These things happened in the United States this year. An unarmed man was killed by police, supposedly for stealing some cigars. Those who took to the streets simply seeking truth, among them some looters, were denounced by some conservatives and an entire news network as "thugs" and "lynch mobs." Just months earlier, a Nevada tax cheat owing the federal government a million dollars welcomed dozens of heavily armed militia members who threatened to murder government officials. An entire news network and a Republican United States senator called them "patriots" and "freedom riders." (The FBI suffers from no such confusion: the Bureau under the last three presidents has labelled Cliven Bundy's ilk "domestic terrorists.")
But while all eyes have been focused on Ferguson, Missouri, the latest chapter in the saga of another terrorist tax evader was quietly being written in New Hampshire. There, federal officials were unable to sell the properties confiscated from Ed and Elaine Brown because prospective buyers the lands and buildings might be booby-trapped.
As the AP reported:
The auction of Ed and Elaine Brown's fortress-like home on 100 acres in Plainfield was held at U.S. District Court in Concord on Friday. The minimum bid was $250,000.That's right. Years before militia members with automatic weapons descended on Cliven Bundy's ranch to enable him to continue to collect "food stamps" for cows, Ed and Elaine Brown were threatening federal marshals simply trying to collect what the tax deadbeats owed Uncle Sam.
Elaine Brown's dental office in a prime Lebanon commercial zone also was being auctioned with a minimum bid of $507,500, but it too attracted no bidders.
Federal marshals had arranged 16 folding chairs in a courtroom at the federal courthouse in Concord. They remained empty, serving as a stark reminder of the lack of interest as Deputy Chief U.S. Marshal Brenda Mikelson went through the motions of asking for minimum bids on both properties before the auction ended two minutes later.
Prospective bidders were not allowed to tour the properties, in part because the U.S. Marshals Service raised the possibility that explosives or other booby traps could be buried on the residential property.
They also cited the hordes of Brown supporters the 2007 standoff attracted.
Please read below the fold for more on this story.
In that 2007 New Hampshire episode, another million-dollar tax cheater turned terrorist when Uncle Sam came for his money. That June, Ed Brown and his wife, Elaine, already sentenced to 63 months in absentia for failing to pay his $1 million tab, vowed "that he and his wife would fight U.S. marshals to the death if they tried to capture them." As ABC News reported at the time, the Browns had support from many of the usual suspects:
The couple, however, insists that there is no law that requires citizens to pay income tax.Ultimately, Ed and his dentist wife ended up in prison for a lot longer than five years after they bunkered down in their 100-acre compound stocked with weapons:
"There is no law. We looked and looked," Brown told the press.
Brown and his supporters, including Randy Weaver, leader of the 1992 standoff with ATF agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, told the press that the government has unlawfully tricked people into believing they have to pay income tax, knowing full well that such a law would be unconstitutional.
"We will defend it to the death. This is 1776 all over again. You cannot tax someone's labor because that is slavery," Brown said.
At trial, the couple was found guilty of numerous charges including plotting to kill federal agents during the 2007 standoff; conspiring to prevent federal officers from performing their duties; conspiring to assault, resist or impede federal officers; using or carrying a firearm or destructive device during a violent crime; possessing a firearm or destructive device, being a felon in possession of a firearm; obstruction of justice; failing to appear at sentencing. Mr. Brown was also charged with failing to appear at trial.For the FBI, the Browns represent the dictionary definition of domestic terrorists. But for libertarians like former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul now denouncing "police initiated violence" in Ferguson, they represent something else: modern day versions of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Edward Brown was sentenced to 37 years, and Elaine Brown, 35 years.