Guilty Plea in Church Arson Cases, July 11, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) - An Indiana man, who called himself a missionary of Lucifer, pleaded guilty to setting 26 churches on fire over a five-year period that ended in 1999, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Jay Scott Ballinger entered his plea in federal court in Indianapolis, the department said in a release. It recommended that the 38-year-old Yorktown man be sentenced to more than 42 years in prison.

The plea follows a nationwide investigation conducted by the FBI, the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office, state and local fire investigators around the country and the National Church Arson Task Force.

Ballinger ``frequently expressed his hostility toward organized Christianity, signed individuals he met to contracts with the devil and termed himself a missionary of Lucifer,'' according to the Justice Department's release, which cited information contained in the plea agreement.

Ballinger pleaded guilty to setting fires at churches in Alabama, California, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Most of the fires were started late at night or early in the morning at isolated rural churches, the Justice Department said. On most occasions, Ballinger broke a window at the side or back of the church, poured gasoline into the church and set it on fire with a lighter, the department said.

Ballinger's plea ``represents the largest number of fires charged to any single defendant'' since President Clinton formed the National Church Arson Task Force in June 1996, said James Johnson, Treasury's under secretary for enforcement and co-chair of the task force.

Ballinger's plea involved fires at:

Concord Church of Christ, Lebanon, Ind.; Liberty Baptist Church, Kempton, Ind.; Church of God at Angola, Ind.; Maranatha Baptist Church, Versailles, Ohio; First Eminence Baptist Church, Eminence, Ind.; South Shore American Baptist Church, Dana Point, Calif.; Sunlight Baptist Church, Eastaboga, Ala.; Arm Oak Baptist Church, Hardeeville, S.C.; Sumach United Methodist Church, Wardell, Mo.

Also, Milledgeville United Methodist Church, Milledgeville, Ind.; Hawcreek Missionary Baptist Church, Hope, Ind.; Grace Baptist Church, Coatesville, Ind.; New Liberty Congregational Christian Church, Lynn, Ind.; Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Lewisville, Ind.; Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Filmore, Ind.; Christian Liberty Church, Sheridan, Ind.; Mt. Eden Christian Church, Little York, Ind.; Bolton Schoolhouse Missionary Baptist Church, Bonnieville, Ky.; Little Hurricane Primitive Baptist Church, Manchester, Tenn.; Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Franklin, Ky.

Also, Pleasant Hill Methodist Church, Elkton, Ky.; New Harmony Baptist Church, Morgantown, Ky.; Otterbein United Brethren Church, Rockford, Ohio; Stidham United Methodist Church, Lafayette, Ind.; Wabash Primitive Baptist Church, Huntington, Ind. and Community United Methodist Church, Brookville, Ohio.

Undernews/Progressive Review 7/12/00
NewsTip: Ronn D at Futuresource

BUSINESS WEEK: All those companies you love to hate now have a way to find out who's griping about them, and they can target complainers for a little reeducation. Thanks to a new product from Dallas-based eWatch -- and sold through Edelman Interactive public relations agency and PR Newswire -- companies can now monitor what people do or say on the Web and respond. The result: So-called "anti-corporate activism," as it's known in the flak trade, will never be the same -- and neither will your sense of free speech as a consumer.

How does it work? Partly, eWatch says, through a little info-cleansing. "We can neutralize the information appearing online, identifying the perpetrators behind uncomplimentary postings and rogue Web sites," the company's online promo material says. Then, eWatch can "remove offending messages from where they appear in cyberspace."

This may mean something as simple as deleting a posting from a Web message board on Yahoo! or it could mean "the shuttering of a terrorist Web site." The objective? "To stop the spread of incorrect information and to ensure that what has already spread is eliminated," eWatch states . . .

Such snoop tools don't come cheap. eWatch says it can identify a person or group behind a screen name that has targeted a particular company or organization within 7 to 10 days for a price of up to $4,995 per screen name . . .

eWatch's Skinner says Northwest Airlines used his service earlier this year to help it track down the identities of employees who organized a "sick-out" that nearly halted flights over the last Christmas holiday. The company has since fired those employees, and a court has upheld the legality of that action. The ruling is under appeal. Northwest is now using eWatch to help it target -- for reeducation -- the most teed-off of its fed-up fliers.

NewsTip and Sam Smith's UNDERNEWS July 12, 2000

[The web site,, has obtained a number of letters from inmates
imprisoned on drug charges that compare their "youthful indiscretions" with
those of Dubya. Here's one]

Boy, do I feel your pain. Why are people always dredging up what you did a
decade, even two or three decades ago? After all, Henry Hyde and Bob
Livingston were still enjoying "youthful indiscretions" at our age! And what
about those in Congress who "experimented" with drugs? (You and I just
abused them!). Hell, the same drugs they "experimented" with, they're
mandating 10 and 20, even life sentences for first time, non-violent
experimenters -- far more than for bank robbery and rape. If (select) drugs
are worthy of such irrational sentences, why can't people avoid
responsibility for "lesser" offenses, say, "experimenting" with bank
robbery, or "experimenting" with rape? Nah, this drug thing they're hanging
on you isn't right. Like you say, it's time to "forgive and forget."

I noticed the press you are getting for being coked up at your Dad's
inauguration. Strictly your business I figure. Besides, drinking heavy like
you did, a pinch of Peruvian marching powder can really help titrate that
buzz. It's like Oreos and milk, isn't it? I've been there. But can I give
you some advice? Switch to pot. That disco dust and alcohol can make you
mean, while pot mellows you out - you know what I mean. Besides, it makes
you a hell of a lot more "compassionate." You ain't itchin' to pull the
trigger on every execution that comes across your desk (especially the 14
year olds you pushed to be able to fry)!

Speaking of forgetting, I've been rotting in federal prison for years now.
The only one who hasn't forgotten me is my federal prosecutor. Don't get me
wrong, I sort of like Paul (I call him Paul; he calls me scumbag druggie).
He's like a pit bull you can't help but grow fond of, even though he'd be a
lot happier, I'll bet, if he "experimented" like you and me. Come to think
of it, being forgotten isn't all that great. Your wife, your dog, and
especially the message it sends to the kids. Forgiving though, that's more
in line with the "compassionate" thing you are pushing. I like the
"responsibility" thing too.

Yes George (can I call you George?; we're so alike I feel we could be
friends) it's time to accept responsibility for your actions, then to
forget, then forgive. Just like you say.

Kevin McHall © 200
Reg. No. 05689-052 PO Box 9000 Seagoville, Texas 75159-9000

10 JULY 2000
Chris W. Stark © 2000 - Director & email editor
NewsTip: Spiritual Piglet SP

I have personally verified the letter below to be legitimate, for I have personally spoken to it's author, Mr. James H. Jeffries III, attorney for John Ross. John Ross is the author of the book, "Unintended Consequences."

Please call your Washington D.C. Congressman, and ask them to investigate this blatant abuse of power by the BATF. Their number is (202) 224-3121.

With Respect,

Gun Owners Alliance
Chris W. Stark - Director

WebRing master
Gun Owners Alliance for a No-Compromise NRA

TELEPHONE: (336) 282-6024

30 June, 2000

Honorable Bradley A. Buckles, Director

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
United States Department of the Treasury
650 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20226 

     Re: Mr. John Ross
            St. Louis, Missouri 

Dear Mr. Buckles:

     I represent Mr. John Ross of St. Louis, Missouri.  Mr. Ross is
an investment broker and financial adviser with a respected
investment firm in St. Louis.  He has degrees in English and
Economics from Amherst College.  Mr. Ross is very active in
community and public affairs.  He is the grandson of President
Harry Truman's press secretary, Charles Ross, and was himself the
Democratic Party candidate for the United States House of
Representatives from the Second District of Missouri in 1998.  In
short, Mr. Ross is an upstanding and productive member of his

     Mr. Ross has had a lifelong interest in firearms and is both
a Federal Firearms Licensee and a Special Occupational Taxpayer
under the National Firearms Act.  Of central importance to the
purpose of this letter is the fact that Mr. Ross is also the author
of Unintended Consequences, a highly popular novel about the trials
and tribulations of legal gun owners and dealers in the United
States.  Although the book is manifestly a work of fiction, it
accurately depicts documented historical events in the long and
sordid history of misconduct by personnel of the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms.  The book is in its fifth hardcover printing
with some 50,000 copies in circulation and has become enormously
popular among the gun owners of the United States.  Because the
book is highly critical of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, it appears that some in your agency have undertaken to
suppress it and to intimidate its author.

Honorable Bradley A. Buckles - page two

     For example, in 1997 the book's publisher became aware that
individuals purporting to be BATF agents had threatened vendors of
the book in at least three different states with "problems" if they
did not cease their sales of the book. A full-page ad in Shotgun
News offering a $10,000 reward for the identity of these
individuals put a stop to that particular business.

     Now we have learned that in late May of this year agents from
your St. Louis field office have engaged in an official effort to
enlist Mrs. Ross, who is amicably separated from her husband as an
informant against her husband.  On or about May 24 2000, at about
7:30 a.m. two agents approached Mrs. Ross on the street while she
was walking her dog, identified themselves by displaying their BATF
credentials, and proceeded to inquire what she thought about her
husband's book.  When she was noncommittal the agents terminated
the conversation and departed.  This contact had been preceded in
previous weeks by pretext telephone calls to Mrs. Ross, by what
were undoubtedly your agents, in an attempt to draw her out about
her husband's book.  An agent, using the pseudonym of Peter
Nettleson, and pretending to be a great fan of Unintended
Consequences, sought Mrs. Ross's agreement that the book was, in
fact, "a manual for the murder of federal agents." [1]

     I note in passing that best-selling author Tom Clancy in
recent books has murdered a Director of the FBI, the President of
the United States, the entire Congress, the Supreme Court, the
entire cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a few lesser
functionaries.  I presume he has not thereby become subject to
investigation by your literary critics.

     1. As an experienced federal prosecutor I am fully aware of
what is going on here.  Disgruntled former spouses are a prime
source of intelligence for law enforcement, having as they
frequently do both a strong bias against the subject of the
investigation and the proximity and intimacy to know many things
not available to others.  A structured approach such as this
required, according to your manuals, formal agency approval.  It
required the investment of time and effort in setting up the
approach: determining Mrs. Ross's new address, learning her new
telephone number, physical surveillance to determine her routine so
that she could be approached in a way that she could not simply
shut the door and where there would be less risk of confirming
witnesses, the use of a female agent to lessen any apprehension at
being approached publicly by strangers, etc.

Honorable Bradley A. Buckles - page three

     What kind of people are you?  Is there no honor within the
ranks of your agency?  It has long been clear, from repeated court
decisions and congressional committee reports, that your agents
have no familiarity with the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth
Amendments to the United States Constitution.  Now it appears that
they have not even been introduced to the very first Article of the
Bill of Rights.

     I am writing to express our outrage about this conduct and to
formally demand that your agency cease and desist from this
unconstitutional abuse of power.  I am contemporaneously making
formal Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act demands upon BATF
for the records and files pertaining to Mr. Ross, his book, and
these events.

     By copies of this letter I am requesting the Inspector General
of the Treasury Department to formally investigate this unlawful
conduct and the Attorney General to investigate to determine
whether Mr. Ross's civil rights are being violated by the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. 

Sincerely yours,

James H. Jeffries, III

cc:  Attorney General of the United States
       Inspector General, Department of the Treasury