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Bradley and the Birthers: a Manning-Militia Mix?

Over the weekend, a progressive organizer and friend was approached by members of Oath Keepers. Apparently, the organization is looking for allies in the peace movement by comparing Bradley Manning to Terry Lakin. From the Colorado Independent:

“What if Terry Lakin had been treated… just the same as Manning? Would the people who cheer the treatment of Manning have cheered that? Of course not! They’re judging the cause and whether the person is good or not, not judging due process. If this happened to Lakin, there’d be all this screaming from them about due process. They’d be right! But the same goes for Manning. It’s just a sad cycle of how human nature works.”

Human nature? No, it’s called criminal law. Lakin was convicted of disobeying lawful orders. Manning is accused of disobeying lawful orders. That is what they have in common, and nothing else. The people screaming at the supposed torture of Bradley Manning, however, feed right into the fringe narratives of Alex Jones and the so-called “patriot movement” — the latter being the origin of Oath Keepers.

No one in the progressive movement should have anything to do with them. Terry Lakin, you’ll recall, is the former Army doctor and colonel sentenced to six months for missing his deployment to Afghanistan. Lakin demanded the Commander-in-Chief show him a long-form birth certificate before obeying the Oath of Enlistment. He’s been a hero to Orly Taitz and the birthers ever since.

John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent calls Oath Keepers a “libertarian-constitutionalist rights group,” but in fact they are a hate group. Their boilerplate is ripped right out of the militia manuals. Their organization was identified with the right-wing militia movement early and often. The Oath Keepers’ world view rests on the tinfoil hat narrative of secret government FEMA death camps and United Nations occupation forces. Their nativism and hate speech have been documented at length by David Neiwart as well as the Southern Poverty law Center.

And then there are the members who actually get arrested:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The man accused of storing a napalm bomb, assault rifles and other explosives in two rented homes often seemed paranoid, his landlord said.

Matthew Fairfield, 30, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to dozens of charges of storing explosives in a Cleveland home and the napalm bomb in his North Olmsted home. Fairfield’s bond was set at $1 million.

And also:

Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III stands charged with disorderly conduct, inciting to riot, disrupting a meeting, and resisting arrest.


Breeden said Fitzpatrick was trying to arrest grand jury foreman Gary Pettway. Fitzpatrick’s reasons for allegedly doing so are not clear.

He has previously tried to get the Monroe County grand jury to indict President Barack Obama for treason.

And also:

A Georgia man has been arrested in Tennessee–authorities say he headed to Madisonville, armed and prepared to take over the courthouse.

Darren Huff stands charged of traveling in interstate commerce with intent to incite a riot and transporting in commerce a firearm in furtherance of a civil disorder.

The FBI says Huff traveled to Tennessee armed with a pistol on his hip and an assault rifle in his truck, intent on carrying out citizen’s arrests of 24 federal, state, and local officials, and on seeing that another man did not face trial for trying to do the same.

And also:

“We come home and those bastards want to talk about how we’re domestic terrorists and a threat to this country. It makes me so angry,” said Charles Dyer, who has been accused of committing rape.

Dyer has been charged with first degree rape. When police searched Dyer’s home for evidence on that charge, they found a grenade launcher that matched the description of one of three that were reportedly stolen from an Army post in California.

More incriminating evidence against Dyer has surfaced in a YouTube video. The video shows Dyer, a former U.S. Marine, talking proudly about domestic terrorism. “Join the military?”, said Dyer. “Depends on what you want to do with it. Me? Im going to use my training and become one of those domestic terrorists that you’re so afraid of from the DHS reports.”

Such good friends for the Bradley Manning fan club, don’t you think? Not only do they have an ideology of violence, they boast the endorsement of Glenn Beck. Can’t you just see Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher hanging out with these people?

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  • Rick Staggenborg, MD

    I appreciate your not naming me as the progressive organizer in question, but I am not concerned about being identified. I believe that you over-reacted to my comments, as did others.

    I am not recruiting for this group, I am recruiting the saner members to Soldiers For Peace International. I took the oath that they are referring to and any progressive that reads it would do the same.

    The folks who are worried about a systematic assault on our liberties do so with good reason. It happened all through the Bush administration and many of the abuses are still continuing. Many Oathkeepers no doubt think that Obama is more dangerous than Bush, but one of the articles you linked mentioned that they were aware of the abuses by Bush but didn’t worry because they “trusted his character.”

    The truth is that Presidents don’t run the country. They have the power to promote the corporate agenda as did Bush but find it immensely more difficult to reverse the moves toward fascism that most Americans have accepted. It is the corporate media and the Puppets in Congress who have convinced people that fascism if conservatism and resisting it is socialist.

    If we succeed at building a serious movement to challenge the power behind

    the government, there is a real risk that the corporate interests that control the government will step up repressive measures with manufactured terror, agents provocateurs and reflexive clamping down on civil liberties up to and including permanent martial law.

    It does not seem to matter which Party is in “control” or who is in the White House. The Department of Injustice ignores flouting of the law, Goldmann Sachs controls the Fed, Treasury and IMF despite detailed our knowledge of their crimes, a private Army is still being employed by the government to fight the “war on terror” that serves the corporate interest so well and if the active duty military and veterans are willing to let the government have free reign their is not reason to think that Xe will not be brought in to “maintain order.”

    If all of us agree that our government does not work for the People but for corporations, we have to find a way to find common ground in order to restore democracy. It is as natural that the specific individuals featured in these articles were drawn to the Oathkeepers for the wrong reasons as it is that fascist politicians would try to manipulate the group for the corporate interest. That is precisely why we cannot ignore but must try to engage them.

    Clearly, our government will not effectively challenge the nuttier members. If we leave these isolated, paranoid individuals to their own devices we will reinforce their fantasies that they are lone patriots who must save the world from “socialism” individually or in small, dangerous fringe groups claiming to represent all the members when their is no official position of the group as a whole that encourages
    violent resistance.

    To demonize and reject all members of any group out of hand is to divide potential allies and do the work of the fascists in preventing a larger movement. Divide and conquer is their way; unite and conquer is the way of Soldiers For Peace International.

  • Montana

    Dishonorable discharge Terry Lakin, is a fool, who needs him!
    Our president had already showed his US birth Certificate to;
    1. Get a US Passport;
    2. Become a US Senator;
    I feel sorry for all the little Birthers, It’s not their fault; it’s your families’ fault that taught you that you were better than other people based on race, creed ethnicity, color, nationality or sex, in short they engrained in you their hate (what a legacy).
    But you know at some point you need to grow up and act like an adult and think for yourself and distinguish what is true and what is BS.
    But there is where the little Birthers find yourself because we all know it was never about a birth certificate or grades, because we all know you want to go around wearing white sheets, burn crosses and hang people who are not like you, we know that your growth is stunted in your hate, and hate is what this is all about, you will never win anymore, and I feel sorry for all of you.
    I can only imagine when our President is re-elected what you phonies will lie about next. Oh, and just know, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck, the little Birthers are a bunch of racists!

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