William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne palling around with terrorists?



    Ernest Hancock and Freedom’s Phoenix “watering the tree of liberty” with guns at an Obama appearance.

    I’ve written several times about Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, focusing on his love for intimidating and slandering financial journalists, his constant misleading of investors, and other subjects.

    Byrne – who has led Overstock to yearly loss after loss and has been key in driving OSTK stock to it’s current $5.01 per share – is also an extreme right-winger. Not a Sean Hannity-type extreme right-winger, mind you, but closer to one of those faux-Libertarian, overthrow-the-government types of extremists.

    Such does Byrne support the right-wing libertarian militia movement, that he was recently a guest of Earnest Hancock on Freedom’s Phoenix radio show. Who is Hancock, you ask? Well, just someone who has been accused by Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce  - a far-right conservative himself - of being a terrorist.

    Ernest Hancock, the online radio host who staged  an interview with an assault rifle-wielding associate at the Obama event in Arizona yesterday — and was himself armed with a 9 millimeter pistol — was a vocal supporter and friend of right-wing anti-government militia members who were convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges in the 90s.

    And in an interview today with TPMmuckraker, Hancock said he still believes the Viper Militia case was “manufactured” by the same government that manufactured Waco  and lied to its people about 9/11.

    The federal government initially accused the Arizona Viper Militia of plotting to blow up federal buildings, which the twelve-member group cased on videotape.

    In July 1996, after a grand jury indicted the suspects, federal agents “seized about 90 high-powered rifles and hundreds of pounds of a bomb-making compound from the shabby bungalow of a man whom officials identified as the ordnance specialist of a local paramilitary group,” the New York Times reported at the time.

    Hancock, who in recent years designed the famous “Ron Paul rEVOLution” graphic, was an oft-quoted defender of the militia members. The tapes of the government buildings, he said at the time, were purely “educational.”

    More on Hancock and the Viper Militia here, via TPM and here at The Huffington Post.

    Byrne – who notably railed against Utah voters for rejecting his push to “reform” the Utah school system by making it a voucher program and runs the libel factory known as Deep Capture – shared some of his radical, paranoid views with Hancock, including his claims that “Naked Short Sellers” have destroyed the stock prices of his mismanaged company.

    Hancock is not currently under arrest, and it was by no means a crime for Byrne to appear on his radio show. But it shows he is a supporter of those with radical and dangerous ideologies. If you don’t think right-wing terrorism is a problem in the U.S., read some of David Neiwert’s work on the subject.

    People like Hancock like to talk how they just want to be “left alone” by the federal government, but what they really want to be left alone to be racists who dream of an overthrow of the U.S. government. These are violent, ignorant, paranoid people who fantasize that Ron Paul will someday be President and allow them to unleash chaos in the name of of something they like to call Libertarianism.

    And Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne supports them.


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles



    Brilliant article! We must jail all these people and all Ron Paul followers, they are terrorists and will kill us one day. Please continue to write the truth and push to prison these terrorists!


    While your article may have some good points, it seems the headline is a stretch. The "terrorist" accusation against Hancock was by Arizona State Senator Russel Pearce, not a U.S. senator. Moreover, the accusation was based on Hancock's opposition to Pearce's infamous Arizona illegal immigration law, a bill which was a key reason leading to Pearce's recall.

    Is Hancock a terrorist? Maybe. But without better supporting evidence than what is provided here, calling him such seems to be overreaching.


    Thanks, I made a correction.

    Re: your article's referral to Swift Boat, Byrne donated only $2500 to an organization that raised $20 million, including $4.5m, $2m & $2m from its biggest donors (plus one guy who lost an amabassadorship over his $50K donation.) So put Byrne's right-wing support in perspective.

    You've ignored the reasons for criticism of Garry Weiss and Jim Cramer, and ignore the reality of illegal naked short selling. Ted Kaufmann is one Senator who fortunately didn't - unfortunately, Senate oversight of malfeasance didn't continue, as they were more interested in helping the next scandal, mortgage fraud.

    Regarding "intimidation and slander", I don't think Byrne has been convicted of anything, and certainly stock analysts can be intimidating themselves, no? Where do you find errors in this one?


    A Senator accused Byrne of being a "domestic terrorist"? Wow, the horrors! How many Senators think Obama was born in Kenya? Meanwhile, we have Senators actively support M.E.K., a group on the US government's terrorist list, and that brings no charges - because I guess M.E.K. are terrorists for the approved US brand.

    Re: "libel factory" at Deep Capture - have they been found guilty of libel anywhere? Rocker Partners paid Overstock $5 million to settle libel charges - plus Overstock received a settlement from Gradient Analytics - was it just because Byrne was overzealous?

    I mean, I get you don't like the guy, and quite possibly he's not likeable, and it's quite possible he's made some big mistakes as CEO - including the o.co domain name screwup - though going up against Amazon, even small mistakes can be big.

    I noted that Overstock had been profitable 2 years in a row, and likely would have the 3rd year without the o.co mistake - which on its own cost about the amount they were in the red. If you look up OSTK at finance.yahoo.com, you'll see that Overstock had tracked for many years not far from 15 - the price it nosedived from last July - along with some earlier lows, along with highs around 2005-2006. I know it's easy to pretend Byrne just drove the firm progressively down into the dirt, but the reality is long-term mixed successes & failures in a tough market. Could have done better, could have done worse - a truly convincing 'meh'.

    We've heard enough flawed innuendo & misstatements & spin around Ron Paul this year -  mixing it together with Byrne hardly makes an accurate profile.

    How about just writing about a particular issue that Byrne messed up with, rather than try to take in the life stories & various accusations around Byrne & Paul and I guess Hancock together? Might be more convincing and even understandable.


    And what is a "terrorist" exactly? Murderer I have a pretty good idea. Rapist, same. Waiter, guy who serves food. Terrorist? Enlighten me, please...


    You know who a terrorist is?

    It is the accountant in some mortgage firm who sends out the message:

    Gather all those around you and sell them pretend mortgages at pretend interest rates and take pretend information from them in order to get them approved.

    Then, three months later the interest rates are increased by a factor of 3 and in the mean time you sell the mortgage (along with hundreds of other frauds) based upon a factor of three.

    Then you take your profits and hide them in other countries.

    That is terrorism.

    I mean you can strap onto your body enough explosives to blow up the immediate area and then yourself under some modicum of religiousity.

    But, you can make millions, and destroy millions upon millions of individual hopes in a year or so!

    Terrorism or as w put it terrrism, is in the eyes of the beholder.

    Do we quit checking for arms at the airport?


    Should we even check for arms at the gates of our public schools?

    Probably not, at least if I still had kids in school.

    I do not have any answers.

    But I have questions.

    Who is doing the most damage to my society?

    I dunno for sure, but I have some ideas.

    And I would surmise that the pen is mightier than the sword or the machine gun or the unibomber.

    the end



    Wow this is not journalism. This is ignorant ranting from a social commentator. Get your business cards changed to reflect such. 

    Libel along with slander, you say? I see the libel throughout your writings in this hatchet job with connections to Dr. Patrick Byrne, in addition to the fact that you are residing in Brazil, while claiming to be an "American"? For shame on you.  

    Is there a problem for an American to live abroad?

    Are you one of these "ain't gonna git me no passport cuz I don wanna be wid no furriners" types?

    And what's with this "Dr. Byrne" bit? do I give a shit he has a doctorate in psychology? If you were a real American, and not a sock puppet, you'd save the doctor crap for real medical doctors.

    Psychology? Yes, a most important component in the investment game. It's a good thing that the "fGood" Dr. Byrne is a master in this regard. He seems to have combated the trash written by this person living abroad by announcing Q1's results are going to be released in three business days forward. On the last conference call, there seemed to be references to the quarter having gone well following up the more difficult 2011 year. We shall see what the trolls who are living abroad while criticizing the American Republic will come up with after that. What are they afraid of?  



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