CoA Institute Sues BLM for Shielding Information on Expansion of Federal Lands

Washington, D.C. – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) today sued the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to obtain access to records about the agency’s acquisition of land in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Last year, the BLM asked Congress for nearly $90 million for new purchases, even though the agency already is responsible for about 250 million acres of federally-owned land. Americans deserve to understand how and why the BLM wants to increase its control over land that could otherwise be used for private or state purposes.

To shed light on the BLM’s land deals and ensure that the agency is responsibly managing its resources, CoA Institute submitted a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request on August 10, 2016 seeking purchase agreements, appraisals, and related communications. Nearly six months later, the agency has failed to issue a final determination on CoA Institute’s request or produce responsive records as required by FOIA.

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Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum’s widow returns to Oregon a year after he was shot

A year ago, Jeanette Finicum was watching her daughter’s basketball game at Fredonia High School when she overheard something about a shooting in Oregon.

She had just returned to Arizona from a weekend visit with her husband at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where Robert “LaVoy” Finicum had become the spokesman for the armed takeover.

She grabbed her cellphone, dialed her husband’s number but didn’t get an answer. A short time later, she got a call from Lisa Bundy, the wife of refuge occupation leader Ammon Bundy.

“She told me LaVoy had been killed,” Jeanette Finicum recalled this week. “It was horrific. They stopped the game. His mother and father and brother, my daughter were all there.”

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Excessive force, improper police procedures led to LaVoy Finicum’s death, lawsuit will claim

A federal civil rights lawsuit in the death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum will allege that Oregon State Police and the FBI used excessive force in a confrontation that could have ended peacefully, the Finicum family’s lawyer says.

The family also will contend that improper police procedures and lack of communication between state police and FBI agents at the scene contributed to Finicum’s shooting death, said attorney Brian Claypool.

The Jan. 26, 2016 police stop of Finicum, 54, a leader of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, was an “unnecessary escalation,” Claypool said.

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Prosecutors In Nevada Beg Trial Judge To Protect The BLM From Scrutiny During Bundy Trial

Prosecutors in Las Vegas filed a Motion In Limine late Tuesday in the case of The United States vs Cliven Bundy et al — in hopes that Nevada District Court Judge Gloria Navarro – will allow the Government to “cover-up” any wrong doing agents in the Bureau Of Land Management – who conducted the Bundy cattle impoundment in April of 2014 – may have committed.
“It’s a shocking blatant attempt by the Government to cover-up the brutal conduct of BLM agents that caused a near catastrophe in Bunkerville, Nevada during the impoundment of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle,” says a defense attorney representing one of the defendants in the case.

The motion is a draconian attempt at best to “protect” government agents from being exposed to further scrutiny during the upcoming Nevada trials in which they will be under-oath to tell the truth.

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Chaffetz Introduces Land Management Bills “It’s time to get rid of the BLM and US Forest Service police”

“It’s time to get rid of the BLM and US Forest Service police. If there is a problem your local sheriff is the first and best line of defense. By restoring local control in law enforcement, we enable federal agencies and county sheriffs to each focus on their respective core missions.

“The long overdue disposal of excess federal lands will free up resources for the federal government while providing much-needed opportunities for economic development in struggling rural communities.”

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Judge finds Oregon standoff defendant Jake Ryan’s statements to FBI were voluntary

A federal judge Tuesday found no basis to suppress statements Oregon standoff defendant Jake Ryan made to FBI agents before his arrest on federal conspiracy and weapons charges.

Ryan had argued that he thought he had been granted immunity from any criminal charges in exchange for his surrender to law enforcement on Jan. 28 at the checkpoint outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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Burns Chronicles No  55 Marshall Spring & Ben

Marshall Sawyer Spring served as a Marine in Iraq with one of the defendants. He received a Purple Heart, but his honor stopped there. His and Ben’s betrayal, of patriots and fellow Marines, as informants includes not only informing, but goes well beyond, as you will see.

Spring and his partner, known only as “Ben”, live in Loveland, Colorado. Spring is a “Marshal” appointed such by Bruce Doucette, self-appointed”United States Superior Court Judge”. This would, according to the “appointment”, make Spring’s title “Marshal Marshall Spring”.  Doucette arranged to meet Spring and “Ben” in Burns, to set up a Common Law Grand Jury. Spring and Ben’s visit to Burns coincides with the two FBI form 1023 (CHS Reporting Document) reports, and it is quite apparent that the reports are tracking Doucette as much as they are the events in Burns.

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Michael Emry pleads guilty in federal court to possession of a machine gun

Michael Emry pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to possessing a fully automatic .50-caliber machine gun that he brought to Oregon in a van loaned to him by Ammon Bundy, one of the leaders in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Prosecutors will recommend he spend two and a half years in prison, under the negotiated plea deal. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on April 6 in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

The 54-year-old, according to a federal prosecutor, admitted he stole the machine gun from a man in Idaho, obliterated its serial number and traveled with it from Idaho to Oregon in December 2015 in Bundy’s van. He, Bundy, Ryan Payne and other militants stayed in a house in Burns at that time, according to the prosecutor.

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RJ asks appeals court to overturn order sealing documents in Bundy case

Describing the government’s case against Bunkerville cattle rancher Cliven Bundy as one of “extreme public importance,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other media outlets Friday asked a federal appeals court to overturn a sweeping ruling that blocks public access to nearly all of the evidence gathered in the lengthy investigation.

Lawyers for the Review-Journal, the Associated Press and Battle Born Media filed the request with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco after a U.S. District Court ruling last month upheld a broad seal of documents that are ordinarily part of the public record.

“The concerns of the media are that they’re effectively locked out of a lot of the case,” Review-Journal attorney Maggie McLetchie said. “The protective order in the case is so broad that it cloaks almost everything the government does or hands over in discovery with secrecy.”

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Judge to allow Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne to testify in second refuge takeover trial

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown said Friday she’ll work to ensure Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne can be transferred from Nevada to Oregon to testify for the defense at next month’s trial of seven defendants charged in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“I’m convinced it would be error for the court not to facilitate them as witnesses,” the judge said.

But Brown wants both Bundy and Payne, who are facing federal prosecution in Nevada this spring, to personally consent to their brief transfers from custody in Nevada to Oregon. She also wants their assurances that they will not argue that the move will hurt their ability to prepare for their upcoming trial in Nevada this spring.

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CIA unveils new rules for collecting information on Americans

The Central Intelligence Agency on Wednesday unveiled revised rules for collecting, analyzing and storing information on American citizens, updating the rules for the information age and publishing them in full for the first time.

The guidelines are designed “in a manner that protects the privacy and civil rights of the American people,” CIA General Counsel Caroline Krass told a briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

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Repair of two trenches, road dug at Mahleur National Wildlife Refuge cost more than $100,000

The cost of repairing two trenches and a road, dug last winter on a part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that’s considered an archaeological site, was slightly more than $108,000, according to federal authorities.

Two of the seven defendants set for trial next month, Jake Ryan and Duane Ehmer, are accused of digging the trenches and charged with depredation of government property, considered a felony when damage and repair is more than $1,000.

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Trump’s pick to head Interior vows to review Gold Butte designation

WASHINGTON — Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Interior Department, told a Senate hearing Tuesday he would review a recent controversial presidential declaration to create national monuments in Nevada and Utah.

But Zinke pledged to visit Nevada and speak with officials in the Silver State before making a recommendation on whether the incoming administration should try to rescind President Barack Obama’s declaration to designate the Gold Butte region, and Bears Ears in Utah, as monuments.

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Prosecutor files formal criminal information, lodging three charges against Marcus Mumford

A federal prosecutor has filed a formal criminal information charging Marcus Mumford, who U.S. marshals tackled and stunned with a Taser in federal court on the day his client Ammon Bundy was acquitted, with three misdemeanor charges.

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Defendants in second Oregon standoff trial want Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne to testify for defense

The second wave of defendants set for trial next month in the armed seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge want occupation leaders Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne to testify in their defense.

Bundy and Payne are both in custody in Nevada, scheduled to face trial themselves this spring in another federal case.

The seven defendants in the second Oregon standoff trial have proposed that Bundy and Payne be transferred to Oregon to testify sometime in March and then return to Nevada by April for their trial in the 2014 standoff with federal land management agents near Bunkerville, Nevada.

They anticipate Bundy, who testified over three days last fall and was acquitted of all charges in the refuge takeover case, would take the stand on two trial days.

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‘Frontline’ documentary, ‘American Patriot,’ explores the Bundys, Oregon standoff, and anti-government groups

PASADENA, California – Oregonians have had more than a year to follow the story of Ammon Bundy, leader of the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016. Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy, and a group of followers seized control of the refuge, located 30 miles south of Burns, as a protest against what they considered unjust federal land policies.

The conflict, and the larger story of the Bundys and their cause, have been extensively covered by The Oregonian/Oregonlive. The case will get more national exposure with “American Patriot,” a documentary coming to PBS’ “Frontline,” on April 4.

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Federal land redistribution rumbles build in D.C.

WASHINGTON— Emboldened by the change of administration, GOP lawmakers are quietly making moves that would permit a potentially vast transfer of federal land to states and other entities.

On a party line vote last week, the House of Representatives approved rule changes that would expedite such transfers, alarming environmental and recreation groups that have long called for “public lands to stay in public hands.”

President-elect Donald Trump and his pick for interior secretary, Rep. Ryan Zinke, a Montana Republican, have both said they oppose turning federal lands over to states or localities. Even so, Zinke joined his party in approving the Jan. 3 rules package, raising questions about how Trump might act if lands transfer legislation were to reach his desk.

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EPA says it won’t repay claims from waste spill

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday it will not repay claims totaling more than $1.2 billion for economic damages from amine waste spill the agency accidentally triggered in Colorado, saying the law prohibits it.
The EPA said the claims could be refiled in federal court, or Congress could authorize payments.
But attorneys for the EPA and the Justice Department concluded the EPA is barred from paying the claims because of sovereign immunity, which prohibits most lawsuits against the government.

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Editorial: Give Nevadans a voice in land use

Nevada’s two remaining Republican representatives in Washington have joined forces to introduce legislation that would prevent future presidents from usurping Nevada land without first consulting Nevadans.

This past week Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents Northern Nevada, introduced the Nevada Land Sovereignty Act of 2017 (H.R. 243, S. 22). If passed, it would block executive fiats designating or expanding national monuments without congressional approval or local support, they say.

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Informants, The scourge of the Patriot Community

I have written a number of articles, under the heading of “Burns Chronicles” the have exposed informants that participate with the FBI in obtaining information about the goings on, both inside and outside, during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Oregon.

The government has, with a revised “Protective Order”, made it near criminal to read or share some of those articles, as the may contain what the Court has deemed “illegal materials”.

Warning: downloading these files may subject you to “Contempt of Court” or “other legal proceedings. Download at your own risk and peril.

Informant articles as of January 5, 2017 (pdf format)

Informant articles as of January 5, 2017 (Kindle format)

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Freedom of the Press #4 – The Order

I got a call from FBI Special Agent Matthew Catalano, earlier today, January 11, 2017. He told me that he had an Order to serve. We made the same arrangements to meet at the restaurant in Los Molinos. The restaurant only serves breakfast and lunch, so it was closed, but I figured that this wouldn’t take very long.

I arrived at about 4:15 pm, and he said that he had to serve me. He handed me the Order, I looked at it and said, “I refuse this service, it is for the District of Oregon, and I am not within that jurisdiction.” I held the paperwork out toward him, but he did not take it, so, I said, “I will keep this, but I want you to tell Judge Anna Brown that I refuse service, as I am not subject to the Oregon District’s jurisdiction.” He agreed to convey the message, and then he proceeded to read certain portions of the Order to me. When he was finished, I reminded him that I wanted Brown to receive my message, and he assured me that he would pass it on. I feel certain that he will. After all, that is his job. We shook hands, and we departed.

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Marcus Mumford’s lawyer seeks personnel files of deputy U.S. marshals who tackled, Tased his client

Marcus Mumford’s attorney wants to review the personnel files of each deputy U.S. marshal who tackled his client and then stunned him with a Taser in the courtroom after the acquittal of refuge occupation leader Ammon Bundy.

The attorney also wants all emails between the marshals that mention Mumford during last fall’s trial.

The requests are part of a wide-ranging motion by attorney Michael Levine for evidence as Mumford prepares to challenge charges that he didn’t follow the lawful direction of a federal police officer and disrupted official government duties, both misdemeanors.

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