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Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Law, Native Americans, Politics | 19 comments

Compare and contrast: Oregon versus Standing Rock

Latuff Cartoons Jan 2016

Oregon Militia. Latuff Cartoons; used with permission

Ironic, isn’t it, that the Bundy trial in Oregon ended the same day that law enforcement flexed its muscle at Standing Rock.

On January 2, 2016, Ammon and Ryan Bundy of Nevada led an armed take-over of public (federal) property in Oregon. They shared photos of themselves on Facebook and Twitter.

The armed occupation of the Malheur refuge, a bird sanctuary in eastern Oregon, lasted 41 days.

The public justification for the take-over was to protest that two Harney County, Oregon, ranchers who had been convicted for arson were about to enter prison.

However, the Bundy history of tussles with the government suggest the take-over was to bolster their argument that the federal government should not control public lands; instead, they contend that control should lie with local government. The family owes more than $1 million in grazing fees; the federal government seems to be doing nothing to collect it.

An Oregon jury found the Bundys, three other men, and two women not guilty of conspiracy and firearm charges late Thursday.

Not guilty of charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers, a charge the Washington Post asserts “has been used to prosecute extremist left-wingers and Earth First protesters.”

Prosecutors had tried, according to news reports, to provide evidence that the Bundy brothers had conspired and planned the refuge takeover in advance while the defense alleged it was spontaneous and nothing more than civil disobedience. (TPM)

Not guilty of possession of firearms in a federal facility.

Given the photos of their guns on social media and the detritus left behind at the sanctuary, it’s hard to fathom how they could have been found not-guilty of the arms charge.

But this was the argument attorney Matthew Schindler gave the Washington Post:

For these defendants and these people, having a firearm has nothing to do with a threat or anything else. It’s as much a statement of their rural culture as a cowboy hat or a pair of jeans.

Threat or no threat, they knowingly and publicly broke the law.

And the jury acquitted.

Moreover, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife estimated the damage to Malheur exceeded $4 million. Four. Million. Dollars. The agency has spent $6.3 million in response to the armed takeover.

So did the feds simply file the wrong charges? There’s no clean charge for an armed occupation of federal buildings? Damage to federal property?

After all, there were 26 co-defendants, some have pleaded guilty.



Turning to Standing Rock

Concurrent with the trial in Oregon, law enforcement officers have begun massive arrests of Native Americans and their supporters who are peacefully protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).


Today, Standing Rock once again makes plain that the immediacy of livestreaming and Twitter are vital news delivery services.

DAPL threatens the only water supply for the Standing Rock Reservation, which includes land in North and South Dakota. Thousands from across the country and around the world — including more than 200 tribes — have joined with the Standing Rock Sioux (Dakota and Lakota).

Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, issued this statement Thursday:

Militarized law enforcement agencies moved in on water protectors with tanks and riot gear today… The Obama administration has asked DAPL to voluntarily halt construction until the review process has been completed, but DAPL has ignored these repeated requests. By deploying law enforcement to support DAPL construction, the State of North Dakota is collaborating with Energy Transfer Partners and escalating tensions.

Here’s the view from no where (Jay Rosen):


These two events — both wearing a veneer of the “old west” — provide sharp relief on how America’s left and right see the world.

One Bundy supporter was wearing a “Hillary for Prison 2016” t-shirt.

There you have it. This is America in 2016. This is November 8.

Dems: don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.


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