Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Heroes In Error", Again (Media Update)

"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.

Update --

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.

Available now.

Have you done something today to piss off the powerful?


Anonymous said...

"Have you done something today to piss off the powerful?"

Yes, I went to vote with Ron Paul magnets on the side of my car and got in trouble for it.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an attempt to do away with an unwanted subculture. The irony is that the Puritans who originally emigrated to this country faced similar problems. Their beliefs and culture were viewed as a threat to the mainstream cultures of Europe, and, as always, this lead to intense repression by state institutions. You would think we would have learned something from this, but clearly we never did. I think we need get our culture under control before this kind repression will end.

Anonymous said...

More info on Flora Jessop - she clashed with FLDS as early as the age of 14, when she displayed a strong desire for uninhibited sex, drugs, and alcohol. She even accused her relatives of abusing her when they tried to break her from her bad habits. When the authorities investigated, they concluded that she was a liar. Finally, she ran away from home, became a stripper/topless dancer, remained high on drugs, and fathered children with men she did not know. She has cleaned up her act somewhat now, but is still uses drugs. When one FLDS member called her for help, Flora answered the help phone line while stoned. Flora has repeatedly notified the authorities in Utah and Arizona about FLDS "crimes." But when the authorities investigated, the evidence always failed to materialize. Authorities in Arizona finally stopped taking her seriously. So it comes as no surprise to find Flora behind the mysterious Sarah. The real question is: How has Flora managed to avoid prison and civil lawsuits for slander for so long?

William N. Grigg said...

I hasten to point out that the foregoing letter represents the views of its author, and his alone.

There are elements of it that I simply can't confirm. And it should be pointed out that every time an individual -- for whatever reason -- becomes disenchanted with, and leaves, an authoritarian religious community, that person will be assailed by the faithful as a "fallen" individual who simply "couldn't live up" to the community's standards.

I write as someone who was raised as a (mainstream) Mormon who became an Evangelical Christian out of conviction. While readily admit to having a large allotment of flaws (and to finding new ones daily), it was all but impossible for me to recognize myself as I've been described by some of my still-active Mormon acquaintances, who profess to have found the "source" of my "apostasy" in various illicit appetites, as well as deviant or even criminal behavior.

None of this was true, and those who put the rumors into circulation know as much. But their worldview is restricted by the misplaced conviction that there just has to be some grave, dark, secret that led to my "apostasy"; the alternative is simply too terrible to contemplate.

So while I acknowledge that Flora Jessop is a certified fantasist and believe she should be severely pressed to disclose everything she knows about the FLDS affair, I can't let the characterization above pass without qualification.

Anonymous said...

Way to keep this story alive someone has to do it. Even the tv droids at the local coffee klatsch roundtable are saying the state acted illegally. Some of them are even mocking the "it was them darn christian polygamists" tone of media bimbette talking head government stenographers of the pocket press.

Anonymous said...

I just thought it would be good to put on record in writing what this whole case may really have been.

The assault on the FDLS home in El Dorado has ALL the eermarks of another WACO, Texas governor Ann Richards was in on the attack on Waco Branch Dividians and it was a planned assault ordered by the feds.

If I am not mistaken, the FDLS "raid" happened on or very near April 19 the date of the original assault at Waco and other anti-patriot American events of the last many years.

Thre is a conditioning of the public wanted with this raid. They used full military assault weoponry including a Bradley fighting vehicle without the turret.

We the people are supposed to get used to our military in our communities attacked American citizens.

This whole thing was contrived and arranged and staged and had nothing to do with any real provocation or law infraction.

It was a police state conditioning maneuver.

Governor Rick Perry has a horrible reputation and is in the pocket of the Bildeberger and the same crowd that peddled Rudolf Guiliani. Perry was coveting being Guiliani's VP running mate.

The people of Texas overwhelmingly HATE the Trans Texas Corridor and the local double tax toll road scam in Central Texas. The legislature voted against Perry TTC schemes and scams on two bills in the Texas legislature but Perry just let the session end and did not sign the bills in to law. If I am not mistaken, he somehow did not even bother to veto them. He just kept on stealing Texans' land for the corridor and the only people who can get fair market value for the land are the ones with very deep pockets for lots of lawyers and litigation.

Rick Perry was "elected" governor last time with 39 percent of the low voter turnout. It sould be a piece of cake to get him defeated next round, but since there are strong indications that he is in good favor with the crooks who run our crooked voting machine operations, we could be stuck with this criminal again.

In February of 2004, it was rumored widely all over the city of Austin that Mrs. Governor found Mr. Governor in the governor's mansion bed with Mr. Texas Secretary of State. There were numerous news articles about this and Mr. Gov finally had to have printed some kind of formal response in the Austin Statesman.

Texas governor and Texas lieutenant governor (the most powerful position in the Texas lawmaking) and others are reputed and written about to be practicing homosexuals.

Just google "RicK Perry Geoffrey Connor homsexual February 2004" Then also google "David Dewhurst homosexual Austin Chronicle".

I do not like posting this information but no one can get a clear picture of corrupt Texas politics without this information.

Anonymous said...

Re: State says FLDS members are flight risk.

You know, there's a certain irony to Texas officials actively trying to run them out of Texas, and then when things come to pass, having the audacity to suddenly not want them to leave, isn't there ?

My primary concern is that after issuing threats to other reclusive non-mainstream beliefs like House of Yaweh and others, some folk might decide to retaliate pre-emptively, which in the end will accomplish naught more than giving the State an excuse to continue things like this, feeding the cycle of force-resistance-more force that seems to be the only thing the State understands, in spite of the fact that such a model has never worked to solve any problem it's ever been applied to.

I don't want to see that happen, but I am fairly concerned because frightened people do stupid things, and the state of Texas is doing so much to feed that kind of fear that it almost seems they are bent on provoking exactly that.

If they keep backing people into corners where neither cooperation nor resistance will save them, it becomes almost inevitable that somebody will do something crazy.

I think it wise to both acknowledge that possibility, and to be prepared in advance to grab the leash of our elected officials and yank it tight before we wind up with more knee-jerk lunacy of the kind that has led us down this dark road.


Pliggy said...

William N. Grigg is now on my favorite blogger list. After only reading one post. Your reply to 7:22 is very refreshing.

While I only met Flora once, in Phoenix at my fathers child abuse hearing she was behind.
I can substantiate "some" of what 7:22 said. Ladell Pipkin's mother told me that Flora was supplying him with drugs(FWIW). I know the guy she got "in trouble" with when she was 13 and he was 14. She is five days older than my older sister who was her classmate at the time. I know she was never married in the FLDS but "ran away" with her boyfriend and cousin at 16. I read the newspaper article of when she came home a few weeks later against the wishes of the "activists" at the time. And I know her mother and sisters, who are still FLDS and will not say an unkind word about or too Flora.

She admitted on national TV to becoming a topless dancer, and "mothering" her only child at that time. But to her it was because she was a victim of Polygamy.


Christ-oV said...

Here Is another exhibit of media swindlers in control the naïve public.
In the youtube video “Polygamist Rape Victim Speaks Out” Elisa Walls says:
“people don’t understand,” her mind after 14 years with her family,
“Because I didn’t have any concept of sex, I didn’t understand what it took to have children, I didn’t really know were babies came from, and I had no idea of the sexual acts that had to happen between a husband and wife to have the children that I was supposed to have.”
If I was to believe her words as true, then her family, and households with the extended network of siblings, and with multiple mothers, can not possibly be a sexually pervasive environment. Something does not add up. Is this one more dosage of the good old “Sex- violence” ingredient, in order to sell her book and upcoming movie?

Anonymous said...

By MICHELLE ROBERTS, Associated Press Writer

SAN ANTONIO - In a crushing blow to the state's massive seizure of children from a polygamist sect's ranch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials overstepped their authority and the children should go back to their parents.

The high court affirmed a decision by an appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago.

"On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the justices said in their ruling issued in Austin.

The high court let stand the appellate court's order that Texas District Judge Barbara Walther return the children from foster care to their parents. It's not clear how soon that may happen, but the appellate court ordered her to do it within a reasonable time period.

The ruling shatters one of the largest child-custody cases in U.S. history. State officials said the removals were necessary to end a cycle of sexual abuse at the ranch in which teenage girls were forced to marry and have sex with older men, but parents denied any abuse and said they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Every child at the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the west Texas town of Eldorado was removed; half were 5 or younger.

CPS officials said they were disappointed by the ruling but would take immediate steps to comply.

"We are disappointed, but we understand and respect the court's decision," the agency said in a written statement.

FLDS elder Willie Jessop said parents were excited about the court's decision but would remain apprehensive until they get their children back.

"We're just looking forward to when little children can be in the arms of their parents," he said. "Until you have your children in your hands, there's no relief. But we have hope."

Standing outside the Texas Supreme Court building with attorneys for the families, Martha Emack, mother of a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old, echoed that sentiment.

"I'm happy (when) all the children are back to their mothers and we're home," said Emack, whose children have been staying at an Austin children's shelter.

The case before the court technically only applies to the 124 children of 38 mothers who filed the complaint that prompted the ruling, but it significantly affects nearly all the children since they were removed under identical circumstances.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled last week that the state failed to show that any more than five of the teenage girls were being sexually abused, and had offered no evidence of sexual or physical abuse against the other children.

The FLDS, which teaches that polygamy brings glorification in heaven, is a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Roughly 430 children from the ranch are in foster care after two births, numerous reclassifications of adult women initially held as minors and a handful of agreements allowing parents to keep custody while the Supreme Court considered the case.

Texas officials claimed at one point that there were 31 teenage girls at the ranch who were pregnant or had been pregnant, but later conceded that about half of those mothers, if not more, were adults. One was 27.

Under Texas law, children can be taken from their parents if there's a danger to their physical safety, an urgent need for protection and if officials made a reasonable effort to keep the children in their homes. The high court agreed with the appellate court that the seizures fell short of that standard.

CPS lawyers had argued that parents could remove their children from state jurisdiction if they regain custody, that DNA tests needed to confirm parentage are still pending and that the lower-court judge had discretion in the case.

The justices said child welfare officials can take numerous actions to protect children short of separating them from their parents and placing them in foster care, and that Walther may still put restrictions on the children and parents to address concerns that they may flee once reunited.

Anonymous said...

Well, it would seem that the State never ceases to find wiggle room for its lies and machinations. Notice how they defer to the lower lackeys, the hatchet-men and women to essentially decide what to do. What a bunch of pansies! Texas is so socialist its pathetic. Anyone with the sick fantasy in their heads that they're a bunch of freedom lovin' cowboys had best get over it.

Anonymous said...

(I have tried repeatedly to post this with my google blog name without success. I am 'anon imus'.)

"I write as someone who was raised as a (mainstream) Mormon who became an Evangelical Christian out of conviction. While readily admit to having a large allotment of flaws (and to finding new ones daily), it was all but impossible for me to recognize myself as I've been described by some of my still-active Mormon acquaintances, who profess to have found the "source" of my "apostasy" in various illicit appetites, as well as deviant or even criminal behavior."

I apologize in advance for a 'public' response to the above statement; I don't see a 'contact' email address for Mr. Grigg on Pro Libertate.

Since first having heard him on Radio Liberty some months back, I have been an admirer of Mr. Grigg's critical thinking combined with a seemingly inexhaustible well-spring of metaphoric wit. Perhaps the one good we are alloted as these horrendous events unfold in our time is an heaven blessed messenger who speaks in the language of eternal justice and equity.

Your LDS 'acquaintances' were fools to think they could judge you. I am truly sorry.

"...they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men."

Pliggy said...

Flora Jessop's childhood was severly anti-typical by FLDS standards.

Hugh McBryde said...

I thought you might like to know that the author "Kate Rosemary" has turned out to be "Mary Catharine Nelson" in real life. This is significant because a good deal of the background information coming out on "Rozita Swinton" comes from the book she wrote, which was published by the publisher she is Vice President of. It would seem our knowledge of Rozita is tainted by those who wish to make money off her.