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FBI Investigating Group Behind Elbit Systems Attack in Merrimack

The extremist left-wing group behind the assault on Elbit Systems in Merrimack is under FBI investigation, NHJournal has learned.

As Calla Walsh set off smoke bombs from the roof of the Elbit Systems of America facility, images of her protest were pushed out on social media by Palestine Action US. The group is the American offshoot of an anti-Israel organization based in the U.K., and it gets financial support from local millionaire — and self-declared Communist — James “Fergie” Chambers. Chambers put up bail for Walsh and her two co-defendants after their arrest on charges stemming from the Merrimack incident.

Walsh’s connections to Palestine Action US and Chambers have caught her in the FBI’s crosshairs.

Merrimack Police Detective Kevin Manuele’s probable cause statement seeking court approval to search Walsh’s cell phone states the FBI is already interested in Chambers and Palestine Action US. 

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation was conducting an investigation into the group that was involved as well as their leader Chambers, who is known to the FBI,” Manuele wrote.

The FBI generally does not publicize details of ongoing investigations, but the information came to light as part of a court battle over Walsh’s cell phone. Merrimack police seized Walsh’s it during her arrest at Elbit, and the progressive teen activist has been demanding its return, according to court records.

Weeks after the November arrest, FBI Agent Kevin Leblanc took possession of the phone as part of that agency’s inquiry into Chambers and Palestine Action US. The phone has since been returned to Merrimack Police. New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella won’t release it unless Walsh agrees to let Granite State investigators search it for information. In lieu of that, Formella’s office went to court this month seeking approval to look at the phone’s contents. 

Jeffrey Odland, Walsh’s defense attorney, is objecting on grounds that the attorney general’s actions violated her Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

“The State’s seizure of [Walsh’s] phone and subsequent request to search are constitutionally unreasonable due to the 184-day delay in the state applying for judicial permission to search,” Odland wrote. 

Manuele’s probable cause statement indicates there is likely evidence of conspiracy on Walsh’s phone beyond her actions with co-defendants Sophie Ross, Bridget Shergalis, and Paige Belanger. All four women have ties to Palestine Action US, as well as Chambers.

Palestine Action US spearheads attacks on Elbit, even publishing a since-deleted map of all Elbit facilities in the United States on its social media platforms. It also broadcasts messages to “shut down Elbit,” according to Manuele.

Walsh, a self-identified Communist and “anti-imperialist,” has a long history of protesting against Elbit. After a 2022 arrest at the Cambridge, Mass. Elbit facility, Walsh expressed her displeasure with police on social media.

“Cambridge pigs are still pigs. They serve to protect capital and empire,” Walsh wrote.

She also posted a message on social media calling Israelis “the scum of nations and pigs of the Earth.”

Walsh and Chambers appear in a photo together at the Cambridge protest which was shared by Palestine Action US, according to Manuele. Palestine Action US promoted the Merrimack incident with photos of Walsh, and it used the picture of a masked Walsh holding smoke bombs on top of the Elbit Systems building in later promotional images shared to social media.

Calla Walsh, Fergie Chambers and Paige Belanger protesting Elbit Systems on Oct. 30 2023 in Cambridge, Mass. (Via Instagram)

Chambers is a member of the Cox family, worth about $34 billion, according to reports. Chambers essentially negotiated an early inheritance with the family trust, allowing him to walk away with a reported $250 million which he used to start a Marxist commune in the Berkshires, as well as a “People’s Gym” in the Upper Valley. He also supports left-wing protests and funds bail for activists like Walsh.

Chambers denied being a Palestine Action US leader, though he’s often described as a co-founder.

“PAL Action is not now and never was an ‘org,’” Chambers wrote NHJournal. “It is a social media platform that shares news of direct actions people have taken against Elbit or other weapons companies. We’ve shared things in Cali, VA, TX, MA, NH, etc. If someone sends us [something], we share it. Bears zero connection to who did it.”

When it comes to Palestine Action USA, Chambers is just another member of the organization that isn’t an organization, he said. Chambers got attention in recent months for his outspoken opposition to Israel, America and capitalism, among others. 

“Israel does not deserve to exist,” Chambers told LA Magazine. “It is a false state propped up by the West.” 

Walsh is a political star in her own right. She gained fame as a 16-year-old activist who helped push Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) to victory in a primary race against Joseph Kennedy III. 

Walsh is also an avowed fan of Hamas and Iran’s repressive, authoritarian regime run by religious fundamentalists. She recently took to social media to lament the death of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi because he did much to help overthrow the West through terror.

“Even if they don’t explicitly identify as communist, by dealing blow after blow to US imperialism, Iran, Hamas, Ansar Allah & the entire Axis of Resistance are doing far more to create the conditions for communism to be possible than literally any Western armchair communists,” Walsh wrote.

She also wrote last week that Iran, Russia, and China work together to help Hamas operate.

“Remember the full picture. The Palestinian resistance doesn’t take orders from Iran, but their capacity to resist would be much weaker w/o Iran’s support, and that support would be impossible w/o Iran’s close relations with China & Russia which allows Iran to bypass sanctions,” Walsh wrote. 

News that she and her comrades might be targets of the FBI can’t be welcoming to Walsh, but it’s not all bad news for her. The court order banning her from communicating with Ross and Shergalis was recently lifted. Walsh said she’s looking forward to hugs with friends.

$38 Million YDC Verdict Could Cost Taxpayers Far More

Taxpayers could be on the hook for more than the $38 million verdict to David Meehan in the Sununu Youth Detention Center abuse lawsuit after lawyers with the Department of Health and Human Services tried to force a cap on the award.

The historic jury decision is being disputed by the state, which claims New Hampshire law imposes a cap on monetary damages and limits the amount Meehan can receive to $475,000. But as both sides hash out the dispute, looming is the real possibility that taxpayers will have to pay more — much more — regardless who wins the current dispute.

New Hampshire is a self-insured state, meaning there is no liability coverage policy for Meehan, or the 1,300 other adult survivors who claim they were horrifically abused as children while in state custody. Meehan was the first of the YDC claimants to get to court.

On Wednesday, Rockingham Superior Court Judge Andrew Schulman rejected the state’s argument that New Hampshire only needed to pay $475,000 to Meehan for a “single incident” of abuse after a jury ruled in his favor last month. 

“In the court’s view, this would be an obvious miscarriage of justice because the finding of a ‘single incident’ was conclusively against the weight of the evidence,” Schulman wrote.

Meehan’s attorneys claim there were more than 300 incidents of rapes, beatings, emotional abuse, and illegal solitary confinement proven at the trial.

After listening to weeks of testimony about the hundreds rapes and other abuses Meehan suffered as a child in the 1990s, jurors returned a verdict finding the state liable for facilitating Meehan’s abuse and working to cover it up for decades. However, the verdict form was marked to indicate there was one incident where the state engaged in “wanton, malicious, and oppressive conduct” by abusing its power in permitting the sexual assaults.

Lawyers for DHHS argue that form means the $475,000 cap needs to be applied, overriding the $38 million verdict. However, after reading New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella’s statement about the cap, the jury foreman reached out to Meehan’s lawyers to express dismay, saying he felt “duped” by the state.

“I was literally sickened and brought to tears in fear of the mistake we made. I still am,” the foreman wrote in an unsolicited email. “Please know, and PLEASE let Mr. Meehan know that, had we had knowledge that that was the way it was going to work, we would NOT have written it that way.”

Schulman blamed his jury instructions, which did not specify jurors needed to count up all the individual instances of abuse, for the confusion. Schulman wrote he was trying to avoid influencing the jury by explaining the cap.

Schulman wrote that the jury’s $38 million award cannot be explained if it truly found only one instance of abuse had been proved. 

“An overly clever logician might say that the jury could have found that plaintiff proved one instance of abuse, disbelieved his testimony regarding all of the other instances, and awarded $38,000,000 for the single instance,” Schulman wrote. “But this would be sophistry rather than true logic. No reasonable jury would award $38 million for a single instance of abuse. No reasonable jury would have believed plaintiff’s testimony as it related to a single hour and disbelieved his testimony as related to all of the other hours, days, weeks, and months.”

David Vicinanzo, one of Meehan’s lawyers, pushed for an emergency hearing in court to let the jurors clarify their verdict. Short of that, he argued the $475,000 cap ought to be applied to each incident proved at trial, which he pegs at at least 300 rapes alone. 

Schulman’s order Tuesday recommends a process by which he will determine the number of incidents to which the cap could be applied. In more bad news for the state, Schulman writes that in reviewing the trial record he found there were between 103 and 155 incidents proved at trial. That would put the total award at between $47 million and $73 million. 

The state legislature passed a bill creating a $100 million settlement fund for all of the victims. But Vicinanzo and Russ Rilee, the other lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said that fund unjustly limited the damages the survivors could seek. 

The fund is administered by former state Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, who told NHPR last month that 418 survivors entered into settlement agreements, and most took less than $500,000. A few have received more, between $1 million and $5 million. But with at least 1,200 more civil trials pending, the $100 million settlement fund, which has already spent $66 million, will run dry.

The state has been criticized by survivors for the conflict of interest demonstrated by the fact it is defending itself in the civil trials while it is also supposed to prosecuting the alleged abusers. Out of the hundreds of alleged abusers named in the lawsuits, the state has managed to indict just 11 men, with the last of the indictments coming in 2021.

Felony Indictments for Pro-Palestinian Activists in Merrimack Attack

Three women arrested during a violent protest at Israeli-owned Elbit Systems in Merrimack now face prison time.

Weeks after his office took over the case, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella announced felony indictments Friday against left-wing activists Sophie Ross, Bridget Shergalis, and Calla Walsh. 

A grand jury convened in Hillsborough Superior Court — South handed up charges against the three for riot, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, burglary, and conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence. Each charge carries a potential three-and-a-half to seven-year prison sentence.

Walsh, 19, is a progressive political star in Massachusetts who led the teen army that helped get Democrat U.S. Sen. Ed Markey elected. She’s also faced repeated charges of antisemitism.

Walsh is active in the anti-Israel “Boycott/Divest/Sanction (BDS) movement, which many critics say is antisemitic due to its sole focus on the Jewish State. More problematic is Walsh’s involvement in the so-called “Boston Mapping Project,” which created an interactive map identifying places where Jews tended to congregate as well as the locations of Jewish community organizations in Massachusetts. The map included locations of Jewish daycares and schools.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Mapping Project identifies Jewish communal groups as “‘Boston’s Zionist NGO circuit” and accused not only of “supporting the colonization of Palestine” but also of “violence worldwide.”

Walsh’s criminal record includes arrests for her stunts targeting Jewish and Israeli-owned businesses. Walsh was arrested last year at the Elbit Systems location in Cambridge, Mass., along with Ross, a 22-year-old woman from the Bay State.

Bridget Shergalis

Shergalis, 27, is a star of a different sort. The Connecticut resident is a former Disney Channel actress who has appeared in shows like “So Random” on Disney, “See Dad Run” on Nickelodeon, and “Criminal Minds” on CBS.

Police recently caught up with Paige Belanger, 32, of Alford, Mass. Belanger is now facing charges similar to the other three, like criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage, though a grand jury has not yet indicted her. 

Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis were arrested on the roof of the Elbit facility in Merrimack, armed with spray paint and incendiary devices. 

Police were called to the business on Daniel Webster Highway for reports of people blocking the entrance and smoke coming from the roof. According to a Merrimack Police Department press release, “Officers discovered the front of the building had been spray painted with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one of the main lobby doors had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device.” 

The three women reportedly lit flares and took them to the roof, where more damage was found.

“While we support the rights of protesters to peacefully express their views, what our workforce experienced in Merrimack, N.H. was violent behavior planned by protesters that resulted in several arrests made by local law enforcement,” Elbit America said in a statement. “We take the safety and well-being of our employees extremely seriously, and we will continue to work closely with local officials at all of our sites to ensure safety for all.”

The attack on Elbit’s Daniel Webster Highway location is part of a long-standing campaign by Palestine Action US. Elbit Systems of America’s parent company – Israel-based Elbit Systems – is the largest defense contractor for Israel. Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”

Communist multi-millionaire James “Fergie” Chambers paid the cash bail for Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis. Chambers himself takes part in Palestine Action US, though he denies any official role in the group. Chambers started a commune in rural western Massachusetts where Belanger reportedly lives. 

While New Hampshire Democrats have largely been silent on the Elbit story, Republicans have been highly critical of the vandalism. A week after the attack, a group of Republican lawmakers from the Merrimack area waved signs of support for the Elbit workers outside the facility. Among the sign wavers was GOP candidate for governor Kelly Ayotte.

“I am glad that the attorney general is pursuing criminal charges,” Ayotte told NHJournal after news of the indictments broke. “The vandalism, damage, and hate targeted at Elbit Systems was despicable and unacceptable. As governor, I will stand strongly against the antisemitism and hatred being pushed by the progressive left Hamas sympathizers.”

Chuck Morse, who’s also seeking the GOP nomination, commended Formella “for upholding our state’s core values of law and order.

“We must resist the acceptance of Democrat soft-on-crime policies that encourage criminal activity here in our Granite State. As a dedicated advocate for Israel, I deeply appreciate the ongoing support extended to our Jewish community in New Hampshire. As governor, I will continue to stand against antisemitic attacks,” Morse said.

Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis are all due in court next week.

Formella Takes Over Elbit Anti-Israel Vandalism Case

New Hampshire’s top cop is taking control of the case against anti-Israel protesters who targeted a Merrimack worksite, a sign of how important the case is to the state of New Hampshire and Gov. Chris Sununu’s administration.

State Attorney General John Formella told NHJournal he plans to make a tough case against the four pro-Palestinian demonstrators arrested for allegedly attacking the Israeli-owned Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack.

“We took these cases because of the important civil rights and public protection interests involved,” Formella said. “We will do everything we can to ensure that these cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that justice is served.”

Prosecutors with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office originally brought the charges against the suspects after they were arrested in November at the Elbit facility on Daniel Webster Highway.

Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, were all arrested Nov. 20 when their protest turned violent, according to police. The three were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage.

“Officers discovered the front of the building had been sprayed with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one main lobby door had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device,” Merrimack Police said in a statement following the incident.

Protesters also lit flares and took them to the roof, where more damage was later found.

A fourth suspect, Paige Belanger, 32, of Alford, Mass., was arrested last week.

The assault on the Merrimack facility was supported by the U.S. branch of Palestine Action, an anti-Israel organization that promotes antisemitic views. Six of its members were recently arrested when U.K. authorities foiled a plot targeting the London Stock Exchange.

Formella told NHJournal in December the Palestine Action organization could also face legal consequences for its role in the attack.

“Organizations and entities can be held responsible for the acts of their members. We saw that with NSC-131. We brought an action, not just against two members of NSC-131, but against the organization itself,” Formella said.

NSC-131 is a white supremacy group that hung a “Keep New England White” banner on a Portsmouth bridge last summer.

Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”

Multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers is identified as a founder of Palestinian Action USA. He has paid bail for the women charged in the case. Chambers claims he is not a leader in the group, but he does participate in protests. He frequently posts bail for activists in a range of protest movements like Palestinian Action, Stop Cop City, and others.

“I’ve never said no to a bail help ask,” Chambers previously told NHJournal via text.

Chambers did not respond to a request for comment on Formella taking over the prosecution of the Elbit case.

Fake ‘Biden’ Robocall Targets Dem Voters, But Who Benefits?

New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella is investigating an AI-generated robocall that appears to feature President Joe Biden telling Democrats to skip the First in the Nation presidential primary.

Formella’s office says the calls “appear to be an unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election and to suppress New Hampshire voters.” Gov. Chris Sununu called the messages “voter impression and illegal,” and he said he’s spoken to Formella about prosecuting the responsible parties “to the fullest extent of the law.”

But who is behind the calls? The message doesn’t include a disclaimer. And what is their motive? Are they trying to keep Democrat-leaning unaffiliated voters from voting for Nikki Haley in the Republican primary? Or is the goal to keep registered Democrats at home rather than voting in their own party’s primary, where Biden needs write-in votes to prevent an embarrassing outcome?

“This coming Tuesday is the New Hampshire presidential preference primary. Republicans have been trying to push non-partisan and Democratic voters to participate in their primary. What a bunch of malarky,” the fake Biden voice voice says. “We know the value of voting Democratic when our votes count. It’s important that you save your vote for the November election.”

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Monday that the voice on the call is not President Joe Biden.

The robocall spoofed the cell phone number associated with former New Hampshire Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan, who is leading the “Write In Biden” campaign. (Biden refused to allow his name to appear on the New Hampshire ballot after failing to force Granite State Democrats to give up their “First in the Nation” status.)

Sullivan would not respond to requests for comment from NHJournal, but she told NBC News, “It’s obviously somebody who wants to hurt Joe Biden.”

Discouraging unaffiliated voters who lean Democrat from participating in the GOP primary might hurt Nikki Haley and help Donald Trump. But how would it hurt Biden? Targeting registered Democrats would have no impact on the GOP primary at all since they cannot vote in the Republican contest.

Depending on who is targeted, notes veteran GOP strategist Dave Carney, it’s just as likely that phone calls trying to keep Democrats from voting on Tuesday would help Biden.

“It’s impossible to know who did it — it could be some hacker in his basement. But if you ask who benefits, it’s Joe Biden,” Carney said.

Efforts to rescue Biden from his decision to skip the First in the Nation primary could suffer a setback if enough fed-up Democrats follow the example of North Country progressive Theodore Bosen. He received the fake call, and he tells NHJournal he plans to vote in his party’s primary for U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.)

“Half the reason I’m voting for Phillips is how pissed off I am over what the DNC and Biden have done to the First in the Nation primary,” Bosen said. “It’s terrible for the whole process –we are the best state, historically, to vet the candidates, particularly Democrats.”

Bosen also said he is motivated by his opposition to Biden’s support for Israel in its ongoing war against Hamas inside Gaza. “What’s going on in Gaza with our money and our support is a war crime,” Bosen said. “And there isn’t a viable candidate who is even talking about it.”

If anger with Biden over the First in the Nation primary state or his Israel policy drives Democrats to the polls, the write-in effort has to match those numbers to keep Biden from being embarrassed in his party’s primary. The write-in effort isn’t organic; it’s organized. So the fewer Democrats that show up, the larger a percentage of the total the write-in will be.

The latest University of New Hampshire Survey shows the percentage of Democrats who say they plan to write in Biden has been slipping and now is down to the low 60s.

“Low turnout makes their write-in votes a bigger slice of the pie,” Carney said. 

But Democrats like Sullivan and U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan insist Biden was the target.

“I urge Granite Staters to make sure their friends and neighbors know the truth and turn out in even bigger numbers to write in President Biden’s name,” Hassan said in a statement.

Bosen agrees.

“I thought it was Trump, in part because [the fake Biden] talks about Democrats and independents taking part in the Republican primary,” Bosen said. “Only Trump thinks Democrats can vote in the Republican primary. He’s said it about five times in the last week.”

Bosen thinks the call has less to do with Biden than former Ambassador Nikki Haley. Haley’s push to take on Trump in the GOP primary is going to need all the undeclared voters it can get. The call is probably a Trump trick designed to keep those undeclared voters from helping her win, Bosen said.

“We all know independents are her only shot,” Bosen said. 

If the call did come from a Biden ally, Bosen believes, it’s because the campaign sees numbers that are not so good for the incumbent president, and they’re feeling pressure from rising support for Phillips.

“It’s a schizophrenic strategy,” Bosen said. “Biden’s biggest blunder was for him to condone the write-in. (He) is screwed if Phillips does well.”

State Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook), former Speaker of the House, is also backing Phillips.

“Dean Philips has the educational and business experience to be an outstanding president. As President Kennedy said at his inauguration, “Let the word go forth to friend and foe alike; the torch has been passed to a new generation …”

“As a senior citizen, I say it’s time for us to pass the torch. Pass it to the congressman from Minnesota, Dean Phillips.”

Formella’s office confirmed to NHJournal that it is investigating the almost certainly illegal calls. However, the Attorney General’s Office has spent more than a year investigating tens of thousands of dollars of illegal mail sent by Massachusetts Democrats to interfere with the 2022 GOP primary in the Second Congressional District. Formella and his office have taken no action or filed any charges.

Hate Crimes Talk Worries Communist Millionaire Funding Anti-Israel Protests

A key figure in the New Hampshire anti-Israel protest movement, multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers, says the new focus on hate crimes by federal and state law enforcement has him worried.

He acknowledged the topic is controversial but doesn’t believe the response is proportional.

“Yeah, this insane backlash equating us with Nazis, charging our friends with insane stuff for what amounts to vandalism….who knows at this point?” Chambers, who lives in the Granite State, told NHJournal via text.

But that wasn’t the only thing Chambers has typed up as of late. For example, the avowed opponent of the nation of Israel posted on Facebook last month, “Make Zionists afraid.”

According to an article in The Free Press, he has also written, “We need to start making people who support Israel actually afraid to go out in public. We need to make all of white America afraid that everything they have stolen is going to be burned to the ground. That’s what makes them listen.”

It is rhetoric like that, along with an increase in anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric, that has New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella beefing up the state’s Civil Rights Unit with an additional attorney and more support staff. Formella announced the move after activists with Palestinian Action USA struck the Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack last month. The three women arrested for the vandalism attack were all promptly bailed out by Chambers.

Elbit Systems USA is an Israeli-owned company best known for its work in weapons and aviation. However, the Merrimack facility also does work for the company’s medical instrumentation division.

Formella and Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke have both said they are looking at the Palestinian Action USA protestors for possible Civil Rights Act violations. And the organization itself, which is partially funded by Chambers, could be held accountable as well. 

The possibility he and his comrades could be charged with antisemitic harassment due to their anti-Zionist activism upsets Chambers.

“[Of course] the hate crime rhetoric is concerning, but I think any attorney worth a darn will tell you that weapons companies are not a protected group, lol,” Chambers wrote NHJournal. “In the end, it behooves a ‘Free State’ to back off of this kind of grandstanding. I really don’t believe that the people of New Hampshire are especially committed to Zionism, even if political lobbyists are.”

Though Chambers has maintained the protests against Elbit are focused on stopping a weapons manufacturer, he has not been shy about saying Israel has no right to exist.

“Israel does not deserve to exist,” Chambers told LA Magazine. “It is a false state propped up by the West.”

Chambers is a member of the Cox family, worth about $34 billion, according to reports. Chambers essentially negotiated an early inheritance with the family trust, allowing him to walk away with a reported $250 million. 

The fact the Coxes still own the company outright makes them the eighth richest family in America, with a net worth of around $34 billion.

Chambers has been using his fortune to spread the Gospel of Marx, setting up a commune in Massachusetts, a “People’s” gym in New Hampshire’s Upper Valley, and engaging in protests across the country. He is even footing the bill when fellow activists get arrested.

“I support a ton of bail funds for protestors and folks facing state repression,” Chambers said.

Despite being self-identified as a founding member of Palestinian Action USA, Chambers denied he is, technically, a founder or bankrolling the group or that he has a real leadership role within Palestinian Action USA at all. Chambers is just another activist, albeit one with more cash.

“PAL Action is not now and never was an ‘org,’” Chambers wrote NHJournal. “It is a social media platform that shares news of direct actions people have taken against Elbit or other weapons companies. We’ve shared things in Cali, VA, TX, MA, NH, etc. If someone sends us [something], we share it. Bears zero connection to who did it.”

When it comes to Palestinian Action USA, Chambers is just another member of the organization that isn’t an organization, he said.

“I [definitely] participated in the Cambridge [Mass.] action, and I spray painted a McDonald’s in D.C. Other actions I have zero say about. Pal Action UK provides training to people. I was a founding organizer because I did the first action in Cambridge, and I’ve helped with media thereafter. There is no staff, no budget, nothing. As in, there’s nothing to finance.”

When Palestinian Action USA protesters Sophie Marika Ross, 22, of Housatonic, Mass.; Cala Mairead Walsh, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.; and Bridget Irene Shergalis, 27, of Dayville, Conn., were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage for the Merrimack vandalism attack, Chambers ponied up $50,000 to get the three women released. 

“After the fact, I’ve paid bail funds because I do that all over the place,” Chambers wrote. “I’m about to grant a bunch of legal support for Alabama prisoners; I’ve supported the ‘Cop City’ bail and legal funds; I’ve done tons of support for pipeline funds, including when I was at Standing Rock. I’ve never said no to a bail help ask, as is my right as a funded with the 1st amendment.” 

‘Cop City’ is the name progressives, Black Lives Matter members, and Antifa activists have given the Atlanta Police Foundation’s training facility, currently under construction and under protest. Antifa and others have repeatedly attacked the construction site, engaged in riots, and gotten arrested by the score in an attempt to stop the facility’s construction.

Despite numerous stories naming him as a founder and funder for Palestinian Action USA, Chambers said his checkbook support for arrested activists does not mean he’s “bankrolling” the group, which, again, isn’t a group.

“So to say I ‘bankroll Pal Action’ is crazy. There’s literally nothing to bankroll. It’s a network of independent affinity groups, and the social media accounts have shared stuff, while Pal Action UK remains the founders and leaders,” Chambers wrote.

Despite his Marxist, distributiionist politics, Chambers said he moved to New Hampshire last year in part due to the Granite State’s low tax burden. He has plans for the properties he bought in Lebanon, though they are still being worked out.

“I’m not sure exactly what we’ll do with NH at the moment,” Chambers wrote. “We have an office space in Lebanon that was tentatively going to be a free gym and a place to do media and research work, and to offer free office space to local groups who might be in need.”

Law Enforcement Responds After Synagogue Bomb Threats

Days after five New Hampshire synagogues were victims in a nationwide bomb threat stunt, local law enforcement leaders delivered a message to would-be criminals.

“If you threaten people, if you commit crimes, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This isn’t a game, this isn’t a joke,” said United States Attorney Jane Young. “People want to be able to worship their Creator in peace.”

Young, along with New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Timothy DeMann, New Hampshire State Police Colonel Mark Hall, and Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg, spoke Tuesday at the Manchester Police Department about how they are fighting back against rising hate and, particularly, antisemitism in the Granite State.

“There is no greater priority for us than protecting the people of this state,” Formella said.

Threats targeting the New Hampshire synagogues were part of a nationwide effort to call in bomb threats at synagogues and Jewish spaces throughout the weekend. According to DeMann, the threats were not credible. The point seemed to be causing alarm among the Jewish communities.

Jews are not the only targets. There have been threats targeting a broad spectrum of people, particularly people of faith, like New Hampshire’s minority Muslim community. There is also national intelligence pointing to potential threats at upcoming holiday gatherings, especially religious services, DeMann said.

“It’s a heightened threat environment,” DeMann said. 

DeMann and Formella cited the current war in Israel as one factor behind the recent surge in antisemitism. While there are known threats to Arabs and Muslims living in the United States, Formella said antisemitism is the driving force in recent weeks.

Police and FBI agents have been working with synagogues throughout the state to ensure congregants are safe. Hall said State Troopers are working with synagogues to make sure security plans are in place, and to make sure police are visible during worship times. One synagogue told him parents with children won’t come if there isn’t a police officer on duty.

Police are reaching out to Jewish communities and other minority groups to make sure they know they can call for assistance. Aldenberg said people are frightened and need to know they can rely on the police.

“We have to recognize and be aware of the fear and concern the community feels,” Aldenberg said.

Aldeberg interrupted his comments during the press conference in order to respond to a text from a Manchester rabbi.

Young is adding a civil rights prosecutor to the United States Attorney’s Office as part of the response. It is the first time New Hampshire’s federal prosecutor has had a dedicated civil rights attorney. It comes as Formella is adding three staffers to the state’s civil rights unit. 

“We are really putting our money where our mouth is,” Formella said.

The bomb threats come in the wake of an attack on the Merrimack facility of Israeli-owned Elbit Systems USA, in which antisemitic protesters with the group Palestine Action US blocked access to the building, broke windows, and took flares onto the roof. Three people, all from out of state, were arrested and face charges of criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage.

Hate crime reports in New Hampshire have exploded in the last five years, going from 40 to 186 and counting for 2023. Formella wants people in the Live Free or Die state to be free to worship, love, and simply be — without fear of harassment or violence. 

There is also worry that events like the weekend bomb threat hoax may not be a hoax next time. That is part of the reason Formella and the others are trying to get out in front of the trend of hate-inspired crime.

“We’re not going to wait,” Formella said. “We want to be proactive.”

Hate crime victims should not hesitate to contact local police, the FBI, or the state’s Civil Rights Unit, Formella said.

NH AG Files Civil Complaint Against Neo-Nazi Group

New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella is making good on his promise to target hate groups, announcing a new civil complaint against a notorious gang of New England Neo-Nazis.

The move comes as the state is also considering hate crimes charges against the three people who conducted an antisemitic, pro-Palestinian attack on an Israeli-owned business in Merrimack.

Christopher Hood, founder of NSC-131, and 19 NSC-131 members are accused of violating New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination law for allegedly trying to stop a drag queen story hour event at Concord’s Teatotaller Cafe this summer.

The identity of the other 19 men is not known. They are listed as John Does in the complaint.

Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke heads up the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Unit and said Wednesday that NSC-131’s actions at Teatotaller crossed the line from protest to discriminatory harassment.

“This isn’t a protest where a person, or a couple of people, are standing out on a sidewalk with a sign saying, ‘I don’t agree with what’s going on here,’” Locke said.

According to the complaint, “Hood and the other men stood outside the café and, for over an hour, faced into the café shouting homophobic slurs and phrases, loudly chanting and saluting in a fashion reminiscent of Nazi Germany. The complaint alleges that the men, led by Hood, banged on the café’s glass windows, and made intimidating gestures and comments directed at the performer and those in the café.”

Hood and his NSC-131 followers posted videos and photos of the incident on the group’s social media. Hood and his gang are behind dozens of sometimes violent demonstrations targeting racial minorities and members of the LGBTQ community throughout New England.

Despite the intimidating actions, NSC-131 did not stop the drag event at Teatotaller, according to drag performer Juicy Garland. Garland posted on social media soon after the event, saying the show continued.

“The cafe (and community) there is FANTASTIC, and racist outsiders came in to make it miserable,” Garland wrote on Twitter. “We prevailed and had a great time with the families anyway.”

Amid a surge of antisemitic words and actions in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel, Formella announced plans last month to step up enforcement against hate groups in the state, adding another attorney and additional staff to the Civil Rights Unit.

According to Formella, the Civil Rights Unit has seen a 465 percent increase in complaints and referrals over the last five years, from 40 to 186. He attributed the rise to various factors, including the increased racial and ethnic diversity, an increase in divisive political rhetoric, and “a rise in tension and conflict around the world.”

Last month, three women were arrested at the Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack after vandalizing the building, breaking windows, and setting off smoke bombs. Members of Palestine Action USA — Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22 — were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage for the incident.

Locke said his unit is working with Merrimack Police and the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office. More charges in the case are possible, including hate crime charges.

“Any and all charges that can be brought will be bought,” Locke said.

When Formella announced the increase in resources in the Civil Rights Unit, which was made at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NHJournal asked if the state’s hate crimes laws gave his office the authority to prosecute Palestine Action USA for any role it may have had in the Elbit attack.

“The answer is yes,” Formella said. “Organizations and entities can be held responsible for the acts of their members.”

Palestine Action USA is being bankrolled by multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers.

At the University of New Hampshire, Locke’s team is in contact with the Durham campus police department as several antisemitic incidents are currently under investigation. However, one incident in which students and faculty called for Jewish genocide is not being investigated.

UNH granted the Pro-Palestinian group Answer Coalition permission to hold a rally on Nov. 9, the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass.

Locke said the UNH Police Department has not asked for his assistance in that matter.

Locke is still trying to secure a win against NSC-131 for a July 2022 incident in which the group hung a banner with the message “Keep New England White” off a Route 1 overpass in Portsmouth. After the case was dismissed in court on free speech grounds, the Attorney General’s Office filed an appeal with the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Locke said Wednesday he expects NSC-131 to raise the First Amendment in its defense, and he and his team are prepared to make their case.

“We expect the First Amendment is going to be an issue raised, and we certainly expect it to be raised,” Locke said.

Hood and his gang are facing a civil rights case in Massachusetts after the Bay State brought a case last week. The gang allegedly targeted LGBTQ events and immigrants.

Experts who monitor hate groups, like Kristopher Goldsmith’s Task Force Butler, said NSC-131 ought to be treated like a violent, terrorist gang by authorities. The group’s demonstrations feature assaults and escalating violent behavior, Goldsmith has said.

Hood, whose last address was in Newburyport, Mass., started NSC-131 after he was kicked out of the white supremacist group, Patriot Front. He also has reported ties to violent hate groups like The Base.

The Teatotaller case is first being filed with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights, and Locke said he is asking the commission to refer the complaint to the Superior Court for civil prosecution. He said he hopes the process will be done in the next 20 to 30 days.

AG Gets Election Law Conviction Against Small-Town Newspaper, but Illegal Mail Case Languishes

Attorney General John Formella announced Thursday that Londonderry Times publisher Debra Paul has been convicted on five counts of violating state law on political advertising.

However, Formella has yet to announce any charges — or any enforcement actions at all — over hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegal political mailers sent into New Hampshire by a Democrat mail shop to interfere in the Second Congressional District GOP primary.

Paul, 64, could get up to a year in jail on each count and faces up to $2,000 in fines for each conviction. She will be sentenced in the Derry District Court later this month. She failed to properly label political ads running in her papers.

Judge Kerry Steckowych issued the verdict Thursday following last month’s bench trial. 

Paul repeatedly broke the law in the run-up to the 2022 municipal elections when she published ads for local political candidates and warrant articles in her small, local weeklies, the Londonderry Times and the Nutfield News, according to testimony at last month’s trial.

Paul’s attorney, Tony Naro, said his client never intended to be a criminal. She made repeated efforts to follow the instructions she got from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office but failed to meet the letter of the law.

“Her intent is abundantly clear. Her intent was to comply with the law,” Naro said in his closing argument. Paul simply struggled to understand how to do so, he said.

According to Naro, every advertisement used by the prosecution to bring the charges is clearly a political ad for school board candidates, town council candidates, and warrant articles. Paul’s crime was she did not make sure to have the words “paid political advertisement” in each ad she printed. Many were labeled “paid advertisement” or “advertisement.” 

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Conley argued at trial that Paul couldn’t claim ignorance after she was repeatedly warned for prior improper ads.

Paul’s political ads were the subject of multiple reports to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office over several years. She got warning letters in 2019 and 2021 about how she was publishing ads, and the 2021 letter informed her that if she broke the law again, she could face prosecution. 

According to testimony at trial, Paul was dealing with cancer when she struggled to handle the ads in early 2022. Paul operated the two newspapers with one employee, her husband, Chris Paul. Naro said the mistakes she made during the 2022 municipal election season were not intentional.

In the wake of the charges, Paul had to shut down the Nutfield News, Naro said.

The Democratic mail shop in Massachusetts that barraged Second Congressional District mailboxes with illegal ads, Reynolds Dewalt, has not been shut down. Nor has it been charged with a crime, despite its admission that it sent Democratic-funded mailers with no disclosures of any kind to voters during the 2022 GOP primary.

The anonymous mailers pushed GOP voters in the 2nd District away from moderate Keene Mayor George Hansel and toward MAGA Republican Bob Burns.

One piece featured a photo of Burns with a headline reading “I Stand With Trump” on one side and declaring him “100 Percent Pro-Trump” on the other. The mailer claimed Hansel was not. Another mailer asked, “Who Stands With Trump?” and made it clear the answer is Burns, not Hansel.

Burns would go on to win the primary, beating Hansel by 1,800 votes. Burns then got thumped in the general election by incumbent Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster.

Formella told NHJournal last week the case is a high priority in his office and that he has worked on it personally. Asked why more than a year had passed without any action, Formella declined to answer other than to say working across state lines slows down the legal process. And Formella denied Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell, a partisan Democrat, was anything other than cooperative.

Still, as the Republican gubernatorial primary heats up — a high-profile race the Democratic Governors Association has already declared a priority — Granite State political operatives have noticed the difference between the treatment of Deb Paul and Reynolds Dewalt.

“She doesn’t have Marc Elias on her speed dial,” one New Hampshire attorney quipped.

Reynolds Dewalt has a long history working for Democrats and is represented by attorney Marc Elias. He has done work for the Democratic National Committee since 2009, as well as the presidential campaigns for Vice President Kamala Harris and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Packard: Merner Lied About Residency

House Speaker Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) said Republican Rep. Troy Merner lied to him when confronted about his residency last year.

Feeling heat from Democrats after state Attorney General John Formella announced voter fraud and theft charges on Tuesday against Merner, Packard issued a statement Wednesday laying out his version of the controversy.

Packard acknowledged the Department of Justice told his office last December that Merner was accused of living outside his Lancaster, N.H. district. But Packard said he did not have verified information and could not take action. According to Packard’s statement, the Speaker’s Office conducted an investigation that stalled when Merner continued to lie about his residence.

“Upon being informed of the DOJ communication, the Speaker’s Office initiated a review of the matter, which included calling and interviewing Merner to confront him about the allegations in the Department of Justice communication,” Packard said.

“At that time, Merner continued to attest that his domicile was in Lancaster at the apartment he rented on Elm Street. The review did not obtain any new information other than what was contained in the information the Department of Justice provided; therefore, the matter was considered inconclusive pending further investigation/findings by the Department of Justice or other findings that may come through other processes or sources.”

Democrats said House Republican leaders, clinging to a 201-198 majority, didn’t want to know the truth about Merner.

“Given the closely divided partisan makeup of the House this term, it is of grave concern that Rep. Merner’s residency violations were overlooked both in Lancaster and in Concord while he continued to hold elected office,” House Democratic Leader Rep. Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) said in a statement.

Merner was elected to represent Lancaster, Dalton, North Umberland, and Stratford in November, months after he moved out of the district and sold his Lancaster home. The Attorney General’s Office received a complaint about Merner from a Lancaster resident a week after the November election and sent an investigator to speak to the representative.

Investigator Anna Brewer-Croteau found Merner living in a home in the town of Carroll, well outside his district. Wearing boxers and a t-shirt and eating cereal, Merner acknowledged to the investigator that he lived outside the district.

In the affidavit released Tuesday by Formella’s office, Merner maintained an office in town and slept there “multiple nights a week.” He followed that up by claiming other people do the same thing.

“(Merner) told (Brewer-Croteau) that he knows of other people who vote in Lancaster and are not domiciled there. (Merner) denied to identify these people,” the affidavit states.

As well as being Lancaster’s state representative, Merner also served on the town’s Board of Selectmen. He told Brewer-Croteau he had no plans to run for reelection.

Brewer-Croteau’s report was conveyed to General Court Chief Operating Officer Terry Pfaff on Dec. 6, 2o22.

Packard insisted he and his fellow GOP leaders in the House didn’t have enough to go on at the time.

“The information was not conclusive in nature and made no final determination about Merner’s domicile. The information also contained Merner’s account that the allegations were unfounded and that the investigation was ongoing,” Packard said.

Packard claimed he never got an official complaint about Merner’s living situation, nor did he get any confirmation from Formella about Merner’s residency until September. Throughout Merner’s time in the House, he submitted mileage reimbursement forms for his Lancaster address and maintained official ties to Lancaster. 

“He continued to serve on the Lancaster Board of Selectmen, which further legitimized his attestations,” Packard said.

After Merner was caught voting in the March 2023 Lancaster election, Formella’s office started asking about Merner’s office. During that investigation, it was learned that Merner did not, in fact, sleep at his Lancaster office multiple times a week. According to the affidavit, neighbors told investigators he did not sleep there at all. 

Packard never got a formal notice about the March voting complaint, nor did he get one about Merner’s admission in May that he did not live in Lancaster. However, once Formella’s investigation wrapped up, Packard said he took immediate steps to deal with Merner.

“When the Speaker’s Office was made aware of the conclusions made by the Department of Justice in September 2023, rapid action was taken to force Merner to vacate his seat,” Packard said.

Merner resigned from the Lancaster Select Board in October. He is charged with wrongful voting, a class B felony carrying a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $4,000, and multiple other charges.

Merner is due to be arraigned on Dec. 28.