Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Child Theft, "Concentration Camps": It's Happening Here
"The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment [he] was born. " (Rev. 12:4b)*
Even before Dan Jessop's son was born, the State had already made a proprietary claim to him because of the supposed sins of his parents.
I say "sins" because as of yet, neither 24-year-old Dan Jessop, Sr., nor his 22-year-old wife Louisa, has been charged with a crime.
This didn't prevent the instrument of totalitarian malice called the Texas Department of Child Protective Services from trying to seize control over both the child and his mother as soon as delivery was accomplished.
The Jessops were granted a restraining order preventing the abduction of their child, but given the depraved resourcefulness of the CPS the Jessop family remains in danger.
With incorrigible dishonesty comes great tactical flexibility, particularly if the incorrigible party is permitted to ignore the rules, as is the case with the CPS.
Louisa is one of the "disputed minors" -- FLDS women who were originally described by the CPS as underage mothers, despite the insistence of church members and their legal counsel that they were married women of legal age. In many cases, according to FLDS spokesmen, the CPS refused to accept legal documentation establishing the age of the "minor" women in question. Of course, it was the CPS that created the "dispute" by refusing to accept the documents.
In some circumstances, the CPS told women they had to "admit" being minors in order to remain with their children. Now that at least some of those women have been able to prove, to the satisfaction of the CPS, that they are of legal age, will the agency claim that the earlier deception -- you know, the same one abetted by the CPS -- somehow illustrates that they aren't suited to be mothers?
Lest one think the CPS isn't capable of such double-jointed deceptiveness, we must remember the sworn testimony of CPS official Angie Voss, who justified the seizure of the children because the YFZ Ranch was such a "scary environment."
What made it so "scary"?
Well, according to Voss, "I heard a report that a tank was coming on the property.... It was a situation of a very huge magnitude with so many law enforcement officers around."
She insisted that removing the children from such an environment by force was necessary so that they could be "interviewed" in a setting that wasn't "so scary and dangerous."
Of course, It was the CPS and its allies in "law enforcement" that created the "scary and dangerous" environment that, Voss said, justified the removal of the children.
Soooo.... anytime the State decides to attack a religious community (and business of that kind seems to be picking up lately), the very willingness of the government to carry out such an attack proves that such a community is an unsuitable environment for children.
This is a bit like a robber saying that the existence of wealth justifies burglary -- but worse: Wealth once lost can be regained, but children are irreplaceable.
Joseph and Lori Jessop are another FLDS couple who sought an emergency injunction against the Texas CPS to protect their son, Joseph Jr. Both Joseph Sr., 27, and Lori, 25, are certified Emergency Medical Technicians. Although the practice of "plural marriage" is widely practiced in the schismatic Mormon sect to which they belong, the Jessops are monogamous. They have three children -- four-year-old Zina Glo, two-year-old Joseph Edson, and Joseph Steed Jr., who turns one year old on Thursday.
The CPS had made plain its intention to celebrate Junior's first birthday by kidnapping him. They have already laid their violent and criminal hands on the couple's other children and refuse to let the parents know where they have been sent. The infant has been imprisoned in a children's home in San Antonio; both parents have relocated there to be near their youngest child. All of their children suffered terribly in the squalid children's shelter in San Antonio, where they were held immediately after being taken from the YFZ Ranch.
All of their children are being held by CPS without a court order of any kind. The couple produced the proper documentation -- birth certificates and suchlike -- to CPS before their children were removed from the Ranch. This deterred the child thieves not one whit.
Former Nueces County district judge and trial lawyer Rene Haas is representing the parents in filing a writ of habeas corpus to end the unlawful detention of their children. Three other monogamous FLDS fathers -- James Dockstader, and Rulon and Leland Keate -- have filed a separate habeas corpus petition demanding that they be reunited with their kidnapped children.
So far, they have succeeded in obtaining an injunction, but they've not been reunited with their children. It will be of paramount interest to learn, a year and a half after the Bush Regime effectively killed habeas corpus as a protection against federal abuses, if the Great Writ retains any power to redress abuses of power at the state and local level. I'm not optimistic.
The Texas CPS, like its analogues in other states, is an entity of truly Lovecraftian evil. Surely that description fits an agency that could send kidnappers to sit -- poised and all but salivating -- in wait for a child to be born, or an infant to celebrate his first birthday, in order to steal the youngster from the arms of loving parents who have done nothing wrong.
Previously in this space I've made reference to reports filed by nine mortified mental health workers who had been assigned to aid CPS workers in dealing with the captive FLDS children. Those reports are now publicly available, and they should precipitate both criminal and civil action against those responsible for the atrocity committed by the CPS and Texas law enforcement at El Dorado.
One of the claims made by the CPS is that their efforts to "investigate" the supposed claims of child abuse were thwarted by a "conspiracy of silence" on the part of the FLDS mothers, who reportedly have a deeply ingrained hostility toward outsiders. We were told that the mothers were uncooperative, evasive, intransigent. In fact, it was the CPS that frustrated efforts at communication between the health care workers and FLDS mothers who were eager and willing to talk.
"When first arriving at Ft. Concho in San Angelo we were debriefed about `the guests' at the fort," recalls one health care professional. "During the debriefing I learned that these women and children ... would likely not talk to us, make eye contact with us, and that they were brainwashed. Within the first two days of being among the women and children from El Dorado, I learned through observation and interactions that the initial information we received was false.... These women had excellent parenting skills; the children interacted with the mothers and other adult women with respect..... The women carried themselves with confidence; they were polite and respectful; they displayed what we would consider a great deal of self-esteem."
According to another witness, any attempted brainwashing that took place was carried out by CPS:
"We were told before we ever saw these women that they would not talk with us [and that] they would only respond to us with, `You will have to talk to my lawyer.' This was an absolute lie and it was to `brainwash' MH [Mental Health workers] to think like CPS. I never heard [the demand to] talk to my lawyer once while I sat and talked and played with the children. Everyone was polite and nice but very upset and confused. They were gracious and tried very hard to not be afraid and nervous."
That account is confirmed by another worker:
"We were told [at a briefing held shortly after the mental health care workers arrived] not to expect any of them to engage with us, and if by chance they spoke to us it would be to tell us to speak with their lawyers. We were told that even the children were directing all outsiders to contact their lawyers."
In fact, the health care personnel were actually told that the FLDS mothers and children -- who belong to a fastidiously clean-living subculture -- should be treated as if they carried acutely infectious diseases:
"At one point I headed toward the public restroom and was immediately grabbed by the arm by a CPS worker who told me to use the port-a-potties outside the rock wall, `because we don't know what kind of diseases these people might have and we don't want to catch anything from them.'"
Elsewhere, notes this witness, "CPS workers were openly rude to the mothers and children, yelled at them for trying to wave to friends and family members in surrounding shelters, threatened them with arrest if they did not stop waving to others, continually reminded them that the women ... could be made to leave if they did not cooperate, threatened the mothers with never seeing their children again if they did not cooperate, and ignored requests for anything."
The threats and contempt directed by CPS officials at the mothers were part of an aggressive program of full-spectrum mistreatment. In dealing with the captive children and mothers, CPS employed nearly the entire arsenal of standard cult tactics -- such as deception, information control, isolation, prolonged physical stress, psychological coercion:
"The women and children were placed in barracks built in 1800 with no air and no indoor plumbing, 80 women and children on cots side by side, even pregnant ladies; [the mothers were] separated from older children (12 and up) for days and not even allow[ed] to wave at them across the open field, [and] told they would never see them again if they continued to wave [as well as being threatened with] jail for waving at them; [There were] constant reminders that the adult women were only guests and that there were not in charge of the children [and that the children] belonged to CPS now and they could talk, interrogate, separate and treat them any way they wanted.... [Women and children were] not allowed to talk to the outside world. Women were constantly lied to about their children's whereabouts and when they could see their lawyers and when they could be reunited with their children.... The more uncomfortable they were the more CPS thought they would talk."(Emphasis added.)
That last line implicates CPS in what has to be considered an act of mass child torture -- "enhanced interrogation techniques," to employ the phrase used by both the Bush Regime and its Nazi antecedent, employed against captive children.
"If this had happened in another country, our government would have tried to prevent it! Old films of concentration camps came to mind," exclaimed one commendably outraged health care worker, whose faith in the moral sensibility of our rulers is as touching as it is misplaced.
"I heard some people wonder out loud if this was Nazi Germany," recounts another health care volunteer. "The thought had struck me, too. Is this what it was like for the people in concentration camps in Germany? ... I often felt helpless...."
This is happening right now, in real time, right here.
Are we helpless, or merely content to act as if that were the case?
It is heartwarming to know that there are at least some Texas judges who recall a quaint instrument called the US Constitution, and dimly remember some of its provisions. But CPS has already abundantly and redundantly displayed its consummate indifference to the Constitution and the law.
Attorney Gregory Hession, who specializes in dealing with CPS abuses (which means that he enjoys a thoroughly regrettable form of job security), points out that as long as the Child Thieves have custody of their prey, nothing else matters -- not the Constitution, not the law, not rudimentary human decency. The people employed by that entity exist in a State of Nature in which disputes are settled through deception and coercion, not through reason and mutual submission to the law.
The Texas CPS, having conducted a criminal assault that resulted in the kidnapping of hundreds of children, simply cannot permit the law to prevail. They will keep the children they've stolen until they're quite literally forced to relinquish them to their parents.
FLDS fathers have done a wise and rational thing by taking the CPS to court. It's appropriate to exhaust the legal alternatives. But once that's been done, they -- and those of us who care about due process, individual liberty, and the sanctity of parental rights -- will inevitably confront the unpleasant question Jim Malone posed to Elliot Ness in The Untouchables: After you've done "everything within the law," and your antagonist has proven to have no similar compunctions, what are you prepared to do then?
*Obviously, I don't mean to suggest that the FLDS episodes I relate above are to be taken as a fulfillment of that prophecy in any sense.
Dum spiro, pugno!