Juliette Kayyem, billed as a CNN National Security Analyst, has defined Ammon Bundy and the other people occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as domestic terrorists.
“Let’s begin with what to call the Oregon anti-government protesters who have taken over a federal building. The men, heavily armed, urging others to come support their cause, and claiming somehow that, while peaceful, they will ‘defend’ themselves whatever it takes, are—by any definition—domestic terrorists.”
By any definition?
Here is the dictionary definition of terrorism:
The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
Bundy and his compatriots have so far not threatened violence against the government. They have said, however, if the government uses violence they will respond in kind.
Is trespassing terrorism? Is self-defense terrorism? Is trespassing intimidation and coercion?
It seems CNN thinks so.
CNN is also demonstrating its ignorance when it comes to firearms. Kayyem writes the occupiers are heavily armed. They are not. So far, it appears the men have long rifles and possibly sidearms. This by any definition is not “heavily armed.” Of course, for liberals deadly afraid of firearms, this is probably considered heavily armed.
To decipher their cause is difficult, but it appears they do not like the fact that one of their rancher kin is going to jail for arson because he didn’t want to sell his land. Only the most ardent backers of their causes or those with an anti-federal government paranoia (or an anti-Obama one) are trying to slice and dice what the group is doing to make it seem somehow benign. It is not.
No, Ms. Kayyem, the Hammonds are going to prison for accidentally burning BLM land, not arson. According to the government this act of accidental fire is terrorism. The judge in the case compared the fire to “eco-terrorism” and the pair were charged in what amounts to double jeopardy under a 1996 domestic terrorism law.
The dictionary comes into play again.
Arson: the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property.
The fire was not deliberate, it was inadvertent. It happens all the time when ranchers start fires to combat invasive species. In fact, the BLM does this on the land it claims to own. Fires started by the government routinely destroy private property, but CNN does not talk about this.
If Kayyem had done her research, she would discover many “anti-federal government” political activists disagree with the occupation of the wildlife refuge and consider it counterproductive.
CNN insists it does not want another Waco. It suggests the government surround the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge gift center and wait it out.
This is precisely what Bundy and his supporters want. Bundy has said his people are prepared to stay at the center for years if need be. If this happens, it will produce a media circus that will keep Bundy’s message in the media on a fairly regular basis, especially if the feds bring in a lot of military equipment, as they did at Waco.
More than likely the government will try to bring the situation to an end as quickly as possible to avoid Bundy and company from exploiting it and keeping their message out there. The feds were humiliated by the Bundy ranch standoff and are not likely to allow that to happen again.
Of course, there is the possibility there are government provocateurs within the ranks of the as of yet undetermined number of occupiers. The situation may come to an end in the same way the standoff with Edward and Elaine Brown did after undercover cops arrested them in 2007.
CNN believes a comparison between Waco and the situation in Oregon is not applicable.
The situation is wholly different from the Waco siege in 1993, when a 51-day standoff at the Branch Davidian compound in Texas ended in tragedy after the FBI mounted an assault, fires set by the Branch Davidians broke out and 75 people perished. Much is still in dispute in that case, but federal authorities believed that children and captive civilians were in immediate risk of death.
A number of in-depth investigations revealed that in fact the Branch Davidians did not set the fire that killed 74 men, women and children at Waco. US military pyrotechnic devices were fired into the main building and fire trucks were prevented by the FBI from approaching the inferno. If the government was so concerned about the children, why did they incinerate them?
Fiona Hughes, in a review of the documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement, explains using “911 tapes, infrared surveillance footage, televised congressional hearings and survivor testimonies, the filmmakers mount a strong case against the ATF ([Bureau of] Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and FBI, and paints them as cold-blooded murderers who clearly had the intent of killing people who stubbornly stood up to them. The FBI gassed the people who remained in the Branch Davidian compound and then let them burn to death.”
Bundy and his supporters are also stubbornly standing up to the federal government, although they have not killed federal agents in self-defense as the Davidians did. If in fact they do this following an attempt by the feds to storm the building we can expect another Waco, albeit on a much smaller scale.
CNN suggests exploiting the situation to send a message to folks who oppose the federal government:
Finally, while the presence of federal troops might make the situation more tense than it already is, the Obama administration needs to make a statement with this organization and future domestic terrorists.
Various federal authorities are now in charge, but the administration should be ready to mobilize federal military support should they need it, if only for the long haul. And to make an important point that the rule of law is paramount in a civil, democratic society…
Kayyem may not know it, but this would be a violation of the Posse Comitatus act. The occupation is a law enforcement issue. Obviously, for Kayyem and CNN, the rule of law is subjective and open to interpretation, especially when “domestic terrorists” not engaged in any real terrorist activity are involved.
The gung-ho military angle coming from CNN makes sense, though. The Atlanta offices of the network were at one time home to military personnel from the Fourth Psychological Operations Group based at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina.