You can bet your sweet ass the EFF BEE EYE is all over this and the BLM is sure as Hell still smarting over the Bundy Standoff so you can expect them to want payback for that little Nationally televised embarrassment.
Especially since there be Bundy's involved with this one too.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s three sons and “about 150” militiamen have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge HQ to protest the pending imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers accused of arson, arguing the federal government has no authority in local cases.“We’re going to be freeing these lands up, and getting ranchers back to ranching, getting the loggers back to logging, getting the miners back to mining where they could do it under the protection of the people and not be afraid of this tyranny that’s been set upon them,” Ammon Bundy, who appears to be the leader of the group, said in a Facebook video posted by Sarah Dee Spurlock on Saturday.
Bundy appears to be standing at the scene of the takeover, surrounded by several men in military-style uniforms with rifles and hand-held radios.
The rancher points out that Harney County used to be the richest in state, and is now the poorest. His radical proposal to solve the situation is to have armed “patriots” come and live in a de-facto self-rule zone independent of the federal authorities.
I talked to Ryan Bundy on the phone again. He said they're willing to kill and be killed if necessary.
In case this is news to you, this has been coming to a head all week long.
The Pendleton, Oregon jury found the Hammonds guilty of the arsons in June 2012. Both were charged with igniting a series of fires on lands managed by the BLM.
Hammond Ranches has about 12,000 acres in the Diamond-Frenchglen area. Their livelihood is running cattle during the winter. Two years ago, the ranch used 26,420 acres of land belonging to the BLM for summer grazing.
Supporters of the Hammonds believe they were treated unconstitutionally because the two were convicted of arson under a provision of an expansive federal law punishing terrorism. They both served their prison terms for 2001 and 2006 fires, but were then told by appellate judges they had to go back to prison to serve more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Eastern Oregon Ranchers Convicted of Arson Resentenced to Five Years in Prison
EUGENE, Ore. – Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond, 46, both residents of Diamond, Oregon in Harney County, were sentenced to five years in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken for arsons they committed on federal lands.
A jury sitting in Pendleton, Oregon found the Hammonds guilty of the arsons after a two-week trial in June 2012. The trial involved allegations that the Hammonds, owners of Hammond Ranches, Inc., ignited a series of fires on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), on which the Hammonds had grazing rights leased to them for their cattle operation.
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.
By law, arson on federal land carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. When the Hammonds were originally sentenced, they argued that the five-year mandatory minimum terms were unconstitutional and the trial court agreed and imposed sentences well below what the law required based upon the jury’s verdicts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, upheld the federal law, reasoning that “given the seriousness of arson, a five-year sentence is not grossly disproportionate to the offense.” The court vacated the original, unlawful sentences and ordered that the Hammonds be resentenced “in compliance with the law.” In March 2015, the Supreme Court rejected the Hammonds’ petitions for certiorari. Today, Chief Judge Aiken imposed five year prison terms on each of the Hammonds, with credit for time they already served.
Both of the Hammonds have said repeatedly that they do not want these Patriots there and this has been pushed by just a couple of people to the point where it is now.
I do not see good things happening in the near future at this point.
For one thing it is extremely cold in that part of Eastern Oregon right now, it was below zero just a day ago.
That will most certainly play a part in any government response to this.
I'm also pretty sure that the folks at the BLM will most certainly be planning ahead this time.