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Freemen

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NEWS
April 3, 1996 | By Rich Heidorn Jr., INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Lancaster County Amish man identified as having links to the anti-government Freemen movement surrendered peacefully to the Lancaster County Sheriff's Department yesterday, defusing a potential confrontation with county officials over a zoning dispute. Wearing the black hat and garb of the Amish, Alvin King Lapp surrendered at the headquarters of the Mennonite Central Committee outside Lancaster, according to Chief Deputy Sheriff Terry Bergman. "He made mention that he's not a violent person," Bergman said.
NEWS
May 6, 1996 | By Gwen Florio, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
As the siege against the Freemen enters its seventh week today, after another breakdown in negotiations, some ranchers who live near the isolated Eastern Montana compound are beginning to talk the same kind of tough talk about independent action that helped produce the standoff in the first place. The ranchers are considering getting on their tractors, crossing the "Yahweh line" that the Freemen say protects their compound, which they call Justus Township, and plowing the fields that one of the ranchers bought at a sheriff's tax sale but that the Freemen refuse to give up. "It's just so frustrating," said Tom Stanton, whose ranch borders the Freemen settlement in Brusett, a community of widely scattered ranches and farms along gravel roads about 30 miles northwest of Jordan.
NEWS
March 26, 1996 | By Tom Laceky, ASSOCIATED PRESS Inquirer staff writer Gwen Florio contributed to this article
Two leaders of the militant "freemen" antigovernment group were arrested yesterday near the farm where they had been openly holed up for months. Federal agents tried to persuade other members of the heavily armed group to surrender. "The negotiations are very sensitive," U.S. Attorney Sherry Matteucci said. "We don't want to do anything that endangers the safety of the people in the area. " LeRoy Schweitzer, 57, and Daniel E. Peterson, 53, were arrested without incident near the small east-central Montana town of Jordan, Matteucci said.
NEWS
June 7, 1996 | By Angie Cannon, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
It is a different FBI negotiating with the Freemen in Montana. Now engaged in one of the longest standoffs in American history, federal agents are carefully following lessons from the 51-day impasse in Waco, Texas, which ended with a blaze that killed 81 people. "You are seeing a new FBI - one that says even though we always have the ability to tactically resolve a situation, no one wants to see the results we saw at Ruby Ridge and Waco," said Clint Van Zandt, who served as the FBI's chief hostage negotiator for eight years and was a behavioral analyst during the confrontation with the Branch Davidian sect at Waco.
NEWS
April 2, 1996
So we meet another group of Americans who think this is a nation of men, not laws - and not particularly peaceable or honorable men, at that. The Freemen of remote Jordan, Mont., are said to be heavily armed, and defiantly insistent that they're not subject to the same rules as the rest of us. That familiar, antigovernment rap comes with poisonous doses of white separatism, racism and anti-Semitism. Not to mention talk of killing, and old-fashioned bank fraud, authorities say. Fortunately, for the last week or so the Freemen haven't been as free as they might like.
NEWS
March 28, 1996 | By Gwen Florio, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The armed standoff in this high plains ranching community ground on for a third day yesterday, the bleak landscape dotted with flak-jacketed law officers, the curious and roadblocks. At the compound 30 miles northwest of here, maybe a dozen militant antigovernment tax protesters were holed up as federal agents negotiated with them to put down their weapons and leave. Townsfolk and ranchers, worried that the tense situation might worsen if militia members from elsewhere decided to join those at the ranch, called a meeting at the frigid community hall in Brusett, a ranching crossroads about five miles south of the compound.
NEWS
March 17, 1996 | By Gwen Florio, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
People here talk a lot about Waco and Ruby Ridge. As in: "We don't want another Waco. " Or: "Remember what happened at Ruby Ridge. " The fear is that Jordan will join the lexicon as shorthand for a bloody standoff between federal agents and armed reactionaries. For more than five months, members of a white-supremacist group calling themselves Freemen have been holed up about 30 miles outside this tiny eastern Montana town. They face local, state and federal charges ranging from traffic tickets and tax evasion to assault and armed robbery.
NEWS
March 22, 1997 | by Kitty Caparella, Daily News Staff Writer
One year ago today FBI Agent Chuck Reed was killed during a shootout with a nervous ex-bank employee during an undercover drug investigation outside the Comfort Inn parking lot at Penn's Landing. Nearly a year ago, Special Agent Kevin J. Kramer, 34, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., became the first casualty of a 21-day standoff with the Freemen in Montana on April 14, 1996. On temporary assignment, he was en route to his duty station on a SWAT team outside the Freemen compound when he died in a traffic accident.
NEWS
February 22, 1999
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission.
NEWS
June 14, 1996 | By Craig R. McCoy, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The jury in the MOVE civil suit is to resume deliberations again today after completing its first full day of discussions yesterday. The federal jury elected a tool-and-die maker from Northeast Philadelphia as its foreman. The middle-aged man, one of only two Philadelphians on the eight-member panel, is one of five whites in the group. In an eleventh-hour bit of legal skirmishing yesterday, the defendants asked U.S. District Court Judge Louis H. Pollak to hold out of the jury room a 13-second video showing police beating a MOVE member in 1978.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
June 4, 2009 | MICHAEL SMERCONISH
ON SUNDAY, the news of the execution of Dr. George Tiller repulsed me. On Monday, reports of a U.S. soldier killed outside a military recruiting station sickened me. On Tuesday, the beating of a man suspected of raping an 11-year-old delighted me. But I realize I can't have it both ways. Scott Roeder allegedly executed George Tiller in cold blood, in a church, presumably because Tiller was an abortion provider. Tiller's practice was within the bounds of Kansas state law, which requires that two doctors separately conclude that delivering the fetus would result in irreversible harm to the mother.
NEWS
February 22, 1999
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission.
NEWS
July 27, 1998 | By Gwen Florio, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Again, Montana. As did Unabomber Ted Kaczynski before him, and the Freemen before Kaczynski, Capitol shooting suspect Russell E. Weston Jr. has drawn unwelcome notoriety to this state that styles itself as "The Last Best Place. " Alas for its reputation, this state was the last place that Weston and the others lived before wreaking havoc on a scale that brought national notoriety. "Another big story we could have lived without," bemoaned a front-page headline in yesterday's Independent-Record, published in the state capital of Helena, just 20 miles from this tiny town where Weston had a cabin.
NEWS
February 4, 1998 | By Gwen Florio, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Imagine yourself in a world without cash machines, a world without credit cards. Imagine being there without cash, without a checkbook. Desperately in need of, say, groceries, gas, a good paperback, a stiff drink. You might as well imagine, while you're at it, the background music from The Twilight Zone, since that's what this feels like. What might be unthinkable for suburban America (which is to say most of America) is daily reality for the 450 residents of this eastern Montana town, the most remote community in a state that defines isolation.
NEWS
March 22, 1997 | by Kitty Caparella, Daily News Staff Writer
One year ago today FBI Agent Chuck Reed was killed during a shootout with a nervous ex-bank employee during an undercover drug investigation outside the Comfort Inn parking lot at Penn's Landing. Nearly a year ago, Special Agent Kevin J. Kramer, 34, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., became the first casualty of a 21-day standoff with the Freemen in Montana on April 14, 1996. On temporary assignment, he was en route to his duty station on a SWAT team outside the Freemen compound when he died in a traffic accident.
NEWS
February 6, 1997 | By Allie Shah, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Armed with a bundle of legal documents, his own court reporter, and a fan or two sitting in the back of a Chester County courtroom yesterday, Dennis Michael Bohmier challenged the authority of virtually every person who has handled his criminal case. Acting as his own attorney, the man whom Chester County authorities have identified as a local member of the Freemen argued that charges stemming from a traffic stop last summer should be dropped because of procedural mistakes made by police and the district justice who first heard his case.
NEWS
June 26, 1996 | By Howard Goodman, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The 1985 MOVE confrontation on Osage Avenue ended with a raging fire, 11 charred bodies and an aftermath of recrimination that tortures Philadelphia still. By contrast, the recent face-off on the Montana prairie closed with the antigovernment Freemen surrendering quietly to the FBI after 81 days. In the 11 years between the two, something was learned about the limits of police power: that force and force alone isn't always the best way to deal with extremist groups determined to resist authority.
NEWS
June 16, 1996 | Associated Press / MICHAEL S. GREEN
In an FBI caravan, members of the Freemen antigovernment group are taken to Billings, Mont., where 14 of them were later arraigned. The standoff ended peacefully Thursday when the 16 remaining people holed up on a ranch surrendered after 81 days, the longest federal siege in modern U.S. history. The elderly wives of two Freemen, who faced no charges, went free.
NEWS
June 15, 1996
The 81-day standoff between the federal government and the Freemen in Montana has ended. With the government as the clear winner. FBI chief Louis Freeh and Attorney General Janet Reno held off dissenters within their own ranks and insisted on waiting out the extremists. In the end, their victory was unalloyed. Clearly, government officials finally learned from past mistakes like the conflagration in Waco, the shootout in Ruby Ridge and the MOVE fiasco here in Philadelphia.
NEWS
June 15, 1996
Waco, Ruby Ridge, MOVE . . . Fortunately, the list of botched government sieges of extremist groups will not grow with the addition of the Freemen of Jordan, Mont. The FBI's new, low-key strategy of waiting out the group of hard-luck farmers and slogan-spouting con men paid off on Thursday - with the peaceful surrender of 16 holdouts. The week before, the last two children at the Freemen ranch had been removed from harm's way. So a new model of patience worked in what was an extremely difficult standoff: a defiant and armed group holed up in the bleak Montana countryside.
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