in lieu of paying their taxes. Slide 8 Sovereign Citizen History Today, CBS News estimates, there are as many as 300,000 sovereign citizens in the U.S. And with the sluggish economy and mortgage mess, their ranks are growing. Slide 9 Sovereign Citizen History It is difficult to say precisely how many sovereigns there are in the United States today, in part because there is no central leadership and no organized group that members can join instead, there are a variety of local leaders with individualized takes on sovereign citizen ideology and techniques. Slide 10 Sovereign Citizen History The sovereign citizen movement has a presence in every state in the country, and is particularly active in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. Slide 11 Sovereign Citizen History The most noted "guru" is Alfred Adask, who stated in one of his writings: We have the right to keep and bear arms in order to shoot our own politicians. We have the right to keep and bear arms to shoot the police, to shoot your local government officials, your state officials, your president, your congressman, your senators," Slide 12 Sovereign Citizen Ideology The sovereign citizen movement argues that if you closely study the Constitution, you can prove that federal laws are illegitimateleaving you free to choose not to, say, pay taxes or follow traffic laws. Slide 13 Sovereign Citizen Ideology In their view, the minute you get a Social Security number or driver's license, you enter into a contract giving up your sovereignty. Slide 14 Sovereign Citizen Ideology Sovereign citizens are anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or sovereign from the United States. Slide 15 Sovereign Citizen Ideology As a result, they believe they dont have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement. Slide 16 Sovereign Citizen Ideology At its core, the current sovereign belief system is relatively simple and is based on a decades-old conspiracy theory. Slide 17 Sovereign Citizen Ideology At some point in history, sovereigns believe, the American government set up by the founding fathers with a legal system the sovereigns refer to as "common law" was secretly replaced by a new government system based on admiralty law, the law of the sea and international commerce. Slide 18 Sovereign Citizen Ideology Sovereign citizens believe that they are answerable only to English Common Law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state or municipal levels. Slide 19 Sovereign Citizen Ideology Under common law, or so they believe, the sovereigns would be free men. Under admiralty law, they are slaves, and secret government forces have a vested interest in keeping them that way. Slide 20 Sovereign Citizen Ideology They especially reject most forms of taxation as illegitimate. Slide 21 Sovereign Citizen Ideology Participants in the movement argue this concept in opposition to "federal citizens," who, they believe, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law. Slide 22 Sovereign Citizen Ideology Over the last 30 years, there have been hundreds of sovereign promoters packaging different combinations of forms and paperwork, attempting to perfect the process. While no one has ever succeeded, of course, they know with the religious certainty of a true cult believer that they're close. All it will take is the right combination of words, say the promoters of the redemption scam. Slide 23 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It Newcomers drift into the movement in a variety of ways. Slide 24 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It Originally, the sovereign citizens movement mostly attracted white supremacists and anti-Semites, mainly because sovereign theories originated in groups who saw Jews as playing a behind-the-scenes role in manipulating financial institutions and controlling the government. Slide 25 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It In recent years, however, most new recruits are people who have found themselves in a desperate situation and are searching for a quick fix. Others are intrigued by the notions of easy money and living a lawless life, free from any unpleasant consequences. Slide 26 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It A flagging economy, the foreclosure crisis and a shift in America's demographics are factors that have fueled recent interest in the movement. Slide 27 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It For many, it's a political issue. They don't like taxes, traffic laws, child support obligations or making banks rich, but they are too impatient to try to change what they dislike by traditional, political means. Slide 28 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It In times of economic prosperity, sovereigns typically rely on absurd and convoluted schemes to evade state and federal income taxes and hide their assets from the IRS. In times of financial hardship, they turn to debt- and mortgage-elimination scams, techniques to avoid child support payments, and even attempts to use their redemption techniques to get out of serious criminal charges. Slide 29 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It A litigation plan based solely on conspiracies and absurd legal theories is doomed to fail. When the inevitable happens, the sovereign has two choices: he can admit he was wrong and fell for an obvious scam, or he can blame the governmentand its representatives. Slide 30 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It Considering that most sovereigns were already desperate when they joined the movement, spending years and many dollars on worthless redemption techniques can only have worsened their situation. Slide 31 Sovereign Citizen Why They Do It Once they realize that their ideology will not grant them their desired outcome, the sovereign takes aim at his perceived enemies. The judge that dismisses his claim, the county recorder who refuses his filing, the reporter that calls him a deadbeat dad, and the sheriff who evicts him from his foreclosed home all are possible targets of a sovereign's rage. Slide 32 Sovereign Citizen Tactics Sovereign citizens wage war against the government and other forms of authority using "paper terrorism" harassment and intimidation tactics, and resorting to violence. Slide 33 Sovereign Citizen Tactics The preferred weapon of members of the sovereign citizen movement is what has come to be called "paper terrorism." Slide 34 Sovereign Citizen Tactics Paper terrorism involves the use of fraudulent legal documents and filings, as well as the misuse of legitimate documents and filings, in order to intimidate, harass and coerce public officials, law enforcement officers and private citizens. Slide 35 Sovereign Citizen Tactics A simple traffic violation or pet-licensing case can end up provoking dozens of court filings containing hundreds of pages of pseudo-legal nonsense. Slide 36 Sovereign Citizen Tactics For example, a sovereign was involved in 2010 in a protracted legal battle over having to pay a dog-licensing fee. She filed 10 sovereign documents in court over a two-month period and then declared victory when the harried prosecutor decided to drop the case. Slide 37 Sovereign Citizen Tactics A favorite paper terrorism strategy is the filing of frivolous lawsuits and personal liens against public officials, law enforcement officers and private citizens. Slide 38 Sovereign Citizen Tactics These paper "attacks" intimidate their targets and have the beneficial side effect of clogging up a court system that sovereign citizens believe is illegitimate. Slide 39 Sovereign Citizen Tactics Although these strategies are primarily considered frivolous, filed liens have lead to government officials credit ratings being negatively impacted. Slide 40 Sovereign Citizen Tactics Three sovereign citizens were convicted of mail fraud In New York after filing fake indictments and sending fake bills, totaling $1.24 trillion, to government officials. Slide 41 Sovereign Citizen Tactics Frivolous liens became such a problem in the 1990s that a majority of states were forced to pass new laws to make filing them illegal, their removal easier, or both. Slide 42 Sovereign Citizen Tactics Slide 43 In addition to using the Internet to download a variety of boilerplate forms and documents to wield against the government, how to books, e-based and on-site training programs are availabl

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