More about Mr. Lancaster.
The Nashville Files has published a little more on the background of Mr. Lancaster, specifically dealing with the motives behind the ATF & their informants:
"Someone (who I can't name) that works for the Federal government added an interesting perspective to this entire issue. He said that the BATF might be in the hot chair. The BATF spent lots of money going after Lancaster, and if they don't get a good sentence out of it, it will look bad on paper...
When Lancaster was arrested, there were approximately 15 law enforcement people of various capacities at his residence, and there was at least one and possibly two experts flown from D.C. It takes a lot of money to undertake a raid and investigation like this. In fact, the source listed above said it probably goes into the tens of thousands of dollars.""
This seems likely because it appears to be a pattern with the ATF. They spend X amount of time & money on an "investigation" & they feel obliged to produce "results" to justify their expenditure & provide arguments for increasing their expenditure. & considering they just asked for another budget increase I can see how important any & every conviction would be for them. Never mind that they don't bother to differentiate between the arrest of violent people & those with no prior criminal records who made some error relating to paperwork or mere possession as that wouldn't endear them to the hearts of congress now would it? Too bad Rep. Ron Paul isn't on the committee that Acting Director Domenech addressed his statement to. Course I can't let that pass: considering this report on the ATF's practices, I'd say they didn't just need an acting director, but acting lessons.
If you're interested in learning more about how the ATF does its thing to the people, look here.
& in answer to a complaint of mine Blake goes on to give some details of what & who started this mess:
"First off, this entire fiasco started because of a church budget. And you thought that your church had rought budget battles. Two associate pastors were going to be getting big raises (we're talking in the 20% range). A large group of members couldn't understand why and they wanted to get answers, and Lancaster took the side of the people wanting answers...
We know for certain the names of two of the Confidential Sources of Information listed in the affidavit for the search warrant. According to the affidavit, an annonymous caller tipped the BATF off (with confirmed lies about Lancaster being a Nazi sympathizer, manic depressive, dangerous, and having explosives). During the supression hearing, it was learned that an associate pastor at the church (James Mason...one of the ones getting a raise in the budget) made that call to the BATF and was also CSI2 in the affidavit (on a side note, Mason was later arrested for beating his wife...his wife has since fled while he is out free)...
CSI3 gave the most information, but he was essentially coerced into talking (because of the coersion, I will not give his name here). The BATF apparently threatened him with jail time if he didn't talk, and James Mason was also present during part of the questioning (CSI3 would have been considered a subordinate of Mason at that time)."
So because of a church budget battle members of that church ratted out Mr. Lancaster to the feds & he's looking at federal time????? Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus to the Romans & Chief Priests for his own profit. You'd have thought that members & especially leaders of a church would have remembered this story. Not that Mr. Lancaster was the equivilent of Jesus, but that Judas' crime would have been just as treacherous no matter the state of his victim: the betrayal of someone who has done you no harm in exchange for your own profit.
Now I grew up in Charlotte, NC back when tele-evangalism was getting popular. I couldn't tell you the number of times my living room was standing-room-only 'cause everyone wanted to watch Billy Graham together. Coming from the same area as Jim & Tammy Baker I know a little something about how vicious conflicts within the church can be. But turning a person over to the feds so you can get a 20% raise? Did James Mason ever bother to read any of the literature inside the church? I'm positive there had to be a New Testament lying around somewhere. & in that New testament the Gospels tell us repeatedly about how Jesus condemned the religious leaders as hypocrites. Ratting someone out who has never harmed anyone while you're slappin' your old lady around would qualify as hypocritical in most people's minds. There are also numerous condemnations of betraying someone in the Gospels, as well as throughout the rest of the Bible.
Turning someone in to the ATF is not drastically different than turning someone in to Tomas de Torquemada. Despite not having caused any harm to any person, they are persecuted with the might of a government & could suffer anything from loss of property to imprisonment to death. We look back on the Spanish Inquisition as a gross injustice that not only harmed innocents but contradicted the goals sought by the Inquisition (a conversion of all to Catholocism). One's only hope in either case was to admit to & repent of acts which you may not have been guilty of or caused no harm to others, or to turn in other people.
& to make it worse on a different level, James Mason & his companions in treachery turned in a good church going fella to the damn revenuers! I know that this events didn't take place in Appalachia, but wouldn't they be close enough to realize how lod down this sort of behavior is? But I guess if you can't expect Christian charity you can't be surpised at a lack of down home ethics.
I'm much obliged to The Nashville Files for posting this information. I can understand how someone would feel that someone who is coerced shouldn't bear the blunt of public disapproval for their actions. However I will point out that what this does is give a free pass to anyone who claims they did it to save their own skins. The ATF routinely theatens people into infroming on others with the promise of dropping some BS charge they claim they have on them. More gun owners inform for the ATF than non gun owners & because of this I'd be more inclined to hold them as accountable as those who inform for some other motive. don't get me wrong - the bastards at the ATF who use this strategy should all be forced to serve out the sentences of those they seek to charge, but unfortunately there's enough blame to go around.
& I'm still disappointed that a very large group of concerned citizens haven't demanded Mr. Lancaster's release & kicked the statist bastards that did this to him out of the state. At the very least I hope James Mason, Special Agent Patrick W. Hand & all others who advocated Mr. Lancaster being punished for violationg an unconstitutional law will be treated as persona non grata wherever they go.