(NaturalNews) It’s been nearly two years since the federal government used the Bureau of Land Management to try and force rancher Cliven Bundy off his ancestors’ spread of land in Nevada, located just north of Las Vegas. The dispute between Bundy and the feds began more than 20 years ago when the BLM tried to strip him of “land-use rights his family spent a century earning,” reported the Las Vegas Sun in Sept. 2013.
The federal government owns 84 percent of Nevada’s land, and began enforcing taxes and fees on it nearly 150 years ago, Republican state Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore told NPR. In 1993, the BLM began charging Bundy grazing fees for his cattle that roam on 150 miles of the 500,000-acre Gold Butte region, which the federal government designated a protected habitat for the desert tortoise.
Bundy’s family owned the land long before the BLM ever existed.
BLM murdered Bundy cattle in 2014
Bundy refused to pay the fees, which exceeded $300,000, which led to a judge ruling that Bundy’s cattle could be confiscated by the BLM if he did not remove them. Intent on protecting his property, Bundy defied the ruling, leading to an eventual standoff with the feds.
The feds were met with immense opposition when they descended on Bundy’s property, encountering a coalition of patriotic liberty-lovers intent on helping the rancher protect his land. Unfortunately, some of Bundy’s cattle were still killed by federal agents.
Eventually, the feds backed down and the conflict was somewhat resolved, or has at least been ignored since then. But now the federal government has gone after Bundy’s neighbors, charging them with arson under an anti-terrorism law for a brush fire they started on BLM land in 2001.
Feds charge Bundy neighbors under antiterrorism act
Fourteen years ago, Dwight Hammond, now 70, and his son Steven Hammond now 43, set a fire on BLM land, for which they had grazing permits, to clear underbrush in a common practice that revitalizes land. Though a court ruled that the fire helped improve productivity on the land, the father and son were tried and convicted in 2012 under the “‘Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996’ for arson on public land for the 2001 fire and a similar fire in 2006,” states the Bundy Ranch blog spot.
“The statutory minimum sentence was five years.” But deeming the sentence cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, Judge Hogan sentenced the Hammonds to three months and one year; Dwight Hammond served three months while his son served 12.
Though they served their time, our tyrannical federal government isn’t finished with them yet, and is now contesting that sentence claiming it’s in violation of the Antiterrorism Act. The feds filed a lawsuit in the US District Court of Oregon, where the Hammonds now reside, sentencing the father and son to serve the remaining five years in a federal penitentiary.
Feds sentence 70-year-old man to five years in prison for brush fire
The BLM is also refusing to renew the Hammond’s grazing permits, “forcing them to find alternative feed for their cattle,” reports the Bundy Ranch blog spot. In yet another lawsuit, the BLM is fining the Hammonds for $400,000 in alleged damages to public land, and for costs related to fighting the fire.
“In the event the Hammonds must sell some or all their private ranch land to meet that monetary demand, the BLM has filed first option to buy the land forcing the Hammonds to sell to them.”
In 2013, with the help of their insurance company, the Hammonds agreed to pay the $400,000 to the BLM. Dwight Hammond moved his wife Susan Hammond off their Nevada ranch to Oregon, in order to be nearby while he serves the remainder of his prison sentence.
Written by Julie Wilson
Learn more: Natural News