Trigger pulled on Profanity Peak pack

copyrighted wolf in water

After multiple livestock were killed in northeastern Washington’s Stevens County, state agency says it will eliminate the pack

  • By Josh Babcock, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Daily News
  • 8-30-2016

There were about 90 endangered gray wolves in Washington state earlier this summer, but that number is set to decline by 11 after cattle belonging to a rancher in northeastern Washington were recently killed near the den of the Profanity Peak wolf pack in the Colville National Forest.

To resolve the issue the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking to the air to kill the pack of 11. As of last week at least six wolves in the pack had been shot and killed from a helicopter, according to advisories from the WDFW.

 

The incident is the second involving the Stevens County rancher, Len McIrvin, who several years ago also suffered livestock losses from the Wedge wolf pack, which was eventually killed by the state as well. “The facts are this is the second wolf pack he is having eradicated,” said Robert Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University. Wielgus said the livestock losses and the killing of one of the state’s 19 recognized wolf packs could have been avoided. He said while many ranchers opt to sign a cooperative damage prevention agreement to work with state wolf researchers, McIrvin chose not to, despite being approached by Wielgus to do so on multiple occasions. Wielgus said those agreements help provide ranchers with information on the location on wolves and their dens so they can better protect their cattle from predation. He said ranchers who have decided to work with him haven’t lost livestock to wolves. Wielgus said when cattle began to graze near the den the wolves’ native prey of deer were pushed away, and the wolves began to prey on the most populous food source around – McIrvin’s cattle.

 

Some say the rancher relocated his cattle near the den on purpose, as a way to have the endangered species wiped out from his family’s longtime grazing ranges. As per state law, ranchers who lose livestock to wolves also receive financial reimbursement. “It’s literally a war on wildlife and it’s a situation that could have been easily avoided,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director for the national wildlife advocacy organization Predator Defense. “The rancher was looking for a showdown – he got what he wanted. These animals were dumped knowingly right on top of the core of (wolf) territory. It’d be like someone coming into your home and dropping a bunch of aliens off in your home.”

 

Others disagree. “There could be a wolf den in the pasture, but the idea the producer willingly drove their cattle on it, I don’t know anyone that would drive their cattle into harms way,” said Jack Field, Washington Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president. “It’s very frustrating to think that that is getting a lot of play.” Field said it’s important to realize the pastures are very large and feature steep terrain, both of which can make it difficult to identify a wolf den. “It’s almost a crime,” he said. “It takes all the context out. I can tell you it’s tough country, steep terrain, a lot of brush. My only concern is we’re not giving a fair shake to what that landscape really looks like.”

 

While Field noted the family has been having the animals graze in the same ranges on national forest land for many decades, Fahy said it’s the wolves that are in their natural habitat. “Nonnative cows are displacing elk, deer, ruining streams – they are wreaking havoc. They are large non-native exotic herbivores,” Fahy said. “He doesn’t own this land – the American public owns this land.”

Fahy said he doesn’t know what the rancher pays to graze in the national forest, but he estimated it’s far lower than the roughly $80,000 it cost taxpayers to kill the Wedge wolf pack a few years back.

 

Donny Martorello, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf-policy lead, could not be reached Monday despite multiple phone calls from the Daily News. McIrvin also could not be reached.

Stop the Slaughter of the Profanity Peak Wolves!

Tell Governor Inslee — Stop the Slaughter of the Profanity Peak Wolves!

20,381 SUPPORTERS
25,000 GOAL
In early August, two members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack were brutally gunned down by helicopter sharpshooters in northeast Washington. The fallen included the pack’s matriarch, whose death could destroy this wolf family.

The wolves were killed by the state on behalf of livestock operators who run their cattle on public land in wolf territory. The killings occurred after the pack was confirmed to have preyed on three calves and a cow and three other stock losses were deemed probable wolf kills.

There is strong science showing that killing a breeding animal like the Profanity Pack’s matriarch may lead to a splintering of the pack and cause increased conflicts with livestock.

The Profanity Pack wolves were killed to satisfy the demands of a politically connected minority of cattle interests that want to operate America’s public lands like a publicly subsidized feedlot.

Authorities have finally suspended their hunt but say they will reinitiate efforts to kill wolves if more livestock conflicts occur. Take action — tell Washington Governor Jay Inslee to prevent the slaughter of any more members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack by ordering non-lethal measures if further conflicts arise.

Wolf advocates outraged over plan to kill E. Wash. wolf pack

Gray wolf (File photo)

AA

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Some wolf advocates are outraged that the state is preparing for the second time to exterminate an entire wolf pack for preying on livestock in northeastern Washington state.

This is the second time in four years that a pack of endangered wolves has received the death penalty because of the grazing of privately owned cattle on publicly owned lands, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

Washington is home to about 90 wolves, and killing the 11 members of the Profanity Peak pack would amount to 12 percent of the population.

“By no stretch of the imagination can killing 12 percent of the state’s tiny population of 90 wolves be consistent with recovery,” said Amaroq Weiss, of the Center for Biological Diversity, on Thursday.

“We can’t keep placing wolves in harm’s way by repeatedly dumping livestock onto public lands with indefensible terrain, then killing the wolves when conflicts arise,” she said.

Last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it would exterminate the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County. Since mid-July, the agency has confirmed that wolves have killed or injured six cattle and probably five others, based on staff investigations.

Jim Unsworth, director of the agency, authorized the wolf hunts between the towns of Republic and Kettle Falls.

Wildlife officials shot two pack members Aug. 5, but temporarily ended wolf-removal efforts after two weeks passed without finding any more evidence of wolf predation on cattle.

“At that time, we said we would restart this operation if there was another wolf attack, and now we have three,” said Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead. “The department is committed to wolf recovery, but we also have a shared responsibility to protect livestock from repeated depredation by wolves.”

Since 2008, the state’s wolf population has grown from two wolves in one pack to at least 90 wolves and 19 packs.

Wolves were hunted to extinction in Washington at the beginning of the last century. Since the early 2000s, they’ve moved back into the state from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia.

That has set off alarm bells from people in rural areas, especially in northeastern Washington where the animals are concentrated.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has walked a fine line between environmental groups, who support wolf recovery, and ranchers who want to protect their herds. The issue has become a dividing line between urban and rural residents.

In 2012, hunters hired by the state killed members of the Wedge pack of wolves, in the same general area, for killing livestock.

Conservation groups say the livestock is the problem, not wolves.

“Cows grazing in thick forest and downed trees in the Colville National Forest are in an indefensible situation,” said Tim Coleman, executive director for Kettle Range Conservation Group. “We believe the wildest areas of our national forests should be a place where wolves can roam free.”

Under Washington’s wolf plan, livestock owners are eligible for taxpayer-funded compensation for losses. Taxpayers have also funded the radio collars placed on wolves.

Those collars are now being used to locate and kill the wolves. This practice is referred to as the use of “Judas wolves,” because the collared wolves unknowingly betray the location of their family members, Weiss said.

Some conservation groups do not oppose the hunt. Wolf Haven International, the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, and Conservation Northwest said they are focused on long-term goals.

“We remain steadfast that our important goals remain the long-term recovery and public acceptance of wolves in our state alongside thriving rural communities,” the groups said in a press release. “We believe that ultimately we can create conditions where everyone’s values are respected and the needs of wildlife, wildlife advocates, and rural communities are met.”

Cows, Culture and the Search for Wildness in the American West

http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=afe7d7387151def1a9ab883cf&id=8d6ec885eb&e=

by Stephen Capra

If one desires today to hike as far as they can away from civilization in the American West, they may find magical vistas and great streams that carry glacial water from our highest peaks. With luck they may see the tracks of a grizzly or hear the howl of a wolf. They may lose any sense of a path or trail, but what they will never lose, short of the boundaries of a National Park, is the constant piles of cow manure or the intersection of bovine that remind the hiker, the explorer, that there is no wildness in the West in 2016, but rather one large continuous stock yard of greed and stupidity, one that is in reality the graveyard of biodiversity.

Summer in the West is beginning to slowly yield to an approaching fall. The cows of the high country are beginning their slow migration across clear streams that come from receding glaciers. Wildlife Services remains busy poisoning, shooting and destroying the wild heart of our of our predator species that were designed to manage and keep in balance that which we call wildlife. Yet, the clowns of the West, those that remain the least evolved- the rancher, continue their occupation of the lands that once sang wildness and conveyed harmony and balance.

Wildness is not simply a word; it is not a place or a construct of the imagination. It is a heartbeat, a realm, a place of perfection that is the collusion of space, wildlife, quiet, sky, earth and water. It is a dimension known to few and treasured by many. Perhaps because it is so special, it is feared. To walk in the land of the grizzly, with a storm raging and cross a river swollen with a recent rain, is to sweat hard and risk, it is to allow yourself the sense of being one with a primordial force, it is the chance to breath and smell and cleanse yourself of the burden of life in a modern world.

Over time the ranching culture has stained our lives in the West. We began with a Native American culture, one that reflected the harmony and freedom that we search for today. In the base fear that defined the Americans of Manifest Destiny, we promoted control, control of a people, control of wildlife, control of wildness. In such an environment, the ranching culture was conceived and flourished. Today the DNA of that misguided venture lives on in our State Game Commissions, in our National Forest and Bureau of Land Management decisions. It is part of the demented culture of trapping and it resonates with so many Western lawmakers in their desire to kill the wildness that is the birthright of all species.

Nowhere is that more obvious, than in our western relationship to the cow. No species has ever defined genocide more clearly; no species has cost us more in blood or treasure.

If we are to ever rekindle the magic that is wildness, it must begin with ending the occupation of our Western lands at the hands of our bovine invaders. We must work to make our lands wild once again and remove the stockyard taint that we find even in our wildest realms. We must stop the slaughter of wolves, bears, coyotes and those species that define wildness at the hands of a people and culture that fears freedom.

We must put large swaths of land off-limits to cattle and clear our waterways of their giant footprint. As the earth cries out for our help, we can with a determined heart transition into a new West. One perhaps closer to the vision of John Wesley Powell, who viewed lands through the prism of watersheds: one that sees our public lands as a shared domain, not a trough for a fear-based group to exploit.
It’s ironic; we began in the West with Eden. Now we must work like never before as the curtain begins to close on our chance, to fix, cajole, fight for and remix that which we have tried so hard to destroy.

The blood that has so saturated our western soil must be the fertilizer that can create a stronger and better future. The culture we have grown up with must be changed, the killing stopped. From what we eat, to how we manage our lands, the shadow cast by the setting sun makes clear, our search for wildness is in jeopardy, but its fate is clearly in our hands.

The time is now to follow the mighty bear to the high ridge and soak in the wildness that is the energy that allows us to fight for a new West.

http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=afe7d7387151def1a9ab883cf&id=8d6ec885eb&e=

Cattle kills rare in wolf-occupied areas

copyrighted-wolf-argument-settled

http://methowvalleynews.com/2016/02/18/wsu-study-shows-wolves-favorite-prey-is-deer-but-moose-are-also-on-the-menu/

WSU study shows wolves’ favorite prey is deer — but moose are also on the menu

by on

By Ann McCreary

An ongoing, state-funded study of interactions between wolves and livestock shows that — no big surprise — wolves primarily eat deer, according to a researcher involved in field studies conducted over the past two summers.

The study is documenting, among other things, the types and numbers of animals killed and eaten by wolves, said Gabe Spence, a graduate student at Washington State University (WSU), which is leading the scientific investigation.

The goal of the $600,000 study, which was authorized and funded by the Washington Legislature, is to provide accurate data about wolf depredations on livestock and evaluate ways to prevent conflicts between livestock and wolves.

Spence discussed the research and preliminary findings during a presentation at the North Cascades Basecamp in Mazama last week.

The Methow Valley’s Lookout Pack is one of seven packs in north central and northeast Washington that have been studied during the past two years to develop a more accurate picture of the prey taken by wolves, Spence said. Researchers monitored four packs last year.

A team of WSU researchers conducted field studies during grazing seasons, from May through October, when cattle are turned out on public grazing allotments known to overlap with the territories of gray wolf packs.

Researchers placed radio and GPS devices on calves, cows and wolves to track their locations, determine where wolves and livestock occupy same area, and locate wolf kills to document what wolves are eating.

Over the past two years the researchers have documented 285 “probable wolf kills” by the packs they have studied. Four of the 285 animals killed by wolves were cattle, and involved three different packs.

No cattle were killed in 2014 by the packs being monitored, and none of the four cattle killed last year were in the Methow Valley, Spence said.

Spence said that about 940 cows and calves occupied the same territory as the wolf packs during the 2015 grazing season. That means that the four cattle killed equal .4 percent of the cattle in wolf-occupied areas.

“I don’t know if people realize how often wolves and cows are in the same place at the same time. All the time. Every day,” Spence said.

“Livestock deaths on the range are really small. Of the ones that die, only a tiny fraction are killed by predators, and of those a tiny fraction are killed by wolves,” Spence said.

The cattle kills account for 2.3 percent of the all the prey killed by wolves in 2015, Spence said.

Preliminary results show that over the past two summers deer accounted for almost half the prey killed by wolves. Researchers documented 137 deer that were among the probable wolf kills.

“Deer are by far the most common prey,” Spence said. The second-most common prey is moose, which account for about 22 to 28 percent of the animals killed by wolves.

By tracking wolf kills, researchers determined that the average kill rate for wolves in the Cascades area is about .3 kills per pack per day during the summer grazing season, Spence said.

That equals one kill every 3.3 days, or about 110 kills per year if the kill rate stays the same year round.

Even if kill rate is higher, for instance .5 kills per pack per day — to account for possible error or winter kill rates — it would add up to 183 kills per year, Spence said.

“To put this into perspective, roughly 350 deer are killed on the highway in the Methow Valley every year,” he said.

The study is expected to continue another two to three years and will likely include more packs, including the Methow Valley’s Loup Loup pack, if a collar can be placed on one of the wolves in that pack.

Researchers lost contact with a radio-collared female in the Lookout Pack last fall, and are not sure whether the collar failed or the wolf died or was killed. Spence said wildlife officials would try to capture and collar another Lookout pack wolf in spring or summer.

“Both packs overlap quite a bit with livestock,” Spence said.

One of the biggest challenges in conducting research into wolves and livestock “is how excited people get about this topic, on both sides. It makes it about the politics, not the biology,” Spence said.

“Having large predators on the landscape is really a social issue. The biology is pretty clear. It comes down to what we want for ourselves and our children,” Spence said.

Cliven Bundy arrested in Portland

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cliven-bundy-arrested-in-portland-as-oregon-occupiers-say-they-will-surrender-thursday/ar-BBpnaMG?ocid=spartandhp

Occupiers say they will surrender Thursday

Cliven Bundy, the controversial Nevada rancher at the center of an armed standoff with federal officials in 2014, was arrested in Portland Wednesday, according to jail records and news reports.

He was reportedly on his way to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in isolated southeastern Oregon, where an armed occupation in its 41st day seemed to be coming to an end. The occupation had been organized by Bundy’s sons Ammon and Ryan, who are now in jail facing a felony charge of conspiracy to impede a federal officer.

The last remaining members of the occupation had said they will turn themselves over on Thursday morning, after the FBI appeared to close in on their encampment.

The FBI in Portland would not confirm the circumstances of elder Bundy’s arrest. But the Oregonian reported that he was apprehended at Portland International Airport after disembarking from his flight from Las Vegas late Wednesday night. The newspaper said that Bundy, 74, faces the same charge as his son in relation to his standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in 2014. He also faces weapons charges, it said.

Bundy’s arrest came after federal authorities moved to surround the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Wednesday afternoon, prompting the lingering occupiers to have a panicked phone conversation with a few of their supporters, including Nevada state assemblywoman, Michele Fiore, that was broadcast over a livestream on YouTube

Initially the occupiers said they feared an armed assault by agents was imminent. But late Wednesday night local time, after a phone conversation that lasted more than four hours, one of occupiers said they planned to emerge from the refuge in the morning so long as Fiore was there to act as a witness and ensure that the occupation ended peacefully.

Mike Arnold, an attorney for Ammon Bundy who took part in Fiore’s phone negotiations and was en route to the wildlife refuge with her early Thursday, told The Washington Post that he was “extremely disappointed” by the news of Cliven Bundy’s arrest.

“It was a horrible strategic move to arrest Cliven while negotiations were literally happening over the phone,” he said. “That is not a symbol of good faith.”

But he believed that the agreement reached Wednesday night would still hold.

“We can take comfort in the incompetent strategic move by the federal government,” he said, because it showed that “if Cliven Bundy can be arrested peacefully — the lightning rod of much of the discourse on these issues — then the folks at the refuge should rest assured that the FBI will honor their promise to peacefully end this.”

Cliven Bundy’s arrest came just hours after the FBI moved to surround the spot where the lingering occupiers were camped Wednesday evening.

According to a statement issued by the FBI in Oregon, authorities made their move after one of the occupiers rode an ATV at 4:30 p.m. local time outside the enclosure where the handful of occupiers have been barricaded.

“FBI Agents attempted to approach the driver and he returned to the encampment at a high rate of speed,” the statement said.

The FBI moved to “contain” the remaining four occupiers by posting agents at the barricades in front of and behind the spot where the occupiers are camping, the statement continued.

“Negotiations between the occupiers and the FBI continue,” it said. “No shots have been fired.”

A neighbor who lives near the Malheur Refuge, 30 miles south of Burns, Ore., told The Washington Post that residents have been told to stay in their homes until the police give clearance.

Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, gave a statement in support of the move to surround those still at the refuge.

“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully,” he said. “However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”

Meanwhile, occupiers could be heard yelling at what they said was an FBI negotiator, according to the Associated Press.

“You’re going to hell. Kill me. Get it over with,” yelled David Fry, sounding overwrought. “We’re innocent people camping at a public facility, and you’re going to murder us.”

Wednesday marks day 40 of the occupation. Two weeks ago, leader Ammon Bundy and several others were arrested after a confrontation with police that left one man dead. In the days and weeks since, more than a dozen people involved the in the occupation have been arrested and several others voluntarily left the remote spot in southeastern Oregon after the FBI set up a blockade.

All of those arrested have been charged with conspiracy to impede a federal officer, the same felony charge facing the four holdouts who remain.

Those occupiers are 27-year-old Fry, who has been running a YouTube live stream, married couple Sean and Sandy Anderson, and a man named Jeff Banta, according to the Oregonian.

They’ve been alone at the refuge since Jan. 26, when the rest of the occupiers voluntarily left and surrendered to law enforcement. Defying calls to stand down from Oregon officials, law enforcement, Harney County locals and even Bundy, they’ve remained holed up inside the FBI blockade. In videos streamed by Fry, the occupiers were by turns desperate and defiant and increasingly inclined toward pranky stunts. One from early this week showed Fry doing doughnuts in a U.S. government vehicle.

“I think I want to take it on a little joy ride. You know?” Fry said. “Let’s start this baby up. Now you’ve got another charge on me, FBI. I am driving your vehicle.”

But in the phone conversation broadcast over YouTube, Fiore — speaking to the occupiers from Portland International Airport — repeatedly had to call for calm, as Fry yelled incoherently and other occupiers broke into shouts or tears.

“People are watching,” she assured them, asking them to recite prayers.

But the occupiers insisted that they could not trust the FBI’s promise of a peaceful resolution, and seemed certain that the standoff would end in violence.

“They killed LaVoy,” one man yelled. LaVoy Finicum, a spokesperson for the occupation, was fatally shot by Oregon state troopers during a highway confrontation in January when Bundy and four others were arrested.

“We’re not giving them any reason [to fire],” another person said. “But my weapon is within reach.”

The phone call was orchestrated by Gavin Seim, a failed Washington congressional candidate and self-proclaimed “liberty speaker.

At the refuge, 187,700 acres of isolated grassland about 150 miles southwest of Bend, yelled conversations between the occupiers and law enforcement broke through the nighttime quiet of the high desert.

“Come out with your hands up,” a voice could be heard saying, according to the Oregonian. “There’s nowhere for you to go.”

“We’re leaving tomorrow,” Fry shouted back.

Over the phone, Fiore told the occupiers she would negotiate with law enforcement on behalf of those who remain.

“A grand jury has issued an indictment outside the Constitution, and we can fight that,” she said. “But we can’t fight if you die. … You guys have to come out. You need to stand down.”

Fiore said she wanted to come to the refuge and accompany the occupiers out on Thursday morning, telling the occupiers that she and Mike Arnold, an attorney for Ammon Bundy, were driving to Burns as they spoke. But the FBI has not allowed anyone onto the refuge since late January, when it set up its blockade.

Fiore, a Republican member of the Nevada state assembly who has been an outspoken gun rights advocate, traveled to Oregon Wednesday to advocate for Bundy and other occupiers. She is demanding that authorities release body cam anddash cam footage of the traffic stop in which Finicum was killed; the FBI has released aerial footage of the highway encounter but the video is fuzzy and taken from a distance.

“We have questions,” Fiore told the Las Vegas Sun.

The people still at the refuge have said they will not leave as long as they face charges and a possible prison term.

“I can’t even describe to you how wrong it is i feel to be giving myself into the hands of the enemy,” Sandy Anderson said. “ We’re going to lose our rights.”

On Wednesday night, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy — father of Ammon Bundy — who was involved in a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights in 2014, announced on his Facebook page that he was heading to Burns to support the occupiers. He urged patriots and militia groups to join him.

“Wake up America!” his all-caps message read. “It’s time!”

Since it began on Jan. 2, the occupation has been at the center of a heated debate on the power of the federal government and land use in the West. In Oregon more than half of all land is federally controlled, and disputes over land use and environmental regulations are a familiar source of conflict.

The occupiers said that they would not leave until the Malheur Refuge was “returned” to the county and private landowners and two ranchers who had been imprisoned for setting fires on public lands were released from jail.

But after his arrest last month, Ammon Bundy called for the remaining occupiers to stand down.

“Go home and hug your families,” he said. “This fight is ours for now —  in the courts.”

Will the History Books Record How Neo-Nazis Made Eyes at the Bundy Militia?

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34575-will-the-history-books-record-how-neo-nazis-made-eyes-at-the-bundy-militia

Wednesday, 27 January 2016 00:00
Written by
Spencer Sunshine By Spencer Sunshine, Truthout | News Analysis

With fellow protesters on either side of him, Ammon Bundy, back to camera in center, speaks to reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Princeton, Ore., Jan. 4, 2016. (Jarod Opperman / The New York Times)With fellow protesters on either side of him, Ammon Bundy, back to camera in center, speaks to reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Princeton, Oregon, January 4, 2016. (Photo: Jarod Opperman / The New York Times)

Fight back against the spread of misinformation perpetuated by the mainstream media. Help Truthout grow stronger by making a tax-deductible donation today!

The FBI and the Oregon State Police have arrested most of the leaders of the three-and-a-half-week armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. At least two militia members were shot during a highway traffic stop that turned into a shoot-out Tuesday night, and one militia leader – Robert “LaVoy” Finicum – was killed.

From its start, the Malheur occupation highlighted the social and political fault lines within the United States, drawing sharply conflicting reactions ranging from mockery to hero worship to criticisms of the capitalist and colonial underpinnings of the militia’s tactics and aims. Reactions to the shoot-out have also revealed even more fault lines, including divisions within the left, as some celebrate the downfall of the far-right-wing occupiers and others question how any progressive could ever celebrate the shooting of a civilian by the police.

As the Malheur occupation fades into history, there are many insights on the US social and political landscape to be distilled both from this episode and from the national conversations it has sparked. One underreported aspect of the affair is what it revealed about the nature of the partial but significant overlaps between neo-Nazis and anti-federal-government activists like the Bundys.

The occupiers had been demanding the abolition of the federal government as we know it, using a set of rationales that were originally derived from racist movements. Some of the occupiers were known to spout anti-Semitic or Islamophobic conspiracy theories, while another denied that slavery existed. And so it should not have surprised anyone that neo-Nazis and other organized racists have applauded the occupation.

Instead of wearing a swastika and burning a cross, they were wrapped in the American flag and waving the Constitution.

Until their arrest, Ammon and Ryan Bundy (sons of deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy) were leaders of the occupation of the refuge’s headquarters outside of Burns, Oregon, which had gone on since January 2. They had two demands: to remove control of the bird sanctuary (previously Indigenous-held land) from the federal government’s hands so that ranchers could use it for private gain without current environmental and other restrictions; and release two members of the Hammond family, local ranchers serving sentences for arson on public land.

Many of the ideas and political forms that Ammon Bundy and his friends used were derived from the 1970s white supremacist group Posse Comitatus. It promoted the formation of militias, developed a fictitious parallel legal world based on an idiosyncratic reading of the US Constitution, and rejected the authority of federal and state governments – claiming that the county sheriff was the highest legitimate elected official. But while Ammon Bundy and the others directly around him had many of the same ideas, they were careful not to use Posse Comitatus’ bigoted language.

This was not true of many of the Bundys’ followers at the refuge. Jon Ritzheimer, who was also arrested Tuesday night, is a famous Islamophobic organizer, known for his vicious rhetoric. Blaine Cooper once wrapped a Koran in bacon and set it on fire. Brand Thornton and David Fry are reported to hold anti-Semitic ideas. Ryan Payne (also arrested on Tuesday) believes that slavery didn’t exist. Rance Harris is said to have neo-Nazi tattoos like “88” – the alphanumeric code for “Heil Hitler.” And together they collectively offended the Burns Paiute Tribe (whose land used to include the refuge), by – among other things – breaking into an area where the tribe’s artifacts are stored.

So flirtatious overtures from neo-Nazis to the Bundy gang should not have surprised anyone.

More: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34575-will-the-history-books-record-how-neo-nazis-made-eyes-at-the-bundy-militia

Man headed to Malheur standoff threatens to kill cops

http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2016/01/26/watch-man-headed-malheur-standoff-threatens-kill-cops/79339746/

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

BURNS, Ore. — A Woodburn man who said he was on his way to an Oregon refuge under armed siege was jailed in Harney County after threatening to shoot and kill federal agents.

Joseph A. Stetson, 54, made the threats at a market in Hines, according to the Harney County district attorney’s office.

He was then pulled over by police. Stetson told authorities he was heading to Burns to join the weeks-long protest at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Stetson was carrying a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun in a holster, the sheriff’s office said in a prepared statement.

He said he wished to be the personal bodyguard for the Bundy family, which orchestrated the takeover of the refuge in early January.

The actual bodyguard for the Bundys, Brian Cavalier, was called out by a  British newspaper recently for lying about being a Marine who served in the Middle East.

“If I go to jail and I come out I will kill you,” Stetson can be heard saying in a video of his arrest. He continues making the threats.

“You let me go right now or I’ll kill you I promise you,” he said It took troopers several minutes to get Stetson into a police vehicle.  He would later kick the door and damage it, according to authorities.  He was eventually booked into the Harney County Jail for DUII and resisting arrest.

Grannies (and Friends) Against BULLIES — A Public Rally in support of our PUBLIC LANDS

http://www.malheurfriends.org/

Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (Friends of MNWR) was formed in 1999 and is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation committed to:

    • Conserving, enhancing, and restoring fish and wildlife habitat and cultural history in the Harney Basin in southeast Oregon through the support of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge staff and programs.
    • Assisting the Refuge in providing wildlife-dependent educational and recreational opportunities while enhancing public knowledge and appreciation of the Refuge mission.
  • Advocating for support of the Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Media Alert from the Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Because of this potentially volatile situation, we have been asked to refer all media inquires to the Joint Command, led by the FBI who are coordinating law enforcement efforts. Here is the web page http://www.flashalertbend.net/
Date: *01/15/2016 (Fri.) *Time:* 11:30pm – 1:00pm PST (Speakers at High Noon) *Location: *Crow’s Feet Commons (downtown riverside) *RSVP: CLICK HERE< http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f44afa729a5fa7-grannies> *(not required but helpful) PLEASE JOIN the *Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge< http://www.malheurfriends.org/>* and the *Great Old Broads for Wilderness< http://www.greatoldbroads.org/>* to send a message to the armed militia trying to steal Malheur Wildlife Refuge: “get out, go home, and give the public back its wildlife refuge.” Speakers include Alice Elshoff, a board member of the Friends and Julie Weikel, a Harney County resident who participated in the process to develop a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that included local ranchers and won a national award. Rally organizers believe PUBLIC LANDS are part of AMERICA’S HERITAGE and the government must enforce the laws that protect our public lands. These laws should be evaluated through a democratic process, not through bullying, intimidation, and armed anarchy. To RSVP CLICK HERE< http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f44afa729a5fa7-grannies> or go to link http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f44afa729a5fa7-grannies

Rancher Terrorists‏

by Stephen Capra

So a week has passed and we have witnessed a standoff continue that should never have started. The motley crew led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of the terrorist Cliven Bundy continue to laugh and mock the very Government that has fed their families for generations.

There remain many shocking aspects about this “armed standoff” with this group of home grown terrorists. Most of it however should be focused on the federal government response. I think it can be viewed along the lines of the “Affluenza defense.” You see in this case the government has done all it can for far too long to allow this group of its spoiled, lazy, bored and angry children to thrive. Examples include: endless subsidies, low to no interest loans, the endless destruction of public lands and waters at the hands of cattle and sheep and the well documented killing and torture of wildlife, all to appease their endless whining and inability of the majority to move cattle and employ measures to limit predator confrontations.

Let’s talk for a minute about how agencies like the BLM or forest service, lower their standards and allow endless violations and seemingly always bend over backwards to keep ranchers happy, while naturally ignoring conservation concerns. Finally, the response and this is crucial.

Some reports have said that employees at Malheur were told a week in advance that this group of radicals was coming and they cleared their offices. If true, why clear the office and leave, rather than block the entrance to the refuge with enough police and federal officials to make this ragtag group turn and leave?

Second. Given what occurred in Nevada last year, why are we waiting them out. Sure, lots of talk has been given to Ruby Ridge and other such sieges. Yet, in no other criminal activity in America with this level of publicity, have we witnessed the police or federal officials give the criminals such opportunity, such incredible leeway. This appears to be a decision by federal officials that plays right into the “affluenza” defense. By not charging Cliven Bundy last year after guns were pointed at federal officials (a felony) and ignoring all the money owed to the government (more than one million dollars). The federal government is allowing the rhetoric of these radicals-that the federal government does not own these lands or has any say in controlling ranching efforts, to begin to have validity.

So why is the government not acting? In part perhaps because republican lawmakers went crazy a few years ago at the mere effort by some experts to speak about domestic, home grown terrorism, the type we are now witnessing. The results, if you’re Muslim, leave the county, if you are a radical rancher- no charges. Furthermore, the vortex of guns, religion, flag waving, anti-environmental, constitution preaching, anti-government fervor is being exacerbated by a lack of a solid government response to such hostile ignorance.

What this occupation has done is created an opportunity, the chance to finally awaken the public to reality of public lands ranching in 2016. The goal: to raise grazing fees, to place a methane tax on cows, to demand a federal buy-out program and to end once any funding for predator control or killing.

But none of this can happen until the government and our President make clear that these acts of violence must be stopped. This Tuesday, the President will deliver his final State of the Union Address. The chair next to the First Lady will be empty, a symbol of all Americans lost to gun violence. The President must make clear in his speech what America plans to do with these home-grown terrorists and should also make clear the importance and constitutional right of our spectacular protected public lands for all Americans.

Finally, our National Parks, Wilderness areas, Refuges remain to many a scared trust. These lands, many stolen from our Native American brethren, are a symbol of life. Much like the Statue of Liberty has appeared to those seeking a new life; our protected lands are a place for the heart and soul to revive, and for wildlife to thrive. This takeover is made more heinous, because it desecrates this place of beauty and peace.

Let them rot in prison.

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