During a conflict arising over stray cattle last June, Sheriff Kelly Janke of North Dakota’s Nelson County organized a multi-agency task force, including elements “from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances, and deputy sheriffs from three other counties,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “He also called in a Predator B drone.”
Continues the Times:
“As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.
But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations….
`We don’t use [drones] on every call out,’ said Bill Macki, head of the police SWAT team in Grand Forks. `If we have something in town like an apartment complex, we don’t call them.’”
The Predator-aided SWAT assault in June targeted the family of a local farmer named Rodney Brossart, who live near the tiny village of Lakota, about 100 miles northwest of Fargo. A few days earlier, about a half-dozen stray cattle wandered onto Brossart’s property. The farmer reportedly believed that the cattle were unclaimed and thus belonged to him under a disputed interpretation of open-range law.
On June 23, after Brossart he refused to surrender the livestock, a team of Sheriff’s deputies Tasered him and took him into custody. They also arrested his Brossart’s when she attempted to defend her father, and his wife when she supposedly “misled” deputies who were searching for what were described as “illegal” weapons.
When deputies returned the following day, they were reportedly confronted by Brossart’s three sons, who were allegedly carrying rifles. This led Sheriff Janke to escalate the confrontation to a full-spectrum military response – including the local SWAT team and a Predator B drone supplied by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), an affiliate of the Department of Homeland Security.
The CBP’s drone fleet, significantly, is described as a counter-terrorism asset. According to the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a self-appointed leftist watchdog group, Brossart’s family received special attention because Sheriff Janke “knew the Brossarts were followers of another Lakota resident, Roger Elvick, one of the original gurus of the bizarre but remarkably resilient sovereign citizens movement.”
For the past several years, the SPLC has been indoctrinating local law enforcement agencies in the belief that the sovereign citizens movement – and the “radical Right” in general, a label the SPLC applies to anyone more conservative than Hugo Chavez — has emerged as a fearsome “domestic terrorism” threat. That campaign has been assisted by the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) program, which is funded through the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. National and regional law enforcement seminars have been used to cultivate alarm among police officers regarding the supposedly all-encompassing terrorist threat posed by domestic “extremists.”
The Predator-aided strike on the Brossart family might be a direct payoff of the SLPC’s indoctrination efforts.
During the June confrontation, Sheriff Janke actually took time to respond to an interview request from the SPLC’s Intelligence Report.
“We’re trying to reach out to the family to get them to surrender,” Janke told the publication. “It’s not common for people to brandish weapons against law enforcement, and to have them all be family members is unique. [It tells me] they’re up to something, they’re planning something, they have some different beliefs…. We’re meeting with a team of experts to find out the best possible way to resolve this.”
Those “experts,” of course, proved to be the people in charge of the vertically integrated, militarized Homeland Security State.