After the federal Bureau of Land Management agents backed down at the Cliven Bundy Ranch last weekend, ample evidence has surfaced indicating the standoff between the government and the Nevada ranching family is far from over. Throughout the weeklong stalemate, members of the Bundy family were physically assaulted by armed officers, numerous cows were shot dead, and protesters faced threats of gunfire for merely expressing their outrage.
Now Senator Harry Reid is escalating the war of words over the dispute, labeling the Nevada cattle rancher’s supporters “domestic terrorists” during an event in Las Vegas Thursday. During a ‘Hash tags and Headlines’ event at the Paris Hotel & Casino, Reid referred to Bundy supporters as “nothing more than domestic terrorists,” adding, “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”
Reid was referring to the stand-off Saturday in Bunkerville where Minutemen and Patriots forced BLM agents to back down and release around 380 head of cattle belonging to Bundy that had been seized over the course of the previous week.
Reid claims Bundy views the United States as a “foreign government,” while accusing his supporters of goading violence.
“There were hundreds, hundreds of people from around the country that came there,” Reid said. “They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first. What if others tried the same thing?”
Despite Reid’s characterization of Minutemen and Patriots as “domestic terrorists,” the only violence metered out during the dispute was when BLM agents tasered and assaulted them during an incident April 9th. Theirs is however, the matter of the killing of several cows by agents.
The BLM admits to slaughtering two bulls belonging to Bundy during their round-up of his cattle. The BLM claims the bulls “posed a safety hazard” but refused to elaborate. Bundy supporters have pointed to photographs which seem to show one of the bulls having suffered a gunshot wound.
Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore tweeted photos showing federal agents did much more than herd hundreds of cows away from Bundy Ranch in Clark County, Nevada, before backing down. The graphic images are proof that multiple head of cattle were slaughtered, apparently under the direction of BLM agents.
“They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week,” said Corey Houston, friend of the Bundy family. “So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they’re a better steward?”
The photos show the dead and decaying cattle, offering little room for speculation beyond the assumption that BLM agents were complicit in their deaths. Some close-up shots show the entrance point of wounds that took down the family’s livestock.
Cliven Bundy’s son Ryan shared video on FOX News of what he believed to be a mass grave dug by the government. He noted that at least one dead cow could be seen in the 18-by-45 foot area.
Officials have yet to comment on the video.
Amy Lueders, the Nevada state director for the BLM, said the agency does have a “protocol,” but would not release any numbers for animals they have found dead or that they have euthanized.
“In terms of the number that we’ve found, animals who are, I think, deceased on the range, or if we’ve had to euthanize an animal, we don’t have an answer to that question at this time,” Lueders said. “We will euthanize an animal during the impoundment if they show dangerous characteristics, threaten the health and safety of the employees, display a hopeless prognosis for life.”
“So, we do have a protocol in terms of when we would euthanize animals,” she added. “But we don’t have any answers at this time in terms of the numbers.”
Finally, notice the glaring hypocrisy of animal rights groups, like ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,’ who, at this point, have remained largely silent about allegations of cattle mistreatment on the ranch by federal forces. As search of their national website yields nothing about the cruelty inflicted on the Bundy Ranch cattle.
Immediately after what many considered a victory against a tyrannical federal agency, a number of Progressive voices — including Reid — indicated the action against this family will continue.
In response, Texas Congressman Steve Stockman sent a letter to Barack Obama, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and BLM Director Neil Kornze, laying out his position that any such action by the agency would violate the U.S. Constitution.
“Because of this standoff,” he wrote, “I have looked into BLM’s authority to conduct such paramilitary raids against American citizens, and it appears that BLM is acting in a lawless manner in Nevada.”
He cited the limited powers granted to the federal government, noting the bureau has no “right to assume preemptory police powers, that role being reserved to the States,” and explained “many federal laws require the federal government to seek assistance from local law enforcement whenever the use of force may become necessary.”
The letter included a section of the U.S. Code — 43 U.S.C. Section 1733, Subsection C — stating exactly that point: “When the Secretary determines that assistance is necessary in enforcing Federal laws and regulations relating to the public lands or their resources he shall offer a contract to appropriate local officials having law enforcement authority within their respective jurisdictions with the view of achieving maximum feasible reliance upon local law enforcement officials in enforcing such laws and regulations.”
In the case of the Bundy Ranch, he continued, “the relevant local law enforcement officials appear to be the Sheriff of Clark County, Nevada, Douglas C. Gillespie.”
Gillespie, however, conspicuously took a back seat to BLM forces during the standoff.
“Indeed,” Stockman wrote, “the exact type of crisis that the federal government has provoked at the Bundy ranch is the very type of incident that Congress knew could be avoided by relying on local law enforcement officials.”
The stated purpose of the correspondence is for the Obama administration “to bring the BLM into compliance with 43 U.S.C. Section 1733.”
Absent a full investigation into the agency’s actions, he concluded, “the federal government must not only stand down, but remove all federal personnel from anywhere near the Bundy ranch.”
Legislators and law enforcement personnel have stood alongside state militia members and the Bundy family in opposing the excessive force employed by the BLM. Stockman’s letter adds even more weight to the growing sentiment against the federal overreach.
No matter where you stand on the Bundy issue, Reid’s characterization of American protesters as “domestic terrorists” is chilling and a massive backlash is almost certain to follow.
It also fits the narrative that the federal government has been pushing for years through literature such as the Missouri Information Analysis Center report, which framed Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, people who display bumper stickers, people who own gold or even people who fly a U.S. flag, as potential terrorists. In 2012, a Homeland Security study was leaked characterized Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.
Reid attracted controversy late last week when he promised that the BLM’s fight with Bundy was “not over”. The Nevada Senator was hit with accusations of cronyism after his former staffer Neil Kornze was confirmed as the new BLM director earlier last month.
Reid is obviously angry after his complicity in the siege against the Bundy family was exposed and became a viral story. Although many news outlets claimed this issue was “debunked,” Reid’s involvement in a solar farm just 35 miles from Bundy’s ranch is well documented.
Archived files which were also deleted from the BLM’s own website confirmed that confiscating Bundy’s cattle was necessary in order to clear the way for lucrative solar deals with transnational corporations.
In 2003, the Nevada Democrat publicly banned relatives from lobbying him or his staff after newspaper reports showed that Nevada industries and institutions routinely turned to Senator Harry Reid’s sons or son-in-law for representation. Then in 2007, after a controversy over the number of lawmaker relatives engaged in lobbying, Congress passed the ‘Honest Leadership and Open Government Act,’ sharply restricting the lobbying activities of close relatives of members of Congress.
Most people in Nevada though have come to understand that such laws don’t apply to Harry Reid. Such appears to be the case of a planned solar power plant that had been backed by the senior statesman.
That plan is now defunct, but it was for a lack of trying on Senator Reid’s part.
Reid and his son, Rory, were both deeply involved in a deal with the Chinese-owned ENN Energy Group to build a $5 billion solar farm in Laughlin, Nevada. That’s about 177 miles away from Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, and 213 miles from the Gold Butte area located in what local’s call the ‘Nipple of Nevada,” and where Bundy ‘s cattle graze.
Rory began to working for the Las Vega law firm representing ENN in 2011. The Chinese company eventually shelved the project in June 2013 after it failed to find a customer. This, despite the pressure applied by the senior Reid on Nevada’s chief electricity provider to get behind the project.
Reid said the complex “would start tomorrow if NV Energy would purchase the power,” but the company “has not been willing to work on this and that’s such a shame.”
His remarks were the linkage between the Nevada utility and the clean energy project. Previously, the project was aimed at serving utilities in California, where state officials now say they have no interest in importing power from other states.
Reid indicated there have been overtures to gauge NV Energy’s interest in buying power from the Laughlin venture. He characterized NV Energy’s response as “weak excuses,” including what he described as the utility’s doubts that the Nevada Public Utilities Commission would approve the purchase.
“NV Energy is a regulated monopoly,” Reid claimed. “They control 95 percent of all the electricity that is produced in Nevada and they should go along with this.”
NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht said the utility is not in the market for more renewable energy at this time, having exceeded the state’s requirement that 15 percent of its portfolio originate from clean sources. The company does not plan to issue new requests for power until sometime this year and in 2015, and will do so through competitive bidding.
“NV Energy would certainly welcome a bid from ENN when we issue the next RFP (request for proposals), and their success, like all other projects, would be dependent on the benefits, especially price, that they can demonstrate for the customers of NV Energy,” Schuricht said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time Reid has sought to influence NV Energy on clean energy policy. In a televised interview in April 2012, Reid said he did not believe the utility had “done enough to allow renewable energy to thrive” in Nevada.
As Reid embraced renewable energy in his vision for Nevada and sought to recruit investors, he fought NV Energy plans for a $5 billion coal-fired plant in Ely. That project was shelved in 2009.
Reid has also played a key role in introducing Nevada to ENN, a Chinese conglomerate looking to invest $8 billion in U.S. clean energy over the coming decade. Reid has toured ENN facilities in China, and its chairman, Wang Yusuo, spoke at Reid’s annual clean energy summit in August 2012 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Along with the solar power plant connection there’s Interstate 11, which would link Las Vegas with Phoenix. In a statement, Reid said that by connecting two of the largest cities in the southwestern U.S. would create jobs, increase commerce and boost tourism to Nevada.
“For years, I have worked with local stakeholders to make Interstate 11 a reality,” he said. “I fought long and hard to get this provision included in the transportation bill and I am pleased the House agreed to keep my Senate provision.”
Most of I-11′s proposed route in the Las Vegas Valley has already been constructed as I-515 from Railroad Pass to Las Vegas, passing through Henderson, Paradise, and Winchester. The highway would overlap and replace existing I-515 in Las Vegas, U.S. Route 93 from Boulder City, Nevada to Kingman, Arizona.
Harry Reid owns a major tract of land in Bullhead City, which is only 36 miles away. And as many rural Nevadans understand, Harry doesn’t do or say anything unless it is financially helpful to him or his crones.