“Newsgathering is protected by the First Amendment, and that applies even if the gatherer is an advocacy organization. Any attempt to keep people from exercising their freedom of speech or press by preventing them from collecting information is going to be constitutionally suspect. It’s particularly troubling in cases where the government is trying to use its power to prevent the public from documenting what many believe to be cruel treatment of animals.”
The problem starts when our government takes an Elitists position, and assumes everything they say is correct, and the common folks are idiots, and actually require their administrative and management capabilities. Is takes little to observe their mismanaged budgets, their carefree spending, and their overwhelming lack of interest in our laws they assume are not for them, but for all of us. Above and beyond everything else, this must cease before the United States can move forward out of its economic and ethical turmoil.
Our government has got to start realizing that the legal system is just not for use by favored corporations and government agencies to hide their illegal activities; Or for them to use for lawsuits and other legal actions providing them intimidation or coercive tools. Our legal system is for the protection of the public from such abuse.
The reality is we are governed by laws in the United States, and we are a nation that demands those laws to be upheld for everyone. Many of my military brothers-in-arms have died for this exact situation! It is those same laws that apply not only to the common folks, but government employees as well.
Too often we are confronted by government employees in remote areas that turn into good-ol-boy networks, which ignore the laws. They make-up their own laws favorable to themselves; in this case networking within their good-ol-boy network, to abuse those laws, and people outside their group, that protect the public from government employees who step into the realm of illegal behavior.
“. . . As I got to the top of the hill which is flatish for about 80 feet I could see only the blades of the helicopter hovering right over where I knew my car was parked. The helicopter was very low maybe twenty to thirty feet above my car. I walked to about the middle of the top of the hill and the helicopter lifted, the pilot saw me and flew over the top of me hovering and circling about twenty to thirty feet above me. . .” states Leslie.
This lone woman on an isolated dirt road and on public land was near a horse holding site for a wild horse herd roundup and gathering inNevada. She continues, “. . . He was so close that I could see his face and he appeared very angry and continued to aggressively circle me and hover over me.”
§ 91.13 Careless or reckless operation
(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
(b) Aircraft operations other than for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft, other than for the purpose of air navigation, on any part of the surface of an airport used by aircraft for air commerce (including areas used by those aircraft for receiving or discharging persons or cargo), in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
When criminal laws are egregiously violated, the guilty parties should face appropriate punishment. Responsibility for illegal actions are taken seriously within the law, and good-ol-boy networks are not the judge, jury, or executioner, but simply random arrogance of those who should not be in public service what so ever. After all, it is the law and the public demand responsibility from those that break the law.
Leslie continues, “. . . I was beginning to get scared and so I walked to my car, the helicopter followed at a distance of about 60 feet. I got in my car and just started driving very slow at about 5 MPH figuring he would go away but he did not, the helicopter continued to follow me and hover over the top of my car very close, again at twenty to thirty feet. I looked out the window and again waved, like “I see you, what’s your problem, go away” feeling very unnerved because he was so aggressive and I was alone and out of cell service range. I grabbed my camera and got out momentarily and shot another couple of photos. I was thinking that I should document what he was doing, as it was the only protection I had, and hoped it would make him go away. At this point he turned and flew away toward the east.”
The photography is a very-telling situation, and the pilot then knew he was indeed, in this Journalist’s opinion, in violation of FAA’s § 91.13 Careless or reckless operation.
He still has his pilot’s license because of the good-ol-boy network that exists in Nevada. But make no doubt this type of networking exists in many other areas as well. By the way this private BLM contractor, Dave Cattoor, received $13,885,657 for the roundup, was responsible for several thousands of dollars for destruction of government property, the horses, due to their helicopter roundup methods. Also there is questionable use of private land, paid by tax dollars, to manage the roundup of the wild horses “out of sight” of the public (see 9th Federal Court Circuit Decision). Why?
Section 1361 protects “any property” of the United States or an agency or department thereof, or any property being manufactured or constructed for the United States or an agency or department thereof, from willful depredation or attempted depredation. “Depredation” has been characterized as the act of plundering, robbing, pillaging or laying waste. United States v. Jenkins, 554 F.2d 783, 786 (6th Cir. 1977); cf. Deal v. United States, 274U.S. 277, 283 (1927), et al. . . . (i.e. implied in government contracts as law).
We constantly see horrifying stories such as this: “HOUSTON, (Horseback Magazine) – Last winter when about 160 horses died in the bitter cold of aNevadadesert’s winter . . . climaxing when a foal, exhausted after being stampeded for miles over rocky ground, lost his hooves and perished. Animal advocates will not witness such an event this year because the horses are being held in a compound on private property leased at taxpayer’s expense but closed to the public.”
By the way the 9th District Federal Circuit Court has upheld 1st Amendment Rights within the Constitution, that essentially states the BLM and their private contractors are in violation of the 1st Amendment; whereas, advocates do have the right to observe these roundups and without boundaries. This certainly places into question the use of private land, paid for by taxpayer dollars, in order to “hide” their roundup management techniques, or lack of quantifiable correct, safe, and competent management skills. An illegal activity will not, and does not usurp an Amendment or a Law. A contract must abide by the law, an assumption within all contracts, whether written or left out of any contract.
Gene Lathrop, horse trainer and horse ranch owner for 54 years, after viewing several videos on the Internet of horse roundups using helicopters (his view the same as many other experienced ranch owners), states, “Beyond a doubt the harm that those horses take should not be happening. But that’s a management decision, obviously a bad and negligent decision to use helicopters at all. The profits must be extraordinary, for people to abuse horses like that needlessly. Those are not cowboys by the way, that would be embarrassing to the rest of us. Those people are animal abusers and should be treated as such! I agree with Ol’ Gus, a rope is too good for those people.”
What is particularly disturbing is that a look at the evidence already in the public domain (much less what investigators already know from the 1990’s thru 2010) shows that violations of several types continue, and especially of FAA Law, and is aggressively done at all BLM horse herd roundups. The purpose of prosecution not only is for punishment, but acts to deter further illegal activity and to restore public confidence in our system of governance. Our nation desperately needs both of these benefits today. Why has there been no legal action taken yet?
BLM Illegal Activity (the tip of the ice burg only)
“The chief prosecutor and grand jury foreman in the investigation wanted to bring criminal indictments against officials of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, but the case was closed down last summer after federal officials in Washington– including officials outside the investigation — intervened.”
She continues, “I believe that my investigation was obstructed all along by persons within the BLM because they did not want to be embarrassed,” the prosecutor, Mrs. Alia Ludlum, wrote in a memo last summer. “I think there is a terrible problem with the program and with government agents placing themselves above the law.”
“Babbitt thought it might cause problems and he didn’t want any controversy, he didn’t want to make anybody unhappy, and so this program just festered,” Baca said.” When they wanted me to leave BLM, that was one of the reasons they gave me: `Why the hell are you raising problems about horses?”’ stated Jim Baca, BLM Director 1994.
Under federal law, the knowing when filing of a false affidavit with the court is a felony offense of perjury, punishable by a prison term of up to five years. An individual violates laws against perjury whether he or she personally appears in court and swears to a false statement or provides the court with a false affidavit.
Individual states have their own perjury laws, which have been, in this Journalists opinion, violated as well. The above situations also suggests that individual BLM employees and private contractors may be guilty of obstruction of justice and the criminal violation of the FEDERAL FALSE CLAIMS ACT 31 USC 3729-3733, and defined here in easier terms — False Claims Act, for the filling of falsified information in regard to illegal activity, etc…
Leslie, the woman who was bullied and essentially attacked by a helicopter pilot and his equipment, had filed her complaint, which her statement above was part of that complaint, with the FAA office in Nevada. Apparently, other testimony redefined the situation, although the photographs contain the truth. This Journalist has 45+ years of photography experience, and can say without a doubt her photographs were not edited or photoshoped in any way what so ever.
One of many of the greatest moral hazards that now confront our nation is what appears to be increasingly brazen criminal activity by the BLM and their private contractors as well. With each decision not to prosecute, BLM employees and private contractors justifiably conclude that they are immune to the rules. As a result, it appears that the BLM criminal activity is increasing in frequency and severity, as opposed to the reverse.