FBI requested no body cameras the night Robert ‘Lavoy’ Finicum was shot and killed

Katie Aguilera

On January 26, 2016, Oregon State Police SWAT and the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) deployed together for the planned arrest of leaders of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  The plan called for an initial traffic stop on Oregon highway 395, with a road block farther down the highway in case either of the two vehicles the leaders were traveling in did not comply at the initial stop.

The driver of the vehicle Ammon Bundy was riding in complied at the initial stop and all occupants were taken into custody.  Robert Lavoy Finicum, who was driving the other vehicle, initially stopped, then, after Ryan Payne got out of the truck, took off towards the road block.  When he reached the road block, Finicum crashed his truck into the snow bank to avoid it.  After he exited his vehicle, Finicum was shot three times by OSP officers.

There have long been rumors that police and FBI involved in the shooting death of Finicum were ordered to turn off dash and body cameras.  It has now been confirmed that these rumors have some basis in fact.

In the investigation into the shooting death of Finicum, investigators determined that there were two shots fired that were unaccounted for.  FBI HRT operator W. Joseph Astarita has since been charged with lying about firing his rifle twice at Finicum at the road block.  Astarita has requested the charges be dismissed.

According to court documents filed February 2, 2018 by the prosecution in response to W. Joseph Astarita’s motion to dismiss the charges against him, Oregon State Police (OSP) officers, at the request of the FBI, did not wear body cameras on January 26, 2016 during the attempt to arrest occupation leaders.

A footnote in the 32-page response states:

“OSP SWAT troopers are ordinarily required to wear body cameras while deployed.  However, they did not wear the cameras while deployed with HRT–at HRT’s request.”

After the two shots that were unaccounted for were discovered, and it was also discovered that shell casings from those two shots as well as some of the shots fired by OSP officers were missing, a new investigation of the FBI HRT operators involved was opened.  The FBI operators were interviewed for a second time by OSP detectives, as described by the prosecution’s response to Astarita’s dismissal motion.

According to the document, “on February 6, 2016, two OSP detectives re-interviewed defendant, [Astarita], B.M., [Astarita’s immediate supervisor] and the HRT operative who was nearly struck by Finicum’s truck at the roadblock.  By then, the detectives knew that there were unaccounted-for shots and missing shell casings.  The HRT operators knew it as well. The HRT operators set conditions for the interview.  They were only willing to be interviewed if:  1) they were interviewed as a group, not individually; 2) the interview was not recorded; and 3) their lawyer could be present by speakerphone.  In addition, they would not answer any questions previously asked without being able to reference statements from prior interviews.” (Emphasis mine).

The response also argues that though Astarita has claimed he didn’t speak at this second interview, the OSP detectives have stated that he did.  The document states, “he spoke less than others who were present, and considerably less than he did during the first interview.  He did nothing to correct statements made on his behalf…These sorts of factual disagreements can only be resolved at trial, not in a pretrial motion to dismiss.”

It is inexplicable that the FBI would request that no body cameras be used during the arrest attempt, and it is also odd that OSP agreed to the request.  This only serves to raise suspicion as to the intentions of the officers involved.  The reasons behind this decision need to be made clear.

That a member of any law enforcement agency would lie about, and actively work to cover up, shots fired during an arrest attempt harms the credibility of, and trust in, all law enforcement.  Although it comes as no surprise that the FBI would attempt to cover up the shooting as they have a track record of such activity, when something like this happens, they must be held accountable.

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Ammon Bundy released from prison, Cliven Bundy refuses release, and Ryan Payne granted release pending approval from Oregon judge

In what seems a sudden and surprising reversal of her prior denial of release for the Bundys and Ryan Payne as their trial proceeds in Nevada, Judge Gloria Navarro has granted release from prison for Cliven and Ammon Bundy, and Ryan Payne.  She had previously reversed her decision to deny Ryan Bundy release, allowing him to move to a halfway house on November 13, 2017.

This decision to release the defendants came after a sealed hearing, details of which are still not publicly available.

Ammon Bundy walked out of the courthouse early Thursday with his family to be greeted by a crowd of supporters and the press.

Cliven Bundy has refused the conditions of release, opting to remain in prison.  His attorney, Brett Whipple, stated, “to be released, he would have to agree to conditions.  In his opinion, he’s not willing to take a deal with the government when he hasn’t done anything wrong to begin with…. He’s very principled and he doesn’t want to violate those principals and I respect that.”

Ryan Payne was also granted release, pending approval from Judge Anna Brown in Oregon federal court.  Payne still faces sentencing in Oregon for his role in the 2016 Malheur Wildlife refuge occupation.  A hearing is scheduled for 3:00pm today (Friday) in the Portland federal courthouse.

The trial in Nevada is expected to resume December 11, 2017.

Update, 12/2/2017:  Ryan Payne was released Friday, 12/1/2017.  It looks as though there will be a release hearing for Dave and Mel Bundy, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, and Jason Woods on Monday.  Here are the conditions for release.

 

Rumors of release from custody for Bundys in Las Vegas

Rumors are flying today that Cliven, Ammon, Mel, and Dave Bundy, and Ryan Payne, will be released from custody today as their trial continues in Las Vegas.  Supporters of the Bundys have made Facebook posts such as this one and this one that appear to confirm the rumors.  This information comes after the court room spent the morning in a sealed hearing.

Fox 5 Las Vegas confirmed that Judge Navarro would release the defendants in a tweet this afternoon.

Update 1:36pm: this [that article appears to have been removed] article from Las Vegas Now confirms the Bundys are to be released for the duration of the trial.  It does not mention Ryan Payne.

12/1/2017: The above Las Vegas Now article appears to have been removed and that link no longer works.  Here is an Oregon Live article from 11/29/2017 with more details.

Longbow Productions: The FBI’s Fake Documentary Film Crew

 

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

“If criminal organizations in the world know that the FBI is willing to pose as journalists in order to infiltrate groups then it puts all of us in danger.”

Rick Rowley on OPB’s Think Out Loud.

The long-rumored and quietly discussed Longbow Productions came out of the shadows this week with the release of the Frontline documentary American Patriot which showed some clips of footage filmed by the Longbow team.  Longbow Productions was a fake documentary film crew, created by the FBI to gather evidence against the people involved in the 2014 confrontation between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and supporters of rancher, Cliven Bundy.

Longbow Productions was the creation of the Las Vegas FBI office after the Bunkerville standoff in 2014.  It was led by an undercover agent who went by the name of Charles Johnson, and who has since been arrested in an unrelated case where he posed as an “investigative consultant for a journalist.” A fake website was set up and the crew obtained professional recording equipment, and then approached the Bundy family and supporters requesting interviews.

A motion to exclude Longbow evidence from Cliven Bundy’s trial, filed in February 2017, states, “the FBI created a fake film production company designed to trick defendants into making boastful, false, and potentially incriminating statements that could be used against Defendants.”  It also claims that the FBI “delayed filing of any criminal accusations in this case in order to launch a wide-reaching deceptive undercover operation known as ‘Longbow Productions.'”

The film crew traveled to five states, possibly more, and interviewed at least 20 different people in an effort to gather evidence.  According to the Intercept article America Reloaded (named for the working title of Longbow’s supposed documentary) by Ryan Devereaux and Trevor Aaronson, there were over 100 hours of video and audio recordings from the Longbow team.

That article goes on to call into question the usefulness of such an undercover operation, pointing out that the majority of what was said in the Longbow interviews was already well-documented in many ways, by many different sources. The article states, “despite a clear risk that considerable resources would be expended to gather publically available information, incurring a guaranteed backlash from legitimate members of the news media along the way, Johnson and the FBI pressed on.”

Rick Rowley, Frontline producer of American Patriot, also questioned the operation in an interview with Dave Miller on OPB’s Think Out Loud.  Rowley states, “it seems like it must be part of the case because it’s an embarrassing thing that you wouldn’t want to reveal unless you needed the evidence from it, but to my ears, it’s difficult for me to see what the logic is behind it.”  He describes the questions asked in the Longbow interviews as leading, and that they “seem to be about trying to build a conspiracy.”

The effectiveness of evidence gathered using this undercover film crew is also worth questioning.  In a February 7, 2017 Guardian article by Sam Levin, Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, Daniel Hill, is quoted as saying, “when the jury finds out this tactic they used, none of them will think it’s okay.  It shows the lows the government was willing to go to.”  Indeed, after Longbow evidence was presented in the first trial of defendants in the Bunkerville case, it’s been reported that jurors did in fact think that it was not okay.  According to the Intercept article, Eric Parker’s attorney, Jess Marchese, “said a number of jurors he spoke to were turned off by the government’s presentation of the Longbow evidence.”

The Longbow operation undoubtedly had a high price tag as well.  Cliven Bundy’s motion to exclude the Longbow evidence states, “the FBI’s Longbow operation spent taxpayer money extravagantly and with wild abandon.”  It goes on to describe how the agents conducted many interviews in expensive hotels, plied some interviewees with alcohol, and paid for the interviews.  Charles Johnson even offered to buy the rights to the Bundy’s story, and his assistant, known as Anna, offered to buy tickets to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to entice the Bundy’s to Las Vegas for interviews, according to the Intercept article.

What is perhaps most disturbing about the entire undercover operation, is the effect it has on journalism and news gathering.  From Levin’s February 2017 Guardian article, “‘if you think every reporter you meet could be an agent of law enforcement, it really has an immediate impact on any journalist coming to try and cover that story,’ said Gregg Leslie, the legal defense director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.”

Daniel Hill, Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, is quoted in this Frontline article by the producers of American Patriot as saying “they impersonated journalists so they could interrogate people the FBI fully intended on charging with serious crimes, without any lawyers present.  We should not have to fear that our government is infiltrating America’s sacred press and media institutions in order to try to gain prosecutorial advantages against its own people.”

In 2015 the Associated Press (AP) along with the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press sued the Department of Justice.  The lawsuit was the result of unanswered Freedom of Information requests made by the organizations seeking information about a 2007 sting operation in which an undercover FBI agent posed as an AP reporter.

“We cannot overstate how damaging it is for federal agents to pose as journalists,” Katie Townsend, the litigation director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement. “This practice undermines the credibility of the independent news media, and should not be tolerated.”

The Hill, August 27, 2015

And of course, there is Rick Rowley’s perspective, from his Think Out Loud interview about the Longbow operation.  “For people that are reporting on other stories, it puts their lives in danger.  If criminal organizations in the world know that the FBI is willing to pose as journalists in order to try to infiltrate groups then it puts us all in danger.”

The use of a fake documentary film crew is just one more thing to question about the way the FBI handled this entire investigation, from Bunkerville to Malheur.

 

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FBI Agent Testifies of Advance Warning of Malheur Wildlife Refuge Takeover Plan

According to testimony given by FBI Agent Chadd Lapp in the ongoing trial of seven defendants charged with conspiring to impede federal officers from fulfilling their duties as a result of their occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that began January 2, 2016, the FBI received advanced warning of the plan on January 1, 2016.  It has been acknowledged during the trial that there were informants at the refuge during the occupation.

On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, Agent Lapp testified that on January 1, one day before the planned rally supporting the Hammonds, FBI agents learned there was a plan to take over the refuge.   Maxine Bernstein wrote in the Oregonian on September 29, 2016:

“Lapp said he heard the information from another agent. Ammon Bundy’s lawyer Marcus Mumford referred to an email sent to the chief regional refuge law enforcement office that he said made mention of ‘intelligence from four people within the militia about a plan to take the refuge.’

‘I remember telling him there was intelligence. It was a potential target,’ Lapp said. ‘It was really basic words…Malheur…wildlife refuge, and there may be a plan to take it.’

Under questioning from Mumford, Lapp said he conveyed the intelligence to several people in his office, but didn’t do anything further with the information.”

That nothing was done to prevent this plan, even with the short notice, is surprising given the testimonies made previously by Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward and Chad Karges, the manager of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, who both spoke of taking preventative measures prior to the January 2 rally.

Sheriff Ward testified earlier in the trial that after several meetings with Ammon Bundy prior to the January 2 rally and numerous emails, warnings, and his own research into what had happened at Bunkerville, Nevada in 2014, he prepared by moving the inmates from his jail in Burns, Oregon to the next county.  He added that he moved all of the weapons and ammunition to the jail, which could serve as a fortified bunker should something happen during the January 2 rally.

Chad Karges testified that “he made the decision to keep employees away after New Year’s Day because of the ‘continued intimidation and threats towards federal employees,’ ‘type of arms that they had,’ and the ‘type of stand they were taking.'”  Defense Attorney Lisa Maxfield asked Karges why no security was placed at the refuge before the rally, Karges answered, “at that time, federal agencies were being told the threat was towards the BLM, and the refuge hadn’t entered into the conversation.”

If the FBI had received information a day in advance of the takeover of the refuge, as Agent Lapp testified yesterday, why indeed weren’t steps taken to increase security at the refuge?  Clearly law enforcement and federal employees were concerned in the months leading up to the Hammonds returning to prison and the January 2 support rally.  Considering that, and the stand off that had occurred in Nevada nearly two years before, why would such a warning not be taken seriously?

With the well-known presence of the Bundys and the others who joined them in taking the refuge, as well as that of the Pacific Patriots Network and other “militia” groups in Burns, Oregon, for the support rally for the Hammonds, I find it difficult to believe there was a shortage of law enforcement in Harney County on January 1, 2016.  Why then was there no law enforcement presence placed at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2, 2016 after the FBI received warning of the planned occupation?

 

 

 

What’s The Beef? Part One: The Anger Over Federal Land Management

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Katie Aguilera

The land out here is vast, in some places stretching as far as the eye can see in between homes, towns, any signs of humanity.  It is rugged and dry, and holds a sense of emptiness, of loneliness.  But to the observant wanderer, it is in fact a place full of life, from the twisted juniper trees to the strange-colored lichens spreading over the ground.  One can find traces of the animals that have passed through, coyote scat, rabbit tracks, the remnants of a cougar kill up in a tree, huge bird nests up in the craggy cliff bands.  And, of course, the evidence of people, shotgun shells, broken glass, old appliances, and cows.

People seem to have a habit of taking what they have for granted until threatened with its loss.  It is certainly true when it comes to land use.  We have a long history of over-use, it is evident in any industry that involves using or extracting natural resources.  It begins with discovery, then fortunes are made, and more and more people jump on board, and then, the resource begins to run out.  That is the point at which people either destroy the resource altogether, or take steps to protect and manage it.

It is undeniable that humans impact the environment, our proliferation around the world has clearly changed the land.  It is also undeniable that natural resources are required for our survival.  We need food, water, shelter, just like every species.  And this need, and all the times we’ve allowed it to devolve into excessive over-use of resources, along with the desire to protect what we don’t want to lose, has left us with a decades-old, emotional, sometimes violent debate.

Once again, this debate has exploded out of its usual confines of rural America and into the national spotlight with the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife refuge in Harney County.  Ignoring the very basic fact that nature seeks balance, the media is frantically fueling the polarizing rhetoric.  Either you are an angry, spoiled white guy with lots of guns attempting to grab all of the public land, or you are against the occupation and want the spoiled white guys arrested, maybe even bombed with drones.  Few seem willing to pause long enough in the argument to really listen to each other.  Just what is the beef with Federal land management?

The situation in Harney County presents a good starting place to look at this question because there is a long history of problems there.  Anyone who has paid any attention to the story of the refuge occupation knows that it began with a protest rally in support of Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were sentenced for arson under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act for starting two fires on their land that spread to BLM land, burning a total of 140 acres.  The group occupying the refuge want the Hammonds freed from prison, among other things.  The Hammonds’ battle with the BLM has been going on for decades, long before they lit the two fires that got them branded as terrorist arsons.  And they aren’t alone.

Water

Many from the area claim that there have been numerous attempts to get ranchers off of their private lands over the years.  According to Ammon Bundy, some of those attempts included reducing the number of grazing permits from 53 to 21, raising grazing fees, and even deliberately flooding Malheur, Harney and Mud Lakes to force ranchers from the lands around the lakes.  The lakes did flood in the early eighties, causing an estimated $32 million in damage in 1984.  According to The New York Times:

‘Twenty-seven families have been flooded out as the lakes’ level has risen about 12 feet over the last three years,’ said William H. Beal, Harney County’s water master.

I haven’t found any evidence to support Bundy’s claim that the US Fish and Wildlife Service deliberately flooded the lakes somehow, but the solution sought by the ranchers to make a flood-relief canal to lower the levels in the lakes was ultimately dismissed.  Again from the above New York Times article:

Harney County officials want to deepen and widen the old waterway to the Malheur River and use it as a flood-relief canal, timing the releases to minimize flood danger downstream.  Mr. Beal said the canal would cost $8 million to $12 million.

The Army Corps of Engineers said two years ago that the economic benefits would far outweigh the cost of the canal.

In the end, after another study by the Army Corps of Engineers, in a reversal from their previous statement, the canal was ruled out as its benefits would not outweigh the costs of construction, or possible detrimental effects on the river from the influx of lake waters.  This study goes into much more detail about the different ideas for mitigating the flood damage and resolving the problem.  I can see why local residents might feel as though their needs, and solution ideas, were disregarded, and perhaps that has led to Ammon’s claim.

As for the Hammonds, Ammon Bundy writes this:

In the early 1990’s the Hammonds filed on a livestock water source and obtained a deed for the water right from the State of Oregon. When the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found out that the Hammonds obtained new water rights near the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge, they were agitated and became belligerent and vindictive towards the Hammonds. The US Fish and Wildlife Service challenged the Hammonds right to the water in an Oregon State Circuit Court.  The court found that the Hammonds legally obtained rights to the water in accordance to State law and therefore the use of the water belongs to the Hammonds.* 
In August 1994 the BLM & FWS illegally began building a fence around the Hammonds water source. Owning the water rights and knowing that their cattle relied on that water source daily the Hammonds tried to stop the building of the fence.
The Hammonds did indeed try to disrupt the building of the fence repeatedly.  It resulted in a hostile showdown, angry threats made towards government employees, and the arrest of Dwight Hammond.  You can read more about that here, I recommend the read.
Land

Grazing fees are a hotly disputed issue.  The low fees charged by the federal government for ranchers to graze their herds on public lands is often described as a subsidy because it is lower than private land owners charge for grazing rights, and it doesn’t cover the costs of managing those lands where the grazing occurs.

Wildlife advocates have long criticized the low price for grazing fees on public lands, calling it an effective subsidy to a fraction of the ranching industry. Generally, grazing fees returns only a fraction of the money the Federal government spends to manage public lands grazing: less than a sixth in 2004, according to the General Accounting Office .

[Read more of that article here on the argument for raising fees.]

According to this:

The Federal grazing fee for 2015 will be $1.69 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.69 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2014 fee was $1.35.

An animal unit month is defined as “the use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.”
It does seem like a good deal.  But the BLM itself says that “the grazing fee is not a cost-recovery fee, but a market-driven fee.”
There are several important reasons for keeping grazing fees low to consider according to this article written in 1992 by William G. Laffer III and John Shanahan.  They point out that grazing on private land typically costs more because the grazing is generally of better quality, and the property owners “provide ranchers with fences, roads, water, and protection for livestock.  Ranchers must provide these services for themselves on public land.”  Public lands are “of poorer quality, more remote, and more difficult to manage and control than private lands.”
Not only that, and perhaps even more important, is the matter of fencing.  It is no small matter.
…if ranchers are priced off federal rangelands, the government would have to build hundreds of thousands of miles of fences to keep cattle from trespassing onto federal land.  In the Eastern states, a cattle owner is responsible for putting a fence around his land to keep his cattle in, and is liable to his neighbors if his cattle escape and trespass onto the neighbors’ land. However, in most Western states, a landowner who fails to put a fence around his own land may not recover for trespass if other people’s cattle come onto his land because the landowner is legally responsible for fencing the cattle out.  Billions for fences.  No one knows precisely how many miles of fencing the federal government would have to build.  Because federal land in most Western states is interspersed with private land in a checkerboard pattern, however, the amount of fencing required would be enormous.  In one grazing district in Wyoming alone, the BLM estimates that it will have to put up 13,222 miles of fencing at a cost of almost $98 million if cattle grazing is discontinued because of excessive fees.
Remember, that was back in 1992, and the estimated cost doesn’t include the cost of surveying the land to determine actual property boundaries.  Of course, a little pressure from the federal government could certainly push states to change their laws to require ‘fencing in.’
As to the argument over whether or not cattle should be grazed at all on public lands, well, I would say that I agree they shouldn’t be allowed everywhere.  Cattle move slowly over the land, remaining in one place until they can no longer find anything to eat, and this causes soil compaction and the destruction of plants.  It is reasonable to believe this is harmful to native species, and there are studies that show how harmful.  From another perspective, however, they can be beneficial too, mowing down potential fuels for wild fires.  But regardless of what you think about the issue, the fact is people eat beef, a lot of beef, and it is no more environmentally responsible to ship our beef from far away lands.  A more reasonable approach is compromise, grazing on some lands, and cattle-free areas too.
Fire

On top of all of that, we can’t forget fire.  It’s no secret that forest fire management policies over the past century have led to dangerous conditions throughout the western United States.  The idea that all forest fires are bad, and must be extinguished immediately has left forests and rangelands loaded with fuel.  When fires start, they burn hotter and longer, causing greater damage to the land, and they are much harder to contain.  In the sweeping sage brush country of eastern Oregon, prescribed burns were used as a means to improve grazing lands and reduce Juniper trees, preventing a build up of fuel and lowering the risk of catastrophic fires.  According to this article by Carrie Stadheim:

[Erin] Maupin, who resigned from the BLM in 1999, said that collaborative burns between private ranchers and the BLM had become popular in the late 1990s because local university extension researchers were recommending it as a means to manage invasive juniper that steal water from grass and other cover

and,

‘In 1999, the BLM started to try to do large scale burn projects.  We started to be successful on the Steens Mountain especially when we started to do it on a large watershed scale as opposed to trying to follow property lines.’

Because private and federal land is intermingled, collaborative burns were much more effective than individual burns that would cover a smaller area, Maupin said.

Like the Hammonds’ fires, these prescribed burns, as well as fires lit as back-burns while fighting wild fires, haven’t always stayed within their intended boundaries.  Again from Stadheim’s article:

During her tenure as a full time BLM employee from 1997-1999, Maupin recalls other fires accidentally spilling over onto BLM land, but only the Hammonds have been charged, arrested and sentenced, she said.  Ranchers might be burning invasive species or maybe weeds in a ditch. ‘They would call and the BLM would go and help put it out and it was no big deal.’

On the flip side, Maupin remembers numerous times that BLM-lit fires jumped to private land.  Neighbors lost significant numbers of cattle in more than one BLM fire that escaped intended containment lines and quickly swallowed up large amounts of private land.  To her knowledge, no ranchers have been compensated for lost livestock or other loss of property such as fences.

Gary Miller, who ranches near Frenchglen, about 35 miles from the Hammonds’ hometown, said that in 2012, the BLM lit numerous backfires that ended up burning his private land, BLM permit, and killing about 65 cows.

Oregon Representative Greg Walden, in a strong statement to the U.S. House of Representatives after the refuge occupation began, had this to say about back-burns started by federal employees:

There was nobody sentenced under the terrorist laws there.  Oh heck no, its the government, they weren’t sentenced, no one was charged.

Good point.  Its no wonder the residents in Harney County, and Ammon Bundy, are suspicious of the motives behind charging the Hammonds for their fires by the federal government.  It really doesn’t surprise me that there seems to be growing support for the occupation on the ground as residents of Harney County, and surrounding counties and states, see an opportunity to force these issues into the spotlight.  And an opportunity to find solutions.  And I think that makes the federal government increasingly nervous, and it shows in the media narrative.

It may be that it is simply too boring to report on the people on the ground, directly affected every day by the land use debate that is more vast than the land itself.  Or, maybe reporting on their efforts to find balanced solutions to the problems doesn’t serve the purpose of the Federal government as it seeks to increase its control.  Reporting on the reality on the ground might expose a widening crack in that control as the people are re-discovering that they don’t need the federal government to solve their problems for them.

Don’t miss “What’s The Beef, Part Two:  How Lawsuits Shape Land Management Policies.”  Read it here.

Another note: just as I finished this, I learned the news that Ammon Bundy and three others have been arrested after an incident involving shots fired while they were on the way to a meeting in John Day, Oregon. 

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