Left Coast Right Watch


  • EDITOR'S NOTE : James Stout is a San Diego-based journalist. You can donate to him on cash app at $jamesstout and venmo at @james-stout-5.

    In late July 2020, activists in San Diego were planning a BLM march in La Mesa. There hadn’t been a large action there since banks burned and the cops shot a grandmother’s eye out (within policy apparently) in late May. After those banks burned, a group of anti-BLM locals had sprung up under the name “Defend East County”. Soon DEC had over 20,000 members in their Facebook group and Justin Haskins, a perpetually sunburned Arizona resident, claimed leadership of all of them.

    Among that group was Grey Zamudio, age 33. To the uneducated eye, his Facebook page might look like he was a soldier or private security contractor. His banner image features a suppressed, short barreled, and non-California compliant AR15. Zamudio was a long time airsoft enthusiast, and some of his shooting pictures could be mistaken for airsoft. When he played airsoft, Zamudio used the callsign “Shadow Moses” in homage to the computer game Metal Gear Solid. (He seems to have had a somewhat passing understanding of the plot, or only appreciated that the main character was good at killing people. The game focuses on the evils of war and violence for profit.)

    But the guns on his page were all too real.

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    A Texas man was arrested by the FBI last Thursday for plotting to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia. Following a sting operation, Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls, Texas was indicted Friday morning on explosives charges and faces up to 20 years in prison.

    Formerly an amateur bodybuilder and personal trainer whose interests revolved around fitness and family, Pendley seems to have had no criminal history or interest in politics prior to 2020. Over the course of a year, he developed increasingly radical views, beginning with opposition to COVID-19 lockdown measures and becoming a passionate supporter of former President Trump. After attending the January 6 protests in Washington DC, Pendley began advising friends to arm themselves and soliciting others online to ‘pick a side in the next civil war.’ Seemingly within weeks, he developed an elaborate plan to attack US internet infrastructure and provoke a wider social conflict. Pendley’s headlong journey into militancy culminated with his allegedly taking possession of C-4 explosives and detonators, which turned out to be fakes supplied by an undercover FBI agent. Following his arrest, Pendley admitted to planning an attack and is now in federal custody in Texas.

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