Prosecutor: No formal agreement to conspire in refuge takeover, but a ‘meeting of the minds’

Neil Wampler, one of the defendants acquitted during the trial last fall, attended, and just before a lunch break, stood to address U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown. “I still haven’t gotten my property back,” Wampler told her.

And probably won’t. — jtl, 419

 

Meet the final defendants in the Oregon standoff trial

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA federal prosecutor told jurors that they won’t hear evidence of a formal meeting, written contract or verbal agreement between four men on trial for allegedly conspiring to impede federal employees from carrying out their work at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Instead, they’ll be able to infer through the words and actions of defendants Jason Patrick, Duane Ehmer, Jake Ryan and Darryl Thorn that they used the federal property as their own last winter as a “platform for their cause,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Barrow said.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualThey raided the refuge headquarters Jan. 2, 2016, going building to building with guns and converted the refuge offices and bunkhouse into their own living quarters and meeting space, while keeping armed watch at the property’s front gates and fire tower to control access to and from the site, Barrow said.

“The defendants assumed complete control over the refuge, ” Barrow told 12 jurors and four alternates. “Circumstantial evidence will show there was a meeting of the minds to keep employees from doing their jobs.”

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewThe government sought to directly address defense arguments that were effective during the first trial and played a role in the acquittals of occupation leaders Ammon Bundy, brother Ryan Bundy and five co-defendants on the same conspiracy and weapons charges. After the first trial, one of the jurors told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the government failed to prove the elements of the conspiracy charge.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Barrow said Patrick was one of the organizers, who along with Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne “saw opportunity” in the case of Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven Hammond, who were set to return to federal prison on Jan. 4, 2016, to serve out five-year sentences for setting fire to public land.  Barrow said Bundy and his supporters used the Hammond case to draw attention to themselves, and purposely took over the refuge because they saw it as a “tool” used to destroy Harney County ranchers, farmers and loggers.

Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute “They took over and occupied the refuge because they wanted to put a stop to the work that was being done there,” Barrow argued.

Defense lawyers countered that the defendants on trial weren’t leaders or organizers, but followers who were drawn to the refuge for a smattering of reasons. They argued there was no organized conspiracy, but a spontaneous gathering of like-minded people.

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsEhmer thought the occupation was some sort of a “sit in,” and that the refuge employees were on “seasonal layoffs until March,” his lawyer told jurors.

Thorn’s lawyer characterized him as a “bit player swept up in a larger show,” who was drawn by the Bundys’ interpretation of the U.S. Constitution that he shared and “a desire to belong, to be part of something greater than himself.”

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) Ryan’s lawyer described him as “just a theater kid from the country with strong beliefs” about limited government who felt compelled to help out once Ammon Bundy issued a call for support.

“The evidence will fail to show that a single person went out there with the conscious desire to interfere with anyone that worked there,” said Andrew Kohlmetz, Patrick’s standby lawyer.

Ammon Bundy’s social media posts about the plight of the Hammonds struck a chord with Patrick, a roofer who lost his business during the recession. He felt the resentencing of the Hammonds to longer terms in prison was unjust and came to Burns to protest, Kohlmetz said. Ever since Patrick’s father died of cancer, suspected to have resulted from his exposure to Agent Orange chemicals during the Vietnam War, Patrick has questioned the federal government’s relationship with its citizens, his lawyer said.

Ryan, an aspiring actor, Ehmer, a welder, Thorn, a handyman, and Patrick didn’t know of one another when they arrived, Kohlmetz said. But they shared a belief in their right to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of their grievances and a belief that the federal government had abandoned rural America, he said.

Ehmer, who grew up in Milton Freewater, drove about five hours to the refuge on Jan. 3, 2016 from his home in Irrigon, Oregon, “to find out what was going on” for himself. He returned home for a work commitment on Jan. 6, but traveled back to the refuge with his horse “Hellboy” a day later, finding the people welcoming and peaceful. He had little interaction with the Bundys, but appreciated their efforts to draw attention to the “salt of the earth,” the farmers and ranchers who they felt had been exploited by the federal government, his lawyer Michele Kohler said.

Ehmer rode around the perimeter of the refuge every morning on his horse, hoisting the American flag,” chopped wood and was “nothing more than a ranch hand and a symbolic picture of a cowboy they were representing,” Kohler added. Ehmer dug a trench on the property on Jan. 27, 2016, a day after the police fatal shooting of occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. It was meant to serve as a “foxhole,” if FBI agents or police began shooting the remaining occupiers at the refuge, she said.

Thorn, 32, of Marysville, Washington, sympathized with Ammon Bundy and his outrage over the return to prison of the Hammond ranchers, his lawyer Marc Friedman said. When he marched in Burns to support the Hammonds on Jan. 2, 2016, Thorn knew nothing about the refuge, his lawyer said. He spent Jan. 6 through Jan. 26, 2016 at the refuge, but was a “guy on the periphery, not the center, not the hub,” Friedman said.

Ryan, born in Klamath Falls, moved to a farm in the small rural town of Plains, Montana at age 11. He’s one of 12 children who was home schooled by his mother, who taught him using two texts: the Bible and the U.S. Constitution, his lawyer Jesse Merrithew told jurors.  Merrithew called his client a “child of the rural West,” who was raised to believe that the government should “stay out of the way,” with limited powers. When he heard Ammon Bundy put out a call for supporters to stand with him at the refuge, Ryan was inspired to help, his lawyer said. He initially packed up a pickup full of community donations for the other occupiers, including toiletries and other supplies, and decided to stay.

Ryan did help dig a trench on the property a day after learning of the police fatal shooting of Finicum on a rural road between the refuge and John Day. But he didn’t do so to damage the land, but to “barricade” him and others who remained at the refuge who were fearful of an imminent FBI attack, his lawyer argued.

“In that environment, he dug a trench to try to keep him and his friends from getting shot,” Merrithew said. ” He did not willfully deprave the land.”

Patrick, 43, of Bonaire, Georgia; Ehmer, 46, Ryan, 28, and Thorn, 32, have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to impede employees from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management from doing their jobs at the refuge.

Three also have pleaded not guilty to possessing a firearm in a federal facility, and two contend they didn’t willfully damage government property when they used a refuge excavator to dig two trenches on the site, as prosecutors contend.

Ryan’s parents, Dan and Roxsanna Ryan, are expected to be called as witnesses for his defense.

The trial is expected to last four weeks. A bouquet of bright yellow tulips was positioned on the judge’s bench Tuesday.  Ehmer wore a button-down shirt decorated with the bright red-white-and-blue colors of the American flag to court. Thorn wore a black button-down shirt to court with the words, “We the People,” written across the back.

Neil Wampler, one of the defendants acquitted during the trial last fall, attended, and just before a lunch break, stood to address U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown. “I still haven’t gotten my property back,” Wampler told her.

 

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Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View

edited by

Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume

Is now available in both PAPERBACK and Kindle

BookCoverImageMurray N. Rothbard was the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism which Hans-Hermann Hoppe described as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”

This book applies the principles of this “unified moral science” to environmental and natural resource management issues.

The book started out life as an assigned reading list for a university level course entitled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.

As I began to prepare to teach the course, I quickly saw that there was a plethora of textbooks suitable for universal level courses dealing with environmental and natural resource economics. The only problem was that they were all based in mainstream neo-classical (or Keynesian) theory. I could find no single collection of material comprising a comprehensive treatment of environmental and natural resource economics based on Austrian Economic Theory.

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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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