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What’s Wrong With Laughing & Labeling Oregon Militants "Terrorists"


What’s Wrong With Laughing & Labeling Oregon Militants "Terrorists"

Kevin Gosztola

Militants have taken over the headquarters for a a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. The militants took control of the federal building in the afternoon on January 2 and, thus far, United States law enforcement agencies have not removed them.


The term "terrorism" is a hopelessly mangled trope of the exponentially proliferating propaganda of fear and hate. At this point it is absolutely worthless to any analysis other than to note its origins in fascistic mind control, to include the authoritarian left, as the prelude to a body count. Some of these sagebrush idiots look like they crave martyrdom. They would like nothing more than to join the martyred pantheon of Waco and Ruby Ridge.


While I agree media use of the term can often be misguided, miscalculated, misinterpreted and misinformed, such semantic opportunism in the media doesn't mean there is no fixed definition of terrorism. One need only look at the FBI's definitions, or the definitions employed by various US government agencies to see a basic, fixed definition of terrorism common to all: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Saying the whole concept of terrorism should be made obsolete, based on usage that may, or may not, serve the interests of a "security state," is as ludicrous as saying the whole concept of treason should be made obsolete...or the whole concept of murder. It's not only impossible, it would never stop the "security state" from advancing its agenda. It might make Gosztola feel more comfortable, but negating any public discourse on the concept just to make certain people feel more comfortable isn't in the best interests of a democratic society.


This whole event is bizarre. Who takes over a building in the middle of nowhere when no activities were planned in the first place? Is this a side show? It is so easy for the media to control the message when there will likely be no independent observation of events. At this point in time, I am more interested in the narrative that is developed than the "event" itself. Might say my hackles are up on this one.


US generals and admirals are borrow and spend terrorists who invade innocent countries. Jerks like these have nothing to do all winter except feed cows and watch ice cycles grow.


What are you? Some kind of John Yoo? There has been no violence thus far and only mild intimidation. I don't think this one squeezes into the terrorist trope. Just my opinion. Sorry to say, folks. Nothing drone-able here..


At the very least, they are trespassing and costing the taxpayers millions dealing with them. Inviting other armed zombies to join them is another matter.


In the mean time the situation of the Hammonds remains a legitimate question - getting thoroughly lost in precisely the dynamics described in the article. At issue is a case of the matter of "mandatory minimum" sentencing under federal "terrorism" configurations.

With all due respect for the concerns, I would submit that these need to be brought down to the root of the matter precisely for the sake of those concerns. Just as in the situation in Ferguson, where community members did due diligence on documenting the aberrations in the practices of the local government - that was never covered in the dominant media until the Justice Dept. investigation.

I neither endorse nor challenge the coverage linked here, but rather encourage keeping an eye on what is being overshadowed.


It doesn't look like the price tag has gotten to a million, yet. Only a minimal local response thus far. On the positive side, it looks like it might have ratings potential as a reality show, generating cable news revenue as well if someone gets shot.


Nothing in my comment was directed at the actions, or lack actions, of the armed Citizens for Constitutional Freedom occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Oregon. It was directed at the author's commentary on use of the the term terrorism. Particularly, that there was no "fixed" definition of the term and that the entire concept should be rendered obsolete.

Those notions are as lame as your attempt at ad hominem insult.


Ad hominem? Naah. Not really. Adcanininem, maybe. Your loosely legalistic definitions of the term "terrorism" (taken from the FBI!) don't resuscitate the trope to anything meaningful, especially within this context. No offense meant, dawg.


I know how scary these ranchers can be. We have sagebrush rebels here in Arizona, as well. Then there are the various "Minutemen" militias on the border- the ones who are euphoric about Donald Trump's neofascist campaign. Ever hear of the Shawna Forde case? She is from the Pacific Northwest and now lives on Arizona's Death Row. Talk about scary. But not a terrorist- just a violent sociopath.



No, Trump talks about brown-skinned hordes of terrorists, drug runners, rapists and other ultraviolent criminals streaming across an open border to victimize white womanhood. And then there are the world's 1.6 billion Muslims, potential terrorists all, including the 2 million or so U.S. citizens. Trump is modeling his campaign on the Big Lie, fear and loathing propaganda of Joseph Goebbels. So he's not religious, but he does "chew the cracker" to make his lovely wife happy, and he is ultra-nationalistic, ultra-capitalistic, and travels with his crew of brown shirts. Fascist to the core.


I would submit that your narrative of disempowered fatalism is chosen with a likewise dissociative analogy and is not a consummate fact. Balance in our lives is an ongoing engagement in learning, respect, working together to collaborate in precisely the ongoing generation of balances rather than siloed, extractive advantage, power over, domination, dehumanization that result in 'bad blood'.


I didn't say Trump was militia movement per se. I said he was a neofascist. Shawna Forde is the militia avatar referenced.


Easy to end it. Just phase out leases for grazing on public lands. Then we can start cleaning up the environmental, health disasters being caused by fracking and oil drilling (the perpetrators never seem to do it). Then we can go after the 10's of thousands of long, closed mines whose owners never got around to it. Then we could stop all the wars which are draining our fininancial ability to slow down and possibly stop climate change. Yep, the west has always been a rape and run free-for-all for some and a financial disaster for most of the rest. Sorry to run on, but, the politically powerful always get their way and the land, the wildlife and the meek lose.


So, I haven't been reading every article out there about this snafu, but I have seen a strong dichotomy of perspective on the Hammond's case. I saw at least one journalist say they started fires to cover up illegal deer hunting. And another, Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com), says this, which looks pretty well backed up by his citations, evincing reasonable grounds for protest, if not armed takeover of a federal building. (Of course, the double standard response of the security state that everyone is calling attention to remains true, whatever the case, but I agree that the left should not be saying, hey, the security state overreacts and kills brown people instantly, so they should overreact against any and all, but, you know, two wrongs...):

"In 2001, the Hammonds started a controlled burn on their own land to eliminate invasive junipers from ruining grazing for cattle: the fire spread to neighboring federal lands. As the Tri-State Livestock News reports:

'The first fire, in 2001, was a planned burn on Hammonds’ own property to reduce juniper trees that have become invasive in that part of the country. That fire burned outside the Hammonds’ private property line and took in 138 acres of unfenced BLM land before the Hammonds got it put out. No BLM firefighters were needed to help extinguish the fire and no fences were damaged.'

'They called and got permission to light the fire,’ Dwight’s wife, Susan, said, adding that was customary for ranchers conducting range management burns – a common practice in the area.'

'We usually called the interagency fire outfit – a main dispatch – to be sure someone wasn’t in the way or that weather wouldn’t be a problem.’ Susan said her son Steven was told that the BLM was conducting a burn of their own somewhere in the region the same day, and that they believed there would be no problem with the Hammonds going ahead with their planned fire. The court transcript includes a recording from that phone conversation.'

There was a second fire in 2006, started by Steven Hammond to counteract the lightning fires that threatened to envelope their land and their home. The Bureau of Land Management says that a single acre of federal land was affected by the fire – and they pressed charges, even though lightning fires were raging all over the area and there was no way to determine which fires were burning what land.

The Hammonds were originally charged under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 with nine counts – including starting several other fires — but the jury saw otherwise and acquitted them of all but two counts: starting the fires they admitted to in the first place. The judge sentenced them to less than the federal mandatory, stating that what the government was asking – five years – was “disproportionate” and if imposed would’ve “shocked my conscience.”

The government wasn’t satisfied with that, and they appealed the decision. Judge Ann Aiken – the same judge who ruled that the prison system has a right to keep its safety standards confidential, even though a prisoner had died under dicey circumstances – agreed with the Justice Department, and the Hammonds must now serve full five-year sentences, minus time already served. They have agreed to turn themselves in, in spite of the protests on their behalf."


Maybe the environmental activists would be more effective if they emulated this approach.


..authoritarian left? Kind of an oxymoron.


Colin: As a former English teacher, I want to compliment you on your use of crisp language, clear sentences, no spelling errors, and deft use of paragraphing. So many here could learn from you. Oh, and the content of your remark was admirable, too.