Montana Police Ask Homeland Security For A Quarter Of A Million Dollars To Spy On Hippie Group

Regional Rainbow Gatherings are held throughout the year in the United States.  Attendees pray, meditate, and/or observe silence in a group effort to focus on World Peace

Regional Rainbow Gatherings are held throughout the year in the United States. Attendees pray, meditate, and/or observe silence in a group effort to focus on World Peace.  Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Missoula police are seeking a grant for a quarter of a million dollars from Homeland Security to help them spy on “extremist” organization The Rainbow Family.  The mayor signed off this week on a proposal that if approved would net the Missoula Police Department $254,930 from the DHS to purchase a mobile command unit that would be used to spy on The Rainbow Family, which is listed as an “extremist” organization in the proposal.

The mobile command units, offered to police departments by the DHS after 9/11, are designed to deal with hostage situations, active shooter calls and mass-casualty incidents.

The group has only met twice in Montana in the last fifteen years, once in 2000 and once in 2013. The extent of the “threat” posed by the group is that one of its gatherings was described by the U.S. Forest Service as “rowdy”.

According to a description of the group’s activity, “All Rainbow Gatherings are held with an open invitation to people of all walks of life, and of all beliefs, to share experiences, love, dance, music, food, and learning.” After a gathering in Richmond, Virginia in 2005, Mayor Bob Henry Baber stated, “I never saw one bit of any activity that required any Forest Service legal intervention.”

Citing a non-violent hippy group which stresses peace and love in order to justify the purchase of a vehicle that would normally be used to combat dangerous criminals or even terrorists is patently absurd and a shocking indication of how far the police state has progressed in America.  To describe the group as “extremist” is complete overkill.

The proposal is even more ludicrous than a 2013 application by the police chief in Concord, New Hampshire, who attempted to justify a DHS grant to buy a BearCat armored vehicle by citing the threat posed by libertarians and Occupy activists in the region.

A Lenco armored police vehicle, parked near an Occupy DC camp in 2012. Mr. T in DC/Flickr

A Lenco armored police vehicle, parked near an Occupy DC camp in 2012. Mr. T in DC/Flickr

“We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here” wrote Police Chief John Duval.

This is not the first time that Montana has freaked out with the Rainbow Family.  In 2000, then governor Marc Racicot declared a “state of emergency” because of the alleged coming environmental destruction of the Rainbows on the National Forest. A year later, Dennis Havig, the District ranger from the nearby town of Wisdom, commented that “There were 23,000 people here and you can find virtually no trash. There’s an aspect of diminished vegetation, but you’d have to look hard to see the damage. The untrained eye isn’t going to see it.”

After the Rainbow Gathering visited the National Forest near the town of Richwood, West Virginia, in 2005, Mayor Bob Henry Baber stated: “I never saw one bit of any activity that required any Forest Service legal intervention.” He calls the Incident Management Team “bizarre and unnecessary,” and adds that his town was not put off by the Rainbows or their behavior.

Former Marine Corps Colonel Peter Martino, who was stationed in Fallujah and trained Iraqi soldiers, responded to the proposal by warning that the Department of Homeland Security is working with law enforcement to build a “domestic army,” because the federal government is afraid of its own citizens.

Oh Montana!  Why is this no surprise?

Sources: DC Clothesline “Airing Out America’s Dirty Laundry”, Wikipedia

ACLU Accuses Montana State Prison Of Illegal Activities!

Montana State Prison is located in the Deer Lodge valley approximately 3.5 miles west of the town of Deer Lodge. The institution is designated to maintain a population of (1,495) adult male offenders that are classified to one of six custody levels (Max, Close, Medium I, Medium II, Minimum I and Minimum II). There are approximately 636 employees of which 407 are uniformed staff. The physical plant consists of three compounds, Max, High Side, and Low Side which are contained within a 68 acre double fenced perimeter. Montana State Prison utilizes a unit management structure that is ultimately managed by a warden, four associate wardens and three bureau chiefs. Outside the fenced perimeter is a 192-bed Work and Reentry Center, which houses minimum-custody inmates that work on a 35,000-acre ranch and dairy program operated by Montana Correctional Enterprises.

Montana State Prison is located in the Deer Lodge valley approximately 3.5 miles west of the town of Deer Lodge. 

According to the ACLU under Criminal Law Reform, The ACLU  of Montana, on behalf of its client Disability Rights Montana, is challenging the treatment of prisoners with mental illness at Montana State Prison and the Montana State Hospital. A year-long investigation at those institutions revealed a pattern at Montana State Prison of withholding medication, misdiagnosing prisoners with a long history of mental illness, and punishing them for behavior caused by their mental illness. Prisoners with mental illness are routinely subjected to months or years of solitary confinement and “behavior modification plans” that deprive them of clothing, working toilets, bedding and proper food. This serves only to worsen their illness and cause needless suffering.

In addition, people sentenced “Guilty But Mentally Ill,” and sent to the Montana State Hospital for treatment are routinely transferred to Montana State Prison because Montana State Hospital staff does not want to treat problem patients or they need beds for other patients. These very ill patients have no real opportunity to challenge these transfers from a hospital setting to the prison where mental health care is virtually nonexistent and they are punished for their mental illness.

“This is about a prison mental health system that is making prisoners sicker,” said Anna Conley, ACLU of Montana staff attorney. “What is happening at the Montana State Prison and the Montana State Hospital is not only illegal; it goes against common sense. We should be providing mental health care that helps these prisoners rather than treating them in ways that exacerbate their condition.”

Bernadette Franks-Ongoy, executive director of Disability Rights Montana had this to say “In our investigation of the prison and its practices, we have uncovered shocking and inhumane treatment of people who are mentally ill.”

Her organization conducted a 16-month investigation into the two agencies, interviewing at least 50 prisoners from the Montana State Prison and looking through thousands of documents.

Constitutional violations and poor mental health practices at Montana State Prison include:

A troubling pattern of the prison psychiatrist meeting for just minutes with prisoners with mental illness before finding that they are “faking it,” in spite of significant histories of mental illness;

Refusing to provide prisoners with necessary psychiatric medications;

Routine imposition of solitary confinement and/or “behavior modification plans” depriving prisoners of clothing, bedding, human contact, a working toilet and proper food as punishment for behaviors caused by mental illness;

“Wellness checks” in solitary confinement that consist of a weekly knock at the cell door where any conversation can be overheard by guards and other prisoners;

Inadequate mental health staff and training; and

Providing just 12 mental health beds in a prison with more than 275 prisoners with mental illness.

“It was readily apparent during the investigation that these problems were not isolated incidents. They were part of a pattern of unconstitutional and abusive treatment of prisoners with mental illness,” said Jeff Simmons, an attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP who is assisting the ACLU of Montana. “These people have a constitutional right to receive appropriate mental health care and to be free from abusive solitary confinement and ‘behavior modification plans.'”

Disability Rights Montana and the ACLU of Montana have asked both the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Health and Human Services to correct these serious problems.

“We want to work with these agencies, but if the issues cannot be resolved, we will have to take legal action,” Conley said.

Disability Rights Montana sued seven top officials with both the state Departments of Corrections and Health and Human Services

Federal Lawsuit

Letter to DOC and DPHHS

Press Release

A response from Montana State Prison Warden Leroy Kirkegard:

“We take these allegations very seriously,” said Montana State Prison Warden Leroy Kirkegard about the ACLU letter, but said he disagrees with how some of the problems are portrayed.

He said there are questions about whether some of the people mentioned in the ACLU letter actually have mental illnesses.  Also, he said the letter makes it seem as if prisoners are placed in solitary confinement because of a mental illness, and that’s just not the case.

“They’re a danger to themselves, they’re a danger to other inmates,” he said. “It reaches a point where we get them their medication, the mental health staff see them on a regular basis, and nothing seems to help.”

“No agency ever wants to go to court,” he said.

Franks-Ongoy said they have not heard any response to the suit from the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

You may listen to a report here by  at Montana Public Radio

So, let me break this down:

The Warden of Montana State Prison states that “No agency ever wants to go to court”, yet there are dozens of lawsuits against this prison and Montana Department of Corrections in the past. There are years of evidence with documentation that shows the same ongoing problems.  Courts, judgments, even the state elected officials do not seem to deter them.  They operate the way they want to operate.  They continue to request for budget increases to hold more inmates, not for making changes to the system, but for making money off the “prison hotels.”

The audacity for the Warden to blatantly state “there are questions about whether some of the people mentioned in the ACLU letter actually have mental illnesses” after a 16-month investigation into the two agencies, interviewing at least 50 prisoners from the Montana State Prison and looking through thousands of documents says otherwise.  When clearly this was an issue that was addressed in this investigation citing “A troubling pattern of the prison psychiatrist meeting for just minutes with prisoners with mental illness before finding that they are “faking it,” in spite of significant histories of mental illness.”

I have shown you case after case throughout this website of those that have not received their medicines.  They make them go cold turkey by suddenly not administering them to the inmates.  A practice that is dangerous not only for mental reasons but for health reasons.  This is a regular ongoing practice.

It seems the Warden and Montana Department of Corrections are still not accepting the facts about this lawsuit. This is their method of operation when it comes to making changes.  Say a lot of pretty, feel good words but never follow through.  At least he did state they don’t really believe that some actually do have mental illnesses. In other words, they are better than the medical history that says otherwise. They are diagnosing that these mentally ill people are faking it.  Wow….

As far as Montana Department of Health and Human Services, well just look at the ongoing crisis at the Montana Developmental Center.  I don’t trust them to do anything different either.  You can dig through the archives on here and find out that to be true.

How You Can Help Us Keep Up The Good Fight

I went to Montana and it was like a dream. The majestic snow-capped mountains. The big blue sky country that Montana is well-known for. Ranches with horses and ranches with cowboys. My first snow winter and the romance of the countryside.  Then, my beautiful dream started turning into a nightmare. I started seeing beneath that pristine white snow to the dirtiness underneath. My rose-colored glasses were torn off and stomped upon. I ran head on into a brick wall that is called the Montana Judicial System. A state where corporations and state departments and politicians are like characters out of a western movie. Where those cowboys don’t have to answer to the law, they make the law, where no one is safe. Welcome to the real Montana.

This website started as one in 2012 but now 3 years later there are many advocating for those that have no voice.  Networks across and around Montana of those that want to make a difference, to make a change! Changes are happening!  But, we need your help to continue the good fight.   Montana should be like what it looks like, those pristine beautiful white mountain caps, wide big blue skies, cascading fresh water, and a purity of soul.  Let’s not let corruption dirty it up any longer.  

One state at a time!

We’re Spreading Like Wildfire!

PayPal-DonateLogo.jpg

All Contributions Are Greatly Appreciated! 

Montana Lawyers Expose State Prosecutors Corruption, AG’s Office Looks The Other Way

definition-corruption.jpg

According to Flathead Legal, Montana defense attorneys, Tim Baldwin and Phyllis and Jack Quatman in Flathead County, have revealed serious unethical actions of prosecutors and Northwest Drug Task Force Agent in Flathead County, Montana and their apparent attempt to cover it up. The seriousness of their actions caused these defense attorneys to request an investigation to the Montana Attorney General. After reviewing their request for an investigation, the Attorney General’s Office responded and stated that while they will not prosecute Corrigan and Park criminally, they are very concerned about the allegations of ethical violations and referred the matter to the proper authority in Montana.

Ed Corrigan, Flathead County Attorney

Ed Corrigan, Flathead County Attorney

NBC Montana

Below is a specific and egregious example of the prosecutors’ and officer’s unethical actions and their cover up.

Threatening Clients and Family Members of Clients (State v. Cory Franklin, DC-2013-465, DC-2014-128, DC-2004-15)

Striking evidence that has been discovered against these prosecutors and officer is a phone recording between Northwest Drug Task Officer, McKeag Johns, and Kristina Franklin (the wife of Cory Franklin, who is Tim Baldwin’s client). This phone conversation took place on June 4, 2014 in Flathead County.

This phone recording was transcribed. You can hear the audio and read the transcript directly below.

But Johns wasn’t the only government actor to make these threats to Kristina Franklin. According to Kristina Franklin, Deputy County Attorney, Kenneth Park did too.

Kenneth "Rusty" Park, Deputy Flathead County Attorney

Kenneth “Rusty” Park, Deputy Flathead County Attorney

As a result of learning of Park’s threats to Kristina, Tim Baldwin filed a motion to recuse Park as prosecutor in Cory Franklin’s cases. Kristina signed an affidavit detailing her conversation with Park.

To continue to read the full story and documentation:

Flathead Legal

If the Attorney General cannot prosecute, then who can?

There are just too many sources and documentation on too many state prosecutors of wrongdoing. Isn’t it about time Montana that someone stands up to it and says “enough is enough?”

Wrongfully Convicted Man Served Nearly 40 Years And Is Now Found Innocent!

Joseph Sledge, now 70 years old is finally set free.

                         Joseph Sledge, now 70 years old is finally set free.

An excerpt from AP The Big Story, reporter JONATHAN DREW had this to report:

A special three-judge panel unanimously voted Sledge had proven he was innocent of the killings and ordered his release.

But his freedom almost didn’t happen because evidence had been lost for years.

His attorney, Christine Mumma, took the case in 2004 and felt like she had been running out of options and considered closing the case in 2012. Then court clerks discovered a misplaced envelope of evidence while cleaning out a high shelf of a vault.

The envelope contained hair, found on the victim and believed to be the attacker’s, that turned out to be a key piece of evidence needed to do DNA testing, which wasn’t available when Sledge went on trial 1978.

“I understand those shelves were very high, but there was a ladder in that room,” said Mumma, a lawyer for the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence.

Nationwide, The Innocence Project said there have been 325 post-conviction DNA exonerations.

The North Carolina commission found there was enough evidence of Sledge’s innocence to refer it to a panel of three judges, who were appointed by the state Supreme Court.

The judges considered the commission’s investigative file, and a DNA expert highlighted lab tests in her testimony Friday. Meghan Clement of Cellmark Forensics said none of the evidence collected from the scene — hair, DNA and fingerprints — belonged to Sledge.

The key jailhouse informant, Herman Baker, signed an affidavit in 2013 recanting trial testimony. Baker said he lied at the 1978 trial after being promised leniency in his own drug case and he said he’d been coached by authorities on what to say.

The following taken from Tech Times, By Dianne Depra

Forty years is a long time to be in prison, most especially when you’re innocent. But Joseph Sledge no longer minds for what counts is he’s now a free man. (Photo : Adam Jones)

Forty years is a long time to be in prison, most especially when you’re innocent. But Joseph Sledge no longer minds for what counts is he’s now a free man.
(Photo : Adam Jones)

Sledge was released on grounds that DNA evidence from the crime scene did not match him. Hairs, fingerprints and DNA were collected back in 1976 but they were not processed properly. When these pieces of evidence were re-examined, results showed that none of them belonged to Sledge.

The commission unanimously voted in December 2014 to send Sledge’s case to a three-judge panel for review and the panel, appointed by the Supreme Court of the state, ruled that Sledge had indeed been wrongfully convicted.

During the hearing, Jon David, District Attorney for Columbus County, apologized to Sledge, saying the system made a mistake. David was not, however, involved in the Sledge’s original case.

Sledge, however, expressed no animosity towards the Davises and their family, saying he was sorry for their loss.

“I hope you get closure in this matter,” he added.

According to state law, Sledge will be entitled to a payment totaling $750,000 for the 36 years he spent incarcerated.

Unbelievable!  Loses almost 40 years of his life and $750,000 is the only compensation that he is going to receive?  Plus, many times it’s hard for the innocent person to get a state to even actually make the payment to them. 

Montana, Did You Know?

cash

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Chronicle Staff Writer, Troy Carter, had this to report:

The Chronicle has taken a look at spending by state agencies with a focus on credit card expenditures, looking at categories and making public information requests to find out more about particular payments.

The vast majority of purchases are mundane. Like the 6,829 credit card payments to OfficeMax or the $2.8 million spent at Staples. A few raised our eyebrows enough to warrant a deeper dig.

In 2014, state agencies paid $1,523,052 for flights and baggage on Delta Air, $149,290.75 to Alaska Air.

Cape Air, which operates small prop planes flying to and from eastern Montana, sold the state $3,533 in tickets.

Why do state employees spend so much time on the road? The Chronicle requested hundreds of state agency “request for justification for out-of-state travel” forms.

As an example: Nights at the luxurious Crowne Plaza hotels totaled $120,369. State employees also spent $15,932 sleeping at Chico Hot Springs south of Livingston.

Another hotel payment that stood out was a $4,781 payment to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort in Orlando, Florida, by the Montana Department of Administration, which is “the backbone of state government,” according to its website.

Montanans paid for five employees, including agency director Sheila Hogan, to attend the four-day Gartner Symposium and IT expo. With registration and transportation fees, the total bill was well over $10,000. Local bed taxes collected from the group by Orange County and the state of Florida were about $530.

Several purchases by the Department of Public Health and Human Services stand out in the 2014 credit card purchases, starting with a $9,500 payment to the Helena Brewers, a minor league baseball team.

So far, the Montana Highway Patrol has been able to fly under the radar. In July, the department bought 25,000 rounds from BulkAmmo.com.

On Sept. 30, an order was placed for a single set of night vision binoculars at a cost of $7,295. Barnes said they were for the governor’s security detail of Highway Patrol officers and that they had used federal funds to pay for them.

Most interesting is the following data:

Top 10 state agencies by credit card purchases, FY14

  1. Dept. of Transportation, $4,659,062
  2. Dept. of Public Health and Human Services, $4,398,562
  3. Dept. of Administration, $4,059,048
  4. Dept. of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, $3,386,913
  5. Dept. of Corrections, $2,394,866
  6. Dept. of Justice, $2,242,624
  7. Dept. of Labor and Industry, $2,228,565
  8. Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation, $1,994,096
  9. Dept. of Environmental Quality, $1,208,047
  10. Dept. of Commerce, $1,023,009

Top 5 state agencies by out-of-state and foreign travel, general fund spending, FY14

  1. Revenue, $290,708
  2. Corrections, $152,401
  3. Natural Resources & Conservation, $126,624
  4. Justice, $121,620
  5. Legislative Branch, $118,928

Source: Legislative Fiscal Division

Yes, of course there would be some spending, but I’ll let you, the reader, figure this one out.  Do you feel their hands in your pocket taking your hard earned money?   How about we look at DOC again and the testimony presented just recently to the legislature:  DOC Budget Hearing

To investigate further, you can continue reading this article at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle titled: Itemized receipt: A look at where the State of Montana uses it’s credit cards, and you can also go to Montana’s Checkbook Data.

2014 In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.