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Observations and commentary from a Christian libertarian perspective, written by a freedom-obsessed father of six children and husband to one exquisitely lovely wife.
Updated: 1 hour 31 min ago

A "Deal" to Protect the Guilty: Bonneville County's Indecent Proposal to Chris Tapp (IMPORTANT UPDATE, 3/21)

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 22:43


Danny Clark's 14th Century antecedent administers "justice."

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 reportedlyseeking 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.
A grieving heroine: Carol Dodge. 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 aletter 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."
No better than a child molester: Fuhriman. 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 convictionof Lanny Smith, and the utterly bizarre rape convictionof 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.

At one point during the lengthy (and, thankfully, video-recorded) process of manipulating Tapp into a false confession, Sergeant Fuhriman told the victim to look carefully at a religious icon the interrogator displayed as a tie-pin -- a figure of the Angel Moroni, who is revered as a divine messenger in the Mormon faith. Fuhriman explained to Tapp that he was a Mormon Bishop (a position broadly congruent with that of a parish priest) and assured his victim that he would act as his"guardian angel" -- while warning that he was also his "last hope."

Fuhriman new that the DNA evidence at the murder scene had excluded Tapp. The police sergeant was also aware that Tapp's utter lack of familiarity with the specifics of that crime, or the scene where it occurred, meant that he was being maneuvered into a false confession.

None of this mattered to Fuhriman, who -- with his comrades Steven Finn and Ken Brown -- preyed on the vulnerabilities  of their captive, weaknesses that Furhiman had come to know when he was prowling the halls of the junior high school Tapp had attended several years earlier.

Assistant prosecutor John Shindurling, who tried the case in May 1998, was present for an interrogation session during which Tapp's captors systematically fed him details of a crime with which he had nothing to do. Shindurling would later assure the jury that only through direct involvement in that crime could Tapp have known those details. Fuhriman himself would directly perjure himself on the witness stand by making the same claim.

If Danny Clark were any part of a man, he would move to vacate Tapp's conviction, and seek appropriate punishment for Fuhriman and his accomplices in this monumental crime.

In 1880, as her dispossessed people were being starved through the instrumentality of a corrupt Indian agent named James Wilbur, the heroic Sarah Winnemucca confronted that pious fraud. Wilbur, who was given to religious posturing, had accused Winnemucca of "putting the Devil" into the heads of the Paiutes by explaining how the agent had been making himself wealthy by embezzling money and supplies that had been promised to the desperate people over whom he had been given control.

"Mr. Wilbur, you forget that you are a Christian when you can talk so to me," she told him in tones of well-earned, and tightly controlled, contempt. "You are starving my people here.... Everybody in Yakima City knows what you are doing, and hell is full of just such Christians as you are!"

Danny Clark, Jared Fuhriman, and their co-conspirators have implicated themselves in one of the most egregious criminal injustices in the history of Idaho. Everybody who has studied the case knows what they have done, and are doing now -- and hell is full of such sanctimonious frauds as they are.

                      Update: The Bastards of Bonneville County Have 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.

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.


 

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast also examines the most recent developments regarding Chris Tapp's wrongful imprisonment:



Be sure to visit the Libertarian Institute -- which will be publishing my forthcoming book on the Christopher Tapp case.





Dum spiro, pugno!

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They're All "Heroes" -- No Matter What Laws they Enforce

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 22:27

Actually, it was a righteous rebellion, not a mere "riot."


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 an in 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.
William Parker 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 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.”
Dickinson Gorsuch “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.
"Tragedy at Christiana": Yes, it was called a "tragedy."
“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.
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, as well they should.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast also examines the Christiana Rebellion:




Be sure to visit the Libertarian Institute.







Dum spiro, pugno!


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Teaching Kids to Trust the Police is Child Abuse

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 00:57

Somebody who would do this to a child should be horsewhipped, at the very least.

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 officers 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 his 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 and its human emissaries. “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 ask what advice they had been given by their parents. 
“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.’ Not once have I ever met the child of a member of law enforcement who had been told anything different.” 
Several news accounts mention the fact that among those who objected to the Northampton police outreach program included “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 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 was a case involving a delicate snowflake who filed a complaint after his feelings were hurt– none other than Lt. Frank Gordo, who lodged a complaint against the mother of his victim, accusing her of “discriminating” against him by taking 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.” 
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-intentioned 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 Chris 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. Desperate to clear the case, and left without any good leads after DNA evidence had cleared the three young men considered suspects – including Tapp – Fuhriman used his supposed friendship with his victim to lure him into lengthy interrogation sessions that 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?

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, acting on an invitation from the late Justice Scalia, insists that the Second Amendment doesn't protect the right of Mundanes to possess "weapons of war." If it didn't, that amendment would be worse than useless, as I explain in this week's Freedom Zealot Podcast:



Be sure to check out the Libertarian Institute -- and share it with your liberty-minded friends.







Dum spiro, pugno!

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Sheik Omar: The Death of a Deep State Asset

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 01:39




It is one of nature’s ironic mercies that the same disease responsible for disfiguring Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman’s face left him blind, thereby sparing him the sight of his Gorgon-like features. The sheik died from complications of that disease – diabetes – at age 78 in a federal prison cell in North Carolina, 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 killing of Kahane: Clues found -- and hidden -- by the FBI. 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.”

Catch and release: Mohammed. 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.

Appendages of the same beast: CIA asset Omar with FBI informant Salem. 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." Unsatisfied, 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.


My apologies: An accident involving an icy parking lot and gravity's cruel demands -- and a knee suddenly wrenched in a direction contrary to its design specifications -- left me immobilized for a while, and the resulting backlog explains the unusually long hiatus at this page. I appreciate your patience.


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Meet the New "Specially Protected Class"

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 19:19





Adams Lin literally fainted as he read a court order authorizing federal marshals to confiscate his property. The officers seizedhis 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 assignedto 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 Horatiusat 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 describedthe privileged personalities who constitute the state’s punitive caste as “the most mistreated people” in society. In a recent exercise in self-pity publishedby 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.”

Yeah, they're just like victims of Jim Crow.
“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 re-tellings: 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 SSRswithin 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.
 Caesar keeps the Praetorians happy.
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.


The same Regime that promises border security has been known to vet refugees for the purpose of recruiting terrorists -- but what should we expect from a system based on demographic central planning? This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast:



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Strangle the Bastard Child of Prohibition: Abolish the ATF!

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 01:25

Whatever would we do without helpful people like this goon?

Acting on its unerring instinct for expanding its own power while exacerbating the suffering of its subjects, the federal government, at the request of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and with the approval of President Trump, is planningto deploy a contingent from the entityknown as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly called the ATF) to Chicago.  

This will do nothing to abate the problem of violent crime in the Second City, but will provide the agency with continued rationale for its misbegotten existence – which, as it happens, began in that same city decades ago.

The ATF was born as the Bureau of Prohibition – a brief experiment in federal behavior control that was made possible by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution. Chicago native Elliot Ness, an inveterate self-promoter, headedmuch-celebrated bootlegging task force that spent six months raiding Al Capone’s breweries, which was in effect a price-support program for one of the gangster’s few morally sound enterprises.

Self-mythologizing fraud Elliot Ness.
Ness and his underlings eventually compiled a 5,000-count bootlegging indictment against Capone, which the US Attorney politely ignored as he filed tax-evasion charges that eventually brought about the gangster’s imprisonment – and enhanced the power of the immeasurably deadlier criminal syndicate called the IRS. 

When the 18th Amendment was repealed, the Prohibition Bureau lost any rationale for its lawful existence – yet rather than being abolished, it was rechristened and given an even more expansive mandate.

Over the past 25 years, the ATF has been consistently mired in misconduct, often of a murderous nature. The April 1993 slaughter of the Branch Davidians in their sanctuary outside Waco, Texas began with an unnecessary ATF armed raid called “Operation Showtime” – which was staged to deflect attention from an internal corruption scandal. More recently the agency was involved in the “Operation Fast and Furious” imbroglio, in which it pressured federally licensed gun dealers to sell weapons to agents of Mexican cartels in a supposed sting operation.

In ways both grand and petty, the ATF has plagued and persecuted its betters. In one telling but long-forgotten episodemore than a decade ago, a college student in Georgia found himself surrounded by a thugscrum of ATF chair-moisteners – one of whom planted his knee upon the victim’s neck, placing the full measure of his tax-enhanced girth behind it – because he was seen wearing a ninja costume as part of a campus event. Unfortunately for the victim, that campus was temporarily infested by ATF hirelings who – no doubt between visits to the local brothels – were undergoing “Safe Streets Training.”


The ATF is an appendage of the Leviathan that exists without so much of an echo of a whisper of a hint of constitutional legitimacy, for the sole purpose of providing secure, albeit socially useless, employment for reprobates, criminals, and degenerates. No provision of the US Constitution authorizes any agency of the federal government to regulate alcohol, tobacco, or explosives, and the Second Amendment explicitly forecloses federal infringement of the right to own and carry firearms. This means that the ATF is literally a bastard agency carrying out an illegitimate mission.

The only useful activity for federal legislators consists of repealing existing statutes and abolishing federal agencies. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, in defiance of all rational expectations for denizens of the political class, has made himself modestly useful by proposinga bill called the ATF Elimination Act that would impose an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and order its administrators to prepare a report on transferring its existing functions to the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other departments.

“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission,” declares Representative Sensenbrenner. Abolishing the ATF would be “a logical place to begin draining the swamp and acting in the best interest of the American Taxpayer.”

Regrettably, Sensenbrenner’s bill would merely channel the institutional feculence of the ATF into two other federal agencies that are badly in need of abolition. Agencies of that kind will endure while there are lives to ruin and liberties to infringe -- and those on the receiving end of its malign attention are willing to countenance their continued existence.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast: There are two varieties of "Trump Derangement Syndrome" -- and both of them are inimical to individual liberty --




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Don't Trigger Sheriff Snowflake -- Or He May Have You Killed

Sat, 01/28/2017 - 12:01




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 ever 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.

Listen to this week's Freedom Zealot Podcast for more on the misadventures of Sheriff Snowflake:



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The Slow-Motion State Murder of Michael Whiteley

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 00:43


 The "Black Widow of Bonneville County": Silvia Canido, seen here in Bolivia.

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 toldBonneville County District Judge Marvin Smith just minutes after being offered a plea bargainthrough 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.

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 Stosich. 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. 
 Composite portrait of Silvia and Michael.
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 the hostage (meaning Whiteley, not Silvia) were cooperate 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? 

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. 
 Ex-prosecutor, and ex-con, Mason.
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 Furhiman 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 an inoperable stun gun, which would eventually play an important role in the fanciful narrative concocted by the prosecution during his subsequent trial.) 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 friends of his 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. 
 Judge Smith.
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 suitable punishment for his visible lack of docility. They were astonished when Smith, insisting that Whiteley was incorrigible, imposed what amounted to a life sentence. 

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 in 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.  Judge Moss On January 7, 1997, Judge Moss issued an ordersetting aside Whiteley’s conviction and ordering a new trial. Asked about that development, Sergeant Jared Furhiman 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 six 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, 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. Still on the make: Canido in Bolivia. 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 any more,” 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.                                                        This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast

If Kenneth Lee Drew had been a cop enforcing state edicts, rather than a repo man defending property rights, he would have gotten a commendation following a pursuit in which a thief killed herself. Not protected by "Blue Privilege," he is going to prison, instead:


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When A Fugitive Dies, "Blue Privilege" Makes All the Difference

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 11:48




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 prisonbecause 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.
Foolish choice, tragic death: Ashleigh Best. 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 horrible, perhaps unforgivable, 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 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 7bankruptcy, 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 criminallyliable 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,” insistedPleasant 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 recentincident of that kind involved a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated. Another episode, interestingly, involved 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 saidjust 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 afterfiring 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 was the second time Nichols had slaughtered an unarmed man after immobilizing his vehicle in a parking lot: He had followed almost exactly the same procedure in executing Darren Neil Greuber, who like Pennington was a parolee, in 2007. The investigating officer who had cleared Nichols in the Greuber killing, West Jordan PD Sergeant Michael S. Leary, performed the same right of absolution after Nicholas gunned down Pennington two years later.
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.”

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the death of Ashleigh Best, the murder of Wade Pennington, and other examples official privilege:



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The Perverse Ingenuity, and Routine Lawlessness, of Law Enforcers

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 09:42




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 22ndruling from that state’s highest appellate court.

...but they can murder our dogs with impunity, natch. 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.

Idaho State Police Road Pirate Justin Klitch in action. 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.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast: Debtor's prisons are illegal, yet ubiquitous in the American soyuz --



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