Provisional Government of the Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas (RoT) is a group of people who believe that the United States never legally annexed the state of Texas and that Texas is therefore an independent nation. In 1995, the RoT declared the state of Texas to be an independent Republic, and RoT "citizens" have been behaving as if that were the case ever since. RoT members believe that they are not legally bound to obey the federal government or the state government of Texas, and they resent both for taking away their freedoms. The RoT is part of the common law movement. (The common law movement declares that its members are exempt from the laws of the United States, and cite pseudo-legal theories that justify their illegal activities, which typically involve issuing phony legal documents such as liens and money orders.) RoT also teaches its members to practice redemption (a complicated set of bank fraud techniques, morally justified in the eyes of its practitioners by elaborate conspiracy theories) and paper terrorism (using fraudulent legal documents and filings to harass the government). They do not consider the money orders or comptroller's warrants they issue to be fraudulent, because they believe the United States government has no legal authority to print money, let alone the legal authority to forbid the Republic of Texas from printing its own money.
In 1996, the RoT split into three factions: one led by David Johnson (later replaced by Jesse Enloe), one led by Archie Lowe (later replaced by Daniel Miller) and one led by Rick McLaren. Two of the three factions have been involved in terrorist activity. In the spring of 1997, several RoT members led by McLaren stormed the house of Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe, who they held for 12 hours as "prisoners of war." McLaren demanded the release of two RoT members (Ann Turner and Robert Scheidt) in exchange for his hostages, but he eventually released them in exchange for Scheidt alone. McLaren's wife, Evelyn, convinced him to surrender peacefully after a week-long standoff with police. McLaren and five of his followers (Evelyn McLaren, Richard "White Eagle" Otto, Greg Paulson, Karen Paulson, and Richard Keyes) were sent to prison following the incident, which effectively destroyed the McLaren faction of the RoT.
The other terrorist act committed by the RoT involved members of three Jesse Enloe's faction, Jack Abbot Grebe Jr. and Johnie Wise. (Oliver Dan Emigh was tried as a co-conspirator, but acquitted.) Grebe and Wise were convicted in 1998 of threatening to assassinate several government officials, including President Clinton. Their plan was to build a cigarette lighter that would shoot cactus thorns dipped in biological agents such as anthrax, rabies, botulism, and AIDS. The conviction was largely based on evidence provided by undercover FBI informant John L. Cain. Cain, a computer consultant, was approached by Grebe and Wise, who wanted him to help them send threatening e-mail messages to government officials. Cain contacted the FBI, and collaborated with the agency by secretly taping meetings he had in his trailer with Grebe and Wise.
Many members of the Republic of Texas were upset by and openly critical of the criminal activities of McLaren, Grebe and Wise (although all three are listed as prisoners of war on the group's website). The group appears to have decreased in size and become more moderate since the late 90s . Chris Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a Boston group that monitors the far right, says the group is no longer a threat to anyone. (Bragg, 11/5/2001) The RoT has demonstrated a willingness to support the government it despises, albeit in ways that government officials don't necessarily approve of. After September 11, its members drilled in preparation for assisting the government during a terrorist attack. The RoT has also been organizing border patrols to collect and forcibly deport Mexican immigrants illegally crossing the border, despite the fact that the INS strongly discourages private citizens from patrolling the border. President Daniel Miller told the Boston Globe, "The American people are our brothers...We extend a helping hand." (Kennedy, 9/25/2001) Despite its increased cooperation with the state and federal government, the RoT remains committed to its vision of Texas as an independent nation.