Text version of the Militant, a socialist newspaper  
the Militant, a socialist newspaper
about this site directory of local distributors how to subscribe submit a photo or image order bundles of the Militant to sell
news articles editorials columns contact us search view back issues
The Militant this week
El Militante
Le Militant
Audio issues
an audio version of the Militant in English
Frame-up of ranchers in Nevada thrown out
Government lied, withheld evidence, judge says
Working-class discontent continues to spread in Iran
Cuba literacy fight veteran to tour US East Coast
Weeks after lifting ban, Florida prisons censor ‘Militant’ again
Puerto Rican protests say, ‘Stop abuse of the poor’
Profit-driven retail buyouts threaten more bankruptcies
Activities in Cuba pay tribute to Antonio Maceo Brigade
‘It’s a big lie that all Cubans in the United States are opposed to the revolution’
SWP statement SWP: 'For recognition of a Palestinian state & Israel'
Militant Victory 'Militant' victory against Florida prison censorship
New International a magazine of Marxist politics and theory from 1934 to the present
Intercontinental Press an international news magazine published from 1963 to 1986
Perspectiva Mundial a socialist magazine in Spanish published from 1977 to 2005

A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people                              
Vol. 82/No. 3      January 22, 2018



Available Online

Frame-up of ranchers in Nevada thrown out

Government lied, withheld evidence, judge says

K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
From left, Carol Bundy, rancher Cliven Bundy, his lawyer Bret Whipple, and his son Ammon, in back in hat, leave Las Vegas court after judge ruled government can’t retry Cliven, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, as well as supporter Ryan Payne, because of prosecutors’ deliberate misconduct.
LAS VEGAS — The frame-up of Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and supporter Ryan Payne, was tossed out by federal Judge Gloria Navarro Jan. 8. She made her ruling “with prejudice,” which means government prosecutors are barred from refiling charges.

The Portland Oregonian called the decision a “stunning blow to [the] government.”

Some 125 people packed the courtroom and spilled out into the lobby of the federal courthouse here to celebrate with the Bundys, their fellow defendants and their families. They had been held in jail since early 2016.

The legal battle stems from April 2014 protests against federal agents who seized the Bundys’ cattle in Bunkerville, Nevada, threatening to put them out of business.

Hundreds of supporters mobilized and forced Bureau of Land Management and FBI agents to back down. They got support from across the state and beyond. Bonnie McDaniel told the Militant after the hearing that she and a group from Las Vegas “went to Walmart and bought underwear, clothes, food. We would clean out Walmart, then fill our van and go to Bunkerville to support them.”

Eight of 12 regular jurors and four alternates attended the hearing. Some had come to admire the ranchers and distrust the government.

“The last witness we had was a BLM ranger,” one juror told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “I don’t think her answers were very truthful at all.”

Judge Navarro pointed to “flagrant misconduct” and “substantial prejudice” by the prosecutors and the FBI in not disclosing key evidence to the defense. “The government’s conduct in this case was indeed outrageous,” she said.

“I’m not used to being free, put it that way,” Cliven Bundy said outside the courthouse. “I’ve been a political prisoner for right at 700 days today. I came into this courtroom an innocent man and I’m going to leave as an innocent man.”

He stressed that the central issue in his fight is the rights of ranchers and farmers to have access to the land.

‘They fought tooth and nail’

“They fought tooth and nail for everything they got today. Nothing was just handed to them,” Kelli Stewart, a supporter from Oregon, told the crowd. “Had they not had a legal team and supporters out here they would have been run over in this courtroom.”

Stewart now believes that all those behind bars are getting a raw deal. “Everybody who is in jail at this point has not received a fair trial. As awful as it sounds to say, everybody needs to be set free,” she said. “They need due process, a jury of their peers, representation of their choice, and they need a speedy trial.”

She pointed in particular to Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, Oregon ranchers who are in prison, railroaded by federal agents for setting two backfires on their ranch, to protect against an approaching wildfire and to destroy invasive juniper growth. They were framed on charges of “maliciously damaging” federal property and prosecuted under the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

“There were 53 ranchers in Clark County just a few years ago. There is only one left, Cliven Bundy. And he’s been sitting in prison for the last two years,” John Lamb told the crowd. He drove from Montana with his wife and 11 children to be at the hearing. “There are four more defendants still awaiting trial — Joel O’Shaughnessy, Jason Woods, Dave Bundy and Mel Bundy.”

Most Bundy supporters who’ve gone to trial in the last year were acquitted. Because of Navarro’s sweeping decision, those who were found guilty can file to have the convictions thrown out.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy were also acquitted in 2016 when federal agents brought charges against them for the 41-day standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Protesters demanded release of the Hammonds.

“I have spent two years in prison on a lie,” Ammon Bundy told the Militant. “I’m not done fighting by any means.”

The day before the hearing Socialist Workers Party members went to Mesquite, near the Bundy ranch, to discuss with workers how they viewed the government’s frame-up case.

Ron Martinez, a steelworker for 30 years, had just moved to Mesquite from Golden, Colorado. “When I heard about the Bundys, I wondered why is this going on,” he said. “I have great admiration for these guys because of their stand. I wanted to visit them in jail.”

Knocking on doors in the Summer Winds apartment complex here, we found real interest in the Militant and its coverage of the Bundys’ fight. We sold one subscription and six single copies.

Deborah Liatos contributed to this article.
Related articles:
Fight in Chicago to overturn cop frame-ups makes gains

Printer logo 
Printer-friendly version of this article