This article was written by Brandon Smith and originally published at his Alt-Market.com site.
Editor’s Comment: With full knowledge that the pressure in the system is fueling a spirit of rebellion one way or another, the powers that be are focused on portraying dissenters who are bold enough to stand up as both a “dangerous domestic terrorist” and as a powerless individual. Neither are true in the vast majority of cases.
It is no controversy that example leads the way – and there is every sense that a gang of federal agencies are plotting their moves in a plan to make mass arrests of other “example cases” from the Bundy Ranch incident in 2014, and anything else they can come up with, to discourage people from standing up in ways big and small.
There is an attempt to use the broad term “interference” – which was used in charging Cliven Bundy after arrest– to criminalize any form of civil disobedience against the system, or impedence to the larger federal takeover of the country.
A Warning To The Feds On Incremental Prosecutions Of The Liberty Movement
by Brandon Smith
At the very onset of what would become the Soviet Empire, Vladimir Lenin decreed the creation of a national internal army called the “Cheka.” The Cheka were handed very broad police powers and tasked with the disruption and elimination of any form of dissent within the communist system. Lenin launched what would later be known as the “Red Terror”, in which nearly every Russian population center had an established Cheka office of operations using surveillance, infiltration, nighttime raids, imprisonment, torture and execution to silence opposition to the authority of the state.
Some of these people were active rebels, some were outspoken political opponents and journalists, others were merely average citizens wrongly accused by neighbors or personal enemies. The Cheka created a society of fear and suspicion in which no one could be trusted and little criticism was spoken above a whisper anywhere, even in one’s own home.
It is important to note, however, that the dominance of the Cheka was established incrementally, not all at once.
Agents of the state began their “cleansing” of the Russian population by targeting specific groups at opportune times and worked their way through the citizenry at an exponential pace. The most intelligent, effective and dangerous activists and rebels were slated for destruction first, as they represented a kind of leadership mechanism by which the rest of the population might be mobilized or inspired. More innocuous organizations (like Christian churches and rural farmers) were persecuted as background noise while the political mop-up was underway.
Through this incrementalism, the communists were able to intern or eradicate vast numbers of potential opponents without the rest of Russians raising objections. The general populace was simply thankful that the eye of the Cheka had not been turned upon them, and as long as it was some other group of people unrelated to their daily life that disappeared in the night, they would keep their heads down and their mouths shut.
I would point out that the communists were very careful and deliberate in ensuring that the actions of the internal police were made valid through law and rationalized as a part of “class struggle.” Such laws were left so open to interpretation that literally any evil committed could later be vindicated. Man-made law is often a more powerful weapon than any gun, tank, plane or missile, because it triggers apathy within the masses. For some strange reason, when corrupt governments legalize their criminality through legislation or executive decree, the citizenry suddenly treats that criminality as legitimate and excusable.
Incremental prosecution and oppression is effective when the establishment wishes to avoid outright confrontation with a population. Attempt to snatch up a million people at one time, and you will have an immediate rebellion on your hands. Snatch up a million people one man at a time, or small groups at a time, and people do not know what to think or how to respond. They determine to hope that the authorities never get to them, that it will stop after a few initial arrests, or they hope that if they censor themselves completely, they will never be noticed.
In fact, corrupt governments issue warrants of arrest for a handful of dissenters and initiate imprisonment in a very public manner in the beginning with the express purpose of making examples and inspiring self censorship in the masses so that the authorities do not have to expend large amounts of resources to fight a more complex rebellion.
I bring up the historic example of the Cheka and incrementalism because a trend is brewing within our current establishment by which I believe a similar (if not more sterilized) brand of oppressive action is being planned against the liberty movement.
After the debacle in Burns, Oregon during the refuge standoff, federal officials immediately began a subtle campaign in the media promoting internal police powers that when examined in an honest light, are truly anti-liberty.
It remains my personal position according to the evidence I have seen that the refuge standoff was likely influenced by at least one if not more federal provocateurs and that Ammon Bundy was “encouraged” in his choice of actions and location by this person or persons. The goal? I can only guess that the intent was to trap the liberty movement in a Catch-22 scenario; either we join the poorly planned and executed standoff on some of the worst defensive ground possible and risk everything on one centralized event, or, we refuse to participate in the strategy and watch helplessly as a group of people, many with good intentions but little tactical sense or training, are arrested or killed. Either we gamble everything on the worst possible terms, or, we avoid the gamble and watch as the entire movement is made to look weak or incompetent by association with a few.
The majority of the movement chose the latter action, rightly I feel. Burns was no Bundy Ranch — everything about it felt rigged. And though there were many angry anonymous voices calling us “sunshine patriots” and “keyboard warriors” because we would not participate, apparently none of those loud mouths ever showed up in Burns either, so I am assuming they finally saw the wisdom in our decision.
It would seem as though the feds did not get exactly what they wanted out of the refuge standoff, but they have decided to squeeze as much advantage out of the event as possible.
Cliven Bundy was arrested after arriving by plane in Portland, Oregon, not on any charges relating to the refuge and his son Ammon, but on charges stemming from the Bundy Ranch standoff of 2014.
These charges include a strange and very broad legal measure relating to “interference with the duties of federal officials.” This in particular should be disconcerting to all of us, for “interference” could be any number of activities.
Any duties of federal officials that are not moral or constitutional should be interfered with in a tactically intelligent manner whenever possible. Such charges are a deliberate anathema to civil disobedience designed to counter immoral actions by government authorities. For any opposition could be deemed “interference” given a twisting of precedence, and thus treated as illegal.
In my recent article “Liberty Activists And ISIS Will Soon Be Treated As Identical Threats,” I examined statements made by the Justice Department’s chief of national security, John Carlin, in an article published by Reuters. Carlin and the Justice Department have made it clear that they intend to apply rules of prosecution used for foreign terrorist organizations to “domestic extremists.” The Oregon standoff was specifically mentioned as an example of such extremism.
Carlin claimed that domestic extremists represent a “clear and present danger,” alluding to the “Clear And Present Danger Doctrine” allowing the government in “times of national crisis” to prosecute almost any citizen giving “material support” to enemies of the state. “Material support” in the past has even included verbal opposition to government policies. Meaning, Carlin is testing the waters of material support laws and such tests may target liberty movement speakers and journalists along with anyone involved in physical opposition. As with the Cheka, no one is really safe.
These charges are also being brought in a retroactive manner, long after the supposed crimes have been committed as we have seen with Cliven Bundy. Meaning, the feds plan to retain warrants and prolong charges, only arresting people later when they think they can get away with it. This is where the incrementalism comes in…
Rumors of further indictments have surfaced possibly including dozens of people involved in the Bundy Ranch standoff. And because of the nature of the incremental game the government is playing, verification is difficult until the arrests are activated.
It has come to my attention from personal sources that there may be a lot of truth to the rumors of pending or retroactive indictments, and that the FBI in particular may be biding its time and waiting to bring charges when particular people are at their most vulnerable and when the movement is less likely to react. These sources have indicated that the federal government is seeking to work around the public relations problems of standoff scenarios like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Bundy Ranch. The feds may claim that they have “seen the light” in terms of avoiding outright mass murder, but I believe they have just found a better way to sneak past public opinion.
If they can manipulate the liberty movement into participation in poorly planned standoffs like Burns, Oregon, they will. Such standoffs are doomed from their inception and can even be controlled from within by agents provocateur. They are not a real threat.
If a standoff occurs organically, as it did at Bundy Ranch in Nevada, and public support is on the side of the liberty movement, then the establishment will simply back off and pluck activists from their homes or at the airport months later.
It is incumbent upon me to offer a warning to federal agencies in the event that incremental prosecution of liberty activists is truly a strategy they are planning to carry out: It is the general consensus of many in the liberty movement that any further arrests predicated on activism at Bundy Ranch or similar opposition events in the past to Bureau Of Land Management abuses of power will result in further and expanded engagements by activists. That is to say, such arrests and indictments will not be allowed to continue.
This is not a threat, this is fair warning to government agencies that they are walking a razor’s edge. Incremental prosecutions and dismantling of the liberty movement will not be tolerated; they represent a non-negotiable line in the sand. The feds may or may not care what the consequences will be for crossing this line. They may even think they want such consequences. Regardless, consequences there will be.
While the refuge occupiers essentially handed their heads to the feds on a platter, and the movement was not able to salvage the situation in any viable manner, this does not mean that liberty activists will not take measures during future events depending on the circumstances. Federal agencies may be quick to forget the massive response at Bundy Ranch. This is a mistake. They should probably expect a similar response, if not a more aggressive one, if further arrests are undertaken.
With the ethereal nature of criminal charges like “material support” or “interference with federal officials,” due process becomes a bit of joke. You see, federal agents and agencies, you have to take into account the reality that the liberty movement is well aware of the government push to remove due process altogether. With the AUMF and the NDAA, among other executive actions, we realize that the friendly mask of due process is worn by government today, but not necessarily tomorrow.
If the movement gives ground and does nothing while dozens or more are retroactively imprisoned one case at a time for opposing federal abuse, then how long will it be before the rest of us are imprisoned on even broader charges? How long before the mask comes off and the rendition and indefinite detention provisions of the AUMF and the NDAA come into play? Do you really expect the movement to put faith in due process given the circumstances? Of course you do not.
I would venture to guess that the feds think that any opposition that does arise during the execution of warrants against liberty activists will be “easily managed.” This would be a mistake.
We have seen this all before in the passive sublimation of past societies. We recognize the signs of trespasses to come. And if such trespasses are brought upon the liberty movement or the population at large, then many of us will adopt the attitude that there is not much left to lose.
Personally, I do not look forward to this kind of fight, but I have no illusions that it can be avoided given the course our country has taken. Federal agencies have deemed it a matter of national security to watch us all very closely. They should keep in mind, though, that we are also watching them.
If you would like to support the publishing of articles like the one you have just read, visit our donations page here. We greatly appreciate your patronage. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected]