Convicted tax evader Ed Brown has become a celebrity on the internet among fringe groups.
He has been holed up for five months in his turreted New Hampshire mountain compound with federal prison time hanging over his head. And convicted tax cheat Ed Brown, a handgun tucked in his pants and a hunting knife on his belt, vows that he is not coming out alive.
"They think they can intimidate us," the former Westborough resident Brown said of federal agents. "They can't. Not everyone in the world is a coward. We're men."
The defiant stand by this New Hampshire exterminator and his wife, Elaine, a dentist, over their refusal to pay $625,000 in taxes because they refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the US government echoes previous sieges in Waco and Ruby Ridge.
During a rare and recent interview in his fortified home with Globe City & Region reporter Raja Mishra, Brown ranted about the government and accused President Bush of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks.
But this standoff carries a new dimension: Brown's antigovernment crusade has rocketed through cyberspace, transforming the once-anonymous couple into a cause célèbre among fringe groups around the world and leaving federal agents wary of turning them into martyrs.
Brown's blog has received more than a million hits in a month. Randy Weaver, who infamously resisted arrest at Ruby Ridge in Idaho in 1992, has joined Brown at his compound to offer his support after word spread online. Supporters from across the country arrive bearing supplies and camaraderie.
Read more about Brown's standoff in the Globe's online edition.
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