Obama’s DOJ Demands More Prison Time for Ranchers; Protesters Seize Wildlife Refuge Headquarters

bndyprtstMake a mistake on federal land, even when you think you have permission, and you may find yourself going to prison for terrorism.* That’s the experience of Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father and son who own a family ranch in southern Oregon and are headed to prison Monday. This weekend some of his ranching associates had had enough.

A peaceful street protest in support of the Hammonds was quickly followed by something more dramatic. “After the peaceful rally was completed today, a group of outside militants drove to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, where they seized and occupied the refuge headquarters,” Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said. “A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution.”

Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, said that he, two of his brothers and scores of other protesters were occupying the headquarters. The Oregonian reports:

In phone interviews from inside the occupied building Saturday night, Ammon Bundy and his brother, Ryan Bundy, said they are not looking to hurt anyone. But they would not rule out violence if police tried to remove them, they said.

“The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,” Ammon Bundy said.

The Oregonian story also includes an Ammon Bundy Facebook video asking others to come help him. There he says that “this is not a time to stand down. It’s a time to stand up and come to Harney County.” Beneath the video, the AP reports, is this statement: “ALL PATRIOTS IT’S TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED.”

Unjustly Convicted?

So, have Dwight and Steven Hammond been unjustly convicted? In 2001 and then again in 2006, the two purposely set two controlled range fires on land they were leasing from the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in rural, southern Oregon. The 2001 fire was set to eliminate invasive species and, on their account, accidentally burned 139 acres of the land. They explained the 2006 fire was set to protect their land from fires raging on adjacent federal land, and accidentally burned only one acre of BLM land. No one was hurt in either fire.

Read the rest of the article at The Stream

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