|Keebler hunting coyotes.|
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.
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.”
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.”
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!
Dum spiro, pungo!