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?
Friday, October 21, 2016
One reason the FBI moved slowly against the militia that took over the Oregon bird refuge was they had infiltrated the group with 15 informants, and had no reason to move fast: