- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It seemed last week as if the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters would soon collapse, but now Cliven Bundy says the occupation will continue indefinitely.

Mr. Bundy, the Nevada rancher whose sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy led the takeover before they were arrested last week, said in a notarized letter that “we the people” intend to “retain possession of the Harney County Resource Center.”

The letter was posted on the Bundy Ranch Facebook page and addressed to Harney County Sheriff David Ward, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and President Obama.

“This is notice that We the People of Harney County and also We the People of the citizens of the United States do give notice that we will retain possession of the Harney County Resource Center,” said the letter notarized from Clark County, Nevada, and lapsing into screaming all-capitals after the word “States.”

The missive came with four occupiers still holed up at the refuge building, which was taken over by several dozen armed demonstrators Jan. 2 in a protest against federal public lands policy and the resentencing of two local ranchers to five years’ prison for a prescribed burn that accidentally spread to federal property.

Ammon Bundy, who has urged the holdouts to “stand down,” withdrew Tuesday a request to be released from jail in Portland. He and 10 others involved with the occupation have been charged with felony conspiracy, which has a maximum sentence of six years’ in prison.

Attorneys for Ammon Bundy released a statement from their client to KOIN-TV, in which he appeared to disagree with his father’s latest move.

“Because of the restrictions of solitary confinement for 23 hours per day, I have not been able to speak to my father. I am requesting that the four remaining protesters go home now so their lives are not taken,” said Ammon Bundy’s statement.

“This will allow the FBI and OSP to also go home and end their armed occupation of Burns in Harney County. Then Harney County sheriff should cordon off the refuge as the citizens work on returning these lands back to Harney County and the state of Oregon as prescribed in the Constitution. It is simple, the land belongs to the people,” the statement said.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that one of the arrested occupiers, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, may be released with conditions pending his trial, according to KOIN-TV.

Attorneys for Mr. O’Shaughnessy argued that he opposed the takeover and went to the refuge to try to de-escalate the situation.

The FBI has set up roadblocks around the refuge, located near Burns, Oregon, but Cliven Bundy called in his letter for the removal of “all federal and state policing agents out of Harney County.”

He also asked for a guard to be posted at the refuge headquarters building “stopping all from entering or exiting, for a time.”

The four remaining occupiers had been negotiating with the FBI over the terms of their surrender, arguing that they should be released and not arrested. The FBI has allowed several departing occupiers to leave without charging them.

Meanwhile, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office was tapped Tuesday to lead the investigation into the death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 54, who was shot Jan. 26 by an Oregon state trooper at an FBI roadblock on Highway 395.

Funeral services for Mr. Finicum, who was killed the day before his 55th birthday, are scheduled for Friday in Kanab, Utah, followed by a memorial horseback ride and concert. An online candlelight vigil is also scheduled for Friday.

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