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Archive for April 2nd, 2014

The History of April 19th: American Revolution, Waco, Oklahoma Bombing

This column was originally posted on April 14, 2010. Because I thought it continued to be relevant, it was re-posted last year (2013) on April 2. (I had no idea how relevant it would become.) The subject of the column, “April 19th,” first became significant when some New England citizens confronted a unit of the British Army on Lexington green in 1775 – the day the American Revolution began. That Revolution resulted in “… a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Over time that proposition has been fulfilled by establishing the most diverse, open, tolerate society in the world with freedoms enjoyed by all men and women.
But there are those in the world who do not celebrate equal rights and an open society – to the contrary they feel threatened by them. So last year in Boston during the running of the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day, a day meant to celebrate that confrontation on Lexington green, two young men setoff bombs near the finish line of the race. To demonstrate their displeasure with a society that was open to all beliefs, not just theirs, they killed and maimed innocent people.April 19th is significant, but its significance was reinforced last year, it reminds us that we must never take our freedoms for granted. — Greg Stejskal 
 
 
 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Listen my children, and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy Five….

Longfellow’s poem forever immortalized Paul Revere’s ride. What the poem does not say is that Revere’s mission that night was to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British soldiers were coming to Lexington to arrest them. It was after midnight, April 19th, when Revere arrived in Lexington and warned Adams and Hancock. Revere also aroused the country side, and that morning the “Minute Men” met the British regulars on Lexington green. No one knows who fired the first shot- “the shot heard around the world”. But on that morning, April 19, 1775, the American Revolution began.

Paul Revere/istock photo

Paul Revere/istock photo

In a perverse twist of fate, on April 19, 1993, it is the 51st day of a siege at the Branch Davidian compound, also known as Mt Carmel, outside of Waco, Texas. It is to be the last day of the siege, a culmination of a series of bad decisions and missed opportunities.

The siege began on February 28th. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) had gone to the Davidian compound to execute search warrants. The warrants were based on affidavits stating the Davidians possessed certain illegal weapons to include fully automatic weapons and components to convert semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic. Some of the Davidians were known to have a propensity for violence including their leader, David Koresh, who had changed his name from Vernon Howell. There had been a power struggle a few years earlier within the Branch Davidians and a gun fight had ensued. The history of the Branch Davidians and how they ended up here, led by Koresh is a long story and won’t be told here. Suffice it to say, Koresh became the leader and subsequently claimed to be a messiah, who could procreate with any women followers irrespective of their age or marital status. The group embraced an apocalyptic philosophy, which relied heavily on the Book of Revelation.

The ATF had been surveilling the compound for several weeks prior to the raid from a home across the road. They had also placed an undercover (UC) agent within the Davidians. However, the surveillance was compromised, and at some point Koresh learned of the UC agent. In addition one of the Davidians was the local postman. On the morning of the ATF raid, a TV crew asked the postman for directions to the compound as they had learned there was to be a raid. The postman gave them directions and took the news of the impending raid back to the compound.

Read more »

Stejskal: The History of April 19th: American Revolution, Waco, Oklahoma Bombing

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.
 
This column was originally posted on April 14, 2010. Because I thought it continued to be relevant, it was re-posted last year (2013) on April 2. (I had no idea how relevant it would become.) The subject of the column, “April 19th,” first became significant when some New England citizens confronted a unit of the British Army on Lexington green in 1775 – the day the American Revolution began. That Revolution resulted in “… a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Over time that proposition has been fulfilled by establishing the most diverse, open, tolerate society in the world with freedoms enjoyed by all men and women.
But there are those in the world who do not celebrate equal rights and an open society – to the contrary they feel threatened by them. So last year in Boston during the running of the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day, a day meant to celebrate that confrontation on Lexington green, two young men setoff bombs near the finish line of the race. To demonstrate their displeasure with a society that was open to all beliefs, not just theirs, they killed and maimed innocent people.April 19th is significant, but its significance was reinforced last year, it reminds us that we must never take our freedoms for granted. — Greg Stejskal 

Greg Stejskal

 
 
 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Listen my children, and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy Five….

Longfellow’s poem forever immortalized Paul Revere’s ride. What the poem does not say is that Revere’s mission that night was to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British soldiers were coming to Lexington to arrest them. It was after midnight, April 19th, when Revere arrived in Lexington and warned Adams and Hancock. Revere also aroused the country side, and that morning the “Minute Men” met the British regulars on Lexington green. No one knows who fired the first shot- “the shot heard around the world”. But on that morning, April 19, 1775, the American Revolution began.

Paul Revere/istock photo

Paul Revere/istock photo

In a perverse twist of fate, on April 19, 1993, it is the 51st day of a siege at the Branch Davidian compound, also known as Mt Carmel, outside of Waco, Texas. It is to be the last day of the siege, a culmination of a series of bad decisions and missed opportunities.

The siege began on February 28th. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) had gone to the Davidian compound to execute search warrants. The warrants were based on affidavits stating the Davidians possessed certain illegal weapons to include fully automatic weapons and components to convert semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic. Some of the Davidians were known to have a propensity for violence including their leader, David Koresh, who had changed his name from Vernon Howell. There had been a power struggle a few years earlier within the Branch Davidians and a gun fight had ensued. The history of the Branch Davidians and how they ended up here, led by Koresh is a long story and won’t be told here. Suffice it to say, Koresh became the leader and subsequently claimed to be a messiah, who could procreate with any women followers irrespective of their age or marital status. The group embraced an apocalyptic philosophy, which relied heavily on the Book of Revelation.

The ATF had been surveilling the compound for several weeks prior to the raid from a home across the road. They had also placed an undercover (UC) agent within the Davidians. However, the surveillance was compromised, and at some point Koresh learned of the UC agent. In addition one of the Davidians was the local postman. On the morning of the ATF raid, a TV crew asked the postman for directions to the compound as they had learned there was to be a raid. The postman gave them directions and took the news of the impending raid back to the compound.

Read more »

Check Out Richard Nixon’s 1937 Application to Be a Special Agent for FBI

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Richard Nixon was 24 years old, he applied to be a special agent in the FBI in 1937.

That application is now on display at National Archives, reports the Smithsonian.

“It is a nice window into a moment in Richard Nixon’s life that people probably don’t think about,” says Jennifer Johnson, the exhibition’s curator. “He has just finished law school, and like everyone, he is clearly trying to figure out what he wants to do.”

Nixon applied to the bureau just after graduating with a law degree in June 1937. But Nixon never got a response after taking a physical exam, according to the Smithsonian.

New South Florida FBI Chief Says Terrorism is Biggest Threat, Priority

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Even in Florida, terrorism is the FBI’s top concern.

So said south Florida’s new special agent in charge, George Piro, 46.

“Our biggest threat domestically is homegrown, violent extremists, and it’s no different here in South Florida,” Piro said, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Piro said terrorism remains the FBI’s No. 1 priority.

Piro is known for “the guy that interrogated Saddam.” But he hopes to become known for more than that.

“Being an FBI agent is actually more rewarding, or has more meaning for me, than just interrogating Saddam Hussein,” Piro said.

Toledo Blade Complains to FBI About Treatment of Reporter, Photogpraher

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Toledo Blade journalists who were detained and whose cameras were confiscated by military security have filed complaints with the FBI, saying their First Amendment rights were violated by the Department of Army Police.

The Blade reports that reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser shared their experience with the FBI on Tuesday afternoon.

“I don’t want this to be about me or The Blade necessarily,” Mr. Linkhorn said. “I just want to make sure that laws are followed properly and that people have the freedom that they should have.”

The incident happened Friday when Linkhorn and Fraser approached a driveway entrance of General Dynamics Lima tank plant. Although they had media credentials, they were placed in handcuffs, and Fraser’s camera was taken, according to the Blade.

“The Army does not have the right in this country to detain journalists, handcuff them, seize their cameras, and destroy our work product on the whim of an overzealous military police officer,” Dave Murray, managing editor of the newspaper, said. “The photos Ms. Fraser took were taken outside the secure perimeter of the tank plant and were photos that anyone with a cell phone could take as they drive by.”

Mexico Comes Clean: Our Soldiers Were in Standoff with U.S. Border Patrol

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

After blanket denials, Mexican officials are admitting that two Mexican soldiers – not smugglers – were in a standoff with Border Patrol agents in January, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mexico had denied soldiers were involved but finally came clean about the Jan. 26 confrontation.

The soldiers claimed they were looking for drug smugglers.

But some question whether they were really helping drug cartels.

Secret Service Director Defends Subordinates on Capitol Hill Following High Profile Mishaps

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service’s first female director was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss the misbehavior of her male subordinates.

CNN reports that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson brushed off allegations of widespread problems among employees, saying  recent highly publicized allegations were unusual.

“These are isolated incidents of misconduct and we’re working every day to correct our behavior,” Pierson told reporters Tuesday after leaving a closed meeting with top senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Three agents were recently sent home after they were found drunk at a hotel in the Netherlands.

“We’re human and we make mistakes,” Pierson said when asked why the agency continues to be plagued by such problems.

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