Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Who's who inside and on the outskirts of the Malheur occupation
The armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon is now on its tenth day and is showing no immediate signs of letting up. The occupiers, led by Ammon Bundy, have demanded that the federal government hand over the refuge to the citizens of Harney County. Bundy’s actions reflect the decades-long Sagebrush Rebellion tradition in which ranchers, miners and other land users have sparred with federal agencies over how public lands are managed. Many of Bundy’s fellow occupiers at Malheur are members of militia groups who are new to the rebellion, but who share a constitutionalist, right-wing ideology.
For several days, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been present at an ad hoc staging area at the Burns Municipal Airport. The agency has been mum about its activities other than that it is monitoring the situation.
Last week, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward met in person with Ammon Bundy to ask him and the group of occupiers to leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but those conversations appear to have had few actionable results.
This past weekend, a group of four militiamen from around the Pacific Northwest visited Bundy at the refuge, the FBI staging area, and Sheriff Ward, in what they say is an attempt to end the current stalemate and promote dialogue. Below here are the key players.