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I'm no birder, but I know at least one of these is a stool pigeon.


The trials of the first six defendants in the Bunditarian Militia Wildlife Refuge Liberation and Freedom Camporee is winding down, with closing arguments beginning today. The defense rested its case Monday, with testimony from a government informant who had infiltrated the group, saying he had overseen the shooting range the militia set up at the refuge, and that he taught the occupiers gun safety and "proficient use of a firearm." The informant, Fabio Minoggio, who went by the name "John Killman" while with the Gang That Couldn't Think Straight, must have done a pretty good job, since none of the marching morons accidentally shot him in the foot. The real surprise about the closing stages of the trial is the revelation that the government relied on 15 confidential FBI informants during the occupation, nine of whom were actually on site at the refuge at various points. That may be one reason the government didn't move too aggressively to retake the refuge.

Needless to say, members of the "Patriot" movement are having themselves a fine old freakout about the number of informants, desperately trying to find out who the finks were and becoming even more paranoid than they had been. The Oath Keepers webpage, home of one armed pseudo-patriot group that seeks to overthrow the government, is sniffling that the government's refusal to identify all the informants "contradicts the basic Constitutional right of the defendants to face their accusers"; the actual lawyers for the militia defendants offered the far more limited argument that they need to know the informants' identities to mount an effective defense, since what if some of the more radical words and actions of the defendants were actually the result of provocation by a government agent?

Minoggio is only the third of the informants to be identified; the other two are

a San Diego, California, woman named Terri Linnell who was at the refuge from Jan. 12 to 23; and Mark McConnell, who drove Ammon Bundy from the refuge toward John Day on Jan. 26, the day Bundy was arrested. McConnell tipped off law enforcement to their location and provided a “threat assessment,” according to an Oregon State Police trooper who testified in the case.

The prosecution did say that of the six remaining unidentified informants who were among the occupiers, the last one left by January 23, three days before the arrests of the ringleaders. U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown declined a defense motion to identify them.

We'll confess to being just a little amused that now militia goons will be assuming that at least a few of their members are FBI informants, which sadly will make life more dangerous for the actual undercover agents, but will also ramp up the already considerable paranoia among militia types, who aren't exactly prone to keeping cool heads in the first place. If the very idea makes them less likely to plot more takeovers of government facilities or violence against the rest of us, so much the better. It's a bit like the old joke that by the end of the 1950s, the only people attending Communist Party meetings were all undercover FBI agents.

In a side note on the last day of the case, Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Amanda Peacher notes Ryan Bundy has been as connected to reality as ever:

Poor guy -- can't get his guns back while he's in jail, and nobody's paying any attention to his rights as a sovereign citizen, either. His appeal should be a hoot, too.

[Oregon Public Broadcasting / OPB / Oath Keepers]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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