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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 11, 2016

 

Cliven Bundy arrested

by Tom Sullivan

The Oregonian reports that Cliven Bundy, 74, was arrested when he arrived last night at Portland International Airport. Bundy faces charges related to the 2014 standoff at his ranch:

He faces a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer -- the same charge lodged against two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns. He also faces weapons charges.

[...]

Bundy has been under federal scrutiny since his ranch standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. He has not paid grazing fees on federal land and he owes the agency $1 million in unpaid fees and penalties. He and militia supporters confronted federal agents who had impounded Bundy's cattle that were found on federal property.

[...]

Another key participant in the Nevada showdown was Ryan Payne, a Montana militiaman who helped organize militia snipers to take aim at federal agents in Nevada. Payne is considered the tactician behind the Oregon takeover and also has been arrested and faces a federal conspiracy charge.

The four remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns panicked over a live telephone feed as FBI agents brought in armored vehicles and moved into the compound yesterday:

At one point on the audio, Sean Anderson was heard yelling, "Did your boss send you here to kill innocent Americans?"

At another point, an agent over a loudspeaker said: "David, I want to talk to you."

"What do you want?" Fry replied, then yelled, "You guys killed LaVoy" and "You let Obama bring terrorists into our country."

There was plenty more of that in the feed, to be sure. LaVoy Finicum, shot and killed while reaching into his jacket during a traffic stop, has become the latest militia martyr. “Just shoot me,” he yelled at officers moments before. (The FBI video is here.)

The group is expected to surrender this morning, but "only if escorted by Nevada politician Michele Fiore and Franklin Graham," reports KGW TV Portland.

Before these developments last night, Dave Neiwert wrote that the "American far right’s endless cycle of violence and victimhood" will not end with the occupation:

The patriot movement would never let a good martyr go to waste. For the antigovernment movement, an embrace of martyrdom isn’t a bug, it’s a feature, an essential element of what makes such extremist belief systems tick. Born out of the whitewashed remnants of the radical racist-right movements of the 1960s and ’70s — particularly the viciously anti-Semitic and racist Posse Comitatus movement, which then morphed into the “militia movement” of the 1990s and provided the structural framework for most of today’s claims by so-called “constitutionalists” and “Patriots” — this movement has a long history of attracting violent actors who are willing both to kill and be killed in the name of their extreme worldview.

Neiwert warns:

There is always a price to this martyrdom, as it comes to embody the squaring of accounts and the dispensation of justice in the minds of the True Believers. That amounts to a kind of expiation in the form of retributive violence, the kind that was unleashed on the federal Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, by Tim McVeigh and his patriot comrades.

That is the dark cloud that now hangs over the whole affair, beyond the deaths and injuries that came about because of the Bundys’ quixotic quest to prove their “constitutionalist” fantasia somehow legitimate. Finicum’s martyrdom now means that someone, somewhere, someday, will be seeking retribution.

In "Patriot" America, freedom means needing a private arsenal to defend yourself against your neighbors and the government. Cue Lee Greenwood.