Once again, the government and the corporate media are busy at work trying to portray anti-government activists as murderous terrorists.
“Montana authorities are on a manhunt for an ‘extremely dangerous’ former militia leader who triggered a shootout with cops and fled into the wilderness with a cache of weapons,” reports the NY Daily News.
“David Burgert, 47, a former head of a violent anti-government militia group, traded gunfire with Missoula County deputies along a logging trail after a slow speed car chase near Lolo, Mont., on Sunday, cops said.”
According to the FBI, the former Marine and Project 7, a Montana militia, plotted to assassinate local officials, kill cops and ultimately topple the government.
But there is a problem with this story. It is not true.
Burgert was never charged with threatening local officials, police, or anybody else. He was arrested in 2002 and charged with weapons violation after law enforcement discovered a “cache” of weapons and around 30,000 rounds of ammunition.
In May of 2003, the Billings Gazette reported that Burgert was expected to plead to possessing a machine gun and being a felon in possession of a firearm following a plea agreement he made with prosecutors.
Instead, he jumped bail and resisted arrest.
The Montana Department of Corrections said Burgert was sentenced in 2002 for bail jumping and in 1983 for theft and was arrested after a stand-off with the cops. After that arrest, officials in Flathead County in far northwestern Montana said that Project 7 conspired to kill local police officers, judges and county prosecutors.
It seems Mr. Burgert is a problem because he does not respect the law and is combative with the police. He holds anti-government views. Before his sentencing on firearms charges, he was diagnosed by the government with paranoid personality disorder.
In 2003, the Project 7 group told the Associated Press the allegations against them were “nothing more than a fanciful conspiracy theory dreamed up by overzealous police.” No charges were filed because federal investigators were unable to substantiate any of the accusations made by Montana officials after they discovered 30,000 rounds of ammunition, explosives, night-vision equipment, and body armor – all completely legal to possess.
Following his previous experience with the government and time spent in a federal prison, Burgert said he would not be taken into custody again by law enforcement. Montana lawmen said he led sheriff’s deputies on a 30-mile chase on Sunday before exchanging gunfire with them and fleeing into the rugged mountains southwest of Missoula, according to Reuters. No one was injured in the shootout.
“He is armed and extremely dangerous,” Missoula County Undersheriff Mike Dominick told Reuters as the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula SWAT team, the FBI, the National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service searched for Burgert.
The fanfare of coverage of Burgert is part of a larger campaign by government and the corporate media to portray anti-government activists as violent, dangerous, and mentally unbalanced.
In any given week, there are hundreds of cases of people resisting arrest or ending up in violent confrontations with police. These incidents rarely make it off the pages of local newspapers or news websites because they are of little use to the government in its effort to portray constitutionalists as crazed gun-toting lunatics.
For instance, TPM posted a local story about a man who allegedly opened fire at a seafood market in Florida after learning that they had run out of crawfish. Larry Wayne Kelly, who apparently suffers from mental illness, told the cops he is a sovereign citizen.
Moreover, Burgert’s alleged confrontation with police will be used by anti-Second Amendment advocates to argue for “reasonable” laws limiting or outlawing the possession of firearms.
In 2010, the government attempted to railroad the Hutaree militia movement by claiming they also planned to kill local law enforcement and officials. The government case against the group fell apart in short order and some of the accused were released from custody.
Incessant propaganda, however, appears to work in convincing some people that anti-government groups and individuals pose a threat. In April of last year, a UPI poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion revealed that a “strong majority” of Americans believe “American-on-American terrorism is likely in the next year.” 58 percent of 1,005 people surveyed believe a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, carried out by Americans, is “very likely” or “moderately likely” to happen.
No terrorist event occured in the specified timeframe.