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Thursday, August 12, 2010
"Sovereign Citizens" Spin History - Reject Government
Sovereign Citizen you ask? They call themselves sovereign citizens, U.S. residents who declare themselves above state and federal laws. Many don't register children's births, carry driver's licenses or recognize the court system.
Adherents expect the current American system of government to end one way or another.
Patrick Henry you might recall was a prominent figure in the American Revolution, and is perhaps best known for his "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" speech, and as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
As many as 300,000 people identify as sovereign citizens, the Southern Poverty Law Center found in a study to be published Thursday that was obtained by The Associated Press. Hate group monitors say their numbers have increased thanks to the recession, the foreclosure crisis, the growth of the Internet and the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
So he believes he is Patrick Henry, here to save us. Save us from what you may ask?
At the heart of their belief system: The government creates a secret identity for each citizen at birth, a "straw man," that controls an account at the U.S. Treasury used as collateral for foreign debt. File enough documents at the right offices and the money in those accounts can be used to pay off debt or make purchases worth thousands of dollars. "These people really seem to feel that filing certain kinds of legal papers that are connected to their theories will somehow also magically have the power to alter relationships and grant things that otherwise would be unobtainable," said Michael Barkun, a retired Syracuse University political science professor who researches anti-government and hate groups.
What? You confused too?
Experts say sovereign citizens are the latest manifestation of anti-government activists going back to the Posse Comitatus movement of the 1970s, which recognized only local governments and no law enforcement official with more jurisdiction than a sheriff.
In April, a group called the Guardians of the Free Republics sent letters to governors demanding they leave office or be removed. The group's website calls for the restoration of lawful government and an end to tax forms, vehicle registrations and marriage licenses. An e-mail to the group was not returned.
Hey I hate paying vehicle registration fees as much as anyone, but ...?
The sovereign citizen movement has grown to about 100,000 hard-core believers, the SPLC report estimates, and 200,000 people trying out the theories by "resisting everything from speeding tickets to drug charges."
McBride, the jailed sovereign citizen, came across anti-government beliefs while in federal prison in Michigan on a 1992 cocaine importing conviction. Over the years he developed his own tenets, including a revised history of the United States that says the country was secretly organized as a general post office in 1789. He dismisses any accusation that the programs he pitched were fraud, arguing he's not subject to the laws of the U.S., which he calls a corporation along the lines of a car company. "General Motor's laws don't affect me because I'm not an employee of them," McBride said. "Same with the state of Ohio and the United States."
Today, McBride is headed back to federal prison after prosecutors said he cashed bogus checks and refused to cooperate with his parole officers following a 2004 bankruptcy fraud conviction.
Who wouldn't want to be subject to no law or rule other than ones you declare valid - kind of like Kings of old. I hereby declare I am "His Royal Highness - Sean, 1st Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire - California."
There. Done. You may send your taxes to me now.