The US government has become embroiled in political turmoil after recently being forced to back down from an armed struggle against an independent citizen who has dared to stand up for his rights.

Cliven Bundy, is one of the last remaining ranchers in the southern Nevada county. Over the years, the government has driven all of the other ranchers out of the area, and placed more and more restrictions on the number of cattle they can own and limiting the areas where their cattle can graze.

It is yet another example of the gargantuan land grab that the US government has been conducting over the years.

These have come in the form of planning restrictions, preventing people from growing their own food, and driving ranchers and farmers off of their land and putting them out of business.

However, Cliven Bundy is one rancher that refuses to budge.

He has a defied a court order which demanded that he removes his cattle from land which the US government wants to snatch.

The 67-year-old veteran rancher, who has compared the situation to similar confrontations with government officials in Ruby Ridge and Waco, Texas.

He explained that his family have used land in the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area since the late 1800s.

Commenting on the developments, he said: “I have raised cattle on that land, which is public land for the people of Clark County, all my life. Why I raise cattle there and why I can raise cattle there is because I have preemptive rights.

“Who is the trespasser here? Who is the trespasser on this land? Is the United States trespassing on Clark County, Nevada, land? Or is it Cliven Bundy who is trespassing on Clark County, Nevada, land? Who’s the trespasser?”

As a result of his defiance, the US government has since enlisted the help of federal agents and contract cowboys to forcibly take away his cattle and prevent him from using the land.

Previously, around 234 of Bundy’s cattle were snatched by the authorities. The restrictions on the land are expected to stay in place until May 12.

The trouble began when Bundy stopped paying the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) grazing fees in 1993, due to the fact that his ancestors had worked the land decades before the agency was formed.

Essentially, the requests to pay ‘grazing fees’ to the government amounts to an arbitrary tax that the government has levied on those trying to be self-sufficient.

Bundy’s son Dave reported that he was arrested and roughed up by the police force acting under orders of the government after he tried to film the armed federal agents.

He was held overnight – with no explanation from the local police department as to why it was necessary to hold him for that long.

It is also worth noting that the federal government owns more than 81 percent of all land in Nevada. BLM, alone, oversees 68 percent of the state, according to a 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service.

The lengths that the government will go to take away land that is lawfully occupied by self-sufficient and independent citizens is breathtaking.
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration established a no-fly zone over the Bundy Ranch. The authority placed flight restrictions around the ranch, citing “hazards” in the area. The restriction bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet within three nautical miles of the area. The new restrictions came shortly after the Bundys posted aerial photos of the BLM’s worksite in the area.

Bundy has received support from some thousands of protesters and militiamen across the country who are also outraged by his treatment at the hands of the government.

Ofcourse, disappointingly, even some elements in the alternative media have tried to paint Cliven as a bigoted, far-right lunatic who broke the law.

But the question is: regardless of what his personal views are said to be, does the law need changing? Others have also pointed to the fact that some of those who sided with Bundy are in the far-right. Naturally, a small proportion of those who are anti-government will have extremist views. Just as in any protest or movement.

Others have claimed that Bundy is a terrorist. Ofcourse, anyone who disagrees with the government, or exercises their rights to free speech is a “terrorist”. It seems to be an insult levied against anyone who is not afraid to defend themselves against injustice.

One cannot help wondering if we are seeing an orchestrated smear campaign about a man who refuses to bow down to a government which is desperately trying to get its hand on public land.

The standoff resulted in some of the protesters including Ammon Bundy, another son of Cliven, getting tasered and injured by the police.

Bundy added: “It’s a freedom issue. It’s not about cows. It’s a state rights issue. I really hope that we can learn and defend our liberties here and keep on fighting until the end,” he said. “I don’t when the end is going to be, but I believe that America is the greatest land in the world and it needs to be protected. Our rights and liberties need to be protected and we’re going to stand for that.”

Recently, it was revealed that Bundy has now gotten his cows back. For now, it seems the authorities have eased off, although time will tell if the victory will be long-lasting.

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