Friday, January 29, 2016

Occupy Malheur

credit: Stuart Carlson
Wackydoodle sez:  This ain't no drill!

Latest: Federal law enforcement agents began an action to arrest armed persons associated with the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation on the 27th. One man died in the shootout, identified as Levoy Finicum by the occupiers. Another man was injured and taken to a local hospital for treatment. Ammon Bundy, leader of the extremists that took over the headquarters building of the Refuge was arrested on felony charges on the 26th. Five including Ammon and his brother Randy were arrested as they headed into a meeting in nearby John Day. Two others were arrested in Burns and a third in Arizona. The Bundys are sons of Cliven Bundy the Nevada rancher who is a leader in the right-wing extremist militia movement that does not recognize federal land ownership of public domain lands. He has repeatedly refused to pay cattle grazing fees for use of public lands. Local residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the armed occupation of the Refuge, one of the most important migration stops in the Pacific Flyway.

More: The extremists occupying the Maleur Wildlife Refuge may have been embolden by the federal government's perceived defeat in a standoff with one thousand militia members at Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch They gathered there in 2014 to prevent federal agents from seizing cattle in a dispute over grazing rights. Confronted by such a large armed force, federal officials backed down, sensitive to the public outcry over the violent siege of the Branch Davidian compound in 1993 that resulted in 80 people dying.  To date no charges have been filed related to the 2014 standoff. The BLM says the family owes $1.1m in grazing fees and penalties Two extremists involved in the Nevada confrontation killed two police officers and one civilian in Las Vegas less than two month later. Cliven Bundy is advising his sons by telephone from Nevada according to Reuters. His son Ammon, claims he is merely following "directions from God."

06.01.16 The Bundy brothers' armed occupation of the headquarters building at Malheur Wildlife Refuge in rural eastern Oregon is the latest chapter in a simmering rural rebellion that goes back a century. In the 1900's the federal government began withdrawing land for water development projects. In the 70's the government protected certain public lands for wildlife, recreation, and other values. The transfers have continued under the current administration, fanning anti-federal sentiment among radical ranchers. The sentencing of the Hammonds under the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act for arson on federal land caused Ammon Bundy, a known extremist, to rally milita members to the Hammonds' cause. But the Hammonds have already told media they planned to turn themselves in to serve the time remaining on their sentences. The Hammonds have disputed grazing rights with the BLM since the 90's when Dwight Hammond and his son were arrested on felony charges for interfering with a reserve officials and a fence-building crew. The charges were later reduced to misdemeanors after the intervention of their Congressman. Malheur officials have a thick file on the Hammonds, who they say repeatedly violate the terms of their grazing permits. In particular, the Hammonds regularly use a cattle trail across reserve land without notice since it is a "historic right of way that has been used since 1871." The occupation of Malheur began on Saturday and about twenty people are there, most of them armed. Ammon appears to have little support from the residents of rural Harney County. In a statement to the press on Monday, Ammon said the occupiers intended to assist the people of Harney County "in claiming their rights".