When the ATF attacked the Branch Davidians outside Waco in February 1993, the expectation was a quick and painless victory over an eccentric religious sect and a public relations boost for the scandal-plagued agency. This is why the assault was code-named “Showtime.”
The Davidians, however, refused to follow the script. When the ATF stormtroopers arrived at the sect’s sanctuary at Mt. Carmel, David Koresh – who had known of the impending assault, and released an ATF informant rather than holding him as a hostage — attempted to de-escalate the confrontation, only to be answered by a murderous volley of gunfire. Rather than allowing themselves to be shackled or slaughtered, the Davidians stood their ground, killing four of the assailants in a morally unassailable exercise of self-defense and forcing the ATF to retreat.
Because the Regime cannot countenance resistance, the FBI laid siege to the Davidians for 51 days before the final assault that left of scores of Davidians dead from fire, asphyxiation, and gunfire.
In 1973, a band of Sioux activists at Wounded Knee held off the FBI and the US military for 71 days, demanding respect for their rights under treaty law, accountability for the corruption of federally installed tribal dictator Dickie Wilson, and investigation of unsolved murders. The Feds replied with the largest domestic military deployment since the last confrontation at Wounded Knee in December 1890, an undisguised slaughter carried out by the vengeful Seventh Cavalry that amounted to an American Babi Yar.
In response to the 1973 protests, Armed FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, SWAT teams, and teams of Wilson’s paramilitary “GOON Squad” formed an iron ring around the village of Wounded Knee. Colonel Vic Jackson, head of the Pentagon’s Civil Disorder Management School, was called upon by the FBI to implement the notorious “Operation Garden Plot” martial law blueprint. The FBI’s plan called for the Army would invade and “pacify” the village before the FBI went in to “arrest” whoever might survive the onslaught. Armored Personnel Carriers were on hand to deal with what were described as “bunkers” (and were, in fact, root cellars). Phantom F-4 jets flew low-altitude reconnaissance runs over the town.
At one point, the Bureau ordered the media to leave the area and then warned the occupiers to send out their women and children. The anticipated massacre might well have been thwarted by the presence of local white residents whom the FBI called “hostages” – but who were there voluntarily in order to protect their supposed captors from the Feds.
Over the next two years, the Feds were unable to convict the “ringleaders” of the Wounded Knee protest in court. So the FBI, following its COINTELPRO playbook, abetted internecine conflicts within the Indian resistance and carried out a campaign of low-intensity warfare that left several innocent people dead.
In 2003, when the Power Elite in Washington stretched out its hand a second time to confer the blessings on “democracy” on the people of Iraq, the city of Fallujah was one of the first targets of this exercise in murderous generosity. Bridges were bombed, schools and homes were seized by Washington’s armed missionaries of armed benevolence, and Blackwater mercenaries abused and killed innocent people with arrogant abandon.
Fallujah residents reacted by killing several Blackwater operators and organizing small but effective resistance cells. This defiant ingratitude provoked the stern chastisement of Washington, which encircled the city and visited Carthaginian destruction on it.
Like any bully, the Regime in Washington chooses its battles carefully, generally avoiding fights with opponents capable of fighting back. But it will not accept defeat when clearly in the wrong. This is something Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters should remember.