Tuesday, April 19, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR APRIL 19


On this day in 1961, the clandestine invasion of Cuba ends in spectacular failure when JFK refuses to lend air support to the unapproved covert military action kicked off by CIA-trained Cuban ex-pats who land at the rocky cliffs at Cuba's Bay of Pigs.

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On this day in 1971, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to die for his role in the Tate/LaBianca murders, which serve as an unofficial demarcation zone for the 1960's.

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On this day in 1985, the FBI surrounds the compound of the radical Christian identity group known as The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, in Arkansas. The siege ends quickly, without bloodshed, as negotiators succeed in convincing the groups leaders to lay down their arms and come out peacefully. Eight years later, after studying the strategies engaged in during the CSAL standoff, the FBI chose this date to put an end the standoff in Waco. This time, as detailed in the next entry, things don’t go exactly as planned...

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On this day in 1993, the FBI puts their plan to end the standoff at David Koresh's Branch Davidian Compound into action. At 5:59 in the morning, via megaphone, Koresh and his followers are told that they are under arrest, and to come out peacefully. They are also once again warned to stay out of a central tower where the insertion of tear gas is slated to begin. The previous night's reaction to these warnings was to hold children up to the windows, as well as signs that read: "Flames Await." At 6:02, two FBI combat engineering vehicles begin inserting gas into the compound. At 6:04, the Davidians start shooting. At 7:30, a CEV breaches the front side of the building on the first floor, injecting more gas. At 9:30, another CEV begins enlarging the opening in the front of the building, and a third CEV breaches the rear of the building, creating openings from which the FBI hoped cult-members would escape. At seven minutes past noon, the Davidians are seen starting fires throughout the compound. At 12:12, negotiators get on the phone and ask Koresh to lead the Davidians out to safety. Nine Davidians flee the compound, and are arrested without incident. Ten minutes later, the sound of gunfire can be heard coming from the compound. At 12:41, fire-trucks begin pumping water on the now rapidly-burning buildings. By mid-afternoon, it was confirmed… 86 corpses, including over a dozen children, lay dead under the rubble of the compound. After 20 years of studying this tragedy, during which time your humble correspondent has read and watched documentation from every conceivable viewpoint - including but not limited to the documentaries The Rules of Engagement and A New Revelation - I have come to believe the following: After 51 days of begging for it, those members of the Branch Davidian Cult remaining in the compound finally managed to succeed in their bid for collective "suicide by cop", making themselves martyrs and heroes to right-wingers and religious fundamentalists in the process. Which brings us to our next entry...

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In the early morning of 1995, enraged by the conflagration at Waco two years earlier, Timothy McVeigh drives a rented Ryder truck up to the north side of the A.P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. At 9:02, a huge fuel-bomb in the back of the truck detonates, collapsing the north face of the building, and snuffing out the lives of 168 unsuspecting souls, including many children who had just been dropped off at the building's daycare center. Once again, a huge volume of "alternative journalism" has risen around this event, some of it good, but much of it not. Regardless, serious and substantial questions do remain about what really happened in the days and weeks before, during and after this Satanic conflagration. Most of the popular conspiracy theories center on the federal government's foreknowledge of and even participation in the bombing. Ironically, your humble correspondent finds the more persuasive arguments to be on the other side of the fence, by which I mean probably a lot more Christian identity extremists were involved than we have been led to believe.

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On this day in 2011, after 45 years in charge, Fidel Castro resigns from the Communist Party of Cuba's central committee.

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