Common thread: Wounded Knee, Waco, Little Havana
By Diane Alden
What do these three places have in common? As historical events Wounded Knee, Waco, and Little Havana share several conspicuous similarities. They all involve politics, incompetent and overbearing agents of the federal government, vilified minorities, siege mentality, children, and each were covered by a horrifically irresponsible mainstream media. Taking them one at a time starting with Wounded Knee.
South Dakota - 1890
Towards the end of the 19th century American Indians were making their last stand as an independent people. Various cultural phenomena arose and one of them was the "Ghost Dance" movement. Most of the Indian peoples looked toward a Nevada Paiute medicine man named Wovoka who prophesied that the dead would soon join the living in a world where the old ways would be again. To hurry that day the Indians were to dance the Ghost Dance wearing brightly colored "ghost shirts" which they believed would protect them from the bullets of federal troops sent to quell this new and potentially disruptive (to the federal government) religion. Stirred by the eastern media, the powers that be sent out an order to arrest one of the spiritual leaders of the movement namely Chief Sitting Bull.
Federal troops went to South Dakota and rounded up as many Sioux as they could, in particular a band led by Chief Big Foot. Sitting Bull was captured and placed under house arrest; eventually he was killed by Indians loyal to the federal government. After the great chief's murder, tense days followed as the confinement of the Indians at Wounded Knee and negotiations between the chiefs and the army did not go well. The press of the day, particularly the Eastern press had a take on the confrontation similar to its more recent take on the Waco massacre and the plight of Elian Gonzalez and Little Havana's Cuban community in Miami.
The New York Times reported: Nov. 28, 1890 - " couriers have just reported to General Brooke, they say that the redskins are dancing in circles and their village has been so changed that the lodges form a circle. When the couriers were before General Brooke, the latter asked the significance of the circling Indians. One of the couriers, who is a half-breed, smiled and said: "The Sioux never dance that dance except for one purpose, and that is for war." The Messiah expected at the Pine Ridge Agency today, when the savages will fight.
On the other hand the local South Dakota Weekly Record maintained: "Isn't it about time some of these wild and wooly newspaper liars (the Eastern press) be spanked and sent out of harm's way? There never was any danger of an Indian outbreak, and none exists now, unless these silly sensational reports have seared people into acts that might properly be construed by the Indians as a desire to fight."
Then there was the federal government and its agents. A certain Indian agent named Royer and our own Attorney General Janet Reno have some things in common. As reported in the Omaha World Herald Dec. 1, 1890, "Mr. Royer seemed d etermined to believe that there would be carnage. After a time it became apparent to every Army officer and most of the Old Indian fighters that Mr. Royer was trying to substantiate the fright which had caused him to call upon the troops. To hold his job Mr. Royer may succeed in aggravating these Indians into some sort of warlike demonstration."
No one knew where the first shots were fired but from the ridge line above the camp the army's Hotchkiss guns raked Indian teepees as men, women, and children fled for their lives. When the fighting was over 200 Sioux were dead or dying in the freezing cold.
Historians say that Wounded Knee ended the rebellion of the Indian nations against the white man. Other historians point to it as a despicable episode in government suppression of a people and religion they did not understand and feared. None of the federal agents or troops involved were punished and several received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their part in the affair.
Janet Reno, the Clinton administration's modern day Indian agent, has an uncanny knack for demonizing, using the complicit mainstream press, and finally setting up confrontation and she does it under the ruse of the "rule of law." Waco is an example and as in Wounded Knee a majority of the American people were behind the effort. Whether it is Wounded Knee, Waco or the gathering storm over Elian Gonzalez, the American people were wrong.
Waco, Texas - 1993
Dan Gifford co-producer of "Waco: Rules of Engagement" recently
stated: "My microphone goes dead on a network talk show as the host
rants that the terrible facts I've just presented about Waco are irresponsible
and conspiratorial - before tag-teaming a former FBI agent guest who continues
Journalist Alexander Cockburn, not exactly a right wing conspiracy type, sums up the press response to Waco by pointing to late night pundit Ted Koppel: " Here's Ted Koppel discussing the seizure by Federal Marshalls of tapes of FBI hostage negotiators discussing the use of pyrotechnic grenades the morning of the Waco raid: "The credibility of the FBI, which, which probably did tell the truth about most of what happened, that credibility is badly damaged, while the credibility of conspiracy theorists, who tend to be wrong about most of what they've spun together about Waco, their credibility is newly enhanced. It is on these two fronts that the greatest damage has been done." In this repellant passage, Koppel defines his career as flack for state power."
Recently, Nightline's Koppel, railed against the Cuban community in Little Havana. Stiffly maintaining that they better watch out or the full power of the federal government and Janet Reno would be brought to bear on their intransigence regarding Elian Gonzalez. Never mind that these people oppose the child's return to an internationally recognized dictatorship where human rights are routinely violated.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation Koppel must have been sitting in his stuffed shirt in the newsroom in the 1890 New York Times office blasting the "savages" as they disobeyed a government order in regard to practicing their religion. In actuality the "savages" were trying to defend themselves and their loved ones from the federal government.
In comparison with Wounded Knee, an oddball messiah named David Koresh and his followers became the focus of intense scrutiny by certain segments of society including the federal government, the mainstream media, and a majority of the American people.
The government began to weave a tapestry in order to justify the suppression of what was perceived as a bizarre religious group. The reasons for the repression appeared reasonable. It was alleged that David Koresh was a child molester, that he had an arsenal of illegal guns, and made drugs on the Branch Davidian property. Texas child protective services looked into the allegations and found no reason for interference in the communal group's living arrangements. However, the federal agencies convinced Janet Reno that there was child abuse of some sort going on. Then the FBI convinced Texas Governor Ann Richardson to use state helicopters for the planned assault saying it was for a drug bust. No illegal drugs were ever involved. Military advisors and Abram tanks were brought in to add to the war zone mentalitity. While the local police and the Texas Rangers begged the feds not to make a massive assault on the compound their pleas were ignored.
The federal government and its agents had been embarrassed, and it was budget time, so the government brought to bear military weaponry and psychological warfare against what they had set up as a "dangerous" cult.
The final result was 4 BATF agents dead, 50 on both sides wounded, more than 70 Davidians, including 25 children under 17 died in the inferno. Most were horribly burned, gassed and twisted grotesquely due to the enormity of the effects of the gas, the heat of the fire, and gunfire. The property was bulldozed and the federal agencies planted a flag on the rubble. President of all the people, William Jefferson Clinton stated, "A bunch of religious fanatics murdered themselves."
The Branch Davidians and David Koresh might have been oddball and not mainstream, they may even have been guilty of all the accusations against them. However, it was government arrogance, incompetence and contempt for the rights of unpopular American citizens which led to the death of government agents and the members of the religious group.
In 1999, after new evidence was revealed, another investigation was called for and former Senator John Danforth was put in charge. The investigation is on going. No government agents were ever punished and several involved have been promoted. Janet Reno and Bill Clinton are still in power and the mainstream media continues to justify their excesses.
Little Havana -- 2000
News reports from the mainstream media tell us that 59 percent of the American people support the return of Elian Gonzalez to his father. They do so knowing full well that his father will return to Cuba where the child will be put into a "reeducation" program in Havana. At this camp the state will have its experts reprogram the six-year-old so that he will become a good little communist and a loyal follower of Fidel. Never mind that Castro's own daughter Elina has warned the United States that to do so will be putting the child in harm's way.
Never mind that in Cuba a child's life belongs to the state. Somewhere between age seven and eleven Elian Gonzalez will be removed from his father's home and placed in a boarding situation where he will spend part of his day in school and part in the fields in a kind of indentured servitude to the state. Does this indicate that father Juan Gonzalez is thinking about his son or is he just one more frightened individual caught up in the power game between governments?
In a republic it doesn't matter what the majority wants if that majority is wrong. Americans in 1890 didn't rally behind those who opposed the killing of Indians at Wounded Knee either. They didn't complain when American Indians were forced into boarding schools far away from home. Americans of that era fell for East Coast media reports about the horrible "savage" nature of the Ogalala Sioux in South Dakota and other tribes as well. The American people after all believed the "rule of law" was at stake in suppressing the native peoples.
It should come as no surprise that most of the American people wanted the government to "do something" at Waco as well. The government did something and like Wounded Knee it will haunt us forever.
The federal government with the help of the East Coast press is doing it again. The various TV day shows trot out the obligatory government "expert" such as Dr. Irwin Redlener a friend of Hillary Clinton. An "expert" who has never laid eyes on Elian Gonzalez except to view the video the kid's desperate relatives made in a vain attempt to convince the father, Juan Gonzalez, that his child did not want to return to Cuba.
The mainstream press has used words like "kidnapping" and "child abuse" in referring to the Cuban community and the child's relatives in Miami. They do not refer to what will happen to him in a reeducation camp in Havana or the life he will live in the 'people's paradise' of Cuba. The golden prison that the Castro government has created for Elian Gonzalez is a prison nonetheless. It won't be long till most Americans forget and than Elian Gonzalez will be at the mercy of life in Cuba under Castro.
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno has made it clear that she is considering using force to take Elian Gonzalez. "There may come a time when there is no other alternative. But we've got to do it in a careful and thoughtful way." No one has asked how does taking someone by force show thought and careful concern for those involved?
However, perhaps the "rule of law" and hopefully a little justice will trump the Clinton-Gore-Reno political agenda. On April 19th, the 7th anniversary of Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing, the federal appeals court upheld a court order keeping Elian Gonzalez in the United States. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta barred anyone from attempting to remove the boy from the country. The court order delayed government efforts to bring Elian to Washington to meet his father who wants to return to Cuba.
The appeals judges said they recognized the government's authority over immigration matters, but added that ''we fail to see how an injunction in the case infringes upon the congressional power.''
"And we doubt that protecting a party's day in court, when he has an appeal of arguable merit, is contrary to the public interest,'' the court said.
The crowds in Little Havana cheered the news. Hoping for a miracle they got a small one. For the time being Elian Gonzalez may stay in the United States where his options will include freedom.
The court's decision was enough to put National Public Radio's Juan Williams into a snit. He remarked on Fox News with Brit Hume, "Well, the gloves are off now for Janet Reno. She will have to go in there and get the boy."
The majority of Americans who want the kid returned are a shameful lot. However, they have been around forever. They are the same people who sat out the American Revolution and the same people who let the American military suffer the consequences of our involvement in Vietnam. These are the same folks who voted for Bill Clinton because the economy was good. They are the ones who did not protest the lies and manipulation of their system of government by the same man who claims to have "saved the Constitution," as he slithered out from under impeachment. These are the Americans who sit transfixed in the face of every sort of debasement of their government and culture.
Meanwhile, Clinton's good soldier Janet Reno, spends 14-hour-days trying to figure out a way to stay on good terms with Cuba and Fidel Castro and not resort to violence in Miami. Perhaps in her mind she really believes that this is all about reuniting a father and son. But it would be naïve to think that the politics of it are not far from her consciousness. Manipulating public opinion through the lap dog media is important as the scene is set for possible violent confrontation.
The reality in Miami is about power politics and trying not to make Castro or Clinton-Gore look bad. Janet Reno most probably does not want a replay of the nightmare at Waco. They will be careful this time around because both Reno and Clinton are trying to build a legacy. Nothing is safe from that effort including doing the noble and upright thing for Elian Gonzalez. Nonetheless, the prime directive is; Clinton wants to leave office having "normalized" relations with Castro.
The history books will write the final epitaph on these days. I suspect the Clinton-Reno legacy will be one of dishonor and shame. The current leftist agenda and the outrageous complicity of the press make the profession of journalism akin to a Judas goat leading its fellows down the path towards police state. The common thread regarding the government and the press through the historical events of Wounded Knee, Waco and Little Havana is that they create the legacy from hell for all Americans.
If Americans continue to support evil deeds karma may come around to us eventually. If we are not careful some Executive Order down the road may place American children under the total control of the state.
However, it we are really lucky, the Clinton-Gore-Reno era will be a small distasteful memory. Perhaps it will be akin to a period that evokes a smirk and a laugh and a comment about what a "randy devil" the old bloke was. Hopefully, Clinton's legacy will be right up there with Chester B. Arthur's or Millard Fillmore's.
The press will find a way to spin the Gonzalez affair in Clinton's favor. Just as at Wounded Knee their part in the affairs of the United States in the Waco and Little Havana episodes will go down as the yellow journalism it is.
But never mind the press for now. More importantly this country needs desperately to regain a sense of outrage and shame in the American soul, so that instances of government abuse will be few and absolutely not a tolerated.
The saga of one little boy coming to this country at great risk is as American as the 4th of July. But how Americans treat him and the besieged Cuban community which took him to its' heart will say a lot about what we have become as a people. The "rule of law" was followed at Wounded Knee, Waco, and possibly Little Havana. But in the centers of power the "rule of law" too often means legalized government abuse.
It would be wise for Americans to remember that Wounded Knee, Waco and Little Havana may be indicative of turning our backs on truth, justice and what it is to be an American.
Update: April 22, 2000
It would appear that what we have become as a people happened early Holy Saturday morning.
On the night before the latest travesty, Jesse jackson said on MSNBC he had offered to negotiate a compromise where the two families would be allowed to talk without the politics and the lawyers and the crowds. Such was not to be.
Clinton-Gore-Reno gave us a picture for all times. A picture taken by an AP photographer showing an INS agent pointing a gun at a frightened Elian Gonzalez and the fisherman who plucked him from the sea. The boy cried, "Help me, help me."
Well, now he is reunitede with his father and all is right with the world. Right? Americans can dither on about the stock market, kids can buy new video games at Wal-Mart, women can make plans for dinner, environmentalists can go home after another weekend of screaming chicken little scenarios and platitudes about the end of the world.
Something important was lost this past weekend, something got killed in the American soul. As 59 percent of the American people can ignore what happened others will not.
A day of reckoning is coming because the "rule of law" has become the law of tyrants. Clinton-Gore-Reno have beaten up on the "rule of law" for nearly 8 years. Their cries for the "rule of law" in the face of the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta ruling, ring hollow. Their cover-ups and lies regarding Waco and other abominations will go down as a shameful period in our history.
But then one must ask -- where was Congress? Where was Governor Bush -- both of them? Where were the American people? Where in God's name was justice served in this debacle?
The boy may be back with his dad but which one? Juan Miguel Gonzalez or Fidel and the state.
At this moment I am ashamed of my countrymen.
Diane Alden is a research analyst and writer. Contributing to Newsmax, Etherzone, Enter Stage Right, American Partisan, Spin Tech, Liberty Caucus, Georgia Radio Inc., as well as Range Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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