Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sheriff Glenn Palmer and the "Scouring of the Shire"

The "little folk" rise up against Saruman's Ruffians.

The hobbit-folk had previously enjoyed a society largely free of the affliction called “government.” Frodo and his friends were mortified to encounter a regimented dystopia in which the shire-riffs –who had been peripheral under the old order – were enforcing an ever-growing list of rules handed down by an unseen “Chief.” The shire-riffs themselves weren’t intimidating, but behind them lurked a band of “Ruffians” who looked upon the inhabitants of the Shire with disdain and were prepared to inflict mortal harm on anybody who resisted the Chief’s decrees.

Farms and homes, once self-sufficient, had been ravaged by officials called “Gatherers” and “Sharers,” although the bounty that was gathered in the Chief’s name was never shared with the populace. The verdant countryside, which once thrived under the husbandry of private landowners, had been despoiled by those acting on the “authority” of the new government. Any residents of the Shire who resisted that “authority” were hauled away to “lockholes.”

Furious over what had been done to their home and steeled by their experience in battle, Frodo and his companions sounded the tocsin and organized the Hobbit-folk to “scour the Shire.” This meant driving the Ruffians and their adherents from the land, including any shire-riffs who remained loyal to the usurpers. Frodo gave strict instructions to avoid bloodshed where possible. The Chief – as it happens, Saruman in disguise – would not relinquish power without extracting a price in blood. 

The “scouring,” as portrayed by Tolkien in “Return of the King,” is distant kindred to Homer’s account of Odysseus dealing with the interlopers who had plundered his home and sought to seize control of Ithaca during his lengthy absence. “I will not stay my hand till I have paid all of you in full,” Odysseus told the men who had sought to steal everything he cherished, including Penelope. “You must fight, or flee for your lives.” 

In dealing with the shire-riffs – or, to use the more familiar term, sheriffs – who had become oppressors, Frodo and his friends were more merciful than Odysseus and Telemachus had been. As Sauron had expected, many of those who had been public servants found it intoxicating to exercise power over the “little folk.” Others, disgusted by what they had become, threw away their badges of authority and were welcomed into the righteous rebellion against the Chief and his enforcers. 

“What can I do? You know I went for a shire-riff seven years ago, before any of this began,” lamented Robin, one of the officers, as the rebellion coalesced. “It gave me the chance to be walking around the country, and seeing folk, and hearing the news, and knowing where the good beer was --but now it’s different.” He and the others had once been servants of the Shire; now they were law enforcers in the service of the clique that had seized control of it. 

Whatever else may be said about Sheriff Glenn Palmer of Oregon’s Grant County, he appears to be the kind of man who would find himself on the right side of the “scouring.” That section of eastern Oregon strongly resembles Tolkien’s Shire, both in terms of its scenic quality and the Sauron-grade misery inflicted on it by the Federal Government. 

Glenn Palmer, an Air Force veteran, has made a career in law enforcement, which is both a moral liability and a cause for concern. In defiance of reasonable expectations, however, he describes his role as that of a servant, rather than an overseer.

“I am not a government employee,” Palmer insists. “I am a public servant – I serve the people who elected me.”

It’s quite likely that Palmer, like Robin and the other Shire-riffs from Tolkien’s parable, chose a law enforcement career out of relatively benign motives, only to find the nature of that occupation being redefined by those who presume to rule us. 

Re-elected four times by the residents of the vast but thinly populated county, Palmer is now being targeted for removal by the Oregon Department of Justice – which is acting as a cats’-paw for the Regime in Washington. This is not because Palmer has made himself notable by abusing the local citizenry; given the ubiquitous competition he would face, Palmer would have a hard time distinguishing himself had that been his intention. He has become the focus of the Regime’s malign intention because he properly perceives the Feds as a threat to the rights and property of his fellow Grant County residents. 

“We started seeing the excessive use of force, and people getting guns pointed at them by federal officers for wood permit violations [and] road closure violations,” Palmer recalled during a speech a few years ago. “It’s excessive use of force, it’s uncalled-for, it’s unacceptable.”

“I chose … to take a stand between bad government … and the people I am sworn to protect and defend,” Palmer declares. This is true “whether they’re from my county, or whether you come to visit or recreate, or if you have a business, or are just traveling through. I have a duty and obligation to keep you from bad government.” 

Palmer is being denounced as a “rogue” sheriff not because he has violated individual rights, but because he is not a federal supremacist – something that became quite apparent during the recent standoff in nearby Harney County. While he carefully avoided direct intervention in the conflict, Palmer expressed sympathy for the grievances that inspired the protest and met with representatives when they visited Grant County. He also suggested that the Feds should commute the grotesquely disproportionate prison term inflicted on Dwight and Steven Hammond, the Burns-area ranchers whose long-standing conflict with esurient federal bureaucracies led to the protest and ensuing standoff. 

Such a conciliatory posture toward protesters who occupied federal “property” is not without precedent. 

In November 1972, hundreds of activists with the American Indian Movement, many of them heavily armed, seized control of the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and held it for a week. The occupiers assaulted law enforcement officers, blew open a safe, seized documents, ignored judicial orders to vacate the premises, issued a list of demands to the federal government, and did an estimated $2 million worth of damage to the facility – and were allowed to leave without being arrested. For reasons rooted in identity politics, that episode is regarded with reverence by many of the same left-leaning observers who treated the Malheur Refuge protesters as the American analogue to ISIS. 

Ammon Bundy and his fellow protesters were headed to a town hall meeting with Sheriff Palmer in John Day when they were ambushed by the FBI’s proprietary death squad, the so-called Hostage Rescue Team, on Highway 395. That ambush led to the fatal shooting of LaVoy Finicum, which was precipitated by the FBI’s attempt to murder him as he emerged from the truck with his hands raised in surrender. 

Rather than presenting Sheriff Palmer with a valid arrest warrant for the protesters, the FBI – seeing him as politically unreliable -- treated him as a “security leak.” Last week, however, Palmer’s office arrested Malheur Refuge protester Scott Willingham on a federal warrant. However one assesses the wisdom of that decision, it demonstrates that Palmer would have enforced what he considered a valid writ had the FBI sought his help in arresting the protesters. Instead, the Bureau designed a plan that was perfectly calibrated to end in bloodshed. Not only did they treat Palmer as a “security leak,” the FBI operators made a point of concealing both their intentions – and the evidence of their misconduct – from the Oregon State Police

This is the behavior of an occupation force – which is how the Feds are regarded by millions of Americans residing in the western United States. 

As is the case in too many counties in the region, the Feds “own” most of the land in Grant County. Using “endangered species” designations and similar tactics, the Feds have moved aggressively to eradicate logging, ranching, and other industry in the county, with the predictable economic consequences for residents who are members of the productive sector.
Grant County Apocalypse: The Canyon Creek Complex Fire.
The federal approach to forest management could be summarized in the phrase, “Lock ‘em up, and burn ‘em down.” Years of such insightful federal stewardship culminated in last summer’s epochal Canyon Creek Complex Fire, which destroyed scores of homes and devoured more than 65,000 acres. Seeking to deflect citizen demands for an independent investigation, the US Forest Service employed a familiar Soviet rationale by blaming the weather, ratherthan its own corruption and ineptitude, for its failure to suppress a fire that feasted on forests flush with fuel following years of federal neglect

Frustrated by the timidity of a county commission unwilling to confront the Feds, Sheriff Palmer created a citizens panel to devise a more suitable forest management plan. In doing so he acted within the scope of his delegated authority. Following the fire Palmer also deputized scores of other local citizens to participate in safety patrols and search and rescue operations. This action is depicted by Palmer’s critics as an effort by the sheriff to build his own private militia, which is probably not the case (although there are problems with at least some of his appointees). 

Last August, just before he found himself dealing with the federally abetted inferno that was laying waste to his county, Palmer announced that he was interposing against SB 941, a civilian disarmament measure enacted by Oregon Democrats. Since it was passed on a strict party line vote (save the three Democrats who voted against it), calling that measure a product of the State Legislature is an example of intellectual consumer fraud: It was a purely partisan enactment by urban collectivists who look upon rural Oregonians with a revulsion rivaling that Lenin reserved for the Kulaks and Cossacks

Sheriff Palmer had testified against the bill before the Legislature, candidly warning them that he would not enforce it were it to be passed. He was as good as his word. 

SB 941, which would restrict of prohibit the private sale or transfer of firearms without a background check, “is in violation of the Oregon and US Constitutions,” Palmer explained in an August 12 letter to residents of Grant County. The firearms in question “are private property and [if] those firearms, or any firearm for that matter, are used in the commission of a crime [they] will then be subject to search and seizure pursuant to a search warrant….” However, continued the sheriff, “we shall take no part in investigating, responding to, expending resources or taxpayer funds in … disarming law abiding citizens,” nor will his department take part in “sting operations [or] give information to other agencies regarding the sale or transfer of firearms as related to SB 941.”

Despite his commendable willingness to interpose against civilian disarmament initiatives, Sheriff Palmer remains enlisted in the murderous fraud called the War on Drugs. He doesn’t appear zealous in the cause of prohibition, however: His department was not listed among those that had carried out “asset forfeiture” seizures during 2014, the most recent year for which the relevant statistics are available. The Feds have used the prospect of prohibition-derived plunder to entice most sheriffs into their seraglio. On this front, Palmer’s involvement with the Feds appears to be limited to flirting – which no doubt reinforces their determination to see him replaced by a more pliant sheriff. 

If, as anticipated, the Oregon State Department of Justice finds Palmer unsuitable for his office, it can have him de-certified as a law enforcement officer, but he can only be removed by recall or electoral defeat. Palmer could continue in his office as a “civilian” sheriff if his peace officer certification would be revoked – but under Oregon state law he couldn’t run for re-election this November.

During the occupation of the Malheur Refuge, Sheriff Pat Garrett of neighboring Washington County dispatched his deputies to a bar in nearby Burns to help the FBI collect dossiers on demonstrators who had come in support of the protest. 

To use Tolkien’s terminology, Garrett is typical of the complaisant shire-riffs who did the bidding of the “Ruffians” employed by the tyrannical Chief in Bag End. Palmer, irrespective of his faults, had the sand to remain aloof.

“That sheriff,” Garrett later complained to a reporter, with reference to Palmer, “did not see eye to eye with the rest of law enforcement.”

Garrett is the kind of functionary who would see that statement as an indictment, rather than an encomium.  Similar things could have been said of the shire-riffs who put aside their insignia of office and joined Frodo and Sam when the time came for the scouring of the Shire.

                                        This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast:

Dum spiro, pugno!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Merrick Garland, Richard W. Roberts, and the Kenneth Trentadue Murder: The Deep State Takes Care of Its Own

Not a suicide victim: Kenneth Trentadue's brutalized body in his open-casket funeral.

“You have to trust the government,” Justice Department attorney Richard Roberts unctuously told Jesse Trentadue. Seeking to understand why his younger brother Kenneth had died while in federal custody, Jesse, a trial attorney in Salt Lake City, had asked to see the findings of a federal grand jury investigation of the case. 

In an incandescent response to Roberts’s patronizing dismissal, Trentadue reminded the Justice Department functionary that the proper relationship between citizens and the government is not one of “trust,” but rather of “accountability from that government to the citizens.”

“The Department of Justice has yet to account to the family for the death of my brother,” Trentadue pointed out. “There is no love between us, and there certainly is no trust.”
By the time Jesse had sent that October 16, 1997 letter to Roberts – who was Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Section – more than two years had passed since his brother Kenneth had died in a federal prison cell in Oklahoma City. In the August 22, 1995 phone call notifying Kenneth’s mother Wilma about her son’s death, the warden casually mentioned that the body was scheduled for cremation within hours.

Wilma demanded to know if Kenneth’s wife had authorized the disposition of his body. The warden replied that she hadn’t been aware that Kenneth was married. After making it clear that her son’s remains were not to be cremated, Wilma joined Jesse in Oklahoma City, where they took custody of Kenneth’s body.

After carefully scraping away several layers of ineptly applied makeup, Wilma and Jesse understood why authorities had been determined to dispose of Kenneth’s body. The official story was that he had committed suicide by hanging himself in what was described as a suicide-proof cell. This wouldn’t explain why his face and torso were mottled with bruises testifying of a severe beating inflicted by several people, or why his throat appeared to have been cut and his scalp was split open.
"Trust the government": Judge/prosecutor/rapist Roberts.
By the time Kenneth’s family had collected his body, all of the evidence in the crime scene had been destroyed. In violation of Oklahoma state law, the floors and walls of the cell had been sanitized, erasing fingerprints and wiping away blood and DNA evidence. The victim’s clothing and bedding had been confiscated by FBI Special Agent Jeff Jenkins, who kept this evidence hidden in the trunk of his car until putrefaction set in, rendering it useless to the FBI Crime Lab. 

One witness in a nearby cell testified that he heard the sounds of a struggle shortly before Kenneth’s lifeless body was “discovered” by a guard.  Several other witnesses reported seeing bloody riot gear, uniforms, and batons belonging to the facility’s SORT (Special Operations Response Team) unit.

The Bureau of Prisons designated “suicide by asphyxia” as the cause of Kenneth’s death, insisting that his other injuries were “self-inflicted.”

Dr. Fred Jordan, Oklahoma’s Chief State Medical Examiner, was pressured to validate the official story that Kenneth was a suicide victim, despite the fact that his body was “covered in blood … soaked in blood, covered with bruises,” as Jordan would later recall. He was forbidden by federal officials to have access to the death scene until five months after the death. An application of Luminol, a blood reagent, left the cell “lit up like a candle because of the blood still present on the walls after four or five months.”

Rather than acceding to federal demands, Jordan listed the cause of Kenneth’s death as “unknown.” Kevin Rowland, chief investigator for the ME’s office, filed a complaint with the FBI describing the incident as “murder.” He also consulted with Col. William T. Gormley of the United States Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, who concurred with Dr. Jordan’s findings.  

Rowland, intriguingly, was recently subjected to the pointless torment over a “sexual battery” charge arising from an incident in which he allegedly twisted a male co-worker’s nipple. That alleged incident, furthermore, occurred decades ago. Bear in mind the nature of that charge, and the institutional memory that led to it being filed against this whistleblower; this will become relevant anon. 

All of the pertinent facts about Kenneth’s murder were exhumed by Trentadue and his colleagues long after the Justice Department had concluded what Criminal Section Chief Richard Roberts claimed was a “flawless” and “thorough” investigation – one that began on August 21, 1995, and was closed the following day. The findings of that one-day “investigation” were submitted to a federal grand jury – not one on Oklahoma City – which ratified the Justice Department’s official story.

When Trentadue requested access to the federal grand jury’s findings, Roberts parried that petition with a patronizing admonition to “trust the government.” The following year, Roberts was selected by Bill Clinton to serve on the District Court for the District of Columbia, an appointment that could be seen as a reward for his role in consummating a vital cover-up.
Kenneth Trentadue, Jesse learned from an anonymous caller shortly after his brother’s death, was “murdered by the FBI” in a lethal case of mistaken identity. In appearance, body type, distinguishing features (including, however implausibly, tattoos), age, and criminal background, Kenneth was a near-twin of Richard Lee Guthrie – who was in the custody of the federal prison system when Kenneth was arrested for an alleged parole violation shortly after the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. 

For several years, Guthrie was involved in an FBI-protected gang called the Aryan Republican Army (ARA), which staged bank robberies to fund white supremacist activities across the country. The ARA was an asset of the FBI’s PATCON (Patriot Conspiracy) program, which seeded “radical right” groups with informants and provocateurs.

The Oklahoma City bombing was the result of a PATCON operation – most likely a security theater production that went badly off-script. Guthrie is one of several very good candidates for the enigmatic “John Doe #2” whom many witnesses saw in the company of Timothy McVeigh on the morning of the bombing – and whose identity the government has sought to conceal ever since. Just a few months after Kenneth’s traumatized body was “found” dangling in a cell at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma, Guthrie died in a similarly unconvincing “suicide.” Shortly before he was killed, Guthrie had somewhat imprudently announced his intention to write a memoir disclosing critical secrets regarding the Oklahoma City bombing.

Implacably pursuing justice: Jesse
The source who told Jesse that Kenneth had been killed by the FBI described the murder as “an interrogation gone wrong.” Before his parole, Kenneth had been a bank robber, albeit one not affiliated with the alpha gang of the criminal underworld, the FBI. He couldn’t answer any PATCON-related questions, and so he was tortured to death. His captors may have really believed that he was Guthrie. They may have realized that he wasn’t, but decided that it would be compromising to let him live. In either case, the objective was to tie up a loose end quickly. Fortunately, enough of a thread was left dangling for Jesse to find it.  He has been tugging on it for more than twenty years.

Learning the identity of “John Doe #2” is necessary to solve the mystery of his brother’s murder, Jesse believes, and the identity of that PATCON asset remains a protected state secret.
In response to a July 2009 Freedom of Information Act request by Jesse, the FBI turned over six DVDs that supposedly contained all of the video recordings collected after the bombing. Missing from that collection – and pointedly ignored in the FBI’s response to Jesse’s request – is a video captured by the exterior surveillance camera located on the Regency Tower 
The existence of that video is proven by the testimony of FBI Special Agent Jon Hersley during McVeigh’s April 27, 1995 preliminary hearing. Hersley, who was among those agents tasked “to further identify and locate other individuals who may have been involved in the bombing,” testified that within “two or three days” of the bombing he had been shown “still photos” culled from a the video captured by the Regency Tower surveillance system. The film itself, he explained, was in the control of other agents within the bureau.

During cross-examination, defense counsel John Coyle, challenging the foundation for video evidence implicating his client, asked Agent Hersley, “who are those agents that are tasked with the responsibility of reviewing photographs and film footage?”
That entirely reasonable question prompted an objection by the lead prosecutor, a Justice Department attorney named Merrick Garland. The objection being overruled, Hersley identified the agent in question as Walt Lamar. As Coyle continued to pursue this line of inquiry, Garland objected a second time, protesting that “we are going in the area of discovery now.”

The second objection was sustained, the matter was dropped, and potential “discovery” of evidence that could have revealed the identity of John Doe #2 was foreclosed by the man who, two decades later, would be chosen to fill a critical vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Assuming that the Senate holds confirmation hearings on the Garland nomination, some senators reportedly plan to ask why he recused himself in a judicial misconduct case involving a colleague – none other than Richard Roberts, who resigned a few days later for “health” reasons. Roberts was under investigation by the Utah Attorney General’s Office and both the House and Senate oversight committees regarding allegations that he had raped a 16-year-old witness during a civil rights case in Utah in 1980.

At the time, the 27-year-old Roberts was an attorney with the Justice Department’s civil rights division. He was dispatched to Salt Lake City to head the federal civil rights prosecution of Joseph Paul Franklin, a white supremacist serial killer who murdered two African-American joggers, Ted Fields and David Martin from an ambush in August 1980.

Terry Mitchell (whose last name at the time was Elrod) had accompanied the two men and a girlfriend during the jog. She was hit by shrapnel but survived. Two months earlier she had been raped by a man named Philip George Moore, which was merely the latest of several such assaults she had endured since childhood. As if the cumulative trauma of those events hadn’t been sufficient, Terry and her family were subjected to hostility and suspicion owing to the fact that the father was involved in a local motorcycle club called the Barons, a fact seized on by some to suggest that Terry had lured the victims into an ambush.
Terry Mitchell in 2016.
A few weeks after the shooting, Terry fled to Arizona to live with grandparents. She returned the following October to testify in the trial.

During the following January and February, the 27-year-old Roberts sexually exploited the 16-year-old, beginning with an episode in which he lured her into his office on the pretext of reviewing her testimony. Once he had separated the teenager from her mother, Roberts quickly disposed of the fiction that they were going to discuss the case and invited her to dinner.

While Terry was puzzled and concerned, and wanted to go home to fix dinner for her younger sisters, “she complied because … Roberts was an authority figure and she had learned to comply with those in positions of authority,” recounts a lawsuit she recently filed against the former judge. With the practiced, methodical patience of a veteran sexual predator, Roberts lured the intimidated girl into his hotel room, where he compelled her to service him sexually, “then raped her twice.”

While maintaining the pretense that he and his victim were engaged in a consensual “affair,” Roberts made it clear that Terry couldn’t disclose what was going on. A mistrial would have resulted, and Franklin – who had yet to be tried for the murders – may have been let loose. If this were to happen, Roberts told his victim, it would be her fault.

After securing Franklin’s conviction, Roberts left, and Terry rarely heard from him again. In 2013, after the serial killer wasexecuted for a murder committed in Missouri, Roberts contacted Terry anew. Terry recorded the phone call and submitted it to investigators for the Utah Attorney General’s office, which verified the substance of her story.

Roberts has admitted to preying upon the then-sixteen-year-old witness, but continues to characterize the matter as a “consensual” affair and a regrettable “lapse in judgment.” Under current state law, the conduct to which Roberts confesses would be statutory rape or perhaps even child molestation. At the time, however, the age of consent was sixteen. Roberts never faced the prospect of serious criminal charges arising from his calculated exploitation of a traumatized and vulnerable girl.

Today (March 22) Roberts has learned that the misconduct case against him has been dropped, meaning that he will be able to enjoy his tax-subsidized pension without being haunted by the specter of personal accountability. This is to be expected: Two decades ago, Roberts performed a valuable service to the Deep State by suppressing evidence of a murder committed on its behalf. Roberts’ behavior in raping a terrified child demonstrated that he possessed the proper disposition to carry out such a task, and those whose secrets he kept have duly rewarded him.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast also discusses the repellent Richard W. Roberts and his role in the OKC cover-up:

To all who have given so generously, thank you so much, and God bless you -- on behalf of my entire family.

Dum spiro, pugno!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Finicum's Wake

He tended herds, rather than serving the state: LaVoy Finicum, a man in full.

Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my brethren; here there are states….
A state is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: `I the state, am the people.’…
Destroyers are they who lay snares for many, and call it the state….

Nietzsche, “The New Idol,” from Thus Spake Zarathustra

The late rancher LaVoy Finicum sought to elude the state’s armed enforcers, but he wasn’t attempting to evade the law. His intent, as he explained clearly and repeatedly to OSP troopers before the lethal ambush at a roadblock on Oregon Highway 395, was to travel to John Day to meet with Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who could have taken him into custody, if just cause existed for that action. 

Finicum, who nurtured a winsome if misguided faith in the Constitution, entertained the hope that Palmer might be a peace officer who was willing to act in the name of the people, rather than enforcing the will of the state. 

If the objective of the FBI and the OSP on January 26 had been to arrange the peaceful arrest of Finicum and his associates, they would have reached out to Palmer. The destination of the convoy was known, as was its purpose – to convene a town hall meeting, not to commit a violent offense. 

Rather than coordinating with Palmer, the FBI and the local lickspittles in uniform deliberately ignored him, and withheld any information about the plan to interdict the convoy. This is because Sheriff Palmer is seen as a “security leak” owing to his sympathies with the ranchers and other residents of his rural county who have been driven into destitution by the federal government.

Staging a combat-grade operation – spearheaded by the FBI’s official death squad, which bears the trans-Orwellian title of “Hostage Rescue Team (HRT)” – was the riskiest way to carry out an arrest. It was, however, the most effective way to exert the supposed authority of the federal government. This is also why the HRT, at some risk to the passengers in Finicum’s vehicle and the OSP officers on the ground, tried to assassinate Finicum after he attempted to run the roadblock.

Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris (about whom I’ll have much more to say below) points out that three shots were fired by OSP officers as Finicum approached the roadblock at an estimated speed of 70 miles per hour. Three more shots were fired into the victim’s back after he exited the truck, killing him.
Absentee Malheur County DA Norris at the March 8 press conference.
“In the early stages of the investigation we could not explain the fourth shot into the roof of the truck or its trajectory, given the placement of the Oregon State Police troopers at the time,” explained Norris in the March 8 press conference. “During the course of our investigation, we discovered evidence that FBI HRT operators fired two shots as Mr. Finicum exited the truck, and one shot hit the truck…. Neither of these two shots fired by HRT operators struck Mr. Finicum.”

That unlawful action, which combined murderous intent with government-grade marksmanship, was compounded by the FBI’s reflexive institutional mendacity: The HRT Stormtroopers who fired the shots concealed that fact from the investigation, and their comrades joined in that conspiracy of obstruction. Norris carefully, and repeatedly, emphasized that while he found the six shots fired by the OSP to be “justified,” he was leaving the matter of the shots fired by the HRT operators in the hands of the Justice Department’s Inspector General and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Finicum had been shot at three times while approaching the roadblock-- a fact demonstrating that combat protocols, rather than “civilian” deadly force standards, were in place. As he exited the vehicle, Finicum was nearly killed before he was given an opportunity to submit to arrest.

Much is said about the “reasonable officer” standard of deadly force, and correspondingly little attention is paid to the perceptions of those who are targeted by such force. When the HRT attempted to kill him as he exited the vehicle, Finicum – like any reasonable person – most likely assumed that his captors intended to execute him. Although this may not have been what the OSP had in mind, it was clearly what the HRT intended.

Just as the OSP and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office didn’t share their plans with Sheriff Palmer in Grant County, the HRT operators weren’t on the same page as the OSP troopers at the roadblock. Whether this reflects premeditation or pathological improvisation is impossible to tell at this point. The fact that the HRT operators conspired to conceal their actions argues strongly for the first possibility.

Obstructing an investigation is a felony. It will not be treated as such by the IG’s office, of course, owing to the inexhaustible privilege enjoyed by the Regime’s hired killers. If Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson is burdened with dangling anatomy, he will press charges against the HRT operators who sought to conceal evidence of a clearly unlawful attempt to kill LaVoy Finicum.

Nelson, who presides over a department riven with turmoil, is up for reelection and facing two challengers. This means that he may be susceptible to local pressure to hold the HRT accountable. Like nearly every other “local” sheriff, however, Nelson is severely compromised by his office’s deep entanglement with the Feds.

Last October, Nelson placed Captain Scott Beard on “administrative leave” (that is, paid vacation) after he was accused of embezzling from the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team, a federally subsidized asset forfeiture soviet. Beard, the Detective Division Captain, was in charge of all transactions of the so-called CODE team, which plundered the county on the order of $100,000 or more each year.

In February, Beard was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of stealing more than $200,000 from the forfeiture fund. If Nelson doesn't do anything to upset the Feds, this ugly business might stop with Beard.

When he finally condescended to do a media interview on the matter,Nelson told Bend NBC affiliate KTVZ that “federal authorities, who are also investigating, have asked him to keep many of the details in the missing-money case private.”

This gives Nelson a ready excuse to withhold public disclosure of details that could reveal corruption and incompetence in his office’s management of money and property that often were seized from people who had never been accused of a crime. It also gives the Feds leverage to use against him in the event that Nelson entertains ideas about prosecuting the HRT operators who tried to kill LaVoy Finicum as he exited his truck – and then obstructed the investigation into the subsequent fatal shooting.

Nelson is not the only key figure in this matter who has been severely compromised by forfeiture-related corruption.

Malheur County DA Dan Norris, chosen as special prosecutor to investigate the Finicum killing, unlawfully diverted tens of thousands of dollars in cash that had been seized by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office from William Esbensen, the former owner of a medical marijuana co-op called the 45th Parallel in Ontario, Oregon. In 2014, Esbensen was prosecuted, and convicted, under an expired state anti-marijuana statute that was dead letter law even then.

During an April 10, 2013 County Commission meeting, according to the County Court minutes, “Mr. Norris suggested that a portion of the forfeiture funds in the task force budget could be used to assist” in paying for the services of an outside prosecutor – from Deschutes County, as it happens – named Mike Dugan.

When the Commission balked at the prospective costs of the prosecution – which seemed to increase every month – Norris invited Dugan to address the body.

Seeking to palliate their concerns, Dugan boasted that the High Desert Drug Enforcement Task Force had “recovered a number of globs of money so to speak,” including “some $53,000 in cash [that] was seized; that was subject to federal forfeiture…. I believe Sheriff [Brian] Wolfe received about 40 grand of that.” In addition, he explained, ten other people involved in the 45th Parallel had accepted settlements involving huge fines that “went into the Sheriff’s forfeiture account to help cover the costs of prosecution and investigation. I do not know the total figure of money that we’ve already recovered but I think it is in excess of … 78,000 dollars and there is still some additional opportunity to recover more.”

After the case was over, Dugan continued, it might be possible to “have more in-depth discussions about additional collections and addition use of that money to see things through and do forfeitures next year. Which I think, from a business standpoint would make sense.” (Emphasis supplied.)

Norris and Dugan were using the prospect of an immense forfeiture haul to sell a skeptical Malheur County Commission on an unnecessary and legally invalid marijuana prosecution.  No adequate accounting as ever been made for the forfeiture-derived funds used to prosecute that case, and with good reason: Under the federal “equitable sharing” program, it is illegal to divert forfeiture proceeds in that fashion.

When this matter came up during the post-conviction restitution hearing, Norris sprang out of his chair as if he had suddenly discovered a cobra nesting in it and blurted out an objection. Trial Judge Gregory Baxter, offended by defense attorney Susan Gerber’s effort to examine the prosecution’s dodgy bookkeeping, gaveled the hearing to a close. Within an hour Dugan filed a motion in limine to forbid any examination “regarding the use of County General Funds,” which included the forfeiture proceeds. A week later, Judge Baxter, using a contrived rationale to justify an official cover-up, granted that motion.

Is that it?!
In addition to the illegal transfer of forfeiture funds, Norris is implicated in the matter of a rather substantial amount of confiscated marijuana for which the county has never given an adequate accounting. The 45th Parallel case began on September 11, 2012, with raids on at least eight large marijuana grow areas. At the subsequent press conference, the confiscated marijuana was triumphantly displayed in front of the Malheur County Courthouse in Vale: The trophies filled the entire parking lot.

Rather than burning the seized weed, former MCSO Detective Brad Williams, the lead investigator, arranged for its burial at a local landfill. Photographs obtained from the sheriff’s office documented the disposal of a paltry amount of marijuana that was barely sufficient to cover a card table, let alone a parking lot. Nobody has ever explained what happened to the balance of that very profitable commodity.

Behind every great fortune there is a crime, insisted Balzac. That cynical aphorism isn’t true of private industry. It is reliably true of people who prosper in the field of law enforcement.  It is in the interest of our Federal overseers to ensure that “local” sheriffs, police, and prosecutors are deeply compromised.

The state “lies in all languages of good and evil,” observed Nietzsche, “and whatever it says is a lie, and whatever it has it has stolen. Everything in it is false; it bites with stolen teeth, and bites often. It is false down to its bowels.”

When the state bites with its stolen teeth as it did at the roadblock on Highway 395, it falls on those mired in the bowels of the beast – people like Sheriff Nelson and Dan Norris – to do the filthy work necessary to preserve the pretense of legitimacy.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the ongoing post-Bunkerville crackdown:

My friends, I am in urgent need of your help. If you can, please donate to help keep Pro Libertate on-line. Thank you, and God bless!

Dum spiro, pugno!