VIA| The Bundy Ranch struggle continues. I supported it then, I support it now. Don’t believe what you read in these media rags. They mix truth with lies and it is confusing. I believe that Bundy and Payne are trying to help these ranchers in Oregon. Dwight and Steven Hammond set fire to some grass on their ranch that spread to federal land. For that, they were charged with terrorism. The whole case smacks of being a setup. This is what they were accused of: “The jury convicted both of the Hammonds of using fire to destroy federal property for a 2001 arson known as the Hardie-Hammond Fire, located in the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. Witnesses at trial, including a relative of the Hammonds, testified the arson occurred shortly after Steven Hammond and his hunting party illegally slaughtered several deer on BLM property. Jurors were told that Steven Hammond handed out “Strike Anywhere” matches with instructions that they be lit and dropped on the ground because they were going to “light up the whole country on fire.”
One witness testified that he barely escaped the eight to ten foot high flames caused by the arson. The fire consumed 139 acres of public land and destroyed all evidence of the game violations. After committing the arson, Steven Hammond called the BLM office in Burns, Oregon and claimed the fire was started on Hammond property to burn off invasive species and had inadvertently burned onto public lands. Dwight and Steven Hammond told one of their relatives to keep his mouth shut and that nobody needed to know about the fire. The jury also convicted Steven Hammond of using fire to destroy federal property regarding a 2006 arson known as the Krumbo Butte Fire located in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Steen Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. An August lightning storm started numerous fires and a burn ban was in effect while BLM firefighters fought those fires.
Despite the ban, without permission or notification to BLM, Steven Hammond started several “back fires” in an attempt save the ranch’s winter feed. The fires burned onto public land and were seen by BLM firefighters camped nearby. The firefighters took steps to ensure their safety and reported the arsons.”
From The Oregonian:
BURNS – The strangers carrying the whisper of danger arrived in the vast territory of the Harney Basin just before the holidays.
Ammon Bundy once helped his father repulse the government in an armed showdown on a Nevada desert. He was Tasered for his effort.
Ryan Payne, an electrician from Montana, joined that same standoff and boasted of organizing civilians into sniper squads that drew a bead on federal agents.
And not long ago, Jon Ritzheimer worried the FBI with his threatening rants against Muslims in Arizona and elsewhere.
Now, the men say, they are in Burns to help Dwight and Steven Hammond.
The Hammonds are father and son ranchers, due to report to federal prison on Monday. They were convicted in 2012 of arson for lighting public land on fire adjacent to their ranch land south of Burns. They have been imprisoned once and must return for an additional term after federal appellate judges said they had been illegally sentenced the first time.
Self-styled patriots and militiamen gathering in Burns don’t want that to happen, declaring the Hammonds’ imprisonment illegal under the U.S. Constitution.
They have latched on to the Hammonds as their latest cause to stand against the federal government.
A fire does not wipe out all evidence of poaching. None of this makes sense. Ranchers are also known to burn a line to protect feed or property from an encroaching fire. The Hammonds have been stewards of their property for decades. They would have no reason to do this. And terrorism? Seriously? Sounds to me as if their relatives were bullied or bribed into turning on them and now the Hammonds are being frightened into just accepting a new extended prison sentence or something even worse will happen to their family. The militia is there to help. If everyone runs around being so scared of the government that they won’t stand up for themselves, we will all wind up in gulags before this is over. They did not commit arson or terrorism here. Many of these militia are former soldiers and police officers. They are not there to intimidate, but the government sure is.