Harney County

In November 2015, Patriot movement activists started to travel, and sometimes move, to Harney County to work on the case of Dwight and Steven Hammond, who are father and son.1)Carli Brosseau, “Oregon occupation planned for months by Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader,” Oregon Live/Oregonian, January 11 (updated February 22), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/bundy_militia_leader_plotted_o.html The Hammond family are ranchers near Burns, Oregon, and have grazing rights on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which is outside of town. For decades they had been in conflict with the Refuge managers. Dwight Hammond had allegedly made multiple death threats against the managers, and both he and his son had been arrested several times. When the two Hammonds were arrested in 1994 after another conflict with Refuge employees, a support rally for them in Burns attracted 500 people, including national Wise Use spokesperson Chuck “Rent-A-Riot” Cushman, who once declared that environmentalists were engaging in “systematic, cultural genocide of rural America.”2)Kathie Durbin, “Ranchers arrested at wildlife refuge,” High Country News, October 3, 1994, www.hcn.org/issues/20/582; David Helvarg, The War Against the Greens, Revised and Updated (Boulder, CO: Johnson Books, 1994/2004), 105. (The anti-environmental Wise Use movement was a right-wing phenomenon of the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s which was often funded by timber, mining, and chemical companies.) During that same period, businesses in Burns had put signs up refusing service to federal employees.3)“Full text of: ‘Nature and threat of violent anti-government groups in America: hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee of the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, November 2, 1995,” Internet Archive, https://archive.org/stream/naturethreatofvi00unit/naturethreatofvi00unit_djvu.txt. This situation (as well as Dwight Hammond, although not by name) is also mentioned in Stern, A Force Upon the Plain, 123.

Wise Use propagandist Chuck “Rent-A-Riot” Cushman came to Burns, Oregon in 1994 to speak at a rally after the arrest of members of the Hammond family—over 20 years before the Malheur Refuge occupation. (Archival photograph courtesy of Peter Walker).

Wise Use propagandist Chuck “Rent-A-Riot” Cushman came to Burns, Oregon in 1994 to speak at a rally after the arrest of members of the Hammond family—over 20 years before the Malheur Refuge occupation. (Archival photograph courtesy of Peter Walker).

Their past seemed to have finally caught up with them when in 2010 they were charged with arsons on federal land, as well as related charges. These included charges relating to fires in 2001 and 2006; the second fire burned part of the Malheur Refuge. These crimes carry a five-year mandatory minimum sentence under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. (The act is a sentencing multiplier which applies to any arson occurring on federal property, whether or not it is politically motivated.)

In 2012, they were convicted of the 2001 arson. While some charges were already dismissed or they were found not guilty, the jury was still deliberating on four more charges when a plea agreement was made. In return for the dismissalof the remaining charges, the two Hammonds agreed to a sentence of at least five years. (Steven was also convicted of the 2006 arson.) However, the sentencing judge gave Dwight Hammond a mere three months and Steven Hammond one year.4)Bill Morlin, “Bundy Sons Lead Antigovernment Extremists, Militia in Takeover of Federal Wildlife Headquarters in Oregon,” Southern Poverty Law Center, January 4, 2016, www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/01/04/bundy-sons-lead-antigovernment-extremists-militia-takeover-federal-wildlife-headquarters.

The Hammonds had claimed that 2001 arson was an attempt to burn invasive species, while the second was an emergency backfire to prevent a nearby forest fire. However, the Department of Justice said the first fire was intentionally set to cover illegal poaching, and the second was set without permission, and threatened a nearby firefighting team. The Hammonds served their sentences and were released, but the government appealed the sentences, as they failed to meet the mandatory minimums. In October 2015, the Hammonds were ordered to return to prison and serve the remainder of their full five-year sentences.5)Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon, “Eastern Oregon Ranchers Convicted of Arson Resentenced to Five Years in Prison,” United States Department of Justice, October 7, 2015, www.justice.gov/usao-or/pr/eastern-oregon-ranchers-convicted-arson-resentenced-five-years-prison.

The Bundys, Oath Keepers, and Pacific Patriots Network Get Involved

The case quickly attracted the attention of the Patriot movement. It cleanly fit into the conspiracy theories that drive the movement: rural patriots (and staunch right wingers) like the Hammonds were victims of the nefarious plot Agenda 21. The case also fit into the movement narrative that patriotic Americans would be imprisoned as “terrorists,” as a prelude to a foreign invasion.

 Sign during the January 2, 2016 march in Burns, Oregon claims that the Hammond family are victims of the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory. (Photo courtesy of Jason Wilson).


Sign during the January 2, 2016 march in Burns, Oregon claims that the Hammond family are victims of the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory. (Photo courtesy of Jason Wilson).

Patriot movement activists and media repeated and elaborated on various parts of this narrative around the events in Burns. This ranged from claims that the federal government was trying to seize the Hammonds’ land, to signs at the January 2, 2016 Burns rally denouncing Agenda 21, to claims that the FBI were “French mercenaries.”6)“Burns Oregon FBI French Mercenary at Refuge Center Harney County,” YouTube video, 8:41, posted by “Bravo Von Muller,” February 8, 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJJx45xYXJM.

Soon after the Hammonds were ordered back to prison, the Bundy family reached out to the Hammond family. Law enforcement says that in October, Patriot movement activists were already moving to Burns.7)Carli Brosseau, “Oregon occupation planned for months by Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 11 (updated February 22), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/bundy_militia_leader_plotted_o.html In November, Ammon Bundy and others met with Harney County Sheriff David Ward twice, asking him to prevent the Hammonds from being taken into custody and returning to prison; Ward refused.8)“Sheriff’s Report—Dave Ward OR Standoff: Part I,” Spokane Talks Online, podcast audio, www.spokanetalksonline.com/sheriffs-report-dave-ward-or-standoff-part-i; “Sheriff’s Report—Dave Ward OR Standoff: Part II,” Spokane Talks Online, podcast audio, www.spokanetalksonline.com/sheriffs-report-dave-ward-or-standoff-part-ii.

On December 15, 2015, the Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne, and others helped set up a shadow government group—the Harney County Committee of Safety—and on January 2, 2016 Pacific Patriots Network activists held a march to support the Hammonds. At the march’s end, a small, armed splinter group led by Ammon Bundy—and primarily comprised of activists from Nevada and Arizona—occupied the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Attracting national attention, the 41-day occupation drew many supporters. On January 27, 2015, Ammon Bundy and other leaders were arrested (and LaVoy Finicum killed) while attempting to spread their tactics to a neighboring county. The last occupiers at the refuge surrendered on February 11, 2016.

While Oregon Patriot movement groups went to Burns, none directly participated in the occupation. However, a number of individual Oregonians did join it, however, including Flipp Todd, Duane Ehmer, Michael Stettler, Travis Cox, and Ken Medenbach.9)Conrad Wilson, “Travis Cox Becomes 9th Refuge Occupier to Plead Guilty,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 20, 2016, www.opb.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/malheur-refuge-occupier-guilty-travis-cox; Conrad Wilson, “Police Make First Arrest Related to Stolen Wildlife Refuge Vehicles,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, January 15, 2016, www.opb.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/man-arrested-in-burns-in-connection-with-stolen-refuge-vehicles; ADL, “Anatomy of a Standoff,” Anti-Defamation League, 2016, www.adl.org/assets/pdf/combating-hate/Anatomy-of-a-Standoff-MalheurOccupiers.pdf. The ADL’s “Anatomy of a Standoff” reported the participation of another Oregonian, Rance Harris, although he disputed this. See under “Thoughts” by commentator “Harris” from January 22, 2016, in Houston Wade, “Ammon Bundy is, and militias in general are, bad for America,” Noosphere Geologic Blog, January 7, 2016, http://noospheregeologic.com/blog/2016/01/07/ammon-bundy-is-bad-for-america. Still the Oregon groups later rallied for the imprisoned Malheur occupiers, and participated in memorials for Finicum, who has since been turned into a martyr.

Because of the Malheur occupation, a number of Patriot movement activists have moved to Harney County, and some locals have been won over to the movement’s politics. But before December 2015, no documented Patriot movement groups were active in the county.

The most famous Patriot movement group in Harney County lasted just forty-one days: the Malheur Refuge occupiers called themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. The occupation also attracted activists from around the state and country to come—in particular the Pacific Patriots Network, as well as some self-proclaimed judges.

Patriot movement activists created the “Redress of Grievance” document on December 11, 2015—signed by many Patriot movement groups—and then held a public meeting on December 15, where they convinced locals to form the Harney County Committee of Safety.10)We the People—United Individuals of these States United, et al., “NOTICE: Redress of Grievance,” dated December 11, 2015, Holding Block, December 30, 2015, http://holdingblock.blogspot.com/2015/12/we-people-united-individuals-of-these.html; “Harney County Town Hall #1 Dec 15, 2015,” YouTube video, 58:56, posted by “Crooked River Currents View,” December 16, 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qcr93G0InA; “Harney County Town Hall #2 Dec 15, 2015,” YouTube video, 1:16:35, posted by “Crooked River Currents View,” December 17, 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF2c6UYRdE0&feature=youtu.be.In the video, they say information for founding a Committee of Safety can be found at www.committee.org. Robert Bristow is now listed as the contact at the site; see “The Committees of Protection, Correspondence and Safety of the various States United under and by the Constitution for the United States of America,” www.committee.org. In May 2016, Bristow was also reported to be the NLA’s “COS Chairman and National Coordinator.” See Shane Radliff, “The National Liberty Alliance is Attempting to Subvert the Committee of Safety Concept,” Liberty Under Attack, May 16, 2016, www.libertyunderattack.com/national-liberty-alliance-attempting-subvert-committee-safety-concept. This shadow government group originally had seven residents, although one left soon after the founding, including some prominent citizens. They include Tim Smith, formerchair of the Harney County Republican Party, and Chris Briels, the county fire marshall, until he resigned during the occupation.11)The six members are Tim Smith (chair), Chris Briels, Duane Schrock, Travis Williams, Melodi Molt, and Rick Habein. Harney County Committee of Safety, “Committee Of Saftey—Members” [sic], www.hccommitteeofsafety.org/committee-of-safety—members.html. See also “Harney County,” Oregon Republican Party, www.oregonrepublicanparty.org/HarneyCounty; Elliot Njus, “Oregon standoff: Harney County group felt betrayed by occupation, but working to take up cause,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 17 (updated January 23), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/oregon_standoff_harney_county_2.html. Smith said:
Basically our two founding principles that we wanted to get done and our goals were to help the Hammond family and to see if we could not help make a transition from federal ownership and federal management to local, county and/or state, management of our so-called public lands.12)“Rural Route Radio March 10, 2016, Tim Smith from Harney County, Oregon,” Podomatic, http://trentloos.podomatic.com/entry/2016-03-10T07_50_37-08_00.

However, others claimed they had much greater powers. At the January 2, 2016 meeting after the Burns march, Oath Keeper Joseph Rice claimed that:

The Committee of Safety that’s formed, what’s unique about that, is that is the establishment of a governmental entity. That forces BLM, in their own policy, they must coordinate with you. It becomes no different than a school district, a mining district, or a fire district; they’re pseudo-government entities.13)“Jan. 2, 2016 Town Hall Meeting” YouTube video, 1:08:00, posted by “Liberty Under Attack,” April 11, 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3t1SopHD18; see around 5:23.

The Patriot movement activists also said the Committee had the power to “call in the militia” if they wanted. Ammon Bundy set up a website for the group, although after being given the password the Committee removed from it some material they objected to.14)Elliot Njus, “Oregon standoff: Harney County group felt betrayed by occupation, but working to take up cause,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 17 (updated January 23), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/oregon_standoff_harney_county_2.html. The site also used the county seal on the website, making it look like an official government agency; eventually this too was removed.15) Harney County Committee of Safety, https://web.archive.org/web/20160101161137/http://www.hccommitteeofsafety.org; “January 8, 2016, Press Release—Clarification on Harney County and Ties to the Committee of Safety Burns,” Harney County, www.co.harney.or.us/january-8-2016-clarification-on-harney-county-and-ties-to-the-committee-of-safety-burns.html.

During the first week of the occupation, the Committee held a meeting in Burns, which drew about one hundred people; Committee members also spoke during the comment sessions at the large public gatherings for county residents held during the takeover.16)Cole Miller and KOIN 6 News Staff, “Burns community meeting: Thanks, militia. Go home,” KOIN6, January 8 (updated January 10), 2016, http://koin.com/2016/01/08/burns-community-meeting-thanks-militia-go-home. For the recording of January 8, 2016 meeting, see Stewart Rhodes, “Live Feed (Now a Recording ) of Harney County Committee of Safety Meeting,” Oath Keepers, January 8, 2016, www.oathkeepers.org/live-feed-of-harney-county-committee-of-safety-meeting. Rural Organizing Project members, as well as the author, were at public meetings in Burns where Committee of Safety members spoke. The occupation split the committee; all of them drafted a letter asking the occupiers to leave, but only three wanted it delivered, which it was.17)Elliot Njus, “Oregon Standoff: Harney County Group Felt Betrayed by Occupation, But Working to Take Up Cause,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 17 (updated January 23), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/oregon_standoff_harney_county_2.html

The refusal of the local elected government to give the occupiers a meeting space in town pushed Committee member Chris Briels (who originally had said felt “betrayed” by the Bundy’s occupation of the refuge) further to the occupier’s side. Briels gave a press conference at the occupation, accompanied by at least one other committee member.18)Ibid; “BREAKING: Harney County Fire Chief Resigns. FBI Caught Posing As Militia At Local Armory,” YouTube video, 11:57, posted by “Pete Santilli Show,” January 13, 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB6m7x3QDAg. When the occupiers started talking about redistributing the refuge to those who had owned it before it was established by the federal government in 1908, the Committee was tapped to research the old land deeds.19)Les Zaitz, “Occupiers want U.S. to surrender all federal lands,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 15 (updated February 22), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/occupiers_want_us_to_surrender.html.

Chris Briels (Harney County Committee of Safety), speaks at a press conference during the Malheur Refuge occupation. (Photograph courtesy of Spencer Sunshine).

Chris Briels (Harney County Committee of Safety), speaks at a press conference during the Malheur Refuge occupation. (Photograph courtesy of Spencer Sunshine).

While the occupation was going on, Committee Chair Tim Smith travelled to Boise, Idaho, to speak at Storm Over the Rangelands conference—a collection of opponents of federal land holdings.20)Harrison Berry, “’Storm Over Rangelands’ Conference in Boise Spotlights Federal Land Use—and Brings Out Demonstrators,” Boise Weekly, January 31, 2016, www.boiseweekly.com/boise/storm-over-rangelands-conference-in-boise-spotlights-federal-land-useand-brings-out-demonstrators/Content?oid=3705463. Currently he is involved in the Malheur Redress, a new newspaper in Harney County.21)Smith is listed as the paper’s “Sr. Advisor.” See “About the Malheur Redress,” Malheur Redress, May 11, 2016, 2, www.malheurredress.com/assets/malheur-redress-may-11.pdf.

As of August 2016, the Committee is still active in Harney County and holds weekly meetings. Candidates in the May 2016 primary were asked what they thought about the Committee. Three in the commissioner and judge races said they had attended Committee meetings: Barbara Cannady, Rob Frank, and Anna Jo Surber.22)“Commissioner/Judge Question #3,” “Harney County Politicians Q&A” Facebook group, April 27, 2016, www.facebook.com/groups/511827449004208/permalink/511851465668473.

In addition, at the beginning of the occupation, a Facebook page for a Harney County Three Percenter chapter was started. In late February 2016, the Oregon III% vice president said there was a new group initiated by local residents for Grant, Malheur and Harney counties, called the Tri County Three Percent.23)The “Oregon III% Harney County” Facebook page was created on January 4, 2016. A press release from Oregon III% President David Samuel Hill, dated February 25, 2016, says, “Leaders of Oregon III% have been working on trying to get a group going in zone 7. In the process of this the locals set up their own group called Tri County III%. This group has command over Grant, Malheur and Harney counties. The forming of this group was a spontaneous event spurred along by the arrival of the Bundies, the formation of the safety committee and various patriot groups that soon flooded Burns. The locals wanted their own group and long story short formed it up. The III% had a hand in guiding them in the founding this group. With his help they are getting set up very similar to Oregon III% and Idaho III%. This will help us to work together and will be invaluable should our two groups ever decide to join. But for now they are their own group with their own command. We will respect that they are their own group and aid them if they require our assistance.” Screenshots in possession of author. At least five Patriot movement speakers also came to Burns during and after the occupation, including KrisAnne Hall and Richard Mack.24)KrisAnne Hall on January 18 and 19, David Whitney on February 11, Richard Mack on February 12 and March 26, Michael Maharrey on February 15, and Angus McIntosh on February 22. PDFs of flyers in possession of author.

Burns, Oregon was flooded with Patriot movement speakers during and after the Malheur occupation.

 Flyer advertising one of many Patriot movement speakers that came to Burns, Oregon around the time of the occupation.

Burns, Oregon was flooded with Patriot movement speakers during and after the Malheur occupation.

Burns, Oregon was flooded with Patriot movement speakers during and after the Malheur occupation.

References   [ + ]

1. Carli Brosseau, “Oregon occupation planned for months by Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader,” Oregon Live/Oregonian, January 11 (updated February 22), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/bundy_militia_leader_plotted_o.html
2. Kathie Durbin, “Ranchers arrested at wildlife refuge,” High Country News, October 3, 1994, www.hcn.org/issues/20/582; David Helvarg, The War Against the Greens, Revised and Updated (Boulder, CO: Johnson Books, 1994/2004), 105.
3. “Full text of: ‘Nature and threat of violent anti-government groups in America: hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee of the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, November 2, 1995,” Internet Archive, https://archive.org/stream/naturethreatofvi00unit/naturethreatofvi00unit_djvu.txt. This situation (as well as Dwight Hammond, although not by name) is also mentioned in Stern, A Force Upon the Plain, 123.
4. Bill Morlin, “Bundy Sons Lead Antigovernment Extremists, Militia in Takeover of Federal Wildlife Headquarters in Oregon,” Southern Poverty Law Center, January 4, 2016, www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/01/04/bundy-sons-lead-antigovernment-extremists-militia-takeover-federal-wildlife-headquarters.
5. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon, “Eastern Oregon Ranchers Convicted of Arson Resentenced to Five Years in Prison,” United States Department of Justice, October 7, 2015, www.justice.gov/usao-or/pr/eastern-oregon-ranchers-convicted-arson-resentenced-five-years-prison.
6. “Burns Oregon FBI French Mercenary at Refuge Center Harney County,” YouTube video, 8:41, posted by “Bravo Von Muller,” February 8, 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJJx45xYXJM.
7. Carli Brosseau, “Oregon occupation planned for months by Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 11 (updated February 22), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/bundy_militia_leader_plotted_o.html
8. “Sheriff’s Report—Dave Ward OR Standoff: Part I,” Spokane Talks Online, podcast audio, www.spokanetalksonline.com/sheriffs-report-dave-ward-or-standoff-part-i; “Sheriff’s Report—Dave Ward OR Standoff: Part II,” Spokane Talks Online, podcast audio, www.spokanetalksonline.com/sheriffs-report-dave-ward-or-standoff-part-ii.
9. Conrad Wilson, “Travis Cox Becomes 9th Refuge Occupier to Plead Guilty,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 20, 2016, www.opb.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/malheur-refuge-occupier-guilty-travis-cox; Conrad Wilson, “Police Make First Arrest Related to Stolen Wildlife Refuge Vehicles,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, January 15, 2016, www.opb.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/man-arrested-in-burns-in-connection-with-stolen-refuge-vehicles; ADL, “Anatomy of a Standoff,” Anti-Defamation League, 2016, www.adl.org/assets/pdf/combating-hate/Anatomy-of-a-Standoff-MalheurOccupiers.pdf. The ADL’s “Anatomy of a Standoff” reported the participation of another Oregonian, Rance Harris, although he disputed this. See under “Thoughts” by commentator “Harris” from January 22, 2016, in Houston Wade, “Ammon Bundy is, and militias in general are, bad for America,” Noosphere Geologic Blog, January 7, 2016, http://noospheregeologic.com/blog/2016/01/07/ammon-bundy-is-bad-for-america.
10. We the People—United Individuals of these States United, et al., “NOTICE: Redress of Grievance,” dated December 11, 2015, Holding Block, December 30, 2015, http://holdingblock.blogspot.com/2015/12/we-people-united-individuals-of-these.html; “Harney County Town Hall #1 Dec 15, 2015,” YouTube video, 58:56, posted by “Crooked River Currents View,” December 16, 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qcr93G0InA; “Harney County Town Hall #2 Dec 15, 2015,” YouTube video, 1:16:35, posted by “Crooked River Currents View,” December 17, 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF2c6UYRdE0&feature=youtu.be.In the video, they say information for founding a Committee of Safety can be found at www.committee.org. Robert Bristow is now listed as the contact at the site; see “The Committees of Protection, Correspondence and Safety of the various States United under and by the Constitution for the United States of America,” www.committee.org. In May 2016, Bristow was also reported to be the NLA’s “COS Chairman and National Coordinator.” See Shane Radliff, “The National Liberty Alliance is Attempting to Subvert the Committee of Safety Concept,” Liberty Under Attack, May 16, 2016, www.libertyunderattack.com/national-liberty-alliance-attempting-subvert-committee-safety-concept.
11. The six members are Tim Smith (chair), Chris Briels, Duane Schrock, Travis Williams, Melodi Molt, and Rick Habein. Harney County Committee of Safety, “Committee Of Saftey—Members” [sic], www.hccommitteeofsafety.org/committee-of-safety—members.html. See also “Harney County,” Oregon Republican Party, www.oregonrepublicanparty.org/HarneyCounty; Elliot Njus, “Oregon standoff: Harney County group felt betrayed by occupation, but working to take up cause,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 17 (updated January 23), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/oregon_standoff_harney_county_2.html.
12. “Rural Route Radio March 10, 2016, Tim Smith from Harney County, Oregon,” Podomatic, http://trentloos.podomatic.com/entry/2016-03-10T07_50_37-08_00.
13. “Jan. 2, 2016 Town Hall Meeting” YouTube video, 1:08:00, posted by “Liberty Under Attack,” April 11, 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3t1SopHD18; see around 5:23.
14. Elliot Njus, “Oregon standoff: Harney County group felt betrayed by occupation, but working to take up cause,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 17 (updated January 23), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/oregon_standoff_harney_county_2.html.
15. Harney County Committee of Safety, https://web.archive.org/web/20160101161137/http://www.hccommitteeofsafety.org; “January 8, 2016, Press Release—Clarification on Harney County and Ties to the Committee of Safety Burns,” Harney County, www.co.harney.or.us/january-8-2016-clarification-on-harney-county-and-ties-to-the-committee-of-safety-burns.html.
16. Cole Miller and KOIN 6 News Staff, “Burns community meeting: Thanks, militia. Go home,” KOIN6, January 8 (updated January 10), 2016, http://koin.com/2016/01/08/burns-community-meeting-thanks-militia-go-home. For the recording of January 8, 2016 meeting, see Stewart Rhodes, “Live Feed (Now a Recording ) of Harney County Committee of Safety Meeting,” Oath Keepers, January 8, 2016, www.oathkeepers.org/live-feed-of-harney-county-committee-of-safety-meeting. Rural Organizing Project members, as well as the author, were at public meetings in Burns where Committee of Safety members spoke.
17. Elliot Njus, “Oregon Standoff: Harney County Group Felt Betrayed by Occupation, But Working to Take Up Cause,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 17 (updated January 23), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/oregon_standoff_harney_county_2.html
18. Ibid; “BREAKING: Harney County Fire Chief Resigns. FBI Caught Posing As Militia At Local Armory,” YouTube video, 11:57, posted by “Pete Santilli Show,” January 13, 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB6m7x3QDAg.
19. Les Zaitz, “Occupiers want U.S. to surrender all federal lands,” Oregonian/OregonLive, January 15 (updated February 22), 2016, www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/occupiers_want_us_to_surrender.html.
20. Harrison Berry, “’Storm Over Rangelands’ Conference in Boise Spotlights Federal Land Use—and Brings Out Demonstrators,” Boise Weekly, January 31, 2016, www.boiseweekly.com/boise/storm-over-rangelands-conference-in-boise-spotlights-federal-land-useand-brings-out-demonstrators/Content?oid=3705463.
21. Smith is listed as the paper’s “Sr. Advisor.” See “About the Malheur Redress,” Malheur Redress, May 11, 2016, 2, www.malheurredress.com/assets/malheur-redress-may-11.pdf.
22. “Commissioner/Judge Question #3,” “Harney County Politicians Q&A” Facebook group, April 27, 2016, www.facebook.com/groups/511827449004208/permalink/511851465668473.
23. The “Oregon III% Harney County” Facebook page was created on January 4, 2016. A press release from Oregon III% President David Samuel Hill, dated February 25, 2016, says, “Leaders of Oregon III% have been working on trying to get a group going in zone 7. In the process of this the locals set up their own group called Tri County III%. This group has command over Grant, Malheur and Harney counties. The forming of this group was a spontaneous event spurred along by the arrival of the Bundies, the formation of the safety committee and various patriot groups that soon flooded Burns. The locals wanted their own group and long story short formed it up. The III% had a hand in guiding them in the founding this group. With his help they are getting set up very similar to Oregon III% and Idaho III%. This will help us to work together and will be invaluable should our two groups ever decide to join. But for now they are their own group with their own command. We will respect that they are their own group and aid them if they require our assistance.” Screenshots in possession of author.
24. KrisAnne Hall on January 18 and 19, David Whitney on February 11, Richard Mack on February 12 and March 26, Michael Maharrey on February 15, and Angus McIntosh on February 22. PDFs of flyers in possession of author.