Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge 'Occupation' / Robert 'Lavoy' Finicum Dies in Shootout

And, so it goes.  We might have expected some sort of gradual increasing of law enforcement pressure at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; but, instead, it was sudden and violent – right out of the play book for the Bonnie and Clyde take-down.  This may have been correct and proper under the circumstances.  I don’t know.  It’s hard for any in the public to know at this point.  The FBI has been rather reticent.

It is entirely understandable – in a way.  Law enforcement authorities were under increased pressure to act.  The Oregon Governor weighed-in with the U.S Department of Justice demanding some sort of resolution by the FBI.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe the Governor was anticipating or demanding what ultimately occurred.  It’s just that the complete, at least apparently so, inaction on the part of the FBI baffled and frustrated everyone including the Governor – who was undoubtedly being briefed by the State Police on a daily basis.  This would indicate to me that the Oregon State Police, the other principal law enforcement agency, was just as mystified as the rest of us.

Well, Ammon Bundy and six or seven other principals in the occupation are now in jail, held without bail.  One of the principals, however, is in the morgue (Robert LaVoy Finicum) – shot by law enforcement.  The exact circumstances of that shooting have not yet been released.

The siege continues.  There are still some hardcore hold-outs.  The FBI is telling them that they are free to leave; but that isn’t actually realistic.  Many of those still inside the Refuge headquarters have been almost certainly implicated in numerous crimes, including felonies.  The FBI doesn’t have the authority to issue them a ‘get out of jail free’ card.  The occupiers know this.

Road-blocks and checkpoints are now in place.  Why road-blocks were not put in place weeks ago – I have no idea.

Robert "Lavoy" Finicum pictured above.

True Nelson

Monday, January 25, 2016

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge / Current FBI Procedural Directive (Stop and Interrogate) Boot-Leg Copy Obtained

If you read my previous post, you will have noted that I gave the FBI and their local law enforcement compadres my recommendations for what they should be doing.  They, however, decided against my plan, at least for the time-being.  The FBI does have formalized directives issued to the on-scene agents and support personnel.  And, I was able to obtain a copy of the FBI’s current plan.

The FBI has decided that daily briefings on the actions of the ‘occupiers,’ and the collection of massive background data is sufficient for now.  It must be said that the FBI’s plan is and has been somewhat frustrating to the public, as well as Oregon Governor Kate Brown who noted the ‘standoff’ has been ‘pretty darn costly to Oregon taxpayers’ ( I think the latest figure was $500,000).  The FBI’s Special Agent-in-Charge, nonetheless, would find the Governor’s complaints rather uniformed and puerile; and would undoubtedly counter with ‘whatever the Oregon taxpayers have paid-out, the feds have spent ten times that amount.’

My source is keeping me apprised of the FBI’s investigative efforts regarding ‘MalBirdRef.’  It is the FBI’s custom to designate a case name that will facilitate and focus in-house communications; hence the case name ‘MalBirdRef.’  The following recently obtained SOP should clarify much of the public’s concern about whether or not the FBI is actively and credibly involved in resolving the ‘occupation’ of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  In that Bureau procedural directives can be somewhat confusing to the uninitiated, I have included my own explanation of each directive – my comments in italics.

MalBirdRef Standard Operating Procedures / Effective Instant Date

All investigators (FBI and Local Law Enforcement support personnel) objectives:  Identify, conduct background, interview when possible and fully document information concerning the following persons-of-interest (POIs):

Under this directive’s objectives, of particular concern are visitors, supporters and potential Bundy converts, from the following states.  Vehicles registered in those states should be stopped and a field interrogation conducted to determine the reason for the driver being in Oregon, and specifically in Harney County.  Applicable States:  Montana, Idaho, Nevada and New Hampshire.

True’s explanation: Montana, Idaho and Nevada are ‘Red’ states bordering Oregon; and moreover Nevada is Ammon Bundy’s home state and potential supporters might follow him to Oregon.  New Hampshire was added to the stop and interrogate list because of the State Motto on their vehicle plates – “Live Free or Die.”

Stop and Interview:  Any operator and passenger of a four-wheel-drive truck (Ford, Chevy, Dodge) holding two men and no women.  Foreign made four-wheel-drive trucks are considered low priority, unless other directives apply.

True’s explanation:  Two men together (not that there is anything wrong with that)… objective unclear.

Stop and Interview:  Men with beards, particularly untrimmed beards and associated slovenly appearance, driving older model vehicles, or in some instances stolen government vehicles.  Baseball caps worn backwards are a negative indicator.  Cowboy hats are a discretionary call.

True’s explanation:  Seems pretty clear to me.

Stop and Interview:  Drivers of any vehicle bearing a military theme license plate or other similar identifiers.  This directive would also apply to personal apparel, indicating the driver is or was a member of the military, or simply thinks military apparel is cool.

True’s explanation:  Most current FBI Agents were never in the military and are highly suspicious of those who would volunteer for that kind of duty.  Furthermore, they understand that many military members have been traumatized by their experiences and are therefore unpredictably confrontational and prone to join right-wing organizations like the VFW.

Stop and Interview:  Driver of any four-wheel-drive vehicle flying the American Flag.

 True’s explanation:  It’s believed that flying the American flag in this manner is highly questionable behavior indicating neurotic patriotism and instability.

Stop and Interview:  Driver of any vehicle bearing identifiers that said driver and/or passengers are religious extremists.  (Church of Latter Day Saints is the exception to this directive to avoid aggravating Wildlife Refuge occupiers.)

True’s explanation:  Religion is always a touchy subject, particularly in this instance – so, I better skip-it here.

Stop and Interview:  Any individual displaying guns, weapons or associated paraphernalia, to include gun racks in rear windows of vehicles; unless the driver is a ‘certified’ member of the Wildlife Refuge occupation.  In that eventuality, he or she should not be bothered in that such contact could lead to a confrontational situation.

True’s explanation:  Do I have to explain everything to you?

True Nelson

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ammon Bundy and his merry men vs. the Sheriff of Malheur (Part 2) Why don't officials oust Oregon occupiers?

There was a good article by Maxine Berstein, in the Wednesday edition of The Oregonian – titled ‘Why don’t officials try to oust Oregon occupiers?’  An interesting and relevant question to ask.  Furthermore, it appears that many residents in and around Burns, Oregon, and those in close proximity to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, are wondering the same thing.  I, too, wonder.

I’ve been to the Refuge area – just last summer in fact – spent about four days over there.  It was beautiful, prairie-like and remote – great place for bird watching and catching a glimpse of wild mustangs.  Oh, and one other thing, the best hamburger I can recall having was served to me at the Diamond Hotel, located in the very small town of Diamond.

Environmental conditions at the Wildlife Refuge can be bitterly cold this time of year – life threatening if one is exposed to the elements.  Currently, roadblocks could be tough duty for the law enforcement personnel assigned, but possible.  Controlling access from all directions into the Refuge, including overland access, nearly impossible.  That said, the current weather is a contributing factor in controlling most access to the Refuge buildings.  That will last until the cold temperatures ease-off in late February or March.  However, when spring arrives – if nothing is done by law enforcement – the current take-over of the Refuge could become a regular three-ring circus, with people arriving from all over the country to join the festivities.

So what could /should be done?  Law enforcement has to gradually take control.  Accordingly, local access has to be restricted.  How?  I would suggest that access to the Refuge by reporters or some others would require a permit from law enforcement.  The area around the Refuge, say approximately one square mile should be designated ‘No Trespassing,’ and that authorized access would only be granted with a permit.  This would put the authorities back in some semblance of control.  Now, it seems to appear that law enforcement is uncertain, indecisive and helpless – that Ammon Bundy is in the driver’s seat.

What if someone enters without a permit?  Well, this is not a perfect system; but some efforts need to be made to identify trespassers.  This might require a continuing law enforcement presence in the area to monitor roads.  Have the National Guard set up some temporary facilities so that law enforcement personnel, monitoring the roads, can have some comforts and protection from the elements on a 24 hour basis.

Overflights with cameras might be another option.  What about satellite monitoring?  If, nonetheless, some individuals insist upon entering, even when advised not to, or actually sneak in, those individuals would be subsequently cited for trespass and face arrest upon leaving the occupied Refuge area.

I would suggest that some reporters be given a permit and allowed to enter the Refuge and talk to Bundy and his associates – allow Bundy a voice – as well as to monitor conditions inside.  I would suggest that basic comfort supplies be allowed to enter the Refuge with a permit – food, clothing, etc.  I would suggest that no guns or ammunition or liquor be allowed to pass the checkpoint.

Of course, the other option is sitting back and hoping Ammon Bundy and his associates get tired and go home – before hundreds of people converge on the area in the spring – to include Bundy supporters, various militia members and survialists, tourists, mental cases, you name it.

In the meantime, without some action on the part of law enforcement (other than talk) there is a high probability that other facilities will be taken over.  Come spring, the real fun could begin.

True Nelson

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ammon Bundy and his merry men vs. the Sheriff of Malheur (Part 1)

Am I the only one who can’t make heads or tails about what Ammon Bundy is attempting to accomplish with the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge administration building.  Yes, I’ve read the newspaper articles; but to me it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  And, when you take over federal property, attempting to intimidate the authorities with guns, doesn’t that make you a ‘terrorist’ (if at very least a terrorist with a small ‘t’)?  Perhaps, if Bundy could boil his demands down to a brief, coherent, published manifesto, we could all think it over.

It really is kind of funny.  Did you see the picture, today, of the armed militant with the Pacific Patriots Network on the front page of the Oregonian newspaper?  Boy, that guy is right out of central casting for a Chevy Chase movie.  Question:  Do any of these guys have actual jobs?  Yes, of course, that’s none of my business.

On the other hand, I completely understand that this whole matter could suddenly turn deadly serious (Wounded Knee, Waco and Ruby Ridge).

As an FBI Agent, I spent a couple of months at Wounded Knee and have some knowledge of what a siege situation is like and how it can turn from bad to worse.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not entirely on the government’s side.  They have dictated, encroached and overly regulated entirely too much on property rights.  I could go on for a good while – potentially boring every reader into a coma.

It could be said that the federal government’s regulations put the Oregon timber industry out of business.  Towns dried up and died.  Good paying jobs were lost.  Why?  Because some egg-head back East decided that a former worker in an Oregon plywood mill could just as easily subsist on the salary he potentially could make at McDonalds or Jiffy Lube.  And, or, he could go to a community college at age 50 and learn how to become a plumber’s assistant.

Oh, and, whatever happened to the Spotted Owl?  It’s living happily in the virgin Oregon forests I would assume.

I worked many years for a large forest products company as their Western Region Security Manager.  As a corporate employee, I was headquartered in Portland and was responsible for eleven western states.  But, let’s just take Oregon for example.  When I started with the company there were 10 or 12 mills, plus various facilities and timber operations throughout Oregon with literally thousands of employees with pretty darn good jobs.  As my own ‘early retirement’ grew near, I happened to be the last employee with the company still in Oregon.  I had been retained to provide a security presence for all the closures and terminations.

Regarding the Malheur imbroglio, I have some thoughts on what law enforcement and the FBI are probably now thinking.  Top of the list almost certainly:  ‘Let’s not let this situation blow up in our faces.’  To use a metaphor, it’s a carefully orchestrated dance.  The FBI provides the music for now, but Ammon Bundy is leading.

To be continued…

True Nelson