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Federal snipers with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trained guns on members of a family yesterday after they dared to stop and take video footage of cattle outside the bounds of a designated “First Amendment Area,” before arresting one of the men for non-compliance.
The cattle were being rounded up by BLM officers as part of a crackdown on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay “grazing fees” demanded by the feds as a result of a re-classification of 600,000 acres of federal land in northeastern Clark County which Bundy claims has been in his family for generations.
Some fear the dispute could turn into a Ruby Ridge-style violent standoff because Bundy has said he is prepared to become a martyr for what he perceives as a constitutional stance against tyranny.
As we reported earlier, the feds have now started rounding up Bundy’s cattle in the name of protecting a supposedly endangered species, the desert tortoise, forbidding Bundy from interfering or even entering the vast area. The case is quickly turning into another iconic battle between big government and a besieged family.
Fears that the confrontation may turn violent and concerns that Bundy is drawing increased support from liberty activists and the local community prompted the feds to tape off two ridiculous “First Amendment Areas,” outside of which free speech in support of Bundy is banned. A sign placed inside the area reads “Welcome to Amerika – Wake Up” alongside a hammer and sickle logo.
Bureau Of Land Management Phone Number: (202) 208-3801
Attorney General, State on Nevada
Catherine Cortez Masto
Office of the Attorney General
100 North Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701 Telephone: 775-‐684-‐1100
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval
State Capitol Building 101 N. Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: (775) 684-‐5670
Nevada Department of Agriculture Jim R Barbee – Director
405 South 21st Street Sparks, NV 89431
Phone: (775) 353-‐3601
Nevada Animal Industry/Brand Inspection
Flint Wright, Administrator 405 South 21st Street Sparks, NV 89431
Phone: (775) 353-‐3708 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie
LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT 400 S. Martin L. King Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89106
Clark County Commissioner Tom Collin
When Bundy’s family members violated that rule yesterday in an attempt to peacefully document the cattle roundup, they were met with a barrage of loudspeaker warnings and four BLM snipers with their guns trained on the dissenters.
“Several members of the family had gone out for a drive in several vehicles to try to monitor the ongoing federal action to remove their father’s cattle from the range,” reports the Moapa Valley Progress. “They were not travelling on recently restricted federal land, but were travelling along the state highway looking north across the valley for signs of cattle, Ryan Bundy said.”
“He was doing nothing but standing there and filming the landscape,” Bundy said of his brother Dave. “We were on the state highway, not even off of the right-of-way. Even if they want to call [the area that we were filming] federal land; which it’s not; we weren’t even on it. We were on the road.”
None of the family members were armed, but as soon as Dave Bundy began filming the cattle in the distance, 11 BLM vehicles each with two agents arrived and surrounded him.
“They also had four snipers on the hill above us all trained on us. We were doing nothing besides filming the area,” said Ryan Bundy.
The family were told to leave the area via loudspeaker because they had violated the crudely established “First Amendment Area”.
“They said that we had no first amendment rights except for up by the bridge where they had established an area for that,” Bundy said.
When Dave Bundy didn’t immediately heed the warning and return to his vehicle, a dog was set on him and he was subsequently arrested.
“He was filming and talking on the phone, I don’t know to whom,” Ryan Bundy said. “It happened pretty fast. They came down on him hard and had a German Shepherd on him. And then they took him.”
When Dave Bundy’s father Cliven attempted to contact emergency response in both Mesquite and for Metro in an attempt to discover the whereabouts of his son, he was told to, “get off the phone or he would be arrested,” according to Ryan Bundy.
Should the Bundy case escalate any further, what has up to this point remained a largely local news story threatens to explode into a national controversy – re-igniting resentment over big government and a federal bureaucracy increasingly trampling on the rights of the American people to be left alone.
A Ruby Ridge-style standoff is brewing in Nevada, where dozens of armed federal agents are closing in on cattle rancher Cliven Bundy over claims that Bundy has allowed his cows to graze illegally on government land, endangering a protected species of tortoise.
Vowing to take a stand for, “your liberty and freedom,” Bundy says he is prepared to be killed as authorities surround a 600,000 acre section of public land as a result of Bundy violating a 1993 Bureau of Land Management ruling which changed grazing rights in order to protect the endangered desert tortoise.
“With all these rangers and all this force that is out here, they are only after one man right now. They are after Cliven Bundy. Whether they want to incarcerate me or whether they want to shoot me in the back, they are after me. But that is not all that is at stake here. Your liberty and freedom is at stake,” Bundy said.
Bundy’s refusal to recognize federal authority over the land under dispute and his failure to pay tens of thousands of dollars in grazing fees stems from his assertion that his family’s history trumps bureaucracy.
“My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley ever since 1877. All these rights I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and water. I have been here longer. My rights are before the BLM even existed,” Bundy said.
Accusing feds of seizing Nevada’s sovereignty, Bundy says he has fought the battle legally, through the media, and is now gearing up to fight it physically.
“Armed agents are forming a a military-like staging area to prevent anyone from approaching the area,” writes Mike Paczesny.
Bundy asserts that his case is emblematic of how America has been transformed into a “police state,” labeling the government’s actions “pathetic”.
Hundreds of federal officials, aided by helicopters, low flying aircraft and hired cowboys, began rounding up Bundy’s cattle on Saturday as Bundy accused them of “trespassing,” adding that the impact will only serve to raise beef prices for residents of Las Vegas 80 miles away.
Feds postponed a similar raid in 2012 over fears the action would spur violence. Bundy has drawn a lot of support from the local community and protesters are heading to the area to demand authorities back off. Officials have created a taped off “First Amendment Area” where demonstrators can voice their concerns. A sign placed inside the area reads “Welcome to Amerika – Wake Up” alongside a hammer and sickle logo.
“The rights were created for us,” Bundy told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “I have the right to use the forage. I have water rights. I have access rights. I have range improvement rights, and I claim all the other rights that the citizens of Nevada have, whether it’s to camp, to fish or to go off road.”
Addressing the justification of seizing the cattle to protect a species of tortoise, Bundy stated, “I’ll never get it. If it weren’t for our cattle, there’d be more brush fires out here. The tortoises eat the cow manure, too. It’s filled with protein.”
The standoff has echoes of the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident, during which Randy Weaver, accused of selling an ATF agent two illegal sawed-off shotguns, became embroiled in a tragic confrontation with the the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and the FBI, resulting in the death of Weaver’s son Sammy, his wife Vicki, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Francis Degan.
The story also brings back memories of New Hampshire couple Ed and Elaine Brown, who were involved in a nine month standoff with armed law enforcement and feds as a result of their refusal to pay income tax. The Browns were later convicted of “plotting to kill federal agents” because of their refusal to surrender and were both given de facto life sentences.
In a series of YouTube videos, Cliven Bundy and his wife outline the background behind their decision to take a stand against the feds, arguing that their fight is a constitutionally-driven line in the sand to push back against the usurpation of big government.
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