The Friendlier North Korea

September 15, 2017

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The Friendlier North Korea

Waco is a pretty friendly place.

I arrived with at least a half dozen friends and only a couple of real enemies. Despite my best efforts to even that up, I probably still left with more friends than enemies.

The Uber driver who brought me into town from the Waco Regional Airport in a pickup truck wore a baseball cap, a big buckle and a pair of cowboy boots. He told me he could never move back to Long Island. He said he could hardly even talk to his relatives back east anymore because they were so rude.

The shuttle van driver who took me back to the airport in the middle of the night was a large, young, black man who had lived in Waco his whole life. I noticed that at four in the morning, in a night black as pitch, on a road lined with country houses, he meticulously obeyed the posted speed limit. I asked him an obvious question. He told me he only had problems with the local police occasionally.

“Tell me about the last time.”

“The officer who pulled me over told me I was going 36 in a 35 zone. Then he told me to open my door. Then he told me he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside my door. He asked me if he would find anything if he took my door apart. I told him I drive for a living. I was on my way to work. I get drug tested. I don’t do any drugs. Eventually he wrote me a ticket and let me go. I don’t really have any problems with the police.”


The Transportation Security Administration passenger checkpoint in Waco may be the most grueling to traverse in the United States. During a peak hour at LAX, with 700 or 800 people in line, it can take up to 35 minutes to clear security. Houston Hobby is basically a two-minute walk through. Denver is usually ten minutes. It took more than 30 minutes to clear security in Waco at 4:30 a.m. It wasn’t a personnel problem. The plane had 54 seats. There were nine security officers including the ones in the back room searching the luggage.

The problem was something else. They were all very friendly. They all called me “sir,” The woman who ran the advanced imaging millimeter wave machine smiled when she ordered me to put my hands over my head and spin around and dance.


Waco is an easy town to get around. Most of the walk to the courthouse was through mostly empty parking lots. The lots are a legacy of the F-5 tornado that hit downtown in 1953. It destroyed 1600 buildings and 2000 vehicles and injured 600 people. Most of the parking lots once had buildings on them. The city just never bothered to rebuild.

Waco is the Job of Texas towns. The city is obviously pious but God and Satan seem to have a bet going on about how much Waco can take. In 1993, after a seven-week siege, the ATF and the FBI launched an armored assault on dormitories occupied by a Seventh-day Adventists offshoot called the Branch Davidians. The premise of the raid was that the cult’s leader, a guy named David Koresh, was raping women and children and he had to be stopped. So the alphabet cops stopped him with tanks. He died in the raid. So did 85 other people including four federal agents.

Twenty years later, 25 months before the Twin Peaks Biker Brawl, a big warehouse complex outside town, owned by the West Fertilizer Company and filled with ammonium nitrate, blew up. Fifteen people died. One hundred sixty were injured. A year after the biker brawl the ATF said it was the result of an arson.

No Photos

On the way to the courthouse one day, just past one of the parking lots, I took a picture of a gang of convicts tidying up around the courthouse – probably in anticipation of the first Twin Peaks trial.

As I walked past, a McLennan County Sheriff in a polo shirt and a pair of slacks greeted me with, “Hey! Do you know it’s against the law to take a picture of these prisoners?”

“No, I didn’t know that. I’m not from around here. I’m from America and it’s not illegal there. I promise I won’t do it again.” I never stopped walking. I was already ten minutes late for a hearing.

“Make, sure you don’t”

“I apologize.” That seemed to be what he wanted to hear.

“Thank you,” he called politely.

Everybody is polite in Waco. All the deputies in the courthouse security detail say, “thank you,” and “please.” They called me “Sir.” One day one deputy complimented me on my shirt. I have stiff, motorcycle accident shoulders and another day one of the deputies helped me pull on my leather blazer.

Hello Rebel

The first day I went to court the prosecutor walked up to me during a break, smiled broadly and said, “Hi Rebel. I’m Michael Jarrett. No hard feelings.” I had never met the man before. I don’t watch TMZ as frequently as I should but I am still pretty sure I am not a celebrity. So I didn’t know how he knew me.

An hour or so later, a lawyer named Susan Criss explained to everybody how Jarrett had done it.

Criss is a Galveston attorney and a former district judge. She was testifying on behalf of a recusal motion filed by Jake Carrizal’s lawyer, Casie Gotro. Criss and Jarrett were unusually hostile toward one another. I don’t know Susan Criss but I wouldn’t be shocked if she sometimes describes herself as a feminist. And, I don’t know Jarrett but I bet his wife hardly ever describes herself that way. Jarret is kind of patronizing. Criss is kind of proud. Criss may not loathe Jarrett as deeply as Gotro seems to, but she disliked him enough to ask Judge Mills to reprimand Jarrett for taking photos in the courtroom.

Near the beginning of the hearing, Criss complained, Jarrett took a panoramic shot of the courtroom audience with his smart phone. When Criss called him on it, Jarrett explained to the judge that it was just a security measure. Not a big deal. There were faces in the courtroom he did not recognize, was all it was. Some of them might have been dangerous motorcycle gangsters. So he showed his photo to some of the biker experts who will be testifying at Jake Carrizal’s trial. I’m not a celebrity with any of them either but I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that my face is on a dart board in some government lunch room somewhere.

I haven’t seen the docket yet but I’m pretty sure I’ll be back in Waco in a couple of weeks.



33 Responses to “The Friendlier North Korea”

  1. panamaa Says:

    And by defense attorneys and judge I mean that fucking Reyna and Strother..

  2. panamaa Says:

    Iron Rider,
    ya I saw a lot of similarities also.. Too many in fact. As far as what really went down, who the fuck knows but the bus ticket out of town for Johnson and the collusion between the defense attorneys and the judges says volumes…

  3. Iron Rider Says:

    @ panamaa

    Thanks for mentioning the Disgraced documentary. Imagine that Storther and Reyna are figures in the Baylor scandal. I wont state what I actually think went down, but I will say it’s no wonder why some people have some very strong opinions about what all transpired and how it ended.

    Amazing how some of the names is what some may consider a scandal with what happened at Baylor are tied to Twin Peaks. The critics of what happened at Baylor think there are a lot of unanswered questions about how and what went down with the events around the players death and everything that transpired after. Twin Peaks is another event that has Reyna Strothers ties that once again has some people asking questions about what went down and what has transpired before Twin Peaks and has gone on since Twin Peaks.

    What’s that saying birds of a feather stick together.

  4. Gandalf Says:

    “I’m overly paranoid; I know. But I’ll add my voice to Iron rider’s. You may want to get Criss’s business card for future reference.” You and me both Bone Head. Jarretts introduction was absolutely informing Rebel that they knew who He was. I’m betting they knew His Hotel and Rm # too. Those people hate you Rebel don’t be fooled by their smiling faces. It’s just Business and your fucking up their Business. Like someone else said keep your 6 close… but also keep a creditable witness close also. I’d hate to read a Story in the Trib of you robbing a bank or Craiglisting a minor to your Hotel room… It wouldn’t matter if you were innocent because the charge alone is what they want… after 2 years they would drop charges but the damage would be done. Stay Safe. Watch your Phone and laptop close. Watch out for who you call while in Waco… Cell Towers record everything except the conversation. Be at Max security while there.

  5. xplor Says:

    Sure shot Jarrett was able to dox the Aging Rebel was he also able to dox anyone who visits here ?

  6. Dasein Says:

    That “illegally taken” photo adorning the top of this post must really be frying some bacon. If the “polite” chain gang boss had simply kept his mouth shut, I’m pretty sure that photo wouldn’t have made it to the eternal internet. Bullies are too dumb to understand the effect they have on their ‘victims.’

  7. panamaa Says:

    Hero, it’s an eye opener for sure as related to this case…. Their all tied into the same old shit…

  8. Iron Rider Says:

    If you ever want to see how much the prosecutors and cops look out for each other even after one or the other may have left the profession have a look at this story

    So this ex prosecutor drove the wrong way down a one way street his car jumped the curb and struck someone, and then the cop on the scene realized it’s a former prosecutor and phone back to the station to ask the supervisor in charge what he should do… well you can imagine what went on from there

    Here is a link to the whole recorded conversation between the 3 officers and how they bent over backwards to make sure the prosecutor wouldnt get hit with a DUI or charges for striking the pedestrian

    So as much as the LawEnforcemnt likes to say there is no blue wall looking after one another, sure does seem like there is different justice system for us and them

  9. Austin Says:

    Hey Skidz – welcome to the party. I hope you find Rebels site both entertaining and informative, like I do. If you have truly done/been all those things you say – I am willing to bet you’ve also seen this same program, same pattern, same rulebook play out before. I’ve got a little personal history from the early 90’s with these Feds, and frankly – their shenanigans make me see red, then white, then stars. Then I want to light something on fire.

    I want to say my disclaimer ;

    2007; I had become lost. 2008; Rebel was working on a mystery. I knew that we were looking at two different aspects of the same thing, and eventually, by 2012 or so; he realized I was not some dumbass fangrrl bimbo. I am still wishing he would seriously print some fundraiser T-shirts….. but he just wants to be a really good journalist, and probably wishes I would STFU.

    I’d like to be the first to directly invite you to hit that donate button, and help buy our host his next ticket to Waco. Or coffee & an Uber. I do not pay for cable, or tithe, or subscribe to any media. This place though – it’s priceless.

  10. Skidz Says:

    I know I may be singling myself out for some grief here, but please read this post to the end. I am a former lawyer, and state court judge. Now, I am a bar owner and a member of an M.C. (not important which one, but an old and honored one, to be sure). When I practiced law I represented criminal defendants in local, state and federal courts. As a judge, I presided over many criminal proceedings. And I never let a prosecutor get away with the kind of crap that I see going on in this case. I will be following intently from afar, and hoping that our criminal justice system prevails. And that those in this case who trample on the rights of individuals for their own personal gain or because of some sense of enlightened morality get what those people always seem to get: a shit sandwich to swallow.

  11. hero Says:


    Wow, after watching that I see that a new venue is needed for this case. They are all too close in relationships for justice to prevail. The twin peaks case will have its own documentary in 10 years with all the same faces.

  12. panamaa Says:

    If ya want to know just how underhanded,sleazy and tied into Waco that fucking Reyna is watch a Showtime show called “‘Disgraced’… He’s a fucking piece of work…

  13. Docb Says:

    Dear Rebel
    The brothers authorized a donation. Hope it helps with at least cab fare or a meal or something


  14. Jim Jones Says:

    @ El Chuntaro:
    Calling Steve Cook a cocksucker is actually a compliment!

  15. FF Says:

    “No hard feelings”


  16. jay Says:

    dammit rebel….

    i fuckin told ya…. soon as i started reading and commenting, that sketchy undercover asshole showed up at my place…

    you are ruffling feathers and speaking truth… keep up the good work you magnificent bastard!!!!

  17. El Chuntaro Says:

    Expert witness testimony? Hmmm.
    Did I mention Steve Cook is a COCKSUCKER?

  18. BMW Says:


    Photographing the courtroom audience is an old intimidation ploy. I had not heard of it being done since the COINTELPRO intimidation techniques had been dialed down. I am surprised the corrupt LEO establishment in Wacko did not force everyone to show a valid ID to enter the courtroom (purely for security purposes; after all, ISIS or other militant groups at be planning someyhing)! I expect all license plates are being recorded as well.



  19. Vintage Says:

    What a bitch move Jarret pulled, trying to intimidate you like that. The idiot must not read your stuff.

  20. Freebird Says:

    Wear it like a badge of honor! Your pen has hit a nerve for sure….. classic pen and sword battle.

  21. Dasein Says:

    In addition to ‘justice’, Waco has now given a bad name to ‘politeness’.

  22. TX_Biker Says:

    Yeah people are polite here in Texas. But politicians and police can be very corrupt left to their own devices. Especially so when the press is on their side.

  23. Shovelhead Says:

    Reminds me of that song “THE UNDISPUTED TRUTH” Smiling faces.

    Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
    Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
    Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
    They don’t tell the truth uh
    Smiling faces, smiling faces
    Tell lies and I got proof.

  24. Cap'n Bill Says:

    In this age of the alleged ‘privacy’ debate, NOTHING is private. Driving license, military records, medical records, financial records, etc. are all out there for the ‘right’ individual to peruse and abuse.
    I’m kind of surprized that our Rebel didn’t have any trouble getting into Waco…or OUT…

    You’re certainly becoming (or already have become) a ‘person of interest’.

    Our man in the street!


  25. Austin Says:

    @Iron Rider – Great Link. That is definitely the ATF MO. Smoke, Mirrors and Scapegoating!

    “U.S. Tobacco is suing Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Small, accusing them of a $24 million fraud. The informants say they are being unfairly blamed for the A.T.F.’s actions.”

  26. david Says:

    They are friendly alright, you just cannot turn your back to them.

    Only Jarrett is allowed to photograph, while the pigs keep others from doing the same. These people are power drunk.

  27. Mark Says:

    Facial recognition is how it’s done. The question is likely from the, Real ID Act, drivers license. He/Jarret likely texted the pictures to the Feds in San Antonio (whom he is in commutation with as reported) who pegged each face with a name and maybe more. Strangel, he gave this away and didn’t hold his cards close to his vest. Is He smart as a fox, maybe but is using every trick he can. This guy is likely not going to comply with Discovery no matter how many request are filed. He’s a game player and this is his game.

  28. Iron Rider Says:

    If anyone wanted to know how much grift and criminal acts go on in The ATF have a read of the story at the link below and you will see how when the Government’s own Law Enforcement personnel start cashing in hiding and misusing fund and breaking the law and department protocol and how the US DOJ sweeps it under the rug, but yet the public is supposed to believe that the ATF uphold the law

  29. Bone Head Says:

    I’m overly paranoid; I know. But I’ll add my voice to Iron rider’s. You may want to get Criss’s business card for future reference.

    Thank you for your voice from down there.

  30. RLG Says:

    “As I walked past, a McLennan County Sheriff in a polo shirt and a pair of slacks greeted me with, “Hey! Do you know it’s against the law to take a picture of these prisoners?””

    Typical cop lie. It is always legal to photograph people and things in public, from a public space like the sidewalk.

    Great write-up Rebel, thank you!

  31. Iron Rider Says:

    WTF is Jarret doing taking pictures in the courtroom for? And then when called on it he says he is worried about big scary bikers? Fuck that is bullshit if I ever heard it, more like I want to see what friendly media and what negative to me media is in the courtroom and where they are, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you get hassled or followed somewhere down the line Rebel, so watch your six man.

    Once again another sleazy tactic Jarret is using to keep the mantra of big scary bikers coming to get everyone, hence the need for all the extra armed guards and we have heard that same story from Swanton after the cops shot everyone up, nothing like tainting the minds of people before the trial starts.

    Love how Jarret managed to single you out Rebel when there isnt a picture of you on their site, which would mean they had to go to historical information to know who you are, which would mean they purposely went out of there way to look up a journalist private information who they had no previous personal interaction with. That fact alone means that Reyna and pals started doing this way back when you were reporting on this case since way back when Twin Peaks happened and that should give everyone pause for concern and asswipe Jarret walking up to you and saying no hard felling was Jarrets way of letting Rebel know that he knew exactly who you were, and that smells a lot like intimidation in my book but this Waco so anything is fair game.

    Broden having his lawyer client conversation recorded and played, Gotro’s emails to Fuchs forwarded to Reyna and pals, Rebel having his personal information looked up, yeah Reyna and pals sure look like they are on the up and up, nothing illegal going on here, just a lot of prosecution misconduct happening in a number of different ways. And just think folks, WE are supposed to believe that anyone arrested at Twin Peaks will get a fair trial…yeah right.

    The fact that Jarret let you know he knew who YOU were Rebel makes me wonder what else Reyna and pals have been doing while looking up who you were? I wouldnt be at all surprised if the Reyna and pals didnt go and get a all Writs act warrant to listen in on your calls citing “leaked info that could jeopardize officer safety and their investigation” or some bullshit like that and the thing that ticks me off like that is that if you were from major media conglomerate and reported your interaction with Jarret, every media organization would be up in arms about that little how do you do from Jarret, and that’s a fact.

    The amount of sleaze we have seen since Reyna and Pals stepped into Twin Peaks is nothing short of astounding, hell I dont even think Hollywood could write a script with the sleaze Reyna and pals are pulling.

    Watch your ass Rebel and stay safe, and dont let these fuckers intimidation tactics get to you, because it looks like they sure do you want you to know they know all about you.

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