|Anthony Freda Art
With the situation heating up in Clark County, Nevada, a range of emotions have been expressed by those following the events taking place. These emotions vary widely depending upon one's worldview and political perspective, as most emotions do. For those successfully trained to believe that government is always right, Bundy is nothing more than another “right wing extremist” intent on destroying the social fabric of the United States and the ability of Federal government to function. To those who are more inclined to promote a culture of liberty and freedom, Bundy represents a potential martyr. Even more so, to these individuals Bundy represents the possibility of another Waco or Ruby Ridge.
Like most tense situations, however, it is good practice to let cooler heads prevail and to analyze the events in an objective fashion before forming an opinion.
While most of the alternative media has built up Cliven Bundy to be next in line for the title of victim of government violence, there is much more to the story than what is being reported both in the mainstream or alternative outlets.
With the abuse of protesters and the potential for the harming of an entire family, as well as a significant confrontation between police, federal agents, and militia-men, it is very important that those transfixed with the Bundy Ranch situation get the facts straight before any shots are fired and any more blood is spilled.
With this in mind, I would respectfully ask that the readers consider the following points before launching headlong into what may be a tragic mistake.
Government Actions Against Protesters
First, it must be acknowledged that the manner in which federal agents and law enforcement agencies have dealt with protesters is atrocious to say the least. Tazing unarmed civilians, manhandling protesters, and violating the first amendment by setting up unconstitutional “free speech zones” is reprehensible. In addition, one could even make the argument that the treatment of the protesters is more of a legitimate reason to start the next American revolution than the actions they are protesting.
In addition, the surrounding of the Bundy Ranch with armed agents, military vehicles, and snipers despite the fact that the court order is merely to block entrance to the federal land and round up the trespassing cattle is nothing if not overkill. Such is yet another example of the nature of the police state in which we now find ourselves.
According to many media outlets, the entirety of the story is that the Federal government is attempting to confiscate Bundy’s cows and fine him an unreasonable amount of money simply because of the presence of an endangered species of turtle in the area where the cows feed. Other outlets provide different versions of the story, with facts and timelines arranged in different order.
The fact is that Bundy’s cows had been grazing on Federal land. This is not disputed by anyone in terms of the location. Because use of public lands for commercial purposes (ranch cattle grazing is commerce), ranchers are required to pay a grazing fee to the BLM. This fee amounts to about $1.35 per animal.
Bundy stopped paying this fee in 1993. Bundy contends that the land is not under the jurisdiction of the BLM or the Federal government, but under the state of Nevada. Thus, he also contends that he owes nothing to the Federal government since he claims that the Feds have no jurisdiction. If he owes anything at all, he says, he owes the money to Nevada or Clark County. Since Nevada is not coming forward to claim their money, Bundy argues that he owes nothing at this time. It should be noted that Bundy says he is willing to pay grazing fees but only to Clark County.
Nevada is not coming forward to collect the money, of course, because the land is clearly under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. Bundy, however, continues to claim that because his family has worked the land since the 1800s, he has pre-emptive rights including the right to forage. However, pre-emptive rights are the result of a contract agreement, a contract that Bundy has stated he does not have.
Many of Bundy’s supporters also claim that Constitutional rights are being violated in this case because of a clause in the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17), which supposedly restricts the Federal government from buying from states except for the purpose of erecting “forts, magazines, dockyards, and other needful buildings.” However, the land in question belonged to the Federal government before Nevada even became a state, making it impossible to buy land that was not yet even a state. Even so, the interpretation of this particular clause of the Constitution in this manner is tenuous to say the least since it refers to the legislative governance of the stated areas and institutions under the ownership of the Federal government.
In regards to the “turtles,” the claims suggesting that Bundy’s fees were a result of the designation of the desert tortoise as an endangered species are fundamentally untrue. Bundy ceased his payments in 1993. The grazing area was designated as off limits due to the presence of the “turtles” in 1998. Thus, the “turtles” played no part in Bundy’s original resistance to the grazing fee.
However, it is also true that the BLM has euthanized a large number of the same tortoises they claim as being endangered; but the stated purpose of this euthanasia was to protect the sick tortoises from infecting the healthy ones being released back into the wild.
What should be pointed out, however, is that the DTCC (Desert Tortoise Conservation Center) was actually moved to the land where Bundy’s cattle were grazing in 1991 in order to protect the desert tortoise from becoming extinct due to a development in Southern Las Vegas, a money-maker that grossly outweighed any concern for nature in the minds of business and government.
The other side of this story is that since Bundy stopped paying his fee in 1993 and refused to accept a grazing permit, in the eyes of the BLM, there were no ranchers on the public land for five years, since Bundy is the only rancher left in Clark County.
Furthermore, although Bundy’s assertions regarding the idea that the BLM and other interests wanted him off the land should be given due attention, it should be pointed out that his original claim against BLM was that the Federal government did not have jurisdiction over the land.
In fact, Bundy doesn’t believe the Federal government has authority over much of anything. Last year, he told the New York Times, “I've got to protect my property. If people come to monkey with what's mine, I'll call the county sheriff. If that don't work, I'll gather my friends and kids and we'll try to stop it. I abide by all state laws. But I abide by almost zero federal laws."
Lastly, it is important to note that the original stated intent of the BLM and associates was to close off the federal land from the Bundy Ranch and remove the trespassing cattle, not to launch an all-out assault on the ranch in Waco fashion.
Government Hypocrisy, Collusion, and Private Interests
Of course, it cannot go without saying that if the government were truly concerned about the welfare of the turtles, they would have stopped the development in Southern Las Vegas, not Bundy’s grazing cattle.
In addition, concerns about the environment and ecology of the federal lands in question were conveniently missing when the land was opened up for Harry Reid’s pet projects with Chinese businesses. This evidence is damning; it shows government collusion in the form of Senate snake Harry Reid and his former senior advisor who had become the director of the BLM, as well as Reid’s son Rory Reid, the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm that was planning to build a $5 billion solar plant on public land in Nevada.
Although the facts are still unclear, many analysts are claiming that the Public Lands on which Bundy’s cattle grazed are not only heavy in mineral deposits but are also set to become an oil and gas fracking project.
While numerous potential scenarios exist in terms of the outcome of the Bundy Ranch standoff, there are at least four that should be considered before American citizens and militias descending on the property take any direct action.
- The possibility that the Federal agents will initiate violence to be blamed on the protesters or militia members. We have seen in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Ukraine, and Iran, the use of snipers by Western intelligence to initiate violence and outright combat between government forces and opposition groups, both sides with legitimate griefs against one another. If government agencies wanted to initiate a violent confrontation between itself and militias/protesters, what better way than to fire into the crowd of protesters and/or federal agents to begin the process?
- The possibility that this situation is being used or was created for the purposes of testing militia members and Americans who would actually respond in a real-life situation such as this. Perhaps the Bundy ranch is nothing more than a bellweather?
- The possibility that violence is initiated through false flag means or through genuine anger. Mainstream media outlets would now have their ultimate opportunity to tout gun control measures as a necessity. They would make claims such as “First, we have street crime, then random acts of shootings and terrorism, and then school shootings. Now, we have open insurrection by right wing extremists who have proven they want to overthrow the government and set up a (insert “racist” “homophobic” “xenophobic” “radical”) government in its place.” A major propaganda push on the scale of what was seen after the Oklahoma bombing would immediately follow.
- The potential for violence to break out with militias involved in the shooting. An open insurrection could be declared and martial law implemented throughout the entire country resulting in the possibility of combat between those Americans who do not want to be disarmed or relocated as well as the wide-scale crackdown across the country.
While the protests have remained entirely peaceful from the point of the view of the protesters (only the police have acted violently), we must guard against the potential scenarios mentioned above.
The four points made previously are no reason to suspend a protest. They are, however, reasons to consciously think through the next course of action and the potential ramifications of that action.
While Americans must be prepared to stand up to government abuse, we must also guard against knee-jerk reactions. Such reactions only make us pawns by those in much higher positions, and often cause us to act irrationally whenever we are faced with adversity.
The concerns over potential government false flags are no reason to refuse to protest, demonstrate, or act in self-defense or in the defense of others. However, they are a reason to exercise caution and a heavy dose of forethought before taking action.
While this article should not be understood as a condemnation of Bundy, it should be taken as a warning to all patriots, militia members, activists, and spectators that taking up arms is no small matter.
It is unfortunately true that there may come a day when Americans have to take up arms against an oppressive government and a line must be drawn in the sand. However, it is of the utmost importance that we are all on the right side of that line. We cannot allow media hype and agents provocateurs to decide how and where battles are fought.
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