Will Grigg

The Christmas Truce of World War I

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”?

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.
Have We Reached “Peak Jackboot”?

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.
Have We Reached “Peak Jackboot”?

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.

Have We Reached “Peak Jackboot”?

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.
Have We Reached “Peak Jackboot”?

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

Have We Reached “Peak Jackboot”?

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)

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.

All Law Enforcement Officers are “Heroes” — Including Slave-Catchers

All Law Enforcement Officers are “Heroes” — Including Slave-Catchers

Given the rarity of the surname, it is likely that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is related to deputy federal marshal Edward Gorsuch, who was killed in a violent episode that left the nation shocked and terrified, and was an overture to a long and bloody military conflict.

Deputy Marshal Gorsuch was 57 years old at the time he received his commission, and was killed on the second day of his service. The US Marshals Service deputized him on September 10, 1851, to enforce a warrant issued under the Fugitive Slave Law to recover two human beings Gorsuch claimed as his property. He and Marshal Henry H. Kline, along with several other deputies, had the “law” on their side when they traveled to Christiana, Pennsylvania, bearing a warrant that authorized them to abduct four men who had freed themselves – and to conscript any white citizen they encountered to serve as accomplices in that act.

Late in the evening of September 10, the kidnappers, who included at least two of Gorsuch’s sons, surrounded a two-story fieldstone home owned by William Parker, a 29-year-old farmer and militia organizer who had escaped from slavery nine years earlier. Operatives of the Underground Railroad had warned Parker of the impending raid.

Gorsuch imperiously demanded the surrender of his former captives. When no answer came from inside the home, the marshals invaded the domicile – and were promptly driven out by the occupants, one of whom wielded a pitchfork.

Standing in the front yard of the home, the marshals read the warrants to Parker, who looked down on them contemptuously from a second-floor window.

“I don’t care about your warrant, your demands, or your government,” Parker replied. “You can burn us, but you can’t take us. Before I give up, you will see my ashes scattered on the earth.”

“I want my property, and I shall have it,” bellowed Gorsuch, pretending as if words scribbled by a functionary on a piece of paper gave him a title of ownership over other human beings. Realizing that such a claim would avail nothing with Parker, Gorsuch appealed to biblical passages enjoining servants to obey their masters.

Parker, who apparently knew the Bible better than Gorsuch, replied by citing New Testament verses teaching the equality of all human beings before God.

“Where do you see it in Scripture that a man should traffic in his brother’s blood?” Parker demanded of the deputy marshal.

“Do you call a n*gger my brother?” Gorsuch exclaimed.

“Yes, I do,” Parker defiantly replied.

The situation congealed into a standoff that lasted until daybreak. Shortly after dawn, Parker’s wife used a horn to summon help from Parker’s militia, who arrived bearing whatever weapons they could muster. The alarm also brought two local Quakers named Elijah Lewis, a shopkeeper, and Castner Hanway, a local miller. Both of these white men were well-known for their sympathies toward escaped slaves.

Relieved by the arrival of two white men, Marshal Kline waved his warrant in their face and told them that they were required to assist in the recovery of Gorsuch’s “property.” Once again, this demand was in harmony with what the federal government called the “law” – and when Lewis and Hanway replied that they would have no part in an abduction they were told that they were committing a federal “crime.”

Surrounded, outnumbered, hungry, and humiliated, Deputy Marshal Gorsuch lost what remained of his composure.

“I have come a long way and I want my breakfast,” he snarled at Parker. “I’ll have my property, or I’ll breakfast in hell.”

“Go back to Maryland, old man,” one of the black militiamen taunted Gorsuch.

“Father, will you take all this from a n*gger?” asked his twenty-year-old son, Dickinson, who was part of the posse.

Parker snapped at Dickinson to keep a civil tongue, or he’d knock his teeth down his throat. Dickinson’s reply to Parker was issued by way of his revolver, inspiring a rejoinder delivered from a shotgun wielded by one of Parker’s associates. Dickinson fell, but he would survive. The posse opened fire on the home, but was very quickly swarmed by the militia. Gorsuch’s other son, Joshua, was beaten bloody, but escaped, along with the rest of their raiding party– save one. The Deputy Marshal himself proved to be the only fatality.

It’s quite likely that several of Gorsuch’s accomplices in the attempted abduction would also have been killed, if not for the intervention of Lewis and Hanway, the two abolitionists they had threatened with arrest. Adamantly opposed to slavery but determined to save lives where possible, the two Quarters, at some substantial personal risk, dragged several wounded men to safety.

Within hours, tidings of the “Christiana Riot” had been dispatched throughout the country by way of telegraph, and a militarized task force composed of constables, federal marshals, and U.S. marines was deployed to comb the countryside in search of alleged co-conspirators.

“They spread out across the autumn countryside, forcing their way into the homes of blacks and whites alike, threatening anyone who was thought to have anything to do with the Underground Railroad, arresting scores of men on suspicion, with little concern for constitutional niceties,” recalls Fergus M. Bordewich in his book Bound for Canaan. “As one eyewitness put it, `blacks were hunted like partridges.’”

Parker, knowing that he and his friends faced summary execution if the joint federal-state task force found them, gathered the fugitive slaves in his protection and took them, by way of the underground, to Rochester, New York, and he eventually emigrated to Canada.

In the U.S., where the Fugitive Slave Act had effectively nationalized the practice of chattel slavery, Parker was wanted for murder and “treason” for defending the right to self-ownership. In Canada, he and other black refugees could vote, own property, and enjoy due process protections on equal terms with Canadians of any other ethnic background.

Acting on the assumption that the blacks who repelled Gorsuch and his posse at Christiana were acting under the pernicious influence of white seditionists, the administration of Millard Fillmore arranged the indictment of 38 people for “levying war against the United States.”  This would have been the largest treason trial in American history, and the prosecution intended that it would put down the growing rebellion against the Fugitive Slave Law.

Resistance to that act was widespread in the northern states, several of which enacted “personal liberty laws” that nullified enforcement of the federal measure within their respective jurisdictions. This development prompted southern defenders of slavery – who just a few years later would invoke the heritage of 1776 to justify secession – to condemn as traitors those who undermined the sacred and imperishable Union. They had an ally in arch-unionist Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster.

“If men get together and combine, and resolve that they will oppose a law of the government, not in any one case, but in all cases; if they resolve to resist the law, whoever may be attempted to be made subject of it, and carry that purpose into effect, by refusing the application of the law in any one case, either by force of arms or force of numbers – that, sir, is treason,” bloviated Webster in a speech shortly before the trial. Other elite voices were raised for the holy purpose of rebuking those whose public utterances and active resistance imperiled the rule of law.

Senator John Bell of Tennessee discerned “a fanaticism of liberty as well as a fanaticism of religion” among opponents of the Fugitive Slave Act, whom he accused of undermining “the best system of laws ever devised by man.” Whig Senator Joseph R. Underwood of Kentucky rebuked what he called the “arrogance and folly” of those who condemned “the legislation of the majority, and … threaten[ed] resistance and defiance in consequence of an alleged conflict with the law of God.” Whatever moral compunctions people had regarding slavery, Underwood maintained, “It is a duty to submit to the powers that be, and to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” – which in this case meant facilitating the rendition of black people into the custody of “owners” to whom their “service was due.” Even if the Fugitive Slave Act and similar measures were considered iniquitous, “until repealed, they must be obeyed, or it is the end of government.”

The indictment against the Christiana defendants asserted that they “did traitorously assemble and combine against the United States” for the purpose of preventing “by means of intimidation and violence the execution of the said laws of the United States.”

In December 1851, Hanway became the first to stand trial. His role in the events at Christiana was peripheral, but “the federal government felt that it had to convict a white man to avenge Gorsuch’s death in the eyes of Southerners,” explains Bordewich. That ambition was thwarted when the jury took all of fifteen minutes to acquit the pacifistic miller of all charges. The Fillmore administration made a desultory effort to prosecute other defendants during its final year.

After Franklin Pierce assumed office in March 1853, he dismissed the case – but not the effort to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. In 1854, Pierce deployed 1,600 troops to Boston in order to take into custody a man named Anthony Burns, who had escaped bondage in Virginia. Local abolitionists had liberated Burns from the custody of Deputy US Marshal James Batchelder, who was killed in the line of duty by citizens acting in the righteous defense of the life of an innocent man.

The names of both James Batchelder and Edward Gorsuch are inscribed on the honor (if that word applies) roll of US law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  On September 11, 2015, Gorsuch received a heartfelt tribute from a fellow law enforcement officer.

“Sir, on today[,] the 164th anniversary of your death[,] I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice to our Country,” wrote an anonymous member of the US Border Patrol in the “reflections” section of the Officer Down Memorial Page, which is devoted to “Remembering All of Law Enforcement’s Heroes.”

All law enforcement officers, we are insistently told, are “heroes,” even when enforcing government edicts that are morally unsupportable. Members of that fraternity of state-licensed violence regard the detestable likes of Batchelder and Gorsuch as their kin. This is one of the few instances where we should take them at their word.

Teaching Kids to Trust the Police is Child Abuse

Teaching Kids to Trust the Police is Child Abuse

Integral to the American concept of liberty is the right to hold the state at bay, which is why children are never too young to be taught to regard government employees with suspicion and defensive hostility. Some conscientious parents in Northampton, Massachusetts acted on that principle by demanding an end to a program intended to habituate public school inmates to the presence of police officers.

The local police department, acting on an initiative that originated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, had dispatched officers to the local elementary school each week for an event called “High-Five Friday,” in which students would exchange friendly greetings with cops (who, in practically any other context, would treat such physical contact as a felonious assault on an officer). Police Chief Jody Kasper explains that she thought “it was a great way to start building relationships with young kids.”

That program was “paused” following complaints from a handful of parents who believe that it is the better part of wisdom to teach their children to avoid contact with the police, rather than seeking it out. In announcing the decision on its Facebook page, the department mentioned that “children of color, undocumented immigrant children or other children who may have had negative encounters with law enforcement” had expressed concerns about the program, which cued up the predictable reactions from the punitive populist faction.

“Why don’t you toughen up out there in Northampton, all right?” eructated Bill O’Reilly, offering the jocular suggestion – at least, I think he was kidding – that the principal and the school board should be arrested. Minor-league talk radio personality Charlie Brennan insisted that “this is why Donald Trump’s gonna get re-elected – stories like this.”

A contributor to The New American magazine who serves as that publication’s liaison to the white nationalist subculture snarked that “there’s no more `safe space’ for law-abiding citizens than when the police occupy part of it,” and insisted that no true American could possibly object to having an armed, costumed stranger clothed in “qualified immunity” breathing down his neck.

“It’s entirely understandable, for instance, that a child hailing from a Third World nation with corrupt police may feel apprehension at the sight of the men in blue,” he patriot-splained. “But not that long ago people would have understood the proper response: You take the student aside and gently explain that the police visiting his school are there as friends.”

“Some might also wonder about the parenting evident here,” he continued in the style of a Soviet commissar tutoring parents about their duty to raise children in the fear and admonition of the state. “If your child has some irrational cop phobia, do you try and educate and change his mind? Or should you moan and groan and change all of society to accommodate irrationality?”

The “Caucasian leftists” and “minority” parents who complained about the police outreach program embody the “snowflake spirit of the age,” concludes the TNA contributor, whose otherwise barren rhetorical pantry is well-stocked with clichés. To be fair, this story does expose a rather shocking failure on the part of parents in the community – that is, those who accepted the program with bovine docility, rather than expressing skepticism about it.

If it is “irrational” for parents to teach their children to be leery of police officers, why do police officers and prosecutors cultivate that attitude within their own children?

Every parent whose children have been sentenced to attend the Regime’s mind-laundry should review the advice offered by Professor James Duane of Regent University Law School in his slender and indispensable book, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent.

Over the past several years, Professor Duane has made hundreds of presentations, each of which begins with an invitation to any audience members whose parents were police officers or prosecutors to share the advice they had been given by their parents about what they should do when the police what to talk with them.

“Every time this happens, without exception, [I’ve been told] the same thing: `Years ago, my parents explained to me that if I were ever approached by a law enforcement officer, I was to call them immediately, and they made sure that I would never agree to talk to the police,'” Duane recounts. “Not once have I ever met the child of a member of law enforcement who had been told anything different.”

News accounts of the controversy in Northampton claim that the parents who objected to the police outreach program included those with “children who may have had negative encounters with law enforcement.”

“Wow, only in grammar school, and they already have a sour relationship with police,” sneers the above-quoted TNA commentator. “Their futures are bright.”

It is surpassingly easy for children to find themselves detained, shackled, or otherwise abused by police as a result of entirely trivial misconduct. Witness the case of Michael Davis, a five-year-old from California who was arrested, cuffed, and hauled away to jail for “battery on an officer” after he pushed away the hand of an officer who had touched him without consent and kicked the assailant in his knee in an act of righteous self-defense.

This case, as it happens, did involve a delicate snowflake who filed a complaint after his feelings were hurt – none other than Lt. Frank Gordo, who claimed that he had been “discriminated” against the mother of his victim after she took the story to the media.

Incidents of this kind are becoming commonplace. Two years ago a misbehaving third-grader in Covington, Kentucky had his arms shackled behind his back at the elbows for fifteen minutes by a sheriff’s deputy. The eight-year-old supposedly attempted to elbow the deputy after going to the bathroom.

“You don’t get to swing at me like that,” the heroic tax-feeder lectured his captive. “You can do what we’ve asked you to do, or you can suffer the consequences.”

Yes, it’s never too early to begin indoctrinating children about the state’s monopoly on violence.

In 2014, deputies in Greene County, Virginia handcuffed a four-year-old who had been disruptive in class and briefly detained him at the sheriff’s office. The sheriff insists that the deputy “did what he had to do” and claims that the mother was “appreciative of the way he handled the situation,” which if true would be utterly horrifying.

Until recently, school resource officers in Texas would routinely treat student misbehavior as misdemeanor criminal offenses, issuing citations that could lead to fines and jail time. School officials in Syracuse, Utah have warned that students who are found at the high school during release-time religious instruction would be issued trespassing citations that, once again, can lead to fines and even jail time. The amalgamation of public education and law enforcement has created countless variations on the theme of criminalizing what had once been treated as minor disciplinary matters.

While police can cause problems for students who misbehave, their presence in schools can be even more dangerous to youngsters who are obedient and conscientious. Professor Duane urges parents to teach their school-age children that “you cannot listen to your conscience when faced by a police officer and think I have nothing to hide.”

Police are trained to lie as an investigative tactic, and rewarded when their lies prove to be instrumental in obtaining convictions. Innocent and well-manned children who somehow find themselves on the receiving end of police attention are “sometimes the most likely to be unfairly influenced by deceptive police interrogation tactics, because they tragically assume that, somehow, `truth and justice will prevail’ later even if they falsely admit their guilt,” Duane emphasizes. “You cannot safely trust a single thing police officers say when they are trying to get you to answer their questions…. Even if you are innocent, the police will do whatever it takes to get you to talk if they think you might be guilty.”

No better illustration of that reality can be found than the case of Idaho Falls resident Christopher Tapp, who has spent twenty years in prison for a murder he did not commit. The only evidence against Tapp was a patently false confession extracted from him through the efforts of IFPD Sergeant (and future Idaho Falls mayor) Jared Fuhriman.

Fuhriman had been a DARE instructor and resource officer at Tapp’s junior high school. Following the June 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge, the IFPD was left without any good leads after DNA evidence had cleared the three young men considered suspects – including Tapp. Fuhriman had originally intended to bully Tapp into implicating two of his friends, and used his supposed friendship with his victim to lure him into lengthy interrogation sessions. Once all three of the suspects had been cleared, the interrogation mutated into something akin to psychological torture. Eventually Fuhriman convinced Tapp that unless he confessed to some role in the murder, he would inevitably be sent to the electric chair.

“Christopher would just keep saying, `Fuhriman is my friend, mom – he wouldn’t put my life in jeopardy, he wouldn’t lead me astray,” his mother, Vera Tapp, told me in a telephone interview. “He was just such a `good old boy’ with Christopher…. You can see it in the videos – `Oh, Christopher, we’re friends, we’re buddies,’ you know, laughing and joking around. And that’s just what he did when [Tapp] was in junior high. He [was] learning people’s trust and how to manipulate people. And that’s what he did – he manipulated Christopher.”

It is a screaming pity that Christopher Tapp wasn’t given the advice that police and prosecutors offer to their own children: Do not, under any circumstances, talk to a law enforcement officer, beyond demanding access to your parents and, if possible, an attorney.

Given that police and prosecutors tell their own children not to trust law enforcement officers, why shouldn’t parents employed in the productive sector do likewise?

 

Why Worry About “Importing” Terrorists, When the Regime Can Grow Its Own?

Why Worry About “Importing” Terrorists, When the Regime Can Grow Its Own?

This year, while the Trump administration has fixated on what it describes as acute peril posed by immigrants and refugees from the Muslim world, there have been three domestic terrorism-related incidents involving American-born military veterans.

Esteban Santiago, accused of murdering five people in a January 6th shooting rampage at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Airport, was a mentally disturbed ex-National Guard soldier who was born in New Jersey. Several weeks before his killing spree, Santiago — who was living in Anchorage, Alaska — contacted the FBI to tell them that the CIA was controlling his mind and “forcing” him to join ISIS. Following a brief psychiatric detention, Santiago was given back his personal firearm, and a few weeks later made the fatal trip to Florida.

After his arrest, Santiago allegedly said that he had carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS. This may be a manifestation of an ongoing delusion, or the confession of a “lone wolf” terrorist — but given the Deep State’s track record it wouldn’t be wise to rule out the possibility that Santiago had told some version of the truth to the FBI prior to the attack.

On January 31, four days after Trump issued his travel ban executive order, another American-born ex-soldier named Joshua Cummings calmly walked up to a transit guard in Denver and shot him in the head. The victim, 56-year-old Scott Von Lanken, was a pastor who worked part-time as a private security officer. Cummings, a former Army Sergeant and a recent convert to Islam who had relocated to the Denver area from Texas, had alienated several members of the mosque he was attending through his overt militancy and intolerance. He likewise claimed, after the fact, that he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS.

On Christmas eve the leaders of that congregation sent an urgent email to the Department of Homeland Security describing Cummings and expressing their concern that “He seems pretty advanced in his path of radicalization.” Leviathan’s apex security agency either did nothing to act on that intelligence, or quietly abetted the subject’s worst impulses. The former possibility would be unconscionable, but the latter, once again, cannot be discounted — as the third recent terror-related episode illustrates.

Just two days ago (February 21), the FBI announced the arrest of Missouri resident Robert Lorenzo Hester, Jr. on charges of offering material support to ISIS.

Hester was born in Missouri and converted to Islam following a brief and unsuccessful stint in the U.S. Army and now calls himself Mohammed Junaid Al Amreeki. He came to the attention of the FBI through a series of social media posts in which he condemned Washington’s foreign policy and what he viewed as the government’s consistent abuse of Muslims. Among his complaints were the Obama administration’s bombing of Yemen and – ironically – US and Israeli support for ISIS, which he did not recognize as representing authentic Islam.

“A true Muslim,” Hester argued, “would never commit suicide bombing during Ramadan at the Prophet’s [mosque],” an incident that he took as demonstrating that ISIS was either apostate or a group controlled by enemies of his religion. Citing the example of right-leaning citizen militias and similar community self-defense groups, Hester spoke of an interest in organizing the “Lions of the Ummah” for the purpose of defending fellow Muslims against violence. On the evidence provided by the FBI, it doesn’t appear that Hester was inclined toward “direct action” against the US government until after he was targeted by the Bureau’s Homeland Security Theater troupe.

Last August, as documented in the federal criminal complaint, Hester was approached online by an FBI informant posing as a fellow Muslim who explored the depths of his grievances and carefully channeled them in the direction of prosecutable offenses. Over the next six months two FBI provocateurs guided Hester through the familiar ritual of radicalization.

Prior to being contacted by the FBI, Hester had considered moving to a Muslim country.

“I don’t like America, like for my kids,” Hester told an FBI terrorism facilitator (yes, that is how the Bureau’s Homeland Security Players have been described in federal court documents). Hester elaborated by saying that he was new to the Islamic religion and was often confused by what he read about its tenets online. His ever-helpful “friend” asked if Hester was “looking for an Islamic state,” eliciting an affirmative response from the subject that would later be used as evidence of an allegiance to ISIS.

The criminal complaint offers the de rigueur disclaimer that as the scripted “plot” unfolded, Hester was offered several chances to withdraw. It also documents that at one point, after the undercover operatives had seduced the subject into the alleged conspiracy, one of them threatened to harm his family if he “talked about any plans” or otherwise defied the instructions of his handlers.

Hester was eventually told to obtain roofing nails and other materials for pipe bombs that were supposedly to be used in a series of attacks on President’s Day. He was arrested at a storage facility on February 17.

It may never be known if Esteban Santiago was acting under the influence of the CIA or some other intelligence agency. While there’s no evidence that Joshua Cummings carried out a false-flag attack, the Homeland Security Department could be considered an accessory before the fact, given the advance warning it received from the Denver mosque. Lorenzo Hester’s “terrorist plot” was a pure FBI contrivance.

None of these “military-age men” came from any of the countries subject to the Trump administration’s travel ban. Shutting down immigration completely — or encasing the continental United States in an impregnable force field — would do nothing to protect the public from dangers that can be synthesized by the same agencies that supposedly provide that protection.

The “Blind Sheik” and the Deep State

The “Blind Sheik” and the Deep State

Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman died at age 78 in a federal prison cell in North Carolina from complications of diabetes, a peaceful end to a long life largely devoted to terrorist violence. He had lived at taxpayer expense for roughly one-third of that life. For the better part of a decade prior to his June 1993 arrest, Sheik Omar had covertly been on the federal payroll as a CIA asset.

Abdel-Rahman was the “spiritual leader” of the terrorist cell that carried out the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people were killed in that attack, which inflicted $500 million in damage and would have been apocalyptic in scope if the bomb-laden Ryder truck used in the plot had been placed in the proper section of the basement parking garage. The plan was to send one of the towers toppling into the other.

A native Egyptian, Sheik Omar boasted of his involvement in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Six years later the U.S. State Department placed Sheik Omar’s name on its “watch list” of non-Americans believed to be involved in terrorism. That did not prevent the CIA from enlisting Sheik Omar as a “valuable asset” in covert operations involving the Afghan mujahideen during the 1980s.

Between 1980 and 1989, the CIA pumped more than $3 billion in aid into the Islamic resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Following more than a decade and a half of combat in that country, Americans have come to understand how tenaciously Afghans fight to expel foreign occupiers – and the fact that the country’s tribal culture is an impenetrable mare’s nest. It should also be clear by now that the CIA has an uncanny instinct for supporting the worst of the contending factions in any country upon which its gaze descends.  Author Kurt Lohbeck documented in his study Holy War, Unholy Victory: Eyewitness to the CIA’s Secret War in Afghanistan that during the mid-1980s the CIA invested most of its aid in the least combat-worthy and most anti-American factions of the mujahideen. Among the CIA’s dubious beneficiaries was Sheik Omar.

Writing in the May 1996 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, foreign correspondent Mary Anne Weaver recalled that it was in Peshawar, Pakistan, that Sheik Omar “became involved with U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials who were orchestrating the war” against the Soviets, and that the “sixty or so CIA and Special Forces officers based there considered him a ‘valuable asset’ … and overlooked his anti-Western message and incitement to holy war because they wanted him to help unify the mujahideen groups.”

Sheik Omar and his associates created an institution in Peshawar, Pakistan, called the Service Office, which recruited Muslims from around the world as volunteers to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Branches of the Service Office were created throughout Europe and the United States, thereby providing a ready slush fund for terrorists and anti-Western agitators. While the Service Office sluiced money into the coffers of terrorists, Sheik Omar preached his gospel of jihad in Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and in Islamic population centers in Turkey, Germany, England, and even the United States — despite his listing on the State Department’s “watch list.”

Sheik Omar’s status as a “valuable asset” to the CIA didn’t end after the Red Army vacated Afghanistan in early 1989.

On May 10, 1990, Sheik Omar was granted a one-year visa from a CIA agent posing as an official at the U.S. Consulate in Khartoum, Sudan, and he arrived in New York in July 1990. In November of the same year Sheik Omar’s visa was revoked, and the State Department advised the Immigration and Naturalization Service to be on the lookout for him. So attentive was the INS to this advisory that it granted Sheik Omar a green card just five months later.

This wasn’t a failure of the vetting procedure. It was the peculiar kind of “success” that often facilitates the arrival of capable practitioners of violence who are useful for the Deep State’s domestic operations.

The American-based radicals who sponsored Sheik Omar’s 1990 trip to the U.S. included Mahmud Abouhalima, a CIA-supported veteran of the Afghan campaign. Also helping to make arrangements for the sheik’s visit was Mustafa Shalabi, the Brooklyn-based director of Alkifah, a support fund for mujahideen fighters. Another leader of Sheik Omar’s American network was El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian expatriate who went on to murder Jewish nationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Abouhalima and Nosair were eventually among those convicted of conspiring with Sheik Omar to wage urban warfare in the United States, and in that campaign they made use of skills imparted to them by the CIA and the U.S. military.

During the 1995 conspiracy trial, attorneys for Sheik Omar and his disciples introduced a file documenting that in 1989, the U.S. Army had sent Special Forces Sergeant Ali A. Mohammed – who had been cashiered from the Egyptian Army several years earlier — to Jersey City to provide training for mujahideen recruits, including Abouhalima and Nosair. Although Omar was regarded as the cabal’s spiritual leader, and Nosair was said to be the signal-caller, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald believed that Mohammed was the chief architect of “al-Qaeda’s terrorist infrastructure in the U.S.”

In March 2001 – a few months before the immeasurably bloodier encore at the World Trade Center – Mohammed pleaded guilty to charges arising from the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 258 people were murdered. He was then allowed to flee the jurisdiction without being sentenced.

Mohammed’s main role in the 1993 plot was to train and supervise the others. According to Two Seconds Under the World, a book on the 1993 WTC bombing co-written by Newsday’s Pulitzer-winning investigative team, all of this was done under constant FBI surveillance. The Bureau had ample advance notice of what Sheik Omar’s disciples intended to do.

Following the murder of Rabbi Kahane in November 1990, the FBI seized and impounded 49 boxes of documents from Nosair’s New Jersey apartment; the cache included bomb-making instructions, a hit list of public figures (including Kahane), paramilitary training materials, detailed pictures of famous buildings (including the World Trade Center), and sermons by Sheik Omar urging his followers to “destroy the edifices of capitalism.”

Owing to incompetence or (more likely) something much worse, the FBI made none of the evidence available to New York City Assistant District Attorney William Greenbaum, who prosecuted the case. In fact, the FBI made no investigative use of the material until after the Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Hamstrung by the FBI’s decision to withhold the evidence collected at Nosair’s apartment, Greenbaum was unable to secure a murder conviction in the killing of Kahane. After being convicted on firearms-related charges Nosair began a seven-year term in Attica prison, where he continued to direct the affairs of Sheik Omar’s terrorist network.

By March 1991, Sheik Omar and his associates had seized control of the Alkifah fund, which had by then swollen to an estimated $2 million. The CIA-originated fund helped finance Nosair’s trial defense. It was also used to procure many of the bomb components that were assembled under the expert supervision of Afghan terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who was imported by the Sheik Omar network in late 1992.

Yousef was convicted on September 8, 1996 of plotting a 48-hour campaign of bombings against American commercial flights over the Pacific Ocean. The campaign would have targeted a total of 12 jetliners and as many as 4,000 passengers. Yousef met Abouhalima in Afghanistan in 1988, and it was Abouhalima who brought the Afghan terrorist to the United States in September 1992 on behalf of Sheik Omar’s network.

Shortly after Yousef’s arrival, the FBI subpoenaed two dozen of Sheik Omar’s followers and questioned them about the sheik, Nosair, and Abouhalima. However, no arrests were made, no grand jury investigation was launched, and the FBI chose to downgrade its scrutiny of Omar’s network — just as plans were being finalized for the Trade Center bombing. This curious decision is even more peculiar in light of the fact that the FBI had obtained intelligence on the network’s capabilities and intentions from Emad A. Salem, a former Egyptian Army officer and FBI informant who served as Omar’s security guard.

Salem’s relationship with the FBI was turbulent, and there were suggestions of impropriety in his personal contacts with FBI handler Nancy Floyd. However, he had repeatedly warned the FBI that Nosair was running a terrorist ring out of his prison cell, and he had supplied detailed descriptions of the Sheik Omar network’s plans. But the FBI, professing doubts about Salem’s reliability, severed contacts with him seven months before the bombing.

In the aftermath of the 1993 Trade Center bombing, the FBI renewed its association with Salem, paying him a reported $1 million to infiltrate Sheik Omar’s group once again. Salem was many things, some of them unsavory, but he was not a fool; this is why he secretly recorded many of his conversations with law enforcement agents, including exchanges in which it was revealed that the FBI had detailed prior knowledge of the Trade Center bomb plot.

According to Salem, the FBI had planned to sabotage the Trade Center bomb by replacing the explosive components with an inert powder. The October 28, 1993 New York Times reported that in one conversation Salem recalled assurances from an FBI supervisor that the agency’s plan called for “building the bomb with a phony powder and grabbing the people who [were] involved in [the plot].” However, the supervisor, in Salem’s words, “messed it up.”

Salem recalled that when he expressed a desire to lodge a protest with FBI headquarters, he was told by special agent John Anticev that “the New York people [wouldn’t] like the things out of the New York office to go to Washington, DC.” Unappeased, Salem rebuked Anticev: “You saw this bomb went off and you … know that we could avoid that…. You get paid, guys, to prevent problems like this from happening.”

Perhaps the most remarkable illustration of the depth of the FBI’s knowledge of the Sheik Omar network came after the World Trade Center bombing, when the Bureau employed Salem’s services as an informant once again. As the Wall Street Journal subsequently reported, from March to June 1993 Salem “helped organize the ‘battle plan’ that the government alleged included plots to bomb the United Nations and FBI buildings in New York, and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels beneath the Hudson River…. Mr. Salem recruited seven local Muslims to scout targets, plan tactics and obtain chemicals and electrical parts for bombs.”

By the time the FBI closed in on the plotters on June 23, it had literally hours of videotapes documenting the conspiracy in intimate detail — including footage of conspirators mixing fertilizer and diesel fuel to build a bomb.

Sheik Omar is presented by the Regime and its heralds as the incarnation of what we are told is the implacable, all-encompassing menace of radical Islam. However, his career actually demonstrates that the large-scale evils not directly created by the Deep State are generally co-opted by it. Omar embodied Frederic Bastiat’s maxim that government enriches its power by creating the poison and the antidote in the same laboratory.

 

Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

During Barack Obama’s first term, invocations of the Tenth Amendment and the reserved powers of the states by Tea Party activists provoked some left-leaning commentators to accuse them of “sedition.” With Donald Trump now occupying the Oval Office, those roles have been reversed, with erstwhile Tea Party agitators championing centralized executive power, and the Left taking up the “states’ rights” refrain. Some self-styled progressives are even rediscovering the wisdom of “interposition,” which the bien-pensants have long insisted was a constitutional heresy favored by white supremacists.

“In a twist of history,” observes the New Republic, “California’s leftist leaders are now embracing state’s rights, decrying Washington as a threat to a local way of life. San Francisco’s lawsuit [against the Trump administration], for example, takes a page from Reagan’s playbook, accusing Trump of `striking at the heart of federalism.’ Brown has warned members of the new administration to `keep their hands off,’ while state Senate President Kevin de Leon is vowing `to protect the values of the people of California.’”

“Could a political strategy, devised long ago by California conservatives, be harnessed to defend the state’s progressive values?” asks a publication founded more than a century ago by champions of the unitary state.

However intolerable “sanctuary” cities and counties may be to Trumpians, they are the outgrowth of a constitutional tradition going back to 1798. The concept of “interposition” or “nullification” was employed by state and local governments to defy the Alien and Sedition Acts, which were widely understood to be tyrannical and constitutionally indefensible enactments. The moral and legal basis for that defiance was expressed in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, which were written by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, who invoked the principles of un-enumerated rights and reserved state powers found in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

The individual states of the union had both the right and the duty to nullify federal policies that would “consolidate the states by degrees, into one sovereignty, the obvious tendency and inevitable consequence of which would be, to transform the present republican system of the United States, into an absolute, or at best a mixed monarchy,” wrote Madison in the Virginia Resolution. In his Kentucky Resolution, Jefferson warned that “if those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation of the state governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence[.]”

Jefferson explicitly urged state officials to defy federal orders targeting immigrants who had been designated enemy aliens by the President of the United States:

“Resolved: That the imprisonment of a person under the protection of the laws of this commonwealth, on his failure to obey a simple order of the President to depart out of the United States, as is undertaken by said act entitled `An Act concerning aliens’ is contrary to the Constitution….”

Unlike many contemporary conservatives, and a surprising number of libertarians, Jefferson understood that Congress could not properly authorize the president to exercise such powers, and that matters related to immigration fell within the powers reserved to the separate states. Were he among us today, Jefferson would most likely see the designation of “sanctuary” jurisdictions as a righteous exertion of those reserved powers — and find himself execrated as a “globalist,” “cultural Marxist,” or “Soros stooge” by the contemporary Right Wing.

There is at least one small conservative cohort that has decided to co-opt the “sanctuary” concept for its own worthy purposes. Residents of counties in eastern Oregon, a culturally conservative population ruled by one of the most aggressively leftist state governments in the soyuz, are acting to pre-empt state laws restricting firearms ownership.

Following passage of the Oregon Firearms Safety Act in 2015, which purports to regulate gun transfers between private parties, four counties have adopted Second Amendment Preservation ordinances citing the authority of counties, municipalities, and cities to disregard laws that are manifestly unconstitutional. Coos County resident Rob Taylor explains that such ordinances create “sanctuary counties” for gun owners in “the same way Oregon has become a sanctuary state for immigration.”

There is nobody more receptive to the idea of nullification that someone who seeking sanctuary from the exercise of state power. It is to be hoped that people willing to entertain heretical thoughts about interposition would give their transgressive impulses free rein to consider the possibility that the state itself is an illegitimate construct.

Blue Privilege Matters — To Some, It’s All That Matters

Blue Privilege Matters — To Some, It’s All That Matters

 

Adams Lin literally fainted as he read a court order authorizing federal marshals to confiscate his property. The officers seized his car, his designer clothes, a flat-screen television, golf clubs, computer, and even his treasured Samurai sword.

Unlike countless other Americans who have been pillaged by federal law enforcement officials, Lin was not a victim of the officially sanctioned plunder called civil asset forfeiture. His property was confiscated after Lin’s boss failed to make a $200,000 payment toward the $22.4 million civil damage award granted to a man who was left paralyzed through Lin’s occupational misconduct.

Lin’s boss is Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and he has adamantly refused to make payments to Dontrell Stephens, who was shot by Lin after the panicking deputy mistook the 19-year-old’s cell phone for a gun.

“There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait and find out what this is and get killed,” whined Sheriff Bradshaw on the day of the shooting. His department quickly exonerated Lin and promoted him – before the public release of video that proved that the victim had never posed a threat to the deputy.

Rather than complying with the court order, Bradshaw filed an appeal. After the award was upheld last May, Bradshaw appealed again – which triggered an injunction leading to the seizure of property from the deputy who was directly responsible for the unlawful shooting of an innocent teenager. Owing to his service as an asset of the state’s punitive apparatus, Lin was able to get his confiscated property back. His victim, of course, remains paralyzed.

Lin continues to be held in high regard by Bradshaw, which is why the sheriff selected him to be one of seven sergeants from his department assigned to the presidential security detail at the Palm Beach Airport during the president’s recent visit.

This obviously wasn’t a reward for Lin’s exceptional valor. The deputy’s pants-wetting meltdown that led to the near-murder of Stephens, and his fainting spell triggered by enforcement of the court order, demonstrate that he’s hardly Horatius at the bridge in dealing with adversity. It was a gesture of calculated contempt toward those who believe that police officers should be held accountable for personal misconduct, and an assertion of the institutional sense of entitlement that characterizes law enforcement – and that has been reinvigorated by the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Donald Trump has repeatedly described the privileged personalities who constitute the state’s punitive caste as “the most mistreated people” in society. In a recent exercise in self-pity published by the cyber-journal Law Officer, Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department embellishes Trump’s claim, complaining that law enforcement officers are the victims of what he calls “The New Discrimination in America.”

“We see police officers being assaulted,” insisted Yates. “We see police officers being murdered. And much of it, is just because they wear a uniform.”

Police officers are occasionally assaulted, and on austerely rare occasions murdered on-duty – much less frequently, as it happens, than they were under the reign of the last self-described law-and-order president, Ronald Reagan. Those who lend credence to Yates’s jeremiad, however, would believe that the desecrated bodies of police officers can be found dangling from hanging trees throughout the length and breadth of this hate-intoxicated, ungrateful land.

“From slavery to the KKK to Jim Crow laws, nothing much has changed in this country,” he intones. “We continue to hate and we continue to kill and the only difference now is we are doing it to those in uniform.”

This ambient violence sometimes leads people to shun police officers in restaurants, or call them “vile and hateful names.” A similarly grievous illustration of what he invites the reader to pretend is unconscionable anti-cop bigotry was an executive order by Barack Obama placing modest limits on the transfer of war-fighting materiel from the Pentagon to local police agencies.

Like many others in the self-described Blue Lives Matter movement, Major Yates confuses a chosen occupation – one involving the state-sanctioned exercise of aggressive violence — with an innate characteristic. He also ignores the critical distinctions between hateful and spiteful verbal abuse — on one hand — and the forceful criticism of officials who are, or at least should be, accountable to the public they claim to serve.

Yates does understand the essential nature of the occupation he has chosen. In a previous essay, he complained that citizens who are urging police to rediscover the lost skill of de-escalation in encounters with citizens are demanding that “police stop being police.”

“Follow the commands of a police officer, or risk dying,” Yates snarled, expressing the discretionary power to kill that was not enjoyed or exercised by slaves or those subject to Jim Crow laws.  From his perspective, only aberrant bigotry could motivate those who take issue with the fact that police consider themselves invested with that power, or criticize them when its exercise is manifestly indefensible.

Once clad in the habiliments of the state’s punitive priesthood, police expect and demand deference from Mundanes. Recent studies conducted by a team of cognitive neuroscientists at McMaster University suggest that the mere act of donning the official costume alters the way those thus attired – in this case, students, rather than police officers – view people who are regarded as socially marginal or otherwise “problematic.”

It is incontestable that once an individual swaddles himself in police attire he begins to assess everyone who surrounds him in terms of potential threats to “officer safety.” It is likewise clear that the relatively modest occupational risks of police officers are amplified by the requirement that they enforce measures that are innately illegitimate.

Missouri State Trooper Beau Ryun, to cite a perfectly suitable recent example, was “assaulted” by 22-year-old Jonathan Timmons during a recent traffic stop, and was rescued by the intervention of a motorist named Charles Barney and a 74-year-old woman identified only as “Sandra.” That’s as far as the story will be recounted in most retellings: A heroic paladin of public order was viciously attacked, and was rescued by two “civilians,” who have been nominated for “honorary trooper awards.”

Little if any attention will be paid to the prelude of this altercation.

Timmons, a resident of New York State, was not suspected of an actual crime against person or property. He was stopped by Trooper Ryun because of a “lane violation.” If the vehicle had not displayed out-of-state license plates, it’s quite possible that Ryun would have ignored this trivial transgression. Owing to the perverted priorities of prohibition, however, traffic infractions of this kind are coveted, because they provide opportunities for drug arrests and asset forfeiture.

Timmons, unfortunately, was far too cooperative following Ryun’s pretext stop, agreeing to sit in the patrol vehicle while the trooper conducted a consent search. When Ryun reached for the handcuffs, Timmons decided to fight back. His offense was morally indistinguishable from that of an escaped slave who “assaulted” an officer enforcing the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law – Deputy U.S. Marshal James Batchelder, to cite one example.

Batchelder was killed by an abolitionist posse seeking to liberate a man named Anthony Burns, who had been “lawfully” arrested by the marshal for rendition to the Virginia man who claimed to “own” him. Yes, Burns violated the “law” by escaping from involuntary servitude. In similar fashion, Timmons broke the “law” by being in possession of marijuana, and by resisting state-sanctioned abduction by an armed stranger.

Deputy Marshal Batchelder’s name is inscribed on the honor roll of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Those who compile such rosters do not inquire into the legitimacy of the statutes whose enforcement led to the deaths thus tabulated, or consider whether killing or dying to enforce them is justifiable.

Timmons faces six criminal charges, including felonious assault on a “special victim.” Yes, Missouri is among the SSRs within the American soyuz that formally designate police as a “specially protected class.” Over the past two years, law and order conservatives who otherwise abhor the concept of “hate crimes” have proposed, and sometimes enacted, hate crimes statutes that enhance penalties for crimes against police officers.

In Louisiana, for example, citizens can now be charged with a “hate crime” under that state’s Blue Lives Matter statute, which was signed into law last year. Two bills being reconciled in the Mississippi State Legislature would have the same impact.

House Bill 645, titled the “Back the Badge Act of 2017,” would triple the penalties for committing an act of violence against law enforcement officers or other first responders (who are included in the bill in order to expand its constituency, not because of an outbreak of violence against firefighters or EMTs). A similar measure, Senate Bill 2469, the “Blue, Red, and Med Lives Matter Act,” has passed that chamber of the state Legislature. That bill designates police and other first responders as a specially protected class for the purpose of hate crimes prosecution. Mississippi state law currently doubles penalties for crimes targeting people belonging to specially protected classes.

The Fraternal Order of Police and other police unions have been agitating for federal “hate crimes” legislation for the benefit of law enforcement, and Donald Trump is eager to oblige them. His recent executive order instructs newly installed Procurator General Jeff Sessions to “pursue appropriate legislation … that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal and local law enforcement officers.”

With three exceptions – piracy, counterfeiting, and treason – “federal crimes” do not exist under the constitutional framework, which likewise does not authorize the federal government to investigate and punish violations of state laws. Self-described constitutionalists once regarded such considerations as important.

Just months ago, the “law and order” constituency was denouncing the President of the United States for seeking to “federalize” law enforcement. Now that same cohort is offering full-throated approval of the president’s eagerness to expand federal involvement in local law enforcement – and to federalize prosecution of people accused of criminal offenses resulting from encounters like the one involving Jonathan Timmons and Trooper Ryun.

After spending Barack Obama’s reign denouncing his regime as the distillate of despotism, right-collectivists are eagerly applauding the enhancement of state power under a president with whom they can identify.

Statists of all varieties remain committed to Lenin’s formula, under which the fundamental political question is “who does what to whom.” The “what” in that equation – the exercise of essentially illimitable state power – remains intact; the “who” and “whom” have simply exchanged places. Somewhere in hell, Lenin is kvelling.

 

“Extreme Vetting” and Homeland Security Theater: The Case of the “Bowling Green Massacre”

“Extreme Vetting” and Homeland Security Theater: The Case of the “Bowling Green Massacre”

“President Obama suspended the Iraq refugee program in 2011, and no one certainly covered it,” complained White House adviser Kellyanne Conway in a recent TMZ interview. “He did that, I assume, because there were two Iraqis who came here, got radicalized, and joined ISIS and then were the masterminds of the Bowling Green attack on our brave soldiers.”

Miss Conway, by her own admission, is an emissary from the realm of “Alternative Facts.” In that dimension, something called the “Bowling Green attack” actually transpired. In reality as the rest of us experience it, the Iraqi refugees to whom Conway referred, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, were cast in one of the FBI’s countless Homeland Security Theater productions shortly after being allowed to immigrate to the U.S. – despite the fact that one of them was a known insurgent.

This is to say that they were already “radicalized” before being brought here, and once in the country, the FBI continued their instruction.

Someone identified in the criminal complaint as a “Confidential Human Source” (CHS) in the FBI’s employ — that is, a bit player from the Bureau’s large and ever-expanding troupe of agent provocateurs and “terrorism facilitators” — approached then-28-year-old Alwan to recruit him into an effort to aid mujahadeen fighters in Iraq.

The script written by the Louisville Joint Terrorism Task Force called for the FBI’s asset to pose as a representative of an unnamed “Hajii” with connections to Iraqi insurgents. After Alwan had been lured into the pseudo-plot, the role-playing stooge added the final filigree by claiming that he had received money from Osama bin Laden — a boast that neither impressed nor interested the Iraqi, according to the account provided in the criminal complaint.

The Bureau’s bit player proposed that Alwan, who had moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, help train Iraqi insurgents in the manufacture and use of IEDs, and assist in smuggling weapons and a large amount of money to Iraq.

Alwan was let into the country in April 2009. A few weeks later, 21-year-old Hammadi, who would be recruited by Alwan into the federally-choreographed “conspiracy,” arrived in the U.S. The FBI operation began just a few weeks later after Alwan’s arrival. The criminal complaint against Alwan states that he began “notionally assisting” the supposed plot “beginning in 2010.”

At least 19,000 Iraqi refugees were admitted to the United States that year; why was Alwan of particular interest to the Bureau? The obvious answer was that the US government had carried out “extreme vetting” of Alwan for the specific purpose of identifying his grievances and weaponizing them.

From 2003-2006 Alwan took part in a number of ambushes involving IEDs, and was arrested by security personnel after one operation went awry. His fingerprints had been discovered on a wireless telephone base station used in an IED that failed to go off. That dud IED was found by occupation forces in September 2005.

Federal prosecutors charged Alwan and Hammadi with several crimes — including “Conspiracy to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” a category of armaments that includes any destructive device, no matter how trivial its yield, fashioned by anybody other that the United States government. The prosecutors refused to say why the two Iraqis were let into the country, whether Alwan’s arrest in Iraq was known to federal officials, or what prompted the Bureau to target them for a “sting” operation.

Res ipsa loquitir: Alman and Hammadi were allowed to enter the U.S. for the precise purpose of being lured into an FBI false flag operation. That conclusion is suggested by the circumstantial evidence in this specific case, and justified by the fact that every significant “terrorist plot” supposedly disrupted by the FBI since 9/11 has been a Federal Government production.

In making its pitch to potential patsies, the FBI is too smart to appeal to the seething hatred of all infidels that supposedly festers inside every young Muslim male. Instead, they exploit the perfectly understandable and thoroughly human resentment provoked by Washington’s invasion and occupation of Muslim countries. The FBI’s counter-terrorism division has no peers where radicalizing American Muslims is concerned.

 In the case of Alwan and Hammadi, the Regime was given the gift of two young Iraqi males who had already been pre-radicalized as a result of their life experiences.

Alwan was born in 1981 — the year after Saddam Hussein, in his role as Washington’s regional subcontractor, began his war with Iran — with Washington’s covert encouragement and material assistance. Alwan was still in diapers when the Reagan administration removed Saddam’s government from the roster of terrorism-supporting regimes, which permitted Washington to begin plying Baghdad with military and financial aid.

When Alwan was two years old, Donald Rumsfeld visited Baghdad as a presidential envoy, laden with promises of subsidies, military aid, and other forms of material and moral support. This included transfers of dual-use technology to Iraqi nuclear facilities and tacit support for Iraq’s development and use of chemical weapons (even though Washington acknowledged that this would provoke Iran to expand its own use of chemical munitions).

In 1984, when Alwan was a toddler, President Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 139, which made preventing the “collapse” of Saddam’s abominable police state a strategic priority.

Although  — or, perhaps, because — the war turned out disastrously for Iraq, Saddam continued to be a specially favored beneficiary of Washington’s imperial largesse until literally the eve of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. During the 12-year intermission in the Persian Gulf war, Washington imposed a deadly embargo that further entrenched Saddam’s rule while consigning hundreds of thousands of young Iraqis — many of them Alwan’s age — to an early death through avoidable illness or starvation.

Like millions of other Iraqis of the same age, Alwan had no memory of a time when his country wasn’t either at war with Washington or involved in a war as a result of Washington’s chicanery. During the 1990s, his country was ravaged by a murderous embargo that was punctuated with airstrikes and missile assaults, even as Washington very thoughtfully cattle-penned Saddam’s domestic opposition and allowed the dictator to slaughter them (something made clear in the account offered by former CIA operative Robert Baer).

Alwan was 22 years old when the distant government that had visited such favors on his country invaded Iraq to remove the middleman. In a fit of ingratitude that would be inexplicable to neo-conservatives and others unfamiliar with the rudiments of human motivation, Alwan was among those who chose to greet the “liberators” with IEDs and high-velocity rounds fired from a sniper rifle, rather than flowers and sweets.

The people on the receiving end of Alwan’s attacks were Americans. They should not have been there. They had no right to be there, and no authority — moral or legal — to employ violence to force Iraqis like Alwan to submit to them. The policy makers who sent them to Iraq, thereby putting them in a morally untenable and physically vulnerable position, are criminals who should have been put in the dock for mass murder and crimes against the Constitution.

The grand jury indictment against Alwan accused him of conspiring to murder “United States nationals outside the United States” by using “weapons of mass destruction” — that is, crude, low-yield IEDs.

The sight of an American who has been maimed, blinded, or killed by an IED set by an Iraqi insurgent is unbearable, and this moral conclusion is just as unavoidable: The people who set such a charge aren’t terrorists — they’re patriots fighting on their home soil against a prohibitively stronger foreign aggressor. If America were on the receiving end of a similar “liberation,” American patriots would damn well provide a similar welcome to our uninvited “benefactors.”

In a typically auto-erotic statement announcing the arrests of Alwan and Hammadi, David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said that the Feds are prepared “to pursue terrorists wherever in the United States they may be found…. Whether they seek shelter in a major metropolitan area or in a smaller city in Kentucky, those who would attempt to harm or kill Americans abroad will face a determined and prepared law enforcement effort … to bring them to justice.” (Emphasis added.)

Note well that these two purported terrorists were not accused of plotting to kill unsuspecting Americans anywhere within the United States; they allegedly plotted to kill the heavily armed, well-protected military personnel who occupied their home country. If they had been consumed by an unconquerable desire to smite the American infidels wherever they could be found, they had been brought by the US government into a target-rich environment.

In any case, rather than congratulating the Feds for their vigilance, Americans should have demanded to know why they knowingly permitted Alman into the country to begin with, given that he was a known insurgent. After all, wasn’t the supposed purpose of occupying Iraq to “fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here”? Again, we shouldn’t lose focus on the critical fact is that those Iraqis had no interest in pursuing vengeance against Americans who are simply minding our own business – and most likely wouldn’t have been interested in supporting insurgents abroad until the FBI recruited them into its confected conspiracy.

As one telling exchange with the FBI’s agent provocateur illustrates, Alwan didn’t lavish hostility on all infidels, or even on Americans in general; instead, he apparently focused it on a small, selective sub-population.

During a meeting on November 8, 2010, as recounted in the criminal complaint, the FBI’s undercover asset told Alwan “to pick up weapons from a storage facility, place them in bags, and deliver them” to a waiting vehicle.

“You will be shocked with the RPGs,” the provocateur boasted. “It is almost like you see in the movies.”

“Yes, the a**holes built it?” Alwan inquired, prompting the FBI’s stooge to reply, “Yeah, yeah — it is American.”

It’s instructive that Alwan’s preferred epithet wasn’t “infidels.” It’s also pretty clear that Alman wasn’t applying that insult to Americans in general, but rather to those he blamed for turning his country into a perpetual spectacle of violence, disease, terror, and tyranny.  Why wouldn’t he perceive such people as — well, you know…?

Every human being has the potential to earn that designation, and nearly all of us qualify at some point in our lives. Government, said James Madison, is the “largest of all reflections on human nature.” Given that the behavior of human beings invested with power is invariably asinine rather than angelic, Madison’s metaphor would work better if it employed a proctoscope, rather than a mirror.

It’s quite possible that Alman wasn’t even necessarily referring to the foreign troops occupying his country, but rather to the craven and despicable policymakers who had sent them there, and the corporatist parasites who profit from State-orchestrated bloodshed — which includes the death and dismemberment of American troops sent somewhere they didn’t belong to carry out a mission they shouldn’t have been given against a population that never harmed or threatened us in any way.

In describing people capable of orchestrating atrocities of that kind – including Miss Conway and the truth-averse people to whom she answers — there simply isn’t a suitable substitute for the expression Alman employed.

Take Pity on Sheriff Snowflake — Or He May Have You Killed

Take Pity on Sheriff Snowflake — Or He May Have You Killed

Sheriff David Clarke of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County is the most fragile of precious snowflakes, and one of the most self-enraptured petty tyrants in recent American history.

While settling in for a January 15 flight from Dallas to Milwaukee, Clarke – attired in Dallas Cowboys fan regalia – was asked by fellow passenger Dan Black if he was, indeed, the sheriff. When Clarke grunted in the affirmative, Black shook his head in well-earned disgust and proceeded to his seat. From behind, Black heard the truculent tax-feeder ask if he had a “problem,” to which the puzzled man shook his head in reply.

When Black disembarked at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, he was surrounded by a thugscrum of Clarke’s deputies, who detained and questioned him regarding his views of their boss. Black remained in custody until he was escorted from the airport.

After Black filed a complaint with the county commission, Clarke published the document on his department’s Facebook page – supplementing it with a threat to assault any other Mundane who gives him a dirty look.

“Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out,” advised the sheriff’s office. “The sheriff said he does not have to wait for some goof to assault him. He reserves the reasonable right to pre-empt a possible assault.”

A non-verbal gesture of disapproval is sufficient to trigger Sheriff Snowflake, who will summon his armed employees to enforce his safe space.

Threats of violence like the one made on Clarke’s behalf by his department have been prosecuted under 18 USC 875[c], which makes it a federal felony to threaten to injure someone if that threat is transmitted in “interstate commerce.”

Since Black is a witness in an active investigation that could lead to criminal charges, threatening him could also be construed as witness intimidation. (Idaho resident Matthew Townsend faced a patently spurious witness intimidation charge for publishing a Facebook post urging a police officer who had arrested him without justification to testify truthfully in a pre-trial hearing.)

Surrendering himself unconditionally to his irrepressible adolescent impulses, the sexagenarian sheriff compounded his felonious behavior with an overt threat to murder his victim. Clarke instructed his subordinates to create a meme of Black containing the caption: “Cheer up, snowflake – if Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”

The Milwaukee County Commission’s ethics board is investigating Black’s complaint – and Clarke, behaving like a generalissimo in a third world junta, has ordered his deputies to obstruct the investigation, claiming that the commission doesn’t have the authority to investigate his office.

“In an act of political grandstanding, the political witch hunt continues by Democrat politicians and operatives,” pouted Clarke. “This is nothing more than an attempt to harass and bully Sheriff Clarke. This is fake news.”

Like too many others in his disreputable occupation, Clarke has mastered the art of simultaneously swaggering and simpering. He displays a similarly contradictory nature regarding his concept of “authority” – whence it came, and in whom it resides.

In chapter nine of his forthcoming ghostwritten book “Cop Under Fire,” Clarke answers a question nobody of consequence ever asked: “Why do I salute the audience when I speak?”

“I’m old school,” Clarke’s ghostwriter says on his behalf. “In our representative democracy, elected officials are not sovereign. You the people are sovereign. In keeping with military custom, it is incumbent on the subordinate officer to salute and render that salute first, to the superior officer. I consider myself the subordinate officer. That’s why I salute my audience, because they are in charge” – at least when that gesture serves the purpose of political stagecraft.

In every other context, Clarke clearly regards “civilians” as subordinate to the supposed authority of the state’s enforcement caste.

On page 241 of his book, the sheriff protests that elected officials “who have not been a cop one day in their life” have no right to demand reforms of internal disciplinary procedures. Police officers accused of abusing citizens – even when such abuse results in the clearly unlawful death of a Mundane – can only be sanctioned by superiors within their caste, Clarke insists.

As for Mundanes themselves, in any encounter with a member of the state’s punitive priesthood, they are to consider themselves the property of the officer until and unless he condescends to release them.

“When a law enforcement officer gives you a lawful command, obey it even if you disagree,” Clarke lectures his readers without explaining how a “subordinate” can “lawfully” give commands to a “superior.” “Though cops don’t have the final say, they have the final say in the moment within the law.”

Those who challenge that arrangement face potentially fatal consequences, he advises, referring to several cases illustrating that point, such as the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann, an individual whose timorousness and ineptitude made him unsuitable for any occupation involving the use of firearms.

Rice, who was carrying a pellet gun in a state where open carry of actual firearms is legal, was slaughtered by Loehmann two seconds after the officer and his partner pulled up to him in a public park.

Clarke insists that Rice – who, unlike Loehmann, was “within the law” — was to blame for his own death because he “didn’t think he had to obey the cops when they yelled, `Put your hands up.’” He ignores the fact that Rice didn’t have time to comply, because he simply cannot concede that an officer can be at fault in a deadly force incident.

Clarke is among the most shameless of Donald Trump’s jock-riders, and he blatantly campaigned to be appointed Commissar for Homeland Security prior to the selection of General John Kelly for the post.

Like Trump, Clarke – who styles himself “The People’s Sheriff” — appears to embrace an idiot child’s version of Rousseau’s “social contract” concept: He sees himself as the embodiment of the “will of the people,” empowered to act in the name of the collective and accountable only to his own infallible insights regarding the collective will. Thus when it appeared last fall that Trump might lose the election, Clarke overtly called for insurrectionary violence – and after his god-emperor prevailed, Clarke has repeatedly called to crush all who oppose his reign – as well as indefinitely detaining up to one million people in Gitmo as suspected terrorists.

In both intellect and temperament, Clarke differs little from millions of other men of a certain age who enjoy juvenile dick-measuring displays and find partisan political conflict more effective than Viagra. What distinguishes him from the wretched likes of Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity (who is busily working his crayons to scribble out a foreword to Clarke’s book) is that Clarke has acknowledged his willingness to murder someone who offends him – and he has the means to make good on such threats.

The Slow-Motion State Murder of Michael Whiteley

The Slow-Motion State Murder of Michael Whiteley

Facing the prospect of life in prison – and the plausible threat of execution – Idaho Falls resident Michael Whiteley had every conceivable reason to plead guilty to a charge of second-degree kidnapping, save one: He didn’t commit the crime.

“I have to plead not guilty, Your Honor,” Whiteley told Bonneville County District Judge Marvin Smith just minutes after being offered a plea bargain through which he would have avoided prison altogether. “I had originally intended to plead the other way, but now that I sit here and run it through my heart and my mind, I don’t feel, your honor, that it is right to lie.”

A few weeks earlier, Whiteley had been charged with first-degree kidnapping and rape, and heard a Bonneville County deputy prosecutor inform the judge that “although we are not seeking the death penalty in this case, kidnapping is also punishable by death – first-degree kidnapping.” Judge Smith himself had agreed that “This is potentially a death penalty case,” owing to the allegation that Whiteley had committed serious harm to the supposed victim – his ex-wife, known at the time as Silvia Canido.

Composite portrait of Silvia and Michael

In the lead-up to Michael’s May 1991 trial, the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office was disqualified from the case because of the misconduct of the assigned prosecutor, John Stositch. Deputy Idaho Attorney General Jack Haycock, who was given the case, offered Michael a deal in which he would plead guilty to one count of second-degree kidnapping, and the court would retain jurisdiction while he spent four months undergoing rehabilitation at the Cottonwood drug and alcohol treatment facility.

If Whiteley had been burdened with the guilty knowledge that he had committed the hideous crimes of which he stood accused, he would have eagerly accepted that deal. The most urgent priority for a guilty man in such circumstances, after all, is to avoid punishment – which he could have done by accepting the plea bargain. For a wrongfully accused man in the same situation, the most urgent task is to clear his name.

In a case that depended entirely on an assessment of the relative credibility of the accuser and the defendant, Whiteley’s choice to confront the charges, rather than avoid them on absurdly generous terms, should have been dispositive evidence of his innocence. Similarly compelling corroboration is offered by the fact that the Idaho AG’s office was willing to offer that deal: If Deputy AG Haycock sincerely believed that Whiteley had kidnapped and raped a woman, and that he had the evidence to prove those accusations, he acted with culpable irresponsibility in making that offer.

The only direct “evidence” against Whiteley consisted of the uncorroborated, and self-contradictory, story told by the accuser. Canido refused to submit to a medical examination, which means that no physical evidence of rape was ever produced.

Where is the evidence?

The report filed by Idaho Falls Police Officer who interviewed Canido following Whiteley’s January 16, 1991, arrest did not contain any mention of a rape accusation: “Don’t ask me,” the officer exclaimed when queried about that astonishing oversight during cross-examination. The officer also claimed to have seen a large bruise on Canido’s inner thigh, but did not photograph the alleged wound – and when asked about it by defense counsel Stevan Thompson could not recall which thigh displayed the alleged lesion.

At the time of Whiteley’s arrest, he was visiting Canido’s home after returning with her from a trip to southern Utah. He had just endured a severe beating at the hands of Raquel Gonzalez, Canido’s mother, who had attacked him with a baseball bat. When the police arrived, Whiteley was arrested for supposedly violating a protective order that Canido had obtained the previous November – and had asked to be rescinded shortly thereafter.

As a result of either simple incompetence or a very peculiar sense of humor, that protective order specified that it would expire on February 6, 1990 – nearly a year before Whiteley was arrested for violating it. Thus the arrest was invalid.

Once he had Whiteley in custody, the arresting officer – using the familiar tactics of his disreputable trade – tried to elicit Whiteley’s “cooperation” to “clear up” the matter, without telling him that he was trying to build a case to send him to prison. The officer parried Whiteley’s demand for an attorney by saying that it was “too early” to get one, and that if his hostage were cooperative, things would work out much better. He extracted Whiteley’s signature on a Miranda waiver form, and then produced what was called a “voluntary” statement from Whiteley.

Whiteley refused to sign that statement. So the officer forged the signature of his hostage – and then lied about the matter in a pre-trial hearing. Despite being caught in an act of deliberate perjury, and changing his insistent initial testimony after he was confronted with the original document, the officer’s version of events was accepted by Judge Smith, who commended him for his “demeanor” and “credibility.”

The officer who headed the Whiteley investigation was the now-notorious IFPD Sergeant Jared Fuhriman, who used the case to test many of the same tactics that he would later use to engineer the false confession, and wrongful murder conviction, of Christopher Tapp.

A bizarre relationship

Whiteley and Canido had met the previous August when the vivacious 33-year-old Bolivian immigrant answered his ad for help in cleaning a house. Whiteley had moved to Idaho Falls from Las Vegas amid the break-up of his marriage to his wife of 17 years, Dineen.

Canido claimed to have fled an abusive husband named Carlos Almanza, to whom she was still legally married. That fact didn’t prevent her from initiating a relationship with Whiteley, talking her way into accompanying him on a trip to visit his foster parents in Salmon, Idaho. Her overt displays of physical affection toward Whiteley made his hosts uncomfortable. At one point during the return trip to Idaho Falls, Candido – who was driving – reached over to kiss Whiteley, and while doing so caused a nearly fatal accident.

Although Canido appeared besotted with Whiteley (“Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo,  Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo, Te amo mucho!” she wrote in a birthday card shortly after the accident), her mother despised him and repeatedly threatened Canido with deportation and the loss of her children unless she broke off the relationship. Under pressure from both her mother and members of the local Mormon congregation she was attending, Canido filed several protective orders against Whiteley – which she violated by persistently calling him and driving past his home.

On October 20, 1990, Whiteley and Canido were married in Elko, Nevada by Justice of the Peace Jack B. Ames. Canido had filed for dissolution of her marriage from Carlos Almanza but was still legally married to him. When they returned to Idaho Falls, Michael and Silvia began attending the Idaho Falls Calvary Baptist Church. Given that he had just ended a long marriage, and she had committed what Idaho considered a felony by contracting a bigamous marriage, they were in need of spiritual advice, which Pastor Herb Stoneman was anxious to provide.

During the course of several conversations, Stoneman testified, Canido “told me … that she was under pressure from her mother and her [Mormon] Bishop to end her relationship with Mike Whiteley…. [She] told me that she was personally beginning to move away from her mother and the LDS Church which had been [dominating] her life…. [S]he was having difficulty handling the pressure from her mother and her Bishop.”

“Sundown Bail”

The marriage of Michael Whiteley and Silvia Canido lasted twenty-six days. Two days after the November 15 dissolution decree, Canido filed a complaint claiming that she was receiving harassing phone calls from Whiteley’s 14-year-old son, Jay.

At the time, Whiteley was out of town on a truck driving gig, so he wasn’t around when Canido, in the company of Idaho Falls Police Officer Rick Hansen, visited Jay, pulled a knife, and threatened to attack him. Despite witnessing a violent felony, Officer Hansen didn’t arrest the assailant. Instead, he blithely suggested that Whiteley and his mother could take up the matter with the prosecutor’s office.

Officer Hansen, Canido would later claim, exploited the leverage he gained by declining to file charges against her by manipulating her into having sex with him – which would constitute both kidnapping and rape.

That Hansen was less that zealous in protecting citizens from violent crime is documented in his own report. The fact that Canido became pregnant sometime in mid-November suggests that her claim to have had sex with him is plausible, but there was at least one other candidate – Keith McCabe, a younger man with whom she had already begun a relationship while she was still married to Whiteley.

The only evidence that Hansen extorted sex from Canido is the accusation she made in a September 1999 letter in which she also recanted her accusations against Whiteley – who by that time had been in prison for more than eight years. If her unsubstantiated accusations against Whiteley were sufficient to win a conviction – and, if the prosecution had sought it, the death penalty – wouldn’t the same be true of now-retired Idaho Falls Police Officer Rick Hansen?

Former prosecutor and ex-con Kimball Mason

When Whiteley returned to Idaho Falls in November 1990, he soon found himself in jail for violating protective orders filed on Canido’s behalf. He was also charged with aggravated assault after Canido – who had just threatened his son with a knife in the presence of a police officer – filed a criminal complaint claiming that she had been the victim in an identical alleged incident to which there were no witnesses.

Shortly before Christmas, he was summoned to the office of Bonneville County Prosecutor Kimball Mason (who would later serve a prison term for trafficking in stolen firearms) and presented with an ultimatum: He could avoid criminal prosecution only if he left Idaho forever.

This arrangement, which Kimball called “sundown bail,” was never the subject of a court order; it was an extra-judicial act of prosecutorial presumption. Nonetheless, after Whiteley was arrested in January, deputy prosecutor John Stosich lied during a bail hearing by describing it as a court order, trying to get Whiteley to admit to violating a previous court order in an effort to deny him bail.

When Whiteley’s defense attorney pointed out the deception to the judge, Stosich – displaying high-viscosity dishonesty remarkable even for a prosecutor – claimed that because he and his boss had deceived Whiteley into thinking “sundown bail” was granted by a judge he should be punished for violating a non-existent court order. Judge Smith was receptive to that argument. He also dismissed defense protests that Whiteley’s January 16, 1991, arrest was unlawful because the protective order had expired: What mattered in that case, Smith insisted, was that Officer Fuhriman believed that the order was valid, or at least that he claimed to.

Whiteley was strongly motivated to leave Idaho Falls, and he made arrangements to move back to Nevada. This included a job offer from a bail enforcement firm that had previously employed him. (This is why he was in possession of a pair of handcuffs and an inoperative stun gun, which played a prominent role in the prosecution’s narrative.) Knowing that it was risky to do so, he returned to Idaho Falls to begin preparations to move his children back to Nevada. This meant that he once again came in contact with Canido – who announced that she was pregnant and demanded that he take her to Salt Lake City for an abortion.

Three trips and a criminal charge

Canido’s initial story was that Whiteley was the child’s father, a claim that doesn’t match up with the timeline. Whiteley would later say that she confided to him that Officer Hansen had impregnated her. Acting in a way that defies rational explanation, Whiteley consented to take her to Utah.

The couple wound up making three trips in January 1991. The first two were made to procure the death of Canido’s unborn child; she balked the first time, then went through with the procedure on the second. By this time, Canido had convinced Whiteley to take her to Las Vegas in the hope of meeting people who could lend her money. That trip ended in Cedar City, Utah, because of inclement weather. Both of them were seen by several people, including a former high school principal who had known Whiteley several years earlier. Several other witnesses saw an unaccompanied Canido while Whiteley was getting gas or tending to other matters, was seen. None of them saw any evidence that she was his prisoner, or that she was desperate to escape a depraved rapist.

In the couple’s absence, Canido’s mother and several members of the Mormon ward she had attended contacted the police – which led to the arrest on January 16. At some point, while Whiteley was in custody for allegedly violating the expired civil protection order, Officer Fuhriman and the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office decided to charge him with rape and kidnapping.

While Whiteley was in jail, Canido made several attempts to contact him. On the morning following his arrest, Whiteley called Canido – unaware that deputy prosecutor Stositch was in her living room with a tape recorder, and was prompting her to ask questions intended to solicit self-incriminating responses.

All Whiteley heard on his end were repeated demands for an apology – which he was willing to give if Canido dropped the charges and left him alone. What he didn’t hear was Stosich whispering to her, “Ask him if he apologizes for the rape.”

By this time, Stosich and his boss had been notified that Whiteley was represented by a public defender, which meant that they were breaking the law by using Canido as an interrogator. Despite his habitual deference to the prosecution, Judge Smith ruled that Sotisch had recruited Canido as a “state agent” through his ventriloquist routine, and excluded the tape recording containing the fabricated pseudo-confession. He also disqualified the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office for its misconduct.

Without corroborating testimony from eyewitnesses, physical evidence from a rape kit, or a confession from Whiteley, the prosecution’s case rested entirely on Canido’s accusations – which she expanded and redefined with practically every sentence she uttered. At one point she startled the prosecutor, Idaho deputy Attorney General Haycock, by claiming that Whiteley had “forced” her to marry him, and had raped her several times between August and December of the previous year.

A verdict without deliberation

The jury was sent out on a Friday evening after being instructed by Judge Smith that reasonable doubt could be overcome if what he called “an inner feeling that directs your understanding” indicated the defendant’s guilt. That facially unreasonable jury instruction was tailored to fit the prejudices of a Mormon jury dealing with a non-Mormon defendant: In the Mormon faith, key truth claims are confirmed through an “inner feeling” that is described as the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Hungry, tired, and eager to dispose of the unpleasant business before it ruined their weekend, the jury “deliberated” for less than two hours before convicting Whiteley. When contacted later by private investigator Mel Daniels, several jurors explained that they weren’t fully persuaded by the prosecution’s case, but that they thought Whiteley looked “mean.”

“It didn’t help his cause any by looking so mean and staring at the jury,” complained Gwynn Miller, who was appointed as foreperson despite the fact that she attended the same Mormon ward as the supposed victim – a fact that was made known to Judge Smith during the trial. “I felt that we were all intimidated by him.”

What Miller and the other jurors saw was not malice, but the righteous fury of an innocent man. Despite the fact that they were unconvinced of his guilt, the jury apparently believed a brief prison term would be a suitable punishment for his visible lack of docility. They were astonished when Smith, insisting that Whiteley was incorrigible, imposed the maximum sentence: 12-25 years for rape, and 25-to-life for kidnapping.

Judge Smith

Bear in mind that just three days earlier Smith had been willing to accept a plea bargain that would have kept Whiteley out of prison entirely. As is so often the case, Smith’s sentence reflected the “trial tax” inflicted by such functionaries on citizens who insist on defending themselves in court.

Five years after being sent to prison, Whiteley persuaded Seventh District Judge Brent Moss to convene a post-conviction hearing in which he and appellate counsel John Radin presented much of the evidence that had been neglected during the trial. This included Pastor Stoneman and other witnesses who had seen a happy, apparently loving couple during several incidents in which Canido was supposedly Whiteley’s hostage. Moss also accepted into evidence the translated transcription of a tape recorded October 1990 phone call in which Canido defiantly told her mother that she intended to marry Whiteley. The mother responded by accusing Whiteley of being a rapist and threated to arrange the seizure of Canido’s children and her deportation to Bolivia.

Called to testify at the post-conviction hearing, Canido was asked simply to repeat her original trial testimony. Rather than doing so, she invoked the Fifth Amendment seventy times. She did so at the explicit urging of her attorney, who was concerned about a potential perjury charge.

On January 7, 1997, Judge Moss issued an order setting aside Whiteley’s conviction and ordering a new trial. Asked about that development, Sergeant Jared Fuhriman paused from his effort to frame Christopher Tapp to express outrage that one of his previous victims would be given an opportunity for exoneration. Fuhriman was doubtless consoled – and relieved – by the Idaho Supreme Court ruling that overturned Judge Moss’s order.

The decision to grant a new trial, Moss explained in a letter to the Idaho State Judicial Council, was made necessary by “Ms. Canido’s evasiveness in answering questions during the post-conviction hearing. Although Ms. Canido did not recant her trial testimony I was left with the uneasy feeling that justice was not served by the original verdict and that a new trial was appropriate. I am still of that same opinion.”

Yes, she recanted

Moss wrote that letter nearly sixteen years ago. Since that time, new evidence has emerged verifying that Canido did recant her accusations in two letters she wrote in September 1999 – the same letters in which she accused former IFPD Officer Rick Hansen of abducting and raping her.

Canido today

Canido, who had committed bigamy by marrying Michael Whiteley in October 1990, married Keith McCabe after Whiteley was arrested. She remained married to McCabe until 2005 when she met a wealthy, elderly widower named John Commander, whom she married in 2006. That marriage was annulled within weeks after Commander’s adult children showed him that Canido was leeching him dry.

During a May 8, 2007, deposition in the annulment proceedings, Canido was asked about the September 1999 letters of recantation. She adamantly refused to answer any questions about those letters, or the Whiteley conviction – until just before the deposition ended at about five o’clock that evening.

“Did you sign them?” asked Commander’s attorney, Jeffrey W. Banks.

“The guy made me sign and I am not going to answer anymore,” Canido angrily replied, thereby authenticating the recantation letters even as she pretended that the long-imprisoned Whiteley had somehow “made” her sign them. A few months later, she fled back to Bolivia, where she remains.

Michael Whiteley is scheduled for a parole hearing on January 25. Even if he were granted parole – which will not happen unless he ratifies his wrongful conviction by acknowledging guilt – he cannot recover the decades that were stolen from him.

In 1991, the State of Idaho threatened to murder Whiteley unless he confessed to a crime he didn’t commit. Twenty-six years later, it is making good on that threat, albeit in sadistically incremental fashion.

 

You Can’t “Cheat” a Gang of Thieves

You Can’t “Cheat” a Gang of Thieves

Shortly after announcing the commutation of former Army Private Manning’s 35-year prison term, Barack Obama quietly issued a pardon for 64 others – including Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.

Following a career in which he hit 521 home runs – tying for the number 20 spot on the all-time list with fellow Cooperstown titans Ted Williams and Frank Thomas – McCovey, like many other retired ballplayers, supplemented his income with sales of autographed memorabilia, and he was not fastidious in providing the state’s parasites with a portion of his honorably earned wealth.

Acting with the ruthless hostility toward honest commerce for which they are properly notorious, investigators with the IRS filed tax evasion charges against McCovey. In 1996, he and fellow Hall of Famer Duke Snider pleaded guilty before US District Judge Edward R. Korman in Brooklyn, and were sentenced to two years of probation. They were also hit with a $5,000 fine.

“It’s one of those things that [were] overlooked at the time and I do accept responsibility for it,” declared McCovey at his sentencing hearing. “The only thing I’d like to say is while I’ve always tried to do the right things, I have never willingly tried to cheat the government.”

While his earnestness is obvious and his civic-mindedness commendable, McCovey should not upbraid himself for neglecting to pay every cent demanded of him by government-licensed extortionists. Obama’s whimsical gesture now relieves the baseball immortal of a federal criminal conviction that should never have existed.

McCovey’s contrition, celebrity, and — to be blunt — ethnicity helped him find favor in the eyes of the Divine One. Obama did not extend similar leniency to other so-called tax cheats, such as actor Wesley Snipes or economist Irwin Schiff — the latter of whom died of cancer in prison at the age of 87. Blind, unable to walk, wracked with unremitting pain, deprived of medical treatment and the solace of his family, Schiff was kept shackled to a bed in what can only be described as deliberate torture worthy of the Soviet gulag.

That comparison is somewhat unfair: As former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky has testified, the KGB guards at Lefortovo Prison who witnessed his torture eventually succumbed to the entreaties of conscience and interceded on his behalf. Prison guards employed in the American soyuz tend to be more dutiful statists than their Soviet antecedents.

Just as McCovey was rewarded for his penitence, Schiff was tortured to death for his defiance. Similar treatment was inflicted on the late George Hansen, a former Idaho Congressman who earned the undying enmity of the State’s revenue-extraction specialists by mounting a quixotic campaign on behalf of tax victims.

After he was convicted of spurious corruption charges in 1985, Hansen was subjected to a month-long ordeal of “Diesel Therapy” — a form of torture in which he was shackled for up to twenty hours a day and forced into stress positions and forced to inhale exhaust fumes. In prison he was forced to work — without protective equipment — in an environment saturated with toxic chemicals and denied medical care.

By taking the side of tax victims, Hansen had made himself a traitor to the political class.

Although his conviction was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court, Hansen, who had been a vigorous, energetic man, never recovered from his fifteen-month stint in prison.

The Regime might make a gesture of regal condescension toward someone like McCovey, but it cannot make concessions to those who present a moral challenge to the system of state terror that the IRS represents.

“More tax is collected by fear and intimidation than by the law,” admitted former IRS District Manager David Patnoe. “People are afraid of the IRS.”

“The language of war and the culture of conflict are the only means to prepare us for what is expected of us,” recalled former IRS revenue officer Richard Yancey in his invaluable memoir Confessions of a Tax Collector. “How else could they” — that is, the commissars whom Yancey and his fellow cadres in the agency dutifully served — “demand what was expected of us? You can’t take [the] life savings [of income tax victims], their car, their paycheck, the roof over their head and the heads of their children, without dehumanizing them, without casting yourself in a role that by necessity makes them the enemy.”

Among those Obama deemed worthy of presidential mercy was the impenitent terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, who conspired to kill people and destroy property. In commuting Rivera’s fifty-year sentence, Obama accepted the claim — made on Rivera’s behalf by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and other ethnic collectivst lobbies — that he was a “political prisoner.”

That description is more suitable of Irwin Schiff, who was never seriously considered a candidate for a posthumous pardon. The Regime can forgive those who advocate mass murder on behalf of collectivist objectives, but the heresy of “tax resistance” can never be forgiven.

No “Blue Privilege” for Kenneth Drew: Repo Man Imprisoned Because Thief Killed Herself

No “Blue Privilege” for Kenneth Drew: Repo Man Imprisoned Because Thief Killed Herself

Pleasant Grove, Utah resident Ashleigh Holloway Best killed herself in the early hours of May 17, 2016, when she lost control of the stolen 2002 Lincoln Navigator she was driving and plowed it into a tree. The man who was pursuing the thief, Kenneth Lee Drew, was the authorized representative of the vehicle’s lawful owner. On January 11, Drew was sentenced to prison because the thief foolishly killed herself.

If Drew had been a government-employed law enforcement officer, rather than a private repossession agent, he would likely have received a hazardous duty commendation following Best’s admittedly tragic death. After all, police officers in Utah and elsewhere routinely use lethal force in dealing with citizens who seek to avoid being physically “repossessed” by agents of the state that supposedly owns them. Most of those cases don’t involve people being pursued for actual crimes, such as automobile theft.

Like too many families, the Bests had been overwhelmed by financial reverses and had fallen behind in their car payments. They reportedly were helping care for ailing relatives and had only one family vehicle. The desperation that gave rise to Ashleigh’s self-destructive decision is as understandable as her actions were inexcusable.

By giving pursuit once Best fled with a car she no longer lawfully owned, Drew acted imprudently. It has never been proven that he deliberately forced Best off the road at the end of the chase, which would have been both criminally irresponsible and self-defeating. In addition to the fact that it is perverse to risk killing someone to recover a stolen car, ramming a vehicle one is seeking to repossess makes no economic sense. It’s likely that Drew’s regrettable decision was a product of frustration, rather than malice.

If he had called the police to report an auto theft, the outcome for Best might well have been identical – but the state operative whose actions led to the fatal crash would be protected by the pernicious legal fiction called “qualified immunity.” That privilege enjoyed by state-licensed plunderers is not extended to private property recovery agents, whose jobs are both unpleasant and frequently dangerous.

“There was [sic] lots of mistakes made that night,” insisted Brennan Best, Ashleigh’s widower, after Drew was sentenced. “I don’t think what was done [to Ashleigh] was done on purpose. But I do believe we all need to be accountable for our own actions.”

Drew made a mistake. Brennan and Ashleigh Best conspired to commit a crime – theft through fraud.

According to the investigative summary in Drew’s indictment, when he arrived at about midnight to reclaim the property for which the Bests were no longer making contractually required payments, Brennan interfered with the repossession and demanded an opportunity to make a new arrangement with the creditor. Drew agreed with that proposal and began processing the necessary forms. While the repo agent was thus preoccupied, Best covertly instructed his wife to take the automobile to a relative’s home.

At that point, Mr. Best became an accomplice in grand larceny: At that point, pending completion of a new payment plan, the automobile was the property of the creditor. If Best had been sincere in his offer to Drew, there was no need to abscond with the vehicle. (In fact, if the couple had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they could have avoided repossession of the Navigator.)

After Ashleigh climbed into the car and sped off, Brennan abetted the theft by “trying to place himself in front” of Drew’s tow truck “to prevent it from following the Navigator,” according to the police account. Ashleigh’s conduct suggests that her husband had instructed her to “drive it like you stole it” – which, in fact, was precisely what she had done.

If her excursion had been innocent, the guilty-minded driver would not have endangered the lives of others by careening through residential streets at speeds of up to seventy miles an hour. Drew acted with culpable recklessness as well – but Brennan Best is criminally liable in the death of his wife, whether or not state functionaries will admit as much.

Unlike police officers in similar situations, Drew – a private peace officer enforcing a legitimate property rights claim – was not offered “Garrity” protections, which would have meant that his initial statement to police could only be used for disciplinary action, rather than criminal prosecution. Nor was he allowed the luxury of reviewing video records of the incident prior to speaking with investigators, another perk extended to police in Utah and elsewhere.

Because of this, Drew’s grief-stricken, guilt-ridden disclosures were critically scrutinized by police eager to build a criminal case. If he had been a fellow member of the Punitive Priesthood, Drew’s equivocations and self-contradictions would have been seen as evidence of trauma, rather than proof of criminal intent.

“I’ve never seen a repo agent be this aggressive,” insisted Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Britt Smith shortly after Drew’s arrest. This is only true to the extent that Smith fails to perceive his costumed comrades as “repo agents” of a sort – because lethally aggressive tactics of the kind Drew allegedly used are quite commonplace.

Investigators claimed, but have not proved, that Drew forced Best off the road using a variation of a PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver. A PIT maneuver is to be used only in situations where deadly force is justified. Yet hyper-aggressive police in Utah employ that tactic frequently; one recent incident of that kind involved a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated. Another episode, interestingly, involved the recovery of a stolen car.

Almost six years to the day before the avoidable, largely self-inflicted death of Ashleigh Best, South Jordan Police Officer Jared Nichols used a PIT maneuver in an effort to trap an SUV driven by Wade Pennington in a cul-de-sac. Pennington, who was on probation and had a court hearing scheduled a few days later, was being pursued without cause by Officers Nichols and Brett Lopez. The official story was that they suspected him of theft, but their supervisor, Sgt. Allen Crist, found no evidence to support that suspicion.

Crist explicitly ordered Nichols not to pursue Pennington, but that order was ignored.

“I’m going to take him out,” Nichols said just a few minutes before trapping Pennington. He and Lopez went “gun-up” to make a felony stop, despite the fact that their target was not suspected of a felony.

After Nichols t-boned Pennington’s SUV, Lopez emerged with a drawn gun and screamed at the driver to “get on the ground – stay where I can see you.” At roughly the same time, Nichols unloaded on Pennington at point-blank range. Immediately after shooting the victim, Nichols snarled, “Freeze, Wade! I’m going to shoot you. Get down on the f***ing ground!”

Pennington was murdered – no other word is adequate – because he was trying to comply with Lopez’s demands. The officer who murdered him spat out two contradictory commands after firing the deadly shots.

The last words Pennington heard were a sadistic taunt hurled at him by Lopez: “You’re dead, mother****r!”

Nichols and Lopez were cleared by their department within 72 hours. Despite having the opportunity to refresh their memories by watching dashcam video of the chase and subsequent killing, the officers told stories that were self-contradictory and contradicted each other.

Lopez was eventually fired for violating the department’s high-speed chase policy but never faced criminal prosecution. As a matter of equity, the same punishment would have been appropriate for Kenneth Drew, who violated his company’s policy by pursuing a vehicle he had been sent to repossess. The only other morally suitable option would have been for Lopez and Nichols to serve the same sentence imposed on Drew.

Officer Nichols not only avoided prosecution, he was promoted. The murder of Wade Pennington exhibited eerie similarities to the 2007 execution of parolee Darren Neil Greuber, who like Pennington had filed an appeal challenging his conviction. The officer who carried out that extra-judicial execution was Jared Nichols. West Jordan Police Sergeant Michael S. Leary, who cleared the officers who killed Greuber, played exactly the same role in exonerating Nichols and Lopez in the killing of Wade Pennington.

As someone not invested with Blue Privilege and buoyed by the financial support of a police union, Drew was maneuvered into pleading guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors asked for a suspended prison sentence.

Utah Fourth District Judge Robert Lunnen, a callow, vindictive jurist who had been on the bench for less than a month, discarded that plea agreement, imposing a sentence of one to fifteen years in prison. The obscenely severe sentence, I suspect, reflects the hostility of tax-fattened functionaries toward those who challenge the State’s monopoly on “justice.”

 

 

The Routine Lawlessness of America’s Law Enforcers

The Routine Lawlessness of America’s Law Enforcers

Enforcers of drug prohibition can be perversely ingenious in devising methods to subvert due process guarantees. One tactic widely employed by police officers looking for a way to circumvent the Fourth Amendment is to intimidate a subject into giving the officers permission to invade the rights of others – such as residents of an apartment building, or passengers in an automobile. That ruse has been rebuffed in two recent state Supreme Court rulings.

Police officers in Berlin, Connecticut who conducted a warrantless search of an apartment complex using a drug-detecting dog violated the Fourth Amendment, acknowledged a December 22nd ruling from that state’s highest appellate court.

In May 2012, acting on an anonymous tip, police obtained permission from the owners and managers of an apartment complex to carry out what was called a “canine examination of the common areas of the building.” A drug-detecting dog named Zeusz was deployed in the hallway of each floor of the complex, and allowed to sniff at the bottom of each door. Zeusz displayed what is called a “passive alert” at unit 204, which prompted the officers to obtain a search warrant. This led to the discovery of several marijuana plants.

The Fourth Amendment’s definition of a reasonable search refers to a particular description of “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”; this language was designed to forbid the kind of general warrants that were commonly used by British military and customs officials in the years immediately prior to the colonial rebellion. By getting the owners of the apartment complex to authorize a warrantless search – waiving the rights of dozens of people to be secure in their individual domiciles — the Berlin Police behaved less like their British forebears than their antecedents in Communist East Germany

The trial court threw out the evidence seized in that search as the product of a Fourth Amendment violation. The State of Connecticut appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court’s decision. The ruling cited a long string of federal judicial precedents – including a recent ruling in a very similar case from Florida – describing the use of warrantless “canine sniffs” as a violation of common law property rights and the un-enumerated right to personal privacy.

Given that dozens or scores of SWAT raids occur, on average, every day in the American Soyuz, it’s clear that Americans cannot look upon their homes as a refuge from government abuse. They are at even greater risk when exercising their freedom of movement, given the predatory conduct of opportunistic police agencies empowered to seize cash and other property in the name of drug prohibition.

Gerald Cleverly was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by his friend Chris Jones when El Dorado, Kansas Police officer Brent Michael Buckley stopped them for not wearing seat belts. Buckley would later admit that he had executed a pretext stop for the purpose of arranging a “consensual” search of the vehicle and its occupants. Both Jones and Cleverly submitted to a pat-down search – which they were not legally required to do – and nothing was found.

Buckley issued the citation, and then – employing a deceptive tactic taught by police training programs such as Desert Snow – he told the motorist that although he was free to go, the officer wanted to ask “a few more questions” and requested permission to search the truck.

The purpose of what Desert Snow operatives call the “Roadside Conversation” tactic is to elicit potentially incriminating details from drivers who are ignorant of the fact that they have no legal responsibility to tell the officer anything. This also extends the traffic stop beyond its constitutionally permissible limit, allowing the officer to devise an “articulable suspicion” of criminal activity that will supposedly justify a “drug sweep” by a conveniently available K-9 handler. This charade inevitably ends with the dog “alerting” on something “suspicious,” which provides an excuse for a hands-on search of the vehicle.

This script was followed by El Dorado PD officers Buckley and Sam Huming, with the minor adaptation that a K-9 unit wasn’t necessary.

A search of the interior of Jones’s vehicle turned up no evidence of contraband. Since the driver had “consented” on behalf of his passenger, Cleverly was ordered out of the car and subjected to a second pat-down search. He was told that he was not free to leave and forbidden to use his cell phone, which means that he was in police custody, despite the officers’ subsequent claims to the contrary. A search of a cigarette package found a small amount of methamphetamine.

Cleverly was arrested and later found guilty of drug possession and sentenced to eighteen months of probation. The court dismissed a motion to suppress the drug evidence on the grounds that it was produced through a consensual search. The Kansas Supreme Court has now reversed Cleverly’s conviction.

The rights protected by the Fourth Amendment and its state equivalent, wrote the court’s majority, belong to the individual and are “not merely inconvenient technicalities designed to irritate government agents.” Furthermore, “A driver of a vehicle subjected to a traffic stop does not have the authority, as a matter of law, to waive the Fourth Amendment rights of passengers in the stopped vehicle.”

Judicial rulings of this kind, while welcome, have little practical impact on the conduct of police and the prosecutors who eagerly exploit routine police lawlessness. In her June, 2011 UC-Davis Law Review essay “The Police Gamesmanship Dilemma in Criminal Procedure,” Professor Mary D. Fan of the University of Washington School of Law points out that police departments are adept at finding ways to “slide around the rules” and can always develop “tactics that undermine the purpose of rules” established by the judiciary.

It is for this reason that most of the criminal misconduct that occurs on America’s thoroughfares is committed by people engaged in what Fan calls the “competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime” – where “crime” is described as violations of government edicts that have nothing to do with the protection of persons and property.

 

 

“Build the Wall” With Slave Labor, Urges Massachusetts Sheriff

“Build the Wall” With Slave Labor, Urges Massachusetts Sheriff

“Liberty, if I understand it at all, is a general principle, and the clear right of the subjects within the realm, or of none,” declared British statesman Edmund Burke in an April 3, 1777 message to the Sheriffs of Bristol. “Partial freedom seems to me a most invidious mode of slavery. But, unfortunately, it is the kind of slavery the most easily admitted in times of civil discord: for parties are but too apt to forget their own future safety in their desire of sacrificing their enemies.”

The tyrannical measures that had provoked the American rebellion, wrote Burke, threatened liberty throughout Britain’s dominions. Once imposed in a time of crisis, he explained, they “may be advanced further and further at pleasure, on the same argument of mere expediency.”

Thomas Hodgson is a sheriff of Bristol — in this case, Bristol County, Massachusetts — and a very different kind of “public servant” from those to whom Burke sent his message. Indeed, he seems to embody the preference for authoritarian expediency that Burke condemned, as demonstrated by his suggestion that the federal government should conscript prison labor to build Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,” insisted Hodgson during the swearing-in ceremony for his fourth term. “Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in their communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful.”

Hodgson used his inaugural speech to announce an initiative he calls Project N.I.C.E. – National Inmates’ Community Endeavors – through which prison convicts and inmates of county jails would provide what he calls “volunteer” labor for disaster relief and other government public works projects.

“We need to turn this country around and put law and order back in place,” insisted Hodgson. “That’s why today, I am making a formal offer to President-elect Trump that inmates from Bristol County and others from across the nation through Project N.I.C.E. will help build the wall.”

Hodgson’s call for a nation-wide levee en masse of prison labor assumes a steady supply of convicts – and the State excels at making innocent people into criminal offenders.

Contrary to what Trump and his most eager acolytes would have us believe, there is no paucity of “law and order” in American society. The level of violent crime remains at or near an historic low, even as the prison population continues to expand.

Analyzing the available data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, New York Daily News reporter David J. Krajicek contrasted national crime statistics from 2014 – the last year for which they are available – and 1987. His survey found that the overall crime rate at that point in Reagan’s presidency was 612 instances of violence for every 100,000 people; in 2014; it was 365 per 100,000, a 40 percent decline. There were roughly 320,000 fewer violent crimes in 2014 than in 1987; one notable comparison is offered by the fact that there were 20,096 murder cases in 1987, and 14,249 in 2014.

Adjusted for our larger population, there was a fifty percent decline in robbery during the same period, and an overall 48 percent decline in property crime generally.

Similar trends are seen in the number of on-duty police officer deaths: During the Reagan era, the average annual rate of officer fatalities was 189, compared to 135 during the Obama presidency.  Last year, there were 140 on-duty fatalities, a little more than half of which (77) were homicides.

With the decline in crimes against both property and person, the State has turned to prohibition as a way of feeding its carceral apparatus. In 2015, arrests for marijuana possession outnumbered arrests for all violent crimes. This may be seen as either the final throes of a dying institution – or the beginning of its revival, under anti-marijuana obscurantist Jeff Sessions.

The population from which Hodgson would collect his slave labor force would be – overwhelmingly, if not exclusively — non-violent offenders. Most of those conscripted from county jails would be hapless, economically marginal people incarcerated for petty violations of useless municipal ordinances, including those whose “offense” consisted of such things as failing to manicure their yards to the satisfaction of code enforcement officers.

Indeed, the reason such statutes were enacted to begin with was to provide a steady stream of fine-generated revenue, and a self-sustaining supply of inmate labor. This is documented in Douglas A. Blackmon’s book Slavery by Another Name. Blackmon’s research led him to conclude that municipal ordinances in the post-Emancipation South were designed and enforced with the purpose of producing large pools of inmate labor to be leased to large corporate interests. Other versions of this analysis had been advanced earlier in criminologist Thorsten Sellin’s study Slavery and the Penal System, and David Oshinsky’s book Worse Than Slavery.

Blackmon’s account begins with the story of 22-year-old Green Cottenham, who was arrested for “vagrancy” by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama. “Vagrancy” was the stickiest of catch-all charges used to round up anyone unable “to prove at a given moment that he or she [was] employed.”

At the time and place of Cottenham’s arrest, the charge was most frequently used to justify the arrest of young black men, many of whom were itinerant workers seeking gainful employment. Cottenham was quickly convicted following a burlesque of a trial and sentenced to thirty days of hard labor.

In a fashion instantly familiar to most people incarcerated today, Cottenham was unable to pay an array of “fees” that accompanied his spurious incarceration. So the thirty-day sentence was quickly expanded to a full year. Immediately thereafter, Cottenham was “leased” — or, as his parents, both of whom former slaves, would put it, sold — to the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel.

One of thousands of black men vended by sheriffs across Alabama, Cottenham was dispatched to work in Slope No. 12, a coal shaft that formed part of the Pratt Mines near Birmingham.

“Imprisoned in what was then the most advanced city of the South, guarded by whipping bosses employed by the most iconic example of the modern corporation emerging in the gilded North, [Cottenham and his co-workers] were slaves in all but name,” observes Blackmon.

Thousands perished from disease, overwork, and accidents, their mortal remains interred in shallow graves not far from where they expired. All of this is seen as an indictment of a barbarous past we have supposedly transcended. But the system described by Blackmon — opportunistic law enforcement feeding non-violent offenders into a penal system hard-welded to government-favored corporations – still exists.

Like Communist China, the American Soyuz has a Laogai (“reform through labor) prison manufacturing system. Working through Unicor, a public-private partnership created during the Great Depression to create “factories with fences,” corporations employ prisoners to manufacture products from designer jeans to computer circuit boards.

The entities that profit from the American Laogai would be eager to participate in Donald Trump’s border wall project, which would be among the largest corporatist undertakings since the New Deal. Law and Order Leninists would be thrilled by the spectacle envisioned by Sheriff Hodgson – until they learn, in the most unpleasant way imaginable, how easily the State can turn harmless people into slaves.

Inside the Tiny, Uncluttered Mind of a Cop

Inside the Tiny, Uncluttered Mind of a Cop

A retired member of the exalted Brotherhood of State-Sanctified Coercion recently rebuked a heretic:

I take umbrage with your article for Lew Rockwell. While certainly I agree with your premise that one should not give to police charities and thereby expect special privileges, you cubby-hole police officers with your example in Idaho.  How utterly disgusting that you berate this officer and his wife for exercising their Constitutional Right to file bankruptcy!  You DO NOT KNOW their circumstances—they may have had extreme medical expenses with themselves or one of their children.

I, Sir, served four years in the incomparable Marine Corps, six years in the active reserve and 20+ years as a police officer in two+ major metropolitan arenas, and, I became disabled while ‘on-duty’.  Contrary to your woeful disrespect for the police and your efforts to transport those ideas to the public, I would like you to know that we do not hate the public, we do not sit in donut shops and often, as you are well aware, we give our lives (Dallas, George, California, New York, Pennsylvania, et al) for the safety of our community just as a soldier in Iraq.  Are you going to write to the wives, mothers, fathers and children of these police officers who gave their ultimate gift of life and berate their husbands, sons and fathers for being a member of the thin blue line? Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends.

 We care about people’s lives, we care about the safety of the citizens of our nation and we love our country; and Sir, we don’t become, by and large, police officers and deputy sheriffs to bully the public and to make life miserable just because we are able.  Police die early deaths from suicide, cancer, strokes and heart attacks because of the stress of being a law enforcement officer.  The mean life expectancy of a retired law enforcement officer is 18 months. Because I was serving the citizens of my community, I am 100% permanently and totally disabled and suffer a lifetime of various levels of pain; and here, I have a miscreant (you) with disgusting disrespect narrative condemning the police and one in particular for filing bankruptcy.  You Sir, are disgusting human and miscreant.  The next time someone breaks into your home or assaults you, call your friends and whine to them, I am sure they will reimburse your losses and they will become a posse and hunt for the scum who violated you and your home/family, and don’t use the facilities that were there to protect you and catch the culprits who violated your home and/or body.

May your wife have 10 more children—all different nationalities.  I don’t, generally forget a face or missive, but in your case I’ll make an acceptation. 

With disdain and contempt,

Seán Mac an Airchinnigh

Retired Deputy Sheriff and Police Officer

Proud to be an American, God Bless the USA!!
The impenitent blasphemer replied:

I’m not surprised by the reminder that reading comprehension isn’t among the skills tested through POST certification. Law enforcement is an occupation that selects for people who tend to communicate through non-verbal means, after all.

Nowhere in my essay did I suggest that people donate to police charities in the hope of receiving “special privileges”; my point is that the people who administer those funds are protected by the legal fiction called “qualified immunity,” which gives them an unearned sense of privilege and makes them untrustworthy. This is abundantly demonstrated by the pervasive pilferage from FOP coffers. The recent case in Idaho is merely one of hundreds that have happened nation-wide. You would be wise to call for a forensic audit of your own union kitty; alas, your note suggests that you are a stranger in the house of wisdom.

Mark and Sara Furniss aren’t liable to criticism for seeking to discharge their debts through bankruptcy. If you had paid attention to the details — or had them explained to you by someone who can understand them — you would have noticed that they tried to use bankruptcy to consummate their embezzlement by listing their victims at the FOP as “creditors” and then heading north to Alaska to escape apprehension. This is attempted bankruptcy fraud.

Were I to credit official claims regarding the abilities of law enforcement officers, I would express disappointed surprise at your inability to recognize the elements of that offense. Since I’ve studied law enforcement for more than a quarter-century, your performance is precisely what I expected.

Why aren’t you incandescent with rage over crimes committed by police, against police — and the public at large — when they steal from funds supposedly dedicated to providing for wounded officers, and the families of officers who have died on-duty? I am mortally disgusted by such behavior, and that reaction ripens into rage when I see how “blue privilege” continues to protect such offenders, who are routinely given lenient sentences and sometimes allowed to keep their subsidized pensions. It’s odd that this is apparent to a purported miscreant like myself, while being ignored by an upstanding paragon of civic righteousness such as yourself.

You are doubtless aware….

No, strike that; going on the evidence [above] I would be unwise to entertain a generous estimate of your awareness.

A long line of judicial precedents documents that police officers have no enforceable duty to protect any individual citizen from criminal violence. This is even true when one is literally being hacked to death just a few feet away while apprehending an armed psychopath who had eluded the police. Take a second and Google “Joe Lozito” for the details of that case. Lozito subdued a knife-wielding serial killer while a member of your bold fraternity of badge-wearing badasses cowered behind a subway door just a few feet away. While Lozito was recuperating in the hospital, the cowardly officer was being feted as a “hero” — and the city dismissed Lozito’s legal claim by invoking the well-settled doctrine that the police have no particularized duty to protect the public.

Slogans about the selfless service of law enforcement don’t find traction among people who have studied the issue to any depth.

Since police and rapists are the only violent predators who expect their victims to submit without resistance, it is appropriate that the coda of your puerile note obliquely expresses the hope that my wife will become the victim of serial rape. I am constrained to point out, however, that the word “acceptation” is not a synonym for the word you must have intended to use, which is “exception.”

Have a nice Christmas, if possible.

Will Grigg

 

Want Crime to Go Down? Abolish the Local Police

Want Crime to Go Down? Abolish the Local Police

Bunker Hill, Indiana, is a village of 900 people. It has not been consumed by the maelstrom of criminal violence that – we are told – would descend on any community even briefly deprived of the divine protection offered by a police department. The village obviously didn’t need the department it had until December 12, when the Town Marshal and his four reserve deputies walked off the job to protest decisions by the town board.

“We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Marshal Michael Thomison explained. Most of his complaints had to do with proposed budget cut-backs, and a refusal on the part of the council to purchase body armor for all five members of the department.

“I did not want to send someone out there with bad body armor,” grouses Thomison. “I told them we have to provide this…. They were just not receptive to having a police department.”

It’s just no fun to play dress-up and swagger around the village unless the kids get the full costume and all of the accessories. The historical resonance of the village’s name notwithstanding, Thomison and his buddies were not under siege by heavily armed adversaries, nor was there any realistic expectation that they ever would be.

Crime is practically non-existent in Bunker Hill – the most recent report lists one violent and ten property crimes – and the village is fifteen minutes away from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in the county seat of Peru (a deranged cartographer was apparently responsible for assigning city and county names). It’s therefore reasonable to consider the police department as an unnecessary expense, and a potential source of avoidable trouble. That latter consideration, ironically, was underscored by the disgruntled officers themselves, who have accused town councilors of asking them to conduct unlawful background checks on each other.  The municipal officials stoutly deny ever making such requests.

What is the purpose of inflicting a police department on a minuscule settlement where crimes against persons and property are practically unknown? The obvious answer is that while such towns might be welcome havens from private criminal violence, there can be no sanctuary from revenue collection – and this is the core function of government law enforcement agencies, as Sheriff Eddie Soileau of Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish has recently reminded us.

Soileau’s office is dealing with budget cuts, layoffs, and a Justice Department civil rights investigation, and is thus determined to pare operations down to the basics. To that end, he asked for, and received, an advisory opinion from the state’s Attorney General regarding the following question: Can he legally operate “without having law enforcement duties,” and simply carrying out the role of a tax collector?

The Louisiana State Constitution, replied the Attorney General’s office, specifies that he is to be “the collector of state and parish ad valorem taxes and such other taxes and license fees as provided by law.” Where law enforcement is concerned, the sheriff’s duties are a matter of discretion. He is required to “keep the peace and make arrests,” but is not required to appoint a specific number of deputies to carry out that function. “Should a sheriff choose not to appoint deputies to assist in his law enforcement role, we could cite no statute that would forbid such a choice,” concluded the AG’s opinion.

Odd as this might seem to people who were suckled on resilient myths about sheriffs and police officers as valiant defenders of the public and protectors of private property, Sheriff Soileau’s arrangement actually restores his office to its primordial purpose.

Following the Norman conquest of England, the existing kinship-based system for defense of property and settlement of disputes was supplanted by a feudal order enforced through royal appointees called shire-reeves or shire-riffs – antecedents of the modern sheriff. Their duty was to maintain the “king’s peace” by collecting taxes and preventing private efforts at restitution for injuries. It was impermissible for subjects to settle disputes among themselves, since this would deprive the royal treasury of the fees imposed through the embryonic state’s “justice” system.

This is the disreputable origin of the venerable office of the local sheriff, the only lawman whose occupation is even remotely compatible with the American constitutional tradition. A spare handful of contemporary sheriffs, at most, see their role as protecting property rights, rather than serving the privileged elite that preys on the public, and they can expect to be harassed and driven from office.

Everything the State says is a lie, everything it claims to own it has stolen, and every act undertaken to enforce the State’s edicts is a crime. The disappearance of a law enforcement agency enhances the personal security of those residing in any community where such a blessed development occurs.

Snouts in the Trough, Hooves in the Till: Why You Shouldn’t Donate to Police Charities

Snouts in the Trough, Hooves in the Till: Why You Shouldn’t Donate to Police Charities

The median annual household income in Idaho is roughly $49,000. Mark Furniss, 46, was making almost $20,000 a year in excess of that figure when he resigned from his job as a Boise Police Officer on October 20, the same day he and his wife Sara filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At the time, Sara was employed as a “safe schools assistant” in the recently created West Ada School District.

Together, Mark and Sara Furniss easily cleared $100,000 a year in salary and benefits, which is more than enough for their family of four to enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle in Boise. Yet Mark and Sara allegedly used their positions as president and office manager, respectively, with Treasure Valley Lodge #11 of the Fraternal Order of Police to embezzle $73,000 over a five-year period.

The couple’s pilferage from the FOP’s accounts was noticed no later than February, which is when he was confronted by the organization’s president over his use of a union credit card to buy tickets to a Pittsburgh Pirates game and make more than $500 in personal purchases at a department store. A forensic audit was conducted, which quickly discovered that Mrs. Furniss had been systematically overpaying herself (she drew a salary from the FOP), misusing a lodge credit card, and had caused hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees. She later disclosed to investigators that she had set up an automatic withdrawal from an FOP account to pay the family’s cable television bill.

Detective Gary Marang of the Nampa Police Department, which has investigated the matter to avoid a conflict of interest, recalled in an affidavit that the couple also used FOP funds to make a $2,700 down payment on a travel trailer. They most likely intended to make use of that trailer to flee the jurisdiction: After filing for bankruptcy on October 20 (listing the FOP as among the “creditors” who would be stiffed by them), Mr. and Mrs. Furniss reportedly planned to head north to Alaska in search of a “fresh start.”

Like countless others, the Mark and Sara fell hard in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. Their financial disclosure form lists a total of $572,992 in assets, including a Meridian home valued at $230,000. Their estimated liabilities are $384,095, which includes “more than a dozen credit cards and five charge accounts,” observes the Idaho Statesman. They had also purchased two expensive late-model SUVs. Despite the fact that they both drew very generous tax-subsidized salaries, they listed their monthly income at $869, with $5,742 in monthly expenses. Perhaps the most shocking line item in the form was the disclosure that the total value of the family’s checking accounts was $864.

In the two weeks prior to the couple’s November 25 arrest, their FOP chapter had collected more than $73,000 through a GoFundMe account to raise money for three officers – two humans and a “K9 officer” – who were wounded in a shootout with a fugitive. It would have been useful for the public to know that the people in charge of the lodge’s finances had embezzled nearly an identical amount.

Mark and Sara have two very young children, a fact that will be taken into account when they are given the customary Blue Privilege discount at sentencing time. Former Richfield, Ohio police officer Michael Simmons benefited from official leniency when his own longstanding embezzlement from the local FOP was discovered.

Simmons has confessed to stealing more than $26,000 the FOP’s “Shop with a Cop” program, which is used to buy Christmas gifts for poor children.

One might expect to see exemplary punishment imposed on someone who committed a Dickensian offense of that kind. One would be wrong to do so, when the offender is a member of the state’s enforcement caste.

As was the case with Mark and Sara Furniss, Simmons squandered  money raised for charitable purposes on personal expenses and luxuries, including electronics, clothing, tools, and tickets to sporting events. Rather than being sent to prison for felony theft, the 42-year-old Simmons was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence, two years of probation, and 500 hours of community service. He will also be required to pay back only $15,000 of the money he stole, so full restitution – which is the only legitimate punishment for a crime against property – will not be required.

According to Richfield, Ohio Police Chief Keith Morgan, one reason Simmons won’t be required to pay back the full amount is because “the program’s lax bookkeeping made it difficult to pin down exactly how much was stolen and how much went to legitimate purchases,” reports the Akron Beacon Journal.

Simmons’s attorney, Mark Guidetti, says that the judge’s very generous terms will allow Simmons to move on with his life and get another job. Now that he is tagged with a fourth-degree felony, it’s likely that he won’t find another gig involving a gun, badge, and qualified immunity.

It is possible, of course, that his record could be expunged two years from now, which would allow him to follow the “Gypsy Cop” ratline and find employment in another jurisdiction. Notwithstanding his dismal employment history, he might even be hired by another department in Ohio. Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland police officer who murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice, actually failed upward into a job with a larger department after his performance review with the department afflicting the tiny town of Independence, Ohio described him as someone unsuitable for a career in law enforcement.

News Roundup

News Roundup 9/25/20

US News The attorney of Mike Flynn releases documents on Crossfire Razor. [Link] John Durham unredacted a footnote in the Horowitz Report that shows a sub-source of the Steele Dossier was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence probe from 2009-2011. [Link] The US,...

Blog

RIP Keith Hufnagel

RIP Keith Hufnagel, great skater and great spreader of skateboarding to the people. Someone figure out how to cure cancer please. Thrasher's eulogy: THE WORD LEGEND has entered our everyday lexicon to the point that we've lost sight of its huge power and rarity. Keith...

Cops Break 10-Year-Old Autistic Boy’s Arm

Oops. His mom made the terrible mistake of calling 911 on her own son. Well, she asked for an ambulance, but they sent the Gestapo. There will be no accountability for the criminal police officers. They may commit any crime they feel like because they are government...

War On Cops!

Another poor little victim police officer faked the story of his "ambush." FTP: "Apparently, the deputy went so far as to hit himself in the head to fake the attack and was even hospitalized. Amazingly enough, it only took the department 24 hours to realize Dooley was...

The Scott Horton Show

Free Man Beyond the Wall

Conflicts of Interest

Government Employees Loot and Shoot with Impunity

On Conflicts of Interest #12, Kyle and Will break down the grand jury verdict on the Breonna Taylor murder, resulting in no charges directly linked to her death for any of the officers involved. A new report shows that the Pentagon handed $1 billion meant for...

Afghan Talks Off to a Rocky Start as Violence Spikes

On Conflicts of Interest #11, Kyle and Will update ongoing peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which continue despite a sharp spike in violence in the country. Trump's Department of Justice has designated Seattle, Portland and New York City as...

Don't Tread on Anyone

A Message to the LGBT Community

https://youtu.be/b-_XQSixEuA ... it is peculiar that while liberals are in favor of any sexual activity engaged in by two consenting adults, when these consenting adults engage in trade or exchange, the liberals step in to harass, cripple, restrict, or prohibit that...

Year Zero

SCOTUS w/Michael Harris

Michael Harris joins Tommy to discuss the history, importance, and failures of the Supreme Court. He offers examples of supreme court justices acting in accordance with the Consritution, and examples of them ignoring the Constitution while offering up some ways the...

Are We Witnessing A Color Revolution?

Tommy explores the left and right claims that the other is in the process of instituting a coup. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/strangerencounterspodcast/are_we_witnessing_a_coup.mp3

Support via Amazon Smile

Get your official Libertarian Institute Merchandise!

Order Today!

Book Foolssm

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

by Scott Horton

Book Paulsm

The Great Ron Paul

by Scott Horton

Book Griggsm

No Quarter: The Ravings of William Norman Grigg

by Will Grigg

Book Animalssm

What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

by Sheldon Richman

Book Palestinesm

Coming to Palestine

by Sheldon Richman

Pin It on Pinterest