The Irrepressible Rothbard
Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
These days, when the Respectable Media form a virtual monolith, rehashing government press releases and confining the Respectable Spectrum of opinion to the tiny distance from left-center to right-center, truth can often be found only at the "extremes" whether left or right, where anti-Establishment people dare to stray beyond these prescribed limits. So we have to thank leftist Alexander Cockburn, in his column in The Nation (Oct. 18), for straying into Forbidden Ground in reporting on the story behind the terrible Waco massacre.
Cockburn cites the report of Nancy Ammerman, of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, who was recruited by the Justice and Treasury Departments to review internal documents on the Waco case, in preparation for their own whitewash report on Waco. Professor Ammerman ignored sound cautionary advice from religion experts and from the FBI's own Behavioral Science Services Unit. Instead, the BATF and FBI relied heavily on the sinister Cult Awareness Network (CAN), which kept goading the federal authorities to use maximal force against the Branch Davidians. Thus, in April, before the Waco holocaust, CAN president Patricia Ryan was quoted in the Houston Chronicle as calling for the arrest of David Koresh, using lethal force if necessary.
Particularly ominous is the crucial role played at Waco by a leading "deprogrammer"; "deprogrammers" are professional brainwashers who kidnap "cult" adherents, and then use brainwashing techniques to "deprogram" them, thereby allegedly setting them mentally free. Since deprogrammers are felons who are often convicted and sent to jail, CAN has to have an arms'-length relationship with them, but even so their joint connections to Waco are disturbingly intertwined. Thus, the man whom the BATF and FBI relied on most heavily for advice on the Branch Davidians was Rich Ross, whom Professor Ammerman says "clearly had the most extensive access to both agencies of any person on the 'cult expert' list and he was apparently listened to more attentively." Ross, who boasts of performing many "deprogrammings," was frequently quoted by the media during the Waco siege, and he was featured in the Waco Tribune-Herald series on the Branch Davidians that began at the end of February. Ross, a convicted jewel thief known as such to the federal authorities, is now facing charges of unlawful imprisonment arising from one of his deprogrammings in Washington State.
Rick Ross, who admits to hatred of all religious cults and whose aim is to destroy cults, was hailed by Cynthia Kisser, executive director of CAN's national office, as "among the half dozen best deprogrammers in the country." Ross got much of his information on the Branch Davidians from a deprogramming session held at the Los Angeles home of Priscilla Coates, head of the Southern California CAN. Someone, either Ross or a colleague, "deprogrammed" a former Branch Davidian member, David Block, at these sessions, and information from the brainwashed Block was featured heavily in the initial BATF search warrant presented to a Waco judge.
Professor Ammerman concludes that major sponsors of the first bloody and unjustified assault on the Branch Davidians included people such as Rick Ross and CAN, who "have a direct ideological [and financial] interest in arousing suspicion and antagonism against what they call 'cults.'"
It is horrifying that the acolytes of the "therapeutic state" are increasingly turning to coercive brainwashing techniques, ranging from "sensitivity training sessions" to kidnapping and "deprogramming" for stamping out the Politically Incorrect. Our "soft" totalitarian liberals are increasingly taking on "harder" and rougher trappings. This trend must be combated and uprooted, and one important step would be a deep investigation of the Cult Awareness Network. Who are these people? And how did they acquire their power?
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