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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.

Pro-Palestine Communist Protester Indicted for Elbit Vandalism

A woman with ties to a Massachusetts Marxist commune and who expressed support for Hamas days after its terrorists murdered 1,300 Israelis is facing justice in New Hampshire. 

A grand jury returned felony indictments against Paige Belanger, 32, of Alford, Mass., for allegedly being part of the violent protests at the Merrimack Elbit Systems facility, an Israeli-owned weapons developer.

Belanger is now facing state prison time on charges of riot, criminal mischief, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, and conspiracy to commit burglary for her role in the Nov. 20 incident during which smoke bombs were ignited from the building rooftop by protesters.

Belanger joins pro-Palestinian progressives Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, on the dock. The women all have one man in common: multimillionaire James “Fergie” Chambers. He uses his family fortune to further his Marxist goals.

According to Canary Mission, a group that documents antisemitic hate, Belanger is a member of Palestinian Action USA, part of the antisemitic BDS movement. Chambers is listed as one of the American founders of Palestinian Action USA, though he told NHJournal he’s not a leader in the group. Belanger also listed herself as the secretary for the Berkshire Communists, a “revolutionary Marxist-Leninist collective” reportedly bankrolled by Chambers.

Chambers put up the bail to get the women out of custody after their initial arrests, something he told NHJournal he does for many activists on the extreme left.

The Marxist left is the prime mover behind many of the anti-Israel protests that have sprung up since the Oct. 7 Hamas murders, and the Israeli military response. The New Hampshire chapter of the Party of Socialism and Liberation coordinates many of the protests.

However, funding for the groups comes from sources closer to the mainstream Democratic Party. A recent report found billionaire Democratic families and major contributors to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats, the Soros family, Rockefeller family, and Pritzker family, are also handing cash to anti-Israel groups that organized recent college campus protests.

Election Commission data by RealClearPolitics found congressional Democrats running for reelection have taken more than $6.5 million from the three major donors who are also bankrolling the anti-Israel protests roiling college campuses.

New Hampshire’s own Rep. Chris Pappas collected nearly $60,000 from the same people funding anti-Israel and anti-U.S. protests.

Belanger is due in the Hillsborough Superior Court — South in Nashua June 13 for her arraignment.

Three Elbit Systems Vandalism Defendants Appear in Nashua Court

Two of the three protesters indicted in the anti-Israel vandalism at Elbit Systems in Merrimack last November signaled Thursday they won’t be cooperating with prosecutors. 

Left-wing activists Sophie Ross, Bridget Shergalis, and Calla Walsh were in Hillsborough Superior Court — South for arraignment on felony charges of riot, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, burglary, and conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence for their roles in the November protest.

United at their arrests, the three women took different paths in court. Walsh, 19, did not speak, did not approach the defense table, and attorney Jeffrey Odland with the Manchester law firm of Wadleigh, Starr & Peters waived the reading of her charges in open court. 

Walsh was surrounded in court by family members and friends, while Ross, 22, and Shergalis, 27, were mostly on their own.

Ross and Shergalis are being represented by activist attorney Kira Kelley with Minneapolis-based Climate Defense Project, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to “resistance efforts.”

“Kira (they/she) grew up in rural Vermont as a guest on unceded Abenaki lands, with a lot of strong opinions but minimal political analysis about social injustice,” according to the organization’s website.

 

Bridget Shergalis (right) and Sophie Ross with their attorney Kira Kelley (standing) in Hillsborough Superior court, February 29, 2024.

 

Kelley pushed back Thursday on an attempt by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office to prevent her from representing both clients in the same case. Prosecutors argued dual representation for the same crime creates a potential conflict of interest for the defense. 

But Kelley told Judge Tina Nadeau that prosecutors are more concerned with getting an edge on the defendants than protecting their constitutional rights to a vigorous defense. Dividing the two defendants would make it easier for the state to play them against each other, she argued.

“The main concern here, the state’s objective, is getting the co-defendants to testify against each other. My clients recognize it is in both of their best interests not to cooperate,” Kelley said.

But Judge Nadeau shared the state’s concern, especially given Ross and Shergalis are being advised to stay united by the same attorney. Not only does Kelley run the risk of being disciplined for violating ethical rules for her potential conflict of interest, but her dual representation could provide Ross and Shegalis an easy appeal on the grounds they had “ineffective assistance of counsel,” Nadeau said.

“I find it odd and curious that a lawyer would take the position you’re taking in this case. I want to be frank with you; I’m concerned,” Nadeau said.

Nadeau will appoint two attorneys for both Ross and Shergalis to impartially advise them about the case and determine if they wish to proceed with Kelley as their sole attorney.

Kelley is also representing two Dartmouth students charged with criminal trespass last October after they pitched a tent on campus and refused to leave. They were protesting Israel’s actions in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack.

All three defendants in the Elbit case are due back in court next month for a dispositional conference. The state has presented the three with plea agreements that could keep the cases from going to trial. Nadeau advised the women to seek an alternative to trial.

The case of a fourth suspect, Paige Blender, 32, is expected to end up in the Nashua court in the coming weeks. Belanger was arrested on a warrant last month, though she has yet to be indicted by a grand jury. Grand jury proceedings are secret, but Nadeau said in court she anticipates getting the case soon.

Walsh first came to prominence as a leader in the “MarkeyVerse,” a group of progressive teens who took to social media on behalf of Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey. 

She was also part of the Mapping Project, which published a map of Jewish businesses and people, including locations of Jewish daycares and schools. It has been denounced as antisemitic and dangerous. She was arrested last year during a protest at the Elbit Systems location in Cambridge, Mass., along with Ross.

Shergalis is a former child actress with credits on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows. 

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.