This North Carolina veteran claimed inspiration from God to prepare for civil war

Earlier this year, a client of Christopher “Kit” Arthur told him that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms had come to his home and taken an inventory of his weapons.

A retired Army scout and former sheriff’s deputy from Mount Olive, NC, Arthur’s business, Tackleberry Solutions, taught “wartime tactics to civilians for civil defense purposes,” as he described it in a promotional video. Arthur sold manuals that he said were developed from his direct experience in two combat tours in Iraq, and later from working in a covert drug enforcement and anti-terrorism unit in the Army National Guard.

Arthur allegedly counseled his client that he had two options: Stand and fight or flee. If he chose to stand and fight, Arthur had a specific set of instructions.

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“It evolves back to this technique,” FBI Special Agent Greg Garey would later testify before a magistrate in federal court in Wilmington. “Or a theory behind the spiderweb or creating fatal funnels on your property, setting up perimeter charges — explosives — around the CHS’ house, installing explosives in the walls to, to, to render the ATF or any other law enforcement to, when they come to the house, to render them useless — to kill them.”

Garey explained the “spiderweb,” based on Arthur’s public YouTube videos and manuals, as a “death box,” or technique allowing the individual resisting a federal siege to “effectively kill more people without exposing yourself, and do it with, essentially, one person against an entire SWAT team.”

On Jan. 31, Arthur traveled to a gun show at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh to meet his client and distribute manuals to others. Arthur met the client, who unbeknownst to him was a confidential human source working for the government, at the entrance to the gun show. The two men went through the metal detectors, and then an FBI SWAT team took Arthur into custody, putting him on the ground.

Arthur came to the FBI’s attention after another client, a long-haul trucker from Virginia named Joshua Blessed aka Sergei Jourev died in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies outside of Rochester, NY in May 2020. The deadly confrontation reportedly transpired after Blessed fired shots at police from a Glock 9mm handgun and fled a local traffic stop.

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“He was building towards something, but I haven’t seen a blueprint,” Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. “This man was a very real threat to a lot of people.”

The authorities searched Blessed’s tractor-trailer in New York, and then his personal vehicle and residence in Richmond, Va. Police found more than a dozen improvised explosive devices and two manuals written by Kit Arthur that explained how to make the homemade bombs, according to Special Agent Garey. Cell phone records disclosed that Blessed had traveled from Richmond to Mount Olive, Garey testified, adding that he trained with Arthur for several days.

Garey testified that when the FBI searched Arthur’s house in Mount Olive, they found a stack of documents that included an order by a local judge in a child custody battle between Arthur’s wife and her ex-husband, along with a set of interrogatories directed at the judge that implied he had accepted bribes. The stack also included a document created by Arthur, the agent testified, that included a definition of tyranny “as any action taken by a governing body, agent of the government, working on behalf of said government, corporation, organization, company, LLC, or anyone in a position of power and authority to remove, destroy, pervert, or alter in any way an individual’s… right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, or property without full due process under the Constitution,” and prescribing that “if found guilty of this charge in a court of law, violators will be branded, stripped of all property, constitutional rights, and exiled or publicly hung by the neck until dead.”

The agent also testified that he found a sheet with the judge’s name, addresses for his workplace and residence, and descriptions of vehicles and license plate numbers associated with employees of a law firm where the judge worked.

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Magistrate Judge Robert Jones ordered Arthur to remain jailed pending trial at the conclusion of the detention hearing, saying he found the defendant’s “level of enthusiasm” and “level of preparation” for evading capture to be “alarming.”

During the hearing, the government played one of Arthur’s YouTube videos.

“They have declared war on me and my family and my community,” Arthur says in the video, which was recorded in December 2020 and is aptly titled “The Siege.” “So, there will be no more peaceful negotiations. They stopped the peaceful negotiations when they tried to forcibly move themselves into my home and assassinate me and take my guns. Now, having said that, so long as we have the ability to peacefully and civilly combat that act, we should, but when they try to kick in your door, there’s no more peaceful negotiations. The time is over. That’s the time for you to start putting lead down range. Let the siege happen. At that moment, when they back off and they’re licking their wounds and so are y’all, that’s when you pick up that phone or your ham radio, or whatever form of communication you have to your fellow militia members, and you say, ‘I need help.’ And that’s when y’all man the freak up, put freakin’ boots on the ass, lead down range and bodies on the ground. And you don’t be gentle about it.”

At the conclusion of the video, Arthur says, “Remember, I am not teaching you something that is kosher with current laws on the books. This is exactly how the military really fights. This is exactly the kind of thing we do for defending our positions and our perimeters. I want you take this, put it in your head, enact it, and, when the time comes, kick ass.”

Amy Arthur, Kit Arthur’s wife and co-owner of Tackleberry Solutions, told Raw Story she was reluctant to answer any questions about her husband’s case. But in a video on the company's YouTube channel in April, she insisted that her husband is innocent.

“Tackleberry Solutions was designed to help people, and I think we can continue to do that,” Amy Arthur said. “But we have to prove that my husband is innocent. And I want you to know that I regret nothing. Even if I were to go back in time and start all over again, I wouldn’t change a single thing. This isn’t about anything that we’ve done.” She continued drawing a false equivalency between her husband’s legal troubles and the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of about 6 million European Jews, and at least 5 million prisoners of war, Romany people, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals.

Arthur is charged with distribution of information related to explosives, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and multiple counts of possession of unregistered devices, and could face up to 90 years in prison if found guilty, according to his wife.

‘Whatever you do, it has to be very violent’

Dozens of videos and blog posts that remain publicly accessible on Tackleberry Solutions’ YouTube channel and website detail not only tactics for home defense, but advanced warfighting techniques, with titles like “The Fight Bag or Ops Bag and What to Pack In It,” “Sniper Tactics” and “How to Win a Firefight.”

In one video posted in October 2019, part of a series entitled, “How to Overthrow a Tyrannical Government: Why Guerilla Warfare Won’t Work in America,” Arthur addresses viewers while wearing a windbreaker bearing the company logo and standing at the edge of a wooded area.

“So, let me tell you what is actually going to win this newest war coming here in the States,” he says. “And for any of you that’s got any intelligence, you can see where this is going. We are definitely going to be fighting the Deep State.”

He discusses a tactic he learned while on deployment in Iraq called “snatch ’n’ grabs,” explaining that the targets are elected officials, considering that they hold authority over the military and law enforcement. He also emphasizes that elected officials have the power to pass so-called “red-flag laws,” which allow police to temporarily remove a person’s firearms through a court order if they’re deemed a threat to themselves or others.

“They’re the ones violating the Constitution,” Arthur says. “So, if we’re able to overthrow them and place new guys in power that are going to decide and govern under the Constitution, we will effectively take our country back.”

Optics are important, Arthur says, cautioning that “we cannot do this through assassinations. That is not going to work. Because the news media is completely biased and on their side, and therefore they are going to spin this in a negative light, and you will lose support for what you’re doing. Which is something else that if you study any form of guerilla warfare you understand that you’ve got to have that little bit of propaganda, and you’ve got to have support for your cause.”

Arthur continues by emphasizing the importance of cloaking an insurrection with the appearance of legitimacy.

“So, for us to maintain that, we’re gonna have to appoint and secure a government that can therefore appoint a special counsel to investigate things like treason, espionage,” he says. “These individuals will be the ones to show the people the way to go. They’ll be the ones finding these people guilty and hanging them, and holding them accountable for their crimes and actions against the Constitution. It is just solely going to be your job as a soldier to arrange that meeting.”

In Part 3, Arthur discusses “conquer[ing]” cities “through force,” and demanding allegiance from local elected officials and law enforcement leaders.

“If you do not have a city council, mayor and police chief that is willing to work with you, and willing to help support and help you build a militia, then you know you’re the enemy,” he says. “And you need to immediately take them out and secure that location.”

Describing the final step, Arthur makes it clear that violence and brutality are the point.

“Hold a special election,” he says. “Have new guys appointed. Whatever you do, it has to be very violent, and very ugly. And it’s got to send a very clear message that we will not tolerate spying, espionage or treason, or any crimes against the Constitution.”

Neo-fascist accelerationists and the libertarian-influenced boogaloo movement and have preoccupied extremist researchers in recent years, But Matthew Kriner, a senior research scholar at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said Arthur’s rhetoric bears the hallmarks of a much older brand of American extremism.

“He belongs in a lot of ways to a persistent presence of anti-government extremism that has preceded the current phase of extremism that we see today with boogaloo and accelerationists,” Kriner told Raw Story. “It highlights the fact that we’re in a period where the threat from extremism is extremely diverse. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that the classic extremist activity hasn’t gone away.”

In a promotional video for his business, Arthur said his conviction that the United States is headed toward civil war is rooted in observations of sectarian divisions between the Sunni and Shia during his deployment in Iraq.

“And I began to notice the same issues here in America,” he said. “We were thinking along political lines. Politics were beginning to infest our daily lives. We were being bombarded with that due to the news media and other various outlets. And, as a result, we were becoming very tribal. And I knew that that was going to lead to a war.”

Kriner cautioned against drawing a link between Arthur’s military service and his radicalization. The vast majority of veterans never engage in extremist activity, he pointed out.

“His military experience isn’t atypical,” Kriner said. “It’s not notable, but not to be dismissed. These spaces are known for recruiting these individuals after they served in the military.”

Kriner added that Arthur’s application of skills obtained through military service to extremist projects at home is a practice that dates back to the early part of the 20th century, going back even further than World War II.

Staff at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism who reviewed Arthur’s YouTube channel found that his rhetoric was more consistent with Christian identity beliefs that were prevalent in the 1990s militia movement than accelerationist or boogaloo ideas, Kriner said. The difference is that while boogaloo and accelerationist adherents welcome societal collapse, Christian identity believers see it as an inevitability requiring them to prepare, he explained.

In September 2020, Arthur said in one of his videos that, as “a commander in a militia,” he asked God to grant him a revelation “of future battles.” The revelation came in the form of a dream, and Arthur saw his five children playing in the yard as it grew dark. In the dream, men who appeared as force of “pure evil” ran at the children. The eldest two children grabbed the youngest, 2-year-old twins, and ran towards the house. The middle child was left behind, and the oldest daughter made the decision to close the door to save the other children, instead of reaching for the middle child and risking all.

“Time and time again, I have gotten through prayer, as well as others — people that I know — the word ‘purge,’” Arthur said. “That is not by coincidence. And that is not a good thing. When God says he’s gonna purge you, that means he’s going to cleanse the land through bloodshed. A lot of people — maybe even some of y’all — you’re not gonna make it.

“If you don’t start working together as a community, you’re not making it through this,” Arthur warned. “The lone wolf is going to die, alone.” From all indications, including revelations and “intelligence,” something Arthur called the “dust off” when “everything’s gonna start to go absolutely sideways on us” was due to take place in roughly five weeks — at time that happened to coincide almost exactly with the 2020 election.

In the promotional video for Tackleberry Solutions, Arthur recounted that he started his business in 2017 after working “as a covert operative for a counter-drug and terrorism unit,” and switched to a reconnaissance position in an armored unit. Initially, the business was geared towards retail sales, and he sold gear to fellow soldiers in his Army National Guard unit, Arthur said. But God had something different in mind.

“We got inspiration from our heavenly father that what I needed to really focus on was the pending war,” Arthur said, adding that he felt compelled to write down knowledge gained from tactical experience that was no longer included in the official military manuals of more recent vintage.

“I decided to follow the prompting, and to start actually writing the tactics down in books,” Arthur recounted. “And that’s what we did. And we created a quick reaction force series, which was basically designed to help you train a group of guys to defend their community. You could take somebody who had absolutely no clue what they were doing, and be able to start reading the books and mimicking the tactics that are displayed in the book and actually be a formidable opponent for any type of invading force, or gang, or tyrannical government.”

In May 2020, as public patience with pandemic restrictions was wearing thin, Arthur recorded a video entitled, “6 Brutal Steps to Taking Over: Wartime Tactics.”

“It’s so easy,” Arthur said. “When I showed it to my local county — the county board of commissioners are looking at it like, ‘Yeah, uh, we should probably thinking about something like this.’ So, I’m gonna show you how to do it, and then I’m gonna tell you exactly how to counteract it immediately thereafter, okay?”

The 16-minute video provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to poison a local water system, sabotage backup generators and power supply for hospitals, destroy power substations, enlist gangs to impose a reign of terror and control food supply, and finally take control by deploying a military force to restore order.

A slide from Kit Arthur's "6 Brutal Tactics to Taking Over" presentation

By the second week of July, after racial justice protests had surged across the United States in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Arthur became convinced that a plot to overthrow the government, just as he’d described, was underway.

“Guys, I told you in that video: This is directly out of the CIA’s playbook of clandestine operations of overthrowing a government,” Arthur said. “Where do you think I got it? All right? That’s exactly what’s happening.”

Those watching the videos, whom Arthur assessed to be “commanders,” needed to start preparing, he said. They should be acquiring material and supplies that might be impossible to obtain in the future, he said.

“And I want you to start thinking in a wartime mindset,” Arthur said. “Stop thinking, ‘Well, I can’t do this; it’s illegal. I can’t build improvised explosives. I just can’t have a frag — that’s 10 years in prison and a federal $10,000 fine.’ Yeah, if you get caught. Also, what’s it gonna matter in six months? ’Cause in six months you’re not gonna be able to find the parts to build that, for starters. And secondly, in six months, that ain’t gonna be illegal anymore, guys, because we’re gonna be in warfare. When you’re in warfare, all bets are off.

“Now is the time to start getting that list of stuff,” he added. “And remember, it’s not illegal until it’s put together.”

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