The Oregon rancher’s battle through their own eyes

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Citizen’s grand jury justifies action for redress of grievance, protesters say

BY RAQUEL OKYAY
Special to the Rockland County Times
Just cause, questionable tactics: There is little debating the fact that Dwight and Steven Hammond were strong-armed by the federal government
Just cause, questionable tactics: There is little question that ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond were strong-armed by the federal government

Up to 100 concerned citizens have been occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge since Tuesday, complaining that the local and federal government have been behaving tyrannically. The occupation spawned from a protest of about 150 persons outraged at the recent excessive punishment of Burns, Oregon ranchers Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46.

“The federal government is the terrorist,” said Michael Emry founder and publisher of The Voice of Idaho. “Everyone here in this town is terrified of them, and is begging for a proper redress of grievance.”

The Bureau of Land Management had closed off all the recreational areas of the refuge site in recent years, and was restricting access of the people, Emry stated. “Ranchers can’t graze their cattle. There is no more free range grazing. Their goal is to stop production. They want production only through the federal government, period.”

He said the refuge is rich with minerals, water, and natural gas. “Because the Hammonds are standing their ground and would not knuckle under the pressure, the federal government trumped up criminal charges.”

He said he became involved with the Hammond family to guide and assist them and the citizens of Harney County in putting together a County Committee of Safety to include III% militia groups (111% refers to the 3 percent of colonists who fought in the American Revolution), who in turn would provide enforcement capabilities to a people’s grand jury. “I also came as an imbedded reporter for the III% militia.”

The people’s grand jury is a means to expose the federal government of wrongdoing, when authorities have refused, he said. “After we organized the citizens’ grand jury together with a safety committee, we could take over lands through proper redress.”

The idea is that once a people’s grand jury is formed, together with an effective enforcement entity, which the militia was meant to represent, the people of Harney County can properly redress their government, he said. “The Bundys jumped the gun” with their action of taking over the refuge, Emry admitted, as the grand jury had yet to procure indictments. Emry said that does not change the fact that the people are ready and willing to take over their county in a lawful manner.

The Bundy family of Nevada had their own standoff with the feds in 2014, as patriarch Cliven Bundy and hundreds of militia men stood toe to toe with federal authorities. No shots were fired. Now some of Cliven’s sons are leading this new action in Oregon.

Though the tactics of the Bundys are up for debate, Emry says the time to act in support of protecting ranchers nationwide is now. “If the ranchers allow this opportunity to pass, they will be picked-off one by one leaving the western way of life to die a painful and disgraceful death for the lack of courage to stand up for themselves.”

Emry said, “The federal government is forcibly collecting everyone’s property by harassment and extortion to institute Agenda 21 land grabs.”

He sees hope in the people’s grand jury process. In order to install a people’s grand jury, first, they need to get protection for the grand jury via a safety committee, and then they can gather the evidence to address the illegalities and cover-ups that are occurring at the hands of the government, he said.

The federal government accused the Hammonds of terrorism for losing control of a brush burn on their property, but Emry said they did not do anything that is not normal business practice. He proclaimed that The Bureau of Land Management has violated more laws than anyone else and gotten away with it every step of the way. “If anything, the Hammonds could have been fined for the fire extending a little beyond normal, which is common.”

Emry, who is a U.S. military veteran, said the Hammonds were seeking assistance from patriot groups, but were threatened by the government through their attorneys, to stop talking or suffer the consequences of harsh prison sentences and violence. “The very charge of terrorism that they have placed on the Hammonds is what they have committed themselves.”

“It’s up in the air whether nationwide ranchers want to support them,” he said. “But there are about 30 ranchers talking with the Bundys to get a handle on how they can do this properly, and ultimately be able to tell the federal government to go away.”

Emry said the time is ripe for the people to start investigating and auditing their own local governments. “The people need to start concentrating on their own counties and asking their neighbors to come to their aid in order to counteract the monstrosity of crimes that this government has committed.”

The number of persons taking part in the occupation ranges from 20 to 100 at different times, Emry said.

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