‘Bring Your Guns And Come’: Militiamen Including Cliven Bundy’s Three Sons Take Over Oregon Federal Building And Call ‘U.S. Patriots’ To Arms In Protest At Pending Imprisonment Of Two Ranchers – Daily Mail
A group of militiamen on Saturday occupied the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon in support of two brothers who are slated to report to prison on Monday on arson charges – and the protesters don’t plan on leaving any time soon, saying it’s ‘kill or be killed’ time.
Militia members claimed to have as many as 150 supporters with them at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge building in Princeton, which is federal property managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that was closed for the holiday weekend.
They later rescinded the number and said they would not disclose how many people were in the building, because of ‘operational security’. Local reporters have said that there only appears to be a dozen cars outside of the building.
‘We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,’ Ammon Bundy, one of the occupiers, told the Oregonian via telephone. ‘This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.’
Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan, who is another occupier, are the sons of of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.
The occupation came shortly after 300 marchers paraded through Burns, Oregon, about 50 miles away, to protest at the prosecution of father and son Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr and Steven Hammond, who were ordered returned to prison by a federal court which ruled their original sentences were insufficient.
The group is demanding that the Hammonds be released and that the federal government give up control of the Malheur National Forest.
Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.
The two were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time – the father three months, the son one year.
But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.
Ammon Bundy, an Idaho militia leader, said that while the occupiers were not looking to hurt anyone, they would not rule out violence if police tried to remove them, the Oregonian reported.
Bundy’s brother Ryan Bundy, who is also an occupier, told the Oregonian that they’re ‘willing to kill and be killed’ if necessary, adding that the federal officials’ actions have been ‘in violation of the constitution’.
‘The best possible outcome is that the ranchers that have been kicked out of the area, then they will come back and reclaim their land, and the wildlife refuge will be shut down forever and the federal government will relinquish such control,’ Ryan Bundy told the Oregonian.
He added: ‘What we’re doing is not rebellious. What we’re doing is in accordance with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.’
The brothers said, however, that their real goal is to simply start a movement. It is unknown what types of weapons are now at the refuge building, but there are no hostages in the area.
‘The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,’ told the Oregonian.
Ammon Bundy posted a video on his Facebook page asking for people to come help him. Below the video is this statement: “(asterisk)(asterisk)ALL PATRIOTS ITS TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED.”
Ammon Bundy said the group planned to stay at the refuge indefinitely.
‘The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,’ the Oregonian quoted Ammon Bundy as saying.
‘This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute,’ he added, calling on other militiamen to join them.
The Bundys are the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. The Bundy family ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, some 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, was the site of an armed protest against the US Bureau of Land Management in April 2014.
The stand-off gained nationwide attention as the agency sought to seize cattle because the elder Bundy refused to pay grazing fees.
The federal agents ultimately backed down, citing safety concerns, and gave back hundreds of Bundy cattle which they had rounded up.
In a video posted to Facebook by Sarah Dee Spurlock, two men – one donning camouflage gear – explain why they are taking the measures they are.
‘This will become a base place for patriots from all over the country to come to be housed and live here. We’re planning on staying here for several years, the first man said.
He added: ‘One time [Harney County] were the wealthiest county, now they’re the poorest, and we will reverse that in just a few years by freeing up their land and resources.
‘And we’re doing this for the people. We’re doing this so the people can have their land and their resources back where they belong.’
He appealed to the public for people to join the group in Oregon.
‘We’re calling people out here to come and stand. We need you to bring your arms and we need you to come to the Malheur National Wildlife refuge,’ he said.
The second man, dressed in camouflage gear, said the group is challenging the government.
‘Until that line is drawn to say “We’ve had enough of this tyranny, you are going to leave us alone”, it will not change,’ he said. ‘This is the power of America right here.
‘People got together for this and it doesn’t have to stop here. This could be a hope that spreads through the whole country.
‘Everybody’s looking for this hope because the government has beat us, oppressed us and took everything from us. They will not stop until we tell them no.’
In another video, Jon Ritzheimer, a Phoenix-based anti-Islam activist and militiaman, says goodbye to his family, suggesting he plans to occupy the federal lands as well.
‘The oppression and the tyranny that’s taken place in Oregon – we know it’s taken place all across the US – the Bundy Ranch was prime example. And we the people need to take a stand,’ he said in the 13-minute video.
He goes on a lengthy rant about the legal system and how it treated the Hammond family.
‘They are not terrorists… This oppressive, tyrannical government who really has no jurisdiction here – this is Hardy County’s land,’ he said.
He added: ‘The Hammonds were not tried by a jury of their peers. There’s an indictment with no signatures on it.
‘This is a cruel and unusual punishment. But this federal government comes in here and says no, that’s not enough, they need to do a minimum of five years.’
Ritzenheimer then makes a call to arms.
He said: ‘It’s real simple, Dwight. Do you want to die in prison labeled a terrorist by these oppressors or do you want to die out here with us as a free man? I want to die a free man.’
‘If you do not spearhead this and take a stand, it’s going to set a new precedent across the US.
‘They get stronger and think they can continue to go around and bully we, the people. But when we unite and you take that stand there’s no stopping us.’
Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman in Portland, told The Associated Press that the agency was aware of Saturday’s situation at the national wildlife refuge. She made no further comment.
Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward released a statement late on Saturday night.
Ward said: ‘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.
‘A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution. For the time being please stay away from that area.
‘More information will be provided as it becomes available. Please maintain a peaceful and united front and allow us to work through this situation.’
Some local residents feared the Saturday rally would involve more than speeches, flags and marching. But the only real additions to that list seemed to be songs, flowers and pennies.
As marchers reached the courthouse, they tossed hundreds of pennies at the locked door. Their message: civilians were buying back their government. After the march passed, two girls swooped in to scavenge the pennies.
A few blocks away, Hammond and his wife Susan greeted marchers, who planted flower bouquets in the snow. They sang some songs, Hammond said a few words, and the protesters marched back to their cars.
Dwight Hammond has said he and his son plan to peacefully report to prison January 4 as ordered by the judge.
The decision to extend the Hammonds’ prison terms has generated controversy in a remote part of the state.
In particular, the Hammonds’ new sentences touched a nerve with far right groups who repudiate federal authority.
Ammon Bundy and a handful of militiamen from other states arrived last month in Burns, some 60 miles from the Hammond ranch.
In an email to supporters, Ammon Bundy criticized the US government for a failed legal process.