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The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City, Utah • Page 16
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The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City, Utah • Page 16

Salt Lake City, Utah
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Tax-Protest Movement Getting Bigger Bolder county jail sentence In doggedly detailed court filings the employee of Union Pacific Motor Freight claimed that state and federal tax agendes have no legal authority that W-2 forms are meaningless and that the TP code on his file was a secret message between state offi-dals and the judge And in language borrowed from far right constitutionalists Kaplar claimed requirements for filing a tax return violated his Fifth Amendment right against possible self-incrimination Such rules also run afoul of the Fourth Amendment right to have ones papers protected against unreasonable searches and seizures he insisted Others employ a racially tinged argument against taxes Because the Constitutions 16th Amendment creating the income tax was passed with the 15th Amendment freeing slaves they reason taxes apply only to African Americans Using this logic some have sent lengthy genealogical records to state officials seeking to prove they have no black ancestry and therefore are tax-exempt Kaysville resident and pharmaceutical salesman Todd Spotz claimed in court documents to have revoked all government obligations including his marriage license birth certificate and driver license in preference for Gods law And that he argued freed him from having to file state-tax returns Spotz denounced his Social Security number as the mark of the beast saying that recognizing it threatened to deprive him of the 33 articulable benefits of the law of God US Senate in 1994 as a Democrat until the campaign faltered under IRS claims his group Association De Libertas was under federal investigation and displayed violent tendencies Many of these people are cordial intelligent people says a senior federal law-enforcement official But it becomes a kind of religion to them They lose all perspective Today state enforcement authorities file as many tax-protest cases in one month as they did in 12 months only a few years ago "Its everywhere and its growing says Bush The most common tactic is trying to snow tax agents with a blizzard of computer-generated court filings and rehashed arguments circulated in national newsletters and fax networks Some use money laundering and offshore shelters long employed by drug kingpins to hide ill-gotten assets Most tax protesters are common citizens for whom the stakes are matters of principle not money They pay court costs and attorney fees plus pay tax penalties and interest so they end up further in the hole than if they just filed a tax return says Merida Milligan a compliance auditor for the Utah Tax Commission Brown Kaplar of Provo delayed filing his 1991 and 1992 state returns until he was threatened with a While they fern! to be nonviolent tat protesters employ rhetoric that bears a close resemblantt to that of fringe grbtfps vowing armed insurrection- And in the eyes of fhe government their tax-evading behavior amounts to plain lawbreaking The rest of ns who are honest and paying our taxes are paying more because they arent paying any says Michelle Bush a lawyer in the Utah attorney generals revenue and taxation division Tax evaders cost the state several millions of dollars annually Bush estimates Once concentrated in regional pockets centered around neighborhood and church networks the movement now is driven by individuals Spread in so-called untaxing seminars that exploit deep-seated frustration with government red tape tax protesting in Utah now cuts across all lines of age locale and employment A leading Utah figure John Benson ran for the -1 By Toay Semerad THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Claiming his life was ruined five years ago by federal agents who accused him of dodging $50000 in taxes Albert Carter of Provo is a one-person crusade against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) From his self-styled American Institute for the Republic he spreads virulently anti-federal views typical of Utahs tax protesters a movement that tax officials say has grown so large they barely can keep pace The IRS is wicked and corrupt from top to bottom side to side and if they are corrupt we the people have the responsibility to fire them says Carter His name heads a list of more than 400 people whose federal lawsuit against the agency recently was tossed out of Utahs US District Court Our goal is their total and complete destruction Carter adds We dont need a Gestapo-type organization whose tactics are intimidation and invasion of privacy Tax protesters deny most forms of federal jurisdiction over them basing their beliefs on oblique interpretations of the US Constitution and out-ofcontext snippets of federal law In Utah tax resisters are more likely to use religion to argue why they are above paying lUtatVs Extremist'Grou ps' Utah Activism For Animals Turning Violent By Jim Woolf THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE One of the most destructive terrorist attacks in recent Utah history was attributed to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) a militant group of animal-rights activists angry about what is considered inhumane research on coyotes at Utah State University On Oct 24 1992 ALF members fire-bombed the Logan office and Millville research station of a USU professor doing predator-control research More than a dozen coyotes also were released from their pens Damage was estimated at $200000 No one has been arrested for the attack but an Oregon man earlier this year was charged with ALF activities elsewhere in the country USU Police Chief Steve Mecham says the man has been implicated in the Utah case The investigation continues A firebomb was left at a Sandy mink farm in 1991 but it did not explode A spray-painted sign on a wall attributed the attack to ALB More recently businesses along the Wasatch Front selling meat eggs and leather have reported an upsurge in vandalism broken windows and graffiti Slogans spray-painted on the walls have included references to ALF and a group called Vegan Revolution A vegan is a vegetarian who eats no animal products including milk and eggs Another animal-rights group on the rise in Salt Lake County also is considered a street gang Members of Straight Edge which first appeared in Utah in 1988 look like skinheads but claim not to be racially motivated says Layton police Det Kurt Cottrell Yet violence and vandalism are a part of their lifestyle police say The group has developed a no-alcohol no-drugs philosophy and reportedly has harassed people who drink liquor in clubs The gang also is suspected of jumping and stabbing a concertgoer for smoking pot at the Utah Fairpark Now many have become animal-rights activists and have been responsible for vandalism against butcher and fur shops even a yogurt stand police say Theyre suspected whenever we see some graffiti and vandalism at butcher shops says Murray Assistant Police Chief Paul Forbes Other sources said they have had some pretty confrontational things with other gangs" Are Militias Heading Deeper Underground? By Tony Semerad THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Citizen militias now under intense scrutiny after being linked to the Oklahoma bombing have a long and honorable history in America Utah members insist The Constitutions Second Amendment explicitly provides for their formation calling them necessary to the security of a free state And Utah law provides for these armed citizen groups to place themselves at the beck and call of official law enforcement and the governor in case of emergencies Historically militias are just people in a free land trying to do in a group what they might otherwise do as individuals says Doug Christiansen a former state trooper and organizer of the Box Elder Unorganized Militia The Tremonton-based group disbanded a few weeks ago says Christiansen rather than be broad-brushed with groups the public perceives as dangerous Citizen militias have operated in pockets across Utah for years law-enforcement officers say Militia membership in Utah probably reaches into the hundreds with activities ranging from harmless maneuvers and training to stockpiling weapons maintaining links with racist groups and distributing information on bomb building Names reported by authorities include the Constitutional Rangers and the Utah Civil Defense League both in Salt Lake County and the Culpepper Minutemen and Sovereign Freemen in Utah County The movement makes heavy use of an electronic-network-turned-rumor-mill that extends to thousands of phones fax machines and countless computers on the -global Internet Before the Oklahoma incident militias enjoyed mainstream popularity in Utah particularly among state residents out- raged about Congress passage of a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases and bans on semiautomatic weapons During a February gun debate in the Legislature House Majority Whip Michael Waddoups R-Taylorsville circu- lated a handout to colleagues likening President Clinton to Adolf Hitler The document later was traced to a publication edited from Blackfoot Idaho by Samuel Sherwood head of the US Militia Association which also drew a personal visit last September from Utah Sen Brent Richard R-Riverton But that has changed Already noid many groups are being driven further underground by publicity says state Department of Public Safety Commissioner Doug Bodrero Reached in Blackfoot Sherwood says he expects half the nations militia members to leave their groups out of discouragement But others leery of a federal backlash he adds will see this the bombing as one more symptom of government gone mad Source: Law-enforcement agendes court documents Tribune files and interviews The Sait Lake Tribune Nature Lovers Wage Stealthy War on Development been spiked by someone trying to discourage timber harvesting A tree with a spike in it can damage saws at lumber mills and endanger millworkers David Griffel special agent for the Forest Service says more than 100 spikes found in the area make him suspect more than one person was involved Yet it cuts both ways People frustrated by the success of the environmental movement have threatened leaders of groups that do not advocate eco-terror ism I have received a death threat on the office answering machine and another of physical violence on my home answering machine" says Ken Rait issues coordinator for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance These are the extremists the anti-environmental extremists who are resorting to the politics of hate and vironmentalists appear to have taken this advice to heart because there is little evidence of organized activity Weve had a little bit here and a little bit there says Lt Monte Dalton of the San Juan County Sheriffs Office The scattering of incidents leads him to believe they are isolated and carried out by individuals Radical environmentalists are believed responsible for five arson fires in Garfield County since 1990 and the shooting of cattle in various parts of southern Utah They also are suspected of cutting fences slashing tires and other action against ranchers The livestock industry has been singled out because some environmentalists believe overgrazing by cattle is damaging the desert This spring Forest Services officials in Wayne County found that a second timber sale on Thousand Lake Mountain had By Jim Woolf THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Frustrated by the continuing loss of natural areas in Utah a feW environmentalists have resorted to vandalism and sabotage in an attempt to slow development They are suspected of shewing cattle burning ranchers cabins pouring sand into engines of earth-mcfving equipment and driving metal spikes into trees in attempts to block timber sales Inspiration for these attacks appears to be Edward Abbeys popular 187a novel The Monkey Wrench Gang the story of environmentalists who use similar tactics to interfere with development on the Colorado Plateau Such attacks were championed by the defunct Earth First! orgahizltioh which urged concerned individuals lq SCt alone and tell no one what theyhaf etlone En- fi Clinton targets anti-terrorism laws A-5 lawyers step up In Oklahoma case A-5 Are we obsessed with security? A-13 Wide web of International terror A-14 Racism bigotry thriving In Utah H-1 0 Some Fear a Stronger i3BI Will Become a Federal Bureau of Intimidation -7 V1-''1 -I- i 1 ill 1 il 1 iL I i i 1 1 tl At Ii more moult driofe pf suspect groups keep better track of Interns tidnal visitors whose visas have expired and deport individuals without revealing why The FBI In Utah and Washington refused to discuss the proposals wending through Congress The FBI would provide only a copy of a month-old statement that Freeh gave the Senate Judiciary Committee Critics to the proposals span the political landscape For instance the Utah Republican Party formally has urged the state's congressional delegation to resist any expansion of federal powers Many conservatives fear the net effect would threaten their ability to possess guns and erode other longstanding rights "The party opposes any federal legislative proposals that seek to exploit the Oklahoma City bombing so as to further Infringe on the constitutional safeguards contained within the Bill of Rights" according to a draft resolution at Utahs Republican convention earlier this month Liberals are attacking the FBI demands They are mindful of the FBI campaign of politically mo gress itself through the Senate Intelligence Committee Some of this reminds me of Edgar Hoover" Teresa Hensley a Salt Lake City immigration attorney for Catholic Community Services says of the new FBI proposals The broad unusual coalition encompassing both ends of the political spectrum is leery of the FBI requests "There Is enough legitimate opposition to expanding the FBIs powers that reasonable voices probably will be heard on this" says Salt Lake City criminal-defense attorney Ron Yengich who has vented his opposition In letters to Utah Sen Orrin Hatch In fact the Clinton administration already has withdrawn one proposal that drew criticism The president has conceded that it would be more prudent to allow courts to review any finding that an International group is a Terrorist organization" And Friday the Senate shot down attempts to expand the government's wiretapping authority As other measures come up for debate some probably will be modified or dropped as Congress weighs the wisdom and political risks of investing more authority In an agency hose abuses still are fresh in memories And Freeh's charm and disclaimers will not be enough to assuage lawmakers on all the points I do not support broad and undefined Intelligence collection efforts" Freeh declared April 27 I do not want my remarks to be Interpreted as advocating investigative activity against groups exercising their legitimate constitutional rights" Beyond the political rhetoric and the recent FBI history the agency's demands have provoked one common reaction from detractors Yengich Hensley Los Angeles Immigration attorney Linton Joaquim and other told The Salt Lake Tribune that for much of what the FBI wants laws already are on the books For example current immigration law allows for deportation of illegal Immigrants sucpected of terrorist activities says Joaquim And there already are procedures for government agents to take action against foreigners with expired visa Some also warn against replacing review by the courts with arbitrary conclusions by the FBI and other agencies Some of these things reek of Star Chamber tactics says Hensley Adds Yengich: When look at it rationally and without the emotion we have from the Oklahoma City bombing well see that the Uxmer is already there for the FBI in the laws wo already have By Ted Cilwick THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE The FBI is demanding more power in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing But dont bet that the agency will get all it wants In a long list of requests FBI Director Louis Freeh and supporters including President Clinton claim more tools are needed to counter terrorists such as those who bombed the federal building In Oklahoma and New Yorks World Trade Center Some of the proposals enhance law officers abil- ity to track down violent groups: Expand the number of offenses for which wire- taps can be used Give international governments authority to tap telephones in the United States Affix tags on boxes of explosives Hire more agents and buy more technology But others are more ticklish because they rub up against civil rights For example the FBI wants motels car rentals shipping firms and other businesses to cough up data about their clients more quickly Agents are seeking wider access to credit-card information And Freeh it demanding increased latitude to conduct wtrveillanee end gather intelligence against sospitnous group Other request have Immigration-rights organi- tations concerned These proposals would foster minated in 1976 with a scathing report from Con

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