The Oregon stand-off (since January 2nd 2016) is where a dozen or so armed men took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in south-eastern Oregon. They did it during a holiday weekend when no one was there. They are led by Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy.
Terrorism: Their actions fit the government’s definition of terrorism, but because they are White, it does not fit the Whitespeak definition. So the White press uses terms like these in headlines:
- protesters, colorful characters: LA TImes;
- armed protest/ers: CNN, BBC, Fox News, New York Times;
- militia/men: Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, Daily Mail, The Independent;
- armed militia: Chicago Tribune;
- militia occupiers: Buzzfeed, New York Daily News;
- activists: NBC News, MSNBC;
- armed men: Washington Post.
Learn the lingo:
- militia: armed White men;
- terrorists: armed Muslim men;
- thugs: armed or unarmed Black men.
The double standard, though, was not lost on Twitter where they have been called #YallQaeda.
The police call them “outside militants”.
They call themselves “patriots”, defenders of the Constitution. They call on fellow patriots from across the country to come to Oregon with their guns and stand against the US government. They are ready to stay there for years.
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a wilderness reserve, one of six west of the Mississippi River, set aside in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It is open country made up of lakes, ponds, marshes, grassland and desert. Birds use it as a way station along the Pacific coast, where they have their young. It also has deer and antelope.
Malheur has grown over the years. It now takes up 7% of Harney county. Ammon Bundy says it is driving people into poverty. He says the US government overstepped the Constitution by taking land that rightly belongs to the state or county. He wants to take the land back for the people – meaning for White ranchers, loggers and miners, not for the Northern Paiute Natives who had lived there from -11,000 to 1879.
Ammon Bundy has good reason to expect success: in 2014 he took part in his father’s armed stand-off with the government over grazing rights in the neighbouring state of Nevada. The government backed off.
The Oregon stand-off started as a protest for ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. They own land next to the reserve. In 2012, in a case that went all the way up to the US Supreme Court, they were found guilty of setting fires on the reserve. On the 4th they went to prison. They have distanced themselves from Bundy.
- The government has not sent armoured vehicles or anyone with guns, tasers, tear gas or sound cannons.
- It has not charged anyone with a crime or made any arrests.
- It has not brought in armed soldiers.
- The president has not called them thugs.
In short, none of things they do to unarmed Black protesters.
– Abagond, 2016.
Update (January 27th): Yesterday, after 24 days, Ammon Bundy was arrested at last, along with seven others. The FBI and police stopped them on the open road going to a meeting. Shots were fired. One of Bundy’s men was killed and another (his brother) injured. Bundy still has gunmen at Malheur. Some left, but others remain. The stand-off continues.
Update (February 12th): Yesterday morning, after bending over backwards to avoid violence for over a month, the FBI and county police arrived at Malheur with armoured vehicles. By day’s end the four remaining hold-outs gave up peacefully.
Update (October 28th): Ammon Bundy and six others were found not guilty of a federal conspiracy by an all-White jury. This made the news at the same time that police in North Dakota were cracking down on unarmed Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline! More: ICTMN.
- White American terrorists
- The biker gang shoot-out in Waco
- Black Lives Matter
- Blacks shot dead on the spot while holding a toy gun