By Jake Morphonios, ETNR
April 26, 2016
Though there is no justification in the US Constitution for the federal government to own vast tracts of land outside of its own capital, it has nonetheless taken control of the majority of the lands in most western states.
In the state of Nevada, for example, the federal government claims to own 85% of all the land in the state.
And in Oregon, more than 50% of the land is claimed.
But these high percentages do not satisfy the federal government, which, with its insatiable appetite for even more control over the natural resources of the people, uses the heavy hammer of government power to wrest control of private property from the hands of the citizens to whom it rightfully belongs.
One person to be targeted by the BLM was Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his family.
After illegally shooting many of his cattle from a helicopter and burying them in the desert, the government brought in a convoy of trucks to seize his remaining herd.
When Cliven's family members tried to stand up to the federal agents, they were tazed, beaten and arrested.
Outraged by these action, citizens poured into Nevada from around the country in 2014 to stand with the Bundy family and stop the seizure of their cattle.
Fearing the masses gathered, the government forces withdrew.
But the abuses of ranchers in the west continued.
In Oregon, when one group of approximately 35 ranchers refused to sell their properties, the government rerouted water into a nearby lake, overflowing it and flooding all of the ranchers off their property.
The BLM also started fires that burned down the homes and corrals of other ranchers.
Tens of thousands of acres from more than 100 ranches acquired by these nefarious tactics were added to a government bird sanctuary called the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
After two local ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, tried to hold on to their ranches against government efforts to take the land, they were sentenced not once, but twice to prison.
Angered over this injustice, a group of men and women, led by a son of Cliven Bundy named Ammon, took a stand against these ongoing government abuses by engaging in an act of civil disobedience - long-term sit-in styled occupation of the Wildlife Refuge facilities.
Their goal was to draw attention to the mistreatment of ranchers and other land owners by federal bureaucrats and to teach Americans about the importance of the federal government obeying the US Constitution.
Ammon Bundy explained, "We love our country. We love the people in it. We know that we are struggling to know what to do as a nation. We hope that we can restore those things that can unite us, to protect individuals and not forget about how important each person is and how each person has the right to live in Liberty and has the right to own property and to be able to reap the fruits of their own labors."
In response, the government coordinated a dramatic "lock down" of the region around the wildlife refuge and brought in over a hundred federal agents and militarized SWAT team members to surround and harass the protesters.
In January of 2016, an elite FBI SWAT unit, with the assistance of the Oregon State Police, ambushed some of the occupation leaders on their way to a community meeting.
The group spokesman, LaVoy Finicum, was shot dead in the snow with his hands in the air and Ammon and the others were arrested.
As the weeks passed, the FBI rounded up dozens more innocent citizens who had participated in the 2016 Oregon and 2014 Nevada protests.
Most of the people who have been rounded up have been denied bail, kept in solitary confinement for months and some have even been subjected to cruel and inhumane physical abuse.
Not one of these individuals has been found guilty of having committed any acts of violence, or any other crimes for that matter.
When people are imprisoned for the purpose of silencing their free speech against perceived government abuse, they are called "political prisoners".
This should not be happening to citizens in America.
Our purpose is to free these political prisoners and to continue educating the public about the importance of the federal government being bound down to its proper, legal functions as outlined in the US Constitution.
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