Stewart Rhodes writes:
We have confirmed that the affidavit in support of the order to take the child from her parents states ,along with a long list of other assertions against both parents, that “The Division became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the Oath Keepers.” Yes, there are other, very serious allegations. Out of respect for the privacy of the parents, we will not publish the affidavit. We will leave that to Mr. Irish. But please do remember that allegations do not equal facts -- they are merely allegations (and in my experience as a criminal defense lawyer in small town Montana I saw many allegations that proved to be false).
But an even more fundamental point is that regardless of the other allegations, it is utterly unconstitutional for government agencies to list Mr. Irish’s association with Oath Keepers in an affidavit in support of a child abuse order to remove his daughter from his custody. Talk about chilling speech! If this is allowed to continue, it will chill the speech of not just Mr. Irish, but all Oath Keepers and it will serve as the camel under the tent for other associations being considered too risky for parents to dare. Thus, it serves to chill the speech of all of us, in any group we belong to that “officials” may not approve of. Don’t you dare associate with such and such group, or you could be on “the list” and then child protective services might come take your kids.
Note that there is no allegation that Oath Keepers is a criminal organization or that Mr. Irish, in the context of his association with Oath Keepers, is committing any crime. We are not advocating or planning imminent violence, which is the established line where free speech ends and criminal behavior begins (See Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), which, as Wikipedia notes, “held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless it is directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action. In particular, it overruled Ohio’s criminal syndicalism statute, because that statute broadly prohibited the mere advocacy of violence.” We don’t even advocate that the current serving use violence of any kind, let alone imminent violence. We ask them to merely stand down.
Neither is Oath Keepers a militia, for that matter. However, EVEN IF WE WERE, that also would not be a valid reason to take someone’s child away. PRIVATE MILITIAS, JUST LIKE OTHER VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS, ARE NOT ILLEGAL, and it is not a crime to associate with them. To the contrary, we have an absolute right, won by the blood of patriots, and protected by our First Amendment, to freely associate with each other as we damn well please so long as we are not advocating or planning imminent violence or directly harming our children (and no, teaching them “thought crime” like “All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” or that those who swear an oath should keep it, does not count -- at least not yet). A parent associating with a militia is not engaged in child endangerment and is not evidence of child endangerment (despite the shrill screeching of people such as Mark Potok of the SPLC, who desperately wants it to be so). Just recently a Time Magazine article described how the reporter visited the happy home of a militia member and his family -- and those kids are still at home, where they belong, as is the case with many thousands of children across this country who have parents who “associate” with private militias and all manner of other non-criminal groups. You had damn well better defend the rights of those parents to freely associate in their militias and keep their kids while doing so. You can bet that if you let such an association be listed as grounds for taking children from their parents that it won’t only be militia folks who have their rights violated. Homeschoolers, evangelical Christians, gun owners, etc. will also be on the hit list.
Ironic, isn't it, that the Oath Keepers who have done so much to distance themselves from militiafolk keep getting conflated with us in the press, Bill Clinton's speeches and, apparently, in the minds of pinhead social workers and cops. Now I don't know about the other charges here, but the fact that Oath Keepers and "militia" were mentioned at all in this business casts doubt in my mind that these "Only Ones" know shit from shinola about ANYTHING.
Stewart has promised the family pro bono legal services, and that is good. But the danger of the SPLC/ADL conflationary "Narrative of 1995" as laid out by Professor Churchill in To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face and its seepage -- by lying repetition -- into the consciousness of the "Only Ones" is quite plain.
It would seem in the case of the Oath Keepers that it is impossible to distance themselves from the lie already told -- 15 years ago -- long before they even came into existence as an organization.