Are the protesters who took part in the Oregon Standoff patriots or are they terrorists?
One thing is certain, there is a growing Patriot movement in this country among people who believe that there is something critically wrong with the encroachment of an intrusive and overbearing Federal Government, and the erosion of our constitutional rights and civil liberties. Whether they are branded militia, patriots, or just disgruntled ranchers, if you don’t look past the carefully scripted mainstream media narrative then it is easy to label any of those protesting, or even anyone with a penchant for exercising their Second Amendment rights as a “Domestic Terrorist”.
After all, the Federal Government and their think tanks tell us time and time again that sovereign citizens and Constitutionalists are a greater threat than Islamic terrorists. That message is programmed into our brain through constant bombardment by the mainstream media, which has become little more than the PR branch of the government. Whether it is the Oregon standoff domestic terrorists or Muslim extremists, the narrative is overwhelming. And conscience aside, who can really blame them – fear gets ratings.
To quote David French of The National Review when speaking about the Oregon standoff,
“[Watching the news], a person could be forgiven for thinking that a small group of Americans had literally lost their minds. Militias are marching through Oregon on behalf of convicted arsonists? A small band of armed men has taken over a federal building? The story practically writes itself.
Or does it? Deranged militiamen spoiling for a fight against the federal government make for good copy, but what if they’re right? What if the government viciously and unjustly prosecuted a rancher family so as to drive them from their land? Then protest, including civil disobedience, would be not just understandable but moral, and maybe even necessary.
Ignore for a moment the #OregonUnderAttack hashtag — a rallying cry for leftists accusing the protesters of terrorism — and the liberal media’s self-satisfied cackling. Read the court documents in the case that triggered the protest, and the accounts of sympathetic ranchers. What emerges is a picture of a federal agency that will use any means necessary, including abusing federal anti-terrorism statutes, to increase government landholdings.”
Origins of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Teddy Roosevelt established the Forestry Service in 1905 to protect our country’s national forests and wildlife, or to quote the Forestry Service’s slogan today, to “manage national forests for additional multiple uses and benefits and for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation.” Seems a noble enough cause, so what’s the issue, and why now? Why are ranchers across the western half of the United States constantly at odds with the Forestry Service’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and crying foul?
Ranchers claim that the BLM’s actions are preditorial “land grabs”. If you look at a map of the United States it is clear to see that the Federal Government owns most of the land in the western states.
What are our Constitutional Rights? Let’s examine the Enclave Clause.
Interestingly enough, this massive Federal land ownership is directly contradictory to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution. An Enclave is defined as any small, distinct area or group enclosed or isolated within a larger one. The clause, known as the Enclave Clause, authorizes Congress to purchase, own and control land in a state under specific and limited conditions, namely, “[that Congress shall have Power] to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may… and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings…”
In short, the Federal Government is limited to a ten square mile plot of land we know as Washington D.C., along with additional places necessary “for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”
Such purchases are Constitutionally limited to “forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings.” They do NOT include vast swaths of wide-open land, and certainly not 28% of the United States.
Our Founding Fathers were opposed to providing a centralized federal government with unlimited authority to purchase and, as is routinely the case today, seize state and private land.
During the federal convention debates in September, 1787, Elbridge Gerry, who later went on to serve as vice president under James Madison, contended federal purchase of land “might be made use of to enslave any particular State by buying up its territory, and that the strongholds proposed would be a means of awing the State into an undue obedience.”
David French continues,
“Protesters allege that when private landowners refused to sell, the federal government got aggressive, diverting water during the 1980s into the “rising Malheur lakes.” Eventually, the lakes flooded “homes, corrals, barns, and graze-land.” Ranchers who were “broke and destroyed” then “begged” the government to buy their “useless ranches.”
Was The Federal Government Harassing the Hammonds?
By the 1990s, the Hammonds were among the few private landowners who remained adjacent to the Refuge. The protesters allege that the government then began a campaign of harassment designed to force the family to sell its land, a beginning with barricaded roads and arbitrarily revoked grazing permits and culminating in an absurd anti-terrorism prosecution based largely on two “arsons” that began on private land but spread to the Refuge.
While “arsons” might sound suspicious to urban ears, anyone familiar with land management in the West (and to a lesser degree, in the rural South and Midwest) knows that land must sometime be burned to stop the spread of invasive species and prevent or fight destructive wildfires. Indeed, the federal government frequently starts its own fires, and protesters allege (with video evidence posted below) that these “burns” often spread to private land, killing and injuring cattle and damaging private property. Needless to say, no federal officers are ever prosecuted.
The Hammonds are Prosecuted in 2010
The prosecution of the Hammonds revolved mainly around two burns, one in 2001 and another in 2006. The government alleged that the first was ignited to cover up evidence of poaching and placed a teenager in danger. The Hammonds claimed that they started it to clear an invasive species, as is their legal right. Whatever its intent, the fire spread from the Hammonds’ property and ultimately ignited 139 acres of public land. But the trial judge found that the teenager’s testimony was tainted by age and bias and that the fire had merely damaged “juniper trees and sagebrush” — damage that “might” total $100 in value.
The other burn was trifling. Here’s how the Ninth Circuit described it:
“In August 2006, a lightning storm kindled several fires near where the Hammonds grew their winter feed. Steven responded by attempting back burns near the boundary of his land. Although a burn ban was in effect, Steven did not seek a waiver. His fires burned about an acre of public land.
In 2010 — almost nine years after the 2001 burn — the government filed a 19-count indictment against the Hammonds that included charges under the Federal Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which mandates a five-year prison term [to life in prison] for anyone who “maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other personal or real property in whole or in part owned or possessed by, or leased to, the United States.”
At trial, the jury found the Hammonds guilty of maliciously setting fire to public property worth less than $1,000, acquitted them of other charges, and deadlocked on the government’s conspiracy claims. While the jury continued to deliberate, the Hammonds and the prosecution reached a plea agreement in which the Hammonds agreed to waive their appeal rights and accept the jury’s verdict. It was their understanding that the plea agreement would end the case.
At sentencing, the trial court refused to apply the mandatory-minimum sentence, holding that five years in prison would be
“grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses” and that the Hammonds’ fires “could not have been conduct intended [to be covered] under” the Anti-terrorism act:
‘When you say, you know, what if you burn sagebrush in the suburbs of Los Angeles where there are houses up those ravines? Might apply. Out in the wilderness here, I don’t think that’s what the Congress intended. And in addition, it just would not be — would not meet any idea I have of justice, proportionality. . . . It would be a sentence which would shock the conscience to me.’
Thus, he found that the mandatory-minimum sentence would — under the facts of this case — violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The Hammonds served their prison terms without incident, but the Fed wasn’t finished with them…
He sentenced Steven Hammond to two concurrent prison terms of twelve months and one day and Dwight Hammond to one prison term of three months. The Hammonds served their sentences without incident or controversy.
The federal government, however, was not content to let the matter rest. Despite the absence of any meaningful damage to federal land, the U.S. Attorney appealed the trial judge’s sentencing decision, demanding that the Hammonds return to prison to serve a full five-year sentence.
The case went to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the court ruled against the Hammonds, rejecting their argument that the prosecutor violated the plea agreement by filing an appeal and dismissing the trial court’s Eighth Amendment concerns. The Hammonds were ordered back to prison. At the same time, they were struggling to pay a $400,000 civil settlement with the federal government, the terms of which gave the government right of first refusal to purchase their property if they couldn’t scrape together the money.
Sheriff David Clarke Defends Ammon Bundy with Strong Testimony
If that brief account doesn’t make your blood boil than read the full story here, or listen to Sheriff David Clarke’s account of the events.
First The Fed Intimidated the Bundy family, which incited the Bundy Ranch Standoff. Now, it’s the Hammonds, which lead to the Oregon Standoff.
The Bundy family has a similar story, as do countless other ranchers across the west, many of whom have been forced out of business and left to sell their properties to the BLM. Ironically, the Bundy’s have made allegations supported by video evidence that the BLM has used intimidation and violence to bully ranchers into selling their land, including arson set upon their and other ranchers livestock and property, the very same crime they prosecuted the Hammonds for.
Escalating Tension That Led to the Oregon Standoff
After this video below of the Bundy’s and other protesters being tased in 2014, shouts of women being thrown to the ground and police dogs went viral, a call to action went out among other Americans. militia members, Oathkeepers, and concerned citizens alike, who flooded Nevada from all over the country to prevent bloodshed in what was clearly escalating tension.
This forced the now infamous standoff at Bundy Ranch outside of Bunkerville, Nevada in 2014, where police and heavily armed federal agents set up snipers positions and first threatened the use of deadly force. The protesters held their ground and eventually the federal agents withdrew. Sadly, they would make due on that threat a few years later in the shooting death of Lavoy Finicum.
An Abandoned Wildlife Refuge: The Beginning of the Oregon Standoff
Drawing heavy criticism from the media and even some patriot groups, the Bundy’s and other protesters took over an abandoned Wildlife refuge outside of Burns, Oregon on January 2nd, 2016, citing their intentions to peacefully protest for the release of the Hammonds. The protesters maintained their claim on the constitutional grounds referenced above that the land belongs to the state of Oregon and not the federal government who they argue has no jurisdiction under the rule of law.
The FBI pulled no punches this time. It is estimated that between 200-300 heavily armed militarized agents descended upon Burns, Oregon, complete with special operations teams, numerous armored personnel carriers, and Black Hawk helicopters. Schools were shut down, roads were blocked, a no-fly zone was put in place, de-facto martial law was established in the town.
The Oregon Standoff Takes a Dramatic Turn in the Shooting Death of Lavoy Finicum
On January 26, Lavoy Finicum, Ammon Bundy, and a handful of others were traveling to neighboring Grant County to discuss a peaceful resolution with the neighboring Sheriff, Glenn Palmer, who supported their cause and to hold an open townhall with the people to discuss the constitution. Knowing this, the FBI setup a roadblock to conduct a “felony stop” to arrest the protesters. The FBI released an edited video without audio to show that Finicum fled the stop and ended up in a snow bank trying to avoid the roadblock. The roadblock was precariously set up at the end of a blind corner where there was no possible chance that he could stop, which is directly against FBI and law enforcement protocol. From there, witness and FBI accounts vary greatly. The FBI claims that Lavoy Finicum got out of the car and reached for a 9mm pistol they claim he was carrying in his left jacket pocket.
Cellphone video taken by Victoria Sharp in the truck contradicts the FBI’s story as it shows proof that the FBI shot at the truck before the roadblock, and that they also shot at Finicum when he exited the truck with his hands up attempting to surrender. There is an ongoing investigation by Oregon state police because the FBI lied about how many shots were fired, and then tried to cover it up. FBI agents were later seen on film searching the ground and picking up evidence where the reported shots took place and where Oregon state police previously reported seeing shell casings. According to [The FBI agent’s] interview transcript, he had 29 rounds in his AR-15 before the shooting. The police inventory showed his rifle had 24 rounds afterward, accounting for three shots at the truck and then two at Finicum.
Lavoy Finicum was shot 3 times in the back and killed after he exited his truck.
The FBI would later claim in defense of his killing that he reached for a 9mm semi-automatic pistol in his left jacket pocket, but the family maintains that he was unarmed, as video recorded after the fact shows his sidearm in plain sight left at the refuge. The serial number of the 9mm supposedly found on Finicum was not his and was reported stolen two years ago. The story is even more suspicious given the fact that he is right handed, always carried his legal firearm holstered on his right leg “cowboy” style, and the family claims that he only dropped his hands to the left reaching for a wound after being shot there. The autopsy report confirms that he was in fact shot through the back with the bullet exiting his left torso. Seemingly, Finicum’s intentions were to draw fire away from the truck — and that is exactly what he did. This cost him his life.
So was this cold blooded murder or was it justified? Would it surprise you that this same FBI special “Hostage Rescue Team” is the same team that shot a man’s son and then returned and executed his wife while holding their baby at Ruby Ridge, and the very same team that burned 74 men, women, and children alive at Waco? Is it standard operating procedure to set up a “dead man’s” roadblock and open fire upon a truck full of unarmed men and women? 18 year old Gospel singer, Victoria Sharp, was going to the town meeting to sing for the locals with the county’s sheriff present. Does that sound like terrorist activities that warrants such an extreme use of deadly force?
Would it surprise you to know that these federal land grabs have ties to high level politicians like Harry Reid and even Hillary Clinton? Once you follow the money the picture becomes shockingly clear. The BLM would tell you that they sent paramilitary sniper teams into Nevada in 2014 to protect an endangered tortoise, but the real story is that Harry Reid and his son planned to sell off the Bundy’s grazing land to a Chinese company to build a large scale solar farm. Sorry tortoises. Similarly, the Hammond’s ranch in Oregon sits on top a mineral rich basin as well, with among other things, vast amounts of Uranium. Curiously, it is Uranium that Hillary Clinton has been selling to Russia though her supposed non-profit, The Clinton Foundation, in conjunction with Russian company, Uranium One, but I’m sure that’s merely coincidental… A side topic to note, Russia now owns 20% of the United States’ Uranium. I’ll save the Globalist agenda for another article but it is clear that Agenda 21 is alive and well in this country.
Current Status of the Oregon Standoff
Fast forward to today. One man is dead, and there are currently 12 people in prison on a number of federal conspiracy charges, including journalist Pete Santilli, and family patriarch, Cliven Bundy, who flew to Oregon to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the standoff and was then arrested at the airport in connection to the Nevada standoff outside of his ranch in 2014. A total of 12 people across 6 states have now been arrested in connection with both the Nevada and Oregon standoffs, along with 68 active warrants for people who participated in 2014 the Bundy standoff who’s names haven’t been released.
The Oregon standoff is one among many events that show a systematic pattern of abuse that is nothing short of government oppression and tyranny. The earliest definition of Terrorism in the Oxford Dictionary is “government by intimidation”, so just who is the domestic terrorist?
My Final Question to You
What will you do when the government makes good on their threats to go after everyone who participated in the 2014 standoff at Bundy Ranch, which includes various large patriot and militia groups across the country like the Three Percenters, the Oathkeepers, and thousands of both current and retired law enforcement and members of our military? Clearly, the federal government is hellbent on forcing a nationwide showdown no matter what is at stake, even if that means a full blown civil war. So I ask, who’s side will you be on?
Oregon Standoff Article Sources: