Over the past several days, a small federally owned building in a rural setting of southeast Oregon has been occupied by rifle-toting members of the notorious Bundy gang, best known as the Mormon fanatics and white supremacists who engineered a standoff with federal authorities over cattle grazing issues in the town of Bunkerville in southern Nevada. The Bundy clan claims to have between 100 and 200 armed militia on the scene in Burns, Oregon, including local anti-government hardliners, but more realistic estimates put the total strength of the occupying forces at fewer than 20, most of whom are outside agitators. The supposed beneficiaries of the Bundy-led action are a father and son from the local Hammond family (Dwight Hammond, 73, and son Steven Hammond, 46) of Burns, who today reported to federal prison for additional incarceration in connection with accusations that they committed arson by setting illegal fires on US public lands. The Hammond family has said that they have nothing to do with the Bundy-led action, and would like the outside agitators to leave. Dwight and Steven have reported to federal prison.
This incident can be classified together with the 2007 standoff at the home of wealthy tax resisters Ed and Elaine Brown in New Hampshire, and with the April 2014 confrontation at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, when a lily-white group of libertarian fanatics pointed loaded weapons at federal officials carrying out government assignments. The gullible libertarian sheeple went wild in both cases, and some even joined the action. Ed and Elaine Brown were sent to federal prison, but the wealthy Mormon Bundy clan has faced no consequences for their 2014 threats of violence. This seeming immunity may have emboldened Bundy Inc. to strike again.
Most importantly, the new Bundy gang offensive in Oregon provides a chilling vision of exactly how survivalists, libertarians, militias, white supremacists, sovereign individualists, and similar heteronomic types are coalescing into an armed extremist wing for fascist Republican candidates like Trump and Cruz. Secondly, we should note that armed upsurges in sparsely populated rural areas that depend on agriculture and mining were a prelude to the rise of fascism in both Italy and Germany. Finally, we should note that the crackpot doctrine about land titles and land rights preached by the Bundy gang is simply a recycled version of what the secessionist Mormon tyrant Brigham Young was already blathering against the United States government back in the 1850s.
“READY TO KILL AND BE KILLED IF NECESSARY”
This time it is another armed protest with overt threats of violence: ‘The Oregonian's Ian Kullgren tweeted early Sunday that he'd "talked to [militia leader] Ryan Bundy on the phone," and that Bundy "said they're willing to kill and be killed if necessary."’
That “willing to kill” from the leader of an armed gang outweighs all the pious and whining sophistries coming from Bundyland and its press agents that the protest is purely peaceful and nonviolent.
As usual, the Bundy gang has sought and received significant media attention: ‘Ryan Bundy, — one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights — told The Associated Press Sunday the protesters want to "restore the rights to people so they can use the land and resources "for ranching, logging, mining and recreation.’ Ryan Bundy said the federal government has been "tromping on people's rights and privileges and properties and livelihoods."’ The occupiers seem to be contemplating a multi-month, squat, which they hope will leave them as the owners of some choice federal land.
BUNDY GANG SEEKING PRIVATIZATION AND FRACKING AT U.S. TAXPAYER EXPENSE
These demands from the Bundy gang boil down to individual confiscation or lawless privatization of United States federal lands belonging to the American people and their transfer into the control of private interests. “Ranching, logging, mining, and recreation” could include massive and unplanned deforestation, strip mining, fracking, and other unsound practices. Since the Bundy patriarch, the infamous Cliven (aka Cloven) Bundy has gone on record in public interviews as an unreconstructed white supremacist, one wonders whether the planned recreational activities would be subject to racial and other illegal segregation. There is also the question as to whether these “sovereign individualists” would be willing to pay taxes to the federal government, a practice which they regard as heretical, even though it is solidly anchored in the U.S. Constitution, which they claim to revere.
Public reaction to this latest round of libertarian posturing has been much more hostile than in the other cases. After the use of the National Guard against the black protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, and other locations, many comments have been seen in mainstream media and social media pointing to the irony of the mailed fist of local and state governments used against the immiserated inner cities, while white supremacists brandishing assault rifles are allowed to intimidate whole communities and claim to have federal premises under their exclusive control.
Washington DC riot police drawn up in a phalanx in front of the District Building. In the United States, inner city protesters generally get the mailed fist. But in Burns, Oregon, the Bundy gang is getting coddled by the FBI and local police, who are using only the velvet glove. How long will lawless right wing anarchists be allowed to threaten the American people?
Attention has also centered this time on the ignorance and backwardness of the armed militia. Satiric twitter tags like #YallQaeda and #YokelHaram are meant to mock the strutting and posturing of these pretentious libertine bumpkins. Should US policy bend to the whims of the least educated and most bigoted? The American people are not enthusiastic.
Almost 2 years ago, when the wealthy free rider Cliven Bundy and his labile followers picked up the gun to assert their self-proclaimed right to graze their cattle on federal land without paying any fees, and to have their arrears canceled, he was not isolated. In the April 2014 armed standoff (with federal officials threatened with loaded firearms), Bundy garnered strong support from Rand Paul (who came to pander in person), Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson. Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee gave support that was slightly less emphatic. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio criticized the pro-Bundy effort. But they did not call for the militiamen to be disarmed and rounded up.
Given a public response somewhere between mockery and hostility, demagogues like Ted Cruz paused this time before showing up for a campaign stop and a photo op.
As of today Cruz, whose campaign has already been linked to the Oathkeepers and the assassins of abortion providers, is running for the hills, with his rival Rubio close behind. ‘Rubio called it [the Burns action] “lawless” on Iowa radio. Cruz, more forcefully, told reporters “we don’t have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence on others,” calling on the protesters to “stand down peaceably.”’
Prominent libertarian media had to disguise their coolness towards the Bundy enterprise in Burns as best they could. In other words, right wing alternative media are running scared. The timing was bad, they argue. The operation was misguided. It was poorly planned. It was rash. It was too offensive at a time when it would be better to rest on the defensive. Perhaps their real concern was how Trump and Cruz could respond in a presidential debate if they were asked about their blatant ties to armed militia seizing US property.
As for the Oathkeepers, their website wisely concedes that “the Hammond family does not want an armed standoff, and nobody has the right force one on them. We cannot force ourselves or our protection on people who do not want it. Dwight and Steven Hammond have made it clear, through their attorney, that they just want to turn themselves in and serve out their sentence. And that clear statement of their intent should be the end of the discussion on this.”
A writer evidently close to the Oathkeepers raises the possibility that Ryan and Ammon Bundy had been trying to trick people into joining them in an armed adventure, luring them to Burns for a peaceful demonstration and not mentioning the armed occupation to follow: ‘I have watched extensive video from the event in Oregon and am privy to accounts from participants. From the information at my disposal, it would appear that Ammon and team did NOT make clear their intentions to occupy the federal wildlife refuge building except to a select few, inviting protesters to “take a hard stand” without revealing what this would entail until they were already in the middle of it all. OPSEC? No, I think not. Obviously the goal was to lure as many protesters to Oregon as possible to the event in the hopes that they would jump on board with the stand-off plan once they were more personally involved. Numerous protesters were rightly enraged once they discovered the ultimate motives behind the event.’
Ammon Bundy responded with a videotape in which he reports that God told him to do it.
Local opinion is reported to be pro-Hammond, but anti-Bundy. ‘While most people in town support the ranching family, the militia groups' involvement has been sparking controversy for weeks. "I don't like the militia's methods," said resident Monica McCannon who held up signs against the militia. "They had their rally. Now it's time for them to go home. People are afraid of them." Others in town shared that sentiment. --"It's sort of frightening when there are people making threats and people toting guns," Jordan said. "I'm going to prison for five years for 127 (acres)? Seems like a bit of an overkill to me," Dwight Hammond said Saturday outside their home. Later, in a video message widely spread on Facebook, Ammon Bundy, reportedly joined in the takeover by two brothers and dozens of other militia members, explained why they had taken that step.’
On the surface, the Burns action looks something like Hitler’s bungling, inept 1923 Munich beer hall putsch, which collapsed within days or hours. But Ammon Bundy seems to be thinking of Burns as a demonstration project for local fascism, somewhat in the way that fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio took over the city of Fiume in 1919-1920 as a kind of pilot project for the Mussolini dictatorship that was already on the drawing boards: ‘"This will become a base place for patriots from all over the country to come and be housed here," he said, standing on a snowy road. "And we're planning on staying here for several years." Bundy said they will be "bringing the lands up and getting the ranchers back to ranching and the miners back to mining, putting the loggers back to logging, where they could do it under the protection of the people, and not be afraid of this tyranny that has been upon them."
Federal prosecutors reportedly believe the alleged arson was perpetrated by the Hammonds as a cover-up for illegal poaching.
A FALSE FLAG BY THE FBI?
The kid glove treatment given these gun toting, lawless militiamen by the FBI is raising huge red flags among responsible law enforcement officials. The Bundy gang appears to be the pampered darling of FBI boss James Comey. One pro-FBI observer argued: “The FBI is working closely with state police, and FBI officials are busy establishing a public information office in Burns. But due to a number of factors – the crisis is unfolding in a remote part of Oregon; it doesn't appear to be a life-or-death situation; and there are no hostages involved – law enforcement officials want to avoid unnecessarily escalating the standoff, the source said. The FBI instead hopes to get a better handle on the situation over the next few days.” Lame excuses.
But others might argue that such lax and permissive methods by an agency famed for its ferocity when dealing with unarmed protesters amounts to an admission that the entire Bundy Circus is nothing but a false flag operation conducted with the connivance of Comey’s people.
The entire operation is also chock full of Mormon/Latter Day Saints motifs, symbolism and lore. One of the armed militiamen guarding the occupied building who was interviewed by Oregon Public Radio claimed to be the angel who helped Mormon founder Joseph Smith in regard to the golden plates on which the Book of Mormon was supposedly inscribed:
‘“I’m Captain Moroni, from Utah.” That’s how one militiaman at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge responded to OPB’s Amanda Peacher when she asked for his name. That name is not a silly response to deflect responsibility: In many ways, it encapsulates a deeply intertwined anti-federal sentiment mixed with Mormon symbolism. Captain Moroni is a crucial figure in the Church of Latter-day Saints. He’s also a heroic figure for anti-federalist extremists. In the modern day west, Captain Moroni has become one of several powerful symbols for the Bundy militia’s anti-governmental extremism.’ "Moroni" said he was disappointed that more protesters did not arrive after a widespread call on social media.’
[A competing theory claims that Moroni is an obsolete plural of “moron.”] - TWSP Editors
DISTANT MIRRORS FOR RURAL AGITATION AS PRELUDE TO FASCISM
In southern Italy between 1919 and 1920, groups of unemployed and impoverished agricultural day laborers (braccianti) attempted to occupy tracts of uncultivated land and take them over for their own permanent use. Many of the large landowners who stood to lose in this process turned to Mussolini’s fascist goons (squadristi) to eject the day laborers, sometimes in pitched battles accompanied by significant loss of life. In those days, fascist organizations depended on farm sector operations for their growth and for building their reputation as reliable strikebreakers. Fascist goon squads beating up desperate peasants in rural Southern Italy was an indispensable source of fascist growth in Italy overall.
Another largely forgotten aspect of the pre-fascist era was the violent and sometimes terroristic movement of German farmers and peasants during the last five years of the Weimar Republic, meaning the last five years before Hitler’s seizure of power. One way to approach these events is through the 1930 novel by the famous novelist of Germany during the world depression, Hans Fallada. This was titled in English translation as A Small Circus, but the original German title tells us more: Bauern, Bonzen, und Bomben sounds more like farmers (ranchers?), bureaucrats, and bombs in German. Rural militancy was most pronounced in far northern Germany, near Denmark:
‘The Rural People's Movement (Landvolkbewegung) was a farmers' protest movement in northern Germany from 1928 to 1933. Due to an agricultural crisis, demonstrations took place in numerous towns and cities in early 1928, and deputations were sent to Berlin to voice grievances against trade and tax policies. Farmers' continuing financial difficulties and dissatisfaction with their own lobby organizations led to more radical protests, especially in the province of Schleswig-Holstein, from late 1928. Passive resistance included tax strikes and the obstruction of foreclosures, but some farmers, with the assistance of nationalist radicals, resorted to terrorist methods. Throughout 1929 bombs were placed in public buildings, including the Reichstag [in Berlin]. The Rural People's Movement ran its own newspaper "Das Landvolk" which was edited by Bruno von Salomon, the brother of Ernst von Salomon. With the arrest of the bombers and many of its leaders, as well as the rise of the Nazi Party, the Landvolk declined from 1930. Hans Fallada's first successful novel, A Small Circus (Bauern, Bonzen und Bomben), was based on the farmers' protests, especially a demonstration and boycott of the town of Neumünster.’
These rural clashes and tensions of 1928 to 1933 were key elements in the fascistization of the German countryside, ultimately facilitating the seizure of power by the Nazis, who were able to pick up the pieces of a shattered countryside.
As noted, the Bundy theory of land titles denies the United States Government any role, and relies instead on vague allusions to the states, especially the Mormon paradise of Utah. Here is an account of the matter from Just Too Weird: Bishop Romney and the Mormon Takeover of America (San Diego: Progressive Press, 2012): http://www.progressivepress.com/book-listing/weird-romney-mormon-takeover)
LAND TITLES FROM THE UNITED STATES, OR DIRECT FROM GOD?
One extremely important area of conflict between the Washington government and the Deseret Mormon theocracy was over the issue of land ownership and land rights. According to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo between Mexico and the United States ending hostilities on February 2, 1848, the Territory of Utah and surrounding states had been ceded by Mexico to Washington. That meant that the land titles and deeds granted by the Deseret administration during the first years of settlement were not valid. Accordingly, when federal officials arrived in Deseret for the purpose of beginning the process of surveying the land, they were subjected to extreme harassment by the Mormons. When the first federal surveyor entered Utah Territory, the Mormons saw this as an attempt by the United States government to assert authority over land which they held on perpetual lease from God. (The Mormon Rebellion, Bigler & Bagley, p. 49)
[This prefigures the Mormon Ammon Bundy getting his instructions to attack Burns, Oregon direct from God.]
Agents of the Bureau of Indian Affairs found in 1851 that the top Utah officials had “no sympathy or respect for our government or its institutions,” and could be “frequently heard cursing and abusing not only the government, but all who are American citizens.” [As we see, there is nothing new in the current freak show.] One official concluded that the Mormons would try to prevent the United States from “peaceably extending her laws over the territory.”
At the same time, an awareness of the alliance between Mormons and the British Empire was common in the population at large. Mormons were overheard saying that “they did not fear the United States. If they needed help, they can easily get it from England.” (The Mormon Rebellion, Bigler & Bagley, p. 56)
Not content with harassing federal officials and making their work impossible, the Brigham Young regime in the early 1850s also began promoting armed attacks on pioneer wagon trains transiting the Utah Territory, both by inciting the Indians to hostile action, as well as by having Mormons carry out the attacks themselves. Rumors soon abounded of white men, evidently Mormons, joining in Indian attacks on pioneer wagon trains. The Mormons told the Indians “that it was all right to kill American soldiers, but not Mormons.” (The Mormon Rebellion, Bigler & Bagley, p. 64)
In 1853, Captain John W. Gunnison of the United States Army was killed, presumably by Indians, while doing surveys for the proposed transcontinental railroad, which would most likely pass through Utah. There were many questions as to whether the Mormons had incited the Indians to carry out this murder.
“THOSE DAMNED AMERICANS”
Among the Mormons, the term “American” was a sign of contempt. In one typical incident, a group of Mormons attacked a dwelling because they had heard that there were Americans inside. The Saintly assailants demanded to know from the homeowner “what he was doing with those damned Americans about his house.” (The Mormon Rebellion, Bigler & Bagley, p. 72)
Among the Indians, however, “The American” often had positive connotations. This is especially the case with Garland Hurt, an energetic Indian agent who did much for the federal cause and who must be seen as one of the unsung heroes of the Utah Territory. Hurt worked especially with the Ute people, whom the Mormons had systematically antagonized. The result was that, just as brother Brigham was sending out his emissaries, disguised as missionaries, to recruit the Indian tribes for war, at least one federal official was preventing an important Indian nation from being goaded into conflict by the Mormon Saints. (The Mormon Rebellion, Bigler & Bagley, p. 72)
- Garland Hurt to Brigham Young, October 31, 1856, “Letters from Nevada India and Agents,” 1856, Nevada History, The Nevada Observer, online at nevadaobserver.com.