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We can't allow a dam gap


Here's your Conspiracy Theory o' the Day (or part of the day, considering how quickly these things are generated): One of Donald Trump's top foreign policy advisors, Joseph Schmitz, a lawyer and former inspector general at the Pentagon, served as co-counsel in a lawsuit last year aimed at keeping a Native American tribe from taking ownership of a dam in Montana. Sounds like your ordinary Western public-lands dispute until you learn the reason for trying to block the transfer of ownership. Schmitz's clients, Montana state Sen. Bob Keenan and former state Sen. Verdell Jackson, wanted to keep the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from taking over the former Kerr Dam because they feared the government of Turkey would somehow team up with the tribes to obtain nuclear materials for terrorists. You know, the way Native American tribes so often do.

We'll let Travis Gettys at RawStory do the heavy narrative lifting here, because we're having trouble stopping our eyes from rolling:

Schmitz, who’s an “insider” with the right-wing Newsmax website and senior fellow at the virulently anti-Islam Center for Security Policy, and fellow co-counsel Lawrence Kogan filed a lawsuit seeking to block the transfer — which they argued posed a national security threat from Turkey.

The attorneys claimed the dam transfer would allow the Turkish government and terrorists to obtain nuclear materials, although they were unable to provide any factual evidence of their claims.

There's a bit of a problem with that hypothesis, of course. While it's true that Turkey is just brimming with Muslims, it's not exactly a hotbed of Islamic terror, seeing as how it's part of NATO and is among the coalition of good guys fighting ISIS and all that. (Sure, it's not necessarily the most democratic government, either; no one's going to give their current government any human rights awards. Or poetry awards, either.)

The lawsuit contained one humdinger of a theory about the threat posed by the Salish-Kootenai ownership of a dam. In mere reality, the Turkish government and a group called the Turkish Coalition of America are seeking to establish business relations, especially in agriculture, with Native American tribes. Out of that mundane reality, the lawsuit spun some fanciful hypotheses, such as the threat that the Turks might be attempting "to more freely promote their brand of Islam on reservations and/or to pursue other potentially more dangerous activities," like obtaining yellowcake uranium for dirty bombs, maybe, since tribes have been actively working to clean up radioactive tailings from closed uranium mines. Or maybe the Turks would even try to do terrorism right in Montana:

"It is quite possible that the Turkish government, sponsored Turkish business enterprises, and affiliated terrorist groups or members may be seeking access to such expertise for possible acquisition and use of incendiary devices to compromise Kerr dam and/or other off-reservation targets," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit didn't get very far; U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras practically laughed the thing out of court, referencing the brief's

“somewhat perplexing arguments regarding the Turkish Government’s involvement with Native Americans,” [and] concluding that “counsel for Plaintiffs conceded that no such evidence has been submitted relating to the Plaintiffs’ alleged economic harm.”

Schmitz and Kogan voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit last October and went back to their other important work. Schmitz writes wonderfully paranoid stuff at Newsmax (including a piece supporting the bizarre claim that anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is a secret terrorist, and thus must be drummed out of the NRA. We are not making this up). And his buddy Kogan went back to work lawyering for the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, an anti-tribal-rights crowd that seeks to ally itself with the larger movement to end federal ownership of western land and give it to the states. Eventually, all the conspiracies tie together.

So, there's one of Donald Trump's "foreign policy advisors." We think maybe Trump might have done better to simply keep getting his information from the Sunday talk shows.

[RawStory / AP / Last Real Indians / IREHR / IREHR again / Politico]

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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