Archive for August, 2016

Burns Chronicles No 26 – Firearms (Not) Allowed

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Burns Chronicles No 26
Firearms Not Allowed

mouse trap

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 29, 2016

What happens when one law says that you can and the other law says that you can’t? Well, let’s enter the world of Perplexity and see what we can find.

To begin, we have to look at Count II of the Superseding Indictment. In the Indictment, it reads like this:

(Possession of Firearms and Dangerous Weapons in Federal Facilities)

(18 U.S.C. §§ 930(b) and 2)

On or about January 2, 2016, and continuing through February 12, 2016, in the District of Oregon, defendants [lists names of Defendants], and aided and abetted by each other and by others known and unknown to the grand jury, did knowingly possess or cause to be present a firearm or dangerous weapon in a federal facility located at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and counseled, commanded, induced and procured the commission thereof, with the intent that the firearm or dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, to wit: 18 U.S.C. § 372, Conspiracy to Impede Officers of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 930(b) and 2.

So, let’s put that into English, in simple terms, “On or about January 2, 2016, and continuing through February 12, 2016 [The Defendants] did knowingly possess or cause to be present a firearm or dangerous weapon in a federal facility located at the Malheur National Wildlife Refugewith the intent that the firearm or dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, to wit: 18 U.S.C. § 372.

The first cited statute, 18 US Code §930(b) reads:

(b) Whoever, with intent that a firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, knowingly possesses or causes to be present such firearm or dangerous weapon in a Federal facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Did those who occupied the Refuge “intend” to shoot anybody; use firearms to force people to leave their duties (18 US Code §372); or, have any other intent than to protect themselves? They had no intention of robbing the place, they had no intention of damaging the facility (instead, they improved it), and, there was no one present for them to impede. This was discussed in a previous article, “Burns Chronicles No 14 – Which Came First, the Rooster or the Egg?“. From all appearances, and absent any evidence to the contrary, their purpose in having firearms was solely one of self-defense (But more on that, later.).  Civil Disobedience, and even Civil Defiance (See Resistance Has Begun), might put one at risk, but then that person has every right to defend himself against an overzealous attack by an overarching government. Absent a lawful warrant: not even the government is justified in shooting someone except in self-defense.

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The Bundy Affair #15 – Free Speech and Assembly v. Conspiracy

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The Bundy Affair #15
Free Speech and Assembly v. Conspiracy

tape in jail
Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 24, 2016

The Preamble to the Constitution begins with “We the People”.  The reason for such an introduction is perhaps a bit more intricate than most understand it to be.  There are two reasons for this introduction.  The first being that the Articles of Confederation and the government created by it, were created by the states.  It was a “perpetual union“, and could not dissolve itself.  However, going to the ultimate source, the People, they had every right to reject that government for one created by themselves.  The right is clearly spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, to wit:

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

The People’s authority then is embodied in the document that had, just a decade earlier, justified separation from British rule.  It was called into play, once again, since strife and turmoil were beginning to undermine the relationship between the states under the Articles of Confederation — a government created simply to unify the fight for Independence.

The second reason is based upon who was to approve the Constitution.  Most of the states had created new governments, via their respective constitutions.  However, the constitutions, in most states, were created and approved by the legislative body.  Each had an amendment provision, though that provision allowed the successive legislatures to change the constitution through legislative enactment.  This meant that the constitutions were an ineffective safeguard against usurpation.  By the time of the Philadelphia Convention, most states had resorted back to the people for both ratification and amendment to their constitutions.  This concept had permeated the legislative bodies, including that Convention — and the authority of the People, though through conventions, the sole source of authority.  The government could not remove the constraints placed upon it by the Constitution.

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Burns Chronicles No 25 – Juror Shopping & Secrecy

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Burns Chronicles No 25
Juror Shopping & Secrecy

blind justice 01 rev

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 22, 2016

The government may have given the Grand Jury sufficient information to properly find “probable cause”.  It is also possible that they may have simply convinced the Grand Jury to find “probable cause” based upon explaining to them that they had given them enough information for them to indict the 26 people charged in the final (third) Grand Jury Superseding Indictment.  We will be looking at the Indictment, Case Law, the Grand Jury selection process, and the information provided to the Grand Jury.

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Burns Chronicles No 24 – To Plea, or, Not To Plea

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Burns Chronicles No 24
To Plea, or, Not To Plea

white-flag-surrender-question

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 16, 2016

As some of those staunch defenders of our rights, in both Burns, Oregon, and Bunkerville, Nevada, decide to make a plea agreement with the prosecutors, the Internet has both armchair quarterbacks damning them and sympathetic supporters who will stand by their decision.  However, perhaps it is necessary to look a little deeper into who those people, at both the Ranch and Refuge are, and to consider their respective objectives.

We can categorize those who participated in both events by comparing them to those who stood up against the British, 240 years ago.  In so doing, there are three general categories, so that we can consider them in a contemporary context.

The first category is, for want of a better term, the politicos.  Historically, these would be those who served on local and Provincial Committees of Safety and, those who went to Philadelphia and served in the Continental Congress.  There may be others, such as newspaper editors and others who were outspoken against the British, so that we can lump them into this category, as well.

Now, in the past two years, we have, likewise, the politicos, those whose involvement is to challenge the government concerning both rights and that which should be right.  Their objective is educational as well as political, desiring to provide understanding to other citizens as well as to attempt to get the government to stay within its limits and to remain obedient to the Constitution.

The second category is those with military inclinations.  For the most part, they had prior military and leadership experience in the French and Indian wars.  Their purpose was to use military force to protect the rights of Englishmen and defend against forces thrown against them.

In the contemporary context, it would include those with military and leadership experience who have taken the task of protecting those politicos against attempts at violent suppression of their right to seek redress of grievances and to speak freely on subjects of concern to others.

These first two categories can easily be equated to the First Amendment, for the politicos, and the Second Amendment for those with military inclinations. (more…)

The Bundy Affair #14 – “public trial” v. Star Chamber

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

The Bundy Affair – #14
public trial” v. Star Chamber

star chamber 01

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 11, 2016

Recently, the Las Vegas Review Journal petitioned the Court to allow access to certain evidence that would be used against the Defendants.  They even asserted that they would have no problem if names were omitted from the documents.  This was filed in response to the government’s Proposed Protective Order, a request that the Court seal and keep from the public some of the discovery materials, certain evidentiary documents, and exhibits that could be used in the trial against the Defendants.  Quite simply, it is all of the evidence acquired by the government in their pursuit of the persecution of 19 people that were involved in the Bundy Ranch Affair, nearly two years before the matter was indicted by a Grand Jury.  The Court has yet to rule on the matter.

Before we proceed, the discovery material would show what the government did, what they acquired, what their practices are, and whether they had subversive agents embedded within the group that afforded protection to the Bundy Ranch in April 2014.

As you follow along in pursuit of the government’s position, and the legal precedence, some of it even distorted perversions regarding the original intent of the Founders, also keep in mind that, historically, spies and entrapment were used against enemies, and spies against foreign governments, but never sent within the population that was supposed to be protected by that government.  For, to do so essentially, makes the people an enemy of the government, or, rather, the government the enemy of the people.

So, let’s look at what the Supreme Court has said, with regard to the Sixth Amendment.

In 1979, the United States Supreme Court, in Gannett Co. v. DePasquale, 443 US 368, addressed whether the press and public could be denied access to the court and evidence in a pre-trial hearing.  Although the decision was based solely (and rightfully) on a pre-trial hearing, the decision of the Court ventured further into the entire concept of the intent and purpose of a “public trial”, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining Witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

The Petitioner, Gannett Co., is a publisher and among others, published USA Today.  Greathouse and Jones were defendants in a state prosecution for second-degree murder, robbery, and grand larceny.  They requested that the public and the press be excluded from the hearing, arguing that the unabated buildup of adverse publicity had jeopardized their ability to receive a fair trial.  The trial judge granted the motion.  The following are excerpts from that decision:

Petitioner [Gannett] then moved to have the closure order set aside but the trial judge, after a hearing, refused to vacate the order or grant petitioner immediate access to the transcript, ruling that the interest of the press and the public was outweighed by the defendants’ right to a fair trial.

The New York Court of Appeals… [held] the exclusion of the press and the public from the pretrial proceeding.

The Constitution does not give petitioner [Gannett] an affirmative right of access to the pretrial proceeding, all the participants in the litigation having agreed that it should be closed to protect the fair-trial rights of the defendants.

Publicity concerning pretrial suppression hearings poses special risks of unfairness because it may influence public opinion against a defendant and inform potential jurors of inculpatory information wholly inadmissible at the actual trial.

The Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a public trial is for the benefit of the defendant alone.  The Constitution nowhere mentions any right of access to a criminal trial on the part of the public.  While there is a strong societal interest in public trials, nevertheless members of the public do not have an enforceable right to a public trial that can be asserted independently of the parties in the litigation.  The adversary system of criminal justice is premised upon the proposition that the public interest is fully protected by the participants in the litigation. (more…)

Burns Chronicles No 23 – Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Burns Chronicles No 23
Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process

kangaroo court2

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 10, 2016

So far, ten of those charged in United States v. Ammon Bundy, et al, have pled guilty, and the eleventh is soon to follow. They are, as follows:

  • Jason Blomgren (Joker J), pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
  • Brian Cavalier (Booda), pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge and a charge of possessing firearms or dangerous weapons in a federal facility.
  • Blaine Cooper, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
  • Travis Cox, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
  • Eric Flores, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
  • Wesley Kjar, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy
  • Corey Lequieu, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
  • Joseph O’Shaughnessy, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy
  • Ryan Payne, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
  • Geoffrey Stanek, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
  • Jon Ritzheimer, scheduled to plea

So, why are they pleading? Is it because they really think that they are guilty?

Most, if not all, of those above have been “intimidated” or “threatened“, by federal prosecutors, either directly, or through their appointed counsel, that a Terrorism Enhancement could result in a sentence of 30 years, possibly for each count.

For a little background, over twenty years ago, I reported on a trial (see below) that I would eventually learn to be one where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines had brought into our judicial system something that was very foreign to the system of justice, as implemented by the Founders. Perhaps it would be beneficial to begin with an understanding of the judicial system that was intended, based upon many centuries of evolution in the British Common Law.

The English Constitution, even before the Magna Carta (1215 AD), began evolving in 1080 AD, and was also the beginning of a legal evolutionary process that sometimes went backwards, but most often went forward, in an effort to provide justice rather than blind obedience to laws. It was the English Common Law that was the foundation of jurisprudence for the Founders.

This foundation is evidenced even in current statutes, such as Florida Statutes (2015), where we find:

2.01 Common law and certain statutes declared in force.—The common and statute laws of England which are of a general and not a local nature, with the exception hereinafter mentioned, down to the 4th day of July, 1776, are declared to be of force in this state; provided, the said statutes and common law be not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and the acts of the Legislature of this state.

We can also look to the Maryland Constitution (2008), which provides, in its Declaration of Rights:

Art. 5. (a)
(1) That the Inhabitants of Maryland are entitled to the Common Law of England, and the trial by Jury, according to the course of that Law, and to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed on the Fourth day of July, seventeen hundred and seventy-six; and which, by experience, have been found applicable to their local and other circumstances, and have been introduced, used and practiced by the Courts of Law or Equity…

In the same Declaration of Rights, we also find:

Art. 23. In the trial of all criminal cases, the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact, except that the Court may pass upon the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction.

Now, the Maryland Constitution predates the United States Constitution, as it was first ratified by the People on November 11, 1776 – over a decade before the Constitution. Clearly, the understanding (original intent) of the Maryland Constitution and the United States Constitution were predicated upon those laws that then existed, and definition, or intent, of the words used, were as they were understood at the time. Absent a lawful change of definition, those definitions and intentions are still the body of the law and should be recognized as such.

Also true of the Common Law, at that time, and remember, the intention is still the same, is that a jury determines law and fact. However, there is one more aspect that comes into play. The jury also imposed the sentence, as they were the judge of facts, those which determined the severity of the crime; the law, what was intended and the extent applicable to the case at hand; and, by combining the two, would determine the sentence to be imposed, if the accused were found to be guilty.

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The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act III – Finale – a long train of abuses and usurpation

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act III – Finale – “a long train of abuses and usurpations…”

a long train of abuses

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 3, 2016

Upon examination of the government’s trail of paperwork spanning a period of nearly two decades , between the Hammonds and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR), it is apparent that they were being persecuted by the federal government for simply insisting upon exercising their historical right to trail cattle. This began long before the controlled burn in 2002 and the backfire in 2006 that resulted in them being sentenced to five years in federal prison.

What is plainly “a long train of abuses” has been well documented by the documents obtained by those who made copies of public records (not classified) that were found at the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Though there were many more incidents, this review of the paper trail of correspondence between the Hammonds and the FWS , as well as other intergovernmental records, clearly demonstrates that abuse. This provides us a bit of transparency to the federal government’s treatment of those who had every right to their historical usage of those public lands.

On October 26, Dwight Hammond notified Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) at MNWR, some 30 miles south of Burns, Oregon, and explained that historically, he did not have to notify anyone to “trail” his cattle (for you city folk, this means herding cattle along a route from one point to another). FWS attempted to impose a requirement that they be notified as to the number of cattle, the route, the time, and the date of such movements. The new policy also disallowed grazing off of the trail while the cattle were being moved, held Dwight to a schedule by FWS, and demanded that he obtain a permit from them for each move.

During March of 1987, Dwight traveled to Portland, taking maps and explaining to higher-level bureaucrats the problems with the implementation of this new “policy” that was contrary to his historical rights. Subsequently, Dwight wondered whether anyone at FWS even paid attention to anything he had to say. Revealingly, one bureaucrat admitted that the government acknowledged his right to trail cattle through the MNWR over the historic route, yet, he still insisted that Dwight trail his cattle as quickly as possible so as not to damage the rehabilitation of vegetation along Bridge Creek.

Accusations that Dwight had been “verbally abusive” against MNWR personnel cropped up the following month, particularly revolving around the issue of the government fencing, resulting in limiting access to certain areas, including water. Over the course of the subsequent months, right into 1988, internal MNWR memos revealed that some of the bureaucrats realized they contributed to the “soured personal relationships,” which created a climate of “serious mutual distrust.” Flip-flopping on whether the Hammonds enjoyed a right or privilege to trail their cattle, constructing a boundary fence that impeded such trailing, which admittedly increased costs, were but just two elements that exacerbated an already tense relationship between the Hammond ranchers and the MNWR personnel. The long and short of it is that the MNWR bureaucrats unilaterally imposed their interpretation of the “regulations” upon the Hammonds with little warning, and then acted as if the Hammonds were being “uncooperative” for simply insisting that they abide by the previous agreement for conducting operations.

In 1994, the Hammonds received a letter from the MNWR manager stating that a “special use permit” will not be reissued to the Hammonds because their lack of “compliance” with Refuge “regulations” over the past several years, despite the fact that there had been a six year hiatus once MNWR personnel had realized they had overstepped their bounds. Dwight appeals the manager’s decision, arguing that there was a failure to provide full disclosure of the circumstances leading to the denial of not only the permit, but also all FOIA requests. Two months later in April, a higher-level bureaucrat denies Dwight’s appeal on the grounds that he made threats against MNWR personnel. A flurry of notices and appeals are sent out for the remainder of the year, going all the way up to the Department of the Interior; parallel to all of this, a federal Circuit Court awarded the Hammonds right to the use of the Bird Waterhole.

Unknown criminal charges against the Hammonds were proposed by the MNWR manager to be dropped by an Assistant United States Attorney for events that occurred on August 3, 1994 provided that the Hammonds not sue FWS and that they agree to notify MNWR personnel when they intended to trail their cattle, which they still, inexplicably, need a special use permit for. Obviously, the precedent of Revised Statute 2477 recognizes the historic right of the Hammonds to trail their cattle; this is further bolster by the Ash, Wetzel, and Miller Affidavit.

Whether it be the subsequent removal of culverts, or hauling gravel from a pit, this history of the Hammond’s relationship with the federal government is indicative of the notorious failure of a system that allows such broad discretion to bureaucrats. The MNWR and FWS administrative agencies tried to convert a right of the Hammonds to trail their cattle into a privilege, and when both the legal research and court decisions supported the Hammonds’ position, the bureaucrats scurried like frightened rats in their attempt to demonize the law-abiding ranchers.

The story of the Hammonds prior to the fires reveals the federal administrative agencies use of “lawfare”* to restrict and infringe historic rights involving public lands. Although some might insist that the Hammonds could have avoided their current fate by selling the ranch and “getting out of Dodge,” would this really be the American tradition that made this once great nation — to just pull up stakes at the slightest difficulty? It should come as no surprise, now, that Dwight and Steven Hammond’s status as political prisoners is indicative of what might easily befall many other Americans, should they fail to force the government back to its constitutional limitations.

* The use of laws to conduct a form of warfare against the rights of individuals.

FINISH

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

REFERENCE

THE SERIES

  1. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I (Decade of the Eighties), Scene 1: Introduction
  2. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I (Decade of the Eighties), Scene 2: October 24, 1986 – March 20, 1987
  3. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I (Decade of the Eighties), Scene 3: April 2, 1987 – April 15, 1987
  4. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I (Decade of the Eighties), Scene 4: May 6, 1987 – April 22, 1988
  5. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I (Decade of the Eighties), Scene 5: May 2, 1988 – May 9, 1988
  6. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II (Decade of the Nineties), Scene 1: Feb. 18, 1994 – June 9, 1994
  7. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II (Decade of the Nineties), Scene 2: June 28, 1994 – January 22, 1997
  8. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II (Decade of the Nineties), Scene 3: February 28, 1997 – May 21, 1997
  9. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II (Decade of the Nineties), Scene 4: May 22, 1997
  10. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II (Decade of the Nineties), Scene 5: June 30, 1997 – Aug. 4, 1997
  11. The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II (Decade of the Nineties), Scene 6: Feb. 26, 1998 – Jan. 12, 2004