BLM trashes Bundy's land during withdrawal
The Bureau of Land Management deliberately wrecked water tanks and water piping on Cliven Bundy's land, despite the court order that allowed them to seize the rancher's cattle saying nothing about destroying Bundy's property.
The BLM apparently left a trail of destruction when they withdrew, according to witnesses and friends of Bundy.
Fox News toured the damage -- allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management -- which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences. According to family friends, the bureau's hired "cowboys" also killed two prize bulls.
"They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week," said Corey Houston, friend of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. "So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they're a better steward?"
The BLM and other law enforcement officials backed down on Saturday in their effort to seize Bundy's cattle, after hundreds of protesters, some armed, arrived to show support for the Bundy family. In the end, BLM officials left the scene amid concerns about safety, and no shots were fired.
On a Friday night conference call, BLM officials told reporters that "illegal structures" on Bundy's ranch -- water tanks, water lines and corrals -- had to be removed to "restore" the land to its natural state and prevent the rancher from restarting his illegal cattle operation.
However, the court order used to justify the operation appears only to give the agency the authority to "seize and impound" Bundy's cattle.
"Nowhere in the court order that I saw does it say that they can destroy infrastructure, destroy corrals, tanks ... desert environment, shoot cattle," Houston said.
Bundy's friends say the BLM wranglers told them the bulls were shot because they were dangerous and could gore their horses. One bull was shot five times.
But Houston said the pen holding the bull wasn't even bent. "It's not like the bull was smashing this pen and trying tackle people or anything," he said. "The pen is sitting here. It hasn't moved. No damage whatsoever. Where was the danger with that bull?"
Plus he said BLM vehicles appear to have crushed a tortoise burrow near the damaged water tank. "How's that conservation?" he asked.
The BLM has not yet responded to a request for comment on these allegations.
Regardless of whether one thinks Bundy has a legal case or not, the destruction of his property and livelihood is appalling. The BLM far exceeded their legal mandate and flouted the law at every turn. I'd call for a Justice Department investigation except we all know that wouldn't happen.
The BLM is going to get their pound of flesh from Bundy, no matter what. The only question - whether it will happen peacefully or not.