The Bundy Ranch is back in full working order and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents have left – for now.
Thousands of folks from around the country converged upon Bunkerville, Nevada, to support Cliven Bundy, and millions watched the developing incidents in the range war unfold on their television and computer screens. Militia groups and patriots angered by what they saw as infringements on states’ rights, property rights and free speech had lined the roadway near the Gold Butte cattle roundup to document the actions of the BLM agents.
BLM Director Neil Kornze released a statement Saturday saying it was releasing all cattle back to lands around the Bundy Ranch and withdrawing its employees.
“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” Kornze said. “We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner.”
Kornze also added that “after 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle,” Bundy owes the government more than $1 million. Bundy says his family owned the land before the BLM arrived, and that he had a grazing agreement with the county.
The official Bundy Ranch Facebook page reads: “The Battle Of Bunkerville. April 12, 2014. We Are Victorious!”
The Nevada range war appears to have had far more facets involved than merely the fate of cattle grazing on public land. Cliven Bundy stood steadfastly against what many have deemed a massive government overreach going in Clark County, Nevada. Protesters registered not only their disgust at what was transpiring against Bundy personally, but at the possible cow and calf deaths which resulted from the rapid herding of the livestock with helicopters.
The incidents which unfolded in Clark County had many concerned that America might have another Ruby Ridge on its hands.
The BLM reportedly spent about $3 million on the unsuccessful cattle roundup. Many groups, including the liberal-leaning Americans Against the Tea Party, believe Nevada Senator Harry Reid wanted to avoid the assumption of blame for injuries, deaths, and a public relations disaster in Bunkerville.
“Fact is, Harry Reid probably didn’t want his name attached to the biggest civilian massacre in US history right before election season,” the organization’s website said.
From the start of the controversy Cliven Bundy stated publicly that the matter involves far more than the longstanding tradition of allowing cattle to graze on the Gold Butte public lands. Heavily armed federal agents and BLM officers blocked off many of the roads near the cattle roundup area, preventing Bundy and supporters from confirming potential cattle deaths.
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During an interview with a Bundy family friend who was at their home helping field inquiries, Off The Grid News learned that bulldozers and dump trucks were moving about the area, leading many to fear that an unknown number of cattle had succumbed to the hurried roundup and died along the trek to awaiting livestock trucks. The family friend, Shawna Cox, also stated during the telephone conversation that Cliven and Carol Bundy believe that young calves have been separated from their mothers and would also soon perish – if they had not done so already.
The BLM had told Bundy that cattle grazing would not continue due to the protective status of the desert tortoise. The Bunkerville standoff may have been a simple desert tortoise issue, but facts recently unearthed about a possible connection to Reid have left many concerned that armed federal agents were deployed to the area for far more nefarious reasons.
A Washington Times report stated that Kornze, the head of the Bureau of Land Management, is a former Reid aid. He was confirmed by the Senate as the BLM director last week, just as the federal agents were sent to the Gold Butte area to round up Cliven Bundy’s cattle.
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The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the largest newspaper in Nevada, criticized the BLM’s handling of the Bundy Ranch issue by saying the “federal government is all about intimidation and overreach.”
Other possible behind-the-scenes issues which may be related to the Bundy Ranch cattle removal involve the rancher’s unwillingness to sell his land. When Off The Grid News discussed with Cox on-the-scene reports from local news agencies and investigative facts unearthed by supporters, she confirmed claims that Cliven and Carol had refused to sell their land to real estate developers prior to the cease-and-desist order from the Bureau of Land Management.
Eminent domain cases involving landowners being forced off their property for the furtherance of a bike path and other types of non-essential “community needs” make Bundy’s belief that something more is at play here seem all that much more plausible. Reports that real estate developers are interested in water and mineral rights to the Bundy Ranch with a focus on fracking and even concerns about Agenda 21 tactics being employed in the land grab are both potentially plausible reasons why so much federal pressure was placed upon the 67-year-old rancher.
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Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval stated publicly that the creation of free speech zones by the federal agents was an affront to the rights of citizens. Governor Sandoval admonished the BLM and armed agents and told those attempting to confiscate the cattle to “reconsider the approach” to the issue.
Protesters, especially those who ventured out of the free speech zones established by federal agents, were met with K9 units and stun guns. Photos and videos of the encounters quickly went viral online. Several arrests were made when protesters attempted to exercise their First Amendment rights and drive or walk down state roads which led within several miles of the cattle roundup.
Meanwhile, there is a Bundy Ranch Facebook page and a blog operated by the Bundy family, bundyranch.blogspot.com, for the posting of new information about the government overreach going on in Bunkerville.
Although BLM agents are now nowhere the Bundy Ranch, the controversy is not over. The federal agency has reserved the right to remove the cattle and Cliven Bundy via legal recourse or other such procedural avenues. Cliven Bundy will not likely be any more willing to give up the fight during round two – and support for the Bundy Ranch might grow significantly if armed BLM agents arrive in Bunkerville a second time.