State of Maine: Real or imagined, foreign interlopers no match for alert Mainers

Busted! Once again, the coast of Maine has been the entry point for foreign intrigue, and once again the threat has been exposed.

Years ago, it was German spies in a U-boat landing on the coast near Hancock Point in November of 1944. Their undoing? They trudged up the Hancock peninsula wearing “street clothes and no warm coats,” said one observer who remembered the day well in a Bangor Daily News interview. A fashion forward visitor from away is easily identified by his outfit. In the summer in Hancock County, it does not rate a second glance. But in November? In 1944? What’s up, buddy?

The German spies were no match for the Boy Scout who passed the pair in his vehicle, doubled back and followed their tracks to the shore, where he found a rubber raft. Now, a Scout is exhorted to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Our Scout ticked many of those boxes, as well as exhibiting the duty in the Scouting oath to be “mentally awake,” but none of that says anything about “speedy.”

He waited until morning to mention the encounter to his family; his father then notified the FBI. The same went for Mary Forni, driving home that night, and though not a Boy Scout, she noted the unknown gentlemen out and about on a late fall night without boots on. Numb as hakes, they were!

Last month, the offense was the dastardly importation of bogus ballots by the North Koreans through a Maine harbor. The coast of Maine is 3,478 miles long, including the shoreline of the islands, and much of it is remote. Small coves and harbors are almost too numerous to count. Wonsqueak. Tumbledown. The Nook. Punch Bowl. Contention. There are scads of places to land with hardly anyone noticing, common knowledge in North Korea.

So it came to pass that a group of North Koreans set out to rig the U.S. presidential election, in a boat loaded with fake ballots headed for Maine. It is reasonable to think that a lobster boat would be the least noticeable vessel on the Maine coast, but any 10-year-old worth his Grundens can identify a local fishing boat within 50 miles of his home port when it is a mere speck on the ocean horizon, so unless a local lobsterman helped the North Koreans (’tain’t likely, chummy) they would have to have resorted to another watercraft option.

The scheme was revealed by Roger Stone on what is politely described as a “far-right” radio show. Stone was once an advisor to President Donald Trump. He claimed to have heard “absolute incontrovertible evidence of North Korean boats delivering ballots through a harbor in Maine,” adding for clarity, “the state of Maine.”

Stone maintained that if the absolute incontrovertible evidence “checks out, if law enforcement looked into that and found it to be true, it would be proof of foreign involvement in the election.” Yes. Yes, it would. Setting aside the question of when absolute incontrovertible evidence does not check out, and is not found to be true, then yes, you’ve got yourself a rigged election.

When the interlopers made landfall in Maine, the state of Maine, what next? Were they met by UPS or FedEx, or a seafood truck in on a delivery run? Did they have to hand-carry the ballots to Augusta? Were they wearing boots?

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, wrapping up his last days in office, responded, and not once did he use words such as “lunatic” or “bat-crap crazy.” Instead, he noted that Maine had already certified its election results, cited a lack of evidence and called it a “vague rumor [with] absolutely no validity.” Come on, Matt! When has that ever been dispositive?

It should be noted that Roger Stone’s resume includes being convicted of all seven counts against him in the Russian obstruction of justice investigation and a prison sentence of 40 years, a sentence that President Trump commuted last July. More recently, he has suggested that President Trump should invoke martial law if he loses the election and arrest the Clintons and other prominent political and business who can be “proven to be involved in illegal activity.”

This does not disprove his allegations about North Koreans landing fake ballots for President-elect Joe Biden on the Maine coast, but it does make you want more information. In the meantime, should you see anyone walking along a lonely Maine road with a sack over his shoulder and no boots on, don’t wait until morning. Report it immediately — unless he is wearing a red hat and coat trimmed with white fur and has a big white beard. That would be Santa. In that case, offer him a ride and find out what happened to his boots.

Jill Goldthwait worked for 25 years as a registered nurse at Mount Desert Island Hospital. She has served as a Bar Harbor town councilor and as an independent state senator from Hancock County.

Jill Goldthwait

Jill Goldthwait

Jill Goldthwait worked for 25 years as a registered nurse at Mount Desert Island Hospital. She has served as a Bar Harbor town councilor and as an independent state senator from Hancock County.

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