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Tag: occupation

FBI Found More Than 1,600 Spent Shell Casings at Oregon Wildlife Refuge

Scene at the federal wildlife refuge.

Scene at the federal wildlife refuge.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents found more than 1,600 spent shell casings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge boat launch in Oregon, where protesters occupied the area for 41 days earlier this year.

The findings were shared with jurors in a video that showed seven or eight men firing assault rifles, the Oregonian reports. 

Assistant U.S Attorney Ethan Knight said the video undermines defense attorneys’ claims that the armed standoff was a peaceful demonstration.

“It’s direct evidence of force,” Knight told the judge.

The Oregonian reports:

FBI agents, photographers and forensic accountants who were part of the agency’s Evidence Response Team spent the day testifying about what they recovered from the bird sanctuary in late February after the 41-day occupation. Bundy and six co-defendants are on trial, charged with conspiring to impede federal employees from the refuge through force, intimidation or threats.

The agents described dozens of boxes of ammunition found in multiple sites, rifle cases left in the refuge archaeologist’s office, a trench filled with trash bags near the RV park on the eastern edge of refuge headquarters, three cut padlocks located in a dumpster outside the bunkhouse, a “Tyranny” sign propped up at the refuge’s front gate and an improvised bunker dug out by the back gate of the refuge.

They also revealed handwritten notes they seized from the bunkhouse and elsewhere that described tactical training, formations and drills, guard duty schedules and individual assignments such as “rifleman” or “medic.”

FBI Special Agent Christopher Chew said he was the senior team leader, managing the search and seizure of evidence from Feb. 12 through Feb. 23. He said there were FBI evidence teams that helped Portland agents from Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver and San Antonio.

FBI Completes Search of Federal Wildlife Refuge for Evidence in Occupation Case

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has swept the Oregon wildlife refuge for evidence following the long standoff with occupiers and has turned over the site to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Federal prosecutors said the FBI is finished processing the crime scenes at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Now defense lawyers have an opportunity to visit the refuge between noon Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday, but they will be escorted by federal officers.

This will give defense lawyers and their investigators a chance to photos or videos.

Once the visit is complete, the federal government “will begin the process of restoring” the wildlife refuge so that it can open to the public, the Oregonian reports.

Defense lawyers filed a joint motion Friday to prevent the FBI from sweeping the site until investigators can monitor the activity of federal law enforcement.

Ammon Bundy’s lawyers argued, “The problem in this unique case is that the Government will not know what evidence at the scene is specifically favorable to Mr. Bundy as opposed to another co-defendant.”

The FBI aid Tuesday that agents swept the site to ensure no one was still there and searched the site for bombs.

The occupation of the wildlife refuge ended relatively peacefully after 41 days.

FBI Discovers Trench of Human Feces at Occupation Site of Oregon Wildlife Refuge

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Oregon wildlife refuge that was taken over by armed occupiers is a stinky mess, the FBI has discovered.

Agents said the occupiers may have damaged a sensitive cultural site with artifacts because they built a trench for human feces and excavated a road at the refuge, Reuters reports.

The discovery came Saturday while investigators began processing what has become a crime scene at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The 41-day siege ended Thursday with the arrest of the final four occupiers.

“Occupiers appear to have excavated two large trenches and an improvised road on or adjacent to grounds containing sensitive artifacts,” U.S. Attorney Billy Williams of Oregon wrote in the filing.

Investigators also found guns and explosives.

FBI Expects to Collect Evidence at Oregon Wildlife Refuge for Several Weeks

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Now that the 41-day standoff is over at the Oregon wildlife refuge, the FBI is sorting through evidence at the scene as the town of Burns is eager for life to return to normal.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has turned into a crime scene at a time when land managers must prepare to open the 300-square-mile area that attracts hunters, birdwatchers and anglers, the Associated Press reports. 

The FBI expects to spend the next several weeks collecting evidence and clearing the crime scene. After that, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will being cleaning the site to prepare for the busy summer season.

“People need to heal,” said Linda Gainer, owner of The Narrows restaurant and RV park, which is just a few miles from the refuge. “I didn’t have any people say, ‘I’ll never be your friend again.’ But we did have crappy emails. I’m hoping the birders come back.”

Washington Post: FBI Made Right Decision in Handling of Oregon Occupiers

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 7.48.16 AMBy Editorial Board
Washington Post

“One more cookie, one more cigarette.” So said David Fry, the last holdout in the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon; and with a final “alrighty then,” he surrendered on Thursday without incident. That there was a peaceful denouement to the 41-day siege that created so much potential for bloodshed is a credit to federal law enforcement authorities. They showed restraint in sitting out the armed activists, but did not waver on the need to bring to account those who so willfully and flagrantly broke the law.

The surrender to FBI agents of the last four anti-government activists who staged a takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest federal land management policy came after tense negotiations that played out live on YouTube. The events gave the public an up-close view of law enforcement at its best in deescalating a volatile situation. It was smart to involve those seen as sympathetic to the protest’s cause, such as a gun-toting Nevada legislator, in the final negotiations for peaceful surrender. The FBI clearly had learned lessons from the bloody sieges in Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in the 1990s; a patient approach in letting the Oregon siege play out and burn out proved far more effective than a SWAT team assault.

The four people arrested Thursday had been alone at the remote facility since Jan. 26, when organizers of the occupation and others were arrested on their way to a meeting. Sadly, one occupier was killed in that encounter. But notwithstanding the mythology around the incident quickly fabricated by right-wing extremists, it appears from a video released by the FBI that LaVoy Finicum was shot after running a police blockade, refusing demands to surrender and reaching for a gun. The incident is still under investigation, but, as the FBI agent in charge said, “Actions have consequences.”

For those involved in the occupation, that now means facing federal charges.

To read more click here. 

Four Remaining Occupiers in Oregon Surrender, Ending 41-Day Siege

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon ended peacefully after 41 tumultuous days.

The four remaining occupiers surrendered to authorities Thursday morning.

Three of the four occupiers were taken into custody without incident, but one occupier stayed behind and insisted he would not come out of the refuge “unless my grievances are heard,” The Washington Post reported. 

The lone holdout, identified as David Fry, was agitated and said on a telephone call that he didn’t “want to be put behind bars” and was having suicidal thoughts.

Shortly after, authorities converged on Fry and arrested him.

FBI agents decided to surround the final occupiers Wednesday afternoon after one of them drove outside of the group’s encampment in what appeared to be a stolen all-terrain vehicle.

“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully,” Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oregon division, said in a statement. “However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”

Gun-Toting Conservative Helped Negotiate End of Occupation at Wildlife Refuge

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was an intervention from the unlikeliest of people – Michele Fiore, a gun-toting politician who has supported the occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

On Wednesday Fiore was acting as a negotiator between the FBI and the four remaining occupiers, who may turn themselves in this morning.

Much of the credit for potentially ending the occupation belongs to Fiore, a 45-year-old Nevada state assemblywoman, who spoke to occupiers over the phone Wednesday night, the Washington Post reports. 

Whatever Fiore told the occupiers appears to have prompted them to tentatively agree to turn themselves in Thursday morning.

“Fiore has really given the holdouts a sense of purpose,” tweeted John Sepulvado, a reporter covering the standoff for Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Regardless of what you think of her politics — [she] clearly diffused the situation.”

Remaining Occupiers of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Taunt FBI in Videos

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

The five-week standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge took a bizarre turn after one of the four remaining occupier released a video taunting the FBI.

In one video, David Fry, a 27-year-old dental assistant from Cincinnati takes a joy ride in a U.S. government vehicle, challenging the feds to charge him with theft, The Washington Post reports. 

“You see this? It’s a U.S. government vehicle,” he says, filming himself getting into a pickup truck with federal plates. “I think I want to take it on a little joy ride. You know? Yeah. Let’s start this baby up. Now you’ve got another charge on me, FBI. I am driving your vehicle.”

In another video, husband-and-wife due, Sean and Sandy Anderson, claim they are “hostages” for missing a deadline to leave the refuge unscathed.

“Here we sit as hostages because we didn’t hear about a deal that everyone else got to leave,” Sean Anderson says in the video. “They either let us go, drop all charges because we’re good people, or they come in and kill us. How’s that going to sit with America?”