Johnathon Irish, fiancé and baby

A 16-hour-old newborn was snatched from her parents by authorities in Concord, N.H., after social services workers alleged the father is a member of Oath Keepers.

The organization collects affirmations from soldiers and peace officers that they would refuse orders that violate the U.S. Constitution, in light of what they perceive as the advance of socialism in the U.S.

The father, Johnathon Irish, told WND that the affidavit signed by Child Protective Service worker Dana Bicford seeking government custody of newborn Cheyenne said the agency “became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the ‘Oath Keepers.'”

Irish, in an interview with WND, said officers and other social services workers ordered him to stand with his hands behind his back, frisked him and then took his daughter from him and his fiancé at Concord Hospital where the baby had been born.

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He told WND that other issues cited by authorities included an allegation of child abuse, which he assumed pertained to an incident weeks earlier in which one of his fiance’s older sons allegedly was struck by a babysitter.

He said both he and his fiancé had been cleared by authorities in that investigation.

Kathleen Demaris, a spokeswoman for the state agency, refused to comment.

Stewart Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keepers, expressed alarm when contacted by WND, describing the agency as a “chilling monster” that could “come get kids.”

On his website, he confirmed the affidavit, along with other allegations, cites Irish’s interest in Oath Keepers as a reason to separate the newborn from her parents.

“Yes, there are other, very serious allegations. Out of respect for the privacy of the parents, we will not publish the affidavit. … But please do remember that allegations do not equal facts – they are merely allegations,” he said.

“But an even more fundamental point is that regardless of the other allegations, it is utterly unconstitutional for government agencies to list Mr. Irish’s association with Oath Keepers in an affidavit in support of a child abuse order to remove his daughter from his custody,” Rhodes said.

“Talk about chilling speech! If this is allowed to continue, it will chill the speech of not just Mr. Irish, but all Oath Keepers and it will serve as the camel [nose] under the tent for other associations being considered too risky for parents to dare,” he continued. “‘Don’t you dare associate with such and such group, or you could be on ‘the list’ and then child protective services might come take your kids.'”

He noted that the state made no allegation that Oath Keepers is “criminal” or that Irish was committing a crime with his affiliation.

Oath Keepers posted a video by George Heminger, who identifies himself as an independent journalist, who was interviewing Irish by telephone:

Editor’s Note: The recording is unedited and includes objectionable language.

“We are not advocating or planning imminent violence, which is the established line where free speech ends and criminal behavior begins,” Rhodes continued said. “Neither is Oath Keepers a militia, for that matter. However, EVEN IF WE WERE, that also would not be a valid reason to take someone’s child away. Private militias just like other voluntary associations, are not illegal, and it is not a crime to associate with them.

“To the contrary, we have an absolute right, won by the blood of patriots, and protected by our First Amendment, to freely associate with each other as we d— well please so long as we are not advocating or planning imminent violent or directly harming our children (and no, teaching them ‘thought crimes’ like ‘All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,’ or that those who swear an oath should keep it, does not count – at least not yet),” he said.

“A parent associating with a militia is not engaged in child endangerment and is not evidence of child endangerment,” he said.

A promise

Oath Keepers’ members promise not to obey any order “to disarm the American people,” conduct warrantless searches, “detain American citizens as ‘unlawful enemy combatants,'” work to impose martial law, invade or subjugate any state, blockade American cities, put Americans in detention camps or “make war against our own people.”

That such circumstances could develop has been suggested by the government itself, in an earlier DHS document that cautioned about the possibility of violence from a variety of “extremists,” a label that apparently now is being applied to Irish.

WND reported when a Department of Homeland Security report warned against the possibility of violence by unnamed “right-wing extremists” and singled out returning war veterans as particular threats. The report characterized the extremists as people with concerns about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

The report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” dated April 7, 2009, stated “threats from white supremacist and violent anti-government groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.”

However, the document, first reported by talk-radio host and WND columnist Roger Hedgecock, went on to suggest worsening economic woes, potential new legislative restrictions on firearms and “the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

The report from DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis defined right-wing extremism in the U.S. as “divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

Returning veterans

Most notable was the report’s focus on the impact of returning war veterans.

“Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists,” it said. “DHS/I&A is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize veterans in order to boost their violent capacities.”

In the Irish family situation, the father told WND that a court hearing is schedule Oct. 14. Until that time, he and his fiancé are ordered to have no contact with their daughter.

He described the state’s accusations as “false allegations, fabricated allegations and unfounded fact.”

Forum page participants at the Oath Keepers site were enraged:

  • “Make sure you tell this to everyone you know, if this is allowed, none of us with children are safe, is says the govt can take your children because of your affiliations with certain organizations!!”

  • “This is so scary!!! If they can do this, what next?”
  • “Be careful with this. The Republic has real enemies and some of them spend all their time sitting in their mom’s basement thinking of ways to get us to overreact and make mistakes by which they can discredit us. This could be real, or it could be deliberate a disinformation tactic, a hard count to draw us offsides. Wait for full verification and full story details before doing anything we all might later regret,” suggested another.
  • “Setting a chilling precedent and in a manner befitting the most tyrannical of regimes, the government seized a newborn baby girl today because the father has associated with the lawful, pro-peace, pro-constitution, anti-violence Oath Keepers. What makes this particularly scary is exactly that, that the ‘Oath Keepers’ is a peaceful, pro-rule of law organization which supports serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters and reminds them of their oath to the Constitution of the United States in a direct and open manner.”

Said Rhodes, “Now it is TIME TO PUSH BACK – peaceably, of course, using our voices and pens. Let the officials in question know that you strongly oppose their listing of an association with Oath Keepers as one of the reasons for taking this child. Let them know you insist that they remove that ‘reason’ from the affidavit and issue a public retraction, and until they do so, they will hear from all of us, and also from our legal counsel. And we won’t relent until they respect our First Amendment protected rights of free speech and association and cease and desist this chilling of those rights. Be professional, but firm.”

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