Sunday, June 10, 2012

Freedom isn't "Free"

In these times of worldwide turmoil, and many countries in a state of "revolt", let's ask ourselves two questions. How are other countries dealing with their dissenters and even more importantly how would THIS country deal with the very same situation?

First let's look at the situation in Syria. It gained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–1971. Between 1958 and 1961, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt that was terminated by a military coup in Syria. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered to be non-democratic. Bashar al-Assad  been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad who was in office from 1971. Presently the Syrian government has been accused of using a campaign of violence that includes such actions as attacking opposition forces with tanks, bombings, and mass killings, along with imprisoning its own citizens for aiding and hiding the rebels.

We look at Russia, Boris Yeltsin was elected the President of Russia in June 1991, in the first direct presidential election in Russian history. On 31 December 1999 President Yeltsin resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, who then won the 2000 presidential election. Putin suppressed the Chechen insurgency, although sporadic violence still occurs throughout the Northern Caucasus, some observers have argued that Russia's efforts to suppress insurgency in the North Caucasus have been the most violent in Europe in recent years in terms of ongoing military and civilian casualties and human rights abuses. Through what is considered a series of rigged elections he has managed to remain in office to this day. This past week Putin signed into law steep fines for protesting the government that are as much as 150 times the previous fines and add up to a typical middle class person's yearly income.  It is reported that Syria receives 75% of all its military equipment and weapons from Russia it's no wonder the Syrian government is taking its approach to revolt straight from the Russian playbook.

Egypt has been in a state of turmoil ever since 2011. Egypt has been officially named a "Republic" since 18 June 1953. However, it has been under Emergency Law continually since 1967. Between 1981 and 2011, Egypt was ruled autocratically by Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, who came to power after the assassination of President Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat. Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik was sworn in as Prime Minister on 29 January 2011, following the resignation of Ahmed Nazif. Since President Mubarak's resignation during the 2011 revolution, Egypt's de facto government has been the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, chaired by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Protesters again filled the streets in Cairo to reclaim a revolt they say has been hijacked after Hosni Mubarak was jailed for life and his top security officials freed in a sign they say his old guard is still in charge. Many fear radical Muslim groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood will gain control and invoke harsh and socially restrictive Sharia Laws.

Americans have been bombarded on all sides of news of other governments using extreme military action to squelch civil unrest and revolt all over the world. When asked the question what is OUR government willing to do in America to hold onto its growing power ? As at least a hint we could look at the actions taken in Waco Texas on February 28th 1993 against the Branch Davidian compound.  Acting on a tip from a UPS driver that they had been receiving weapons and other military supplies the US ATF,  FBI,  and various Texas law enforcement officers, carried out a full scale siege and assault on a compound known to contain as many as 75 people. Because the Davidians were heavily armed, the FBI's arms included .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rifles and armored vehicles (CEVs). The assault took place on April 19, 1993. Combat Engineering tanks used booms to puncture holes in the walls of buildings of the compound so they could pump in CS gas ("tear gas") and try to flush out the Davidians without harming them. The stated plan called for increasing amounts of gas to be pumped in over two days to increase pressure. Officially, no armed assault was to be made, and loudspeakers were used to tell the Davidians that there would be no armed assault and to ask them not to fire on the vehicles. When several Davidians allegedly opened fire, the FBI's response was to increase the amount of gas being used.

FBI also delivered 40-millimetre (1.6 in) CS grenade fire from grenade launchers; very early in the morning, the FBI fired two military M651 rounds at the Davidian construction site. About mid-morning the FBI began to run low on 40mm Ferret CS rounds and asked Texas Ranger Captain David Byrnes for tear gas rounds; the tear gas rounds procured from Company "F" in Waco turned out to be unusable pyrotechnic rounds and were returned to the Company "F" office after the fire. 40mm munitions recovered by the Texas Rangers at Waco included dozens of plastic Ferret Model SGA-400 Liquid CS rounds, two metal M651E1 military pyrotechnic teargas rounds, two metal NICO Pyrotechnic Sound & Flash grenades and parachute illumination flares.

 After more than six hours no Davidians had left the building, sheltering instead in a cinder block room within the building or using gas masks. The FBI claim that CEVs were used to punch large holes in the building to provide exits for those inside. At around noon, three fires broke out almost simultaneously in different parts of the building. The government maintains the fires were deliberately started by Davidians.  Davidian survivors maintain the fires were accidentally or deliberately started by the tank assault. As the fire spread, Davidians were prevented from escaping; others refused to leave and eventually became trapped. In all, only nine people left the building during the fire. 75 people died that day in the fire including 25 children under the age of 15 and two pregnant women.

I'm not saying the Branch Davidians were all innocent, certainly the 25 children that died were, I'm simply pointing out our government's willingness to use ANY and all means to achieve its ends. Even if those means include the very tactics our government criticizes other governments around the world for using as well.  All this happened in a post TSA era, before 911, before the Oklahoma bombing, before the Department of Homeland Security, and before the NDAA. Internet reports of the TSA branching out in authority are NOW performing random searches on our highways and even public events. Our skies are filled with over 15,000  drones with another 15,000 to be added by 2015 all for our "protection". We find out daily that our internet activities have been, and will be, monitored  as well as ALL phone calls, text messages, and emails. I'll close with one last thought. We have all seen the famous photo of the lone man standing off with a few tanks in Tianiamen Square China, but what most don't realize is that that photo has been severely cropped. What you see is a line of 5 tanks, which is in its self is amazingly brave, but what you don't see is that the reality is there is a line of over 60 tanks behind those! Brave citizens all over the world have had to face some harsh realities and freedom isn't "Free"

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