Situation Report (SITREP) – 1900L 29 JAN 16
by Sam Culper
What follows is my personal account of following the situation of late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, including talks with sources on the ground and on conference calls with Sergeant Major Joseph Santoro (U.S.A., Ret.), Stewart Rhodes, State Representative Matthew Shea (R-WA), Jason Van Tatenhove, and others. Much of the following information has been poorly covered by the media or not reported at all.
– After the felony stop, Sergeant Major Joseph Santoro (U.S.A., Ret.), who has been on the ground in Burns for approximately three weeks, began communicating with FBI contacts. A top priority for SGM Santoro, acting in coordination with Pacific Patriots Network, Oath Keepers National, Stewart Rhodes, State Representative Matthew Shea (R-WA) from the Coalition of Western States (C.O.W.S.) and a Coalition representative at the Refuge, was to work with the FBI in order to give enough time for women and children at the Refuge to leave. He repeatedly expressed his concern that an FBI action on the compound would result in further loss of life, including the potential for harm to women and children. SGM Santoro convinced his FBI contacts to delay any action on the Refuge, while a C.O.W.S. representative at the Refuge worked to get the women and children packed up to leave. Through numerous phone calls and face to face coaxing, a majority of the occupiers agreed to leave. Additionally, a YouTube video posted by David Fry early Thursday morning confirms that conditions at the Refuge were ‘chaotic’ as occupiers packed up to leave as quickly as possible.
– The stated mission of the Pacific Patriots Network and Oath Keepers has been to prevent another Waco scenario, where federal agents mass murder American citizens during an assault on a compound. That mission has so far been accomplished.
– According to sources at the Refuge, there weren’t enough vehicles to transport everyone who wanted to leave the Refuge. SGM Santoro relayed that to the FBI, and the FBI contacts instructed those without a vehicle to drive a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) vehicle parked at the Refuge into Burns and park it at a location where it would later be picked up by BLM officials.
– According to sources at the Refuge, Jason Patrick, who decided to stay, became angry that most occupiers were leaving, and refused to move a vehicle so that they could leave the Refuge Headquarters. Those leaving were forced to drive through private property in order get back to a highway, where they began their trip back into Burns, and then home.
– At approximately 0200L on the morning of 27 January, sources in contact with the FBI claimed that the remaining occupiers were given until 0400L to vacate, implying that action might be taken to remove them if they stayed past the deadline. At 0400L, no action was taken, and as of 1900L on Friday, 29 January, no direct action has been taken at the Refuge.
– On Wednesday afternoon, Duane Ehmer, the cowboy who infamously rode his horse while hoisting an American flag, was arrested by the FBI.
– On Wednesday evening, negotiations with Jason Patrick were finally successful and he agreed to leave the refuge. According to sources familiar with the story, the FBI told Jason Patrick that he was free to leave. After walking seven miles out of the Refuge to the FBI checkpoint to be picked up and carried into Burns by PPN personnel, he was arrested by law enforcement at 1910L due to an outstanding warrant. (Analyst Comment: Jason Patrick was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. Being one of the more ardent protesters at the Refuge, the FBI likely considered him to be one of the top instigators, especially after he decided to stay as most others left. Still, according to sources, the FBI told Jason Patrick that he was free to go, after which Jason decided to leave only to be arrested by law enforcement and taken into federal custody. Because the FBI said Jason was free to leave and have not made good on their promise to him, the FBI has further tarnished their credibility with the occupiers, the Pacific Patriots Network, and the people of Harney County. Furthermore, this event may be another reason why the remaining four occupiers have not taken up FBI offers to vacate.)
The following portion of the SITREP covers unfolding events at the Malehur National Wildlife Refuge and in the vicinity of (IVO) Burns, OR over the past 24 hours.
– As of 1800L on Thursday, 29 January, four protesters remain at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. David Fry, the author of the YouTube channel DefendYourBase has been uploading videos and intermittently live-streaming the occupation since early Wednesday morning. Despite calls from Ammon Bundy to leave the Refuge, which were iterated through his attorneys, David Fry recently stated that he was going to remain “to the end.”
– Sources familiar with the ongoing situation say that FBI agents have been in contact with Fry since Wednesday, attempting to negotiate their departure. At one point, multiple occupiers had negotiated to walk away, however, they later decided to remain. Fry is also speaking with media by cell phone on their continued occupation.
– There are efforts underway to organize large gatherings in Burns and Eugene, Oregon to protest the killing of LaVoy Finicum in front of the governor’s office and another building. Follow the Pacific Patriots Network for additional and up to date information.
Photo via Harney County Mall Cops