Instead of a press conference at the entrance to the park, law enforcement would be coping with hundreds of well-armed, open-carry supporters threatening death and mayhem. And Ammon Bundy and his brothers would be on the other side of the dividing line. Instead...
AUTHORITIES PLAN TO CUT OFF POWER TO MILITIA AT OCCUPIED OREGON REFUGE, by John M. Glionna and Jason Wilson.
|Ammon Bundy (center) speaks to the media in Oregon|
Federal authorities are planning to cut off the power of the wildlife refuge in Oregon that was been taken over by militia, exposing the armed occupiers to sub-zero temperatures in an effort to flush them out...
...Any such move would mark a significant escalation in the crisis. The local sheriff, FBI and other law enforcement officials have so far held back from confronting the militia, who are heavily armed and have lookouts on a watchtower...
...The militia, numbering few more than a dozen, have been building fires to stay warm and have been sleeping in the building usually used by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which runs the refuge for wild birds.
Reached by phone around 10:30pm on Monday, Ammon Bundy, a key member of the militia, said electricity in the refuge building was still functioning. He added: 'We're ready and waiting if the power should be shut down."
Bundy has repeatedly said the group is prepared for the long-haul. However during a tour of the site earlier in the day, the Guardian was shown a food storage room that did not look like it could sustain a dozen men for more than a few weeks.
It included a cardboard box of apples and oranges, a few dozen pots of instant ramen, 24 cans of chicken noodle soup, a similar number of cans of sweetcorn, peas, beans and chili, and 20 boxes of macaroni and cheese...
...Calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, the militia appears to be led by Ammon Bundy, who has been joined at the refuge by his two brothers, Mel and Ryan. The trio are sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who was at the heart of a similar standoff with authorities in 2014.
Constitutionalists, militia and rightwing zealots flocked to the Bundy ranch and stayed to defend him from the federal Bureau of Land Management...which wanted to seize his cows over $1.2M in unpaid fees for grazing on federal land over two decades.
Cliven Bundy has yet to pay those fees, apparently emerging victorious from his head-to-head clash with federal authorities cautious to avoid an armed conflict.Not wanting another Waco or Ruby Ridge is fine and dandy. But this is 2016, two years after Cliven Bundy defied federal authorities. It is impossible to believe that there hasn't been an opportunity to put him in handcuffs for theft of federal property in all the intervening months. It's not like he is hiding behind armed guards any longer.
The Hammonds are in jail. Why is Cliven Bundy any different?
The dispute in Oregon relates to two local ranchers, father and son Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were convicted of arson on federal land (they say they were clearing the land of invasive species to graze their cattle.)
The Hammonds surrendered to federal authorities on Monday for the start of an extended prison term...
...Cliven Bundy said that he is largely in the dark about the circumstances of the ongoing occupation...
...(He) said that as far as he knew, his sons weren't armed.Oh, please.
He said that if any violence takes place at the standoff, it will come because of an overzealous government reaction.
"This is a peaceful protest," he said. "It's our first amendment right to peaceful assembly and protest. And my boys have done that. They haven't destroyed any property. They haven not infringed upon anyone's rights."What about the rights of people who would normally be getting paid for working in that building? What about the citizens who would normally be free to enjoy that land? Their rights don't count?
The Bundy brothers--and Ammon Bundy, in particular--are known to have spent weeks in Burns in the lead-up to the protest in an attempt to drum-up support for a hardline protest, with limited success.
There is little evidence of locals joining their occupation. Instead, they appear to have drawn a motley crowd of rightwingers.They say they're standing up for the Hammonds. What they're really doing is attempting to force everyone to believe in their cause--the cause of Daddy Bundy's right to graze his cattle on federal land without paying for it. It's as if they've taken a page out of the Middle East handbook and formed their own Y'all Qaeda movement with cowboy hats instead of a keffiyahs. If you don't believe in the Bundy brand of ranching, you are the enemy; and we will come into your home and force you to conform to our cause, our beliefs, our system.
The Hammonds have already accepted their sentences and have voluntarily returned to jail. Locals, despite Ammon Bundy's attempt to whip up support, remain largely unmoved. So this protest has nothing to do with the Hammonds and everything to do with Bundy ego and the fulfillment of hate-fueled dreams of the type the Republican Party loves to feed.
Their demands for no-cost use of federal land is bullsh*t...that's MY land and YOUR land. The same conservative mindset that will rant against giving a hundred dollars to a family in need will support giving these wealthy ranchers unrestricted no-cost use of land worth millions. And they will call it "freedom."
The powers that be can't cut the phone and power off soon enough for me. With no phone and no way to charge their cells, we won't have to hear their blathering. Let's move the media out of range too.
Then let 'em eat Ramen noodles made with snow they've melted by holding it in their arm pits and see how long they last. When they start burning the furniture to keep warm, the feds can put all of them in jail for destroying federal property. The Hammonds will be home on their ranch before the Bundys are.
And none of this would be happening if the federal government had taken care of Clive Bundy and his land grab in 2014. I fault the Obama administration for the mistake of letting people like this think they are above the law. Illegal activity should have consequences...even if you're rich, white, and own a nifty cowboy hat.
You can read the entire article here