Burns Chronicles No 44 – Mark McConnell

Burns Chronicles No 44
Mark McConnell

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Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
November 25, 2016

Notice: Because of her extremely biased judicial discretion, Judge Anna Brown has ordered that I remove the information that I obtained from a ‘prohibited’ copy of the Discovery for the trial of the defendants in the Malheur Occupation trial. I have fully complied with that order and removed all of those portions prohibited, according to that order. All instances of removed text will be marked “[REDACTED]”, which is the same method the government used in depriving information that should have been available to the defendants, as well as you, the reading public, with factual information needed in order for you to make a fair and logical assessment. The FBI redactions were the government’s efforts to “protect” their army of paid informants, but they did a lousy job, as I was able to identify them with the unredacted text.

I first interviewed Mark McConnell back in August 2015 That interview was in regard to Parris Frazier and his effort to steal cartel drugs and sell them (Arizona Misfits – A Bad Operation Gone Worse).  McConnell seemed to have an extraordinary knowledge of some of the facts surrounding that incident, which was quite useful in researching for that story.  It never occurred to me, at the time, that this knowledge would have been extremely beneficial to law enforcement, leading up to the bust.

The Criminal Complaint that lead to the arrest of Frazier and his cohorts began with the government putting an undercover employee (UCE) in a position provide access to Frazier to make the government’s plans to set Frazier up for the bust.  This scenario omits what led up to the bringing in the UCE, so there was a substantial part of the story that was missing.  It is quite possible that they chose not to mention a confidential human source (CHS) that provided the background that led to the setup of Frazier.  Or, possibly, any such report was filed on form 302, an “Investigation Report”.

Let’s move forward to the events that occurred in Burns, Oregon, this past January.  During the trial, the government, for whatever reason, outed McConnell as a CHS.  In every other instance of a CHS being involved in spying on the occupiers, this would include nine who were at the Refuge and six who were not, the government has taken pains to conceal their identity.

This would lead one to conclude that they just wanted to wipe their hands clean of any association with Mark McConnell — to make him an outcast in both the government and patriot sides.  What other reason could exist for intentionally expose just this single informant?  Could it be his arrogance and air of superiority in dealing with his handler?

Many had determined that McConnell was an informant, early on.  However, in an effort to find verification, I have interviewed McConnell 3 more times since LaVoy Finicum was murdered on January 26.  The first was on January 30, as he was driving back to Arizona after having his vehicle returned to him.  My purpose was simply to find out what happened from the first stop to his release, that evening.

That interview was much different from the video that was posted on YouTube where he talked about LaVoy rushing the Oregon State Police (OSP) officers.  He had learned his lesson and wouldn’t claim that he saw Ryan get out of the LaVoy’s truck, only what Ryan told him, when they were placed on the ground together.  And, he made clear that all he would say was what he saw, or heard.  This interview was straightforward.  The details he gave were consistent with what has subsequently been confirmed by others.

My next interview, on May 16, was an effort to find something that would support the accusations that he was an informant.  Now, obviously, getting such a “confession” is nearly impossible.  However, often clues come out that would support such a conclusion.  McConnell said that there was a meeting on the Saturday, before the shooting, Brandon Curtiss, McConnell, Booda (Brian Cavalier) and Ammon had a meeting and Curtiss and McConnell explained that was over three hundred FBI agents in the area.  Then, the night before the shooting, he had tried to talk the people out of going to the meeting at John Day.  However, he was willing to drive to John Day and make sure that Ammon was in his Jeep.

On October 10, after McConnell was outed as an informant, I spoke with him, again.  The only interesting point in this interview was the McConnell said that the occupation was a “criminal enterprise”.  A rather interesting statement from one who participated to the extent that he did.  This would raise a question of motivation as to why he participated in such an enterprise, at least as an accessory, unless he had a reason, and immunity, to do so.  Here is what he told me (from my notes of the conversation):

He spent three nights at the Refuge, the second trip.  He could not find a motel room.  He did not agree with the occupation.  He called it lies and bullshit.  He also claimed that Payne and Joker J (Jason Blomgren) had given me [Hunt] money to secure supplies, listing pipes and pipe caps, stating, “That’s not what the statements I have found said.”

.

Heck, I was not there until January 24, late in the afternoon.  I am somewhat surprised that he tried to implicate me in something that, as best I know, never occurred — with anybody having been asked you procure such “supplies”.

He met Melvin Lee about a year ago on an Arizona Border Recon operation.  McConnell was going up to the Refuge to get Kristen and her baby out of the Refuge.  Taking over a Bird Refuge is the dumbest thing he had ever seen.

Clearly his arrogance and his attitude toward the occupation of the Refuge, is clear.  So, why did he go there, and then return towards the end of the initial occupation?  It appears that there is a motive — to do what he can to stoop to the “dumbest thing he had ever seen”.

In response to my query as to whether he was an informant:

He stated that he was waiting for the OSP and FBI to tell him what his involvement was.  He has seen no statements, no affidavits and has yet to see where he was paid.

When asked, directly, if he received any payment or expenses for going to the Refuge, he said “No” and claimed that everything that he spent was on his Cabellas credit card.

Well, that Cabellas credit card would be the receipts that were necessary for reimbursement of his expenses.

I asked him if he would sign an affidavit stating that he received no money and had no communication with the FBI or any government agency.  He stated that he was taking legal action and could not provide an affidavit.

I couldn’t even get him to swear, in an affidavit, that he was not an informant.  So, we had no positive proof that he was an informant, except the testimony by an OSP officer that did not even know what agency McConnell was working for.  In addition, he would provide no positive proof (affidavit) that he was not an informant.  However, it would seem that if he were contemplating a lawsuit, the affidavit would be a part of the complaint.

When I obtained access to the “CHS Reporting Documents” (form 1023), it was simply a matter of matching dates, statement, etc., to determine which of those reports were from McConnell.  This required communication with those who were at the Refuge, though not still in custody, to verify certain things that became key to unlocking the necessary proof of McConnell’s role as an informant.

Let’s look at what was reported by McConnell, even well before the occupation on January 2, 2016.  In the reports, “(omitted)” indicates that I have removed personal information.  “XXXX” indicates redacted portions.

His first report was on December 18, 2015, when Ryan Payne apprised him that there was a still hope of preventing the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond.

[REDACTED]

Shortly after the occupation of the Refuge, on January 4, 2016, he gave his first report of the goings on outside of the Refuge.  The report deals with the situation up in Burns, probably staying at the Silver Spur Motel.

[REDACTED]

We know that he arrived at the gate the next afternoon, as a text message was received from the front gate at the Refuge, which reads, “Tue, Jan 5, 6:23 PM – This is (omitted) from AZ. Mark McConnell is at the gate he needs someone to let him in, tell Ryan“.  He was relying on Ryan Payne to grant him access.  This is his first report from inside of the Refuge:

 

[REDACTED]

The above report was made the same evening of McConnell’s arrival.  Rather quick work on his part.  The deceptive role of OathKeepers is explained in OathKeepers vs. Militia – Part III.  This explains the heightened alert status on that day.  Thus, McConnell, who had been invited up to the Refuge by Payne still had to get approval to enter.  According to McConnell, he never did enter the Refuge that evening, that Ryan Payne came out to the gate and then went to McConnell’s Jeep where they carried out their conversation.

The following day, January 6, 2016, after McConnell had a little time to see, or hear, what was going on at the Refuge, he provided the following report:

[REDACTED]

By the way this report is presented, it was probably a telephonic report.  The next report, on January 7, 2016, provides additional intelligence on the goings on at the Refuge.  This report appears to have been an email report, since photos were attached.

[REDACTED]

Interesting that he notes that Joe O’Shaughnessy did not stay at the Refuge.  The FBI, in their first press conference on January 27 stated that only those who spent the night at the Refuge would be charged.  Joe was charged in the Indictment, so I wonder why McConnell makes this comment.

The next day, on January 8, 2016, we have the following, which also appears to be an email report (not third party presentation):

[REDACTED]

The next report, on January 16, 2016, leaves over a week out of McConnell’s reporting.  He was absent from the Refuge during this period.

[REDACTED]

There was a very short report, filed on January 19, 2016, and appears to be a telephonic report:

[REDACTED]

What is damning about this report is a texting conversation that McConnell and Ritzheimer had the day before the report was filed.  This is from that conversation:

[REDACTED]

McConnell says that he is leaving for Burns on January 21.  He returns on January 22, 2016, at the request of Ryan Payne (confirmed with Payne).  This is an email report.

[REDACTED]

McConnell updates the tactical information and provides a continuing list of who is present at the Refuge.

The next report is January 23, 2016:

[REDACTED]

No evidence was ever provided at trial that suggests that explosive were made.  The veracity of this portion of the report is questionable — perhaps rumor.

Note that first he mentions Ammon’s trip.  Later, he reports that “Arizona militia member Mark McConnell” is also going.  Is this an attempt to cover his role?  Perhaps the next report will help us understand that this was really McConnell writing about himself in the second person, rather than using “CHS”, just in case…

The final report from inside the Refuge comes on January 24, 2016, just a few days away from the ambush on US Highway 395.

[REDACTED]

Interesting that he reports the latitude and longitude of Ammon’s house.  He did not report them before Ammon left, but he reported them before Ammon returned, which means he probably acquired them while at Ammon’s house.

Probably anxiety prevented subsequent reports, perhaps knowing that the ambush that was to occur on the 26th, on the way to a meeting in Grant, Oregon, was forthcoming.  Perhaps he went back to phone communications, though if he did, they are not included in the reports.

In an interview with Mark shortly after the murder of LaVoy Finicum, he provided his version of what happened that afternoon.  Much of what he told me was contained in “Ambush“.  However,

In what appears to be McConnell’s final report, on April 21, 2016, he has been posed some questions regarding identification of individuals involved in the

[REDACTED]

So, we see that McConnell was still working for the feds by helping to identify people that he might recognize from pictures.  They were trying to identify any who has “disturbed native artifacts”.

After having prepared a draft of this article, I contacted McConnell to see if he could refute anything.  He continued to claim he was not an informant, though he did clarify what transpired at the gate on January 5.  During a review of the comments made in the 1023 forms, he often said, “I never knew that”, though on two occasions he said, “I didn’t say that.”

Now, at the time of this article, McConnell has invested himself into the Arizona Border Recon (ABR), run by Tim “Nailer” Foley, a former member of the Operation Mutual Defense Advisory Board.  Foley resigned from the Advisory Board shortly before the occupation began.

Related article: Burns Chronicles No 45 – Mark McConnell #2

6 Comments

  1. […] Burns Chronicles No 44 – Mark McConnell […]

  2. Serf says:

    Judge Anna Browns chamber phone 503 326-8350 Call , Email and annoy
    Free the Political Prisoners !

    • ghunt ghunt says:

      There is no reason to muddy the waters with such an effort. It would not help, only make me making my case more difficult.
      Anger is not the solution. Reason is.
      I allowed this comment only to allow me to say my piece.
      This is my problem, and I have the solution in hand. However, negatives don’t solve problems, only positives solve problems.

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