The Oregonian reports the Bundy family has joined “hard-core militiamen” in the occupation of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge 50 miles southeast of Burns, Oregon.

“The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,” Ammon Bundy said. According to the Oregonian, Bundy has called patriots from across the country to join them at the remote refuge.

Among those joining Bundy in the occupation are Ryan Payne,  U.S. Army veteran, and Blaine Cooper. Payne has claimed to have helped organize militia snipers to target federal agents in a standoff last year in Nevada. He told one news organization the federal agents would have been killed had they made the wrong move.

The occupation is in response to prosecution of two Harney County ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who were convicted of arson under a provision of a wide-ranging federal anti-terrorism law, according to the newspaper.

The feds decided to prosecute the Hammonds, who own about 12,000 acres in the Diamond-Frenchglen area of Oregon, after they used fire as a tool to combat invasive plant species on their ranch. The government accused the ranchers of allowing the fire to spread to federally owned land.

The Hammonds were indicted in 2010 on federal arson charges and faced sentencing as terrorists under the federal Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

The occupation appears headed for a confrontation with the Harney County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

Ammon Bundy statement on the Hammonds:


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