A storm has been brewing in Missoula, Montana. Income inequality city-wide has risen to the 33rd highest in the nation. Tension between the public and elected officials over runaway development and crony capitalism spills into the streets. And a world-renowned United States Air Force whistle-blower is jailed over his political statements to, and about, the Missoula City Council. There is a political prisoner in the Missoula County Detention Facility right now, and his name is Brandon Bryant. The storm isn’t coming. The storm is here.
On Monday November 18th at the Missoula City Council chambers, a man stood up to address the council during general public comment. He identified himself as Staff Sergeant Brandon Bryant. He proceeded to relate a parable, about a rich man who had 100 sheep, and a poor man who had only one. The rich man observed that the poor man’s sheep was of significantly higher quality than any of his own. So the rich man decided to take the poor man’s sheep, kill it, and serve it to his guests, leaving the poor man with nothing.
A heavy silence hung over the crowded chamber as the officials of the city waited for this life-long resident to continue speaking. After a pause he asked them if they understood the story. His elected representatives did not respond. His next words sparked a fire storm that has embroiled Missoula’s political situation ever since. At the full-volume fitting of a Sergeant, Brandon Bryant bellowed, “YOU ARE THAT RICH MAN!”
As reported by Shannon MacNeil:
“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 replied “You have wrecked the trust in this community!”
At this point the Mayor gaveled the meeting to a close and called a five-minute recess until order and calm could be restored in the chamber.
The consequences of Staff Sergeant Brandon Bryant’s address to the Missoula City Council that evening have only grown with time. The situation continues to spin into wildly unexpected directions as every action taken by elected officials, and in-turn Missoula’s growing activist community, continues to generate a viral explosion of news and gossip, focusing the eyes of the world on Missoula, Montana once again.
And to think, this all started over Tax Increment Financing.
In October 2019 the Missoula City Council abruptly moved-up a meeting on a highly controversial development project that involved an enormous $16.5 million TIF giveaway for the proposed Riverfront Triangle project. This meeting was originally scheduled for 7:00 PM on Monday the 21st of October 2019. Monday evenings are the regular time for Missoula City Council meetings, when working people are able to attend public hearings and provide public comment. However, Mayor John Engen unexpectedly moved this particular meeting up by five days to Wednesday the 16th of October, rescheduling it from a Monday evening to the previous Wednesday afternoon.
Even the City Clerk was unaware of the reschedule. Mayor Engen stated a desire to “get ahead of the rumors” as reason for secretly precipitating the meeting to a time when most working people would be unable to attend. In fact, only one citizen was present to provide public comment in opposition to the project, which involved a $16.5 million dollar taxpayer handout to one of Missoula’s richest citizens: Wisconsin transplant and entertainment industry monopolist Nick Checota.
Mayor Engen’s pro-development regime leans heavily on the “imperfect tool” of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to fund an ever-growing series of handouts to some of the city’s most successful entrepreneurs.
In brief, TIF is a program where districts of the city are designated as “blighted” thus creating TIF districts where tax funding that would otherwise go to roads, schools, emergency services, etc. are capped at their current levels. As the tax base in that district grows through increasing property values, the additional funds from property taxes are skimmed off the top and put into the TIF fund, which is then awarded to developers for projects meant to address urban blight. TIF districts are meant to sunset after fifteen years, but through various mechanisms City development officials in the Missoula Redevelopment Agency (MRA) can prevent districts from sun-setting and maintain their designation as “blighted” for decades (perhaps indefinitely).
The proposed TIF handout to the already fantastically-wealthy Checota entertainment empire is the largest in the state’s history, at $16.5 million. And as Bob Moore, a CFO for Fortune 500 companies stated in Council chambers last month, “[TIF] is nothing but taking taxpayer money and giving it to developers and builders, and calling it ‘investment’.”
Engen’s indiscretion of moving the meeting to avoid public scrutiny sparked an immediate and impassioned reaction from the community. Dozens of citizens emerged from the woodwork to articulate the well-documented perils of Tax Increment Financing, as well as its correlation with income inequality and trickle-down economics.
City Council member Jesse Ramos was, at the time, the only member of the Council who opposed the rampant use of TIF. But Missoula had an election in the weeks that followed, and the controversy provided Ramos with two anti-TIF allies on the Council. Council members John Contos and Sandra Vasecka were swept into office from a groundswell of citizen support for Team Liberty candidates.
Over the following month a diverse collection of citizens began attending every single Council meeting, voicing their disparate perspectives and warning against the consequences of crony capitalism – consequences evident to every Missoulian. Among these citizens was Brandon Bryant, a life-long resident with a family history dating back four generations in Missoula. And from his very first appearance before the Council, he commanded attention and respect.
Bryant spoke more forcefully and more passionately than most are accustomed to in these dry proceedings, perhaps because Bryant cut his teeth as an orator on the world stage. As a US Air Force whistle-blower spilling dark secrets about the Pentagon’s drone program, Bryant addressed the United Nations, received a whistle-blower award in Germany, gave a TED Talk in Norway, and was interviewed on Democracy Now! as well as the BBC’s Hard Talk. He’s also been published in Gentleman’s Quarterly, The Sun, The Independent, etc.
As citizen awareness expanded throughout Missoula, citizen outrage continued to grow. Brandon Bryant happened to find himself at the forefront of a swelling scandal that was pouring over into Council chambers in the form of public comment. This collective outrage soon grew to the point where meetings that usually took one or two hours were now lasting five hours or more. One particularly well-attended City Council meeting beginning on Monday evening at 7:00 PM lasted until nearly 2:00 AM the following Tuesday.
Meanwhile, all across Missoula, hundreds of posters appeared literally overnight with the newly fallen snow. Masquerading as a missing cat poster, these posters turned out to be an explanation and indictment of the Tax Increment Financing policies running rampant in Missoula’s City Government.
At every turn, officials and media alike attempted to label Bryant and other TIF activists as an organized group lobbying for political reform. But that overly simplistic narrative exposes itself as deliberately misleading once you begin to peel back the layers.
Bryant was only one among dozens of citizens voicing an emotionally-charged opposition to the agenda of the City Council. All citizens that attended did so for a variety of different reasons, and they all spoke for themselves. The only “group” Brandon Bryant was part of is the citizenry of Missoula, many of whom share his passionate opposition to Mayor Engen’s disastrous status quo policies.
In December of 2019 Bryant posted a video diary to his Youtube page, musing at length about his frustrations, not only with the City Council, but with all the forces he has opposed throughout his career in the military, as well as his life as a whistle-blower and disabled veteran. The contents of that video are impossible to defend. Bryant rambles tangentially and menacingly about spiritual warfare on people and organizations he sees as evil. He vows to destroy those he sees as his enemies.
Bryant himself explains these video diaries (which he has been posting on Youtube for years) are part of his therapeutic process he engages with as a disabled veteran who received a traumatic brain injury and suffers from intense PTSD. He cautions that his vlogs are meant to vent his depression and frustration. He also clearly states that while he may use extreme language, threats of physical violence against anyone can only be construed by extracting his statements from their larger context, that context being a spiritual and political war he means to wage; not a physical one.
Bryant also stated at the 8 January committee meeting that upon leaving the military he had “vowed to never again take a human life”, a solemn oath he swore as a direct consequence of collateral damage he himself was responsible for as a member of the drone program.
He carried a wooden stick to the podium, carved in the shape of a sword. He identified it as a bokken; a wooden practice sword used by Japanese masters to train their skills for the blade. He said he carried it as a reminder of his vow of nonviolence.
Bryant announced his intention to rhetorically indict the use of so-called “imperfect tools” with metaphor. He compared the wooden practice sword to the City’s tax collection scheme vis-a-vis Tax Increment Financing. Many council members had publicly stated in the months and years prior that TIF may be an “imperfect tool” but it’s “the only tool we have”. Bryant claimed that the stick carved in the shape of a sword would be an imperfect tool indeed if required to serve the function of a sword, and he cautioned that the use of imperfect tools could only create imperfect results.
At the time his speech was greeted with the same kind of bored tolerance that many citizens have come to expect from the Missoula City Council. No tempers were raised at this meeting. No one seemed to feel threatened or afraid. The Police officer present at the meeting didn’t so much as bat an eyelash. Indeed, as a disabled veteran with a chronic leg injury, Bryant usually carries a walking stick for mobility anyway. But no one at the time suspected that this address, paired with the previous outburst and aforementioned video diary, would be used to mobilize a political attack on Brandon Bryant resulting in a judicial order excluding him from all city property in his home town.
Enter Rick Rynearson.
Like Bryant, Rynearson is also an Air Force veteran who worked in the drone program. Retired from the Air Force as a Major, Rynearson now wages a personal war against Brandon Bryant. From his home on Bainbridge Island in Seattle, he has stalked Bryant’s every move ever since Bryant became a whistle-blower. Rynearson operates his own Youtube channel (“Pick Your Battles“), which for the last year has been dedicated exclusively to showcasing the most shocking and disturbing moments from Brandon Bryant’s video journals. Unbeknownst to Brandon Bryant or any of the other TIF activists in Missoula, Rynearson had worked his magic with Bryant’s December video journal, selecting a juicy nugget that suggested Bryant intended to “eliminate” his enemies, including the City Council.
Rynearson then sent his edited version of Bryant’s video to members of the City Council, igniting a firestorm of controversy, the consequences of which are still unfolding.
This latest batch of small-town drama began when Ward 1 Council Member Heidi West and her husband, Adam West, contacted City Attorney Jim Nugent, citing “death threats” from Brandon Bryant. This prompted the City Attorney to restrict Bryant from attending any further Council meetings.
To the passive observer, the controversy ended there. Bryant verbally ceded his role in Council’s public comment observance, subsequently releasing a public statement apologizing for the video in-question, promising that threats of violence against Council members had never been his intention.
But one more factor had yet to be revealed to the fine citizens of Missoula, Montana; a factor that once disclosed would escalate the City’s battle against public involvement in government affairs to the level of a crisis.
Many months prior to these circumstances, during an autumn afternoon in 2019, Bryant was approached by someone claiming to be close to Mayor John Engen. This anonymous individual provided Bryant with a treasure trove of documents, hinting they could prove systemic corruption by the Mayor and his cronies. After he was barred from direct participation in Council meetings, Bryant leaked these documents to the media and they were published online soon after, on February 7th.
At the following Council meeting on February 10th a member of the public spoke to the council, describing Sergeant Bryant’s history and circumstances, admonishing them to help him instead of punishing him. Council Vice President Gwen Jones publicly stated that “efforts are being made” to connect Bryant with services.
But two days after the documents were published, Brandon Bryant was in jail, charged with “threats and undue influence in official and political matters”. A felony. And his bail was set at an absurd $100,000.
Bryant’s extraordinarily high bail of $100,000 has triggered a go-fund-me page promoting his release.
The page reads:
“On 11 February 2020, Air Force Combat Veteran and Drone whistle-blower Brandon Bryant was arrested on charges of “Threats and Undue Influence in public and political matters” by the Missoula Police Department. He is currently being held on $100,000 bail despite having no criminal record and being a decorated Air Force veteran with strong ties to the community … We believe his incarceration is politically motivated … We are attempting to raise the full $100,000 dollars required for his bail so that we can get him out of jail and get him the services he requires as a disabled veteran. Money raised may also be used to pay for legal representation to protect Brandon’s first amendment rights as he is being prosecuted for exercising his right of free speech. When we raise the full amount of $100,000 dollars we have a unique opportunity to make a positive difference for other veterans like Brandon. We will post his $100,000 bail ourselves instead of using a bondsman, which means the full bond will be returned to us when Brandon makes all his required court appearances. We will use the funds returned in this way to pay for Brandon’s legal defense and everything else will go to charitable efforts for other disabled veterans like Brandon.”
Brandon Bryant’s arrest came during one of the most intense political periods in Missoula’s history. Controversy over TIF giveaways swelled, in part due to the activism of Bryant and Missoulians like him. Council meetings in the months leading up to his arrest were some of the most heavily attended (and highly entertaining) in Missoula’s history. Media coverage of Council affairs became a routine occurrence. Public attitudes toward the mounting catastrophe of income inequality and crony capitalism approached fever pitch. Under such circumstances the Mayor and his inner circle were feeling immense pressure to swat down citizen efforts that have successfully revealed business-as-usual in Missoula.
And the threat of a leaked dossier making its way into the media’s eye surely contributed to their apprehension.
The documents in question, if their providence was genuine, could imperil the careers and future of not just the Mayor and his colleagues, but also the developers and businesses he allegedly received kickbacks from. In short, the stakes were raised and local elites were not comfortable. So it seems they capitalized on the only alternative in their grasp: striking back at the individuals that seem to pose the most direct threat to Missoula’s power monopoly.
Despite public statements by the Council that “efforts are being made” to connect Bryant with services, no member of the Council ever appealed to any veteran’s organization to directly seek those services.
In fact, when contacted directly the day after her public statement that efforts were being made, Council Vice President Gwen Jones disavowed her involvement or responsibility with facilitating that connection. She said it wasn’t her responsibility and she was not involved, instructing interested parties to speak to MPD officer Ethan Smith who was in charge of Bryant’s case.
But it was officer Smith who called Bryant to tell him a warrant had been issued for his arrest on the morning of 11 February 2020, instructing him to turn himself in by 2:00 PM, and warning him that if he didn’t surrender himself to the police that he would be tracked down and captured.
Far from the promised connection with services, Bryant’s incarceration actually isolates him from the necessary resources he enjoyed access to while free in his community. As a disabled veteran, Bryant’s service dog constitutes an essential part of his treatment for PTSD.
Locked in Missoula County Detention Facility, Bryant’s health and well-being are heavily compromised. The decision to jail him was made despite his cooperation with all Police orders. His incarceration also comes despite Bryant’s public apology for his previous remarks, re-avowing that he never possessed ANY intention of committing ANY act of violence against ANY City Council member, or ANY human being AT ALL.
The inescapable message of Brandon Bryant’s arrest suggests this was a consequence of, and warning against, interfering with the interests of the Mayor, the MRA, and the City Council; a message that had most certainly occurred to those who decided to charge him. A charge of “threats and undue influence in public and official matters” is essentially a terrorism charge. Terrorism is the act of provoking fear to influence public policy, and that is exactly what Brandon Bryant is accused of doing.
The fact that Bryant himself never sent his remarks to any members of the City Council was at best overlooked, and at worst, ignored. The individual who sent his edited video to the Council – Rick Rynearson – did so with the intent of provoking fear to influence public policy.
Perhaps the City Council labored under the false apprehension that the Youtube channel hosting the video they were sent was indeed Bryant’s. Upon cursory inspection, that erroneous conclusion would be understandable. In fact, the local newspaper, The Missoulian, reported that the Youtube channel in question (titled “Pick Your Battles”) may have belonged to Bryant. Indeed, the Pick Your Battles Youtube channel posts nothing but clips of Brandon Bryant’s video diaries for the last year. So the idea that it might be his channel may be somewhat understandable.
However, any close examination reveals the “Pick Your Battles” page can only be the work of someone who is very critical of Bryant’s position. It only posts edited clips featuring the most frightening and unflattering segments of Bryant’s videos, interspersed with negative documentaries and smears of Bryant and other military whistle-blowers. Indeed, the channel has continued posting videos even after Bryant’s arrest, including a new hour-long documentary entitled “Brandon Bryant the Threat”.
While the mistake of conflating this terror-inducing Youtube channel to Bryant may be understandable, it is certainly not forgivable, especially in the case of The Missoulian staff who are ostensibly charged with investigating the truth and reporting in the public interest. Their careless and incredulous coverage of the issues at the root of this case provide aid-and-comfort to an allegedly corrupt government regime who now hypocritically broadcasts threats and undue influence in public and official matters.
Indeed the threat of political retribution had already proven effective against anti-TIF activists even before Bryant’s arrest. The mere suggestion that criminal charges could be leveled against those who stood in the Mayor’s way has already caused some citizens to withdraw their voices from public appearance before the Council. Smears in local media against Bryant have prompted some members of the public to carefully avow that they would never condone, promote or engage in acts of violent rebellion. The jailing of an anti-TIF activist sends shockwaves of fear through the community, leaving many terrified that they will be the next victims of political retaliation by the Engen regime.
This is where this entire story goes completely off the rails.
In the immediate wake of Bryant’s arrest, tensions in Missoula escalate to a new and baffling intensity. On the morning of February 12th – less than 24 hours after Brandon Bryant’s arrest – Missoula is the site of a dramatic downtown lockdown by squads of militarized police. Armored vehicles patrol the streets. Police surround and lock-down the County Courthouse, City Hall and City Council Chambers. Snipers perched atop the courthouse scan downtown in their cross hairs. SWAT teams infiltrate downtown houses and businesses for an alleged assailant for which they have no description and no physical evidence.
The Missoula Police Department’s official story for all of this alleges that at around 9:45 AM, an officer was conducting a routine traffic stop on the 400 block of Woody Street, when he reported that the back window of his patrol car had been shot out.
The officer immediately sought cover, called for backup and prepared for an armed showdown with an unseen and unidentified attacker. As the militarized police apparatus thundered into downtown Missoula, a dystopic reality gripped the area. City, County, State and Federal law enforcement held the city center hostage for hours, conducting door-to-door searches for the assailant. But despite their prolonged efforts and overwhelming show of force, no witnesses described seeing a shooter, no shell casings were found at the site, and an examination of the patrol car by police forensics experts found no bullets or other projectiles had entered the vehicle.
After hours of the entire downtown being locked down by SWAT teams, with no suspect and no description of the person who allegedly shot at a police officer in broad daylight, the Missoula Police Department declared there was “no danger to public safety”.
Meanwhile, a disabled US Air Force combat veteran languishes in a jail cell, cut off from his friends, family and medically-mandated service animal. And his bail is maintained at $100,000 because the County Attorney affirms he is a danger to public safety, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Brandon Bryant has no criminal record, is a decorated veteran, and was honorably discharged from the Air Force. And yet the City of Missoula and the Missoula Police Department consider him a threat to public safety, while simultaneously, an anonymous shooter firing at police in broad daylight does not apparently constitute a threat to public safety.
The fact that a documented murderer walked free after only one day in jail further highlights the absurdity of this situation. As William Skink observes:
So, because Brandon Bryant used threatening language that elected officials have interpreted as being directed toward them, he is deemed “a threat to public safety” and thrown in jail.
Johnny Lee Perry, on the other hand, USED HIS HANDS TO KILL ANOTHER HUMAN BEING and he spent exactly ONE DAY IN JAIL before being released back to the streets without ANY CHARGES, felony or otherwise.
The juxtaposition of these two cases is absolutely insane. How is a man who literally killed another person with his bare hands not considered a threat to public safety while a veteran whistleblower who used threatening language is allegedly so threatening he deserves to sit in jail on $100,000 bond?
Welcome to destination Missoula.
Nearly a week after this intense and dramatic show of armed military force by City, County, State and Federal law enforcement agencies, no new information has been released. The story dominated headlines across the board the night of the lockdown, but has since disappeared completely from the banner, without any successive followup by local media.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s frightening spectacle continues to capture the imagination of the public, sparking speculation and outrage from all quarters. That speculation ran rampant during the initial hours of the tense “standoff” at the forefront of which was uninformed conjecture that Brandon Bryant was himself responsible for the alleged shooting.
A City Council committee meeting was in session at the time of the alleged shooting, just a block away, and was part of the lockdown. Considering the arrest of an internationally prominent whistle-blower for allegedly threatening the City Council just one day prior to all of this commotion, it would be naive to assume that the special security detail assigned to the Council Chambers during the lockdown was not aware of the circumstances of Brandon Bryant’s arrest. In fact, numerous in-person interviews and social media conversations taking place during the lockdown speculated that Bryant was indeed the shooter. Only a few participants knew that Bryant was already in the Missoula County Detention Facility, but had little ability to restrain the rumors intimating Bryant’s involvement.
In the absence of any official explanation of the incident, the community is left to speculate about a complex story with little more than convoluted and incomplete information. One of the most simple and innocuous explanations seems relatively plausible; that something other than a firearm caused the officer to overreact, and in order to avoid embarrassment after setting off such an extreme chain of events, he has resolutely stuck to his lone-gunman story.
Indeed the only evidence that the Missoula Police Department offers to corroborate a shooting at all is the officer’s testimony that his back window was “shot out”. No physical evidence authenticating these claims have been announced. Quite the contrary, in fact. The Missoula Police have themselves stated that no bullets or projectiles were found in the car, directly refuting the assertion that the window was shot out.
As reported by The Missoulian:
Investigators immediately sealed up the patrol vehicle involved and will soon conduct a search of the car, Welsh said. At the time of the press conference, Welsh said a bullet or projectile that fractured the patrol car’s window had not been found. Still, police had gathered enough information to believe it was gunfire that set off Wednesday morning’s events.
It is true that some witnesses downtown reported hearing what they described as a single gunshot. However, despite the panic-driven rumors that multiple shots were reported at the time of the incident, no witnesses have stated they heard anything more than a single report. It is possible that the officer heard a car backfire and mistook it for a gunshot. It is also possible that the rear window of his squad car spontaneously shattered.
As many drivers can attest, car windows can spontaneously shatter, an occurrence that can be extremely startling. But as many car owners know, car windows sometimes explode without being struck by any object, without the car being in motion, and without any perceivable provocation. This could very likely have been the case. But the deafening silence confirms that officials are sticking to the official narrative: that the officer’s back window was “shot out” even though there isn’t a shred of physical evidence to this end, and the “suspect” is still at large.
Other speculation about the causes of this bizarre incident grow ever more sinister. A video surfaced on twitter of a police car being towed out of the downtown area hours after the lockdown began. Seeing a police car being towed by a civilian tow truck is already an unusual sight. In this case, the draggin’-wagon was escorted by a fire engine with sirens blazing, inciting understandable hypothesis that this may have been the police car that spurred the lockdown. Clearly discernible in the video is the fact that the rear window of this patrol car being pulled down the road by a Red’s tow truck seems intact:
This inconsistency calls into question the entire narrative spun about the downtown lockdown of 12 February 2020. In the absence of information from official sources, speculation becomes inevitable. The most sinister explanation suggests that the entire circus was possibly a training operation; that Mayor Engen, controlling the response from a fortified command center, tested the tactical capabilities of local law enforcement by mobilizing at least eight different agencies in armed response, occupying downtown Missoula with an army of militarized enforcers. This occupying army included personnel from agencies including the FBI, the US Marshals, the US Department of Interior, the Montana Highway Patrol, and even Fish-Wildlife-and-Parks.
Unless a plausible official narrative is offered to counter Missoula’s runaway speculations, they will only continue to become more outrageous. The traumatic and fear-provoking effect that such rumors produce in local residents is such that efforts by officials to quell them seem like they might be in the public good.
However, factual and plausible official explanations can only be used to quell such rumors if said rumors are untrue. Silence from official quarters only fuels speculation. Indeed, nearly a week after the incident, that silence persists. The February 16th edition of the Missoulian, the first Sunday publication after the event, contains no new coverage of the incident – the biggest local news story of 2020 by far.
Whether the downtown lockdown and Brandon Bryant’s politically-motivated arrest are connected or not, they are now inextricably linked in the public imagination.
That lockdown transpiring as it did, right on the heels of Bryant’s arrest, connected him in the public rumor mill from the very beginning. And even though his involvement as the “shooter” was impossible, the events themselves were so extreme that many have found it plausible the Mayor and Council had him in mind when they responded to the alleged shooting.
Nearly a week after his arrest, Bryant’s situation remains unresolved. Most local mainstream media coverage remains highly critical of him, thereby playing into the City government’s agenda of quashing anti-TIF activism, whether deliberately or not. One local media outlet, Montana Public Radio, has at least called into question the fine line between First Amendment free speech rights and limitations on threatening language. They acknowledge that jailing anyone for speech is a delicate decision at best, and that Brandon Bryant’s legal case will be a bellwether for the free speech rights of activists and dissenters nationwide.
In that way Brandon Bryant shares something in common with his hometown. The precise reason why the TIF debate has played out so passionately in Missoula is because Missoula is an extremely significant microcosm for 21st Century development. A canary in the coal mine. Missoula’s trajectory is indicative of the trajectory of many similar-sized cities across the country. The confluence of climate upheaval, economic stresses and public unrest in Missoula make it a unique and influential location. Over the coming months, Missoula’s District Court will serve as the arena for a legal battle that will signal momentous precedents for activists and dissenters across the country. If they can jail a world renowned whistle-blower for opposing the agenda of an allegedly corrupt local government, what else can they do?
If they can jail a decorated combat veteran with no criminal record for speaking out, what can they do to you?