| State social workers take baby from dad accused of being an "Oath Keeper..."|
*EDIT - I am not well versed about this organization. However, I am troubled that a state can take a baby from non-violent, non-criminal parents simply because they hold to a particular persuasion or viewpoint. What's next? Will the children of Christian "fundamentalists" be targeted by government? - Chris
LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER
State snatches baby when dad accused of being 'Oath Keeper'
'You could be on 'the list' and then child protective services might come'
By BOB UNRUH
October 08, 2010
A 16-hour-old newborn was snatched from her parents by authorities in Concord, N.H., after social services workers alleged the father is a member of Oath Keepers.
The organization collects affirmations from soldiers and peace officers that they would refuse orders that violate the U.S. Constitution, in light of what they perceive as the advance of socialism in the U.S.
The father, Johnathon Irish, told WND that the affidavit signed by Child Protective Service worker Dana Bicford seeking government custody of newborn Cheyenne said the agency "became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the 'Oath Keepers.'"
Irish, in an interview with WND, said officers and other social services workers ordered him to stand with his hands behind his back, frisked him and then took his daughter from him and his fiancé at Concord Hospital where the baby had been born.
He told WND that other issues cited by authorities included an allegation of child abuse, which he assumed pertained to an incident weeks earlier in which one of his fiance's older sons allegedly was struck by a babysitter.
He said both he and his fiancé had been cleared by authorities in that investigation.
Kathleen Demaris, a spokeswoman for the state agency, refused to comment.
Stewart Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keepers, expressed alarm when contacted by WND, describing the agency as a "chilling monster" that could "come get kids."
On his website, he confirmed the affidavit, along with other allegations, cites Irish's interest in Oath Keepers as a reason to separate the newborn from her parents.
"Yes, there are other, very serious allegations. Out of respect for the privacy of the parents, we will not publish the affidavit.
But please do remember that allegations do not equal facts they are merely allegations," he said.
"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," Rhodes said.
"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 [nose] under the tent for other associations being considered too risky for parents to dare," he continued. "'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.'"
He noted that the state made no allegation that Oath Keepers is "criminal" or that Irish was committing a crime with his affiliation.
Oath Keepers posted a video by George Heminger, who identifies himself as an independent journalist, who was interviewing Irish by telephone:
"We are not advocating or planning imminent violence, which is the established line where free speech ends and criminal behavior begins," Rhodes continued said. "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 d--- well please so long as we are not advocating or planning imminent violent or directly harming our children (and no, teaching them 'thought crimes' 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)," he said.
"A parent associating with a militia is not engaged in child endangerment and is not evidence of child endangerment," he said.
Oath Keepers' members promise not to obey any order "to disarm the American people," conduct warrantless searches, "detain American citizens as 'unlawful enemy combatants,'" work to impose martial law, invade or subjugate any state, blockade American cities, put Americans in detention camps or "make war against our own people."
That such circumstances could develop has been suggested by the government itself, in an earlier DHS document that cautioned about the possibility of violence from a variety of "extremists," a label that apparently now is being applied to Irish.
WND reported when a Department of Homeland Security report warned against the possibility of violence by unnamed "right-wing extremists" and singled out returning war veterans as particular threats. The report characterized the extremists as people with concerns about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty.
The report, "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," dated April 7, 2009, stated "threats from white supremacist and violent anti-government groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts."
However, the document, first reported by talk-radio host and WND columnist Roger Hedgecock, went on to suggest worsening economic woes, potential new legislative restrictions on firearms and "the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks."
The report from DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis defined right-wing extremism in the U.S. as "divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, 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."
Most notable was the report's focus on the impact of returning war veterans.
"Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists," it said. "DHS/I&A is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize veterans in order to boost their violent capacities."
In the Irish family situation, the father told WND that a court hearing is schedule Oct. 14. Until that time, he and his fiancé are ordered to have no contact with their daughter.
He described the state's accusations as "false allegations, fabricated allegations and unfounded fact."
Forum page participants at the Oath Keepers site were enraged:
"Make sure you tell this to everyone you know, if this is allowed, none of us with children are safe, is says the govt can take your children because of your affiliations with certain organizations!!"
"This is so scary!!! If they can do this, what next?"
"Be careful with this. The Republic has real enemies and some of them spend all their time sitting in their mom's basement thinking of ways to get us to overreact and make mistakes by which they can discredit us. This could be real, or it could be deliberate a disinformation tactic, a hard count to draw us offsides. Wait for full verification and full story details before doing anything we all might later regret," suggested another.
"Setting a chilling precedent and in a manner befitting the most tyrannical of regimes, the government seized a newborn baby girl today because the father has associated with the lawful, pro-peace, pro-constitution, anti-violence Oath Keepers. What makes this particularly scary is exactly that, that the 'Oath Keepers' is a peaceful, pro-rule of law organization which supports serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters and reminds them of their oath to the Constitution of the United States in a direct and open manner."
Said Rhodes, "Now it is TIME TO PUSH BACK peaceably, of course, using our voices and pens. Let the officials in question know that you strongly oppose their listing of an association with Oath Keepers as one of the reasons for taking this child. Let them know you insist that they remove that 'reason' from the affidavit and issue a public retraction, and until they do so, they will hear from all of us, and also from our legal counsel. And we won't relent until they respect our First Amendment protected rights of free speech and association and cease and desist this chilling of those rights. Be professional, but firm."
Click on the link at the top of this post or below to read the full article.
| 2010/10/11 19:07||Profile|
| Couple: State took our baby Libertarians turn out for protest|
*EDIT - Here is an update from a different news source.
Couple: State took our baby
Libertarians turn out for protest
By Daniel Barrick / Monitor staff
October 9, 2010
An Epsom couple says state social workers seized their newborn baby hours after her birth because of the father's affiliation with an organization that opposes government tyranny. State officials, however, cited domestic violence and child abuse allegations against the baby's father in taking her into state custody.
The issue turned the parents, Johnathan Irish and Stephanie Taylor, into instant celebrities in the online libertarian community. By mid afternoon, about 20 people who had never met the couple gathered at Concord Hospital to protest what they termed the state's unconstitutional interference in a family matter. None claimed to know anything about government's allegations that Irish had beaten his fiancee or her young children, but they said they were outraged that the affidavit supporting the taking of his newborn mentioned Irish's association with a group called the Oath Keepers. The group's website describes it as an affiliation of current and former military and law enforcement members who promise to resist totalitarian actions by the government.
Irish said that on Thursday, one day after Taylor gave birth to their daughter, a group of police officers and state social workers took her from them. He said he and Taylor did not know where their daughter had been taken.
"She's either in the nursery there or in a foster home," said Taylor, who was on hand with Irish to greet protesters and grant interviews.
But according to an affidavit provided to Irish by the state Division for Children, Youth and Families, state officials took the child because of Irish's long record of violence and abuse. According to the affidavit, a judge determined that Irish abused Taylor's two other children. She is still married to the father of those children, though Taylor said yesterday that her husband has refused to accept her divorce petition for the past two years.
The affidavit also says that the police in Rochester report a "lengthy history of domestic violence" between Taylor and Irish, and that she accused him of choking and hitting her on more than one occasion. According to the document, Irish failed to complete a domestic violence course as ordered by the state, and that a hearing was held last month to terminate Taylor's parental rights over her two older children.
Taylor "has failed to recognize the impact of domestic violence in her life and the potential danger it poses to a newborn baby," the affidavit reads. "Mr. Irish has not acknowledged any responsibility to date and remains a significant safety risk to an infant in his care. . . . Without the intervention of the court, the infant will be at risk of harm."
Irish, 24, said in an interview yesterday that he had never abused his fiancee or her other children. He said he was unemployed and collected disability because he is blind in his left eye from a childhood accident. He said that Taylor suffers from "stress-induced seizure disorder" and that complications during her pregnancy required him to tend to her almost constantly. He said he has no lawyer, though a hearing in the matter has been scheduled for next week.
The affidavit also states that Irish is "associated with a militia known as the Oath Keepers and had purchased several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and Taser."
It's that sentence that riled up Irish and his allies yesterday, who saw it as proof that he was being persecuted for his political beliefs.
"They're saying that is the reason they're taking my daughter," Irish said.
Most of the couple's supporters shared that interpretation - even if they knew nothing about Irish's legal record.
"All I heard was that a baby was kidnapped, literally kidnapped, because the father posted on an online forum," said Ofer Nave, a Manchester man who did not know Irish or Taylor but described himself as active in "pro-liberty" causes. He said he heard about the protest from a friend, who likely heard about it through Facebook.
As for allegations that Irish had abused his fiancee's children, Nave said: "Maybe he's not that great a guy. Maybe he has a record. But just because the government says it's so, I don't believe it. The fact that there are documents about it is meaningless. But what they did is no different if I kidnapped that baby."
State and police officials declined to discuss the matter yesterday, citing privacy concerns.
"It's a juvenile issue, so I can't comment," said Lt. Keith Mitchell of the Concord Police Department.
A spokeswoman for the state Division for Children, Youth and Families said all child protection matters are confidential under New Hampshire statute.
A message on Concord Hospital's voicemail yesterday cited privacy regulations in declining to answer questions about the case.
About two hours into the protest yesterday, two Concord police officers handed Irish and Taylor a letter from the hospital's chief of security telling them that they were not welcome on hospital grounds unless they required emergency services. As the officers walked away, some of the protesters shouted taunts at them.
"Are you proud of what you're doing?" one called out.
Such support extended beyond Concord yesterday. In fact, the couple quickly found themselves a cause celebre on websites such as Global Political Awakening, Militant Libertarian and Truth is Treason.
Infowars.com, a website run by radio host Alex Jones, who focuses on conspiratorial theories behind what he terms the "New World Order," posted an account of Irish and Taylor's story. Within minutes, it attracted dozens of comments from readers offering support for the couple. Jones also interviewed the couple on his show yesterday.
"This is Nazi Germany crap that's what this is," wrote one commenter, Robininthehood. "The camps are coming next if you let this slide."
"What this comes down to is: you will no longer be able to just breed. Once you have the kid, they will take it away," wrote another commenter.
On the Oath Keepers website the group's founder, Stewart Rhodes, issued a statement in support of Irish and Taylor.
"If true, then this is as bad, and in fact worse, than any of the violations of liberty that our Declaration of Independence lists as the reasons for our forefathers taking up arms in our Revolution and for separating from England," Rhodes wrote. "We no longer have freedom at all if this is allowed to be done. And we will not let it stand."
The internet played a big role in rallying support for the couple. A Facebook page dedicated to the couple spurred the 20 or so protesters at the hospital yesterday. Many held signs, and conversational references to the Nazis and Stalin-era Russia were common. Someone brought poster board and markers for sign-making; one man held a sign that read "Infant Political Prisoner."
A woman who only identified herself as Tiffany held a sign that read "I am an Oathkeeper. Are you gonna take my kids too?"
Tiffany said she had joined the group only yesterday morning, after hearing of Irish's story.
"This is supposed to be America, not Nazi Germany," said Tiffany. "You can't have your children stolen."
Amanda Biondolillo, a Concord woman who came with her young daughter, said she didn't think the state should get involved in family issues at all, even if there is reason to suspect abuse.
"The family should be left to resolve it on their own," Biondolillo said. "Or private enterprise - private companies can contact the family and say, 'We heard you were hitting your kids. Can you stop that?'"
Brad Guida, an Epsom man who said he was Irish and Taylor's landlord, said the couple had been model tenants since they began renting from him in February.
"He's a very honorable person who loves his country," Guida said. "And I've watched the state and the police systematically hammer him."
But the vast majority of protesters did not know Irish or Taylor, thought they said they were familiar with similar struggles.
"We've got Nazis in our airports," said David Oliver, an Exeter man. "They're restricting our movement, trying to chill everybody by stealing babies."
Click on the link at the top of the page to view the full article.
| 2010/10/12 11:46||Profile|