BY CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
Every good conspiracy needs the perfect patsy. The case of January’s, armed militant takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, is no exception. Too be sure, there were many gullible people, but none were more advantageous, and malleable, for the Bundy’s, nor more documentarian for the feds, than internet talk show host, Pete Santilli.
“Dumb as a box of paperclips” Santilli, was the Bundy’s biggest fan. Eager for their attention and approval — and what that would mean to his audience, Santilli inserted himself into their world in the lead-up to the 2014 Bundy Ranch, Bunkerville, Nevada, standoff.
Santilli is no Mormon, nor does he follow the Mormon faith and it’s accompanying convictions. His anti-government beliefs were enough to find common ground with the Bundy cause. He was a pissed off American with a wanton gun fetish and an ill perceived notion of our first and second amendment rights. He offered himself up as a man with a mic complete with an established internet show hosting tens of thousands of listeners while airing live across multiple platforms.
What more could a Bundy ask for?
The Bundy’s were not stupid. They knew an opportunity when it presented itself.
Santilli’s listeners, and his connections to the hardcore gun-strokers across the country, was just what Cliven Bundy needed. And, good ol’ Pete, delivered; proving his worth by galvanizing listeners to the cause while begging them to join him at the Bundy Ranch.
And, many did.
Like a neglected pit-bull desparate to be pet, Santilli’s over zealous attitude was off-putting to some, even many; however, his personaility was quite useful for the Bundy’s needs. Santilli was more than happy to jump in and pull the questionable punches others would not, using his live stream as both a weapon and shield.
Those who participated in the heavily armed Nevada face-off were well-pleased with their work. They’d stood-up to “The Man”, making him stand-down and step-aside. They were all, including Santilli, proud of what they’d done, and they thought they’d gotten away with it. As it turns out, that is not the case, and Santilli was one of the ones the feds were keeping tabs on.
Over the next near two-years, Santilli’s relationship strengthened with both the Bundy family and the militia as he continued to paint their cause red, white and blue, unaware of the stripe that was now on his back. He and the Bundys, along with their core, were now brothers-in-arms. Their confidence in their methods was reinforced by regional renegade politicians, special interests, and some scattered, but persuasive, law enforcement officials who lent voice, and therefor the power of legitimacy, to their arrogant lawlessness.
They grew bolder.
Communication between Santilli and the Bundys continued as Ammon and Ryan sought out their next big adventure. Santilli would be ready when they were, and they counted on that.
By late fall of 2015 the Bundys were making the rounds on Santilli’s show again, talking about ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond. Around this time, Maureen Peltier aka SSG Moe, publicly joined the Santilli team and became admin for Santilli’s Facebook pages.
By December, their rhetoric had heated. On the 11th, Ammon Bundy issued a Redress of Grievance to the federal government, on Santilli’s show. During the show, Santilli says he had been “anticipating this notice”, acknowledging he knew it was coming. He was also making plans to head to Burns.
SSG Moe and Malheur co-defendant, Jason Patrick, were together, in Washington State, at a protest for jailed militia member and former Cliven bodyguard, Schuyler Barbeau on the 14th. On his show, Santilli had spoken of going to the hearing for Barbeau, while asking for donations, but instead, prepared to go to Oregon.
On the 17th, at the tail-end of he and Jordan’s new morning show, Santilli went on a violent rant against law enforcement and the feds. (01:41:11).
The following day, December, 18, Santilli was pulled over, allegedly for driving too slow. He was detained and then released on a weapons charge for illegally carrying a concealed weapon, a loaded 9mm Smith and Wesson was in a bag on the floorboard of the Isuzu Trooper.
At the stop he and Jordan were detained for almost an hour due to an alleged mistake by the authorities, believing Santilli was on the terror watch list. That was cleared up, but not until after their office had already Tweeted it out.
A hearing date for the gun charge was set for January 4, but both the court date, and the charges were suddenly and unceremoniously dropped. Of his arrest, Santilli told The Enquirer as quoted by Cincinatti.com,
“I was on my way to Oregon on the day of the arrest. They had been surveilling me. Since then, I have been removed from any lists.”
Did the feds have something to do with the dropped charge and court date? Did they facilitate it to purposefully enable Santilli, so that he could make it to Burns as insurance they’d have a front row seat to what was going on via his livestreams, as he’d provided them in Nevada? Santilli has a very distinct pattern of behavior as displayed time and again. How he would behaved was a given.
Were the feds using Santilli, unbeknownst to him, just as much as the Bundys were?
On December 27, 2015 SSG Moe, now working for Santilli, posted a call to action on her Facebook wall. One that mirrored what Santilli was saying on his show about the need for everyone to get to Burns.
Peltier claims she knew nothing of what would transpire at Malheur and that she and Santilli’s posts, and the mentions on his shows, were in reference to the rally and that they thought, at that time, they may be hunkering down on Hammond land. Although the above post does not say she is going, she was present in Burns, by rally day.
Santilli also claims he knew nothing of a potential Malheur takeover until it happened. His own livestream the day of the rally show he at least knew about Malheur immediately before the morning march through Burns had begun. In the feed, he points out that Ammon Bundy said for he and Jordan to go to Malheur on their own, before the march, and before everyone else.
Did Bundy want Santilli and Jordan in place at the refuge before he arrived in order to livestream their actual takeover/arrival?
Neither Santilli or Jordan appeared surprised about the turn of events, although Jordan was clearly not happy Santilli keeps the camera streaming, asking him several times if she could turn it off. She sounds like she is nearly hyperventilating with anxiety.
At one point, Santilli has her get out of the SUV with him, camera still rolling inside, as they spoke privately outside. Before they come back into frame, you can hear Jordan insisting they “have to” do it; her entire demeanor had changed.
Ammon takes Santilli aside, in the early part of the vid above, to tell him Malheur is a go. This occurs right after Ammon, Finicum and others had held an approximate 40-minute, off-site meeting. You can hear about this meeting from the only person who lost their life as an outcome of the armed stance, LaVoy Finicum. At the 03:30 mark in the video below, Finicum discusses the leadership meeting that took place in private before the rally.
News of this meeting was backed up by another person who was present at the meeting — although not at the takeover, stating the secret meeting took place in a building that was adjacent to the Burns, Safeway. Santilli was not in that meeting according to this eyewitness.
Just because Santilli was not at the private meeting pre-rally does not affirm he wasn’t in the know. As I mentioned, when Santilli allegedly hears about the plan to take over the refuge, he, nor Jordan, nor anyone with them, besides the III%’er acting as Santilli’s security detail, showed any sign of surprise. No one questions it. No one asks what or where “Malheur” … is. Nothing.
At some point they had to have been apprised a takeover at Malheur, was at the very least, a possibility. Just because Santilli stayed, does not mean he supported the action itself, but as a YouTube broadcaster, he surely saw and took his opportunity to capitalize on it.
Patriotic Warriors, CEO, Melvin Lee, had an encounter with Santilli the following evening. After having spent the day at Malheur, he arrived back at the motel shortly after Lee, and while he was offloading his equipment, Santilli expressed his irritation over what was happening. According to Lee, Santilli was upset with Ammon and those who had taken over Malheur saying it [the takeover] was, “Fucking stupid”.
What is most damaging to Santilli, is he involved himself, as he did before in Nevada, as if he were a part of the events themselves, versus behave as the journalist he purported himself to be. For something that he felt was, “Fucking stupid”, he sure worked hard, and succeeded, in getting more people to join in, just like the Bundys, and the feds, knew he would.
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Checkout these other recent articles by Cheri Roberts …
- What Evidence Did the Feds Retrieve from Pete Santilli and Deb Jordan’s Enterprise Rental Car?
- Why is ATF Surveilling Phoenix, Arizona Strip Mall Location of United Nation Ammo Company Blocks Away From Home of Bundy Ranch Indictee, Gregory Burleson
- Deschutes County Sheriff Releases Ryan Bundy Cell Phone Video
- Bundy Attorney Uses Embattled Infringement Platform Snip.ly to Drum Up Donors for Bundy Defense
- When Your Source is the Crowd, Does the Crowd You Source Matter?
- YouTuber Dallas Ahrens says Pete Santilli Influenced Him to Go to Malheur, Read Constitution
- Washington National Guard’s Militia Moe tells ACLJ to Get Off Their Asses
- Is Another Bundy Ranch Indictment Coming this Week?
- DOODLE IN THE COURT: An Oregon Standoff Paper Trail
- Pete Santilli has a Secret, Files Late Night Motion for Ex Parte Privileges