Where I’m From, Where I’ve Been – by Dan Baker

I was born in Boynton Beach and grew up in Jupiter FL. My mom was an Irish nurse and she met Glenn Baker when she was a stripper and he was a Palm Beach County Sherriff deputy, where Trump lives. This is important because he was a corrupt cop who shook down drug dealers to steal their drugs and he gave them to my mom, who became addicted to opiates, whereas before she was an alcoholic. He used this addiction to get full custody of me, despite the fact that I am the result of an affair between her and a man named Wesley Jolly, who I’ve never met. He wanted my mom to get an abortion, but she wanted a baby, so she didn’t. I support women’s right to get abortions if they want. So, Glenn Baker took me from my mom and she eventually overdosed on fentanyl. He raised me to be a racist white supremacist Christian nationalist but before my mom died she deradicalized me and taught me basic first aid and compassion. She took me to work with her taking care of people in the black community and at hospice and at home care. I also would volunteer with her at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving, and I went to volunteer projects and mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where I worked with the outreach dentist to help clean people’s teeth who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a dentist. I also worked with the agriculture project and was embarrassed by how spoiled I was and how the locals ran circles around me with skill and grace and hospitality. They were very happy with very little and I was an unhappy American with so much. I also was a cub scout and a boy scout and spent a lot of time volunteering with them to pick up trash from forests and roads and to plant trees. Glenn taught me to hunt, shoot, fight and so on. He would make daily jokes and repeat the same stories about how they killed black men and immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico and Cuba. He would also repeat jokes about beating women. There is a militia at Church in the Farms which sends people to the Texas border to shoot people as they try to cross the border. They consider themselves to be heroes and they tried to recruit me after I got out of the army. I declined. I ran away /was kicked out because I smoked weed at 17. Having been trained my whole childhood I felt my best option was to join the U.$. army airborne infantry. In my unit, the 82nd Airborne Division, 2/504 Parachute Infantry Regiment, soldiers in my squad, 2nd platoon, 2nd squad, were bragging about having shot a civilian truck driver on Christmas eve in Afghanistan around 2004 or 2005 at a checkpoint roadblock they set up. Specialist Lewandowski said the Afghan man ‘ruined their Christmas” because he was “dying like a bitch”. They told him to “shut the fuck up and die like a man” then they smothered him with a pillow because the medics had made them take turns guarding him while he took all night to die. One time when Sgt. Camp was drunk he cried to me about looking at the Afghan man’s family photos from his wallet that night. Specialist Lindon told me he got an erection from shooting civilians. Then guys in my unit were bragging about how they raped and pillaged and murdered civilians and that they would do the same when we deployed to Iraq. I wanted no part of that and they said that if I didn’t “cover” for them while they “got some pussy” they “would kill” me. I went AWOL when they deployed, absent without leave, when they deployed to Iraq and then turned myself in and was kicked out with a “general discharge under other than honorable conditions for serious misconduct/offense”. It’s not as bad a dishonorable but it might as well be. Mc Donalds and Walmart won’t hire me. My unit went on to the Iraq without me and committed the “Mahmoodiya gang rape massacre,” where they raped and murdered a teenage girl and her family and neighbors who witnessed them.

After I got back from the army I was basically shunned by my family but not at first. I initially tried to go to college for horticulture management but I couldn’t afford the fees and my “family” wouldn’t help me because they wanted to buy a boat and go see the grand canyon, and they put me out on the street again. I did manage to complete yoga teacher training and I’ve been teaching for about 10 years now. This was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life and has shaped my personality and ethic more than anything else. I was still trying to balance my ‘militant personality’ with my inclinations towards a meaningful communal life, so I became an armed security guard. I only worked at gated communities because I don’t care for banks or money. I then was disillusioned further by the way the wealthy people who can afford armed guards treat people. I ended up giving away most of my material possessions and going of to live in the wood with the Rainbow Gathering Family- hippies in the woods. My intention was to renounce capitalism and live a life of service. Jesus said that if you want to follow him and help people you should sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor but very few people who claim to be Christians actually do this, so there are very few real Christians. In the summer of 2012 I wanted to take a leap of faith towards a meaningful life guided by God so I went to a national gathering in Deer Lodge, Montana. It was very nice and pretty much what I was looking for. But having been a spoiled middle class white American I had difficulty adjusting to life on the road and eventually joined the Hare Krishna’s to get some stability. I traveled around the country to various Hare Krishna Hindu temples and ended up back in Florida in Tallahassee. I worked at the Krishna Lunch program at FSU and also went to Gainesville to work at the Krishna Lunch there a few times. I would drift away and return to the Hare Krishna’s in Tallahassee over ideological differences and the strict lifestyle of Krishna devotees (they expect live-in residents to be celibate and totally sober and not to question anything, which is basically a very pleasant and harmless cult, usually). I worked and lived in Tallahassee for the last 10 years, sometimes homeless, sometimes in apartments. One year I lived in a shack I built in a friend’s back yard, and the next year I lived at a jiujitsu school. I began to train and compete in tournaments while I was homeless and unemployed because I was very frustrated but I wanted to stay peaceful and out of trouble, so I would exhaust my ego on the jiujitsu mats. I have long had this idea of myself as a kind of warrior monk type personality. This entails helping other on a daily basis as a lifestyle and to make a living, simple living, being vegetarian, and now vegan, practicing martial arts and yoga. It also involves nonviolence as a general policy, except in cases of self defense, and to beg for one’s daily bread instead of resorting to anything unethical. Several times, ideally once a year, I would go to a yoga retreat to fast for a week and study spiritual texts, meditate, do yoga and so on. To help others I’ve teamed up with friends who helped me when I was homeless and together we would find other homeless people and feed them and provide clothes and sleeping bags, tarps and whatever else we could afford to provide. In Tallahassee frat boys once set my friend on fire while he slept outside. He was a homeless Marine named Dennis, and I helped fundraise money for his recovery and I would check on him daily and bring him things he needed. Around this time I was usually selling carnations on the street corner and I saw Eric Garner on the news, being strangled by cops. This radicalized me. I also went to a protest in Gainesville to bodyguard my friends, at their request, who wanted to protest again Richard Spencer, a racist cracker who riles up nazis to riot and who caused the Charlottesville riot that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. I was leaving the Gainesville protest against Spencer when three of his supporters, who came to Florida from Texas with firearms, pulled up, shouted “Seig Hail” and “Hail Hitler” and then shot at my friends. No one was hurt and those guys went to prison. So before this I was apolitical and avoided all polarization. After this I felt that I had to pick a side and I would stand with people who opposed fascism, with Antifa, with the democrats, liberals, anarchists, socialists, even with communists- I would stand against Trump, the KKK, the Proud Boys, the Oathkeepers, and all their similar groups and allies. In Florida I was getting death threats from Tallahassee based neo nazi group “Republic of Florida” which was founded and run by Jordan Jereb, who bragged that he trained school shooter Nicholas Cruz. I was getting frustrated because no law enforcement group who is in Tallahassee would do anything about this guy or his friends because many of them are Tallahassee cops, until he bragged about training Nicholas Cruz. At this point I was ready to take matters into my own hands but I decided that it would be better to go to Rojava than to go to war against other Americans. I have always considered myself an anarchist, and generally on the left, but I didn’t really know what this meant in detail, I didn’t study any ideology or learn about the rich heritage we share with comrades all over the world.

I reached out to the People’s Protection Unit in Rojava and they emailed me some pamphlets by Abdullah Ocalan, which I studied and wrote book reports on at their request. They also sent a questionnaire. They liked my answers and told me the risks and said I could come join them if I was willing to die, be maimed or paralyzed for the revolution. I bought a plane ticket to Iraq and the Kurds picked me up and took me to Syria and Rojava. We waited for enough people to arrive to start a class then trained for several months. Even before the Academy started we were studying language and discussing ideology, and people went off on their own to exercise. During the Academy we learned about feminism, environmentalism, Democratic Confederalism, the history, and herstory, of the Middle East and basic military training. We also helped build a hospital, spent time gardening, picking up trash, animal rescue, community service and things like that. When we completed the Academy we went to the International base and others came in behind us to start their Academy. Another class had graduated just before us and went to the front lines. A friend named Shahine was killed by a rocket. He was also a vegetarian, and from France. We held a huge funeral ceremony for him and all the locals came out to line the roads between the hospital morgue and the border crossing where his family came to pick up his body. I also met the family of Jac Holms and Anna Campbell, and that was very meaningful for me. I was given the war name Alishare Qerechoke (spelled Aliser Qerecox). I was given the name Alishare but I chose Qerechoke because of the background of the hill that shares this name and also because Shahin’s last name was Qerechoke and so was Anna Campbell’s war name- Helin Qerechoke. I was deeply moved by this experience and the camaraderie of the Kurds, the Arabs and Internationals, especially the commune. I was reminded of the mission trips to the Dominican Republic where I felt the shortcomings of my own background, and I really pushed myself to meet the needs and expectations of the community. I was very distracted by the stress of adapting to the different culture, language and climate. After six months of training with the International Battalion we went to the front lines. We fought day and night for two weeks in the Battle of Deir Ez Zor in Baghuz. On the second week I was knocked unconscious by a rocket then I woke up and helped to save several wounded friends by bandaging their wounds and taking turns carrying them to safety. During this scramble other friends were wounded and we barely made it to safety because the front line had collapsed under the enemy’s final attack, as they covered the rest of the enemy’s escape into civilian populations and the desert. When we came back from the front I was told that Glenn Baker was dying and I could go home to help and be with him. I wanted to stay and fight but they said the fight was basically over. I could stay if I wanted or go take care of Glenn and come back if I wanted. I decided to go back to the U.$. and then come back, but I haven’t been able to get back to Rojava due to many circumstances. I am ashamed I have not returned to Rojava.

When I got back the U.$. was chaotic because of Trump’s agitation and his encouraging racism. I helped take care of Glenn until he died then I traveled around the U.$., going to different George Floyd protests, Climate Change protests and was in Nashville and Seattle as a street medic for the protests there. I helped to save a kid who was shot while he and his friends were attacking the CHAZ/CHOP barricades. Then I came back to Florida. Google the rest!

Dan Baker 25765-509

FCI Memphis

PO Box 34550

Memphis, TN 38184

Published by mongoosedistro

"Contains material solely for the purpose of achieving breakdown of prison through disruption" -Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice mailroom

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