Bundy Ranch and the new rules of engagement
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) In the aftermath of round one of the Bundy Ranch armed siege by the U.S. government, I have decided to offer the federal government an intelligent analysis of the new rules of engagement. People like Daniel P. Love, Special Agent in Charge of BLM Region 3, desperately need to review and learn these rules. Other federal agents also need to understand the tectonic shift of power that has just taken place and how it will impact their operations from here forward.
Why am I doing this? Because the BLM, through its astounding incompetence and arrogance, very nearly initiated a massacre at Bundy Ranch which would have been disastrous for the BLM agents actively engaged there. The incident very nearly came to a shooting war, and it is the outdated, ill-informed government playbook that inflamed the situation and brought it to a flashpoint of violence. At every step, BLM escalated the situation beyond reason: who brings snipers to a tortoise dispute? Who unleashes attack dogs on unarmed pregnant women and cancer survivors? The BLM, that’s who!
I know there remain many good agents in many different departments of the federal government. But there are also many incompetent agents who are still living in the 1990’s and think they can run an armed ranch siege in 2014 the same way the ATF ran the Waco, Texas siege in 1993. But the rules have changed. As proof of that, consider the now-historical fact that BLM agents publicly surrendered and retreated from hundreds of armed citizens near Bunkerville, Nevada. How did this happen, exactly? To understand that, you must understand the new rules of engagement between the feds, the media and the citizens.
So if you have any friends who are feds in any department — BLM, ATF, DEA, FBI, etc. — make sure they get a copy of this article… and we all might spare ourselves some bloodshed in the near future.
Personal context: As far as my own background, I am a long-time supporter of local law enforcement, a fan of certain individuals within the FBI who are still part of “the good guys” pulling for America, and an outspoken critic of overzealous abuse of power in any agency, including the ATF, DEA and of course the BLM. My personal beliefs on current events can best be summarized by the words of Judge Andrew Napolitano in this video interview.
Old rules of engagement? Coercion, intimidation and overwhelming show of force
The reason BLM just got hoodwinked at Bundy Ranch was because they were playing by the old rules of engagement which are based on “might makes right.” BLM foolishly thought that if they closed down the air space, threatened citizens with arrest, brought snipers to the scene and ordered the mainstream media to run a total blackout on the story, they would control the situation and easily be able to assert their will (which was to seize control of the land).
They were wrong. As we all now know, BLM Special Agent Daniel P. Love vastly over-estimated the strength of his position and wildly under-estimated the strength of his opposition. How did he make that mistake? He thought this was a war of kinetic action, but it was actually a war of information flow (more discussion below).
Federal agents are intentionally misinformed during their training
Much like Dan Love, most federal agents are still running on playbooks which are wildly outdated. Change is always slow to make its way into government training manuals, operational tactics and rules of engagement. Citizens, patriots and indy media journalists, on the other hand, are incredibly adaptable, technologically savvy and enjoy an ever-growing base of support which has only expanded due to the extreme abuses of liberty and freedom that have taken place under the Obama administration. The harder the feds push, the more they grow the popular resistance to coercion. Thus, the very application of the old rules of engagement automatically leads the feds to inevitable defeat in situations where federal rules conflict with core American values.
Feds are also wildly misinformed by their superiors about the truth of their opposition, and so they are handicapped from the start with disinfo that impedes their operational efficiency. Case in point: if you’re a federal agent, nearly all the people who are described to you as “anti-government” are actually pro-Constitutional government people. They are not anarchists, and they are not irrational. They are opponents of criminal corruption and die-hard advocates of honest, limited government.
Most of what you are being told about these people is propaganda, not factual truth. As a result, when you think you are about to go toe-to-toe with what you’ve been taught are “low IQ, inbred anti-government extremists,” the truth is that many of these people are actually far more cognitively accomplished than your own agents. For example, members of the Bundy family possess well-developed philosophical ideas about liberty, personal perseverance and spiritual courage. At the same time, most lower-tier federal agents have never spent any real time pondering ethics, values, courage or philosophy at all. Most federal agents, factually stated, are ignorant of the Bill of Rights and have almost no knowledge of the limitations of federal power. They are not taught, after all, to limit their reach but instead to find ways to work around such limitations and assert their power in any way possible. Such is the nature of every government agency and department. Most young men working as front-line agents in these departments have almost no knowledge of what they are truly facing.
Furthermore, federal agents are almost never instructed that their adversaries might be thoughtful, courageous, honorable people who primarily just want to be left alone. These people are also highly disciplined and principled. As the Bundy Ranch scenario clearly demonstrated, so-called “extremists” are willing and able to hold their fire and act with extraordinary self-discipline, even in the face of extreme escalations of violence perpetrated by government agents. Obviously, then, they are not extremists at all. What’s extreme is the BLM’s decision to bring snipers and government helicopters to a dispute they claim was about a desert tortoise.
Federal agents are almost never taught these truths about the everyday citizens they are facing in these scenarios. Instead, federal training programs go out of their way to vilify and smear rural white people as, for example, “low-IQ extremists” rather than the thoughtful, principled Americans they truly are. Just because somebody works on a ranch does not make them stupid. I own multiple John Deere tractors and raise chickens, yet my own cognitive function ranks in the top one-tenth of one percent of all Americans. Do not make the mistake of equating rural living with stupidity, and do not think that people only live on farms because they have no other choice. Many of us have gone to great lengths to deliberately pursue rural lifestyles because rural living is more in tune with our well-developed philosophies of happiness and purpose.
Background: The balance of power; weapons, information and decentralization
To understand the new rules of engagement, you need to understand how the American Revolution was won. And to understand that, you need to understand how the invention of interchangeable parts in firearms manufacturing allowed everyday men to attain fairly accurate rifles which could counter rifles held by centralized government personnel (in ANY government, not just the British government).
It was the proliferation of easy-to-make, easy-to-repair rifles — along with barrel rifling advancements — that allowed everyday people to rise up against government oppression and tyranny. This is how the United States of America came to be born, of course — by taking a stand against the tyranny of the King of England. That’s also why standing firm against tyranny is something that can never be taken out of the American spirit because it runs in our blood.
The ease of manufacturing and maintaining rifles shifted the balance of power from the hands of the few (government) to the hands of the many (Democracy). This is why the invention of the rifle unleashed a global wave of revolutions and revolt against centralized authority. Grassroots rifle manufacturing was, in fact, the first peer-to-peer offensive weapons manufacturing network of the modern world. If you don’t understand this trend in history, you will never understand what’s happening in America today.
Today, of course, government has far more advanced weapons than the common man. Government commands Hellfire missiles, Apache attack helicopters and even nuclear weapons. No common citizen’s group possesses such weapons, and because of this, government believes it now controls the balance of power. But that’s playing the old game from the 1700’s. Today, what matters is not so much who has the better weapons, but who has the better ability to share information. Information warfare is the paradigm of 2014 and beyond, not kinetic warfare.
The Pentagon already understands this, of course, which is why journalists are strictly controlled (“embedded”) when covering wars in the Middle East. The information war is far more important to shape and control than the kinetic war. Because it doesn’t really matter where the bombs land as long as you control which VIDEOS of the bombs get broadcast. Guiding the news coverage is far more important than guiding the ordinance, in other words. (Oops! Did ya just blow up a civilian hospital? Don’t worry, CNN will agree not to show it, aren’t they awesome?)
Government can no longer control the narrative
Centralized government can no longer control the news narrative for events taking place on U.S. soil. What’s happening today in information sharing now mirrors what took place over 200 years ago with rifle manufacturing sharing. When information can be passed from person to person, in a decentralized, peer-to-peer network with no central authority and no central point of control, facts, photos and videos easily bypass the usual firewalls government places upon mainstream media outlets. While it is exceedingly easy to control videos and photos in a foreign country, it is all but impossible to control such information when events are unfolding on U.S. soil (as they did near Bunkerville, Nevada).
The widespread ownership of video recording devices in 2014 mirrors the widespread ownership of rifles in 1775. Nearly every citizen today has a mobile phone recording device, and nearly everyone has an ability to post videos, photos, audio and tweets to the internet in near-real time. This is tactically equivalent to the ability of any citizen in 1775 to own and operate rifles capable of going head-to-head with the rifles carried by British soldiers who occupied the colonies of the Americas.
If you understand this concept of decentralized, readily-available technologies that shape the big trends of history, the you are ready to grasp the following NEW rules of engagement.
Rule #1) You no longer control the narrative
At Waco, Oklahoma City, Ruby Ridge and 9/11, the U.S. government wholly controlled the narrative. The centralized media institutions in place at the time exhibited total control over all media broadcasts in the nation. There was no social media. There was no Twitter. There was no Facebook. There were no blogs. Mainstream media’s control over information was absolute, and therefore so was White House control over the mainstream media.
Today, the mass decentralization of news media is nearly complete. While centralized news sources may agree to be obedient and complicit in broadcasting propaganda (or running a media blackout on a particular story), citizens now have ready access to multiple vectors through which information can be accumulated or shared. As I have said here on Natural News, social media allows us to share the news faster than the government can cover it up.
Almost by definition, no centralized authority can exercise timely and effective control over organic, decentralized news sharing fueled by extreme curiosity, interest and sometimes outrage by the public. The very things that make Facebook addictive to many people — the “wow” factor when learning new facts — also make people want to share those facts with others. The structure of social media is viral by its very nature. This structure is the antithesis of centralized government control over narratives of unfolding news events.
Freedom of information, in other words, constantly counteracts the inherent desire of tyrants to oppress and control information. The very existence of electronic, decentralized media is anti-tyrannical by its very nature. The democratization of information automatically leads to the democratization of power, which is the exact opposite of what the U.S. government really wants. Remember: the U.S. government strongly supports freedom fighters in Kiev, but is terrified of freedom fighters in America. Ever wonder why?
Rule #2) Your mainstream media blackouts will backfire and make alternative media more popular than ever
During the Bundy Ranch affair, mainstream media was ordered by the White House to completely refrain from covering the story. This, again, is a laughable mistake from an old-school playbook.
While the White House thought that erecting a blackout across the mainstream media would cause the story to vanish from national consciousness, what actually took place was precisely the opposite: the story took off like wildfire across the ‘net. But instead of Pulizer-prize-winning mainstream journalists going on scene and reporting live from Nevada, all the journalism glory went to citizen journalists like Pete Santilli and David Knight, both working for independent online media groups that can never be controlled by government authority.
At Bundy Ranch, the mainstream media blackout backfired, causing enormous rises in popularity for indy media and alternative media. I happen to know firsthand, for example, that one of my own stories on Bundy Ranch was read by over 3 million people. And that’s small compared to a story by Kit Daniels of Infowars which went so viral that it became the single most-shared story of the year, across ALL media.
I also happen to know that indy video networks like Next News Network attracted hundreds of thousands of new subscribers. The mainstream media blackout, it turns out, was an incredible gift to alternative media which enjoyed unprecedented viewership, ad revenues, new subscribers and new fans. The mainstream media blackout was the best news of the year across alt. media. The White House, in other words, just added huge viewership numbers to the very same independent media groups it is constantly trying to discredit.
Rule #3) You can’t stop the alternative media by stopping its leaders
The alternative media is a phenomenon of spontaneous, decentralized, peer-to-peer journalism. It’s not based on specific individuals, because there is always upward pressure from others to take the place of any individuals are might be intimidated into silence. Even if top voices of alternative media were to die or disappear, they would be immediately replaced by others who are ready to assume their roles.
Online audiences easily transfer from one alternative media outlet to another. A single super-viral story, for example, can gain an alternative media person over half a million new followers. This is partly why attempts to suppress alternative media via individual character assassination are all but useless. Alternative media followers already know everything printed in the mainstream media is pure propaganda, so running a hit piece on an alt. media personality in the mainstream media accomplishes nothing.
Furthermore, there is no central authority over alternative media. Thus, there is no single point of control or influence over the network of peer-to-peer alt. media publishers and broadcasters. While the mainstream media can simply be ordered into total silence by the White House — and this is exactly what happened with the Bundy Ranch story — alt. media by definition adhere to no such obedience or demands.
Notice, too, that in this case of the Bundy Ranch, one of the top alt. media personalities, Alex Jones, was not even at the forefront of the effort: it was his reporters — David Knight and Kit Daniels — who broke the biggest stories. This is by design. Alex has always sought to encourage his reporters to rise up and cover the really big stories while establishing their own independent credibility as investigative journalists. Do not misinterpret this as a mistake; it is AJ’s intention that his reporters pursue such paths. AJ has always had the intention that Infowars would continue on even if he were killed.
Rule #4) Escalations of coercion only encourage greater resistance
The single most important factor leading to the rise of the armed citizen’s revolt at the Bundy Ranch was the Youtube video showing attack dogs unleashed by BLM agents against unarmed citizens. This video has now become legendary, having been viewed many millions of times in all its renditions and copies.
This video clearly and unambiguously shows a BLM agent giving multiple verbal and body language commands to an attack dog, directed against unarmed civilians. It was the widespread sharing of this video that led to the uprising which ultimately led to BLM surrendering to American patriots.
In realizing this, the natural tendency of government tyrants and oppressors is to say, “We’ll just ban mobile devices or confiscate them all at gunpoint!” This is the same sort of abysmal thinking that led the BLM to somehow think erecting a “First Amendment Zone” would be acceptable to Americans. Apparently, the BLM believes the American people are so incredibly stupid that won’t remember the First Amendment applied everywhere in America, not just some temporary zones defined by a delusional gang of armed tyrants. The very idea that BLM would even attempt to set up such an area of so utterly offensive and disrespectful to the spirit of America that I still shake my head in disbelief over the fact that they tried it.
Rule #5) You will only have the cooperation of the People by their choice, not by coercion
The final rule in all this is something most feds will never quite understand. In most cases, federal agents receive cooperation from citizens by choice, not by force. For example, I have voluntarily provided information to the U.S. Department of Justice on criminal scams taking place in the natural products industry. I do this by choice, not by force, because it is the right thing to do and because it serves the public interest.
When federal agents make requests upon American citizens, there is a moment in which those requests are parsed for congruency with a person’s perceived understanding of both the law and moral justice. If a federal agent’s request is in alignment with law and moral justice, it will likely be voluntarily followed. For example, I (lawfully) carry a concealed firearm every time I visit the Austin airport. If a crazy person goes nuts with a machete at the airport, and I find myself side by side with an armed federal agent, have no doubt I will voluntarily cooperate with federal law enforcement officers in a joint armed effort to halt the violence of the armed assailant and thereby protect innocent people. (And being Austin, Texas, the machete-wielder will likely find himself riddled with bullets because hundreds of honorable, armed citizens carry concealed weapons at the Austin airport every single day.)
On the other hand, if a federal agent approaches me and orders me to rob a bank for him, I will tell him no. Why? Surely the agent can claim he is “giving me a lawful order” and I therefore must obey under law, correct? Yet when that “lawful order” stands at odds with what I know to be morally right, I will choose not to obey that order, regardless of what excuse the agent invokes.
This is precisely what happened at Bundy Ranch. BLM showed up with “lawful orders” backed up by two different (federal) courts. But the People did not perceive those order as being morally justified. Therefore, they chose not to recognize those orders as being lawful. As was the case at Bundy Ranch, Americans can and do think for themselves in such scenarios, and at any moment, they may decide that YOUR actions as a federal agent are grossly unlawful, immoral or unconstitutional. If enough people arrive at the same conclusion, you will sooner or later find yourself surrounded and possibly arrested by the People at gunpoint.
This concept does not compute with many federal agents because they were not taught the real roots of power in a free society. They are taught that a law written on a piece of paper is an absolute, irrefutable power which can never be questioned by lowly “civilians.” In reality, a law is nothing more than mutual consent of the governed. That consent, it turns out, can be invoked at any time if those who apply the law do so in a way that is egregious or unreasonable. All government power comes from the People, after all, and can therefore be revoked by the People if government becomes abusive or overreaching in its exercising of that power.
Laws mean nothing, after all, if they are not based on a sense of justice which can be recognized by the Common Man (or woman). The U.S. government, for example, once had laws on the books which said that blacks were not fully recognized as people. Such laws fly in the face of spiritual truth, and had I been an independent media reporter in the 1820’s, I would have been aggressively arguing for equal rights among all people, regardless of their skin color (and I would have been aggressively attacked by the establishment for defending such a “crazy” idea, of course).
Those are the new rules of engagement. Please send this article to your favorite fed. The more of them who read this and understand it, the greater chance we all have for lasting peace and avoidance of bloodshed caused by an arrogant, out-of-control federal government that has lost its way.