By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
In a Friday YouTube video, Deborah Jordan, girlfriend of dually indicted internet talk show host Pete Santilli, tells listeners to “proceed with caution” when it comes to Jason Blomgren aka “Joker J”. Blomgren is one of 26 co-defendants awaiting trial and/or sentencing for the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) some 30-miles outside of the town of Burns, Oregon, that happened earlier this year.
Blomgren will be testifying on behalf of the United States Government, not the defense.
Blomgren first arrived at Malheur by January 10 or 11, staying at the refuge until after the January 26, arrests of occupation leadership and the shooting death of rancher LaVoy Finnicum. Blomgren later attended Finicum’s funeral in Utah before receiving sanctuary at the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. He was arrested on February 11.
Less than a month later, on March 9, Blomgren was granted pretrial release with GPS-monitored home detention in his parents North Carolina residence. And, by June, Blomgren had negotiated a plea deal.
In early statements submitted to the Court and made to media, Blomgren was the first of 26 defendants charged in the alleged conspiracy to admit possession of and plans for explosives by the militants. In a March 9, Oregonian article by long-time staff writer, Maxine Bernstein, reported,
“Blomgren told authorities that the occupation leaders never booby-trapped the wildlife sanctuary but talked about using ‘IEDS,’ or improvised explosive devices, when planning for a worst-case scenario and using at least two drones to spy on the FBI, the prosecutor said.”
CTR reported earlier this month, according to a source close to the case, Bundy tactical leader Ryan Payne, another co-defendant who has since taken a plea deal, had a plan to use explosives during the occupation. Payne had at least four occupiers who directly reported to him, not Ammon Bundy. Co-defendant Blomgren was one of Payne’s four men.
The confidential source, who was at the refuge, denies the explosives Blomgren spoke of were meant to be used as a “worst-case scenario” or even as a defense.
Instead, according to the source, the explosives were rigged for intended targets in Harney County. Other devices were also rigged to be used at the refuge and at least some of the devices were said to have timers like those found in grocery store kitchen gadget aisles.
All of the explosive devices were later unrigged sometime before the occupation’s leadership left for John Day on January 26, according to the source.
In Friday’s video update, speaking of Blomgren’s upcoming testimony, Jordan said,
“I don’t know how much he knows about the Patriot community, other people, what was going on down there … how much he knows. I know there’s a lot of innuendo swirling around the idea that Jason Blomgren knows a lot about explosives, and the idea of explosives, and what they were going to do with them, and some plans that were, as a last scenario. Yanno, some plans that were being made … that possibly some of the occupiers were prepared for. You know, this is up in the air but, I’ve got it from a few pretty good sources that that’s a fact and that’s what he is, … that is part, part, of what he is going to be testifying on.”
According to the arresting document, authorities had some idea MNWR occupiers were in possession of explosives from the very beginning due to a tip to law enforcement by a confidential informant (CI) on the day of the takeover:
“The BLM was notified later that day by a Harney County Sheriffs Officer that a source informed him that the group controlled the MNWR and had explosives, night vision goggles, and weapons and that if they didn’t get the fight they wanted out there they would bring the fight to town.”
Ammon Bundy, the admitted head of the militant group, also told the FBI they had found explosives in the fire house at the refuge, promising they would “never ever” use them adding,
“It would take somebody that would know what they are doing to use them“.
There were many people in the Bundy circle who had the know-how.
In an AP article on Feb. 12, Larry Karl, the assistant special agent in charge of the Portland FBI said,
“There was flammable liquid and hazardous materials stored at the site before the armed takeover, and the FBI had information that ‘certain materials’ might have been brought to the refuge by the protesters.”
Bundy supporter Barbera Berg, a woman who had snuck in and out of the refuge in the last days of the final four holdouts, posted a photograph of what she claimed to be explosives on March 12. She said she discovered them in the firehouse at Malheur. Berg claims to be an expert on explosives.
Flash 21 is not an explosive, however, under the right circumstances it can be made into one. For instance, Flash 21 paired with gasoline in pressurized vessels with a timer and a detonator would produce an incredible explosion without the bomb maker anywhere nearby spreading Napalm like material everywhere in the blast zone.
Assumptions by some have been that the explosives being talked about in court documents and news reports were only in reference to the boxes of Flash 21 however, in the government’s initial exhibit list other materials like Tannarite had also been present.
Tannerite and other exploding targets or ETs have been dubbed “bomb kits for dummies” and have been used by some as the main ingredient in some IEDs according to the FBI. Tannerite is mostly made up of ammonia nitrate which is the same ingredient that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, including children. It has also been used by terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as by other domestic extremists in the United States.
Will Blomgren’s testimony enlighten the curious public about the alleged explosives and their intended use as Jordan claims? It appears we do not have much longer to find out.
A September 7 trial is set for the first round of co-defendants to include brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Pete Santilli, Shawna Cox, David Fry and Jeff Banta. The trial is expected to last three or more months. A second trial for the other co-defendants who were granted a continuance is scheduled for Valentine’s Day 2017.
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