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Predator Drone Used in Arrest of North Dakota Farmer

KrisAnne Hall

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Dec. 12, 2011

I have voiced my firm opposition to SB1867 because of its potential use against US citizens, I have been called an extremist, a chicken little, etc. Now multiple News sites have reported an incident that made my hair stand on end. In June of this year, a predator drone was used by local law enforcement to facilitate the arrest of a North Dakota Family.

RT reports: “This is the first time in American history that an unmanned aircraft has been used to assist police in making an arrest on US soil.” As if to assure the reader that this isn’t a misprint, the report continues with “By “drone” we do mean military reconnaissance and assault flying machine used by the US Army (sic) and the CIA, mostly abroad…To be precise, this is the same Predator drone that the US Army (sic) uses in military missions across Afghanistan, Pakistan and any other theater…” 

Local law enforcement using a military drone – is this some military sci-fi novel we’re reading?  Nope. Apparently DHS has been using these drones in the states for YEARS, yet this story was noticeably absent from American media sources at the time of the arrests.  Sadly many people still have faith in the American media, especially if the source purports to align with their own political views.  Here’s how it went:

The local Sheriff, Kelly Janke, ran into some trouble while looking for some wandering cows, six cows to be exact.  Fortunately for the local sheriff, the Predator drone was returning to Grand Forks Air Base from a mission on the US/Canada border and had some fuel left, so what the hey, let’s send it to North Dakota to look for some cows.  Really?

According to local reports, these cows were not alleged to be stolen, they had wandered onto the Brossart farm.  According to certain local reports, Mr. Brossart believed these animals to be unclaimed and, in accordance with certain open range laws, the cattle belonged to him. When questioned in court, he answered repeatedly, that the cattle were “his property.”  Because of this property dispute, legally speaking, this is now a civil matter.  Yet, the Sheriff’s office served a criminal warrant to look for these cows. 

When Mr. Brossart refused to honor the warrant, he was tazed and placed into custody.  Mr. Brossart was not armed.  Mr. Brossart’s sons also refused to honor the warrant, and told law enforcement officers to get off the property.  Initial reports say the boys had long guns, and later reports claim high powered rifles.  This all resulted in a standoff where no shots were fired and no one was harmed. 

Now, as a former prosecutor, who has a deep respect and appreciation for law enforcement and the dangers they face, I understand the problem with people brandishing guns in the presence of officers.  But it appears to me that the situation was incited by criminalizing a civil dispute.  This was reasonably a civil dispute over livestock ownership which would require a review by a judge and full hearing involving all parties before property is taken.  But here is the really disturbing part.  The next morning, a tip to law enforcement told officers that the boys were out on tractors harvesting and were not armed.  Did the officers now come to the property and attempt to serve this warrant peaceably?   No, they responded with MASSIVE force.

Next thing they knew – a mini army and a Predator B drone have been called in.  State Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulance, deputy sheriffs from three other counties and a drone arrived at the scene, reports the Los Angeles Times.”

I have been involved with law enforcement as a prosecutor for nearly nine years.  NEVER did I see such a display of force over a civil dispute involving “stray cows”.  And what did this assault team find?  Exactly what they were told, boys harvesting and no weapons and…

“A search of the property turned up four rifles, two shotguns, assorted bows and arrows and a samurai sword, according to court records. Police also found the six missing cows, valued at $6,000.”

There you have it, a small Army called out to subdue cattle rustlers who have four rifles, two shotguns, assorted bows and arrows, and a samurai sword on their 3,000-acre farm. Huh?  All this over cows?

And now “the rest of the story.” Apparently, the residents of this farm are members of the Sovereign Citizens Movement, a so-called “anti-government group which the FBI considers extremist and violent,” according to the LA Times article.  The primary reason for this is that Terry Nichols was a Sovereign Citizen.  However, don’t forget who else DHS considers potential terrorists.  Remember the report that claims veterans returning from Iraq and those who are against abortion are also “potentially violent terrorist?”  Here is an excerpt:

“Rightwing extremism,” the report said in a footnote on Page 2, goes beyond religious and racial hate groups and extends to “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely…It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” said the report, which also listed gun owners and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as potential risks.”

Take some time and read what the ADL says about the Sovereign Citizens.  If you refer to yourself as a Constitutionalist, you might be a terrorist.  If you believe that government governs best when it governs closest to home, you might be a terrorist.  If you take issue with the 16th or 17th amendments, the Federal Reserve, Fiat money, or you believe in the Gold Standard, you might be a terrorist.

Just a week ago the crafters of the SB1867 said they could not conceive of the extraordinary powers given to DHS being used against US citizens; it only applies to “terrorists.” Now we have military drones being employed in the US in police actions against citizens.  Really? How inconceivable is it for US citizens to be subjected to the extraordinary powers outlined in SB1867?  I believe the purpose of SB1867 is to manipulate the people into giving permission for this abuse of power in the name of security; in the name of fighting terrorism.  Are we to believe that they didn’t have this in mind when they wrote that bill?

I am reminded of a similar ploy advanced by King George III against our founders.  In his defense of the British Colonies, in the name of National Security, George deployed British troops in the colonies to enforce his laws. In order to properly facilitate this military action, George and parliament passed the Quartering Act.

Whereas there may be occasion for marching and quartering of regiments and companies of his Majesty’s forces in several parts of his Majesty’s dominions in America: and whereas the publick houses and barracks, in his Majesty’s dominions in America, may not be sufficient to supply quarters for such forces…

Understand that George already had the troops in route.  He already KNEW there would not be sufficient barracks to house them.  There was no question in George’s mind what his intentions were, what resources were needed, and how he was to obtain them.  But he could get the people and parliament to agree to this violation of our founders’ rights by softening the language and dealing with a “potential” danger.  This is the same disingenuous tactic our Congress has used to perpetrate the gutting of our Bill of Rights and the destruction of our Constitution in SB1867.   So, this is only for terrorists?  Again, I ask you, WHO IS THE TERRORIST?

So what do we get?  Not what Congress said we would get.  Not the near impossibility of using this type of military force against US Citizens, but the first use of military predator drones on US Soil based upon a civil dispute over the ownership of cows.  NOT against one of the many known al-Queda terrorist camps located here in the United States.

Alexander Hamilton in Federalist Paper 84, quoting Justice Blackstone, gave us this very sober warning:

“To bereave a man of life, [says he] or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government.” And as a remedy for this fatal evil he is everywhere peculiarly emphatical in his encomiums on the habeas corpus act, which in one place he calls “the BULWARK of the British Constitution”.

This is EXACTLY what SB1867 does. Why are we so deaf to the cries of our founding fathers?  Why are we like the spoiled teenager who believes he is immortal and our fathers are simple old fools who have no idea the problems we face today?  They had a deep wisdom, based upon centuries of human nature and experience.  We must recognize that human nature does not change; there is nothing new under the sun.

George Washington is quoted to have said: Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

This parallels  Patrick Henry’s warning: The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

Now do you see why Americans are so concerned over SB1867?  The 93 Senators that voted in favor of this atrocity are participating in the destruction of our Constitution and it apparently doesn’t bother them any more than it bothers the rest of America.