From the July 2008 Idaho Observer:
Militarized USFS "tactical team" practices "police state" at
this year’s Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming
Militarized USFS "tactical team" practices "police state" at this year’s Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming
This year’s annual Rainbow Family Gathering took place near Pinedale in western Wyoming July 1-6. Rainbow gatherings, which are typically on national forest land, have been happening since 1972 and can attract 4,000-8,000 people commonly referred to as "hippies." Rainbows are peaceful, generally on their best behavior, are phenomenally well-organized, provide their own security and medical needs and leave their encampments cleaner than they were when they began arriving. A week before this year’s gathering, we received a tip that the U.S. Forest Service had acquired 700 tasers in preparation for the gathering. Everyone felt like something was going to happen. And it did. Tactically-trained USFS agents goaded Rainbows into a confrontation to practice "police state" on peaceful people gathering to celebrate community and nature while bothering no one.
By Jack Blood
On July 3, 2008, just a day before the U.S. "Independence Day," U.S. Forest Service officers attacked peace loving rainbow gatherers in Dick Cheney’s "home state" of Wyoming.
"They were so violent, like dogs," Robert Parker told reporter Deborah Stevens of the libertarian-oriented, Round Rock, Texas-based We the People Radio Network (www.wtprn.com) after the incident.
Deborah Stevens appeared on my syndicated talk radio show a few days after the incident on July 8, 2008.
"People yelled at them, ‘You’re shooting children,’" Parker said.
About 7,000 people had arrived at the gathering near Big Sandy in the Wind River Mountains for the annual Gathering of the Tribes, a seven-day event of fellowship which included praying and living on the land.
Steven’s told me that a riot began after U.S. Forest Service officers began harassing the attendees (The officers were actually a Washington, D.C.- based tactical team called the "Incident Command Team," trained in urban assault).
According to Stevens, officers yelled, "Fire," in the Kid Camp where children were camping with parents, seemingly to test the capabilities of the campers, and possibly to engage them in assault.
Reporting official statements by authorities, a news release reported that, "Officers made five arrests; one officer suffered minor injuries and was cleared by a local hospital and a government vehicle sustained damage."
Stevens and other witnesses deny that any of the Rainbows threw sticks or rocks at the officers.
Rainbow Family members’ accounts tell a different story. One member who identified himself only as "Ryan" told Stevens he was with his two children in his tent at the Rainbows’ Kid Village north of the main meadow where the major prayer circles and dinners are held.
One of the 10 officers pointed a pepper spray gun at him and his children, he said. His girlfriend was using the latrine outside when four officers came to her and asked if she was smoking marijuana.
The officers then ran through the Kid Village and through its kitchen, and chaos erupted, he said.
Other witnesses recounted seeing about 10 officers of the Forest Service’s Incident Command Team drag an older man from the woods near the Kid Village, according to Stevens.
A woman in the village told the officers to take their guns out of the Kid Village. An officer threw that woman to the ground and pulled her head back by her hair while she was being handcuffed, one Rainbow named Rick told Stevens.
"I got out and yelled, ‘what the f--- are you doing?’" Rick said. "That got it started."
The officers backed up in a defensive position and some used their tasers on Rainbows, he said.
Rainbows called for their crisis management team, and Rainbow family elders urged the crowd to remain calm, he said. However, the crowd kept moving and the Forest Service officers began randomly spraying the crowd with pepper spray bullets.
The officers, with their two suspects in custody, found an exit trail from the main meadow and the "peacekeepers" urged the crowd to let them go, he said.
"These people deliberately, for hours, were aggressively working the camp over and working the people over," Ryan said. "They chose the kiddie village—the one place, the kids, to take their stand and create a riot—and I bought into it...They were looking for an excuse to do some damage to us."
Ryan’s partner, Feather, told Stevens she was pepper-sprayed and saw another Rainbow with welts all over his body (Later recounts of the story described how those who were physically damaged were checked going out of the camp and detained until the evidence healed).
Feather also recounted seeing a couple with a young child and an infant who had just emerged from the woods and didn’t know what was happening.
The couple asked the officers what was going on and the officers pointed their guns at the children. The officers walked away, but one turned around and pointed his rifle at the baby, she told Stevens.
It seems that this governmental assault team was "practicing" in a wider program to quell national dissent.
See the video of the riot at www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV9s7rT1-iY&feature=PlayList&p=C3E29FF4CD80F5B0&index=117
Traumatized Rainbows are still recovering from the PTSD involved in living and reliving this event.
We are seeing this now all over the place. From NSA spying, to Operation Falcon, to the Florida National guard being sent on permanent assignment to Washington, D.C., to a recent breakdown and admission by one FEMA officer to one of our sources, it appears that the federal authorities are, indeed, getting ready for mass dissent among Americans.
It is interesting to note that federal authorities have excused their behavior at the gathering by stating that they were at the Rainbow camp to "protect" the citizenry.
Jack Blood is a syndicated talk radio host on the Genesis Communications Network
www.gcnlive.com and www.wtprn.com More information can be found at www.jackblood.com