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Two members of the FBI’s elite counterterrorism unit died Friday while practicing how to quickly drop from a helicopter to a ship using a rope, the FBI announced Monday in a statement.
The statement gave few details regarding the deaths of Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw, other than to say the helicopter encountered unspecified difficulties and the agents fell a “significant distance.”
Last month, the team was involved in the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
One of the nation’s biggest anti-NDAA voices is hoping to inform sheriffs and other law enforcement officials of the dangers of indefinite detention this May 31.
People Against The NDAA (PANDA) was formed shortly after President Obama’s December 2011 signing of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 , which contains provisions allowing for the indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. Now PANDA Founder Daniel Johnson hopes to bring his message to the The annual Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association Heartland of America Convention in St. Charles, Mo.
“As the highest peace officer in the land, the sheriff is the last line of defense for the people,” said Johnson.
More than 100 Sheriffs and Peace Officers will be in attendance. Johnson hopes to get as many officers as possible to sign Anti-NDAA legislation pledging to protect their citizens from indefinite detention and other unconstitutional dangers.
So far PANDA has succesfully led the fight against the NDAA by contributing to several victories across the country. Pennsylvania State Constable Ed Lee signed a resolution last year guaranteeing he would do everything possible to stop the NDAA from being enacted on his citizens. The Las Vegas City Council passed a resolution 5-2 nullifying the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA last year as well.
Johnson, who has spoken at events such as the Oathkeepers Midwest Regional Conference and Paulfest, hopes his speech resonates with the officers who can take the message back to their individual precincts.
“It’s time for America’s Sheriffs to stand between the people and the unconstitutional NDAA, and that’s exactly what we will work with them to accomplish,” said Johnson.
At this time PANDA is accepting donations in order to send Johnson to the convention. If successful, the event could make huge strides for liberty and civil rights across the country.
To get involved please visit: http://pandaunite.org/2013-cspoa-conference-donate-now-to-awaken-americas-peace-officers/
Mikael Thalen is head writer for Secretsofthefed.com. His articles have been featured on sites such as Infowars, Natural News and The Daily Paul. During his time at Examiner.com, he was frequently ranked the number one political writer.
Jump to original: Iconic scientist insists God is foundational Related Posts:Obama Emphasizes ‘Military Option,’ But Insists US…Kerry insists that Assad cannot be part of Syria’s newCapriles insists Venezuela must hold new presidential…Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out On The Real Dangers of…Johns Hopkins Scientist Slams Flu Vaccine
Christians are not exempt from wondering about this eventuality. Yet “near-death” experiences are still controversial in conservative circles, as some allege all sorts of deception can creep in if undiscerning folks take too many of these stories at face value. They are right to be skeptical, even in the face of several bestseller books on the subject in the last few years.
This is what makes Terry James’ story all the more shocking.
One of the respected elders of the Bible prophecy community, James has sold a ton of books on the subject over the years, and his RaptureReady website, maintained along with his friend, Todd Strandberg, is the largest one of its kind in the world. That’s an arena James is familiar with, and people listen to him – a lot of people.
Naturally, then, he wondered what kind of reception he’d receive from not only that community, but also the wider culture, upon the release of his brand-new book, “Heaven Vision: Glimpses into Glory.”
James, who is blind, has a gifted mind, and he uses his abilities to process information to produce books with the help of long-time friend and editor, Angie Peters.
She had a most interesting comment in the preface to “Heaven Vision” when she recalled the immediate aftermath of James’ “widowmaker” heart attack two years ago: “So, once I was assured that Terry James, my close friend, mentor and writing partner for nearly 20 years, was out of the woods after his heart attack, I couldn’t wait to hear what, if anything, he had experienced while his heartbeat had been still and silent those three times. And he couldn’t wait to tell me. He confirmed from his hospital bed that Good Friday afternoon in the cardiovascular intensive care unit of the hospital in our small town that even though ‘things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man’ (1 Corinthians 2:9) is the operative truth, God does allow a number of His children a limited look at certain ‘things.’”
James’ claim that he got a glimpse of heaven, of what lies beyond for the believer, is buttressed by his reputation. He is so highly respected in his faith and work community that if “Terry said it, I believe it.”
The book is enhanced by James’ own prior research (quite ironically, his aged mother and an aunt had been urging him to write about this subject in the months leading up to his heart attack), and he includes documented cases of people who have been declared clinically dead, but who have been brought back to this life by skilled medical personnel.
All this makes for a most unusual and quite dramatic book, “Heaven Vision.” James’ focus for the book (and for his life and ministry) is hard to argue with, especially if one is a critic of such experiences.
As he states in the book: “As wonderful as I found the moments in which I was in that space between life and death, I can’t even begin to fathom the wonder of what it will be like to enter the Lord’s presence in heaven.”
This is no Marianne Williamson groupie – no New Age weirdo talking about astral travel. This is a regular guy who experienced peace, love and confirmation. Of the several titles on store shelves that currently deal with this subject, “Heaven Vision” is truly one of the best.
Not only does James share the details of his dramatic (is there any other kind?) trip to the hospital, after collapsing in his home, but he also chronicles the experiences of others, whose amazing stories will grip the reader. Regular, believable people like Betty Malz and Boris Pilipshuk.
In “Heaven Vision,” you’ll be drawn into the thoughts and feelings of Terry James as he lay between dimensions. And you’ll also read about others who have glimpsed behind the curtain of life and death.
“Heaven Vision” is one heavenly account of the ultimate experience. Do not miss an opportunity to get it and read it!
Blouin-Art Info recently asked readers, “Is killing chickens art?”
Word-for-word my thoughts when I first heard of fowl slaughterer cum-performance artist Miguel Suarez and his controversial “work.” Canadian art student Suarez slaughtered a live chicken in an art school cafeteria without warning students who were trying their best to keep down their lunch last April 18.
Tacky an offensive? Yes, but not nearly as bad as Yale art student Aliza Shvarts, who claimed to serially self-abort as a performance/installation project.
Illegal? Possibly, since the university isn’t licensed as an abattoir. Still no charges were filed by police.
But is it art?
Ah, there lies the rub. It depends whom you ask, but according to current rules of engagement in the arts, if a person claims to be an artist, we are bound to seriously consider their claims until proven otherwise (which I guess means until they denounce art in favor of moving to Vanuatu to join the Prince Philip Movement – or running a chicken farm).
No surprise that the world is reacting with more hysteria over the demise of a Canadian fowl than a mound of dead fetuses. I suspect the hue and cry over chicken murder is psychologically akin to the publicity baby butcher Kermit Gosnell finally received. We know somewhere creatures are dying for our dinner but have no problem as long as the blood isn’t splattering on our Nikes. Similarly it’s easy to deny the reality of tormented, bloody babies when late term abortion is legal, contained and not mentioned in polite society. Gosnell’s trial ripped that veil to pieces … at least until the press is diverted elsewhere.
But could chicken-killing be art?
Apparently officials at Alberta College of Art + Design, or ACBA, thought not, as they swiftly dismissed Gordon Ferguson, a 32-year veteran art instructor who was overseeing the “event.” A few weeks later this decision was reversed under trainloads of pressure by artists and students who protested a lack of “academic freedom.” In his defense, Ferguson wished he “had a greater opportunity to advise and support his student” before he began the performance.
But Suarez’ stuff was tame compared to the animal “snuff film” that preceded him in Canada by a decade. In 2001 Jesse Power and two other men videoed the skinning and torture of a live cat as an “art project.” If the morons expected to win awards, they were sadly surprised by the national outpouring of hate, rants and death threats.
“This isn’t art” declared Judge Ted Ormston, the assigned jurist.
A psychiatrist in Power’s trial perceived him an “an utterly modern blockhead – a vegan, art student and political activist” who felt entitled to any action that furthered his thesis, however immoral or illegal. In his case he hadn’t quite finished up, as he planned to eat the poor thing later – as a protest against eating meat of course.
While many other performance/installation art pieces have featured more gore and violence, obviously the ACBA wanted to establish a boundary in Suarez’ case. Whether over violence, trauma, public safety, squeamishness, legal threats or animal rights, I don’t know. But current philosophy seems to run “if it’s art” there can be no legitimate boundaries or limitations imposed on artists … with rare exceptions.
These are two entirely different issues, but more and more they are intertwined. Russian art activists Voina (War) overturned police cars, set fires and rioted as political protest. Criminal enough to land a spot on Interpol’s wanted list, ironically they were simultaneously awarded an “Innovation Prize” in 2011 for visual art by the Russian establishment – the Ministry of Culture itself.
Putting aside whether protests are deserved or not, could vandalism and political activity in itself be “art?” This is being hotly debated across the world, as authorities clash with artists who claim artistic immunity for virtually everything.
A literal example of the struggle to build lines of demarcation between art and political action occurred in 2012 between artist Zhao Zhao and the Chinese government. A protégé of Ai Wei Wei and possible heir to his political clout, Zhou experience the wrath of the state when a boatload of his art was confiscated and destroyed. The official reason given? “It isn’t art.” When the Chinese government has power to decide if a statue of a dismantled policeman is art, their findings are predictable.
If political action plain and undecorated qualifies as art, why can’t everything else? All human activities at their heights qualify as “arts” or “sciences,” but until recently the term “artist” was reserved for creative, fine arts only. This obscures and mystifies culture and is a great legal loophole too.
Could a bad mechanic claim the oil he didn’t replace was a “statement against global warming and industrial waste”? A neighboring meth lab is an “in vivo art-installation referencing altered states in relation to authoritarian systems.”
Gay marriage as performance art? It’s interesting to live in such a time that any absurdity you mentally conjure … actually exists somewhere. As I speak two “married” gay men are busily engaged in an art performance so viewers can “contemplate gay marriage, queer assimilation and fetishization of the suburbs.”
Wow, I’ve always wanted to do that. Thanks guys, or whatever you consider yourselves now.
The Village Voice gushes over “A Marriage” for enacting little domestic activities together like wearing masks and speaking into inflated plastic bags – things all suburbanites do. So precious.
Performance and installation art sometimes blurs boundaries in other directions, such as pornography. Nudity is a tradition in art, but since the 1970s performance artists such Vito Acconci thought it might make their art more memorable if they just masturbated during their show. By 2008 Leah Aron working as “Amber Alert” ditched the art and just stripped while playing an X-rated video involving things I could not mention here.
Her statement – doubling as an excuse to be taken seriously – claims she is navigating the “onerous challenge” of gender norms and societal expectations while appropriating “pervasive media images and cultural messages” that assault the senses.
In other words, a stripper with airs.
Is it art? It is if academics, galleries and museums say it is and if other artists accept it as such. And look who’s working her way up to the next seat of cultural clout where such issues are debated and codified. It’s the Mistress of Miscarriage and Anti-Mother, Aliza Shvarts, currently working her way to a Ph.D. in performance studies at NYU.
Just to make it clear that although she will earn a Ph.D. Shvarts has no conception of how art is classically defined, she issued this statement in defense of her series of lies, toying with human life and causing legal problems for Yale: “I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity.”
Apparently Shvarts skipped out the day they taught on aesthetics in Art Appreciation 101, leading her to believe art is only a commercial application or a political one.
Although performance and installation art can be beautiful, profound and memorable, it is too often overlaid with commercial entertainment and circus oddities. Imagine Ripley’s meets Cage Fighter meets Deep Throat meets Talent Show in Vegas – with scholarly proclamations of course.
Artists will push the boundaries of content, subject and media in their art and galleries, and academics tend to accept them at face value without much questioning. Generally a plausible artist’s statement is enough to hail chicken killing, auto lubrication or coughing as an art form. The inertia comes from the public when common sense and traditional and social mores are stomped a little too hard to keep them from kicking back.
Reticence from the masses is a good thing in the long run, because it keeps artists from being too infatuated with their own reflection and forces them to consider their audience, which is often public.
When audience reaction is totally ignored, art collapses into cynical, personal therapy – a kind of mindless exhibitionism. Even more so “performance art,” which implies a designated a) performer and b) observer. Examples of performance art gone bad are everywhere, with one of the worst wandering the streets of Madrid projecting huge shadows of his penis onto sides of buildings – because he can.
Nude Jaime del Val may seem mad, self-obsessed and people may hide their children in his vicinity, but he has an artist’s statement and he hasn’t been arrested. As a “pangender cyborg” he uses “organs of power” (buildings) as a means to protest homophobia, surveillance, control and consumer society.
Undoubtedly del Val will have the enthusiastic support of Aliza Shvarts, her mentors at Yale and NYU and supporters of cat skinners everywhere.
So it’s art.
Public pressure has prompted a federal investigation into an attack on members of a white family who stopped for fuel on Mother’s Day in Baton Rouge, La., and were told they were “in the wrong neighborhood.”
As WND reported, the mother, father and daughter were beaten viciously, allegedly by a gang of blacks, for stopping at the fuel station.
One of the victims said, “This was absolutely a targeted attack due to the color of our skin.”
Once Baton Rouge police started looking into the case, they asked the FBI about possible hate crime charges.
Authorities allege 41-year-old Donald Ray Dickerson is responsible for initiating the attack. However, New Orleans criminal defense attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter told WND that two additional suspects could be charged with a hate crime.
“When the suspects go to court the district attorney’s office will have the power to add the additional offense of 14:107.2(B) if it chooses,” she said.
When the incident was reported, a number of members of the public asked why hate crimes charges were not filed. That reporting and the public response appears to have had an impact.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie put out a statement, saying, “Over the past several days our department has been the target of some criticism and frustration by people who questioned our handling of a brutal attack on a family in our city last weekend.
“So at my direction our detectives have extensively re-interviewed the victims and several witnesses and reviewed all available evidence.”
Dabadie said his department also reached out to the FBI to see if federal hate crimes charges might be applicable.
“FBI agents have accompanied our detectives and actively participated in interviews of the victims and witnesses,” he said.
Eric Holder’s Department of Justice oversees the FBI. In 2009, Holder admitted before a Senate committee that white people and ministers would not be protected by proposed hate crimes statutes.
His department’s civil rights division also has held an antipathy to using rights laws to protect whites, according to a former member of the agency.
The Baton Rouge incident began when the unnamed father and his family pulled into a gas station to refuel. As the man was pumping gas, he was confronted, allegedly by Donald Ray Dickerson. According to the affidavit of probable cause, the victim reported that “the defendant told him he was in the wrong neighborhood and he was not going to make it out.”
He was beaten to the ground and knocked unconscious, and when his wife left the car and came to his defense, she was beaten unconscious as well. The couple’s 14-year-old daughter was also attacked when she tried to protect her parents.
The police handling of the Baton Rouge attack was criticized because the department did not discuss the possibility of hate crimes charges until after a public furor. Additionally, two suspects were released with a summons to appear later in court.
“That was a mistake and an error of judgment,” the police chief said.
The two people who allegedly helped Dickerson attack the family, Devin Bessye, 24, and Ashley Simmons, 22, are alleged to have struck the man’s wife and 14-year-old daughter.
The police affidavit states “both co-defendants were released with a summons for Simple Battery.”
Under Louisiana’s hate crimes statute, it is unlawful to select a victim for certain offenses, such as battery, “because of actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry.”
Dickerson, the main alleged attacker, reportedly is a registered sex offender. He has now been charged with failing to register his new address under sex-offender status.
TEL AVIV – In a largely unnoticed speech to a think tank seven months before the Benghazi attack, a top State Department official described an unprecedented multi-million-dollar U.S. effort to secure anti-aircraft weapons in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gadhafi’s regime.
The official, Andrew J. Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, explained how U.S. experts were fully coordinating the collection efforts with the Libyan opposition.
He said the efforts were taking place in Benghazi, where a leading U.S. expert was deployed.
Shapiro conceded that the Western-backed rebels did not want to give up the weapons, particularly Man-Portable-Air-Defense-Systems, or MANPADS, which were the focus of the weapons collection efforts.
The information may shed light on why the U.S. special mission in Benghazi was attacked Sept. 11, 2012.
According to informed Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND, the Benghazi mission was a planning headquarters for coordinating aid, including weapons distribution, to the jihadist-led rebels.
After the fall of Gadhafi, the arming efforts shifted focus to aiding the insurgency targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Two weeks after the Benghazi attack, WND broke the story that murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself played a central role in arming rebels and recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.
In November 2012, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels that was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.
Speaking to WND yesterday, Middle Eastern security officials further stated that after Gadhafi’s downfall, Stevens was heavily involved in the State Department effort to collect weapons from the Libyan rebels. The weapons were then transferred in part to the rebels fighting in Syria, the officials stated.
The arming efforts are ongoing. WND broke the story that the U.S. just last month aided in the transfer of shoulder-launched missiles to the Syrian rebels, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., last March disclosed in an interview with Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi to keep weapons caches, particularly MANPADs, from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Fox News host Bret Baier asked Graham why Stevens was in the Benghazi mission amid the many known security threats to the facility.
Graham replied, “Because that’s where the action was regarding the rising Islamic extremists who were trying to get their hands on weapons that are flowing freely in Libya.”
The senator stated, “We were desperately trying to control the anti-aircraft missiles, the man pads that were all over Libya, that are now all over the Mideast.”
‘Biggest MANPADS collection effort in U.S. history’
Now Shapiro’s largely unnoticed remarks Feb. 2, 2012, may shed further light on the activities taking place inside the attacked Benghazi facility.
Of note is that the U.S. facility itself was protected by the February 17 Brigades, which is part of the al-Qaida-allied Ansar Al-Sharia group. That group also was in possession of significant quantities of MANPADs and was reluctant to give them up, Middle Eastern security officials told WND.
In his speech seven months before the Benghazi attack, Shapiro stated that “currently in Libya we are engaged in the most extensive effort to combat the proliferation of MANPADS in U.S. history.”
Shapiro was addressing a forum at the Stimson Center, a non-proﬁt think tank that describes itself as seeking “pragmatic solutions for some of the most important peace and security challenges around the world.”
Shapiro explained Libya had “accumulated the largest stockpile of MANPADS of any non-MANPADS producing country in the world.”
Shapiro related how then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton committed to providing $40 million dollars to assist Libya’s efforts to secure and recover its weapons stockpiles.
Of that funding, $3 million went to unspecified nongovernmental organizations who specialize in conventional weapons destruction and stockpile security.
Inside Benghazi facility
The NGOs and a U.S. team coordinated all efforts with Libya’s Transitional National Council, or TNC, said Shapiro. The U.S. team was led by Mark Adams, a State Department expert from the MANPADS Task Force.
Tellingly, Shapiro stated Adams was deployed in August 2011, not to Tripoli where the U.S. maintained an embassy, but to Benghazi.
The only U.S. diplomatic presence in Benghazi consisted of the CIA annex and nearby facility that were the targets of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.
Shapiro expounded on the coordination with the TNC.
“A fact often overlooked in our response to events in Libya, is that – unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan – we did not have tens of thousands of U.S. forces on the ground, nor did we control movement and access,” he said. “This meant we did not have complete freedom of movement around the country. Our efforts on the ground therefore had to be carefully coordinated and fully supported by the TNC.”
He said the rebels were reluctant to relinquish their weapons.
“Many of these weapons were taken by militias and anti-Gadhafi forces during the fighting,” he said. “Furthermore, because many militias believe MANPADS have some utility in ground combat, many militia groups remain reluctant to relinquish them.”
Shapiro said the U.S. efforts consisted of three phases.
Phase I entailed an effort to rapidly survey, secure and disable loose MANPADS across the country.
“To accomplish this, we immediately deployed our Quick Reaction Force, which are teams made up of civilian technical specialists,” he said.
Phase 2 efforts were to help aid the Libyan government to integrate militias and veterans of the fighting, including consolidating weapons into secure facilities and assisting in the destruction of items that the Libyans deemed in excess of their security requirements.
Such actions were likely not supported by the jihadist rebels.
The third phase would have seen the U.S. helping to ensure the Libyan met modern standards, including updating storage facilities, improving security and implementing safety management practices.
The U.S. efforts clearly failed.
Last month, the United Nations released a report revealing that weapons from Libya to extremists were proliferating at an “alarming rate,” fueling conflicts in Mali, Syria, Gaza and elsewhere.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, says he needs to know who has been ordering the Internal Revenue Service attacks on conservative organizations.
“The main point here is this: Someone is giving out marching orders for these agencies and these employees to do these things. The question is, who is giving out the marching orders?’ Poe said in an interview with WND.
The head of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt organizations office, Lois Lerner, appeared before a U.S. House committee Wednesday but refused to answer questions, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Poe is particularly concerned about IRS targeting of the King Street Patriots, a tea party group founded in Houston by Catherine Engelbrecht.
The congressman compared the IRS scandal to the Fast and Furious gun-tracing scandal: “Who is the person who decided to smuggle guns to Mexico? We still don’t know.”
Poe emphasized that the IRS scandal doesn’t amount to “some rogue employee” acting on his own.
“Someone is giving these directives. ‘It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me.’ Everyone denies culpability and blames lower-level employees. But someone issued these orders, and we need to find who that is, and they need to go to jail.”
After it was discovered that state agencies with federal funding were abused to target Engelbrecht, Poe sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. He also challenged Holder in his capacity as a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
“When I told Attorney General Holder before committee to appoint a special prosecutor to look into these issues, including the possible misuse of Texas state agencies, he told me that he would ‘mark me down as not a fan of government.’”
Poe refers to the IRS activity as “Soviet-style intimidation” and says that Holder should recuse himself immediately.
“Let a special prosecutor come in here and get to the bottom of this Soviet-style intimidation of taxpayers,” said Poe.
When asked why ignorance was seemingly accepted as a legitimate excuse for crimes committed by the federal government, Poe said Holder “should not get a pass.”
“Congress is going to get to the bottom of this. We shouldn’t have a goal except to find out what happened. Find out who did it. Crimes were committed. People who targeted a specific American for their political philosophy – this is not what we are about in America,” he said.
See Poe’s exchange in Congress:
On the issue of whether or not President Obama was culpable, Poe said: “Either the president doesn’t know what’s going on in his own administration, or he did know, and misled the public. I don’t know which is worse.”
Poe added, “Is it really a coincidence that you have multiple state and federal agencies zoning in on specific people who have never been investigated by anyone, ever?
“The motives for what is taking place are suspect; the FBI, the IRS, the ATF and OSHA pushing the legitimate power they have to investigate certain people. The focus is clearly on who these people are, and not what they have done or are doing,” said Poe.
In one Texas case, members of the Clear Lake, Texas, Tea Party said the IRS demanded answers to personal questions, which were used to justify delays in the processing of a tax-status application.
Tea party officials said the IRS had asked for Facebook and Twitter records, which are publicly available, as well as a list of speakers, accompanied by their qualifications.
Of most concern for the CLTP, however, was the request to, “Explain your relationship with the King City Patriots.” The IRS apparently meant the King Street Patriots.
That group recently was in the news because its founder, Engelbrecht, has faced what many believe is the most extensive IRS harassment to date.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, grilled IRS officials before committee last week on behalf of Engelbrecht.
See the exchange:
Sources report the IRS actually was just the first of a long list of federal agencies to target Engelbrecht.
Information obtained by WND reveals that Engelbrecht was also approached by domestic counter-terrorism agencies, with no probable cause or justification. The FBI Domestic Terrorism Unit visited Engelbrecht on five separate occasions, sources report.
Engelbrecht also founded True the Vote, a group that monitors polling locations to prevent voter fraud.
King Street Patriots was the focus of the FBI queries.
The FBI has ignored public information act requests filed by Engelbrecht over the issues and refuses to disclose authorization or probable cause. Poe, likewise, has yet to receive a response to his own inquiries about what’s happening.
The first FBI visit revolved around a participant in several King Street Patriot events. Engelbrecht was asked if she knew who this person was or had seen the individual at events. Engelbrecht responded cordially that she had “seen the individual in question at several events.”
Despite full cooperation, the second wave of visits soon followed.
Agencies to visit Engelbrecht’s residential and business properties included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which forced her and her husband to open their private firearms safe to examine every firearm and record serial numbers.
Reports reveal agencies in contact with Engelbrecht – including the IRS – made unscheduled and unannounced visits, shutting down the Engelbrecht family business for sometimes the entire day.
State agencies with whom Engelbrecht had never had any prior contact also approached, such as the Texas Council on Environmental Quality, which alleged it received a complaint about her business.
OSHA also made an unscheduled appearance – the first instance of an OSHA visit in 20 years of operation.
Engelbrecht spoke with WND: “The IRS employees who visited me and inspected my business were just doing their job. They were professional and cordial – just doing what they were told to do.”
But she wondered, “My question is what mechanism was in place, what federal officials asked other American citizens in their capacity as federal employees to single out another American citizen because of their political views?”
Engelbrecht said she stumbled into being a whistleblower.
“I never planned to come forward. It wasn’t until the IRS came back to me a second time and dates wove together, that I began to think there may be a pattern in all of this. My goal in coming forward is for Americans to understand what has occurred. We are not victims. There are laws in place to address what has been done. We are a country of laws. All it requires is for people with the courage of their convictions to stand up.”
The IRS scandal validates the worst fears of law-abiding Americans, could trigger criminal charges and was likely known about in the White House for an extended time, according to Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., a former tax attorney and certified public accountant.
The White House has slowly admitted some there knew about the investigation, but it flatly denies any involvement in the decision to harass tea-party groups and other conservative organizations that also led to targeting of donors and sharing sensitive information with rival activist groups.
Rice believes the administration is much more closely connected to this scandal than it will admit.
“Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, when he was questioned in March 2012 in Congress, said there was absolutely no targeting. Now he has said that he was aware in spring 2012 that there was an internal list that included the term ‘tea party,’ so if he knew about that when he testified, that’s a lie. That’s perjury,” Rice said. “We’ve had admissions here in the last couple of days about the fact that senior White House aides were aware of it at least as far back as a month ago. This only broke last week, for goodness sake. I’m sure as this investigation continues, we’re going to find out more and more and more.”
Last Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee held the first congressional hearing into the scandal. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told the story of a constituent who was targeted for their political donations and their business was subsequently given the third degree by the IRS, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the FBI Domestic Terrorism Unit, the Commission on Environmental Quality and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Rice said that type of government harassment goes beyond the pale.
“If that’s true, that goes beyond the realm of unreasonable and into the criminal,” Rice said. “That’s unconstitutional. There are criminal laws against things like that. That cannot happen, and steps need to be taken to make sure it never happens again.”
Rice said in all of his years as a tax attorney and accountant, he never saw a client treated like the IRS dealt with these conservative organizations.
“A couple of times I had clients who it felt like there may have been some personal thing between the IRS agent and the client, but I’ve never seen an organized series of events like this where apparently people within the service and all up the administration, it looks like they targeted these specific groups,” Rice said.
He said the irony of this scandal is that the actions of the IRS validate the reasons for establishing these groups in the first place.
“Our framers established our Constitution based on the citizenry cooperating with the government. This simply undermines the trust of the citizenry in the government. Our government can’t work if the citizens don’t work with the government,” he said. “The framers of our Constitution didn’t trust big government. They’d just come out of a revolution against the most powerful country on Earth, and they saw the dangers of big government.”
“The tea parties sprang from a mistrust of big government,” Rice said. “I ran my campaign on trying to limit the size of government. What you’ve seen here does nothing but breed further distrust. It shows that their skepticism was well-founded.”