The Federal Government, more specifically, the Bureau of Land Management, are again coming under close scrutiny for their involvement and handling of the ongoing saga with Cliven Bundy and his family. The newest allegations, against an agency with an already somewhat tarnished reputation, state that the BLM used an FBI infiltration team, posing under the name of “Long Bow,” a documentary film crew, to manipulate interviews with Bundy supporters in order to paint them in a criminal manner when they were, in fact, doing nothing wrong.
This is just the latest in a series of back-and-forth volleys launched by both the government and the Bundy family spanning back nearly three decades. Back in 1989, the US Fish and Wildlife Service officially listed the desert tortoise as an endangered species. A few years later the BLM began the elimination process of livestock grazing on the hundreds of thousands of acres of land newly designated for federal conservation efforts. Cliven Bundy, whose family has owned a ranch on the land since 1877, was immediately vocal in his stance that this was nothing more than a federal land grab. When taking into account that the federal government owns, on average, roughly 50% of the land in California, Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah, it’s interesting to note that the BLM owns 80% of that combined land. For a Bureau that did not even exist in 1877, Bundy’s claims of a land grab don’t seem too far-fetched.
It also is not the first time the BLM has stolen land from citizens whose family inhabited the land long before the BLM came into being. There are other incidents as well, such the BLM stealing livestock (as well as Social Security pay) from citizens whose stories predate Bundy’s. They’ve also illegally sold horses for slaughter, illegally shut down thousands of public roads, created ridiculous fines to be imposed on average citizens and even have gone so far as to burn ranch land and destroy cattle.
Then, as the icing on the cake, they label people as terrorists for simply protesting the stealing of their family’s land. While the initially stated intentions of saving the desert tortoise may have appeared noble, the deeply underlying deception of the Bureau of Land Management has slowly been rising to the surface. With time, it can hopefully be anticipated that enough national attention will be garnered to make a case against the BLM (and its existence) in order for taxpayers to retain what has already been theirs for generations.