"We are heroes in error. As far as we're concerned we've been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important."
Iraqi con-man Ahmed Chalabi (seen at right standing next to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, with former Iraqi Viceroy Jerry Bremer looking over Rumsfeld's shoulder); Chalabi was the chief source of pre-war disinformation regarding Saddam's supposed WMD arsenal, replying to a question posed by the London Daily Telegraph in February 2004 about his role in misleading the public.
In her element: Media-favored FLDS critic Flora Jessop, a one-time polygamist "child bride," appears on the Fox "News" program "On the Record."
"I would like to hug her [Rozita Swinton]. She accomplished getting 416 children out of a very abusive situation. But I'd also like to slap her because she went about it the wrong way." --
Flora Jessop, former member of the FLDS Church-turned-anti-polygamy crusader, speaking with reference to the disturbed 33-year-old woman whose false child abuse report triggered the raid in Eldorado.
"I would like to point out that the system absolutely worked in this case," insisted Phoenix-based anti-polygamy activist Flora Jessop during the April 18 edition of "On the Record." "When -- as hotlines get calls from children purporting to be abused, just as I do, it's not my responsibility and my job to decide whether those calls are legitimate."
Which is to say that the system "worked," in Miss Jessop's view, because it brought about what she considered to be a desirable result -- the armed invasion of the YFZ Ranch, and the seizure of children from their parents by force -- irrespective of the truth. In fact, Jessop's statements on the record indicate that she considered the truth to be inconsequential.
In recounting her conversations with "Sarah," the supposed polygamist child bride and abuse victim at the YFZ Ranch who was actually a childless adult woman named Rozita Swinton in Colorado Springs, Jessop describes how the caller suddenly -- and conveniently -- became twin sisters named Sarah and Laura. She also candidly described those conversations as an elaborate game of "Let's Pretend":
"[At] one point during my conversations with the girl I was speaking with, I had actually asked her and confronted her ... and said, If you're the twin sister of Sarah, Sarah is in Texas, Dale Barlow [the supposed abuser] is in Colorado City [Arizona], things don't add up. And she said, Well, can we pretend? And I said, yes, we can pretend. And she said, Well, then let's pretend that when Sarah called, she couldn't tell the name of her husband because then she would be hurt worse. So Sarah actually used the name Dale Barlow because Dale Barlow was hurting her twin sister in Colorado City. And I said, So are we pretending that Sarah was trying to get help for both Sarah and Laura because they were both being hurt? And she said, yes, let's pretend that. I asked her, I said, Can we pretend that Dale Barlow is Laura's -- the twin sister's new dad? And she said, No let's not pretend that. And she was very elaborate in her ruse, very well rehearsed."
So: We're supposed to believe that the child "protection" system worked because it sprung into action on the basis of a transparent "ruse"?
Indeed we should -- assuming that we, like Jessop, the Texas CPS, and others who believe themselves to be exalted above normal human considerations of honesty and equity, subscribe to a purely consequentialist worldview.
In a conversation with the Arizona Republic, Jessop insisted that (in the words of the paper's paraphrase) "the calls in Texas had a good outcome, even if they were fraudulent, because they prompted police to raid the FLDS ranch."
This is a good thing, supposedly: FLDS children behind barricades in a detention facility health care workers called a "concentration camp."
In fact, she considered it necessary to continue the deception long after it was clear that the calls were phony, and even after the raid and child-grab were underway. Explains the Republic: "Jessop said she had to maintain the pretense that her caller was real so that Texas police could continue investigating."
"At that point," Jessop observes, "I was working with authorities and trying to keep contact with her."
This isn't the first time that Jessop has peddled puerile fabrications to the media. Four years ago, after taking in two 16-year-old female runaways from the FLDS redoubt in Hildale/Colorado City, she dramatically announced that six more teenagers had sought her out for support and shelter. "The majority are boys, but there are some girls," Jessop insisted, claiming that they were "spooked" and "not talking to anybody but me." She also refused to provide any tangible proof that the runaways existed.
Jessop's claims prompted a mixture of puzzlement and annoyance from others working to free discontented FLDS members from the authoritarian community.
"The information Flora's putting out that there's a mass exodus, it just isn't happening," insisted Bob Curran, director of a St. George, Utah-based group called Help the Child Brides. Rowenna Erickson of Tapestry Against Polygamy complained that Jessop's "inaccuracies" and "rumors" were undermining the credibility of the anti-polygamist cause.
According to Pennie Petersen, another FLDS defector who fled at age 14 when confronting the prospect of being "sealed" to a middle-aged man who reportedly had molested her, Jessop actually had come across a group of FLDS youth, but they weren't interested in leaving.
"There are no runaways," Petersen told the Deseret News. "Those kids were partying and they all went home late. They never wanted to leave." Petersen, who has often been at odds with Jessop, shared the concerns expressed by others in the counter-polygamy cause, and expressed them a bit more pointedly: "Flora's been getting away with these stories for a long time now, and it's time to shut her down. She's just hurting the organizations and our cause."
Flora's "stories" -- by passing Swinton's fabrications along when she knew them to be false, Jessop took ownership of those lies -- have now hurt hundreds of children who were pried away from their parents and placed into one of the country's most notoriously corrupt foster care systems.
It could have been even worse -- much, much worse. There were snipers targeting the YFZ property when the Child-Snatchers attacked. It's a matter of God's grace that none of the parents and children therein met the fate of Vicki and Sammy Weaver.
If such a tragedy had ensued, Flora Jessop -- who has a longstanding relationship with Texas law enforcement -- would likely have been among the first to insist that the bloodshed was entirely the fault of the FLDS and their leaders.
As it stands, nearly all of the FLDS families from YFZ Ranch remain torn apart. Despite recent legal reversals and the fundamental illegitimacy of the entire enforcement action (given the fatal defects in the original warrant), Texas authorities are continuing their criminal probe.
If they're looking for a slam-dunk criminal indictment, they could have one against Flora Jessop:
She has publicly confessed to making a "False report regarding [a] missing child or missing person," as defined by Chapter 37, section 081 of the Texas Penal Code.
Given that Flora Jessop appears to be the proverbial poisoned tree in this entire matter, she is the only legitimate target for a criminal probe -- unless, of course, the probe turns up tangible evidence of deliberate criminal misconduct on the part of CPS officials.
Assuming that her much-flaunted passion for justice extends beyond an understandable preoccupation with the FLDS Church, Jessop should cooperate in a genuinely independent inquiry, if such an undertaking is possible now. It would be fascinating to learn what she knows about the following questions:
*Was she, as many suspect despite repeated denials, the chief "anonymous" source mentioned in the original search warrant? How long and how extensive is Jessop's relationship with law enforcement bodies in Texas? What role did she have in tuning public and official expectations about the FLDS -- to the extent that a heavily armed raiding party was sent to confront the YFZ community?
*In her above-mentioned Fox interview, Jessop mentioned this interesting detail: "It's my understanding that [Rozita Swinton] was caught with -- when they went into her apartment, that they found reams and documents and just tons of information on the FLDS." Oh? Who provided Jessop with that "understanding"? Might she help us find out exactly what kind of information Swinton had, and -- if it's something beyond what might be turned up through diligent googling -- who provided it to her?
Miss Swinton, likewise, presents us with some very interesting questions. According to a profile in Westview (.pdf), a publication out of Nashville, "Rozita is a Mormon who suffers from MPD/DID [Multiple Personality Disorder/Dissociative Identity Disorder] which falls under the heading of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.... Since she was a teenager, Rozita has flashbacks to a time when she was an abused child ... and to times when she had been locked up and kept hostage."
Swinton's Tennessee childhood was troubled in other ways. Her father was convicted of first degree murder in 1965 and released in 1977 along with hundreds of other felons by former Governor Ray Blanton, who was eventually convicted of granting pardons in exchange for bribes. In 1992, continues the profile, Rozita was a ward of the Tennessee Department of Human Services and protected from contact with her father by a restraining order. She spent years shuttling from foster home to foster home, eventually ending up in Colorado in 2005.
One of her foster parents has published books under the pseudonym Kate Rosemary. One of those books, Raising Shane, refers to Rozita by name, describing her as a loving member of a multi-ethnic foster family. At some point, she apparently made a mission trip to El Salvador.
Rozita Swinton's confirmed role in this imbroglio already plays like something out of a John Grisham novel. But as always, owing to the questions that remain unanswered (for instance, who posted Miss Swinton's bail in Colorado?), there are other possibilities -- not "probabilities," mind you, but possibilities -- that would take us into Dean Koontz territory.
The foster care system is a huge industry. So is the "tolerance" industry, which features such outfits as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the multi-multi-million-dollar racket operated by reputed pervert Morris Dees.
Both the foster care/adoption industry and the "tolerance" industry have had the FLDS in their scopes for a while. The SPLC, in particular, has been Jonesing for a crack-down of some kind on a "hate group" for a while, and the FLDS enclave in Eldorado -- occupied as it was by helpless, unarmed, unassuming white folks -- was an irresistible target.
The SPLC, it should be remembered, liaises with law enforcement agencies across the nation, indoctrinating them about various "hate groups" (which means, in practice, any group of people Dees and his comrades hate). And there's nothing that brings out the martial valor of paramilitary law enforcement agencies like the sight of an urban gathering of unarmed, peaceable white people. (I make that observation free of ethnic self-interest, as the photographic evidence will attest.)
From tabloid trash to official policy: This porridge of herd-poisoning themes pretty much typifies the media's treatment of the FLDS; it also demonstrates how the same war propaganda methods used to whip up foreign conflicts can be used to demonize domestic groups targeted for assault by the State.
The foregoing is not to be construed as the beginnings of a conspiracy theory; instead, it's offered as a guide to some directions a real inquiry might take, should such a thing ever happen.
It's entirely irresponsible to think that the abduction of hundreds of children in Texas could reflect collaboration of some kind among anti-polygamy agitators, corrupt child protection and foster care officials, and the country's most obnoxious "hate group" crusader.
That would be like believing the Iraq War was somehow brought about through the covert collaboration of ideological White House zealots and a small-gauge Iraqi con artist like Ahmed Chalabi.
I mean, get real, dude.
Yesterday (Monday, May 26), Dale Williams of KTKK radio in Salt Lake City had me on to discuss the FLDS atrocity. The MP3 of that program can be found here (scroll down to the archive section). I consider Dale to be a bold, honest, and exceptionally insightful host, and also appreciate Barbara Jean for including the interview in her archive.
Have you done something today to piss off the powerful?