U.S. Feds: California Men Discussed ‘Terrorist’ Attacks on Twitter and Facebook, Other Targets

U.S. Feds: California Men Discussed ‘Terrorist’ Attacks on Twitter and Facebook, Other Targets
Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP, Getty Images

Two California men have been indicted in connection with an apparent plot to attack the U.S. state’s Democratic Party headquarters, located in Sacramento, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday. The men also discussed attacks at other locations throughout the state that they “associated with Democrats,” including the headquarters of both Facebook and Twitter, as well as the governor’s mansion, among other targets.

California residents Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo, have been arrested in connection with the apparent plots and are now facing a bevy of federal charges, recently unsealed court documents show.

Rogers was arrested in January after police executed a warrant at his home and business, subsequently confiscating firearms, pipe bombs, bomb-making materials and a copy of the infamous tome The Anarchist Cookbook (which details how to create homemade explosives). Copeland was taken into custody on Thursday.

A bomb technician subsequently conducted tests on the explosives and determined that they were “fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly,” court documents state.

Federal authorities allege that, after the 2020 presidential election, the two men had ongoing discussions via encrypted messaging platforms about conducting violent attacks in order to bring about a “movement to overthrow the government.”

If the allegations are true, it’s yet another example of the panoply of “revolutionary” LARPing that rightwing communities have exhibited since former president Trump lost his bid for a second term as president. See also: the guy who sought to destroy the internet to piss off the deep state/oligarchy/whatever.

Messages between Rogers and Copeland, which the government partially reproduces in the court documents, gives some insight into their apparent plans. After the deadly January 6 riot in Washington D.C., Copeland sent Rogers the following messages:

“REVOLUTION” “REVOLUTION” “REVOLUTION” “I’m fucking juiced!!!!!” “I’m bout to throw my gear on and drive around and punish sombitces” “Bro I’m juiced” “I have my g19 in my hand”[apparent reference to a gun]…

In a later exchange, the two appear to plot their own “revolution”:

ROGERS: OK bro we need to hit the enemy in the mouth

COPELAND: Yeah so we punch soros

ROGERS: I think right now we attack democrats

ROGERS: They’re offices etc

ROGERS: Molotov cocktails and gasoline

COPELAND We need more people bro

COPELAND Gonna be hard

“Firebombing your perceived political opponents is illegal and does not nurture the sort of open and vigorous debate that created and supports our constitutional democracy,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds in a statement. “The allegations in the indictment describe despicable conduct. Investigation and prosecution of those who choose violence over discussion is as important as anything else we do to protect our free society.”

One of the accused’s lawyers has claimed that what the government alleges was a nefarious terror plot was really just drunken boasting and that the men had no real intention of following through on their plans to blow up buildings.

“It’s clear that these were two ideologues who were caught up in the passion and drama of last January, and engaged in drunken bluster and rhetoric with no actual intent to act,” attorney Jess Raphael told the Napa Valley Register on Friday. Raphael is representing Rogers on related state charges but not the federal ones, the outlet reports. “There is no evidence whatsoever that any preparatory actions were taken. It was all intoxicated speech,” he said.