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BREAKING! Oregon Wildlife Refuge Under Siege By FBI – OR. Assembly Woman Attempting To Intervene

As we speak, there is an attempt by the FBI to take over the last remaining occupiers. Tensions are very high and there is a live stream of a phone call between an assembly woman, who is on the way to the refuge, in an attempt to intervene and facilitate a surrender.

Oregonian: BURNS – The FBI on Wednesday evening moved in on the last four occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, apparently placing armored vehicles around their camp.

A friend of occupier David Fry was streaming on YouTube through an open phone line with the occupiers as authorities made what appeared to be a final push to end the 40-day old occupation.

Besides David Fry, 27, of Ohio, the encampment includes Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada, and Sean and Sandy Anderson of Riggins, Idaho.

“Come out with your hands up,” a law enforcement official was heard saying.

Two hours into the confrontation, a Nevada state legislator was trying to negotiate for the group’s surrender and a Christian evangelist and others had offered to intercede on their behalf as well.

In a statement, the FBI said one of the occupiers rode an ATV outside their encampment at 4:30 p.m. When FBI agents tried to approach the driver, he returned “at a high rate of speed” to the camp. Agents then moved into position ahead and behind “the area where the occupiers are camping.”

The FBI said as of 6 p.m. negotiations were underway and that “no shots have been fired.”

The four have been the only occupiers left at the refuge since Jan. 28 — two days after the arrest of Ammon Bundy and other occupation leaders and the shooting death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.

Here’s the live stream:

The holdouts all face arrest on a federal charge of conspiracy for their roles in the occupation.

“There’s nowhere for you to go,” the officer also was heard saying.

Fry shouted back, “We’re leaving tomorrow.”

In a statement released in the middle of the showdown, Greg Bretzing, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Oregon, said: “It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully.

But, Bretzing said, “we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”

FBI tactical teams had quietly moved into the refuge compound Tuesday night, entering the buildings undetected by the occupiers. They apparently were in the buildings through the day Wednesday before agents moved against the encampment.

As the confrontation unfolded on air, the livestream provided a remarkable front row seat to what may be the final stage of the refuge takeover, logging 20,000 listeners about two hours into the event.

The occupiers talked over each other, with a mix of anger and panic evident in their voices. The call moderator, identified on the Youtube feed as Gavin Seim, tried to sort out the identities and relayed calls for help to outside parties.

“Just hang in there,” he said as he tried to give the occupiers encouragement and calm them down.

At one point on the audio, Sean Anderson was heard yelling, “Did your boss send you here to kill innocent Americans?”

At another point, an agent over a loudspeaker said: “David, I want to talk to you.”

“What do you want?” Fry replied, then yelled, “You guys killed LaVoy” and “You let Obama bring terrorists into our country.”

Sean Anderson said there were five armored vehicles around the camp. “They have way more guns than us. We need help. … We will not fire until we’re fired upon,” he said.

Anderson also was heard saying: “Mark, you promised and you lied again,” apparently referring to an FBI negotiator.

His wife chimed in that the four have been asked to put down their guns, but “our weapons are at our sides.”

They said they had planned to meet Thursday with Michele Fiore, a Nevada state legislator, and that they had been told Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher, would appear as well. They also said they wanted someone to get in touch with Franklin Graham, part of the Billy Graham organization who apparently had been in touch with the occupiers at one point.

“You promised Franklin Graham you wouldn’t do this,” Sandy Anderson said.

Graham later called in, reaching Sean Anderson. Graham offered to be at the refuge at 7 a.m. Thursday to join the occupiers in walking out to surrender, Anderson said. It was unclear if the FBI would entertain such an offer. The occupiers reported that they were told by the FBI that no one else would be allowed onto the refuge.

Even then, Sandy Anderson seemed to balk at surrendering. “I am not going to jail for standing up for my rights,” she said.

“If my wife says she’s not leaving, I’m not leaving,” her husband said.

Earlier in the night, Sean Anderson said that the occupiers would shoot only if fired upon. He said they all expected to be killed.

“And it’s not self-inflicted wounds either,” Sandy Anderson said.

Fry yelled, “You don’t need to go to hell for killing us.”

They prayed at one point, and Sean Anderson repeatedly asked those listening in to the broadcast to pray.

The one voice not heard in the cacophony was Banta’s.

Later, Sandy Anderson yelled: “They got ahold of another legislator!” when she was told Washington state Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane Valley had been reached by supporters outside the refuge. Shea had been part of a group of state legislators who visited the site in late January.

As the standoff continued, Fiore, the Nevada assemblywoman, got on the livestream line to offer to negotiate between the occupiers and the FBI. Fiore had just arrived in Portland and was scheduled to appear Thursday at a news conference in support of Ammon Bundy.

In the meantime, Fry was on a second phone talking to the negotiator. Fry was apparently told that the agent wouldn’t talk to the legislator. Only Fry’s part of the conversation was audible.

“I will come to the refuge,” Fiore said. “They have to let someone to negotiate. We cannot afford more bloodshed.”

She urged the four to keep calm as she tried to get directly to the FBI by phone.

“Listen, we’re not coming out,” Fry was heard saying on the phone to the FBI negotiator. “You need to find another option.”

Fiore told the occupiers that she needs Gov. Kate Brown or Harney County Sheriff David Ward to intercede to get her to the refuge.

“There is no reason to shoot you,” Fiore told the group.

But Sean Anderson said they feared being shot anyway.

“We will hold them accountable in the courts like they hold us accountable,” Fiore said.

“Listen, listen,” she said, trying to keep the occupiers focused on her.

She told them that some of the other 16 defendants in the case have been released from jail after their arrest while the charges are pending. “The Constitution is there to protect the people from the government,” she said.

At that point, Sandy Anderson said the armored vehicles were moving closer, prompting Fiore to urge her to take a deep breath and pray with her. In the background, Fry can be heard yelling at the FBI agents.

Earlier as the occupiers tried to reach someone that could help them, Sean Anderson said, “Someone call Sheriff Palmer,” referring to Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer.

His wife echoed him: “Call Sheriff Palmer.”

Palmer met twice with occupation leaders in his neighboring county and was to share the stage with the key figures at a community meeting when the arrests and Finicum shooting took place on U.S. 395 about 30 miles north of Burns. He has come under criticism for his apparent support of the armed militants

People were calling the sheriff’s office and the John Day dispatch center, which handles calls for Grant County police agencies, urging that Palmer intercede.

Ammon Bundy and other occupation leaders originally took over the headquarters compound of the wildlife refuge on Jan. 2. The compound is about 30 miles southeast of Burns and has been cordoned off by law enforcement officials since Jan. 27.

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge 

Click for larger image

The four holdouts have been camped in a parking area next to the complex of buildings. They have posted video reports off and on, showing their camp of pickup trucks and ATVs arranged in a rough circle, with tarps and tents providing shelter.

There have been repeated efforts to bring the armed occupation to a conclusion. Ammon Bundy has issued written and taped statements through his attorneys urging the four to leave the refuge. The FBI has continued telephone negotiations for days, but Fry and the others have insisted they wouldn’t leave unless they had immunity from arrest.

Fry played a role throughout the occupation  providing social media help to the protesters. The Andersons, transplants to Idaho from Wisconsin, had made several trips to the refuge since Bundy’s group took it over. Banta, a construction worker, arrived just the day before Bundy was arrested.

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