Monday, June 27, 2016

Bill Keebler and the FBI's Entrapment Elves

Keebler hunting coyotes.

Who is William Keebler, that the Regime’s secret police took such an interest in him?

A resident of minuscule Stockton, Utah (population circa 700), Keebler, 57, earned a modest measure of media attention five years ago when he was profiled in a story dealing with state-subsidized coyote hunting. He also exhibited the proper attitude toward the people who presume to rule us, which was described by the state-aligned media as “extreme hatred” for the federal government

Like hundreds of others from around the country, Keebler traveled to Bunkerville, Nevada in April 2014 when Cliven Bundy called for help in recovering his stolen cattle from the BLM. After spending about two weeks in Nevada, Keebler returned to Utah and announced – to anyone who was listening, which included FBI informants -- his intention to create a militia called the Patriots Defense Force.
Instant "terrorist" -- just add entrapment.
No man is too obscure to evade the eyes and ears of the Homeland Security State, and no social circles, however small, are immune to infiltration. Keebler had little by way of material means, and even less leverage with public opinion. He still proved useful to the FBI, whose incentive structure requires that its field operatives constantly talent-scout people who can be cast as guest stars in the Bureau’s ongoing Homeland Security Theater. 

Attorney Stephen Downs of Project Salam, a legal support organization for Muslims who have been lured into FBI “sting” operations, explains  that “the government has developed a technique of engaging targets in conversations of a somewhat provocative nature, and then trying to pick up on things the target says, which might suggest illegal activity – and then trying to push them into pursuing those particular activities.”
Comrades unite: FBI and "ex"-KGB sign cooperation pact.
For a law enforcement agency seeking to deter or investigate crimes against persons or property, this makes no sense. It makes perfect sense for a secret police agency seeking to identify dissidents and use them to advance the interests of the Regime. At some point over the last 12 to 18 months, FBI Special Agent Steven Daniels, who presides over the Salt Lake City-based Joint Terrorism Task Force, targeted Keebler and surrounded him with the FBI’s entrapment elves, who are adept at cobbling together criminal prosecutions out of the scantiest materials. 

Keebler must have thought he enjoyed a recruiting windfall as his tiny home suddenly became crowded with attentive strangers who were eager to enlist in his militia, and take part in “field training exercises” under his direction. The charging document filed by Daniels makes it clear that his informant/provocateurs (referred to as “undercover employees,” or UCFs) cultivated Keebler for more than a year: The first reference made in the document to something Keebler allegedly said in their presence was dated May 15, 2015. 

On February 21 of this year, asserts the probable cause affidavit, “the group talked about gathering intelligence on potential targets.” It’s notable that the affidavit does not specify that Keebler initiated that conversation. It does say Keebler “determined that the group would conduct reconnaissance on a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Salt Lake.” What this almost certainly means – we can assume, on the basis of literally hundreds of previous FBI “sting” operations – is that a provocateur began the conversation about a recon mission, which prompted Keebler to suggest the Salt Lake facility.

About a month later, during a “field training exercise,” Keebler commented that “the government had been allowed to harass people, but the repercussions were going to start. [He] had previously said the BLM was overreaching their authority to implement grazing restrictions on ranchers [and that] the land belonged to `the people’ and could be used responsibly at the American people’s discretion.” 
Actually, the Regime was watching him.
After noting Keebler’s expression of views that are widely held by residents of the rural West, the affidavit claims that he expressed the desire to “target BLM facilities in the `middle of nowhere’” and said that his militia “would sneak in and severely damage vehicles or buildings.” One can embrace the former views without endorsing or mandating the latter course of action, and the affidavit doesn’t provide the conversational connecting tissue between the grievance and the alleged expression of criminal intent. 

The omitted material would quite likely comport with Stephen Downs’ description of the FBI’s standard procedure – “trying to pick up on things the target says, which might suggest illegal activity – and then trying to push them into pursuing those particular activities” (emphasis added). Keebler supposedly asked an FBI provocateur who had “explosive materials expertise … to build an explosive device that could disable a BLM vehicle or damage a building” while making it clear that “he didn’t plan on blowing people up for now….”

Two weeks later, the FBI provocateur showed Keebler “a video of a 6-inch pipe bomb blowing up some abandoned office furniture in the mountains of southern Utah.” Keebler’s reaction was to ask about the provocateur’s ability to make more explosive devices.” The snitch replied that “he could provide … more explosive devices” if necessary. 

Keebler, the affidavit asserts, “stated he had a target in mind: the BLM building located at Mount Turnbull in Arizona. [He] had conducted reconnaissance on the BLM facility in Arizona in October, 2015, with Lavoy Finicum. A [militia] member/UCE who was accompanying Keebler at the time took pictures of the BLM facility in Mount Turnbull.”

Note carefully what the document doesn’t claim – namely, that either Keebler or Finicum traveled to that isolated, abandoned BLM facility in October of last year for the purpose of planning a bombing. Also noteworthy is the fact that the provocateur is the one who cased the building by photographing it. Without a contemporaneous statement from either Keebler or Finicum, there is no foundation for depicting that visit as part of a “plot” which didn’t take form, according to the affidavit, until May 14 of this year, when Keebler allegedly selected the Mount Turnbull facility as a target. 

This came after Keebler had been carefully guided by the FBI’s playacting provocateurs for at least a year. 

Two bombs were constructed by the FBI’s undercover asset, one to be placed against a cabin owned by the BLM, and the other supposedly “to be used against law enforcement if they got stopped while driving to or from Mount Turnbull.” Again, the affidavit does not explicitly cite Keebler as the source of that tactical suggestion. When Keebler and the FBI operatives drove to the site on the night of June 21, someone – the affidavit doesn’t specify who it was – placed the dummy bomb against the door of the vacant cabin. Keebler was handed a device described as a detonator, which he pushed several times. He then departed for Utah, where he was arrested several hours later. 

The entrapment network that snared Keebler is still active in Utah, most likely targeting other critics of the BLM and activists outraged by the FBI-orchestrated ambush in which LaVoy Finicum was killed last January. (It should be remembered that the charging affidavit in Keebler’s case documents that Finicum had been the subject of FBI surveillance long before last winter’s protest occupation in Oregon.)

One week before the FBI provocateur showed Keebler footage of his pipe bomb test, Keebler and several members of his “militia” were in attendance at an April 1 event in Orem, Utah featuring speeches by Finicum’s widow, Jeanette, and Shawna Cox, who was a witness to Finicum’s extra-judicial killing. That event was attended by hundreds of people whom the Feds would characterize as “anti-government extremists,” and the most notable souls among America’s founders would describe as “good company.”

“Some people who were with [Keebler] were videotaping all of the speakers with very expensive, professional-grade equipment,” a Utah broadcaster who was present told me. The grim-faced people reportedly scanned the room, taking note of everybody in attendance. The FBI’s assets doubtless were scouting out prospects for use in their next Homeland Security Theater production.

Special Agent Daniels is a practiced hand at arranging such spectacles. Four years ago a “confidential human source” in Provo overheard an unremarkable man named Keith Max Pierce saying some nasty things about the pitiless parasites and extortionists employed by the terrorist entity called the Internal Revenue Service. Daniels spun up the machinery of entrapment, which eventually manufactured a headline-worthy claim that Pierce had been plotting to bomb various government facilities and assassinate several members of our permanent criminal class, sometimes referred to as members of Congress. The terrorism allegations, however, were never part of the formal charges filed against Pierce – and the secret police refused to explain why.

“This is a guy who is talking … and says some things that are stupid to say,” protested Pierce’s hapless public defender after the FBI arrested the patsy in July 2013. The attorney planned to mount an entrapment defense. The Feds obviated the need for prosecution by holding Pierce for more than a year in pre-trial detention, breaking his will to resist by giving him a foretaste of the decades of misery he would experience if he actually challenged the charges in a system rigged to produce a conviction.

Pierce accepted a plea agreement in which he will serve two years in prison for a single charge of possessing a machine gun. He will also receive mandatory “mental health treatment” – a Sovietesque touch reflecting the conceit that only the deranged would resent the behavior of those who presume to rule us.

Keebler’s case will probably follow a similar trajectory – and Special Agent Daniels, fortified by these agitprop triumphs, will continue to trawl Utah for other potential victims.

 This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast is also about the Keebler entrapment case:

Dum spiro, pungo!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Eco-Leviathan Rangeland Management: Lock It Up, Burn It Down -- Then Blame the Ranchers

When one says of Don Barnhill that a given challenge confronting him is “not his first rodeo,” the expression is not a wearisome cliché. Rodeo championships figure prominently in Barnhill’s life, which is cluttered with enviable achievements. 

As a younger man he was a private firefighter, which means that he actually worked to contain and defeat fires, rather than maximizing expense while minimizing results, which is the government sector approach. He pursued a degree in archeology and is a self-taught historian of the Oregon Trail who helped organize the first reenactment of the Three Island Crossing on the Snake River. He also helped organize a cowboy poetry association, and built roughly a dozen successful businesses. 

For decades, Barnhill has raised cattle on the Silver City Allotment in Owyhee County – which means that he has become intimately acquainted with the BLM and the implacable eco-totalitarian activists who are collaborating with the agency to shut down ranching throughout the western states. Among that unsavory cohort, a cynical extortion syndicate called the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) has distinguished itself by its resourceful dishonesty and its unalloyed malice. 

The WWP has been admirably candid in expressing its intention to abolish all cattle and sheep ranching on “public” lands – meaning the millions of acres unlawfully claimed by the Regime in Washington as federal territory. 

For decades, Barnhill related to me in a voice heavy with weary amusement, the WWP dispatched eager college students to canvass Oywhee County, and other parts of rural Idaho, in search of a suitably charismatic “endangered species” whose welfare could be invoked as a pretext for banishing ranchers from its “habitat.” Various kinds of “threatened” frogs and flora frustrated that design by perversely thriving in the presence of cattle and the humans who manage them. The WWP eventually settled on the sage grouse, and persuaded a complaisant BLM into designating that unremarkable bird as a “sensitive species.”

Which is the real Commie? Winmill, seen here with an ex-Soviet Judge. 
Following a long-established script, the WWP rewarded – I do not use that verb ironically – the BLM by filing a lawsuit in 2008 demanding the revocation of grazing permits across 40 million acres throughout Idaho and Nevada. “Forcing” a federal agency to expand its power is roughly as difficult as trying to prompt Donald Trump to say something nice about himself, but appearances must be maintained. Thus the BLM, in the fashion of Byron’s Julia (“I shall ne’er consent,” she sighed, while consenting to her seducer), went through the motions of resisting the WWP’s demands. In the parlance of pro wrestling, this lawsuit, like all others of its kind, was a “work,” not a “shoot.”

Like other foundation-funded eco-jihadist groups, the WWP has “routinely used the federal Equal Access to Justice Act … to recover their attorney fees from these lawsuits,” explains Chris Brong, a 33-year veteran of the BLM, US Forest Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service who is now a Commissioner in Washington’s Skamania County. “Most of the federal judges hearing these cases, with little or no background [in] federal land management laws or policies, have been very sympathetic to the [eco-radical groups” and entirely hostile toward the people who are making a productive living on lands that should be privately owned, rather than being locked up by the Feds without constitutional authority.

Eventually the WWP’s sage grouse lawsuit wound up before US District Judge Lynn Winmill, whose courtroom is where justice goes to die. Again, that expression is to be treated literally. Fifteen years ago the WWP filed a lawsuit against an elderly Idaho rancher named Verl Jones, claiming that by exercising his water rights to grow hay he had harmed the habitat of the “endangered” bull trout, despite the fact that none were found in the area. Without bothering to ask the WWP to show evidence in support of its claims, Winmill ruled in favor of the WWP, ordered Jones to stop irrigating his fields, and pay the WWP’s legal fees.

Predictably, Jones lost his crop, and his ranch. Stolidly indifferent to the plight of the financially ruined 85-year-old man, Winmill allowed the WWP to raid the victim’s remaining assets, which were sold off to pay the syndicate’s legal expenses. Jones, who had been hardy and healthy despite his years, succumbed to stress and passed away. 

With respect to the WWP’s demand to shut down ranching throughout Idaho and Nevada, Winmill disgorged what he probably considered to be a Solomonic ruling: Rather than cleaving the baby with a sword, he would strangle it incrementally. Thus the BLM was ordered to undertake a series of time-intensive revisions to the management of grazing allotments that had been purchased by private ranchers – which included new restrictions regarding where, and for how long, they could graze their livestock. 

Don Barnhill received notification of these new requirements in the March 8, 2013 letter containing the application for his annual grazing permit. 

Chandler's comrades in action.
“These changes were brought forward to the affected permittees for concurrence and formal agreement,” explained Loretta V. Chandler, the Marsing-based BLM apparatchik – who, it should be noted, received a plunder-derived salary of $106,369 when she was deployed to inflict misery on the productive residents of Owyhee County. That figure is roughly three times the median household income in the county

None of the permit holders had been consulted about the changes demanded by the BLM; each of them was expected to tug on his forelock and obey.

Barnhill, like every other affected rancher, knew that he had no alternative to offering “concurrence and formal agreement” to the WWP-dictated terms. He was determined, however, to make a record of his objections to what was being required of him – if only to absolve himself of the inevitable consequences of allowing vegetation that would have been devoured by cattle to become irresistible tinder for a devastating range fire. 

“I agree to follow the grazing management and objectives outlined above,” Barnhill explained in a postscript he inserted into the application. However, he continued, “I sign this document under protest. The terms and conditions imposed by this permit will do nothing to improve the habitat for the Sage Grouse or any other wildlife. These changes … serve only to appease the court and the anti-grazing extremist organization that filed suit. In the long run these changes will greatly increase the potential for a catastrophic fire that would destroy the range AND the habitat for Sage Grouse for many years to come. If such a fire occurs, the responsibility lies solely with the BLM and the Federal court that forced this action” (emphasis added). 

Barnhill presented the revised application, with the check for his annual grazing fee, to Chandler, who rejected it. When Barnhill insisted, pointing out that there were witnesses who had seen him present the application and the required fee, Chandler excused herself and went into her office.

“She was in there for no more than two or three minutes, before coming out and saying, `I just got off the phone with the Solicitor General, and he told me I cannot accept that document,” Barnhill told me, chuckling at the absurdity of the claim. 

Barnhill requested that Chandle append a signed statement on his revised application reflecting her transparently false claim – which, astonishingly, she did. In addition to documenting the casual dishonesty of the BLM’s local commissarina, the application made Barnhill’s predictions about a WWP-engineered, and BLM-abetted, range fire part of the legal record. 

Last summer, the desiccated foliage that the WWP had lovingly cultivated provided the fuel for the Soda Creek Fire, a conflagration that ravaged the better part of 300,000 acres throughout Owyhee County. 

“We have a bunch of people making decisions on wildlife, habitat, grazing and land management, and they have no practical experience,” complained Alan Davis, owner of Graybell Farms – located not that far from the BLM’s Marsing office – after the fire was finally contained. “If you leave this land alone, the Russian thistle is going to take over. When it continues to compound year after year, it stays standing up until something eats it, or [it] burns.” 

“If the Bureau of Land Management is not going to take an active management role … then they need to get the heck out of the way and let ranchers or somebody else take care of the land,” Davis summarized. 

Having been forbidden to abate the fire risk through grazing, Owyhee County ranchers, acting through their private Rangeland Fire Protection Association, helped extinguish the fire they had warned was coming.

Government is the only human enterprise that profits from its own catastrophic incompetence, which is why the BLM moved to expand its regulatory control over the areas of Owyhee County and eastern Oregon that were devastated by the Soda Creek Fire. The WWP, displaying its irrepressible arrogance and reflexive mendacity, insisted that cattle grazing was “a root cause” of the Soda Creek Fire and other wildfires that tore through mismanaged “public” lands in the West last summer

“The BLM’s approach to `recovery’ from fires is to require ranchers to `rest’ affected areas for at least five years,” Barnhill explained to me. At the same time, the agency will require ranchers to “suspend” a growing portion of their “animal unit months” – a measurement of the time they are allowed to graze their livestock. This will increase the attrition rate in the industry, remorselessly advancing the WWP’s design of driving ranchers into extinction.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast goes into further detail regarding the BLM, the WWP, and the eco-jihad in the Western States:

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Peacemaker and the Psychopath

The Psycho (Love) is on the left; Peacekeeper Dave Bundy is in the center.

Dave Bundy was working on his home in Delta, Utah, when a caravan of at least 20 federal vehicles invaded his property last March. The vehicles decanted a platoon of FBI personnel, some of them clad in battle dress and carrying assault weapons. In what must have been a disappointment to them, Bundy – who wasn’t armed – surrendered without offering the Feds a pretext to dispose of him as they had LaVoy Finicum a few weeks earlier. 

Bundy had been indicted on federal conspiracy charges for his role in de-escalating the standoff between his family and the BLM in Bunkerville, Nevada in April 2014. At that time, too, Bundy had not been carrying a gun. He was armed only with his determination to prevent bloodshed as he conducted shuttle diplomacy between the Bundys and their supporters, on the one hand, and the Feds who had stolen the Bundy family’s cattle. His conduct earned the appreciation of then-Clark County Undersheriff Joseph Lombardo, who negotiated with him. 

Several days earlier, Bundy had been beaten bloody by the BLM’s khaki-clad chekists while he was standing at the side of a road video-recording their confiscation of his father’s cattle. After suffering that criminal assault he was abducted by the BLM and detained for a night on a spurious charge of obstruction, which was dismissed the following day.

Dave Bundy’s role at Bunkerville was that of a peacemaker. He is now in jail awaiting trial on charges that could result in an 80-year prison term.
Bundy after being assaulted and abducted by the BLM.
Where Bundy is a peacemaker, Dan Love, the BLM Special Agent in Charge of the Bunkerville operation, is a bloody-handed psychopath whose appetite for escalation has made him notorious even among his comrades. His operation in Bunkerville was a humiliating failure – which is why the Regime, in utterly predictable fashion, has placed Love in charge of the BLM’s newly minted, nation-wide Security and Intelligence division.
This promotion is an unambiguous display of arrogant hostility toward residents of rural lands in the west – and toward sheriffs and other local officials in Utah and Nevada who have dealt with Love in recent years. Love’s Brownshirts have routinely ignored jurisdictional limits in southern Utah, detaining – which is to say, abducting – local citizens without probable cause, intimidating tourists, and harassing ranchers. 

In 2012 the Utah state legislature enacted a measure forbidding BLM cadres from pretending to enforce state and local laws – a tactic often used to justify the agency’s abusive behavior – and imposing criminal penalties for “impersonating an officer” when BLM personnel exceeded their roles as defined in federal statutes. Love retaliated by cancelling BLM contracts with five counties that pay sheriffs for the privilege of patrolling land claimed by the Feds. This was a gratuitous gesture of unfiltered contempt: By the time the contracts were annulled, a federal judge had issued an injunction against the bill, prompting the legislature to repeal it.

Love’s federal supremacy uber alles mindset nearly precipitated a slaughter at Bunkerville, an outcome that would not have surprised former BLM official Steve Martin. In late 2012, Martin was present at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico when Love giddily outlined the rustling operation planned for Bunkerville. Martin later told the High Country News that Love’s plan was “missing a key ingredient: cooperation with the county sheriff.”
Swaggering doofus Love and his troops.
Then-Sheriff Doug Gillespie didn’t intervene in the matter until well into the standoff.  Love’s mismanagement of the affair and misreading of the tactical situation – at one point, he placed the armored mouth-breathers under his command in a “kill zone” – would have resulted in avoidable deaths were it not, in large measure, for the diplomatic efforts of Dave Bundy. 

So, naturally, Bundy is now behind bars awaiting a trial at which Love will be a star prosecution witness. Love’s promotion will be used to fortify whatever credibility he might possess in the eyes of the jury. The Feds will be very careful to foreclose inquiries into Love’s background and employment history.

Energy & Environment Daily, a publication very sympathetic to the Regime’s regulatory agencies, notes that the BLM refused to “answer basic questions about Love’s professional resume – when he was hired, his age, where he has previously worked and his law enforcement qualifications.” It is known that for four years prior to being hired by the BLM, Love was employed as a federal air marshal. He received his indoctrination at the TSA’s air marshal training center, which proudly displays the motto: “Dominate. Intimidate. Control.”

By combining a clown car with the proverbial short bus, we would create an ideal departmental vehicle for the Air Marshals Service. Love’s blend of arrogance and violence is typical of the personnel who have been hired as BLM enforcement officers since 9/11.

“We brought in people who told their buddies in Border Patrol or wherever else, `Hey, come to the BLM, there’s a lot of kick-ass stuff going on here,’” laments Martin, who joined the agency before it became militarized. At the time, he recalls, “we weren’t marshals, we weren’t the FBI, ATF, or DEA. The public looked at us as rangers.”

After being deposited by Leviathan’s cloaca in Salt Lake City, Love immediately set out to distinguish himself by orchestrating a covert operation called Operation Cerberus Action that supposedly targeted illegal trade in archeological artifacts. He enlisted a suspected petty offender and alcoholic named Ted Gardiner as an informant/provocateur and gave him roughly one-third of a million dollars stolen from taxpayers to buy artifacts from southern Utah residents.  This led to a pre-dawn paramilitary raid in Blanding, Utah, involving hundreds of battle-armed personnel from the BLM and other agencies.

James Redd, a well-respected 60-year-old physician, was detained by BLM and FBI agents at his home and interrogated for five hours. After being told that he faced a felony charge, Dr. Redd committed suicide the following day. Ted Gardiner – most likely out of insurmountable shame from defiling himself by associating with Love and his ilk – did likewise.
Worth a man's life?
The only tangible evidence of a “crime” on Redd’s part was his possession of a “bird effigy” – a single bead roughly a centimeter long – that was dishonestly appraised by the Feds as worth $1,000. This over-valuation was necessary in order to charge Redd with a felony. The bauble’s actual value was roughly $75.

“He had nothing to do with artifacts or trading,” points out Jay Redd, the son of the accomplished physician whom Love drove to suicide. “He was walking along and picks up this dinky bead off the ground [in a video-recorded conversation with Love’s informant]. They are laughing about it because it’s so insignificant…. He never tries to sell or trade anything. He wasn’t arrested for trafficking; it was for possessing. Dr. Redd is dead for possessing a tiny little bead. My dad is dead for a false felony charge.” 

The “conspiracy” charges that could be used to steal the rest of Dave Bundy’s life are just as spurious as the one that drove Dr. Redd to suicide. Even if he prevails in the show trial planned for early next year, Bundy will suffer several months of pre-trial confinement as punishment for expressing opinions that a federal judge found offensive. 
BLM Brownshirts assault Bundy.
A few weeks ago, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach has denied Bundy’s motion requesting pre-trial release. The uncontested facts cited in his motion  demonstrate that he has no criminal record, that he neither committed violence nor incited it at Bunkerville, and that on many occasions he has cooperated with the BLM in efforts to battle range fires (including an incident just a few months before the standoff in Nevada). 

Judge Ferenbach stipulated to all of these facts – and yet ruled that Bundy must be kept in a cage as  a “danger to the community” because of his attitude toward the federal government, as displayed by an instance in which he referred to it as a "foreign entity."

Bundy’s description is an unacceptably mild critique of a depraved regime that imprisons peacemakers and promotes psychopaths. 

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the totalitarian absurdities of "hate crimes" enforcement:

Dum spiro, pugno!