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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.

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.”

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.