US Government Attacks Its Own Citizens Again

Ed and Elaine BrownThe United States of America seems to have more than its fair share of lunatics, or maybe it’s just that our media pays more attention to Western madmen than it does to Eastern and Southern crazies, but I don’t see anything particularly insane about challenging a tax law. Unwise perhaps, maybe even extremist, but I think it’s unfair to depict those who believe the USA’s federal income tax is unconstitutional as mentally ill.

Ed and Elaine Brown are two US citizens who live in New Hampshire. They have declared that they believe federal income tax is unconstitutional and therefore refuse to pay it. As a result, they have been sentenced to five years in prison and are required to pay over $200,000 in fines. They have said they will die before they go to prison and have holed themselves up in their house with, apparently, plenty of food, water, guns and ammunition. Predictably, the US government has taken a dim view of this behaviour and has sent in the US Marshals to sort them out. One of the Browns’ supporters has already been fired at by marshals when he was out walking the Browns’ dog for them. The marshals missed their target but later incapacitated him with high-powered tazers and arrested him. They have arrested another supporter who went out to buy the Browns some groceries. The marshals have laid siege to the Browns’ house and state troopers have set up roadblocks for some miles around. They have cut off their power, water and internet connection.

The Browns are being described as extremists in a fortified compound. It seems a bit much to describe two people in their own home as hiding in a “fortified compound” when the marshals have surrounded them with armoured personnel carriers and snipers. However, I suppose, they have to make them out to be crazy extremists in order to justify killing them later. It’s all depressingly reminiscent of Waco: at least there are only two victims in this case, neither of whom are children.

Danny Riley, the man who was attacked while walking the Browns’ dog, has posted an account of his ordeal on a blog. Assuming he is telling the truth, I’m amazed the US Marshals can get away with firing at an unarmed man’s back. It’s an interesting video to watch.

I really don’t know if the Browns are right or wrong. Common sense suggests that federal income tax would not have survived for as long as it has done if it really were unconstitutional but then common sense also suggests that government agents would not shoot to kill people for walking a dog. However, surely this could be resolved by arguing the point with them? If they are genuinely in the wrong, why can’t the US authorities prove it? Why do they instead resort to lethal force against the Browns and anyone who dares to support them?

Oh well, it makes for interesting news anyway. Read more at Infowars, Make The Stand and various other unconventional political blogs.

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Published in: on June 20, 2007 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. I remember Louis Theroux’s excellent documentary about extremist groups in America. Their aims and self-imposed ‘destinies’ involve an eventual total war with the federal state, which they believe to be unconstitutional, immoral and persecutory in nature.The Browns’ actions, and their holing themselves up with weapons, don’t seem too far removed from the actions of these groups. So, without having read into their background, I wonder if there are bigger issues behind the actions of the US state in this case as far as any possible connection between the Browns and those extremist groups are concerned. They sound as if they were more than prepared for the siege after all.Although extreme in nature, these groups do have some good, if exaggerated, points about the heavy-handed and interfering nature of nation states in general. These groups wish to rule themselves in autonomous, independent, self sufficient communities, which is something that modern governments in general aren’t too keen on. Especially if you happen to be armed to the teeth. Perhaps the solution for groups that desire this kind of independence from society lies in balance; a nominal adherence to the unavoidable burdens that the state places on them whilst retaining a realistic perspective of the larger social context in which their particularism and autonomy exists.Amish communities are largely independent and autonomous, yet they never seem to find themselves besieged by the U.S. Marshals. If you aren’t a great threat to the state it’ll leave you alone, despite its general disapproval (as seen in the UK through the difficulty that self-sufficient communities have in obtaining planning permission. Only the local authorities of Carmarthenshire and Milton Keynes currently approve such applications. Which is why so many hippies live in West Wales) as long as it perceives your intentions aren’t intending to deprive it of too much cash or destroy its illusion of control. However, if it’s a war you want with the state, that’s usually what you’ll get. Especially in America.


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