MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
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The latest incident of domestic white male terrorism was in Nevada, where a veritable make-shift militia presented an armed threat to federal and local law enforcement. Why were they there? Because they were defending the view that Cliven Bundy was being treated unjustly by a US government that was allegedly violating his rights and his beliefs. It sounds like al Qaeda circling a military unit with firepower to defend the beliefs of Osama bin Laden.
Some facts are established: Within the state of Nevada Constitution, much of the former territory's land was ceded to the federal government in return for admission to the union. As a result, several thousand ranchers pay grazing rights for their cattle to make use of federal land. Cliven Brady, who owes the US treasury over a million dollars, says that he is not paying out of principle - since his family, he claims, owned the land before Nevada was a state.
After more than 20 years of Bundy, in essence, cheating other taxpayers by not paying his fair share, the federal government seized his cattle that were living off of federal land.
That is when seditious Americans assembled at his ranch to - reportedly with women and children strategically placed to protect them - threatened US law enforcement and Bureau of Land Management officials with firearms, locked and loaded.
A telling article in Slate, entitled "What If Bundy Ranch Were Owned by Black People," reads:
Bundy’s cause caught fire on right-wing blogs, egged on by Fox News and conservative outlets like the National Review, which have held the confiscation as a dangerous intrusion on private property rights, despite Bundy’s lawbreaking. Defending his decision, the rancher told one right-wing radio host that he’s ready to take drastic steps beyond refusing to pay:
"I told you that I did the legal thing and the political thing and the media thing and it seems like it's down to “we the people” if we're going to get it done. You know the things like militias. You know, I haven't called no militia or anything like that, but hey, it looks like that's where we're at."
To that end, hundreds of people from outside Nevada—including “militia” armed with rifles and ammunition—have joined his protests, going as far as to set up camp and confront federal officials with brandished weapons. The federal government blinked, and the Bureau of Land Management announced an abrupt end to its cattle roundup, hoping to avoid violence and further confrontations.
Of course, to answer the Slate's article question about if black people owned the Bundy ranch in this confrontation, the ad hoc militias would probably have joined the federal forces in supporting the seizure of cattle and shooting any of the hypothetical black Bundys who resisted arrest.
Given the fact that Bundy is violating a law written into the Nevada Constitution - and that no other rancher has violated enforcement of the law in terms of turning it into a range war - Bundy is committing a criminal act against the United States of America. His notion of land rights that may or may not have existed prior to the Nevada Constitution is irrelevant and have a major flaw. The grazing land he asserts rights to was the property of indigenous tribes who were inhabitants of what is now the United States prior to its colonial conquest and westward expansion.
It would be hard to see Stormfront.org (a web site that stirs the pot of armed rebellion against government at all levels and propagates mind-boggling conspiracy theories) followers rallying on behalf of the Lakota. This is the same Stormfront that almost 100 hate-crime murders have been linked to, according the The Guardian.
As BuzzFlash at Truthout has noted, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on so-called Homeland Security against terrorism, but not on the terrorism that is in our homeland - among an empowered rogue group of US citizens, bristling with weapons, whose view of the United States is something akin to anarchy for white nationalist gun lovers.
The followers of Cliven Bundy and the likes of Stormfront are not loyal to the United States or even followers of many of its laws: they abide by a Frankenstein delusion of the Constitution of the United States. They are a bigger threat to our future as a nation than al Qaeda - and they are armed and dangerous due to a Congress and state legislatures that give the gun lobby whatever it wants.
In the end, the federal government backed off from an armed confrontation with our own domestic terrorists and returned Bundy's cattle, caught grazing after 20 years of warnings and unpaid taxes on US property (once again, as enshrined in the Nevada constitution). No one was cheering for a bloodbath except the seditious militias.
However, when Washington DC creates a propaganda cash-fuled campaign against a relatively small group of religious fundamentalists overseas - while enabling the arming of delusional potential and actual domestic terrorists and only sporadically prosecuting them - we are being left vulnerable as a nation to an explosive threat that lies within.
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