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Why the silence from the Cold Case Posse?

There could be some big announcements in the case soon and forthcoming.

— Carl Gallups
Facebook January 2013

Sheriff Arpaio & Mike Zullo Are Saying Investigation Press Conference Forthcoming

— Carl Gallups
— Freedom Friday February 2015

My habit is to goad the birthers by explaining the Posse’s years of silence, saying “they have nothing.” That’s true in the sense that it is unlikely that the Cold Case Posse, with no manpower to speak of, no resources, and no expertise, would scoop everyone else in the country in uncovering some infamous crime related to Obama’s presidency. My reason might apply to a real law enforcement investigation where standards of evidence apply, but what does that have to do with the Cold Case Posse?

Mike Zullo, fronted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, presented a raft of issues in his first two press conferences. The standards of evidence didn’t come into play in the selection of that material–arguments and evidence that utterly fell apart under scrutiny. Looking behind the curtain, we found conspiracy theorist author Jerome Corsi feeding much of the bogus evidence. We still don’t know how the fake race code table from the Daily Pen Blog made it to the Posse, but we know Corsi had a hand in getting a bogus confirmation of it. Even with Corsi apparently out of the birth certificate business, there must still be many birther sleuths with their own pet theories being sent to Mike Zullo. I cannot believe that the absence of a third press conference can be attributed to a lack of material. As we know, birthers believe anything, and Zullo is easily fooled. I suppose it is possible that Mike Zullo is too busy pursuing other ways of making a living, to assemble a presentation with the appropriate official-sounding trappings.

In my mind, a strong contender for an explanation is to avoid embarrassing questions. Since the 2nd press conference, two mini scandals arose: Zullo’s acceptance of $10,000 for his personal use from a birther who was also supplying material to the Posse’s investigation, and the disclosure that Arpaio had paid over $100,000 to a con man for evidence supposedly related to the Justice Department (I think this was the source of the universe-shattering revelation that fizzled). If a press conference were held, hard questions about these would certainly be appropriate.

While I think it unlikely, it is conceivable that members of Arpaio’s staff, some of whom are serious professionals, have counseled the Sheriff about the poor quality of the Cold Case Posse work product and that Arpaio has required that any new material be vetted by real detectives. That would effectively screen out anything birther.

It might be that yet another press conference, followed by no indictment, would highlight for the birthers the futility of the entire exercise.

One final possibility is that the difficult situation Arpaio faces with a federal judge scrutinizing his department, and threatening contempt of court against Arpaio, might have convinced him that now is the time to keep his head down and not make bogus accusations against the President.

Whatever the underlying reasons, I think that the most reasonable explanation for the silence is that Joe Arpaio considers it not to his political advantage that a press conference be held.

(I’m assuming that no press conference is actually forthcoming. If it really were forthcoming, then the appropriate thing would be to announce the press conference and give a date.)


The full Gallups quote from 2013 is:

PPS has been in direct contact with the Sheriff Arpaio investigation. We have just again been assured by Lt. Mike Zullo lead investigator that the investigation and potential angles of prosecution are still going full steam ahead. Just because it’s not in the news right now does not mean they are not feverishly working on the matter. There could be some big announcements in the case soon and forthcoming.

The Corsi/WND/Arpaio/Zullo/Montgomery connection

Up until a just a few days ago, I had never heard of Dennis Montgomery, the fellow we’re calling the “Seattle scammer” because according to a 2010 article in Playboy Magazine, he sold fake intelligence information to the CIA for big bucks. He now lives in the Seattle area.

The Phoenix New Times, using confidential sources at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, reports that Montgomery has been paid $100,000 and given $50,000 in computer equipment by Arpaio for intelligence information about federal judge G. Murray Snow and Attorney General Eric Holder. (Phoenix New Times Reporter Stephen Lemons will talk about this on a special edition of  Reality Check Radio tonight at 9 PM Eastern.)

I had noted that Douglas Vogt, a birther volunteer expert who supplied information to the Cold Case Posse, lives a scant 8.6 miles (using actual addresses) from Montgomery, and speculated that proximity might account for the connection between Sheriff Arpaio and Dennis Montgomery.

There may be a closer connection. According to multiple sources, Jerome Corsi worked closely with the Cold Case Posse at the beginning, providing most of the information they used. Zullo and Corsi co-authored a book about the CCP investigation, some of which derived from Corsi’s articles at WorldNetDaily. Here’s a photo of Corsi with Mike Zullo, “commander” of the Cold Case Posse at a presentation that included Sheriff Arpaio.

image

Now we have to connect the dots. Continue Reading →

RC Radio interview with Stephen Lemons

I’m so excited!

Since Mike Zullo hasn’t fled the country yet, I’ll have to settle for second best: Reality Check Radio’s special show Wednesday, June 11 at 9 PM. RC’s guest will be award-winning journalist Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, who broke the story of Joe Arpaio’s relationship with Seattle scammer Dennis Montgomery.

From RC Radio:

Stephen Lemons who writes for the Phoenix New Times at the Valley Fever Blog will be my guest. Stephen will discuss his recent expose into the dealings between Sheriff Joe Arpaio and scammer Dennis Montgomery. Stephen learned that Arpaio is using Montgomery to find dirt on US Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Judge Murray Snow both of whom have been a thorn in [Arpaio’s] side of late. Could this be the “Universe Shattering” news that Carl Gallups and Mike Zullo have been promising for months?

Listen:

Find Additional Politics Podcasts with RCRadio on BlogTalkRadio

The frenzy of discovery

It’s always helpful in the frenzy of discovery when nearing a solution to a complicated puzzle, to take a step back for a reality check. Case in point is the identification of what Sheriff Joe and his Posse have been incessantly promising Universe-shattering results about. Recent revelations in the Phoenix New Times that Arpaio has paid big bucks to a notorious scam artist for information about US Federal District Judge G. Murray Snow and US Attorney General Eric holder provide an emotionally satisfying answer: Arpaio and his Posse are credulous fools. In this moment of excitement where all of the pieces seem to line up it’s worth considering whether we are fooling ourselves and to ask a few questions:

  • Does any part of the story require unusual complexity or implausibility?
  • Has confirmation bias caused contrary evidence to be pushed aside?
  • Are the sources credible?
  • Is there a plausible alternative narrative?

I can’t answer these questions for you, as they involve trust and value judgments, but I will attempt to answer them for myself.

I think the story is plausible because the actors in the alleged narrative do things that they have done in the past. Sheriff Joe has gone after political enemies with bogus investigations, and he has bought into conspiracy theories. Dennis Montgomery has scammed people and used their technological ignorance to his advantage. He has fabricated evidence before in the form of altered emails, according to expert court testimony. There are plausible mechanisms for the two to connect up because Sheriff Joe’s Obama investigation is widely reported in the national press. Also another Cold Case Posse source, Doug Vogt, lives close to Montgomery. The nearest thing to implausibility in the story is the amount of money, $200,000, allegedly spent by the Sheriff’s Office on Montgomery’s information. That’s a lot of money and it allegedly come from a secret fund—one should always be wary of secret boxes where the best evidence is. Still, given the power of Arpaio, I can sort of buy the $200,000. Montgomery got $20 million from the US government for fake information.

One contrary item is that Cold Case Posse insider Brian Reilly had never heard of Dennis Montgomery. However, the Universe-shattering investigation allegedly involving Montgomery didn’t start until after Reilly had left the Posse. Nothing else comes to mind.

I tend to trust the Phoenix New Times. What is my source? Most of what I know about the New Times comes from the New Times. That’s problematic. The bulk of their information comes from an anonymous source.  They portray themselves as journalists with integrity battling the evil empire of Joe Arpaio. In their favor, they won a $3.5 million settlement against the Sheriff’s Office. Indeed the County has lost $55 million in payouts for false arrest and prosecution charges against the Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecutor. The story’s author, Stephen Lemons has won a string of journalism awards. I do not have wide experience with stories in the New Times and whether they are always reliable. There is one thing strongly in favor of the credibility of the story which is the account of both Arpaio and Montgomery refusing to deny their relationship, which it would have been trivially easy to do so. I would say that if the story is baseless, the New Times runs the risk of getting sued (or arrested?).

There are any number of alternate scenarios:

  1. The New Times made it all up out of spite.
  2. The New Times’ informant made it all up out of spite.
  3. Montgomery really has used his technical skills to uncover damning evidence against Eric Holder and Judge Snow, and is providing it to Arpaio. Indictments to follow.

None of those seems likely, with #2 the only one remotely plausible.

I invite readers to suggest things I overlooked, or to weigh in with their own evaluations, and other questions that need to be asked.

Vogt and Montgomery (the other one)

Vogt

I don’t usually engage in the disclosure of personal information, but I did look at Douglas Vogt’s lawsuit in Washington State, and located his address on a Google map. I’m publishing here a photo of his house from that map:

image

It’s a modest dwelling to be sure. All kidding aside, Vogt probably lives somewhere around there. We know that in the early days of Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse, Doug Vogt was a major source of evidence for them. Brian Reilly met Vogt before he became an official member of the Posse.

Montgomery

“Montgomery” refers to Dennis Montgomery, someone identified by the Phoenix New Times as a confidential informant for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and identified as a purveyor of faked information by the Wikipedia. Montgomery reportedly lives in Yarrow Point, Washington.

Hmmm

Now how big a coincidence is it that the UPS store shown above, and listed as Douglas Vogt’s address, is a scant 6.5 miles by road from the center of the town where Dennis Montgomery lives?

It sort of makes you go, hmmm. It doesn’t prove anything, but it’s a hummer.