CAN A PRIVATE ARMY BLACKMAIL THE USA?
2nd January 2016: “Thus far and no further,” growls Ammon Bundy. He has just been told that two of his fellow ranchers have been arrested for arson. For the car fleet manager from Burns, Oregon, this is the final straw. Now he’ll take the law into his own hands. Together with a group of heavily armed militiamen he makes his way to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 80 kilometres away.
Once they arrive, the men storm the administration building and position armed guards at the entrance to the 775-square-kilometre area. Bundy demands the federal government immediately release both farmers and abandon all claims to the wildlife reserve. He is prepared to fight “to the death” and take control of other establishments. “We want to give the people back their land,” explains Bundy. “It’s our goal to get the logger back to logging, the rancher back to ranching.” But the local sheriff David Ward is convinced that the self-titled Citizens For Constitutional Freedom are pursuing other plans: “They want to topple the county administration and then the US federal government in the hope of triggering a country-wide movement.”
It’s 41 days until the FBI manage to crush the uprising. Blood is shed. Bundy and his crew are on their way to a civic meeting when several law enforcement vehicles suddenly block their path. After a short chase, the altercation ends in a shootout. One occupier dies while Bundy and his accomplices are arrested. The occupation is over – but experts say it won’t be long until the next escalation occurs.
“My people are willing to fight – and if necessary ready to die.” AMMON UN Y militia leader