By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
In January, after a rally in Burns, Oregon in support of ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, Ammon Bundy announced to the crowd that they were taking over a federal facility. When Bundy was questioned by the crowd about whether it was legal or not to do so, he asked those listening, when have laws ever stopped them before. Brother Ryan Bundy was already in place at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, along with a handful of self-aggrandizing “Patriots”, at the time of his brother’s call to action.
The armed occupation lasted 41-days beginning January 2 and resulted in the January 26 death of rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, and ultimately, the arrests of 26 participants including internet talk show host, Pete Santilli.
Santilli had traveled to Burns with his girlfriend and co-host Deb Jordan to cover the Hammond rally for The Pete Santilli Show and Talk News Network. Santilli claims he had no foreknowledge of the takeover and it appears the Feds have no evidence that he did.
Many people were shocked this week to hear that Santilli’s Oregon charges were suddenly dropped, without prejudice, just as the trial was set to begin. However, because prosecutors left the door wide open, Santilli could still face additional charges and it is clear the Judge ruling on the case isn’t interested in hearing any of his journalistic claims.
Santilli does not get to collect $200 and pass go with his get out of Oregon jail free card. Instead, he will be heading to Nevada to face more serious charges for his participation with the Bundys during their 2014 armed stand against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other law enforcement authorities near the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada.
Thomas Coan, attorney for Santilli, says Santilli will plead the Fifth if he is subpoenaed to testify in the present trial of seven of the occupiers indicted in the Oregon Standoff.
Invoking the Fifth is a privilege afforded Americans by the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights and protects individuals from being forced to incriminate themselves. However, if a defendant chooses instead to testify, they are not protected under the amendment.
Here is an image of the hand-written copy of the proposed Bill of Rights, 1789, cropped to show the text that was later ratified as the Fifth Amendment.
Pleading the Fifth would be a smart, albeit self-serving, move by Santilli in the Oregon situation, but some Bundy supporters are up in arms over it and the fact his Oregon charges were dropped. The idea that Santilli may not be testifying on behalf of his compatriots has really gotten their tinfoil panties in an uncomfortable twist.
Failing to see the logic, followers of the Bundys, and even some of Santilli’s previous haters, seemingly prefer to travel deeper down the rabbit hole, connecting invisible dots to confirm their already cemented biases and/or to save face in the glow of perceived potential embarrassment.
Now, the so-called “Patriot” movement that Santilli has wholeheartedly embraced and entrenched himself in is turning against him.
Whisperings and blatant accusations that Santilli is a Fed or some kind of informant who participated in entrapping supposed liberty loving citizens is accompanied by elbow-jabbing “Ï knew it’s” and “I told ya so’s”, posted by Bundy supporters on social media.
While no evidence is ever presented to back any of their claims, faithful followers of the Bundy Cult will still like, share, and opine prolifically as if the statements made are indeed facts to propagate.
When you make your living off of peddling conspiracies, as Santilli does, is it any surprise that others eventually create conspiracies about you?
Been There Done That
Santilli is no stranger to accusations of being a “Fed”. Former Santilli colleagues Susan Posel and Vinnie Eastwood have been making the claim for years. In an article, Posel states that on October 28, 2013, Santilli contacted the FBI Field Office in Sacramento, California for help in fear of becoming “the scapegoat” during something called “Operation Outruck”.
The following image is that of an alleged confirmation of a FAX transmittal between Santilli and the FBI posted by Posel.
Eastwood and Posel also produced The Unauthorized Biography of Pete Santilli., furthering their volatile claims.
The “Pete Santilli is a Fed” rumors have persisted since the Eastwood/Posel 2013 expose`, and are now being further fueled by the “Patriot” community.
Such accusations are common in activist groups, especially after colleagues and/or followers become offended or disgruntled. Slanderous attacks like these are geared to create division within groups and play on deep-rooted fears and paranoias that are typically found in abundance among the conspiracy crowd.
Can I Get An Amen?
Over the past eight months, we have seen a movement initially hell-bent on appearing unified, become severely splintered before our very eyes. Many individuals seem to be fixated on turning one against the other with vicious glee while praising Jesus avowedly in the name of “Liberty” … or “Justice” … or something like that.
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- A Pretrial Loss for Oregon Standoff’s Pete Santilli
- BACKGROUND MOTIVES: Bundy “Patriot” Al Hinds Convicted in ’99 for Child Rape
- Oregon Standoff’s Jason Blomgren Tried to Strangle Brother in 2010 and Possessed a Stolen Gun in 2013
- Dually Indicted Armed Standoff Defendant Blaine Cooper Says he Lied Under Oath and “Stands in Defiance ’til the End”
- Deb Jordan says Oregon Standoff Co-Defendant Jason Blomgren Will Testify for Prosecution About Explosives at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
- Is a Mental Health Plea Coming for Oregon Standoff Co-Defendant David Fry?
- Deb Jordan Says Unindicted Co-Conspirators in the Oregon Standoff Have Been Identified
- SSG Moe Says Some “Patriots” are Witness Tampering
- LIAR OF THE WEEK: Bundy Family and Supporters for “Bullet” and “Beating” Lies
- Gavin Seim and Assemblywoman Michele Fiore Claim Malheur Takeover Defendant Ryan Bundy Beaten in Jail