Will Grigg

The Christmas Truce of World War I

For a tragically short time, the Spirit of the Prince of Peace drowned out the murderous demands of the State.

n August 1914, Europe’s major powers threw themselves into war with gleeful abandon. Germany, a rising power with vast aspirations, plowed across Belgium, seeking to checkmate France quickly before Russia could mobilize, thereby averting the prospect of a two-front war. Thousands of young Germans, anticipating a six-week conflict, boarded troop trains singing the optimistic refrain: “Ausflug nach Paris. Auf Widersehen auf dem Boulevard.” (“Excursion to Paris. See you again on the Boulevard.”)

The antagonists found themselves mired along a static line of trenches running for hundreds of miles through France and Belgium.

The French were eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany in 1870. The British government, leery of Germany’s growing power, mobilized hundreds of thousands of young men to “teach the Hun a lesson.” Across the continent, writes British historian Simon Rees, “millions of servicemen, reservists and volunteers … rushed enthusiastically to the banners of war…. The atmosphere was one of holiday rather than conflict.”

Each side expected to be victorious by Christmas. But as December dawned, the antagonists found themselves mired along the Western Front – a static line of trenches running for hundreds of miles through France and Belgium. At some points along the Front, combatants were separated by less than 100 feet. Their crude redoubts were little more than large ditches scooped out of miry, whitish-gray soil. Ill-equipped for winter, soldiers slogged through brackish water that was too cold for human comfort, but too warm to freeze.

The unclaimed territory designated No Man’s Land was littered with the awful residue of war – expended ammunition and the lifeless bodies of those on whom the ammunition had been spent. The mortal remains of many slain soldiers could be found grotesquely woven into barbed wire fences. Villages and homes lay in ruins. Abandoned churches had been appropriated for use as military bases.

As losses mounted and the stalemate hardened, war fever began to dissipate on both sides. Many of those pressed into service on the Western Front had not succumbed to the initial frenzy of bloodlust. Fighting alongside French, Belgian, and English troops were Hindus and Sikhs from India, as well as Gurkhas from the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal.

As losses mounted and the stalemate hardened, war fever began to dissipate on both sides.

These colonial conscripts had been transported from their native soil and deployed in trenches carved out of wintry Belgian cabbage patches. Highland Scots were also found at the Front, proudly wearing their kilts in defiance of the bitter December cold.

The German troops were led by elite Prussian officers, representatives of the bellicose Junker aristocracy. The German rank and file included Bavarian, Saxon, Westphalian, and Hessian reservists, more than a few of whom had lived – or even been born – in England and spoke perfect English. Bismarck’s efforts to unite the scattered German principalities notwithstanding, many German troops remained more attached to their local communities than to what for them was an abstract German nation.

Comrades at Arms

Wallowing in what amounted to cold, fetid sewers, pelted by freezing rain, and surrounded by the decaying remains of their comrades, soldiers on both sides grimly maintained their military discipline. On December 7, Pope Benedict XV called for a Christmas cease-fire. This suggestion earned little enthusiasm from political and military leaders on both sides. But the story was different for the exhausted frontline troops.

A December 4 dispatch from the commander of the British II Corps took disapproving notice of a “live-and-let-live theory of life” that had descended on the Front. Although little overt fraternization was seen between hostile forces, just as little initiative was shown in pressing potential advantages. Neither side fired at the other during meal times, and friendly comments were frequently bandied about across No Man’s Land. In a letter published by the Edinburgh Scotsman, Andrew Todd of the Royal Engineers reported that soldiers along his stretch of the Front, “only 60 yards apart at one place … [had become] very ‘pally’ with each other.”

With Christmas approaching, the scattered gestures of goodwill across enemy lines increased.

Rather than flinging lead at their opponents, the troops would occasionally hurl newspapers (weighted with stones) and ration tins across the lines. Barrages of insults sometimes erupted as well, but they were delivered “generally with less venom than a couple of London cabbies after a mild collision,” reported Leslie Walkinton of the Queen’s Westminster Rifles.

As December waxed, the combat ardor of the frontline troops waned. With Christmas approaching, the scattered and infrequent gestures of goodwill across enemy lines increased. About a week before Christmas, German troops near Armentieres slipped a “splendid” chocolate cake across the lines to their British counterparts. Attached to that delectable peace offering was a remarkable invitation:

We propose having a concert tonight as it is our Captain’s birthday, and we cordially invite you to attend – provided you will give us your word of honor as guests that you agree to cease hostilities between 7:30 and 8:30…. When you see us light the candles and footlights at the edge of our trench at 7:30 sharp you can safely put your heads above your trenches, and we shall do the same, and begin the concert.

The concert proceeded on time, with the bewhiskered German troops singing “like Christy Minstrels,” according to one eyewitness account. Each song earned enthusiastic applause from the British troops, prompting a German to invite the Tommies to “come mit us into the chorus.” One British soldier boldly shouted, “We’d rather die than sing German.” This jibe was parried instantly with a good-natured reply from the German ranks: “It would kill us if you did.” The concert ended with an earnest rendition of “Die Wacht am Rhein,” and was closed with a few shots deliberately aimed at the darkening skies – a signal that the brief pre-Christmas respite was ended.

Elsewhere along the Front, arrangements were worked out to retrieve fallen soldiers and give them proper treatment or burial.

In a letter to his mother, Lt. Geoffrey Heinekey of the 2nd Queen’s Westminster Rifles described one such event that took place on December 19. “Some Germans came out and held up their hands and began to take in some of their wounded and so we ourselves immediately got out of our trenches and began bringing in our wounded also,” he recalled. “The Germans then beckoned to us and a lot of us went over and talked to them and they helped us to bury our dead. This lasted the whole morning and I talked to several of them and I must say they seemed extraordinarily fine men…. It seemed too ironical for words. There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.”

Football in No Man’s Land

Soon talk along the Front turned to the prospect of a formal cessation of hostilities in honor of Christmas. Again, this idea met resistance from above. Comments historian Stanley Weintraub, in his book, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce:

Most higher-ups had looked the other way when scattered fraternization occurred earlier. A Christmas truce, however, was another matter. Any slackening in the action during Christmas week might undermine whatever sacrificial spirit there was among troops who lacked ideological fervor. Despite the efforts of propagandists, German reservists evidenced little hate. Urged to despise the Germans, [British] Tommies saw no compelling interest in retrieving French and Belgian crossroads and cabbage patches. Rather, both sides fought as soldiers fought in most wars – for survival, and to protect the men who had become extended family.

In a sense, the war itself was being waged within an extended family, since both Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II and England’s King George V were grandsons of Queen Victoria. More importantly, the warring nations were all part of what had once been known as Christendom. The irony of this fact was not lost on those sentenced to spend Christmas at the Front.

By Christmas Eve, the German side of the Front was radiant with glowing Tannenbeume – small Christmas trees set up, sometimes under fire, by troops determined to commemorate the holy day. “For most British soldiers, the German insistence on celebrating Christmas was a shock after the propaganda about Teutonic bestiality, while the Germans had long dismissed the British as well as the French as soulless and materialistic and incapable of appreciating the festival in the proper spirit,” writes Weintraub. “Regarded by the French and British as pagans – even savages – the pragmatic Germans were not expected to risk their lives on behalf of each beloved Tannenbaum. Yet when a few were felled by Scrooge-like gunfire, the Saxons opposite the [British line] stubbornly climbed the parapets to set the endangered trees up once more.”

Troops extracted themselves from their trenches and dugouts, approaching each other warily, and then eagerly, across No Man’s Land.

The radiant Christmas trees reminded some Indian conscripts of lanterns used to celebrate the Hindu “Festival of Lights.” Some of them must have been puzzled over finding themselves freezing, undernourished, and confronting a lonely death thousands of miles from their homes as soldiers in a war which pitted Christian nations against each other. “Do not think that this is war,” wrote one Punjabi soldier in a letter to a relative. “This is not war. It is the ending of the world.”

But there were souls on each side of that fratricidal conflict determined to preserve the decencies of Christendom, even amid the conflict. As Christmas dawned, German Saxon troops shouted greetings to the British unit across from it: “A happy Christmas to you, Englishmen!” That welcome greeting prompted a mock-insulting reply from one of the Scottish troops, who was mildly irritated at being called an Englishman: “The same to you Fritz, but dinna o’er eat youself wi’ they sausages!”

A sudden cold snap had left the battlefield frozen, which was actually a relief for troops wallowing in sodden mire. Along the Front, troops extracted themselves from their trenches and dugouts, approaching each other warily, and then eagerly, across No Man’s Land. Greetings and handshakes were exchanged, as were gifts scavenged from care packages sent from home. German souvenirs that ordinarily would have been obtained only through bloodshed – such as spiked pickelhaube helmets, or Gott mit uns belt buckles – were bartered for similar British trinkets. Carols were sung in German, English, and French. A few photographs were taken of British and German officers standing alongside each other, unarmed, in No Man’s Land.

Near the Ypres salient, Germans and Scotsmen chased after wild hares that, once caught, served as an unexpected Christmas feast. Perhaps the sudden exertion of chasing wild hares prompted some of the soldiers to think of having a football match. Then again, little prompting would have been necessary to inspire young, competitive men – many of whom were English youth recruited off soccer fields – to stage a match. In any case, numerous accounts in letters and journals attest to the fact that on Christmas 1914, German and English soldiers played soccer on the frozen turf of No Man’s Land.

British Field Artillery Lieutenant John Wedderburn-Maxwell described the event as “probably the most extraordinary event of the whole war – a soldier’s truce without any higher sanction by officers and generals….”

This isn’t to say that the event met with unqualified approval. Random exchanges of gunfire along the Front offered lethal reminders that the war was still underway.

From his rearward position behind the lines, a “gaunt, sallow soldier with a thick, dark mustache and hooded eyes” witnessed the spontaneous eruption of Christian fellowship with hateful contempt. The German Field Messenger of Austrian birth heaped scorn on his comrades who were exchanging Christmas greetings with their British counterparts. “Such a thing should not happen in wartime,” groused Corporal Adolf Hitler. “Have you no German sense of honor left at all?” “More than patriotic scruples were involved” in Hitler’s reaction, notes Weintraub. “Although a baptized Catholic, he rejected every vestige of religious observance while his unit marked the day in the cellar of the Messines monastery.”

What If …?

In a January 2, 1915 account of the Christmas Truce, the London Daily Mirror reflected that “the gospel of hate” had lost its allure to soldiers who had come to know each other.

“The soldier’s heart rarely has any hatred in it,” commented the paper. “He goes out to fight because that is his job. What came before – the causes of the war and the why and wherefore – bother him little. He fights for his country and against his country’s enemies. Collectively, they are to be condemned and blown to pieces. Individually, he knows they’re not bad sorts.”

“Many British and German soldiers, and line officers, viewed each other as gentlemen and men of honor,” writes Weintraub. The rank and file came to understand that the man on the other end of the rifle, rather than the soulless monster depicted in ideological propaganda, was frightened and desperate to survive and return to his family. For many along the Front, these realities first became clear in the light cast by the German Tannenbaum.

The informal truce held through Christmas and, at some points along the Front, through the following day.

In the shared symbol of the Christmas tree – an ornament of pagan origins appropriated by Christians centuries ago – British and German troops found “a sudden and extraordinary link,” observed British author Arthur Conan Doyle after the war (a conflict that claimed his son’s life). “It was an amazing spectacle,” Doyle reflected, “and must arouse bitter thought concerning the high-born conspirators against the peace of the world, who in their mad ambition had hounded such men on to take each other by the throat rather than by the hand.”

In a remarkable letter published by The Times of London on January 4, a German soldier stated that “as the wonderful scenes in the trenches [during Christmas] show, there is no malice on our side, and none in many of those who have been marshaled against us.” But this was certainly not true of those who orchestrated the war, the “high-born conspirators against the peace of the world.” As British historian Niall Ferguson points out, the war-makers’ plans for the world required “Maximum slaughter at minimum expense.”

The informal truce held through Christmas and, at some points along the Front, through the following day (known as “Boxing Day” to British troops). But before New Year’s Day the war had resumed in all of its malignant fury, and the suicide of Christendom continued apace.

Most wars are senseless exercises in mass murder and needless destruction. World War I, however, is remarkable not only for being more avoidable and less justifiable than most wars, but also for its role in opening the gates of hell. Mass starvation and economic ruin inflicted on Germany during the war and its aftermath cultivated the National Socialist (Nazi) movement. Nearly identical ruin wrought in Russia thrust Lenin and the Bolsheviks to power. Benito Mussolini, a socialist agitator once regarded as Lenin’s heir, rose to power in Italy. Radical variants of intolerant totalitarian nationalism ulcerated Europe. The seeds of future wars and terrorism were deeply sewn in the Middle East.

The truce – a welcome fermata in the symphony of destruction – illustrated a timeless truth.

What if the Christmas Truce of 1914 had held? Might a negotiated peace have ensued, preserving Christendom for at least a while longer? We do not know. It is doubtful that the “high-born conspirators against the peace of the world” would have been long deterred in pursuing their demented plans. But the truce – a welcome fermata in the symphony of destruction – illustrated a timeless truth of the nature of the human soul as designed by its Creator.

Reflecting on the Christmas Truce, Scottish historian Roland Watson writes: “The State bellows the orders ‘Kill! Maim! Conquer!’ but a deeper instinct within the individual does not readily put a bullet through another who has done no great offense, but who rather says with them, ‘What am I doing here?'”

For a tragically short time, the Spirit of the Prince of Peace drowned out the murderous demands of the State.

Reprinted from the Future of Economic Education.

Have We Reached “Peak Jackboot”?

Originally published December 5, 2014

In 1768, amid escalating tensions between the British government and independence-minded “radicals” in New England, two full regiments were deployed in Boston as peacekeepers. Their presence was, in historian David Ramsay’s elegantly ominous phrase, “a fruitful source of uneasiness.”
London tried to preserve the pretense that the troops sent to police the colonies were deployed to maintain public order. However, as Ramsay observes, there was “a general conviction” within the population that the Redcoats had been dispatched as tax collectors, and “there could be no security for their property” until they were forced to leave.
By 1770, royal pronouncements and speeches in both houses of parliament increasingly characterized the Americans “as a factious turbulent people, who aimed at throwing off all subordination to Great Britain,” Ramsay continues. That hostility was reciprocated by “fiery spirits” in Boston “who thought it an indignity to have troops quartered among them, [and] were constantly exciting the townspeople to quarrel with the soldiers.”
Benjamin Franklin, who at the time had not abandoned hope of reconciliation between the Throne and the colonies, warned that stationing troops in Boston was akin to “setting up a smith’s forge in a magazine of gunpowder.” A random spark was set off on March 2, 1770, when a British soldier got into a shouting match with a local resident. Within hours a melee had broken out between Redcoats and “radicals” that rapidly escalated into a mob scene. Punches were thrown, and property was damaged, but nobody was killed.
Three days later, a contingent of armed Redcoats under the command of one Captain Preston was set upon by what one American historian later called “a crowd of disorderly loafers and boys of the town.” The troops had responded to what would now be called an “officer in distress” call from a sentry named Hugh White, who had gotten into an argument with a wig-maker over an unpaid bill.
In his History of the American Revolution, Ramsay records that the British troops “were pressed upon, insulted and pelted by a mob armed with clubs, sticks, and snowballs covering stones. They were also dared to fire. In this situation, one of the soldiers who had received a blow, in resentment fired at the supposed aggressor.” That soldier, Private Hugh Montgomery, had been beaten to his knees by a club-wielding assailant before screaming “Damn you, fire!” to his comrades.
Eight people in the crowd were wounded, three of them fatally. The first to fall was a black man named Crispus Attucks. A widely circulated illustration of the event depicts Attucks desperately trying to fend off the fatal attack by reaching for the soldier’s gun – an act we are insistently, and incorrectly, told is a capital offense.
In the interest of “officer safety,” the troops were withdrawn. The mortal remains of Attucks and his two comrades were buried in a ceremony intended “to express the indignation of the inhabitants at the slaughter of their brethren, by soldiers quartered among them, in violation of their civil liberties.”
Rather than escalating the military occupation of Boston in order to suppress the revolt,British colonial authorities indicted Captain Preston and his subordinates for “willful and felonious murder.” At trial they enjoyed the earnest and capable representation of “radical” attorney John Adams.
The jury, in defiance of the prevailing public sentiment, found mitigation in the fact that the soldiers had been “insulted, threatened, and pelted, before they fired,” wrote Ramsay. Preston and five of his men were acquitted. Two of the soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter and subsequently branded. The trial, Ramsay concludes, “reflected great honor on John Adams, and [his assistant] Josiah Quincy and also on the integrity of the jury….”
The verdict of public opinion diverged sharply from the outcome of the trial. Skillful propagandists like Samuel Adams (who had helped incite the riot that precipitated the killings) and Paul Revere elided some facts, misrepresented others, and immortalized the event as the “Boston Massacre.”
“The anniversary of it was observed with great solemnity,” Ramsay recorded. “Eloquent orators were successively employed to deliver an annual oration, to preserve the remembrance of it fresh in their minds. On these occasions the blessings of liberty – the horrors of slavery – the dangers of a standing army – the rights of the colonies, and a variety of such topics were presented to the public view, under the most pleasing and alarming forms. These annual orations administered fuel to the fire of liberty, and kept it burning, with an incessant flame.”
It does no injury to the truth to suggest that the effort to capitalize on the “Boston Massacre” was the pre-Independence equivalent of today’s “Hands Up – Don’t Shoot” agitprop campaign. The victims in the March 5, 1770 event had assaulted law enforcement officers, after all. Some, perhaps most, of them were disreputable people who today would be casually denigrated as “thugs.”
Attucks himself, the first martyr in the cause of American Independence, was a law-breaker, a runaway slave of dubious parentage. In addition to committing an act of “theft” by absconding with the “property” of his supposed master, Attucks used fraudulent means to conceal his identity and obtain employment on a whaling ship.
In contemporary terms, he was a virtual behemoth, standing six foot two inches tall and blessed with the brawny and well-conditioned physique of a man who earned a living by casting harpoons, dragging nets, and pulling on thick, heavy nets. Some accounts of the Boston Massacre cast Attucks in the central role, agitating the crowd and organizing the assault on law enforcement.
Obviously, this was no gentle giant. He was an impudent, violent man with no respect for authority and a dangerous gift for inciting rebellion against public order. He fought the law, and the law won – at least from the perspective of his detractors among British loyalists in the colonies.
“Eric Garner was a career petty criminal who’d experienced dozens of arrests, but had learned nothing from them,” sniffs McManus. “He was on the street July 17, selling untaxed cigarettes one at a time – which, as inconsequential as it seems, happens to be a crime.”
Garner was a “career criminal” in the mold of John Hancock, who made himself tremendously wealthy by smuggling untaxed goods. On McManus’s premises, Hancock would have to be regarded as a veritable crime lord.
Even if we characterize Garner as a “career criminal” rather than a micro-entrepreneur, the salient fact here is that there is no evidence at all that Garner was selling cigarettes on the day he was murdered by the police. He was killed because he dared to assert self-ownership in the face of unwanted attention from a member of the State’s coercive caste.
Eric Garner’s death, McManus pontificates, was a tragic but necessary demonstration of the futility of resisting the power of the divine State: “He was a victim of himself. It’s just that simple.”
In the moments leading up to his death, Garner had acted as a peacemaker, stopping a fight that the NYPD’s armed tax enforcers had chosen to ignore. Crispus Attucks, on the other hand, spent the last moments of his life inciting a rebellion against the collection agents of a much less oppressive government. McManus, who causally vilifies the former, most likely venerates the latter. People who cherish individual liberty should honor the memory of both.
The “Boston Massacre” represented what we could call “Peak Redcoat” – the moment at which it became clear that the existing regime, administered through a military occupation, simply could not endure.
The unpunished murder of Eric Garner could well signify that our present system has reached the point of “Peak Jackboot.” It is worth remembering, however, that the Regime ruling us is immeasurably more powerful, corrupt, and violent than that of George III, which allowed the colonial policemen who had killed Attucks and two others to stand trial for their actions.

PATCON, Oklahoma City, and Jesse Trentadue’s Lonely Crusade for Justice

Originally published November 13, 2014, at Will Grigg’s Pro Libertate blog.

PATCON’s handiwork: A fireman holds an infant killed in the 1995 OKC bombing.

“His name used to be Don Jarrett,” long-time federal asset John Matthews told FBI Special Agent Adam Quirk during a July 9 phone call. Matthews was concerned that he would have to testify in a lawsuit filed by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue seeking the release of long-concealed video tapes from the `1995 Oklahoma City bombing.Trentadue believes that the suppressed tapes would help identify “John Doe II,” a dark-haired, heavy-set man seen by dozens of people in the company of Timothy McVeigh on the day of the bombing.
“John Doe II” remains at large, and the FBI is perversely determined to protect him. For reasons that will be explained anon, Trentadue is convinced that learning his identity is necessary in order to obtain a measure of justice on behalf of his late brother Kenneth, who was killed while in federal custody shortly after the bombing.

PATCON asset John Matthews.

Matthews was scheduled to testify during a federal court hearing in Salt Lake City last July. On the basis of what he had told Trentadue, Matthews was expected to describe how the FBI was closely monitoring McVeigh in the hours leading up to the bombing.
The FBI continues to insist – despite abundant evidence to the contrary — that there was no advance warning of the OKC terrorist attack, and that John Doe II and the “others unknown” referred to in Timothy McVeigh’s indictment do not exist.
Trentadue maintains that there is a “strong possibility” that the long-suppressed video recordings captured McVeigh in the company of a second person who would be identifiable as “an FBI undercover operative.”
During the July 9th phone call with Matthews, Mr. Jarrett told the jittery federal informant to avoid testifying if he could, and to perjure himself if he must. He was also instructed to call Special Agent Quirk, who eagerly reinforced that advice.
“I ain’t goin’ and I ain’t saying nothing unless somebody issues me a subpoena,” Matthews told Quirk, according to a transcript obtained by Trentadue. Even if “they haul my ass to Salt Lake City, I’m gonna set [sic] there on the stand and say I don’t recall anything.”
“That’s fine,” was Quirk’s approving reply to Matthews’ announced intent to commit perjury.
In a conversation on the following day, Matthews reiterated his determination to avoid a subpoena.
“Well, yeah, and I mean – worst case scenario, even if you testified you can just – you can say you have, you know – you have nothing to say,” advised Quirk.
Matthews, eager to please a high-ranking officer of the American Cheka, suggested that he might take a trip in order to avoid receiving a subpoena.
“That’s fine,” gloated Quirk. “F*ck ’em, right?”

Back at ya: FBI Special Agent Quirk.

It was during the second conversation with Quirk that Matthews explicitly mentioned his role as an undercover operative in an FBI initiative called PATCON, or “Patriot Conspiracy.” This was a long-term provocation campaign in which the Bureau sought “to infiltrate and incite the militia and evangelical Christians to violence so that the Department of Justice could crush them,” explains Trentadue.
The man Matthews had known as “Don Jarrett” had been his FBI handler – and apparently still is, given the deference to him shown by Matthews. Now that the Regime has largely shifted its domestic focus from Muslims back to “sovereign citizens,” Jarrett is probably busy orchestrating homeland security theater operations involving the “Radical Right.”

Assuming that “Don Jarrett” is still the name of Matthews’ former handler, he may currently be working as an “Independent Insurance Professional” in Florida. According to his vita, Jarrett retired from the FBI in 1998, becoming an insurance investigator and security consultant for the NFL. It’s not clear how he wound up in Afghanistan last year:  A May 1, 2013, email to Matthews reported that he was in Afghanistan, and that he expected to leave at the end of June.

Using his last known email address, I sent Jarrett a number of questions to which he has not replied. Given PATCON’s history the chances are pretty good that wherever Jarrett finds himself, bad things are being done to innocent people.

“Ruby Ridge was a PATCON operation,” Trentadue has pointed out. “Waco was a PATCON operation. And so, too, I believe, was the Oklahoma City Bombing.”
The same is probably true of the little-remembered October 1995 sequel to the OKC Bombing – the derailment of the Sunset Limited, an Amtrak train carrying 248 passengers. Sleeping car attendant Mitchell Bates was killed and 78 others were injured when four of the train’s 12 cars careened off a 30-foot trestle.
A rail joint bar supporting a critical section of the track had been removed by a saboteur who also knew how to short-circuit sensors that would have alerted the Amtrak engineer of trouble on the tracks ahead.  Typewritten notes on both sides of the track expressed outrage over the familiar litany of federal crimes and claimed responsibility on behalf of a group calling itself “Sons of Gestapo” (SOG).
Publication of the SOG manifesto caused many foreheads to crease in puzzlement: This was a right-wing terrorist group so obscure that its existence was unknown even to Morris Dees and his ever-vigilant comrades, who are sensitive to every tremor of “right-wing extremism” occurring anywhere in the Soyuz.
SOG was unknown prior to the derailment, and hasn’t been heard from since. The FBI insists that it is continuing to investigate the derailment. For the past seven years, Victor Hooper, an electrical engineer from Anaheim, California, has been telling anybody in the Bureau who will listen that he knows who carried out that attack, and why it was done.
“That derailment was carried out by some of the people who helped McVeigh build the bomb for Oklahoma City,” Hooper insisted during a telephone interview with me. He claims to have known at least two of them as neighbors in Anaheim, where they became involved in drug trafficking as part of a neo-Nazi criminal syndicate –and that John Doe II is actually a young man he has known since childhood.
As Hooper tells the story, the man he identifies as John Doe II and whose identity is known to the FBI, worked closely with Kingman, Arizona resident Michael Fortier, who was involved in the OKC bombing plot and spent ten years in prison after agreeing to testify against McVeigh. According to Hooper, John Doe II told him that “McVeigh was trained in sabotage and taught him how to derail a train.”

He made a deal: Fortier.

Following the bombing, and publication of a composite sketch of “John Doe II,” FBI agents descended on Kingman en masse. Hooper claims that “Doe” and a handful of co-conspirators (who originally called themselves “Kings of Kings,” before adopting the moniker “Sons of Gestapo”) staged the Amtrak attack as a diversion, working in cooperation with another, longer-established neo-Nazi group.
“I heard these guys talking about derailing a train, but at the time I didn’t take it seriously,” Hooper told me. “For years I’ve been trying to get the FBI to act on this, and I’ve been told that the investigation is still open, but they’re not doing anything about this. They moved heaven and earth to get Osama bin Laden, but their investigation into John Doe II has been lackluster, at best. Why are they denying the testimony of twenty witnesses who saw McVeigh with another John Doe, and saying that John Doe II didn’t exist?”
“The FBI says that they’ve investigated the case, and they’ve planted agents around the people involved in the train derailment,” Hooper continued. “But it’s been nearly twenty years now, and they’ve not done anything about it.”
During his conversation with me, Hooper made it clear that he doesn’t hold Jesse Trentadue in particularly high esteem. However, they emphatically agree that the FBI knows the identity of John Doe II, and continues to protect him.

In a motion asking federal District Judge Clark Waddoups to hold the FBI in contempt of court, Trentadue points out that in 1995, Jarrett was involved in the Kingman, Arizona branch of the OKC Bombing investigation. At the time he was involved with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Phoenix, which was obsessively focused on “right-wing extremism.”

The FBI poured a huge amount of resources into the Amtrak derailment investigation, which it styled “Operation Splitrail.” As is nearly always the case, the operation was either a huge failure as an investigation, or a hugely successful effort to avoid solving the crime.

Trentadue learned as much when he was “contacted by a man named Victor Hooper … who claimed to have information about both the Bombing and the Palo Verde train derailment that occurred in Arizona shortly after the Bombing. Hooper told [Trentadue] that the derailment was done to distract the FBI from the Arizona part of the Bombing investigation.”

FBI’s least wanted: John Doe II.

During a conversation with Matthews in 2013, Trentadue recounted what Hooper had told him. That information was relayed by Matthews to his handler, and a short time later Jarrett contacted Trentadue to tell him that the derailment case “was still open; that the derailment had in fact caused resources to be shifted away from the Arizona portion of the Bombing investigation; and that Jarrett himself was transferred from the Bombing investigation to the [derailment] case.”
Even more importantly, Jarrett demanded that Trentadue “keep the Hooper information confidential because Hooper knew things about how the derailment was carried out that only the perpetrators would have known and that he, Jarrett, or others within the FBI would follow up with Hooper.”
By “follow-up,” Trentadue understood, Jarrett probably meant “shut down.” This can mean witness tampering, as in the case of John Matthews. It could mean protecting the identity of key undercover operatives, such as “John Doe II.” In the case of Kenneth Trentadue, it meant killing someone who had been misidentified as an FBI asset with critical knowledge of the Bureau’s role in the OKC bombing plot.
For the better part of two decades, Trentadue has tenaciously pursued the truth about the murder of his brother Kenneth while in federal custody.
On parole after serving prison time for bank robbery, Kenneth was detained in San Diego for a supposed parole violation and transported to the Federal Transfer Facility in Oklahoma City shortly after the bombing.  His body was “found” hanging in its cell on August 21.
In body type, facial features, age, and even criminal record, Kenneth was a near-twin of Richard Lee Guthrie, a bank robber who was already in federal custody. Guthrie had been involved in a gang called the Aryan Republican Army (ARA) that staged bank robberies to fund domestic terrorism – including, apparently, the OKC bombing. Along with McVeigh, members of the ARA were frequent guests at a white supremacist commune in Oklahoma called Elohim City, which was overrun by government undercover operatives: German national Andres Strassmeir, Klan activist Dennis Mahon, Robert Millar, and former OKC socialite-turned-ATF asset Carol Howe.
The Feds who detained Kenneth Trentadue and beat him to death thought they were disposing of Guthrie, who knew enough about the government’s role in the OKC bombing to be troublesome. Not long after Kenneth was murdered, Guthrie fell victim to his own oddly staged “suicide.” This would have tied up some critical loose ends – if Kenneth’s family hadn’t found a dangling thread, and pulled on it has hard as they could.

Assets: Mahon (l.) with ATF informant Carol Howe.

By the time Kenneth’s mother Wilma was informed of his death, the crime scene was sanitized and the body prepared for cremation. Through her shock and bereavement, Wilma Trentadue had the clarity of mind to demand that her son’s body be preserved for a funeral.

As Wilma and older brother Jesse were finally allowed to see Kenneth’s mortal remains, they were further afflicted by the company of Michael Hood, regional counsel for the Bureau of Prisons.
As Jesse later recalled the conversation, the suitably named Hood issued a singularly unsubtle warning: “The Bureau of Prisons, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s office — we’re one big Justice Department.”
Jesse was astute enough to understand the import of that remark, and brave enough to treat it with the contempt it deserved. His resolution hardened into fury when he and his mother peeled away several layers of crudely applied makeup and examined the condition of Kenneth’s body.
“My brother had been so badly beaten that I personally saw several mourners leave the viewing to vomit in the parking lot!” Jesse wrote in an August 30, 1995, letter to the Bureau of Prisons that pulsated with tightly controlled rage. “Anyone seeing my brother’s battered body with his bruised and lacerated forehead, throat cut, and blue-black knuckles would not have concluded that his death was either easy or a ‘suicide’!”
Kenneth had committed crimes in his life and made his full allotment of mistakes, but at the time of his abduction, he was the married, honestly employed father of a young child.
Finding himself the hopeless captive of the most despicable human beings defiling the earth, Kenneth defiantly chose to die on his own terms, thereby leaving behind evidence that his death was an act of state-sponsored murder, rather than despairing suicide.
“Had my brother been less of a man, your guards would have been able to kill him without inflicting so much injury to his body,” Jesse pointed out in his letter to the BoP. “Had that occurred, Kenney’s family would forever be guilt-ridden over his death. Each of us would have lived with the pain of thinking that Kenneth took his own life and that we had somehow failed him. By making the fight he did for his life, Ken has saved us that pain, and God bless for having done so!”
In 2001, a federal judge ruled that the FBI had lied about the circumstances of Kenneth Trentadue’s death, and had destroyed vital evidence in the case. The family received $1.1 million in damages, $250,000 of which was set aside as a reward for information leading to the prosecution and conviction of Kenneth’s murderers. Jesse Trentadue has continued to pursue civil action against the FBI, beginning with his demand to see the suppressed video footage of the bombing. The Bureau, displaying the resourcefulness of inveterate liars with unlimited funds, has employed every dilatory and diversionary tactic it can conjure, including the remarkable excuse that the recordings are lost somewhere in the trackless depths of the agency’s evidence from the OKC bombing investigation.
Today (November 13) Trentadue was in court seeking to have the Bureau held in contempt, and asking for the appointment of a “special master” to “oversee [the FBI’s] compliance with the court’s orders, particularly relating to the allegations of witness tampering, and with Plaintiff’s FOIA request.” While acknowledging the agency’s misbehavior, and “chiding” them for it, Judge Waddoups declined to sanction the Bureau. That limp rebuke prompted a protest from the FBI’s attorney, Kathryn Wyer, who indignantly insisted that the matter was closed because the Bureau had investigated itself and found no wrongdoing.
In 2007, shortly after filing his FOIA request for the OKC bombing videos, Jesse Trentadue contacted by convicted co-conspirator Terry Nichols, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the bombing and cannot be tried again on capital charges. With Trentadue’s assistance, Nichols filed a deposition in a Salt Lake City federal court.
In that sworn statement, Nichols claimed that McVeigh — who allegedly had been recruited as an undercover intelligence asset while in the Army — had been working under the supervision of Larry Potts, the same FBI official who wrote the murderous “rules of engagement” at Ruby Ridge and later supervised the annihilation of the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel, Texas. Coordinating the OKC operation was a Deputy Attorney General named Eric Holder, who later played an important role in covering up the circumstances of Kenneth Trentadue’s death.
Trentadue’s legal crusade began as an act of filial loyalty. It has become a struggle to expose the truth about the FBI’s ongoing campaign of surveillance, infiltration, provocation, and political murder.
“The reason [the FBI] doesn’t want that tape released is … that one of the people getting out of that truck on the morning of April 19, 1995, was working for the FBI,” Trentadue said in an interview with Lew Rockwell. “The FBI had, I now know, at least five or six undercover operatives linked in with McVeigh in Elohim City. What I don’t know is the motivation behind the bombing…. What is not clear is whether it was a sting operation gone bad, that the plan was to stop it but the FBI failed, or else they wanted it to happen, as horrible as that sounds…. It’s clear that they facilitated the bombing, directly or indirectly. It’s clear they didn’t stop it.”
As is so often the case, the best defense the Regime can make on its behalf is to plead murderous incompetence. In the best Soviet-style tradition of bureaucratic privilege, those most deeply implicated in the crime have been abundantly rewarded.
Today, Larry Potts enjoys a well-compensated sinecure as a Vice President with ambiguous duties for the Scientific Games Corporation. Eric Holder, who reinstated the OKC-inspired domestic terrorism task force in January of this year, is stepping down as Attorney General in anticipation of an even more lucrative reward. John Doe II and his associates remain at large, as does Mr. Jarrett, and countless other members of the FBI’s merry troupe of Homeland Security Theater players. We’ll be hearing from them again.

The Madness That Is “War Patriotism”

Republished from Will Grigg’s Pro Libertate. Originally published August 23, 2006.

John Witmer’s lifeless body was returned to the tiny town of Colombiana, Pennsylvania on October 10, 1918. Those gathered to receive the 21-year-old’s mortal remains included his father Dan, his siblings, and his would-be fiancee, Nola, all of whom were members of a local Mennonite community.

Like thousands of others who shared his faith, John had been kidnapped at gunpoint from his family farm by the World War I-era draft. The local draft board had turned down John’s appeal for Conscientious Objector status, telling him that once he had enlisted he could seek recognition as a CO and receive a non-combat assignment.

Like nearly everything else originating from a government entity, the draft board’s assurance was a lie, of course.


John’s refusal to undergo military training forbidden by his religious convictions marked him as a “slacker” in the eyes of the command staff at Camp Sherman, a large training base outside of Columbus, Ohio. The reaction on the part of fellow inductees was immediate and violent, beginning on the train trip to Columbus: When John and a Mennonite friend named Harvey Blosser said grace over their meal, they were immediately singled out as “preacher boys” and treated to a fusillade of profane abuse.

The hostility escalated to physical assaults and even murder attempts before John and Harvey were reassigned to a CO camp, which was essentially a prison, given that the same facility was used to house German prisoners of war. The weather grew colder and influenza began to incubate in Camp Sherman, but John was denied requests for adequate bedding and even dry clothes. Predictably, the young man contracted the Spanish Flu – which had imported to the US because of our foolish involvement in World War I – and died.

John’s body was returned in a flag-shrouded coffin – a gesture considered an honor by most Americans, but an affront to his family’s religious sensibilities, which didn’t permit them to make acts of allegiance to anyone or anything but God. In a sense, wrapping John’s body in the US flag was one final proprietary gesture by the government that had stolen the young man from the family who loved him, the community that had raised him, and the young girl who wanted to be his wife.

A crowd had gathered at the train station to witness the arrival of John Witmer’s body, and the reaction of his Mennonite family. Most of the spectators knew that the Mennonites didn’t support the war; their principled pacifism and insularity had provoked both curiosity and suspicion. The Witmers enjoyed what could be called probationary sympathy from the crowd.

As John’s family was about to learn, few things are likelier to provoke sanctimonious violence from war-maddened Americans than a conspicuous lack of enthusiasm for killing foreigners whom the State has designated the “enemy.”

Dan Witmer sadly approached the coffin bearing his son’s body and carefully removed the flag. Given his ignorance of proper flag etiquette, it’s not surprising that Dan folded the banner as he would a blanket.

This act of perceived, but not intended, sacrilege was too much for the crowd to endure.

“The mood of the onlookers turned from one of sympathy to hostility,” recounts Lily A. Bear in her book Report for Duty.

“Mennonites!” hissed one disgusted onlooker.

“Got what he deserved!” declared another of Dan’s dead son.

“Traitor!” bellowed another outraged pseudo-patriot.

Someone hurled a stone that hit John’s younger brother in the shoulder. A second stone, missing its target, landed at the feet of the mourning father. John’s young sister Mary, puzzled and hurt by this display of murderous hatred, began to cry. After making arrangements for his son’s funeral, Dan took his family home.

This was hardly atypical of “war patriotism,” circa 1918. Across in the US, the so-called American Protective League (APL) and similar government-supported cabals of bullies sought to intimidate civilians into buying war bonds and displaying the appropriate “war will” — when they weren’t harassing and terrorizing Americans of German heritage, or acting as a quasi-private secret police.

In many communities, the APL, sometimes aided by the Ku Klux Klan, helped track down and round up those who refused to comply with draft notices.

On at least a few occasions, these effusions of “patriotism” resulted in actual lynchings.

All of this took place in the context of an unnecessary war against a distant European power, Wilhelmine Germany, that posed no conceivable threat to the United States.

There’s no better specimen of the murderous irrationality that seized our nation during WWI than the near-pogrom that occurred in Colombiana because a grief-stricken Mennonite father, distracted by the loss of his eldest son, thoughtlessly committed what his war-crazed neighbors considered an act of disrespect toward our flag.

Fast-forward nearly nine decades, and little if anything has changed.

Last May 21, Dale Croydon, who raises beef cattle near Croydon, Iowa, decided to fly his U.S. Flag upside down as a gesture of solidarity with fellow Iowa resident Terri Jones, who lost her son as a result of the Iraq war. Terri’s 23-year-old son, Jason Cooper, developed severe psychological problems while serving in Iraq. On July 14, 2005, Jason, plagued by unbearable memories and clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, hanged himself.

Since that day, Terri Jones, a member of Gold Star Mothers for Peace, has flown her flag upside down. After reading of her experience, Croydon,a veteran, decided to do likewise. In short order, he found himself on the receiving end of WWI-vintage “patriotic” intimidation and harassment.

“I went to the local Case equipment dealer and bought some parts, and the salesman comes out and asked me why I was flying the flag upside down,” Croydon told The Progressive. “So I explained it to him.”

The salesman, apparently more eager to profess proper reverence for the State than to treat a customer with respect, replied: “I’ve lost all respect for you. I’ll buy you a one-way ticket anywhere you want to go out of the country,” according to Croydon’s entirely believable account.

“The mail carrier left me a personal note” of rebuke for his protest, Croydon continues. After a local TV reporter did a story about Croydon’s protest, the rural farmer was charged with “disorderly conduct.: He was hauled before a magistrate on July 6. Terri Jones was in the courtroom to offer moral support.

But some purported patriots are not placated by the prospect of prosecuting Croydon for his political views.

“Any scout snipers live in Croydon, Iowa???” inquired a message posted on leatherneck.com, a web community for Marine veterans. “If the flag is flying upside down, it means he’s in trouble, right?” wrote another poster. “I think we Marines should show up and get him `out’ of trouble.” “Corn hole ‘m,” chipped in a third hero.

One poster, who proudly claims “the God-given title Marine,” as if that admittedly honorable title were bestowed by direct revelation from The Almighty, denounced Croydon for supposedly breaking the law by displaying his flag upside down and insisted that his protest was tantamount to treason.

“I would have NO trouble pulling the trigger at firing squad or dropping the door on the gallows against a traitor or against one of this countries [sic] citizens or one deemed by this country to be a terrorist foe,” he wrote.

Granted, since this chest-thumper recalls enlisting some 33 years ago, it’s more likely that the only PT he’s had since the first term of the Clinton administration has consisted of 16 ounce curls at the local VFW post. And the same is likely true of most of the others who have casually endorsed the punishment of anti-war views through assassination.

That guy and his ilk are bold as Achilles when they’re talking about taking down a middle-aged farmer in rural Iowa. I doubt they’d be quite as frisky if they were dealing with any of the thousands of disillusioned Marines who are mustering out of the Corps after serving in Iraq.

From a Fissure to a Chasm

This article, written by our colleague, Will Grigg, is republished from December 20, 2006.

“Turn with me to the third chapter of Ecclesiastes,” instructed our pastor.“Let’s leave,” I whispered tightly to my wife Korrin. She quietly but firmly shushed me, and she had a point.

At the time – March 2003, the Sunday before the beginning of the most recent Gulf War – our family hadn’t yet welcomed our youngest daughter, Sophia, who would be born the following January. Nonetheless, there were six of us, situated very near the front of the chapel, and had we chosen to take our leave at the beginning of the service we would have caused quite a spectacle. So we sat through the entire sermon, which was a potted, pre-fabricated homily on the theme of the supposed virtues of war, just as I knew it would be.

Our pastor at the time was a young man, well-turned out and personable with a remarkable high baritone singing voice. His sermons tended to be well-crafted and theatrical, and generally very effective. This particular installment was less than inspired or inspiring, because the pastor seemed determined to circle the point he was making without running directly into it.

The Bible says that “there is a time for war,” he said in at least a half-dozen different ways, none of them sufficiently clear or specific to permit his audience to answer this question: Was the then-impending war in Iraq one Christians could support in good conscience?

Although he was emphatic in making the case for the righteousness of war in the abstract, our pastor seemed unable to make a case for this particular venture. His message appeared to be that when our Leader commands us to kill, it is our duty as Christians to obey.

The following Saturday, several days after the invasion of Iraq had begun, our family happened to be driving down the main street of Appleton, Wisconsin – our residence at the time – en route to the YMCA. Just short of our destination we saw two contending demonstrations. On our left was a small group gathered behind a large banner bearing the legend “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!” — which is always phrased as an imperative, and generally in capital letters with an exclamation point. Most of the people arrayed behind that sign were people from the church we were then attending.

On the right side of the street was a somewhat larger group of anti-war protesters drawn from various local activist groups. Korrin and I glanced at each other briefly and – without a word, practically in unison – shouted our support for the peace protesters through the windows of our mini-van, as I honked the horn to get their attention.

“It would appear,” I commented to Korrin as we pulled into the parking lot at the Y, “that we are attending the wrong church.”

Hey, Christian war-bots — remember this guy, the Prince of Peace?

We migrated to three other churches, only to encounter the same problem: Theologically and politically conservative churches were badly infected with the leaven of Bushiolatry, and saw nothing amiss in their approval of the blood sacrifices being offered up in Iraq.

By late 2005, Korrin and I had found a theologically suitable church whose pastor was a disillusioned ex-Republican and recent recruit into the Constitution Party (which, alas, has problems of its own with which to grapple). We had also become regular weekend participants in anti-war demonstrations in Appleton and as far away as Milwaukee.

Just shortly before leaving Appleton to move to Idaho in November of that year, our family took part in that most stereotypical liberal exercise, the candlelight vigil for peace. We didn’t join in the John Lennon sing-a-long, or participate in any of the New Age rituals some protesters insisted on performing.

We attended those events to give voice to our opposition to a monumental crime against Christian decency and constitutional law – and, when opportunities presented themselves, to explain to fellow protesters the intimate connection between a large, interventionist government (which many of them supported) and an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy (which they obviously opposed).

With remarkable consistency we found that anti-war activists were willing to reverse-engineer their assumptions about big government from their opposition to the war.

We also found that our friends and family members who are conservative supporters of the war have been utterly unwilling to reconsider their positions in spite of their advertised hostility to big, invasive government.

It’s likely that millions of other politically and theologically conservative Christians have had similar experiences. Perhaps more than a few of them have reconsidered their support for the Iraq war as the multi-layered rationales for this misadventure have been abraded way by the pitiless sandstorm of reality.

Roughly four years ago, as it became clear that the Bush Regime wouldn’t settle for any outcome in Iraq that didn’t involve invasion, occupation, and the theft of that nation’s energy resources, a small but significant fissure became visible between those who pledged their devotion to the Dear Leader, and those of us who don’t reside in the reality-optional realm where Bush’s will is the only standard.

That fissure has now become a chasm. And others will soon develop as well.

The Wee Decider has let it be known that, well, gee golly Ned, it would be a ripping good idea to expand the size of the Army.

Like any small child too long permitted to believe in the invincible sovereignty of his whims, the Bush-baby doesn’t explain exactly how this is to be done. He’s simply going to have incoming Minister of War Robert Gates devise a “plan” to accomplish this objective.

It works like this: Georgie wants, and Georgie must have it, so the nice adults surrounding him have to find some way to get it for him.

Perhaps Mr. Gates can simply inform the Pentagon’s recruitment officers that they needn’t be so picky, and that they are now free to enlist the hordes of would-be inductees who are being turned away – their hopes of glory cruelly dashed, their eyes bright with frustrated tears.

Those hordes, of course, have made their absence keenly felt. This isn’t going to change.

Which means that at some point, the order will be given to send forth the draft-nappers. When this occurs, parents in countless conservative churches across the nation will likely be treated to yet another version of the same homily based on the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, as pastors try to swaddle child sacrifice in the sanctified robes of Christian duty.

When this happens, how many parents will look on their children – both sons and daughters, since the New Model Slave Army would be “gender-inclusive” — and decide that the State, the coldest of all cold monsters, is entitled to feast on the warm, living flesh of their offspring?

How many, on the other hand, will find themselves blinking awake in mortal horror as they realize – however tardily – that it is utterly perverse to allow strangers living in a cocoon of privilege to steal their children, in order to have them either kill or be killed by children of other parents with whom they have no quarrel?

The chasm opened between those two types of parents could conceivably lead to an actual shooting war in this country, one side of which would be considered entirely just by non-pacifist anti-war activists like myself. Our National Anthem points out that it is the duty of “free men” to “stand between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,” and that this is a “cause [that] is just.”

God grant that I’m entirely wrong, and that what we’re contemplating here never transpires. But it’s clear that our rulers are perfectly willing to allow young Americans – including, may God forgive us, young mothers – to kill and die in Iraq simply because neither of the ascendant factions wants to risk the political liabilities for “cutting and running” from a war we should never have fought.

Those bastards (no other word is suitable, at least none I would use) care that little for the lives they waste in the service of their own convenience.

The time will most likely come when the battle-cry of the patriots at Thermopylae so suitably adopted by the gun rights movement, will be adopted as well by those of us determined to protect our children from those who would steal them to serve in the imperial Slave Army: Molon labe!

Roughly translated, the phrase means: If you want them, you’re going to have to come and get them.

That’s not an invitation. It’s a warning.

Please help us support the Grigg family in their time of need, and for more updates, visit here.

Chris Tapp case update: The Bastards of Bonneville County Have Won

Update re:

The Last Full Measure of Malice:
Bonneville County Seeks Plea Deal with Christopher Tapp

“A deal has been reached in the Christopher Tapp case,” reports today’s Idaho Falls Post-Register. Appellate attorney John Thomas, who will discuss the details of the arrangement today with prosecutor Danny Clark and Judge Alan Stephens in anticipation of a hearing tomorrow, says that Tapp will not admit guilt as part of the deal — which means, most likely, that the innocent man will take an Alford plea. This would mean immediate release from prison — but not from the underlying conviction. It would also protect Fuhriman and his accomplices in the kidnapping, torture, and theft of twenty years from Tapp.

The rape conviction will be vacated; the murder charge will remain, and Tapp will still be required to pay “restitution” for a crime he didn’t commit. This means that rather than being compensated by Bonneville County for the theft of his life, Tapp — a convicted felon with dismal employment prospects — will probably spend the rest of his life as an indentured servant, subject to wage garnishment and incarceration if he can’t make the extortion payments required of him.”Chris spent 20 years of his life convicted on a lie, and now he’s being released to live the rest of his life as a lie because people who have power can justify this,” observes Angie’s long-suffering mother, Carol Dodge. “They could care less what happens to Chris. All they cared about was having no liability.”

There must be, and will be, accountability for the crimes committed by Fuhriman and his comrades.

Read the full series of articles on this case by Will Grigg

The Rise of the Wannabe Political Street Warrior

“I can’t wait for the liberal genocide to begin,” exclaimed a demonstrator at a March 4 rally in Phoenix on behalf of President Trump, as an expression half-way between a sneer and a smirk creased his corpulent face. Asked by left-leaning independent journalist Dan Cohen to elaborate on what he said, the middle-aged man insisted that targeting political enemies for mass slaughter would be “a way to make America great again … it’s the liberals that are destroying this country.”

If the bloodletting this fellow cheerily anticipates were to ensue, he would be, at best, a spectator. He has taken too many trips around the Sun, and made too few trips to the gym, to be of any practical use in the hands-on business of eliminating the Enemy Within. Like most other people at that event, and others like it nation-wide, he was LARPing – Live-Action Role-Playing – in what could be seen as a contemporary re-enactment and updating of Weimar-era political street combat.

Mr. Liberal Genocide, who wore an Oath Keepers t-shirt, did display a little more sartorial restraint than the members of a group calling itself the “Arizona Border Recon” militia, who hovered at the periphery of the event in full desert military kit, striking poses of grim resolution.

“Nobody has respect for our servicemen,” complained one young female demonstrator, her voice thick with outrage. “They might not be government-affiliated, but they’re still servicemen, and they’re still working their butts off to make sure this country is safe. They might not tell you who they are, and that’s because they’re protecting their people.

I Will Fight You IRL

Unlike the valiant, if anonymous, members of the Arizona Border Recon, who seemed content with a bit of combat cosplay, California resident Kyle Chapman, aka “Based Stick Man,” actually threw down – sort of — with Black Block radicals at the pro-Trump rally in Berkeley on the same day. As each side’s shock troops tentatively engaged on the field of battle, Chapman – attired in hockey pads, a gas mask, what appeared to be a batting helmet, and carrying a plywood shield – pranced into the fray, swatting at Black Block cadres with a long stick that shattered quickly without doing any lasting damage. Not surprisingly, Chapman was instantly cyber-canonized as the “Alt-Knight.”

Several fights erupted at the March 4 events in Berkeley and elsewhere, a few dozen people were injured, and a comparable number of people were arrested. While politically inspired violence of any magnitude is at least troubling, these skirmishes had less in common with the war-to-the-knife confrontations between Freikorps and Spartacists in Weimar Germany than with the cosplay “Battle of Evermore” from the movie “Knights of Badassdom.”

There was an element of precautionary wisdom in that whimsical indie film: The socially marginalized LARPers in that story inadvertently unleashed a tangible, murderous evil. As Mr. Liberal Genocide’s blithe – and apparently sincere – endorsement of mass murder illustrates, through political cosplay people can become habituated into thinking in eliminationist terms: The “other side” is not merely gravely mistaken, but irreducibly evil, and since reason is unavailing the only option that remains is slaughter.

The Left/Right Sucker Punch

In “The Revolt of the Masses,” which was published in 1930 – a time when Mussolini was still in favor with the bien-pensants — the Spanish political philosopher Jose Ortega y Gassett observed that through Fascism “there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions.”

That is to say, there nothing’s either right or wrong, but “winning” makes it so. This conceit isn’t limited to one end of the statist political spectrum: It encompasses both the Antifa and the Alt-Right. It was exhibited by the leftist nitwit who sucker-punched proto-Nazi Richard Spencer on the day of Trump’s enthronement, and by North Carolina resident John McGraw, who sucker-punched Rakeem Jones at a Trump campaign rally a year ago.

“Next time we see him, we might have to kill him,” McGraw told a reporter following the rally while he was still in the afterglow from the rapturous ritual of collective hatred. “We don’t know who he is – he might be with a terrorist organization,” McGraw elaborated, guided by the assumption that only depravity of that variety would inspire someone to oppose the Dear Leader. There are more than a few adherents of Trump’s personality cult who have explicitly called for the prosecution, imprisonment, or execution of those who criticize their idol.

When the Power Polarity Flips

Attendees at this year’s Conservative Political Action Convention energetically applauded the suggestion that the US government should revive an ancient Roman law allowing for the execution of citizens who “calumniate” – that is, defame – supposedly virtuous politicians.

“Let’s go back to ancient Rome,” urged CPAC speaker Robert Davi, a former actor who fashioned a career as a Trump-worshiping right-wing radio host once the offers to play TV and movie villains dried up. “If such laws existed today, we would see more men like Donald Trump and Mike Pence running for Congress or the Senate or the presidency and more fake reporters perhaps going to prison for the very lies they make up to commit cruel character assassination against the very best of our American heroes.”

In a similar vein, Fox News commentator Matthew Vadum has repeatedly called for critics of Trump, such as former CIA officer-turned-independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, to be executed for “treason.”

The behavior of such Trump loyalists, it must be said, is not significantly different from that of first-term Obama supporters who accused the Tea Party movement of fomenting “sedition.”

“The entire right wing” is guilty of “sedition in slow motion,” by offering “incitement to revolt” against Obama, complained Sara Robinson of the Soros-funded Campaign for America’s Future in a 2009 essay. In similar terms, professor and MSNBC pundit Melissa Harris (who, with a hyphenated surname, later became notorious for an ad describing children as the collective property of “society”) said that by comparing Obama to despots like Hitler and Mao, the Tea Party was guilty of treasonous sedition.

“The Tea Party is a challenge to the legitimacy of the U.S. state,” declared Harris, without offering a convincing argument for the state’s legitimacy. “When Tea Party participants charge the current administration with various forms of totalitarianism, they are arguing that the government has no right to levy taxes or make policy.”

During the debate over Obamacare, Harris continued, “Many GOP elected officials offered nearly secessionist rhetoric from the floor of Congress…. They joined as co-conspirators with the Tea Party protesters by arguing that this government has no monopoly on legitimacy.”

This is exactly the same aria of civic outrage being performed by Trump-centric politicians and pundits today – albeit in a different collectivist key.

Eight years ago, it was the populist Right that chanted the “Not My President!” refrain, while the Left denounced them for their lack of “patriotism” and their defiance of the “rule of law.” Now what Lenin would call the Who/Whom polarity has shifted. Tea Party veterans who once saw rule by executive decree as the distillate of tyranny now thrill to every stroke of their president’s pen, and many of the same people who had upbraided Obama’s critics as less than patriotic are reconsidering the wisdom of nullification and interposition.

The Basest Appetite

Collectivist mass movements, warned Ortega y Gassett, aren’t organized around principles or ideals, but rather propelled by what he called “appetites in words,” particularly the basest appetite, which is a desire for power over others. Unlike the wholesale violence that our country saw in the late 1960s and early 1970s, contemporary street-level political conflict is heavy on posturing and pretense and light on actual bloodshed – but it does whet degenerate appetites that will grow to dangerous proportions as times get leaner and meaner.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

The Last Full Measure of Malice: Bonneville County Seeks Plea Deal with Christopher Tapp (Updated, March 21, 2017)

(See the update below)

Idaho Falls resident Christopher Tapp has spent more than two decades behind bars for a murder he did not commit. He was convicted on the basis of a confession extracted from him through psychological torture — a fact that even the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office has now grudgingly conceded. Now Bonneville County Prosecutor Danny Clark is reportedly seeking a face-saving plea bargain on the eve of a judicial hearing that would exonerate Tapp.

No physical evidence or eyewitness testimony connected Tapp to the scene of the June 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. Idaho Falls Police Sergeant Jared Fuhriman, who was lead investigator, initially sought to bully Tapp into implicating a friend — either Jeremy Sargis, whose family had the means to arrange for legal representation, or Ben Hobbs, who had been arrested in Nevada for rape. All three of these young men were excluded as suspects by DNA evidence.

Rather than following the evidence to a plausible suspect, Fuhriman and his comrades at the IFPD made do with the suspect that they had, isolating the 20-year-old from his family, and arresting him after his mother tried to contact an attorney. Polygraph examiner Steven Finn, systematically lying to the victim, convinced Tapp that he was being “untruthful” in denying involvement in the murder, and that unless he offered a “truthful” confession he would face the death penalty. Only by admitting to a “limited” role in a crime committed by others, Tapp was told, could he save his own life.

Following a May 1998 trial replete with perjured testimony by Fuhriman and his colleagues, Tapp was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. At the time, Angie Dodge’s mother Carol believed firmly in Tapp’s guilt. Several years later, she examined the videotaped interrogations — and has now become the most passionate advocate for Tapp’s exoneration.

There are two separate appeals underway on Tapp’s behalf, both of which will be considered on April 25. The legal advocacy group Judges for Justice, which consists of retired judges, FBI investigators, and legal specialists, is preparing to present a detailed and overwhelming case for Tapp’s innocence. In doing so, they will place before the court, and the public, an equally voluminous case for decades of criminal misconduct by Fuhriman (who was subsequently elected Mayor of Idaho Falls), his associates in the Idaho Falls Police Department, and the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office.

Tapp has been relocated to the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls in anticipation of next month’s hearing — which means that Prosecutor Danny Clark and his minions will have more than a month to manipulate him into a plea bargain, which would be a bookend to compliment the process through which he was seduced into a false confession in January 1997.

Twenty years ago, Fuhriman and his comrades wanted to close a murder case to avoid an institutional embarrassment. Now, they want to wring the last full measure of usefulness from their victim by having him accept a deal that will protect them at the cost of his exoneration.

In a letter to Tapp, Judge Michael Heavey advises him that deal that would likely involve an Alford Plea – under which he would assert his innocence while admitting that the prosecutor could prove his guilt in court. This would allow Tapp to be sentenced to the time he has already served, and perhaps a brief term of probation.

“If you accept an Alford deal, then you spent 20+ years in prison for nothing,” Judge Heavey explained. “Fuhriman wins, [former Bonneville DA Kip] Manwaring wins, [assistant prosecutor John] Shindurling wins, Finn wins…. Chris Tapp loses 20 years.”

Anything short of complete exoneration “is a big loss for you,” Heavey advised him. “The prosecutor’s office has done everything they can to keep you in prison for the rest of your life, they are not honorable people. They have the leverage, for about one more month…. Don’t give in, you are an innocent man.”

The wrongful conviction of Christopher Tapp is just one of several cases — such as the equally bogus double-murder conviction of Lanny Smith, and the utterly bizarre rape conviction of Michael Whiteley — demonstrating the deeply dysfunctional nature of Bonneville County’s criminal “justice” system. The Tapp case, however, poses the most acute risk to the county’s political class: It has received national publicity, the victim is still a young man, he has influential advocates (including the murder victim’s mother), and his exoneration would lead to a civil rights suit he would easily win.

This explains why the County is desperate to have Tapp sign a deal and seal up the matter before next month’s hearing. In the fashion of the inquisitor presiding over William Wallace’s torture at the climax of Braveheart, Prosecutor Danny Clark — like his colleagues, a conservative and pious man — are urging their victim to acknowledge their divine authority as a condition of being released from his agony.

Mr. Clark, hell is filled to the brim with pious men like you.

Update:The Bastards of Bonneville County Have (Apparently) Won

“A deal has been reached in the Christopher Tapp case,” reports today’s Idaho Falls Post-Register. Appellate attorney John Thomas, who will discuss the details of the arrangement today with prosecutor Danny Clark and Judge Alan Stephens in anticipation of a hearing tomorrow, says that Tapp will not admit guilt as part of the deal — which means, most likely, that the innocent man will take an Alford plea. This would mean immediate release from prison — but not from the underlying conviction. It would also protect Fuhriman and his accomplices in the kidnapping, torture, and theft of twenty years from Tapp.

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