thoughts, whims, and delusions of a middle aged mama

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Edited Copy of Pliggy's, Now Edited, Blog

There is no need for me to write anything. I am simply copying Pliggy's blog to make sure as many people as possible read this.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How Texas Traced the Calls to Rozita Swinton
It must have been quite the day for ol Brooks Long, that Sunday, April 13th 2008. He had spent a week rounding up “victims” of “abuse” with his army of machine gun toting comrades, and just following orders by taking cell phones away from “guests” and breaking into buildings and confiscating children’s journals and computers, as well as breaking into a sacred Temple building safe and stealing the contents, all in his attempt to find Sarah Jessop Barlow, the victim who made all these desperate phone calls. Certainly he was enjoying his much needed day of rest. He was probably drinking his morning coffee when he realized that something was now troubling him, this tenth day after. Something he just needed to figure out that he had never thought about before.He probably thought along the lines of “Hmm, you know what, maybe those guys at the gate ten days ago might have been on to something. They did prove to my buddy Doran that Dale Evens Barlow was a long ways away, but I didn’t want to stop this wonderful force that George Bush would be proud of from invading the “dirty plig” paramilitary compound. So when they said we aught to check the phone number and trace it, they might have been on to something. But I certainly don’t want to give them credit. They are the bad guys”So he called up a perfect stranger in the Colorado Springs Police Department and asks him about it. Yes, it was no strange thing that he called the police department rather than the phone company; that is how all phone numbers are tracked down I am sure. If you want to know who is calling you on your phone, just call the police department of the area code on your phone silly.It was all only a coincidence that he just happened to speak to the very guy who knew about a crime using the exact phone number he gave him too. That is just fantastic, this guy he calls on Sunday the 13th actually recognizes one of the phone numbers, wow!It was a phone number that he was sure had been blocked ten days ago, but realized just that day, the 13th of April that it never had been blocked. It was just another fantastic coincidence that he was able to reach Sean on Sunday, as Sergeant Mandel was not even working out of the CSPD office, he was working for the FBI and was not associated with the rest of the force. But it was a coincidence for sure, for sure. Why would you doubt that?Well this was great, Long discovers that what the men at the gate of the YFZ ranch said was exactly right, the phone call was a hoax, ruining all he was hoping was true about the raid. But being the honorable Ranger he is, he asks CSPD to arrest this woman named Rozita Swinton so they could pretend to begin an investigation, certainly now on the 13th she was a person of interest, having the same phone number and all. So Long speaks to Mandel and he tells his coworker that he doesn’t work with, Sergeant Hugh Velasquez in the sex crimes department, and Velasquez passes the info on to Detective Terry Thurmston, all on Sunday, the 13th of April. Certainly this is standard procedure. Thurmston goes the next day, on Monday the 14th, calls Brooks and verifies Swintons phone number ect, and arranges for the arrest warrant. Which they serve two days later when a couple of the Texas Rangers fly in.Move along folks, nothing to see here…From the Affidavit in the arrest Warrant for Rozita Swinton:"On April 13, 2008, I [CSPD Detective Terry E. Thurmston] was contacted by [CSPD sex crimes division]Sergeant Hugh Velasquez (1514D) regarding information he had obtained from [CSPD, FBI task force] Sergeant Sean Mandel. Sergeant Mandel told Sergeant Velasquez he had been contacted by the Texas Rangers in regard to their investigation into the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch. Sergeant Mandel related Texas Ranger Brooks Long had advised he had two cellular telephone number listings from the Colorado Springs area (719-351-0913 and 719-243-2866). Sergeant Mandel was aware that the phone number, 719-351-0913, that was possibly related to the reporting party for the YFZ Ranch incident in Eldorado, Texas, was also identified in a prior CSPD case report.“On April 14, 2008 I [CSPD Detective Terry E. Thurmston] spoke with Texas Ranger Long and confirmed telephone number 719-351-0913 was in fact a local Colorado Springs telephone number associated with Rozita Swinton. I informed Ranger Long that Rozita Swinton was known to make false reports of sexual abuse to the police and other agencies. The Texas Rangers advised they would be responding to Colorado Springs to conduct further investigation.”P.S.The “only” [cough, cough] problem with our story, is Hugh McBryde spoke personally with Sergeant Sean Mandel, and Sean told him that he had never even spoken to Brooks Long at all, but rather he was contacted by his boss at the FBI in Colorado, Steven A Smith, who had been contacted by an FBI agent out of San Angelo TX. Hugh also spoke to Steven A. Smith, who did not know the name of the FBI agent he spoke to and couldnt pin a date, the dates too are uncertain as to when they were contacted he says and he did not open a case when he gave the assignment to Sean. Certainly the Rangers hadn't found this out earlier, certainly it was all done in the short time of one or two days. Certainly it wasn’t early enough for them to stop the raid. And Certainly this was not a manufactured story to cover up the fact that Texas ALREADY knew it was Rozita, as much as a ten days earlier right?Right?Right?
Posted by Pliggy at 11:53 PM 0 comments
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31 comments:

Ron in Houston said...

I'm sorry, but this is a classic example of not only a persecution complex but the sort of conspiratorial tin foil hat thinking that people with persecution complexes engage in.

Think about it. Not only does everyone hate them, but they're also engaged in vast illegal conspiracies to attempt to "frame" them.

It's just plain ignorant thinking to assume that Mandel not talking directly to Long is some sort of smoking gun.

Instead I'd say it's classic smoke and mirror use by defenders of the guilty.

rericson said...

Ron, have you ever tried to explore why you have this incredible need to defend a broken system? You are the first to admit that our Child Welfare system is broken. Why is it so difficult for you to believe that the legal system had a huge break down around the whole FLDS debacle?

Carolyn, Becky, Flora, et al had lots of people all worked up. Add to it the inflamatory words of Shurtleff and other LE folks to your legislators and AG's office and the conditions were ripe....
Some folks were 'chomping at the bit', so to speak, to get in and rescue those poor children...

Now throw in the phone calls...and Whoa!!!!...action before logic..action before clear thinking...action before law....and then...OOPS!!!! We've got a major screw up that we have to fix...only to find out that there were others, the feds, already in the mix...so how do we make it jive....how do we keep the stink from sticking???

I've been involved in the machinations of government far too long to have not seen this kind of craziness and duplicity, before. COver one's ass becomes paramount...obfuscate and deflect, and when all else fails, lie and alter the paper trail....and all sorts of folks become partners inthe process.....

Ron in Houston said...

Regina

It's pretty simple to me. Do cops overreach? Yes. Do cops lie? Yes. Is there any evidence that it happened here? No. I'll be the first to call out bad behavior by law enforcement, but all I see here are folks trying to manufacture things to support their predefined beliefs.

Now do I think an apostate might have played Rozita for a pawn? In my mind that theory has some legs. However, this has nothing to do with the validity of the search or LE's role.

Rozita made crank calls, the raid happened, and the rest is history.

rericson said...

Ron, How do you account for the abject negligence in doing due dilligence concerning verifying "Sarah's" existence?
Even when they were at the gate and it was suggested that the calls be traced?
My one son works in the fiber optics industry...three other sons work in the microwave industry....a best friend of theirs is a project director for Verizon in Hawaii, ALL of them tell me the calls coming in to the women's shelter could have been 'back traced' through their sequence of towers, to tower of origin, in less than an hour....

You know, you see one glitch, you write it off...you see a couple of glitches, you think that someone has risen to power that maybe shouldn't have...you see glitch after glitch and you stop looking at them individually and you start looking for patterns....
When you see patterns, you either believe that the gods were really having a field day, or there just might be a conspiracy...even if it fell into place, initially, as happenstance...it's continuation and increasing complexity starts to speak to cover-ups and all sorts of malfeasance....

Stence said...

Ron,

One last comment...again. (I left you one on the last article.) The black man I watched get railroaded was not a crack dealer. He was just a very nice man that didn't like the harrassment he was getting from a Hispanic officer. White judge sucked everything in the officer wanted him to and totally ignored the inconsistencies in his story. The black fellow kept his story straight and tried to show the judge how the officer had changed his story. Didn't work. The judge had his mind made up before the guy even got there. It was very, very obvious.

After seeing what I saw that day and the total disdain the judge had for black people, I gained a whole new understanding of the justice system.

No, I don't think all judges and officers are that way because I still think of people as individuals.

Ron in Houston said...

No Regina

I see the glitch. I just don't assume that the glitch means a full fledged conspiracy with folks perjuring themselves.

You're doing classic "tin foil hat" thinking. You see a glitch. You grossly over magnify the glitch. You then pile on a boat load of assumptions and your pre-defined thinking and come up with a vast conspiracy of the highest magnitude.

Once LE has a warrant any further investigation is done by the execution of the warrant. Should they have done more diligence prior to obtaining the warrant? Well, that's easy to say with 20-20 hindsight.

Pliggy said...

I just edited it, I am off to see the wizard!

Because because because because!

rericson said...

Ron-
No, it doesn't take hind-sight to see the glitches...
They had Doran who knew, if no one else, that there were multiple dwellings on the ranch. And he knew that there were over a hundred people. Granted, he didn't know how many more, but he knew there were a substantial number.
They had no physical description of the caller. They had a report of multiple, protracted calls, over several days....something that in, and of itself, is 'fishy'.
They had a claim of 'imminent' danger that they chose not to act on...
LE regularly does phone traces, this isn't new, or 'rocket' science. It is pro forma, these days...but it wasn't done....

Maybe not the Rangers, but they had top ranking Child Welfare officials involved who knew the policies and procedures manual inside out. People who knew full well what the expectations were concerning validating information.....

No, Ron, it doesn't take 20/20 hindsight. All it takes is a roster of who was involved and the reasonable belief that people of their rank know their job and made a choice to cut corners. Irrespective of good intentions or lofty motives, or genuine belief that horrible crimes were taking place a few yards from that gate....

Thomas said...

Ron you didnt cricize the bad behavior. Heavily armed police units invaded a peaceful community whose residents had no history of violence. They kicked in doors that werent locked. They didnt verify that the caller actually existed. LE just wanted an excuse for a raid. They believed that they were rescuing women and children from polygamy and didnt bother following the law. I dont know why but you are ignoring an obvious example of police misconduct. Police officers are only human and human beings make bad mistakes.

rericson said...

Thomas,
You make an excellent point. I get so caught up in the legality of the warrant itself I completely forget to comment on the behavior of LE once they were inside the Ranch.

Prof said...

G'morning folks.

Just a brief comment. Ron, my arguing capabilities pale in comparison to what you have experienced in your line of work, so I won't even attempt to butt horns with you, BUT....

If you really want to have a better understanding of this "persecution complex" which you are highly skeptical about, remember the Native American adage of "walking a mile in their mocassins..." You try it.

Dress up in typical FLDS fashion, bring your wife (or significant others), maybe a couple of teen aged daughters, and an infant...all dressed ala "prairie dress" and long sleeves, etc.
Now take your troop and walk downtown St George, Cedar City, Kanab, Salt Lake, maybe even San Angelo and see how many warm greetings you receive.

I promise you will be amazed and humbled at the public disdain aimed your way, maybe even humiliated and frightened.

In Utah, FLDS folks not only feel the heat from an unsympathetic media but are also confronted by the culture of an antagonistic church that quietly promotes discrimination against the FLDS by denying certain religious rites to members who have feelings of sympathy for or associations with fundamentalist groups.

Thus maintaining faithful membership in the LDS church hinges upon this "mandated discrimination" against the FLDS.

So, long answer, it is NOT a complex, this persecution is real and it is open and hurtful. The only thing missing would be fountains and pubic washrooms labelled, "men," "women," and "plygs."

suzie said...

Prof,

I hope you meant "public" (gasp)

Oh well, I know what you meant.(I think).

I guess I can throw my two bits in about here and agree with "Prof".

I have had a lot of very positive experiences with "outside" people but I sure know exactly what he's talking about. I hesitate to maintain very much close, friendly contact with an LDS person because I wouldn't want to hurt their standing in their church

My "plygginess" might rub off on them.

Prof said...

Oops. Thanks for the correction Suzie. For someone who prides himself in correct spelling, I picked a fine time to leave the "el" out didn't I?

Ron in Houston said...

Thomas

Not only will I criticize the heavy handed way they handled things, I'll also point out that they are very bad at research. Had they studied their history, they might have done things differently.

Now I want to point out some facts that you need to consider.

First, I know that the FLDS are not the LaBarons and that there are a number of "fringe" groups that claim common lineage with you guys. However, the fact of the matter is that there are a number of claimed fundamentalist mormons that have engaged in various acts of violence.

Second, while it is your right to insist that LE have a warrant before they come onto your property, the fact that you insist on them having a warrant puts them on alert for problems. Right or wrong, smart or stupid, most folks with nothing to hide aren't going to say, "you got a warrant, Deputy Fife?"

rericson said...

Ron,
I'm not sure you are correct about the "average" person. Maybe within some circles. But I can't think of anyone I know who would allow the police to come into theri home to "look around" without them having a warrant. And probably about 99% of my friends have never committed any crime of note...
All of my friends are upstanding citizens at this juncture in thier lives...
But no warrant, no looking around...end of story.
Right or wrong, smart or stupid, most folks with nothing to hide still aren't letting LE into their lives. We've all heard too many horror stories. And we all know they don't ask to look around unless they are looking for something.....

Anonymous said...

So if Hugh McBride said it, it must be truth??
And why would Sean Mandel and Steven Smith tell McBride anything?? lol
He is a blogger on the internet. And why would law enforcement, especially FBI tell McBride their name much less any information about an ongoing case?

rericson said...

Anon, Why wouldn't they give their names? And Pliggy didn't say how Hugh structured his calls to get the info he got, but it is really unlikely that he is lying about what he learned....
You could always go to his blog and ask him...or ask him to come post here so we can all see his response.

rericson said...

Anon..
I just sent Hugh an email and asked him to come address your question...We'll see...

Ron in Houston said...

Hugh from what I understand was at some point a journalist. I assume he just picked up the phone and asked and I don't think he's misreporting his conversations.

The Pharisee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Pharisee said...

Thanks Ron, I appreciate the fairness as always, and would prefer this discussion between both sides be carried out in this fashion.

Anon, why would they tell me anything? I learned a long time ago that if you want a questioned answered, you ask directly, clearly identify yourself, not be combative and then, just ask.

It is my surmise that for some reason this whole incident stuck in Lt. Mandel's mind. The affidavit attached to the warrant seems to be the best reason for it sticking in his mind. Perhaps Sean thought "someday someone will ask me about this."

The affidavit has Sean Mandel receiving Brooks Long's call. Sean knew that he did not field that call.

One of the things that can make you certain I speak accurately is that the facts are verifiable and are starting to be independently verified.

Sean states to me that he was on detached duty with the FBI in Colorado Springs and absolutely could not have fielded any call from Texas. That's a verifiable fact. I either lie, or I do not. The record will impeach me, or back me up.

Sean clearly states that he was instead contacted by Agent Steve Smith of the Colorado Springs office of the FBI. He was working on the task force with Agent Smith at that time. Smith gives him the numbers, Mandel gives them to Detective Sgt. Hugh Velasquez of the Sex Crimes Unit of the Colorado Springs Police Department. Velasquez in turn gives them to Detective Terry Thrumston who writes the affidavit, swears it to Amy Mulaney, assistant District Attorney, and it becomes a warrant.

If you're Sean you figure at trial someone asks about that warrant, and your name is on it. So I guess he was ready to be asked and he needed to be consistent when he was on the record. He seems like a stand up guy, he is now a Lieutenant.

Agent Smith (I just love that) talks to me because I immediately called him with numbers provided by Sean Mandel. This is another point of verification. How do I know there is an Agent Steve Smith of Colorado Springs FBI office? WHY do I still have his cell phone number? Why do I have corroborating text messages on my cell phone both to and from Agent Smith?

I did not waste time contacting Steve and he's in a bit of a spot. I have a lot of detailed information from Sean and he can choose to affirm or deny. This can create problems for him later. Remember, this is a country that convicted "Scooter" Libby of lying to a Grand Jury about a crime that was later demonstrated to have never occurred.

Steven confirms all of Sean's story to me, and places the origin of the request with the San Angelo Texas office of the FBI. He states for the record, after asked, that he did not "open a case on his side" of the call. He also states a case would have to be (read that should be) opened on at least one side of the inquiry. He will NOT swear this occurred on the 13th, and openly allows for an earlier date. He also states that he "cannot recall" the name of the FBI Agent in San Angelo that called him, but would "recognize it if he heard it again." I was able to determine two of the three FBI Agent's names at the San Angelo Office, and he says it was neither.

The information officer of the Dallas office of the FBI in Texas eventually after long delays and avoidance, said he COULD NOT talk to me about the incident, going back on his promise to obtain an answer to whether or not a case was opened.

Now, the San Angelo Standard Times confirms that it was on April 13th, 2008 that a RESPONSE to a REQUEST by the FBI was RETURNED.

This corroborates my story independently. I stated the affidavit was a lie. That THE FBI requested the information by "old boy" back channel methods. It was not a request of Colorado Springs by Brooks Long. It was a request of the FBI.

Keep in mind that CSPD is not a phone company. You don't get phone records from CSPD though CSPD might be able to get them. The FBI can get them almost instantaneously. There is no expectation whatsoever that if you call a local police force that you will return information on criminal records associated with a phone number. They're just phone numbers that Texas believes are owned by someone who operates many many miles away from Colorado Springs. Why would CSPD known ANYTHING about them?

This then establishes with a high degree of probability what the contact by the FBI actually was. It was an investigation to find someone at CSPD that could talk to Brooks Long because the FBI ALREADY KNOWS who owns the phones and ALREADY KNOWS that certain crimes were committed with these phones, else there would be no point in calling the CSPD.

It establishes that the FBI wants this done away from the spotlight, concealing who actually called because slow and irregular channels of communication are used.

It establishes that the chain of communication probably took a bit of time. Agent Smith does not know who called him. Thus there was probably a preliminary inquiry to find out who was the best FBI agent to contact, and Steve Smith gets tapped because Sean Mandel is working on his Task Force on detached duty from CSPD to the FBI.

Since the "Return" on information is the 13th, a Sunday, A weekend, you have to figure that the most likely explanation is that Steve Smith is contacted, or a message left for him, no earlier than the 10th. Dispute this as much as you want but this is a message being passed between two agents of the FBI in non normal channels designed not to be noticed. Such messages travel slower, as opposed to more quickly. The 10th figures as an optimistic date for contacting Agent Smith because who plans to receive an non urgent message from someone they don't know on a weekend?

Considering the amount of preparation that goes into this and the amount of time. It seems most likely that the chain of communication was designed to reveal itself as a staged call between Brooks Long and Terry Thrumston or Hugh Velasquez on the 14th, a Monday. It's a blind date people, not a request for information. Other people have arranged that these parties meet with a specific agenda in mind. If the FBI as they are likely to, knows all about Rozita sometime the week of April 6th (or earlier), then they have no desire for anyone to find anyone earlier than the 14th. Remember, the FBI swoops in late in the week of the 6th, and serves their own warrant.

Now it's ok to "Find" Rozita.

I stand by my story. I'll swear it under oath if necessary. In court.

rericson said...

Hugh,
Thank you for taking the time to come write that entire saga for me/us to digest.

TxBluesMan said...

Regina said:
Even when they were at the gate and it was suggested that the calls be traced?

Yeah, that's it. Now that they know that there is search warrant, the police should just leave, allow them to destroy any evidence, etc.

Or, they could execute the warrant in accordance with the order of the court.

I do find one thing funny.

Now that your bubble got busted by Judge Conn doing the correct thing and deferring his decision until after Judge Walther has ruled, y'all have gone right back into a panic mode.

Conspiracies.

Persecution.

Did y'all ever think that it was because the people at the ranch were committing felonies, just like they have done in Utah and Arizona.

The Pharisee said...

We'll never know what Conn would do if the evidence is tossed out in Texas.

We'll find that out only if Texas doesn't. This is just another delay. If I were Conn I wouldn't spend the money, the time, the effort and argue over the witnesses if there was a chance Texas was going to do my job for me.

My only regret is I was all geared up to....

...well, it wasn't to wait again.

TxBluesMan said...

The chances of the evidence being tossed in Texas are slim to none.

That means that the likelihood is that the defendants will be convicted.

So basically, that means their only chance is on appeal, which will take years. And during those years, they will be in prison...

rericson said...

Blues,
I didn't have any bubble burst. I asked a lot of questions because I am not familiar with Texas rules and process. Which, by the by, seems somewhat poorly thought out. But that comes from a perspective of having operated in systems that are structured quite differently. I'm sure NY, NJ, and Pa. have areas we've become used to that you would find unfamiliar and problematic.

As for conspiracies; I've always held, and expressed, a belief that there are several layers of conspiracy at play here. Not all intentional at their outset, but ultimately conspiratorial in their nature.
When you have so many things occuring, in concurrence; so many divergent players involved, not all of whom are even aware of each other's presence or roles, and, so many independent events, there are bound to be screw-ups. There are bound to be attempts at collaboration that end up being "off the record" and take on conspiratorial aspects...
How all of these layers affected the outcome(s), and how did they affect compliance with the law, can only be determined by slowly, layer by layer, reconstructing all of the events and all of the players in a transparent meta view...
Now if rather than acknowledge this, and help with the transparent reconstruction, that can assure fair outcomes, you want to sit on the sidelines and call names and pretend reality is something other than what it is, that's your choice.

The Pharisee said...

What you said Regina.

As far as the evidence challenge goes, if the evidence isn't thrown out in Texas, something that wouldn't really be likely now, Arizona will just take the issue up again. Judge Conn isn't deferring to Texas to tell him what to think, Judge Conn is deferring to Texas to get certain facts on the record, and to weigh in on evidence that it knows it will use.

If there is the same Grand Jury Mumbo Jumbo Sleight of Hand in court, I predict (unsafe, I know) that Judge Conn will throw the evidence out unless the players come to his courtroom and answer the questions they won't answer in Texas.

You may say that they can't answer in Arizona what they can't answer in Texas for the same legal reasons, but that won't change the fact that if the Feds choose to hide evidence behind the cloak of a Grand Jury Subpoena, it interferes with the rights of the defendant and the Feds then have a choice to make. Their precious Grand Jury that they have been deliberately foot dragging on so that they can play "hide the evidence" or the conviction of Warren Jeffs, and ultimately the 11 others under indictment in Texas.

TxBluesMan said...

Regina,

I am sure that you are correct on the differences. I was talking to a friend of mine who is an attorney for a state agency in New Jersey, and she was shocked to discover that we were allowed to wear boots in court, even more shocked when we pointed out that the judge was likely to be wearing them too, and completely floored when she found out how much a pair of custom boots cost...

As for poorly thought out? I would tend to disagree. It works for our citizens, most of whom do not want the type of courts and procedures that are utilized on the east coast and in many other states.

rericson said...

Blues, I swear, you'll find something to criticize or argue about while taking your dying breath...
I SAID...from my perspective...and...you'd probably find things in our system problematic, too....
Sheesh!!!!!

cheese said...

Ron said: "Second, while it is your right to insist that LE have a warrant before they come onto your property, the fact that you insist on them having a warrant puts them on alert for problems. Right or wrong, smart or stupid, most folks with nothing to hide aren't going to say, "you got a warrant, Deputy Fife?"



Ron is this kind of reasoning the result of "public school education" when you were young? How can you come up with something that stupid? I swear that if this were 1772 you and Blues would be pointing out the patriots to the tories! You act like you have no understanding of our country's founding and the reasons for the Bill of Right's! Ever heard of an educated derelict?

TxBluesMan said...

Actually, I had ancestors on both sides, in the same family. One branch were Patriots and legislators in NY. The other branch were Tories, and after the war (several were hung during the war), they fled NY to Canada...

BTW Ron, you ought to check out my latest post.

About Me

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First I am a mother, and grandmother....that is probably the single most important aspect of my life. Then I am a family advocate for a large, national advocacy organization. I work primarily in "systems advocay", helping to identify needs and change policies in children's behavioral health. And I love my dogs, my garden, my pond and fish, and trashy murder mysteries and the occasional shot of good scotch.... Fell free to post a note in whatever the most recent entry is...I love meeting new people!

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