Tax Increment Financing has become a household phrase in Missoula, Montana. So much so that it seems local authorities will do whatever is necessary to protect the financial bottom line over the good of the people. Now that locals are mobilizing against cronyism, waste and shady taxpayer giveaways, a few local bureaucrats have sunk to a new low to defend their piggy bank, smearing a local activist as a threat to the community. And our local media are doing their job to exacerbate the fear mongering, suggesting that maybe all activists are dangerous, oversimplifying this extraordinarily complex tale of greed, lies and betrayal. Our team dove head-first into the cesspool this week, not because we’re thrilled about telling this difficult story, but because it needs to be told and our local “journalists” don’t feel comfortable doing anything other than corporate PR. There is an elephant in the living room, but his name is not Brandon Bryant.
On February 4th, the Missoula Current published a smear piece against Air Force veteran and award-winning drone whistleblower, Staff Sergeant Brandon Bryant. Not only does the piece’s author, Martin Kidston, allude to Bryant as a case of Stolen Valor, he goes so far as to paint him as a violent lunatic:
One man’s threat to “hunt down and eliminate” members of the Missoula City Council has gained the attention of local law enforcement, which for now has banned the man from city property … Brandon Bryant, who claims to be an Air Force veteran, posted the video to YouTube in mid-December, where he railed against Missoula’s development community, the city’s elected officials, his past girlfriend and military commanders.
It seems like yellow journalism to say Bryant “claims to be an Air Force veteran” when it’s so easy to do your job as a reporter and confirm that he is not only indeed a veteran, but an extremely high-profile veteran. And a highly decorated one at that, with 36 Aerial Achievement Medals and Squadron with Valor. Kidston’s piece feels like just another obvious case of convenient journalistic laziness, bordering on malfeasance. Propaganda. Part and parcel of the Missoula Current.
What Missoula’s fib factory doesn’t know, however, is that several months ago, someone claiming to be embedded within Missoula Mayor John Engen’s camp contacted Missoula local Brandon Bryant, providing a mysterious dossier of information purportedly verifying systemic corruption by the Mayor and his associates. The anonymous contact alleged that this evidence would be enough to entirely destroy Mayor Engen’s political career, as well as the careers of complicit parties, while simultaneously undermining the highly controversial development regime Engen has spent his career spearheading.
Bryant is represented by Jesselyn Radack, an American national security and human rights attorney known for her defense of whistleblowers, journalists, and hacktivists, including NSA whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Thomas Drake. This latest batch of small-town drama began when Radack was contacted at her DC office by Adam West – Missoula City Councilwoman Heidi West’s husband – about a terrifying death threat made against his wife. And the video, when viewed out of context, indeed looks very scary.
But Heidi West recently sat down for coffee with the man accused of making these so-called death threats. In fact, Councilwoman West met with Brandon Bryant on at least 2 occasions this winter to discuss Missoula’s complex problems.
So how did Mrs. West become so convinced that Bryant meant her harm as to prompt action by law enforcement? It certainly wasn’t because she’s made a habit of viewing Brandon Bryant’s youtube page. She’s raising kids and who has the time.
So how was all this brought to our attention? What youtube channel was it that created so much upset in Missoula this week? That youtube channel, ladies and gentlemen, belongs to dedicated youtube troll Rick Rynearson.
Rynearson reposed a short segment of one of Bryant’s longer videos before directing Heidi’s husband Adam into the fear machine: “Dear sir – aren’t you worried about this Boogie Man? Look how scary he is!”
And the video has a hypnotically scary caption, again compliments of Rynearson:
Brandon Bryant identifies people for “extermination” including the entire Missoula City Council and people in the military that he worked with, saying that he is “preparing” his soul to make those people “submit” and “die.”
Upon review, it seems rather strange that Rynearson’s entire page is dedicated to making Bryant look bad. Since Bryant sustained a TBI, and struggles with PTSD, he is not the best speaker in the world; a weakness on which Rynearson seems to capitalize on loudly and often. Perhaps what Rynearson doesn’t totally understand, is that by acting this way, he spits in the face of other veterans who suffer from similar afflictions, and feel just as powerless and just as broken down.
This seems especially odd considering the fact that Rynearson was himself an Air Force fly-boy for over 20 years. Even though this retired Major was once a USAF pilot, he now seems to spend most of his time stalking and smearing Bryant, as evidenced by the broader focus of his channel. It seems Rynearson passionately disagrees with the stance Bryant took as a whistleblower against America’s drone wars, and sees this brand of cyber-vigilantism an appropriate serving of justice.
Rynearson, who is now retired in Seattle, has been accused of stalking and cyberbullyng before against anti-war activists and public officials alike.
As reported by the Seattle Times:
“Richard L. Rynearson III, a retired Air Force major, sued to overturn the law in 2017, saying he had been threatened with prosecution by Kitsap County for writing posts that criticized a local activist… The Bainbridge island Police Department referred a police report to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office finding probably cause for a cyberstalking charge, but the prosecutor did not file charges, instead saying the office would wait to see how Rynearson behaved in the future. And while the activist obtained a restraining order against him in a city court, a Kitsap County judge dismissed it, saying Rynearson’s posts were protected by the First Amendment.”
Now that Rynearson is fear mongering as many people in the Missoula as he can, Bryant has pushed back.
Brandon posted a statement apologizing for creating anxiety, admitting his statements were hyperbolic, assuring our elected officials he means them no harm, and setting the record straight about who he actually feels angry with. I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t Missoula’s bureaucracy.
Furthermore, the police report to the Council indicates that law enforcement “Don’t believe he’s an immediate threat to any council safety”.
The Missoula Police Department acknowledge that efforts are being made, hand-in-hand with law enforcement, to arrive at a peaceful resolution to this situation.
Bryant has no criminal record whatsoever and was discharged from the military honorably. In the wake of the video controversy, he has issued a statement that was sent to Radack as well as members of the Missoula City Council. Here’s what Bryant himself has to say about all of this:
“So here we have a situation where local politics is reaching such a boiling point, with our citizens committing suicide all around us, with all of our local businesses closing down, with one of the highest income disparities in the country, where emotions are very high, and mainstream media distracts attention AWAY from the pressing issues of extreme suffering in our community.
“And because emotions are high, certain elements of identity politics are rearing their ugly head again. And right now that’s manifesting with certain elected officials in my town feeling threatened because this online bully continues to blow my statements completely out of proportion and take them completely out of context. He’s attempting to again rob me of the quality of my words, but this time it involves my very own community, which I cherish more than my own life. That’s why I swore an oath to the Constitution to defend my community from all threats, both foreign and domestic.
“I’m being smeared as threatening the safety of a public official with whom I disagree politically. This smear seems especially timely considering the fact that last week I was featured recently (as were many other Missoula locals) on KECI, Missoula, voicing concerns about Montana’s Tax Increment Financing statute, which, upon study, seems to have caused measurable harm to many people and nobody wants to talk about it. And now that people like ME are talking about it, some deem it a convenient time to reduce the entire conversation down to personality, and demonize anyone who speaks ill of the status quo generally. And the principal issues are silenced once again.
“I’ve been notified of a potential restraining order that would bar me from attending City Council meetings in my town – a town I was born in. This translates as a truth-teller being potentially robbed of his 1st Amendment rights for honestly voicing the frustration and despair felt by people all around the community over; people our elected officials CLAIM to represent.
“Things are really dark in Missoula and nobody is talking about it. And okay, I admit it. I’ve had a mental breakdown. I blew the whistle and it seemed like nothing happened; I was ousted from my church; I was excommunicated from my family; I lost my job; I lost my son; I lost my health. Even my housing. Of COURSE I’ve lost my mind! But my heart is in the right place.
“I admit I made a mistake. I was speaking on my personal blog which is part of my therapeutic process. Part of therapy involves purging negative thoughts. And the mistake was not what I said, but that I spoke in a way that could be so easily misinterpreted. In the context, it’s clear that violence is NOT something I can participate in ever again, but it’s understandable how my statements could be misconstrued as such, as they were made during very emotional times for me.
“But its not like I was Emailing threats to the Wests. I felt ignored and threw a temper tantrum because it seemed nobody cared what I said anyway, which means that none of my words felt like they had any power at all.
“I also want people to think about the fact that part of the reason I make these videos in the first place is to give myself the perspective of what is broken within me and how to fix it. How am I supposed to know what I think until I hear what I say?
“I’m not making excuses or trying to minimize the issue.
“I sincerely hope the members of my community do not seriously believe I mean them physical harm. If so, I apologize for the anxiety I have caused, and will spell out my intentions plainly: I mean no physical violence to anyone. As I have mentioned before, I’ve sworn an oath after leaving that infernal drone program to never create suffering like that ever again. And I’m not exactly suited for violence anymore. I’m a disabled veteran for God’s sake. I’m tired of unnecessary fighting with people just as under-served by the status quo as I am.
“That’s why I became a whistle-blower.
“Furthermore, I sincerely hope the members of my community take note of this Rick Rynearson character, who can’t seem to find anything better to do with his retirement than painting targets on my back. He’s been stalking me and harassing me ever since I began blowing the whistle on America’s disastrous drone program. He’s stalked me online and done everything he can to ruin my reputation. No matter what I’m doing, he’s always right over my shoulder trying to distract the American people away from my statements; about the disastrous wars we shouldn’t be engaged with anymore; wars that cause horror many of us cannot un-see, and cannot condone.
“Even now in my home town, Rick Rynearson is fear-mongering individuals in my community, alleging that I’m threatening physical violence upon them. This is transparent fear mongering and I encourage law enforcement to take note, especially given that Rynearson was already skating on thin ice for cyber-bullying a few years ago.
“Rynearson dispatched several veterans, all of whom had been propagandized to his views to such a degree that they sought my harm. One such veteran, Jerrard Christian ‘JC’ Widdicombe, had wrestled for my grandfather at Big Sky High, and told me that the only reason he and his posse weren’t going to harm me was, “out of respect for my grandfather.” Widdicombe died in a fire soon thereafter, and also happened to be a soldier in the Army’s 182nd airborne division.
“If that hadn’t left enough of a profoundly chilling impression on me, I received a call from the FBI soon thereafter, saying, “Mr. Bryant, you’re not in trouble. We’re looking for your whereabouts; someone is making threats and means to do you harm.” This all prompted me to leave the country, at which point the Air Force’s OSI (Office of Special Investigations) came to my mother’s house in Missoula to “warn” her that she was “in danger from ISIS retaliation” because “her son is a whistleblower”.
“It was also around this time, when I was being invited to speak before the NSA council on the use of Ramstein in the United State’s Drone War, that Judge Kathleen Jenks hit me with a warrant for my arrest, threatening to incarcerate me for 6 months on the charge of animal abuse (my dog got into a fight with another dog, and the other dog’s owner kicked my dog repeatedly, before apparently reporting me as responsible). The only thing that saved me was security camera footage that surfaced, showing I was innocent of all wrongdoing.
“Let’s also keep in mind that Rynearson had to start a GoFundMe to pay for his legal fees that accrue from all of the slander suits he dodges constantly because of his highly inflammatory nature, which involves, but isn’t limited to, defaming the character of anyone who tells the truth about war. He’s been in trouble before for harassing public officials. He’s even been disciplined for harassing judges in Kitsap County; the very behavior he now relishes to project on me.
“For some reason, Rick Rynearson can’t seem to find anything better to do with his days but demonize me as the reason for all the problems in our world. It’s a really sad state of affairs, and I trust the highly-literate Missoulians all around me can see right through this blatant tactic to again disarm the will of the popular majority. Missoula taxpayers are losing out big time. Our 500 homeless school children are losing out big time. And our suicide statistics are not getting better. This isn’t about me. These are the symptoms of a system starting to crack, and I shudder to think what those I love are likely to endure if present trends continue.
“Let’s focus on the issues, please. Reducing this to personality seems pretty infantile at this point. Let us please quit diverting the issues into ad-hominem attacks on my personality, and competing in the victim-Olympics of the little-boy-who-cried wolf, and redirect toward the root causes of our society’s problems.”
We can begin to see some of the dark but unspoken consequences of living in a militarized society. We are confronted with the flesh-and-blood consequences of training our young men to kill and sending them to military bases where they operate killer robots and drop explosive ordinance on children halfway around the world. All too often it is possible to ignore the very real traumas these policies create because the victims are so far away and so unfamiliar, but when the men tasked ostensibly with protecting our country are members of our own community we can’t turn away from the toll that it takes on these individuals and on our culture at large. In situations like this a pledge from such a man to not take another human life again are small comfort against the dark specter that militarized society casts into our communities.
The Mayor and members of the Council are perhaps justified in their concern. Their response may be proportional and appropriate, but as we’ve all seen over the last decades, the fear of violence dominates the narrative and distracts from the issues. The onus for such terror can be traced to powerful people in our culture who wage war against distant societies and against their own increasingly medicated and impoverished population, creating victims and trauma at home and abroad.
Furthermore, the Email Brandon Bryant sent to Councilwoman Heather Harp on Saturday, the 25th of January 2020 (days BEFORE Rynearson, Kidston and the Panic Patrol began shouting “THE SKY IS FALLING!”) seems also to indicate more of a disappointed sigh than a threat for senseless violence:
“I’m writing this letter in formal writing to simply advise you to endure what is to come. My standards are not unrealistic, and neither are the citizens of Missoula. I am stepping back myself, to handle other issues, but my [colleagues] are stepping forward …
“I did my best to tell you all what was happening and avert disaster. For selling out the people of Missoula the city council will face public ridicule and shame for as long as they decide to hold a public office. … You’ve all made enough people angry here that you’ll most likely be replaced next election. I’m honestly impressed and grateful. I was worried that everyone was sleeping as our city was being stolen from under our noses.”
CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT
As mentioned, someone claiming to be in the Mayor’s camp contacted Sgt. Bryant several months ago, providing a mysterious dossier of information purportedly verifying systemic corruption by the Mayor and his associates. The anonymous contact alleged that this evidence would be enough to entirely destroy Mayor Engen’s political career, as well as the careers of complicit parties, while simultaneously undermining the development regime Engen has spent his career spearheading.
And even his critics have been quick to report the public statements Bryant has made, vowing never again to take a human life. With all that context in mind there can be little doubt that the “battle” he’s referring to is a political and spiritual battle and not a physical one. When he vows to wage war on his enemies, he is promising to do everything he can to end their political careers and separate them from the apparatus of power they wield, a threat which to some of them likely seems more frightening than any threats of physical violence could ever be.
Bryant has no criminal record and no public officials have been accosted. Nothing has really happened at all, but for blatant character defamation.
Also important context to keep in mind: Bryant’s family and Mayor Engen’s family aren’t strangers to each other. Both Bryant and the Mayor are inter-generational Missoulians. The Mayor even attended high school with one of Bryant’s uncles. In fact, when the two men recently encountered each other on the street, they had a friendly exchange, inquiring about each other’s families. Mayor Engen asked Bryant how his Grandparents were. Bryant admitted that they had to move away because they couldn’t afford their property taxes anymore. And that’s the crux of the controversy generated by TIF.
Bryant isn’t the only one who feels angry. He’s surrounded by folks who don’t know how to express their anger and also avoid confrontation. This lack of engagement is further exacerbated by the City Council’s belief that since there aren’t angry mobs of people showing up to decry taxpayer giveaways, “nobody has any problems with any of this”.
This is the context that was present when Staff Sergeant Bryant made the controversial video. And it seems he didn’t give up blowing whistles after leaving the military. It also seems that he remains at his post as the butt of the punchline for those powerful people who have every reason to smear popular messages by smearing Bryant. For them he’s the exception that proves the rule that average citizens shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the levers of power. Let the “professionals” handle where the money flows, and keep your mouth shut.
When thoughtful public comment is delivered on the subject of — not even stopping TIFs but merely slowing them down — those citizens are, at best, patted on the head and assured they “just don’t understand what’s going on,” and at worst, apparently, smeared for all they’re worth by Martin Kidston’s impotent rag and the other sunshine patriots who go along to get along while whistling past the graveyard.
If only Kidston understood that so much of the anger felt by this community has stemmed from a universal feeling of being ignored. Call it learned helplessness if you like, but people in Missoula – especially contractors – are terrified of upsetting Herr Engen’s apple cart, for “fear of political retribution.”
But TIF isn’t the chief reason Bryant is angry. While he did feel the need to voice his opinions on the matter, he does have a life, and his attention is otherwise entirely directed toward being reunited with his estranged son. Brandon Bryant’s beef is not with the Missoula City Council necessarily, but the system itself, which has absolutely ruined his life. And his primary focus – the one which he spends most of his time talking about – is not Tax Increment Financing, but his desperate attempts to be reunited with his son, whom he has not seen in over three years.
For Bryant, problematic taxing schemes simply feel like nothing more than just another example of the same, tired brand of corruption he encountered over and over again along his path, writ-small here in Missoula. The smear tactics employed by propagandists reminds him of the smears made about him when he came out publicly against the war. And most critically, he worries for his safety, since Rynearson has proven to pose a legitimate danger not only to him, but for law enforcement as well.
But the direction of his statements, especially when viewed in their entirety, reveal that the lion’s share of the pain Bryant feels is expressed because he misses his son desperately.
When viewed through this light, we can see how inappropriate and off-base Kidston’s smear piece really was.
This isn’t a mass shooting story. This is a story about an estranged father; a father who estranged himself by doing the right thing; a father who does not know who his son is or where his son is; a father driven mad by hopelessness, powerlessness and despair.
Interestingly, I found Martin Kidston’s biography, wherein he not only claims to be a non-fiction writer, but also claims to have served with the Marine Corps, alleging that he deployed to Iraq during the Bush Dynasty’s first attempt to overthrow Saddam.
Perhaps Martin has been reading a little fiction lately, maybe from forums like Valor Guardians:
And though Bryant doesn’t necessarily feel nostalgic about his time in uniform, what Rynearson and other critics can’t seem to realize in their binary world-views is the gray area where maybe things aren’t so certain.
Even though Bryant has lamented his experience in the Air Force as traumatic, the fact that he continues to identify as a “Staff Sergeant” at all reveals how someone can simultaneously express both an admiration for, as well as regret of, their military service. Indeed I’m aware of other veterans who express this kind of “duality of man” sentiment expressed so poetically by Kubrick’s iconic “peace button” scene:
There is no doubt that Bryant was as proud to serve in the Air Force as he is proud to be a Montanan. It’s part of his DNA at this point. He did his job, he did it well, and he did it for one of America’s most elite military units: JSOC. An organization that didn’t “exist” when Jeremy Scahill published his expose/documentary on JSOC: Dirty Wars.
At the time of Scahill’s reporting, the White House dismissed his reporting as a “conspiracy theory”. It wouldn’t be until JSOC officially took credit for the death of terrorist kingpin Osama Bin Laden that US officials began publicly admitting to the organization’s existence.
Scahill’s reporting outlines America’s wars in the Middle East, effectively communicating the extent of the disconnect between the American people and the foreign policy carried out in their name in faraway lands, one horrifying detail after another. If the deliberate murder of women and children to radicalize young males in small villages wasn’t bad enough, the lengths that the organization would go to cover up their crimes were truly harrowing, as were the sheer numbers of night raids of such kinds taking place in dozens of countries around the world, many of which can never be publicly acknowledged. As Nick Basciano of the Lawfare blog put it, “Scahill paints what he sees as the new reality of U.S. counterterrorism policy: the entire world is a battlefield, one in which the U.S. government feels at liberty to assassinate its own citizens, without oversight, and without trial.”
The so-called dossier didn’t appear until after tempers “boiled over” at City Council on the 18th of November 2019 (Bryant’s birthday). As reported by Shannon MacNeil of NBC Montana:
MISSOULA, Mont. — Tempers boiled over at Monday night’s City Council meeting. One resident accused the city of taking from the poor to gild their own pockets.
“You are that rich man,” resident Brandon Bryant said. Mayor John Engen responded, “We are not going to yell in this chamber, sir.”
Then Bryant said, “You need to understand, Mister, what you have done. You have sold out this community — you have wrecked the trust in this community.”
Engen ended the exchange with, “We’re off until you can calm down; let’s take a five-minute breather.”
Bryant and members of the group walked out during the break, although one stayed to urge the Council to continue the conversation.
What’s particularly disturbing, however, is how Kidston characterizes other citizens who express concerns about TIF at City Council meetings:
“…Bryant is among a handful of recent attendees who address the council at nearly every meeting, mostly with disdain over development and their inability to find meaningful work. Along the way, they’ve referred to “ivory towers of ideology” and the “dark underbelly of Missoula’s slave ship” while making other questionable statements used in their arguments….”
The citizen activists that show up to Council chambers on Monday nights do not typically comment about “their inability to find meaningful work,” but rather, the wrongs endured by Missoula’s working class residents; wrongs which are spun as prosperity and growth by the media whores and PRESStitutes serving the town’s oligarchs.
What is wrong with being critical of poorly-conceived developments, and more importantly, why did Kidston omit reference to the City’s addiction to Tax Increment Financing, its issuance of junk bonds, or ANY of the other issues that drives such criticism? If Kidston would care to participate in a public debate regarding the metaphorical relevance of the two cherry-picked catch phrases he characterized as “among other questionable arguments,” I’m certain that can be easily arranged.
Fake-news outlets like Kidston’s Current will likely attempt to twist this situation as carte blanche to equate all citizens who criticize TIF as unbalanced conspiracy theorists. One activist was scary, and since many of the public speaking out against TIF agree about the issues, Kidston assumes these citizens must be part of a unanimous NGO or something.
As William Skink observes:
The author of this piece, Martin Kidston, seems to be casting doubt on whether or not Brandon Bryant is an Air Force Veteran. I find this odd, considering the power of Google mentioned above produces articles from media outlets like the Rolling Stone. In this Rolling Stone piece there doesn’t seem to be any doubt as to the “claims” Brandon Bryant is making about his experiences in the military killing the enemy for Uncle Sam.
It appears to me that the intent of the Missoula Current piece is to maximize the gift of these alleged threats toward City Council to character assassinate Bryant and to cast the guilt-by-association net over the other critics of Council policies…
How convenient for City Council. They get to look like the victims here, AND they get to increase the police presence for themselves while those in this community without protection–like homeless individuals living and dying in our shelters and on our streets–are left to fend for themselves.
While I don’t condone threats or acts of violence, I do understand how frustration for many is reaching a boiling point here in Missoula. This one video made by someone who let their frustration get the better of him is now going to be used to depict all critics of Council as jobless losers who pose a threat to the safety of Councilors. Just watch.
And The Missoulian followed Kidston’s lead, further inflaming the city with lies and even suggesting that Bryant is a Trump supporter who hates democrats.
At another committee meeting in January, Bryant brought a large stick to the podium that he identified as a weapon, which led councilors and city staff to express concerns for safety, von Lossberg said.
Von Lossberg added that he thinks the incident points to “the polarized environment that we’re living in” and the rhetoric that elected officials use at every level of government.
The country is polarized for a lot of reasons, but it’s pretty clear that von Lossberg is referring to America’s first orange President as the reason for an absence of civility in public discourse. Perhaps von Lossberg doesn’t understand how his words here only intensify division and polarity.
First of all von Lossberg’s claim that Bryant identified his antique bokken as a “weapon” is completely untrue. Anyone who bothers to analyze the video feed from that meeting (start @ 8:30) will quickly observe what a liar von Lossberg is, and how unbelievably complicit local media are in perpetrating this obvious distortion.
Bryant speaks in metaphors to illustrate how using an “imperfect tool” can lead to disastrous consequences. Since Council repeatedly refer to TIF as an “imperfect tool”, Bryant attempted to demonstrate how a warrior would never enter combat with the wrong tool, like a wooden sword. Bryant clearly states the bokken resembles a weapon because of its SHAPE, and went on to say that looking at it reminds him to him priority number one is always doing the right thing, and that he swore an oath after his military service never to visit violence upon another human being ever again. If you need additional context, America’s drone assassination of an Iranian general took place the weekend prior to this January meeting involving the wooden bokken, illustrating a parallel to another “imperfect tool”: drones.
“You cannot use an imperfect tool to do a correct job. And just like if a sword is made incorrectly, it doesn’t protect the people who depend on it. And this tool of Tax Increment Financing, if you do not use it correctly, it will end people’s lives in ways that are worse than death.”
Nobody in the audience seemed to think anything one way or the other about it at the time. Committee members can even be seen joking around and laughing. Is that how people who feel threatened act? Posted at the entrance to City Council chambers is a sign clearly prohibiting the possession of weapons on site. Why didn’t anyone say, “Hey, you’re not allowed to have that in here”?
Because the demeanor in that room at time was one of boredom; not terror. It’s a show-and-tell segment; not a death threat.
I guess the Perception Managers at The Missoulian missed all that critical context somehow. But they nevertheless succeed in evoking a similar tone to Kidston’s smear, albeit with slightly toned down wording; this time Bryant is “identifying himself as an Air Force veteran”. I suppose that’s a step-up from saying he “claims to be an Air Force veteran” but it still leaves unnecessary doubt about his service where none need exist. Why even make such a suggestion?
Does anybody at The Missoulian have access to this thing called Google search? Bryant is easily the most high-profile Air Force veteran in the state by far, and was just featured yesterday in yet another explosive expose on America’s murderous drone program:
And England’s Independent picked up the story the following day:
But wait a tick… The Missoulian is owned by Lee Enterprises, who stand among the big boys playing pirate with America’s economy these days, and might have every reason to toe the Pentagon’s line on war, hence, they have every reason to help solidify the narrative that anyone who opposes their business dealings is either stupid, unpatriotic, or crazy. Here’s a convenient opportunity to get two birds stoned at once: get rid of TIF activism and anti-war activism with one easy smear.
Reporting about a person barred from City Council meetings due to explicit threats to ‘hunt down and terminate’ alder-persons is one thing. But grouping that individual – who is tragically experiencing difficulties secondary to neo-colonial overseas military deployment – with others who actively participate in their local government, and disparaging their statements without specificity, attribution or a scintilla of information beyond the personal biased opinion of the “reporter,” is something else entirely, and that something else goes by the name of “yellow journalism.”
Get this party-crasher out of here! We’re trying to give your tax money away!
This all highlights something we’ve been asserting for months: that Missoula’s “leaders” can’t debate TIF because they know they’ll lose public support if people find out about its correlations with gentrification. So instead they continue silencing the noise around TIF.
It seems abundantly clear that Martin Kidston wouldn’t know authentic journalism if it slapped him in the face. Insinuating Stolen Valor strikes a new low, even for Kidston. I suppose I don’t blame him for acting like just another “imperfect tool” who demonstrates cowardice in his complicity to silence a truth teller. Because even a lackadaisical search for “Brandon Bryant” almost immediately conjures up Bryant’s many interviews, all of which confirm that he wasn’t simply in the Air Force, he participated in some of the most controversial operations America’s military has ever known:
So just what kind of information was contained in the mysterious dossier?
Bryant was never able to make heads or tails of it. But it seems to suggest that Missoula’s Imperial Mayoralty have made powerful enemies in this community. However, the plausibility has occurred to us, after analyzing this Rynearson character’s tactics, that this dossier might have been bait in an attempt to lure Bryant into doing something embarrassing. There’s probably no way to know. In any event, Bryant felt comfortable enough to share said documents with us.
For the purposes of “getting ahead of the rumors” we’ve featured a portion of said documents below.
Here’s some of what said dossier contained – this string seems to suggest that Mayor John Engen may have received some kind of kickback for awarding Jackson Contractor Group a $3 million job to build a new evidence facility for the City, and that kickback may have come to him in the form of property, perhaps at less than market rate, or as they say in the Real Estate business, “with money left on the table”.
Gabrielle Lafayette is the executive producer for the Outer Limits Radio Show.
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May our eternal vigilance help liberate all beings from the smoke-and-mirrors deceptions of the Samsaric Panopticon.