Qn Jan. 8, 2018, the trial room on the seventh floor of the Las Vegas, Nevada, federal courthouse was packed with over a dozen reporters and at least five times as many spectators. At the front, facing the bench, was a 71-year-old rancher named Cliven Bundy. He didn’t look well; his ankles were shackled and his back hunched. Four teeth had recently been pulled. He had been on trial for eight weeks and imprisoned for nearly two years. In a bit of trial theater, he was wearing blue jail-issued clothes with “detainee” stamped on the back. Nearby sat two of his sons, Ryan and Ammon, as well as another ally, a self-styled militiaman named Ryan Payne...On the face of it, the case was the federal government’s to lose. Bundy’s supporters had pointed loaded weapons at federal agents, and the rancher owed the American people more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees. The Bundys’ argument hinged in part on their belief that the federal government cannot legally own land — a fringe interpretation of the U.S. Constitution unlikely to stand up in court against a century of case law. The verdict promised a final reckoning for the Bundys, the BLM and Western public lands U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro took her seat overlooking the room. “The court finds that a universal sense of justice has been violated,” she said flatly into her microphone. But she wasn’t talking to the Bundys; her disappointment was directed at the U.S. attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, by extension, the BLM. She was dismissing the case, with prejudice, meaning that it could not be brought again and would provide no answer to the question of whether or not the Bundys had broken the law. Instead, there remained only lingering questions: How did it come to be that, at 10:50 a.m., Cliven Bundy strode out of the courthouse, unhunched, unshackled, in a gray blazer, blue jeans and white cowboy hat — a free man? And what role did the government play in creating an anti-public-lands hero, through its own bungled attempts to take him down?...MORE
It would have been helpful to the reader if links had been provided to the documents and Facebook pages referred to.
Here are some of the links:
The Ian Bartrum paper is Searching for Cliven Bundy: The Constitution and Public Lands
The 2002 IG Report is Disquieting State of Disorder: An Assessment of Department of the Interior Law Enforcement
The two Dan Love IG reports can be found here
The Wooten Memo is here.