Ernest Hancock - Viper Militia
Online radio host who staged gun interview at Obama rally defended 90s militia group
Ernest Hancock, who staged an interview with an assault-rifle toting group at an Obama event on Monday, was a vocal friend of right-wing militia members who were convicted of weapons and conspiracy charges, reports TalkingPointsMemo.
And in an interview today with TPMmuckraker, Hancock said he still believes the Viper Militia case was "manufactured" by the same government that manufactured Waco and lied to its people about 9/11.
The federal government initially accused the Arizona Viper Militia of plotting to blow up federal buildings, which the twelve-member group cased on videotape.
In July 1996, after a grand jury indicted the suspects, federal agents "seized about 90 high-powered rifles and hundreds of pounds of a bomb-making compound from the shabby bungalow of a man whom officials identified as the ordnance specialist of a local paramilitary group," the New York Times reported at the time.
HuffPo reports that Hancock was interviewed by CNN's Rick Sanchez while he was conducting his own interview of one of the armed men.
During the segment on CNN, Rick Sanchez said, "the more we look into this, the more it appears that it was really planned." Hancock concurred: "Oh, it's more planned than you think." In addition to scheduling the interview, Hancock had also informed the local police force.
As the interview continued, Rick Sanchez loudly exclaimed, "This was a publicity stunt!"
"Oh absolutely," Hancock responded.
Sanchez pushed on, "isn't there something terribly disingenuous about putting people on like that? And isn't there also something a little bit... dangerous about playing these kinda games--"
"Oh, it's not a game," Chris interjected.
"---with what I imagine is a loaded weapon," Sanchez continued.
"We know what we're up against," Hancock continued. "We're up against a tyrannical government that will rob the next generation as long as they can get away with it."
The TPMmuckraker blog contacted Hancock on Tuesday:
"I was good friends with Dean Pleasant, one of the guys that did five and half years," Hancock said, who added the entire case was "made up."
"I've been feeling this coming again," he continued. "It's the same people. It's Rahm Emanuel, it's Janet Napolitano. It's Hillary Clinton. All these were the same people that were doing it back then."
Napolitano, who later became Arizona governor and is now secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was the prosecutor in the Viper Militia case.
"This militia scare is what got them their crime ban. It was all manufactured," said Hancock, scoffing at the term "White Al Qaeda," which he said he's been seeing in the local press.
TPM reports that most Viper Militia members were sentenced on federal weapons and explosives charges related to plans to bomb federal buildings. Hancock was not charged in the case.
Huffington Post says that Hancock's interview with "Chris" (no last name) centered on guns, even though it was conducted at a health care rally. "Is it your advocacy that by having guns here we're probably all safer?" the online radio host asked. "Absolutely," agreed Chris, who explained that he is always armed.
Recent rallies featuring President Obama and members of Congress have seen other protestors carrying weapons, raising concerns about security and possible over-taxing of Secret Service and local law enforcement.
What do you think? Is it appropriate for protesters to carry weapons, even at a volatile political event with serious security concerns? Should the Secret Service expand the president's security perimeter? Or should protesters continue to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights?