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Monthly Archives: February 2012

BLM, Horse Slaughter, Theft and America’s Money

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a bastard agency of the Department of the Interior, spends a lot of our tax money. As a matter of fact billions of dollars every year is spent on illegal, and certainly unethical activity as well.  As Journalists we remain responsive to the public in general, and this situation with the BLM is of concern, the irresponsible behavior of a large amount of BLM employees is disturbing, and on a continuous basis; at least a couple of decades now; it is alarming.

We live in a time when the Veterans Administration is strapped for funds.  Our Veterans coming back from wars and previous warriors are essentially left without limbs, appropriate wheel chairs, or other items for their health, both physical and mental.  Our government tells us they are low on funds, and unable to support Veterans in many different instances.  Many more serious examples abound.  But when we consider the expenditure the BLM hands out, most often within a questionable or illegal context, and they continue to do so unhampered by our legal community, it is outright disgusting and on many different levels.

What is it they spend so much of our tax dollars for?  A better question is, “How does the BLM get-away with using our tax money for their often illegal schemes?  The term “friends in high places” more than explains this situation.  It is time to cut those apron strings, and start to compel those in charge that are responsible for safeguarding our tax dollars to do their job, to stop, arrest, and prosecute those involved.

Here is a short-list of things the BLM spends our tax money on:

  1. Theft of Wild Horses during BLM sponsored, and unneeded, “gathers” or “captures” with Pay-offs to BLM employees and paying for transportation to holding pins and slaughter, then paying the bill for temporary holding facilities, then paperwork to export to slaughter facilities;
  2. “Black Booking” or phony duplicate branding of horses so duplicate branded horses can disappear without a paper trail, again cannot be done unless BLM employees paid-off;
  3. Manipulation of Wild Horse Adoptions where one person holds the proxies for a group of supposedly separate adopters and the horses all end up at slaughter (millions of taxpayer dollars lost, BLM employees paid off, shippers paid with BLM vouchers or cash, and adopters make money with taxpayers dollars covering their expenses);
  4. Use of “Satellite ranches” to hold horses for days or weeks as stopping points on the way to slaughter (i.e. millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on BLM employees payoffs, shippers paid, ranchers paid);
  5. Fraudulent use of Wild Horse sanctuaries – ranches subsidized by taxpayer dollars and by the federal government to care for unadoptable Wild Horses deemed excess and removed from the range, as fronts for commercial exploitation (there is no definable criteria within “deemed excess” or being unadoptable or even a legitimate term within this context to use as policy).

Essentially when the BLM culls horses from the Wild Horse Herds, by i.e. certainly questionable roundups, and state they are bringing them in for adoption – but lie.  In reality, the agency often disposes of a huge part of a herd, often as high as 80 percent.  One of their notices to the public of horse-culling declared that the agency would dispose of about 1,000 horses out of a herd of 1,200.  Another notice declared the agency would bring in 280 animals from a herd of 330, (i.e. read any BLM publication notice of Horse Herd Roundup Statistics, but awkwardly have not been checked or confirmed by reliable sources, so who really knows the true or actual horse counts).

An interview with an informant that took part in hundreds of horse thefts and erroneous count situations stated what they do in one night: “…about 60, 70 head…Sometimes we do it during working hours…after the counts have been jimmied around, those horses are moved…drive to a certain location, open a gate and dump those horses out in with a bunch of other horses…at the satellite ranch.”

These satellite ranches cost the taxpayers millions of dollars each year, often used for stolen horses, especially stolen horses from the Wild Horse Herd Roundups, as the informant continues to describe here: “…a satellite ranch is a number of ranches throughout the different areas that we catch horses that we distribute horses too…They are paid so much money to just hold these horses . . . until we come back and pick them up again. . .”

Vouchers are often used to pay the ranchers, truckers, and dealers, and often cash as well.  Just the same they are paid very well to keep quiet as well as not do appropriate head counts.  The vouchers are altered, out of necessity, by a diverse amount of BLM employees.  As one Assistant Attorney General commented: “. . . the fundamental problem is that BLM’s approach to enforcement has been a “see no evil” escapist principle.”

And this “approach” has proven detrimental to taxpayers through out the United States, and our economy.  Billions of dollars of theft in government funds cannot continue without some type of negative aspect happening, as we standby and watch our government heading toward bankruptcy.  At the same time BLM employees, ranchers, and their lobby groups basically giving us, the American public, (as I have stated before) the finger.  Yes, they are getting very rich off of our money!

Brand Inspectors are one of many of the “checks-and-balance systems” in place that essentially do not work any longer. As an informant explains to us: “. . . Most Brand Inspectors are well known to the guys that are selling horses.  With a phone call, you can sell a damn horse sight unseen. You don’t have any problem; I mean there’s nobody there to contest it. Who’s going to say it ain’t a legitimate horse?”

Their scheme and use of the satellite ranches and horse sanctuaries to hide the “Horses for Profit” operation is profitable to all except the taxpayers, who are being ripped off by this scheme.  Make no doubt this “operation” over the years has become expansive, costing the taxpayers billions of dollars due to the years in operation, and is fully functional to this day.

Ironically, the BLM budget, currently a yearly expense of well over a billion dollars, includes this illegal activity into their budget as something of a reality — but those in the know acknowledge something quite different.  No one bothers to look, with no checks-and-balance system to keep track of the BLM’s expenditure. Again, this is the result of “Friends in High Places” situation combined with the archaic “see no evil” attitudes of many who work in the BLM.

Again we can go to another informant, who describes those involved, as: “. . . it’s very well setup, you know. There’s nobody that participates in it that isn’t well known and don’t know what’s going on.”

As mentioned in an earlier article, former Director of the BLM, Jim Baca, started an investigation into these improprieties and illegal activities.  The illegal activities, to include those mentioned above, had already been accepted for Prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

But when Jim Baca left his office as Director of the BLM things changed quickly.  The new Temp-Director reassigned BLM Investigators; suddenly the information once available was no longer available (perhaps why over the years there has been no permanent BLM Director after Jim Baca).  Although, to cover themselves, the previous Investigators kept their stock-pile of tapes, logs, interviews, videos, and other evidence.

The BLM’s illegal activities and investigation did continue a few years later, or the attempt. But it was only a ruse brought about to cool the public’s attention toward questions of illegalities, in another words taxpayer money spent illegally.  The investigations decayed quickly.  It was so bad that an Office of Inspector General analyst counseled one BLM Special Law Enforcement Agent against sending documents to the watchdog agency, and saying, “Don’t send the evidence here.  They will loose it.  This is not what they want to hear.”

A BLM Lead Special Agent had found, as he wrote in his report, “In trying to trace mortality problems at the sanctuary, his agents discovered that the books could be padded to show dead horses as still on the books with the operator collecting federal payments for the upkeep of phantom horses.”  Yet another circumstance that has the potential, when enough documents assimilated to appear the dead horses still alive, to amount in the millions of dollars spent for daily horse care.  And nobody checked!

As far back as Department of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, who stated to Jim Baca for even bringing the subject of the horses up at a Board Meeting, “The orders were: Don’t make waves, we’ve got enough problems.”  Indeed Babbitt did not want controversy, so the Wild Horse program festered and grew exponentially, government money reaped by BLM employees, contractors, and ranchers illegally for many years to follow.   Ultimately, Babbitt and other Department of the Interior Director’s wanted Jim Baca to leave, as in “why the hell are you raising problems about horses?”

Now we can take directly from a letter dated June 18, 1993 (when all of this first come to light, and still on-going to this day) with a United States Department of the Interior letterhead, Subhead Bureau of Land Management, To: Deputy Assistant Inspector General-Investigations, From: Chief, Law Enforcement and Resource Protection:

The letter basically sites what this Journalist had already written in a previous article.  But what this letter does is actually outline the specific laws broken, Criminal Felonies each, with an abundant explanation, as follows and predicated with . . . it appears that criminal violations of the following laws have occurred:

  1. 18 USC 641; Public money, property or records; whoever receives, cancels, or retains the same with intent to convert to use or gain . . .
  2. 18 USC 1512 (b); tampering with a witness, victim, or informant (Obstruction)
  3. 18 USC 371; Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraudUnited States; conspiracy to obstruct a criminal investigation . . .
  4. 16 USC 1338 (a) (1); wild horses and burros: protection, management, and control; any person who sells, directly or indirectly, a wild free-roaming horse, or burro maintained on private or leased land. . .

“The violations . . . committed by employees of the BLM, violations . . .  committed by citizens, but the violations appear to have occurred as a result of information provided to the public by an employee(s) of the BLM,” as the letter states.

The Administrative laws were also listed in the same letter, as outlined in this Journalist’s previous article.  The point to all of this is that the BLM continues to do this awkward at best, shuffling around of horses and illegal schemes for a tremendous profit to everyone involved, except the actual people footing the expenses, the general American Public, who receive $0.

It is obvious that not only the taxpayers loose in this negative-fiscal circumstance and outright theft of government money, but Veterans, families, and small businesses loose as well.  This Journalist wonders how these people involved in this can call themselves Americans!  Blatant is the fact they are not Americans at all, but an enemy to the people that would outright disrespect us all, take our tax money and run, and then attempt to hide the situations by condemning those who are sick and tired of the abuse toward horses and theft and want it fixed.

There exists victims here, because the BLM was not stopped, and then corrected legally back in the 1990’s — and why not?  Do we have such a corrupt system, and these types of things go on in every government department, that to not make waves while the nation is going broke, has been a priority for those we have been elected in office to actually protect our interests, but indeed could care less?  One begins to wonder.

There have been too many harsh circumstances in the United States to allow this to go on any further.  This must be stopped immediately.  The Wild Horse Herds remains the property of ALL AMERICANS and it is not the BLM’s right to destroy them what so ever.  If elected officials and our government legislators are involved, then may God have Mercy on Their Souls, because no one else will!

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

BLM and Mismanagement and Questionable Past/Today

“It’s pretty much a joke how the entire horse program is handled,” says Dale Tunnell, Special Agent in charge of the BLM’s division of Law Enforcement in Santa Fe. “They’ll run one herd into another management area and say it’s overpopulated. Then they’ll take a certain number of horses off the land. The cattle ranchers have a significant say on how those ranges are managed. The managers will do anything to keep those ranchers off their hind ends. The whole purpose is to remove wild horses from the public lands. If they could decimate the herds to where they could die out and become extinct, it would make the politicians and the bureaucrats extremely happy.” This still goes on today, as you read this article.

There are times when we come across something that appears extremely suspicious.  Often we simply let it pass, as our time is a valuable commodity.  Then there are times when a subject is so blatantly wrong that it is understood within our minds-of-minds that actually “Taking a Stand” becomes of importance.  So it is with the Wild Horse Herd Roundups conducted by the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM from here onward.

An Informant

BLM Agent interviews an Informant on the subject of stealing horses from the BLM Wild Horse Herd Roundups:

“. . . Agent:  Is this a pretty good organization?  This sounds like something that’s pretty well planned out, it’s a big organization.

Informant:  Well, its very well set up, you know.  There’s nobody that participates in it that isn’t well known and don’t know what’s going on.

Agent:  Do you feel like there’s people inside the BLM that know about this practice, that are a part of this practice?

Informant:  Sure.  We can’t operate unless they’re standing there. . .”1

The Burns Amendment

In an “An Interview with Former Sen. Conrad Burns,” he admits collusion with Senator Reid, Nevada.  It has been shown their motivation toward doing this Amendment to be simply an excuse, essentially based on well known but false information, which provided them an open-door situation to create a protection circumstance, to friends and other coordinators.  It did and many people who “. . . know what’s going on. . .” (from the Interview above) carried on illegal operations, horse stealing, and profiteering from Federal Lands, all America’s lands and American Government Property, and at a heavy expense.

“In the world of equine welfare there may be no person subject to derision than former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns. An ardent supporter of horses as a commodity to be sold for whatever reason their owner deems profitable, the former auctioneer lost his seat in the U.S. Senate to a farmer, Jon Tester, after passage of the Burns Amendment. The law was passed in the dead of night after it was attached to an appropriations bill nobody had read. For the first time, in an exclusive interview with Horseback Magazine, Burns tells how the revocation of the law came about.”

Burns: “Well, [Sen.] Harry Reid came to me and said, I’ve got a problem in Nevada.’ And I said “˜What kind of a problem do you have?’ Because we don’t have a problem up in Montana.”

Horseback: So what happened then?”

Burns: So he and I, up in his office, got together and we crafted that amendment because they’ve really got that problem of over grazing down there. That’s how that came about.”

Horseback: It was actually Reid’s idea, huh?

Burns: Yeah, well it was his problem, I just helped him solve it, that’s all.”

Horseback: “Well, you did a pretty good job of it.”2

It was called the Burns Amendment. Senator Burns, Montana, and Senator Reid, Nevada, wrote the Amendment the night before a (approximate 2004/2005) Budget Amendment.  The “Budget Amendment was to be signed the following morning by President Bush.  Without scrutiny or votes or discussion by Congress or the Senate, these two legislators attached this “Amendment to the 1971 Horse and Burro Act” onto this other piece of legislation.  This blatantly usurped the Democratic process; as well it is a SLAP IN THE FACE to all Americans and Veterans who sacrifice so much, as the BLM basically use the system for personal gains.  It remains in place to this day.  How can this BE?

One of the reasons Burns stated doing this, and usurping the Democratic process, was his perceptions of grazing and grasslands available to cattle.  The fact is, and always has been for years and well known to ALL, BLM, contractors, and activists alike, that the reports and research were erroneous and invalid.

“Grazing has been asserted to influence such key ecological characteristics as water quality, net primary productivity, nutrient cycling, plant and animal diversity, wildlife habitat availability, and oak regeneration (Belsky and others 1999, Kauffmann and Krueger 1984).”  Valid Grasslands Management biologists and specialists also attest, “Many reports on grazing affects either fail to establish adequate experimental controls or are inadequately documented as to the details of grazing. (Allen-Diaz and others 1999, Tate and others1999).  They are directly referencing BLM Grassland studies and terrestrial reports.  You will learn why later within this article.

Within this particular discussion we can also look at the laws, “If you file a document that you know contains false, erroneous, or fictitious information or statements, you may be subject to criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. 1001 and 43 U.S.C. 1212. The maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000.” BLM Legal Handbook.

The BLM and Cover-Up Incidents

“I had agents,” says Tunnell, “that I’d sent to Oklahoma on some wild-horse cases who had determined that there was a lot of cover-up and falsification of reports–some pretty dirty dealings. I got my first taste of how BLM handles their internal problems. They went so far as to try to smear the reputation of the agent who worked the case. They did everything they could to stop him from completing his investigation.”

Special Agent Sederwall, Tunnell, and the others got a U.S.attorney over in West Texas to call a grand jury. Jurors were sworn in. Subpoenas were issued, some to BLM officials. The officials never showed. The Justice Department just “. . . stopped pushing the case.” The grand jury expired. Says Tunnell, “In an investigation that lasted 14 months, with 15 agents involved, with 3,000 pieces of documents identifying the corruption and fraud, at no level did we ever get to a grand jury and provide evidence.”

Here it is once again, reflections of how the Burns Amendment went through Congress, with no perusal by anyone else but Burns and Senator Reid.  One can assume from all of this as well, the millions of dollars spent on investigation, by BLM Agents and the Justice Department, and only a very high ranking source could “null and void” the situation.  We can only speculate, but certainly obtain the knowledge something was crooked, and money paid to Government officials – and many of us in the media, as well as other horse people and advocates, do not think that is such a far fetched thought in regard toward any this situation what so ever.

Tunnell goes on to state, “. . . The idea that government employees who have daily interactions with cattlemen will protect the interests of the wild-horse herds is absolutely absurd. When it comes to rustling government mustangs, the greed would have made a drug lord blush, say the agents, who claim to have solid evidence, including tapes of informants saying that BLM employees were taking money.

Illegal Activities of the BLM and Private Contractors

This list has been taken from a Public Document, i.e. Summary, New Mexico Wild Horse and Burro Investigation, Case Number: RP-05-93-021-01; This Summary was an Informative Summary put together by the former Director of the BLM, Jim Baca, and meant for the eyes-only of the incoming Director of the BLM, in regard to this “Ongoing” investigation.  It is of illegal activity by BLM personnel, Private Contractors, and others unspecified, dealing with or is a BLM employee or private contractor.

Of Note: There were four Investigations ongoing at this time; Case #RP-05-93-021-01; Case #NM-960-03-93-021-023SA; Case #NM-960-03-021-020; and Case #NM-960-08-92-021-805 respectively.

The highlights of the Investigations follow;

  1. BLM Management personnel have authorized the transportation of wild horses to group adopters at the expense of the government;
  2. BLM management personnel have authorized the fee waiver and/or fee reduction of wild horses without delegated authority;
  3. BLM management failed to inspect and prepare written reports for group adopter facilities and property prior to receiving adopted wild horses;
  4. BLM personnel publicly and openly promoted the commercial us of wild horses, i.e., bucking stock and slaughter house;
  5. BLM personnel in concurrence with BLM management, entered false information regarding the wild horse documents into BLM DPS-8000 data base;
  6. BLM personnel through their government positions, arranged for special privileges and allowances pertaining to wild horse adoptions;
  7. BLM personnel and management knowingly converted to the use of another, wild horses belonging to theUnited   States;
  8. BLM personnel and management did knowingly attempt to interfere with an ongoing investigation by discussing privileged information regarding the Investigation with other BLM personnel, some of whom were subjects of the Investigation;
  9. Many, many more “lack of document” charges, especially in regard to the Wild Horse Herd Counts and the financial income and expenditures mandatory at each BLM facility, were not completed, lost, or unavailable for confirmation – in order to appropriate funding for each facility;
  10. Several more listings expressed concern toward illegal activity, and lack of following directorial and mandated training and compliance of Inspectors, Wranglers, and Field Level Administrators of the Wild Horse and Burro Program.

So how did this become a situation where the Grand Jury was virtually taken out of the entire equation here, despite the fact there were approximately 872 Felony Counts; and 1,279 combined Felony and Misdemeanor Counts, to include fraudulent paperwork, fraudulent data input into the BLM computer systems, erroneous paperwork, Employee Misconduct, money laundering, misplaced funds and much more.

Well, it gets even more interesting here, as the list will show, given by one Deputy Field Solicitor, Department of Justice:

  1. Attempts by BLM managers to learn about sealed Grand Jury information;
  2. Participation  by BLM managers in destruction of evidence;
  3. Alerting suspects concerning impending search warrants;
  4. Release of confidential informant and undercover investigator identities, actions he noted, threatened the lives of both the informant and the investigating agents;
  5. Threats of abuse and sexual innuendos, reduction-in-work-force, and other discriminatory situations happened as well, but too numerous to list here.

After all of that an Attorney, Charles Brooks in the Department of Justice, chimed in and recommended against undertaking any prosecution, because, he concluded, “the Wild Horse and Burro Program was so tainted that it would be unfair to single anyone out for prosecution.”

The fact is — this is all public information.  This is part of the checks and balance system of our Government system, without which theft and other illegal activities, ripping off taxpayer dollars at will, can simply run-amok and cost taxpayers in the billions of dollars each year, as it does now because this system is not working.  The BLM continues to remain totally out of control, with no checks-and-balance system in place.  This government agency is a mess, and no one is doing anything about it, at the expense of our Wild Horse Herds, with the Slaughter propaganda simply being a rouse, or something to take our attention away from the real problem, the BLM itself.  Frankly, these Wild Horse Herds do not, and never did need to be rounded up and taken off of BLM (America’s) Lands – the information to do so remains false even to this day.

The problem toward resolution is actually getting our justice portion of our Government to act accordingly.  Taxpayers have already paid for a thorough investigation, the BLM’s own information shows both negligence and illegal activity, and the Internet is beyond flooded with Wild Horse Herd Abuses at just about every horse herd roundup that has taken place. Nothing was done, the taxpayer once again gets $0 from the BLM, in the mean time, BLM administrators, they stand their giving the taxpayers the finger.

It is also obvious to those of us that handle horses almost daily, that unqualified people are being hired to do the roundups, and being paid large amounts of taxpayer money to do little to nothing except steal the horses for profit.  Our Government needs to act, rid our financial system of this untrustworthy, dishonest, and certainly spend-freely Government agency.  It no longer has a useful purpose, other than illegal activities and mismanaged lands for personal profits, and that is about all.

For the entire informative packet and interview see Horses Led To Slaughter, Anatomy of a Cover Up in the Wild Horse and Burro Program, PEER White Paper, Number 14, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Washington D.C. 20009-1125, http://www.peer.org/pubs/whitepapers/1997_horses_to_slaughter.pdf , 1997.

An Interview with Former Sen. Conrad Burns, http://www.animallawcoalition.com/wild-horses-and-burros/article/1052, Posted Sep 17, 2009.

Former BLM Employee Pleads Guilty to Public Corruption Charges Sophisticated Contract Manipulation Scheme Defrauds BLM of Over $400,000, http://www.fbi.gov/portland/press-releases/2010/pd041610.htm

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Uncategorized