IMAGE CREDITS: GEORGE FREY/GETTY IMAGES.
Last week a Nevada jury dealt another blow this week to the government’s case against participants in an armed uprising against federal agents three years ago involving the family of rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters.
The jury acquitted two men, Richard Lovelien and Steven Stewart, of all 10 charges against them, and two others, Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler, on most counts. The jury deadlocked on the remaining charges against Parker and Drexler, and then Judge Gloria Navarro an appointee of President Obama hand- picked by Harry Reid, declared a mistrial.
Navarro’s conduct in the case and her efforts to cook the results of the next trial by denying the defendants any real defense. Navarro knows that no matter how outrageous her conduct the X circuit, the most politically activist liberal would be unable to overturn her rulings and all the Bundy defendants will have died in prison before the US Supreme Court could hear this case.
This recent result was despite a concerted effort by Judge Gloria Navarro to deny the due-process rights of the defendants. Navarro has refused to release the Bundy’s and their supporters including journalist Pete Santilli under pre-trial release even none have prior criminal records, leaving them to languish in a squalid Nevada for 18 months and has ordered that they remain shackled during their trial. Navarro has denied the Bundy’s attorneys the right to mount a First, Second or Fourth Amendment defense. She also refused to let jurors hear a BLM radio transmission which features the order to attack the Bundy ranch and refused to allow final arguments by the defendant’s attorneys.
This was the second trial for the four men, who had been accused of conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer, among other charges. A jury in April deadlocked on all charges against them.
Now, incredibly the Government has announced its intention to try Parker and Drexler a third time! Thirty days after the third “re-trial” of Parker & Drexler the next set of Bundy Ranch Defendants will have their trial, including Cliven Bundy, his sons, and journalist Pete Santilli whose only crime seems to be his coverage of the dispute as a news story. Six other accused, which include two other sons of Clive Bundy, are awaiting trial sometime in 2018.
The four were in Bunkerville, Nevada in April 2014, when rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons rallied armed militia and other supporters to face off against agents with the federal Bureau of Land Management who had come to impound Bundy’s cattle.
The Bundys’ fight against the federal government began decades earlier as a dispute over grazing land for the family’s cattle.
To understand this case and why the Department of Justice is determined to deny the Bundys and their supporters their right to a fair and speedy trial it is necessary to dig deeper into the situation and the involvement of Sen. Harry Reid
The Bundy Family has been on their family land in the Gold Butte area of Nevada since 1877. This is long before the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ever existed. When the BLM started changing laws by fiat, many, including the Bundy Family, accused the Feds of overtaking state sovereignty.
One such created law forbids cattle from grazing on Federal land in the name of protecting an endangered tortoise. Bundy Family and friends claim that this is preposterous, and nothing but a display of Federal government gone bad. All of their attempts to redress their grievances with the Government were rebuffed or ignored outright. The Bundy family continued to disagree and refused to comply, being suspicious of the Feds motives.
Although the facts are still unclear, many analysts are claiming that the Public Lands on which Bundy’s cattle grazed are not only heavy in mineral deposits but are also set to become an oil and gas fracking project. Gold Butte area was used for exploratory energy drilling and could hold untapped energy sources. The BLM already has a track record of auctioning fracking leasing rights to energy companies. While it might be about oil, one thing is clear, it is definitely about solar. Senator Harry Reid (D Nev.) was involved in an expansion of a solar power project that needed the Gold Butte area to deploy more solar panels (and therefore had to remove Bundy’s cattle by force).
The original stated intent of the BLM and associates was to close off the federal land from the Bundy Ranch and remove the trespassing cattle, not to launch an all-out assault on the ranch in Waco fashion.
Longtime Reid policy adviser Kornze was confirmed by the Senate as BLM director (formerly its principal deputy director) on April 8, 2014, just a few days before federal authorities were descending on the cattle ranch. Coincidence?
In a March 14, 2014 press release, the BLM announced support for “the Western Solar Energy Plan, a two-year planning effort conducted on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Energy to expand domestic energy production and spur development of solar energy on public lands in six western states.” While this press release can be found easily on the Internet, it has been conspicuously removed. The agency clearly wanted Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle off of the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to make way for solar panel power stations.
Erasing history is a BLM hallmark. BLM had also posted on its website a document stating that the agency wanted Bundy’s cattle off the land as part of a mitigation strategy for such solar panel power stations. BLM removed it when the standoff became national news.
“Non-governmental organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” (Bundy’s) the document states.
The BLM wanted Cliven Bundy out of the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area so the agency could use the land for future solar projects, including one represented by Reid’s son Rory (ENN Energy Group via Chinese government).
Reid has been accused by ranchers in Nevada of using the BLM to control Nevada land, over 84 percent of which is already owned by the federal government. He also uses this power to pay back special interests, including his top donor, Harry Whittemore, who first urged Reid to have the habitat of the desert tortoise moved. That was before he was convicted of violating federal election laws by illegally funneling $150,000 to Reid’s 2007 re-election campaign.
Harry Reid can be seen in a March 2014 photo breaking ground for a new solar farm near the Bundy Ranch, emphasizing that the senator’s plan for solar projects in Nevada wasn’t just limited to the shelved solar farm near Laughlin. About 35 miles from the Bundy homestead in Bunkerville, Nevada, Sen. Reid joined representatives from the Moapa Band of Paiutes, executives from First Solar, Inc. and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for the groundbreaking ceremony on March 21. “First Solar is thrilled to celebrate this important milestone with Sen. Reid and distinguished guests, and honored to work with the Moapa Band of Paiutes on this landmark project,” Jim Hughes, the CEO of First Solar.
Concerns about the environment and ecology of the federal lands in question were conveniently missing when the land was opened up for Harry Reid’s pet projects with Chinese businesses. This evidence is damning; it shows government collusion between Senator Harry Reid and his former senior advisor who had become the director of the BLM, as well as Reid’s son Rory Reid, the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm that was planning to build a $5 billion solar plant on public land in Nevada.
It is estimated that it would cost around $3 million to round up all 900 of Bundy’s cattle, enough money to have kept the tortoise conservation open another three years. It’s clear the Federal Government was not being honest about their methods and intentions. Either way, they had no business infringing on the rights of the Bundy family in the name of protecting turtles.
As far as the turtles go, later it turns out that the BLM was about to euthanize several hundred of these tortoises in part because of a lack of funding for the conservation (remember that $3 million allocated to the round-up?), and many were actually euthanized by US Fish and Wild Life. An interesting side note, recent research has suggested that there is a direct correlation between the number of cattle and the number of tortoises, and an elimination of cattle has a direct negative impact on the turtle population. The tortoises seem to need the cattle!
Because the Bundy Family were one of the last hold-outs, as many of their neighbors had already been forced out of the cattle business, they were subjected to their cattle being rounded up in retaliation for unpaid ‘grazing fees.’
Feds began rounding up cattle with the excuse they were protecting the endangered desert tortoise. They were not gentle about it either, literally running the cattle to death.
The Feds were illegally and purposefully killing cattle off in the raid, using backhoes to bury some in shallow graves, and load other carcasses onto dump trucks. When the Bundy Family and supporters investigate the whereabouts of their cattle and what was happening to them, the BLM respond by assaulting a cancer patient (Margaret Houston), unleashing attack dogs on protesters, and tazed Ammon Bundy multiple times.
Cliven Bundy then called on the sheriff to start arresting BLM agents for trespassing and theft. While sympathetic, the sheriff was unable to stop the confrontations.
People started to notice, and people voiced their support for the Bundy Family, many in person. When Bundy started gaining even wider-spread support, the Feds erected ‘free-speech’ zones.
After Bundy’s ‘violated’ their zone to film the round-up, the BLM blared loudspeaker warnings, and four snipers pointed guns at them. When Dave Bundy didn’t comply, the Feds sicced at a vicious police dog on him and had him arrested.
In order to hide their doings, the government declares a ‘no-fly’ zone over the ranch to prevent embarrassing footage from the media showing the ‘bovine concentration camp’ where large numbers of cattle are being stuffed into small enclosures. The Feds also create mass burial graves of those cattle unable to survive the stressful ordeal of being ‘herded’ by a low flying helicopter.
Cliven Bundy, having had enough, makes the claim that he is prepared to become a martyr to protect liberty and freedom vs. Government ‘tyranny.’
More and more Americans become outraged and gather in support. Patriot and militia groups arrive to protect the peace.
The Governor of Nevada orders that the ‘free-speech’ zones be dismantled, and warns BLM about their ‘atmosphere of intimidation,’ and recommends BLM reconsider its approach on the constitutional rights of Nevadans.
BLM officials agreed to cease their operation to seize Bundy’s cattle after a massive public backlash. Bundy then demanded that Sheriff Douglas Gillespie disarm BLM officials and return his stolen cows. When this didn’t happen, hundreds of Bundy supporters, including cowboys on horseback, descended on a nearby cattle pen outside of Mesquite where the seized cows were being held.
In a tense standoff, armed BLM feds, backed up by at least one SWAT team, threatened to shoot at Bundy supporters if they marched any closer to a line of vehicles. Refusing to back down, the protesters marched straight past the armed men and towards the cattle pen.
Supporters of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy advanced on a position held by BLM agents despite threats that they would be shot at, eventually forcing BLM feds to release 100 cattle that had been stolen from Bundy as part of a land grab dispute
According to Piute County commissioner Darin Bushman: I was just told by commissioner Collins of Clark County NV that all of us folks from Utah are a bunch of “inbred bastards” and if we are coming to Clark County NV to support Cliven Bundy we all “better have funeral plans”. We should “turn our asses around on mind our own f-ing business”. Classy leadership for all to see.
Cliven Bundy later claims that he would have been happy to pay ‘grazing-fees,’ as long as it went to the state of Nevada and benefit the local community. But not to the unaccountable Federal government who had been illegally harassing them for years.
If the Federal government were truly concerned about the welfare of the turtles, they would have stopped the development in Southern Las Vegas, not Bundy’s grazing cattle.
Never in the history of America has the government called out snipers, helicopters, assault troops and restricted air space to save any animal… not even the American Bald Eagle, much less a reptile. The U.S. government treated the Bundy Ranch like a Middle-Eastern war zone.
Harry Reid and those against the Bundy Family begin to refer to them and their supporters as ‘domestic terrorists.’
Reid is accused of using the new BLM chief as a puppet to control Nevada land, over 84% of which is owned by the federal government. The reason he wants this control is to pay back special interests.
BLM has proven that they have a situational concern for the desert tortoise as they’ve had no problem waiving their rules concerning wind or solar power development. Clearly these developments have vastly affected a tortoise habitat more than a century-old, quasi-homesteading grazing area.
The development of solar farms just like this one is exactly why Sen. Reid was using the BLM, whose director is Reid’s former senior advisor, to push Bundy out of the Gold Butte area.
The simple fact is the feds were using the Bureau of Land Management to bully and intimidate ranchers like Bundy, pushing them off public land in order to pave the way for lucrative “green energy” projects backed by the Communist Chinese government and linked to Nevada Senator Harry Reid.
FOX Legal Analyst Judge Napolitano said the feds were forced to back down because they had suffered a public relations nightmare, pointing out that Bundy lost his case in a federal court but that the case should have been tried in a state court. “The federal judiciary should not be deciding what land the federal government owns,” said Napolitano, adding that the feds should have placed a lien against Bundy’s property to collect grazing fees and not conducted a raid backed up by armed agents to seize his private property.
“The government’s option is to take the amount of money he owes them and docket it, that is, file the lien on his property….the federal government could have done that, instead they wanted this show of force,” said Napolitano, adding, “They swooped in….with assault rifles aimed and ready and stole this guy’s property, they stole his cattle, they didn’t have the right to do that, that’s theft and they didn’t have the right to do that, that’s theft and they should have been arrested by state officials”
Instead of doing the right thing, Federal judges, prosecutors, investigators, and more have all done the wrong thing. At each opportunity where the situation could have been de-escalated, it was instead escalated.
There can be no more clear and egregious overreach of Federal power than is being demonstrated in the case of the Bundy Family. The third retrial of Parker and Drexler requires the written approval of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Incredibly, Sessions visited Nevada during the first trial and blurted out praise of the prosecutors oblivious to the fact that such public comment by the highest law enforcement official in the nation tainted the trial and could have been grounds for dismissal.
I have called upon US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to call Judge Navarro to hearings to explain her denial of the due process for the Bundy Ranch defendants. No person, not even Reid stooge Navarro is above the law.
On July 15th I called upon President Donald J. Trump to review the actions of both the BLM and the Department of Justice in this case and to use his pardon authority to end this travesty and immediately release all of the Bundy Family members as well as their supporters who have been locked-up by an out-of-control Federal government that seeks to intimidate and subjugate through the abuse of brute force. I appeal again to the President for mercy and justice.