There is a story unfolding in America that has gone largely unreported in the media outside Nevada, and yet it may become the violent flash point that sets a highly militarized Federal Agency against its citizens.
Ostensibly it’s about grazing rights on publicly owned land in Nevada. Cattle rancher Cliven Bundy’s family has been grazing this land since the 1870’s.
Enter the Federal Government in the form of ‘The Bureau of Land Management’ who have demand more than $1.0M in historical grazing fees going back over the last 20 years from Cliven Bundy. To back up their claim they seize 400 head of 68 year old Bundy’s cattle.
Cliven Bundey refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Federal Agency, only that of the State of Nevada and Clark County. In other words, he would obey the request of the local Sheriff, but not the demands of the Bureau of Land Management, so he resisted.
In a move that sounds unbelievable to those of us living outside of the USA, the Bureau of Land Management responded by send in their para-military SWAT team including armored vehicles and snipers to the Bundey Ranch.
Then something happened that could only take place in America. The story of Cliven Bundy’s plight leaks out to friends and neighbors, and before you know it, there are hundreds armed citizens, many on horseback turning up to support Bundey in his dispute with the Bureau of Land Management.
An armed stand off ensues.
On April 12 the Federal Agency backs down and withdraws their paramilitary, for a season.
But there is another sub plot running through this story. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is the State representative for Nevada where Mr Bundey has his ranch.
Harry Reid’s son is representing a Chinese company looking to establish a $5 Billion solar panel plant right in Clark County, Nevada ostensibly where the Bundey’s cattle have been grazing for more than 100 years.
In an escalating war of words, Senator Harry Reid has now publicly described Bundey and his supporters “domestic terrorists”. To understand just how chilling this is, his deliberate choice of words has been used to enable him to invoke the Patriot Act, which was passed shortly after 9/11 to defend the citizens of the USA from domestic terrorism, and which allows the Government to suspend certain ‘constitutional rights’ for those so designated.
It is likely that the only reason the April 12th armed standoff did not turn into another ‘Waco Texas’ with the deaths of all those who ‘opposed’ the Government Agency, is the recent ability to record all events on mobile phones, and to either stream live on the Internet, or post video footage on-line in almost real time.
That this scenario is being played out in the USA, or in any civilized nation is almost beyond belief. Mark Steyn has recently opined on the American par-militarized bureaucracy, where the only agencies without an armed military presence are the military themselves. Anyone it seems can enter Fort Hood and kill unarmed soldiers at will, while they are forced to take cover and dial 911 for armed police assistance. However, if you are a rancher involved in a grazing dispute, and snipers and armored vehicles from The Bureau of Land Management turn up, who do you call?