On the scene of LaVoy Finicum’s political assassination
By Prof. Tony Hall, Editor In Chief, AHT
Prof. Tony Hall in John Day beginning his investigation.
16 Feb/16, John Day Oregon. I have just traveled by car about 700 miles from my home in Lethbridge Alberta to John Day, Oregon. John Day was supposed to be the destination on January 26 of the two vehicles carrying some of the leadership, together with at least one FBI undercover infiltrator, of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedoms (C4CF). The travelers did not reach John Day. For one, the destination was death together with the resurrection invoked by martyrdom.
On the fateful day the FBI pulled over one of the two cars. All the passengers were taken into custody including Ammon Bundy. Ever since the armed standoff with federal authorities in 2014 over ranching rights in Nevada, the family of Cliven Bundy has been instrumental in mobilizing the political and legal aspects of the C4CF movement. On Feb. 10 the FBI arrested Cliven Bundy at the Portland Airport.
The second car traveling along Highway 395 was lured into an ambush where the most visionary spokesman of the group, LaVoy Finicum, was assassinated in an elaborate FBI-led operation. Also in the white truck driven by Finicum were Shawna Cox, Cliven Bundy’s biographer, and Victoria Sharp. Both women have given detailed, recorded accounts about the vehicle they were in being riddled with dozens, if not hundreds, of police bullets. Both referred to Finicum being fired on repeatedly, the first shot piercing his back when he had his hands in the air.
Also in the car was Ryan Bundy who was wounded. Sharp and Cox attribute their survival during the ordeal to divine intervention and to the fact they were hunkered down hugging the targeted vehicle’s floor. The removal of the sound track from the public release of the FBI’s videotape of the event in question seems well calculated to withhold crucial information from the public about the timing and magnitude of police shooting.
When I checked into the Best Western Inn here in John Day, the receptionist, Ashley Dancer, was quite happy to share important information about what she has seen in recent days and weeks. She indicated that the FBI plainclothes agents began moving into this Inn two weeks before the ambush took place on Highway 395.
Ms. Dancer indicated that many of the “dozens” of FBI agents who stayed here at the John Day Best Western indicated when they checked in that they were all “lawyers” preparing for a big trial. She spoke of her surprise when suddenly these supposed lawyers all appeared in full FBI uniform shortly before Finicum was assassinated. She spoke of witnessing them carrying about large cases full of federal firearms. Ms. Dancer mentioned that in Burns there were a number of FBI undercover agents among the protesters. She also spoke about the trauma she witnessed of hotel guests at the Best Western Inn including Victoria Sharp’s mother and some bereaved family members of LaVoy Finicum.
As related by Shawna Cox, Finicum’s obsession on the day of his death was to arrive here at John Day for a community meeting including a planned negotiation with the Sheriff of Grant Country. Ms. Dancer indicated that this local Sheriff, Glen Palmer, is presently being accused by political opponents of helping to set up the targeted assassination of LaVoy Finicum. Palmer is seeking re-election as Grant County Sheriff next month. He went on record during the occupation of the Malheur Federal Wildlife Reservation with his opinion that the Hammonds, father and son, should be released from prison.
In October of 2015 the Hammonds were sentenced to five years in prison for setting fires to ranch lands to push back, they claimed, invasive species. Their incarceration was the trigger to start the occupation. The Grant County Sheriff also went on record indicating the FBI should withdraw and leave the enforcement of law to state and municipal authorities.
The Federal Elimination of a Voice of Coalition Building, Reason and Resistance
Behind the story of ranchers in conflict with the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management is the fact that ownership of about half of the entire landmass of eleven western states, including New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, is claimed by the federal government headquartered in Washington DC. About 80% of Nevada, where the US government regularly tested nuclear weapons in the 1950s in the open atmosphere, is under federal jurisdiction.
Much of the federal land has been given over to ranchers who often have an uneasy and strained relationship with their federal landlords. The ranchers’ grievances generally and the incarceration of the Hammonds more specifically became the original basis of the Malheur occupation of federal facilities. Once LaVoy Finicum got involved, however, he very quickly began tapping deep into the wells of an enormous undercurrent of resentment felt by average men and women inside and outside the United States. Whether in Harney County Oregon, or in Damascus Syria, or in Germany, or in Pakistan, there is growing aversion to the US federal authority that is increasingly seen to be acting too often like a ruthless predator preying on the innocent.
No matter whether he was filmed taking down a federal spy camera, or proposing the return Indian artifacts back to their proper Native America owners, or giving various sorts of civic lessons on federalism, LaVoy Finicum was connecting the dots. He was speaking in clear yet penetrating ways about many major issues of the day. He did so with a degree of educated thoughtfulness that transcended the usual stereotypes which ruling groups expertly deploy to keep subject peoples divided and subservient. It was for that reason that federal officials from the US president on down probably decided that this voice of coalition building, reason and resistance would have to be eliminated.
A Martyr Given to Those That Resist
Ms. Dancer spoke about her sense of dismay that the federal government intervened during the prelude to the assassination into the family life of LaVoy and Jeanette Finicum. Presumably under federal instructions, social service agencies removed the Finicums’ foster children from their Arizona ranch. The Finicums have been entrusted over the years to take into their domestic care dozens of wards of the state. Often the Finicums were sent the most difficult cases plucked from group homes, drug rehab clinics and similar gathering points for troubled youths.
As the natural and adopted children will attest, LaVoy’s mentorship and Jeanette’s attentiveness together with the vigorous nature of disciplined life at the Finicum ranch, contributed to the making of a healing home. Many say the Finicum home in the wide-open spaces of the American West became a Godsend for many young people otherwise pushed to society’s margins of neglect and alienation.
A similar intervention by child welfare agents took away the fostered children of Blaine Cooper of the Pacific Patriot Network. Cooper was among the first to put out a call to gather near Burns Oregon to make a citizens’ stand at the headquarters of the Malheur Wildlife Federal Wildlife Reserve.
Like LaVoy Finicum, Cooper has been bold in making accusations against the federal government. In 2013 Cooper was pictured accusing John McCain of lying to the American people while promoting US collaboration in Syria with al-Qaeda, the very group immediately and, as we now know, wrongfully blamed for the 9/11 sabotage from within. Citing 18 U.S. Code at 2381, Cooper accused McCain of treason, of being part of a cabal of domestic enemies of the people of the United States.
Blaine Cooper calls for John McCain to be arrested and tried for treason at town hall meeting
Writing for MintPress, Eric Draitser has included Cooper on a list of possible spies and provocateurs in a federal operation designed to take the wind out of the sails of pure uninfiltrated and genuine anti-federal activists including, presumably, his own posse at StopImperialism.org. While the possibility of purposeful federal provocation by agents has to be taken into account, I think this kind of bad-jacketing of individuals, some of whom do indeed have checkered careers, deserves to be subjected to skepticism similar to that which Draitser dishes out.
The one individual that, it seems to me, most successfully did rise above the fray was LaVoy Finicum. I have made no secret of my my view that he should be seen as a genuine martyr now gifted to a simmering popular uprising against the tyranny exercised by elite abusers of US federal authority.
The Mormon Church on Both Sides of the Firing Squad that Eliminated LaVoy Finicum
To me a very important aspect of this ongoing saga of resistance and lethal repression points to the very important role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is well know that LDS members are disproportionately well represented in the FBI, in other elite police forces and in the inner sanctums of the national security state. The LDS Church also has many members in the self-styled militias and Patriot groups whose members emphasize gun ownership as an essential attribute of a free and strong sovereign people able to withstand oppression from above by false prophets and governors. Thus it can be be said that the Mormon Church was well represented on both sides of the firing squad that eliminated LaVoy Finicum.
Most of the leadership of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom are LDS members in good standing. They are Mormons. Like many other evangelical Christian groups, Mormons understand the United States and the US Constitution to have been established through the Grace of God.
Dallin H. Oaks is a senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. More than any other individual, Apostle Oaks’ career indicates how much the Mormon Church can overlaps with the supposedly secular institutions of US governance. Along with the three members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of Twelve constitutes the highest governing authority of the worldwide operation of the LDS Church. Together all Fifteen Apostles of the Mormon Church replicate the Fifteen Apostles of Jesus.
Apostle Oaks was president of the Mormons’ Brigham Young University in Utah. He has been Professor of Law at University of Chicago and a Justice on the Utah Supreme Court. One of the major influences on Apostle Oaks has been the legendary LDS legal scholar, Ezra Taft Benson. The holder of the LDS Presidency from 1985 to 1994 and US Secretary of Agriculture under US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Apostle Benson is the author of The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner. Benson’s volume was written to recognize the 200th anniversary of the US Constitution. This compact volume has quite clearly been a major primary source of the constitutional interpretation emanating from the Bundys, from Shawna Cox and from Lavoy Finicum among others.
The Mormons’ ecclesiastical interpretation of the US Constitution favors the imperatives of the US states over federal powers. The usurping of the powers of the states and the rights of citizens is characterized by the Mormon jurists in the tradition of Apostle Benson as a crime aided and abetted by the unconstitutional interventions of the US Supreme Court. Apostle Benson wrote in 1986:
“In recent years we have allowed Congress to fund numerous federal agencies. While these agencies may provide some needed services and protection of rights, they also encroach significantly on our constitutional rights. The number of agencies seems to grow continually to regulate and control the lives of millions of citizens.
What many fail to realize is that most of these federal agencies are unconstitutional. Why are they unconstitutional? They are unconstitutional because they concentrate the functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches under one head. They have, in other words, power to make rulings, enforce rulings, and adjudicate penalties when rulings are violated. They are unconstitutional because they represent an assumption of power not delegated to the executive branch by the people. They are unconstitutional because the people have no power to recall administrative agency personnel by their vote.”
What is the current position on these matters of Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, now the leading jurist in the highest echelons of the rich and influential Mormon Church? What might be the behind-the-scene roles of the Mormon Church establishment in this saga to date?
To me much hinges on how the LDS power structure decides to mark the life and death, at federal hands, of LaVoy Finicum. From all that I have been able to find out so far, this martyred soldier for justice really does epitomize some sort of marriage between the best of Mormon ethical principles and the truest sense of US patriotism. As many are seeing it, LaVoy Finicum gave his life defending the USA from its worst and most vicious enemies from within.
For all intents and purposes the federal government of the United States essentially crucified the targeted man. The federal police force did so in a gruesome public spectacle with the potential to wedge public sentiment in much the same fashion that imperial Rome’s decision to assassinate Jesus put a wedge among Jews from which a new Abrahamic religion would arise.
What Will Be LaVoy Finicum’s Memorial?
I asked Ashley Dancer, the receptionist I met earlier tonight here at the John Day Best Western, if she knew anything about the state of the shrine being built up by citizens to commemorate the life and death of LaVoy Finicum. I saw on the Internet the beginnings of this shrine taking form on the FBI ambush site on Highway 395 where the targeted man was assassinated.
Ms. Dancer indicated the shrine had been removed by unknown parties but that it was rising once again from the spontaneous actions of those who regularly come to honor the downed man. Tomorrow when I make my pilgrimage south towards Burns on Highway 395, I’ll certainly be on the lookout for the place where the shots were fired in what future historians might come to see as the beginning of a New American Revolution.
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/01/27/the-political-assassination-of-lavoy-finicum/ambushed by the FBI on Highway