John R. Houk
© September 10, 2016
I have some background perspective leading up to the good news that journalist Pete Santilli had all charges against him dismissed in relation to the Oregon Malheur Wildlife Reserve Standoff between ranchers and State/Federal authorities.
Toward the end of 2015 and the first couple months of 2016 the news media was all astir about some angry ranchers, self-termed a militia, protesting government land-grabbing around the Burns Oregon area. More specifically these angry ranchers occupied Oregon Malheur Wildlife Reserve which is public land that was nationalized by the Federal government.
What sparked a number of ranchers from many Western States to occupy a federal refuge in Oregon? A Burns area ranching family – the Hammonds – was dealing with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) who desired to purchase a swath of the Hammond family’s. After the Hammonds refused to sell the BLM and FWS utilized regulations and rules that have the force of law (even if not specifically legislated by Congress) to oppress/persecute the Hammonds to sell or for the Federal government to simply downright steal the land by force of law:
HISTORY: (aa) The Harney Basin (where the Hammond ranch is established) was settled in the 1870’s. The valley was settled by multiple ranchers and was known to have run over 300,000 head of cattle. These ranchers developed a state of the art irrigated system to water the meadows, and it soon became a favorite stopping place for migrating birds on their annual trek north.
(a) In 1964 the Hammonds’ purchased their ranch in the Harney Basin. The purchase included approximately 6000 acres of private property, 4 grazing rights on public land, a small ranch house and 3 water rights. The ranch is around 53 miles South of Burns, Oregon.
(a1) By the 1970’s nearly all the ranches adjacent to the Blitzen Valley were purchased by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and added to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge covers over 187,000 acres, stretches over 45 miles long and 37 miles wide. The expansion of the refuge grew and surrounds to the Hammond’s ranch. Approached many times by the FWS, the Hammonds refused to sell. Other ranchers also choose not to sell.
(a2) During the 1970’s the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), took a different approach to get the ranchers to sell. Ranchers were told: “grazing was detrimental to wildlife and must be reduced”; 32 out of 53 permits were revoked and many ranchers were forced to leave. Grazing fees were raised significantly for those who were allowed to remain. Refuge personnel took over the irrigation system claiming it as their own.
(a3) By 1980 a conflict was well on its way over water allocations on the adjacent privately owned Silvies Plain. The FWS wanted to acquire the ranch lands on the Silvies Plain to add to their already vast holdings. Refuge personnel intentionally diverted the water bypassing the vast meadow lands, directing the water into the rising Malheur Lakes. Within a few short years the surface area of the lakes doubled. Thirty-one ranches on the Silvies plains were flooded. Homes, corrals, barns and graze-land were washed away and destroyed. The ranchers who once fought to keep the FWS from taking their land, now broke and destroyed, begged the FWS to acquire their useless ranches. In 1989 the waters began to recede; now the once thriving privately owned Silvies plains are a proud part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge claimed by the FWS.
(a4) By the 1990’s the Hammonds were one of the very few ranchers who still owned private property adjacent to the refuge. Susie Hammond in an effort to make sense of what was going on began compiling facts about the refuge. In a hidden public record she found a study done by the FWS in 1975. The study showed the “no use” policies of the FWS on the refuge were causing the wildlife to leave the refuge and move to private property. The study showed the private property adjacent to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge produced four times more ducks and geese than the refuge. The study also showed the migrating birds were 13 times more likely to land on private property than on the refuge. When Susie brought this to the attention of the FWS and refuge personnel, her and her family became the subjects of a long train of abuses and corruptions.
(b) In the early 1990’s the Hammonds filed on a livestock water source and obtained a deed for the water right from the State of Oregon. When the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found out the Hammonds obtained new water rights near the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge, they were agitated and became belligerent and vindictive toward the Hammonds. The US Fish and Wildlife Service challenged the Hammonds right to the water in an Oregon State Circuit Court. The court found the Hammonds legally obtained rights to the water in accordance to State law and therefore the use of the water belongs to the Hammonds.*
(c) In August 1994 the BLM & FWS illegally began building a fence around the Hammonds water source. Owning the water rights, and knowing that their cattle relied on that water source daily, the Hammonds tried to stop the building of the fence. The BLM & FWS called the Harney County Sheriff department and had Dwight Hammond (Father) arrested and charged with “disturbing and interfering with” federal officials or federal contractors (two counts, each a felony). Dwight spent one night in the Deschutes County Jail in Bend, and a second night behind bars in Portland. He was then hauled before a federal magistrate and released without bail. A hearing on the charges was postponed and the federal judge never set another date.
(d) The FWS also began restricting access to upper pieces of the Hammond’s private property. In order to get to the upper part of the Hammond’s ranch they had to go on a road that went through the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge. The FWS began barricading the road and threatening the Hammonds if they drove through it. The Hammonds removed the barricades and gates and continued to use their right of access. The road was proven later to be owned by the County of Harney. This further enraged the BLM & FWS.
(e) Shortly after the road & water disputes, the BLM & FWS arbitrarily revoked the Hammond’s upper grazing permit without any given cause, court proceeding or court ruling. As a traditional “fence out state” Oregon requires no obligation on the part of an owner to keep his or her livestock within a fence or to maintain control over the movement of the livestock. The Hammonds still intended to use their private property for grazing. However, they were informed a federal judge ruled, in a federal court, the federal government did not have to observe the Oregon fence out law. “Those laws are for the people, not for them”.
(f) The Hammonds were forced to either build and maintain miles of fences or be restricted from the use of their private property. Cutting their ranch in almost half, they could not afford to fence the land, so … READ ENTIRETY (Full Story About What’s Going on In Oregon – “Militia” Take Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge In Protest to Hammond Family Persecution…; By sundance; The Last Refuge – Conservative Tree House; 1/3/16)
The odd thing about the plight of the Hammonds is as a family they never committed to be supportive of all the ranchers that came to the Malheur Wildlife Reserve to occupy and protest the treatment of the Hammonds and the father and son incarceration twice for the same accused crime. The Oregon local ranchers and rural communities were not very supportive either. My guess is the locals did not want to rock the status quo they had become accustomed to from the BLM and FWS OR some of the Left Coast thinking had infected the locals who may have some sympathy for the Left Wing environmentalists (Eco-Marxism) who want to protect wetlands for their precious birds (Left Coast Thinking: HERE. AND Paiutes: HERE. AND Conservative Sympathetic yet Support Feds: HERE) over the property rights being abused against ranchers who have become upset enough over Federal Land Grabbing to actually arm themselves to go down swinging against the power of Big Brother.
Even without Oregon local support, I tended to have a lot of sympathy for their protest. I will never be a fan of a coercive government pressuring American citizens pertaining to their rights to property. In the case of Western rural landowners - ranching, farming or a combination – The federal government’s job should be limited to protecting constitutional Rights rather than usurping land by coercion or pressure via bureaucratic regulations. The vast amount of land under Federal control is an intrusion of States’ Rights (Tenth Amendment).
The Ammon Bundy protest was undoubtedly doomed to failure. The Left Stream Media and politicians made little effort to report on the reasons these ranchers embarked on a doomed protest. The lack of balanced coverage painted a picture of extremists doing Right Wing nut job antics. Worse these ranchers were prepared to the weapons the 2nd Amendment guarantees every American to own for self-protection and to rise up against a tyrannical government. After all, it was British tyranny that caused thirteen British Colonies to rebel. One of the British injustices was storming onto private citizens’ property and seize food and guns. HENCE the Second Amendment. The Founding Fathers had a mistrust of a government that might devolve into tyranny.
In the case of Ammon Bundy’s rancher militia, if shooting began, there was zero possibility the militia could match the fire power of well-resourced State and Federal police force. HENCE the death of LaVoy Finicum – witnesses claim murder and the FBI claims justified shooting because Finicum was armed. By the way, armed with what to die in a hail of bullets?
Shortly after the arrest of Ammon and Ryan Bundy the militia protest ended. As far as the Left Wing Media goes, that was the end of the story. Yet anyone considered in a leadership mode were all arrested. Those prosecutions are still ongoing. I haven’t noticed any media coverage. To read coverage on the trials you have to go alternative news sources of the Left and Right to see how Big Brother is persecuting these rancher protesters. Much of the Left that is following the trials are full of condemnation ready to pitch the perceived lawbreakers to the lions of the coliseum. The sympathetic Right are typically anti-Big Brother types such as Oath Keepers and III Percenters (Explanation: SHORT – LONG). There are Establishment Conservatives that also have an unsympathetic view of the rancher militia in Oregon because they believe the Constitution does not support the Bundy/Militia view.
Then there are sympathetic types that faithfully covered the Bundy/Militia rancher standoff in blogs, radio and live streaming podcasts. The most prolific of these was Pete Santilli whose sympathies were rewarded by being present with an inside view reporting on the Malheur Wildlife Reserve Standoff. The problem for Santilli was that the Federal authorities did not appreciate him giving the public a favorable perspective of the ranchers’ complaints.
Santilli was arrested for his efforts. Prosecutors decided to throw the book at Santilli to the degree if convicted, he could have spent as long as thirty years in prison. For what? Allowing the public an inside view.
The good news for Santilli is that his lawyers managed to get the Judge to get the evidence the Prosecutors desired to use tossed. This led to the announcement that ALL CHARCHES against Pete Santilli were dismissed without prejudice. Below is The Washington Standard’s coverage of Pete Santilli’s victory over the Prosecution by Big Brother.
(I have some background links that I am providing after the WS story)
FEDS DROPS ALL CHARGES AGAINST PETE SANTILLI IN OREGON MALHEUR CASE
By Tim Brown
September 7, 2016
For one, I’m very happy to discover the news that the charges against alternative media reporter Pete Santilli in the Oregon Malheur Wildlife Reserve case have been dropped.
In a filing on Tuesday, US Attorney Billy J. Williams said prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against Santilli because of “this Court’s pretrial evidentiary rulings excluding evidence against” him.
The charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means it is as though the action had never been filed.
“It’s been our position since the beginning that Pete had innocent intentions here,” Santilli’s lawyer Tom Coan told KOIN 6 News. “He never encouraged anyone to go out and stay at the refuge.”
The dismissal came at the request of federal prosecutors in Portland who acknowledged in court papers that they no longer had enough evidence to pursue their case against conservative radio talk show host Pete Santilli. Prosecutors cited rulings that barred them from presenting some of their evidence.
“Based upon this Court’s pretrial evidentiary rulings excluding evidence against Santilli (ECF No. 1171), the government has decided that the interests of justice do not support further pursuit of these charges against Santilli,” wrote US Attorney Billy J. Williams.
Awww, their evidence wasn’t admitted? Poor babies. Perhaps, they should try acknowledging who is actually committing the crimes on land that, according the Constitution, belongs to the people of the State of Oregon.
However, this does not mean that Santilli is completely off the hook just yet. He is being transported to Nevada where he is facing trumped up charges from the 2014 Bundy Ranch siege in Bunkerville, Nevada.
“He looks forward to focusing 100 percent of his time defending the charges here in Nevada,” Santilli attorney Chris Rasmussen said Tuesday.
Ammon Bundy’s former attorney Mike Arnold added that he believes the trial on what he refers to as “thought crimes” will be a long one.
“We don’t have thought crimes in America. You need, typically, overt acts to accompany speech in order to make it past First Amendment muster,” Arnold said. “In this case, the government is claiming that the possession of firearms on the property was such an overt act and the protesters are presumably going to say, ‘you know, we have a right to open carry.'”
Frankly, the entire federal case is a lot of unconstitutional trumped up charges not only against Santilli, but everyone involved. The feds attacked Santilli’s freedom of the press and many protesters freedom of speech in Nevada and in Oregon. Furthermore, they continue to coverup their unconstitutional claims to the land in western states and through the union.
Breaking: Oregon standoff FBI shooting cover-up exposed? Citizens Journal; 3/9/16
OREGON STANDOFF WAS A PREDICTABLE REACTION TO OPPRESSION; News With Views; 2/10/16
Breaking News: The Hidden Agenda in Oregon; American Policy Center; 2/11/16
Widow of slain federal wildlife refuge occupier plans to sue; TimesUnion.com; 8/38/16
Oregon shootout rooted in Clinton uranium trade? WND; 1/29/16 12:07 PM
Guerilla Media Network aka http://thepetesantillishow.com/
Tony Newbill on BLM Land Grab Conspiracy; SlantRight 2.0; 1/24/16
Persecuted or Prosecuted? SlantRight 2.0; 1/5/16
Are we being Nudged to Accept a Collective System???? SlantRight 2.0; 12/29/15
Ranchers Protest Land Grabbing, Santilli Reports Then Arrested
John R. Houk
© September 9, 2016
FEDS DROPS ALL CHARGES AGAINST PETE SANTILLI IN OREGON MALHEUR CASE
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