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In-Depth Interview: Todd Macfarlane Talks About the End of Oregon Standoff, and the Big Picture of Ranchers’ Battles With Government

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Attorney, rancher and activist Todd Mcfarlane provides details of the final days of the standoff in Oregon, and explains some of the history of western ranchers vs. government disputes over grazing rights on public lands.In the first part of this in-depth interview, Macfarlane offers information on the final days of the 41-day occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon.  He relates accounts of eyewitnesses to the January 26th roadblock incident that left LaVoy Finicum dead: Shawna Cox and Victoria Sharp were both passengers in Finicum’s truck, and offer consistent accounts of the confrontation.

We talk about possible provocateurs inserted by the FBI, including Pete Santilli and Mark McConnell, and how McConnell insisted on driving Ammon Bundy on the 26.  It’s curious that only McConnell and Sharp were released without charge. Mcfarlane comments on David Fry, the last holdout who was described by the NY Times as a ranting conspiracy nut, and on the arrest of Cliven Bundy while visiting his jailed son in Portland on charges stemming from the Nevada showdown in 2014.

In the second part of the interview, Mcfarlane explains the history of western ranchers, going back to the Homestead Act, and some of the complicated legal issues related to grazing rights and fees.  He details why he advocates that ranchers “withdraw consent to be governed” by the Bureau of Land Management and pay fees into escrow accounts until the conflict is resolved.

We refer to an interesting report on the standoff by a Montana rancher named Hal Herring, here.  The article in the Daily Astorian about the 2 sheriffs is here.