By Pat Shannan
With the passing of Leroy Schweitzer last month in Colorado’s super-max federal prison in Florence, questions loom as his family awaits the results of a private autopsy. Over halfway through a 22-year sentence, Schweitzer had been a model prisoner and had never harmed anyone to be put there in the first place. Why was he still under lockdown 24 hours a day, seven days a week, next to such notorious killers as mob hit men and alleged “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski?
Memories are stirred when looking back on these events. The few of us privy to the Freemen’s side of the story, compared to the millions deluded by media propaganda, knew that Attorney General Janet Reno had unfairly targeted these people. More importantly, we knew why.
Nothing like the disparaging media portrayal of “armed and dangerous,” the Montana Freemen were businessmen and ranchers, some even millionaires and one the mayor of Cascade. They embodied true Americanism by demanding government adherence to constitutional law and had little patience with the large majority of Americans that willingly endure the inconveniences of government interference in their lives. The ensuing 81-day siege at the 960-acre Clark Ranch in central Montana was provoked by an unwarranted sneak attack by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and not a frontal assault by these law-abiding citizens who had never swung a punch or been accused of shooting anyone.
Following years of in-depth legal research, Schweitzer and Dan Petersen, both referred to as “leaders” (mistakenly, because the Freemen were never an organized group), began to educate others locally. Soon, however, many students came, from several states. Their legal instruction included the fraud committed against American citizens by the Federal Reserve System, and more importantly, how to counter it.
But the Freemen went beyond merely pointing out this evil. In their anger, they engaged in the same practice of creating funds in an effort to call attention to the crimes of the Fed and, perhaps, bring it down.
They did this by suing federal judges and others while securing what they believed to be “perfected liens” that they converted into certified bank drafts, which were then used to pay off government debt, mainly farm foreclosures and Internal Revenue Service liens.
Feeling the heat, the FBI attacked on March 25, 1996. Agents and their paid informant lured Schweitzer and Petersen into a phony copy machine purchase, then stun-gunned and beat them into submission. Twenty-two other men and women went into seclusion at the Clark Ranch outside of Jordan in central Montana. It was then the media propaganda blitz began, driving the Freeman to fear being jailed or killed. On June 13, 1996 they finally agreed to walk out of the ranch into awaiting handcuffs, lengthy court hearings and jail. Only Petersen and Russ Landers remain incarcerated to this day.
In 1996, during this writer’s first visit to Jordan, Montana, the Freemen showed the evidence of 38 instances where Schweitzer had signed drafts, drawn from funds created from unchallenged summary judgments, and not only paid off liens but received in many cases five-figure government refunds for overpayment. The bank drafts were obviously “money,” at least as legitimate as the thin air creations by the Fed.
That’s why the federal government considered these men dangerous—not because they might have owned guns and not because they were a physical threat to anyone. It was the Freemen’s knowledge—and their passing it on to others—that created the Fed’s fear of exposure of its fraudulent system.
Considering the current outrage at the inflation caused by the Fed’s creation of trillions of dollars of credit money for the ultra-wealthy, it is fair to assume that the Freemen may have arrived on the scene just a little too early.
Pat Shannan is an AFP contributing editor and the author of several best-selling videos and books.