Oregon militia leader speaking with FBI about wildlife refuge standoff

BURNS, Ore. - The leader of an armed group that is occupying a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon has spoken with the FBI and there are plans to communicate again on Friday as the standoff over federal land policies nears the three-week mark.

See Full Article

Standing outside the municipal airport in Burns, Oregon, Ammon Bundy spoke by phone Thursday to an unnamed FBI negotiator. The federal agency has used the airport, about 30 miles from the refuge, as a staging ground during the occupation.

The conversation happened a day after Oregon's governor sharply criticized federal authorities for not doing more to remove Bundy's group from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the state's high-desert.

The FBI did not specifically comment on the Thursday conversation, though it was streamed live online by someone from his group.

Bundy said he went to the airport to meet with FBI officials face to face, but they declined to meet him. Bundy said the FBI had called him 14 times in a row earlier this week, but he couldn't pick up the phone because he was in a meeting.

"We're not going to escalate nothing, we're there to work," Bundy told the FBI official, with reporters and supporters watching. "You guys as the FBI... you would be the ones to escalate. I'm here to shake your hands... myself and those with me are not a threat."

He also told the FBI the agency doesn't have "the people's authority" to station at the airport. Earlier this month, officials said the FBI has jurisdiction over the armed takeover of the federal buildings in the refuge, as well as any crimes committed there.

"This occupation has caused tremendous disruption and hardship for the people of Harney County, and our response has been deliberate and measured as we seek a peaceful resolution," the FBI said Thursday in a statement.

On Wednesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she was angry because federal authorities have not taken action against Bundy's group, which began occupying the refuge Jan 2. The Democratic governor said the occupation has cost Oregon taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.

"We'll be asking federal officials to reimburse the state for these costs," Brown said.

Bundy did not address concerns about how much the occupation is costing authorities. He did rail against federal land management policies and reiterated that his armed group would not leave the refuge until federal lands - including the refuge - are turned over to local control.

"We will leave there if those buildings are turned over to the proper authorities... and never used again by the federal government to control land and resources unconstitutionally in this county," Bundy said.

Bundy said that despite some negative sentiments against his group expressed at recent community meetings, he believes his group's work is appreciated by locals. He said the armed men have been "helping ranchers," doing maintenance on the refuge because "it's in a bad shape," and taking care of fire hazards in the refuge's fire house.

Bundy also asked the FBI to let two ranchers sent to prison for arson go back home. Bundy agreed to speak with authorities again on Friday. He said he would again come to the airport and hoped to speak with someone from the FBI face-to-face.

Earlier Bundy also said his group plans to have a ceremony Saturday for ranchers to renounce federal ownership of public land and tear up their federal grazing contracts. The armed group plans to open up the 300-square-mile refuge for cattle this spring.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Terror in Spain: Multiple fatalities after van plows pedestrians in Barcelona [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARCELONA, Spain — A white van jumped the sidewalk Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Source
  • Video shows men standing between subway cars in Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Montreal say they are aware of a video that shows two men standing between subway cars as the train pulls out of a Metro station. The two individuals can be seen standing on the metal coupler that links two Metro cars, in a video that has racked up more than 70,000 views online. Source
  • Pikangikum First Nation to be connected to Ontario power grid by next fall

    Canada News CTV News
    THUNDER BAY, Ont. -- The federal government has announced funding to connect the Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario to the province's power grid. The remote community near the Ontario-Manitoba border currently relies on diesel generators for electricity. Source
  • After 3 years in ISIS captivity, Yazidi boy reunites with mom in Winnipeg

    Canada News CTV News
    Nofa Zaghla weeps with emotion as she hugs her 12-year-old son in a cramped room at the Winnipeg airport in the early hours of Thursday morning. Surrounded by tearful family and friends, a smiling Emad Mishko Tamo is being held by his mother for the first time in three years. Source
  • Ontario reviewing outdoor education policies after student dies on field trip

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario is launching a review of outdoor education policies for every school board in the province after the death of a Toronto teen on a school-run canoe trip this summer. Education Minister Mitzie Hunter also says the ministry will immediately increase funding to life-saving swimming programs and increase awareness about the programs for incoming Canadian residents. Source
  • Canadian schools reluctant to embrace later bell times despite mounting research

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A wave of international research suggesting delaying high school start times would have health and academic benefits for students has not yet crested in Canada. Several individual boards and schools have embraced the growing number of global studies suggesting that early start times are at odds with adolescents' natural sleep patterns and can hamper both their academic progress and mental health. Source
  • Number of asylum seekers crossing Quebec border nearly quadrupled in July [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    LACOLLE, Que. — Authorities say the number of asylum seekers intercepted at the Quebec-New York border in July nearly quadrupled and shows no sign of slowing down. Immigration and Citizenship Canada said today the number jumped to 2,996 from 781 in June. Source
  • Constipated gorilla in Kansas zoo recovering after surgery

    World News Toronto Sun
    TOPEKA, Kan. — A constipated 49-year-old lowland gorilla at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas is recovering after having surgery. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that zoo Director Brendan Wiley says the procedure that Tiffany underwent Wednesday went “really well. Source
  • Multiple deaths after van driven into Barcelona crowd in apparent terror attack

    World News CBC News
    Spanish police have confirmed there are fatalities after a van slammed into pedestrians in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district. The newspaper El Pais quoted unnamed police sources as saying it was being treated as a terror attack and that the perpetrators of the crash were holed up in a bar in Tallers Street. Source
  • Calls for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to condemn The Rebel Media [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer isn’t saying whether he’ll condemn online news outlet the Rebel for its coverage of last weekend’s deadly Charlottesville protests. In a video posted to Facebook by advocacy group Leadnow, Scheer would only say he saw some of the Rebel’s coverage, and that anything that gives a platform to what he calls “obnoxious groups” is worth condemnation. Source