Pownetwork / Illegal activities
Pownetwork of Skidmore, Missouri attempts to convince patriotic Americans that this country is threatened by an avalanche of veterans or supposed veterans who are cheating on retirement and health benefits from the military. Beware, these people are not law enforcement officers. Pownetwork has created a niche business to solicit donations to fund their illegal activities.
Exactly what are these people doing and not doing. The vigilantes in question come from the Pow network (or POWnetwork), which use the letters POW or Prisoner of War as buzzwords to attract attention. The group was started in 1989, when there were still some American POWs alive, still left behind in concentration camps in Southeast Asia. Did Pownetwork strive to lobby or personally organize efforts to gain the release of these prisoners? No they did not.
If not to help save the lives of American prisoners of wars, what then does Pownetwork do. They supposedly ferret out people - actually, men only - whom they suspect were either never in the military, or who claim to be more highly decorated than they legally deserve. For this, Pow people call these supposed miscreants, wannabes. The Pow aim is to discredit their suspects through articles and videos on the internet and on their Pow website. Note, they are referred to, here, as Pow and not POW, in an effort not to sully the reputation of Prisoners of War, from any war.
The Pownetwork is not affiliated with any branch of the United States Military, or any Federally franchised law enforcement organization. The Pow network group is self-appointed, and committed to activities which define them as vigilantes, organized for unlawful purposes which make their group a menace to the citizenry of this country. How does this menace present itself.
Pownetwork vigilantes, Mary and Chuck Schantag, Steve Robinson, and Larry Bailey, to include several volunteers, choose their intended victims from various sources. One is from newspaper obituary lists. If the obituary of the deceased mentions he had been a member of the military (and especially if awards and medals were described), the Powpeople investigate his military records. If the man does not show up on Pownetwork accessed data bases, they print their accusations on their website, pownetwork.org. and give the information to the military. Powpeople hope the embarrassed family will donate to their group, believing the miscreant name will be removed. What the family does not realize is that Pownetwork never removes a name, even if Pow is proven to be incorrect which is frequently the case.
Pownetwork claims that they are saving the government much money in undeserved health and retirement benefits. It has been suggested these illegal vigilantes receive compensation from the government as rewards for tips similar to information given to the IRS as finders fees.
These investigative activities might remind one of the East German Communist secret police, the Stasi, who during the Cold War encouraged neighbors to spy upon their own friends and family, a most insidious activity. See the movie, Lives of Others, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0405094/
Powpeople find their victims everywhere. Pow member, Steve Robinson tells of meeting a man on the highway who was having car trouble. After the man mentioned he had been in the military, Mr. Robinson investigated him.
Do these Pow people have anything else of interest going on in their lives; are they so bored with life, or so malicious, that they need to seek out or invent trouble. The names on the Pow lists number into the thousands so this is not merely a part-time hobby. They have created a niche business for themselves; this is the way the Schantag couple supports themselves, whereas, Robinson and Bailey are retired. It is a good thing to be self-employed, and develop a niche, but it is not a good thing when their group chosen activity infringes upon the constitutional rights of other citizens.
If a wife or girlfriend has suspicions about their mate and have relationship problems, they report him to the Powpeople, so these White knights can go into action. Larry Bailey is an avowed member of Free Republic, a white supremacist organization that advocates the overthrow of the US government. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Larry_Bailey Also, Bailey is the original Swift Boater, so he is much experienced as an activist and mauler.
One of the things these vigilantes enjoy most is going out in mass (usually a group of 5 to 8 men for the purpose of intimidating their supposed victim. They set up a surveillance for an intervention, waiting for the right moment to accost their suspect (as was witnessed on one of their group videos). Members expressed pride in this altercation, when actually, it was embarrassing to watch - one wonders, where are the police when you need them for protection.
The usual intention of the Powpeople is to convince their suspects to confess that they are not as they represent themselves to be. Did their suspect lie about, or embellish accounts of his military service. Whether he did or did not, his name will forever remain on the Pow list of fallen miscreants. For Pows, is this the thrill of the chase for old men.
In another case, Powpeople incited their associates and followers to stalk an individual on the phone and on the internet by threatening to bring my buddies down to assault the victim in some alley. The individual, Peter Sumaruck, has hardcopies of these written threats. Fortunately he can defend himself. The following quote is from Larry Bailey to Mr. Sumaruck on Sept. 17, 2009 - I will track you to the ends of the Earth to ensure that you do not continue to perpetrate your scams, whether they are military or otherwise, per Mr. Bailey.
Sumaruck was a civilian contract combatant (taught by Navy SEALs) - in combat for nine and a half years, in the 1970s and 1980s. One of his friends gave him a SEAL Trident (emblem pin); Pete put it on a baseball cap and wore it proudly. That drove the Powpeople crazy - they just hate him - even though Pete never received any benefits from the Navy. The Navy did however ask Pete several times if he would like benefits; he always declined because he was outside of the regular Navy, and because he is independent by nature.
Pete Sumaruck is the only person who has ever verbally fought the Powpeople vigorously. For that infraction, Powpeople have given him a special position on their website for his audacity to refuse to stand down. For additional punishment, the Powpeople sent one of their enforcers to the Sumaruck home town. Finally the stalker made his move, but a knuckle to the forehead easily took this menace down.
This is what inevitably happens to all vigilantes; either the law gets them or a peaceful civilian defends himself. The vigilante insists upon using force until someone has the courage to take the bully down. Interestingly, the Navy knows where Mr. Sumaruck is; they could arrest him if they thought he was doing anything to harm the reputation of the military, but the Navy is fine with him.
These interventions by the Powpeople amount to stalking, intimidation and physical harassment; those are illegal activities.
All Americans are guaranteed certain rights: the right to a speedy trial by their accused and/or peers, by a legally appointed or elected judge, and/or jury. This is not happening for those attacked by Pownetwork, no day in court. This is a serious hazard; all members of the military, past or present could be potential victims of harassment by Pow, who are vigilantes by any definition.
Pow people go after others but they are the ones who are actually engaged in illegal activities.