Thursday, March 10, 2016

Finicum's Wake


    The late rancher LaVoy Finicum sought to elude the state’s armed enforcers, but he wasn’t attempting to evade the law. His intent, as he explained clearly and repeatedly to OSP troopers before the lethal ambush at a roadblock on Oregon Highway 395, was to travel to John Day to meet with Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who could have taken him into custody, if just cause existed for that action.
    Finicum, who nurtured a winsome if misguided faith in the Constitution, entertained the hope that Palmer might be a peace officer who was willing to act in the name of the people, rather than enforcing the will of the state.
    If the objective of the FBI and the OSP on January 26 had been to arrange the peaceful arrest of Finicum and his associates, they would have reached out to Palmer. The destination of the convoy was known, as was its purpose – to convene a town hall meeting, not to commit a violent offense.
    Rather than coordinating with Palmer, the FBI and the local lickspittles in uniform deliberately ignored him, and withheld any information about the plan to interdict the convoy. This is because Sheriff Palmer is seen as a “security leak” owing to his sympathies with the ranchers and other residents of his rural county who have been driven into destitution by the federal government.
Staging a combat-grade operation – spearheaded by the FBI’s official death squad, which bears the trans-Orwellian title of “Hostage Rescue Team (HRT)” – was the riskiest way to carry out an arrest. It was, however, the most effective way to exert the supposed authority of the federal government. This is also why the HRT, at some risk to the passengers in Finicum’s vehicle and the OSP officers on the ground, tried to assassinate Finicum after he attempted to run the roadblock.
    Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris (about whom I’ll have much more to say below) points out that three shots were fired by OSP officers as Finicum approached the roadblock at an estimated speed of 70 miles per hour. Three more shots were fired into the victim’s back after he exited the truck, killing him.
    “In the early stages of the investigation we could not explain the fourth shot into the roof of the truck or its trajectory, given the placement of the Oregon State Police troopers at the time,” explained Norris in the March 8 press conference. “During the course of our investigation, we discovered evidence that FBI HRT operators fired two shots as Mr. Finicum exited the truck, and one shot hit the truck…. Neither of these two shots fired by HRT operators struck Mr. Finicum.”
    That unlawful action, which combined murderous intent with government-grade marksmanship, was compounded by the FBI’s reflexive institutional mendacity: The HRT Stormtroopers who fired the shots concealed that fact from the investigation and their comrades joined in that conspiracy of obstruction. Norris carefully, and repeatedly, emphasized that while he found the six shots fired by the OSP to be “justified,” he was leaving the matter of the shots fired by the HRT operators in the hands of the Justice Department’s Inspector General and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

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