Article by John Cox, Cascades
“And not only the pride of intellect, but the stupidity of intellect. And, above all, the dishonesty, yes, the dishonesty of intellect. Yes, indeed, the dishonesty and trickery of intellect.”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Make no doubt the theft and stealing Wild Horses, then taking to slaughter, is an illegal criminal industry, and alive and well right here in the United States. The problem here is not only its illegality, but the fact taxpayers support this criminality, i.e. unknowingly. Many aspects of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) management of Wild Horses on Public Lands are illegal. It abounds in misconduct and criminal behavior of not only government employees, but private contractors as well.
We’re just now scratching the surface of this ongoing activity, for several decades now, and find it enormous in scale, and well organized from within a government agency.
We also find, as mentioned in Part I of this series of articles, when the criminal undercover investigation in 1991 started to issue federal felony arrest warrants, more than 1900 (i.e. to both BLM employees and private contractors) were to be issued but – called-off the night before the issuance. These same people – BLM employees and some private government contractors combined, still work for the BLM as well as acquire government contracts from the BLM and DOI – even though ethics policies and laws in place to prevent these types of situations, are simply ignored.
Keep in mind, first: the undercover investigation cost taxpayers $2 million+ tax dollars; second: the federal arrest warrants were not issued, not because of innocence, but due to the fear BLM would have a minimal work-force and incapable of operating as a government agency; thirdly, the Justice Department assumed the lengthy court process to be extensive, and would clog the courts for years to come . . . so rather than include an option to phase-out these criminal employees’, they were left to continue their criminal operations, using taxpayer money, and deriving large profits over the next two decades. Oversight become non-existent toward this government agency.
We have currently counted 58 BLM employees who were listed to receive a federal felony arrest warrant, and remain not only working for the BLM but serve as either administrative or management personnel, and many in charge of consulting with private contractors and in the matter of Wild Horse Herd management capacities. Two of which remain on the Wild Horse and Burro Board, which is certainly a questionable situation, as well as disrespectful toward taxpayers and the American citizen.
Rather than write about it, we continue the Interview from the undercover work of a Federal Agent. This interview takes place between a BLM Special Agent, and a BLM contractor and informant. The Special Agent and his material was then rejected by BLM Officials as being contrary to their ongoing policy, and then covered up.
The Special Agent, one of many within the Undercover Operation conducted by BLM and Justice Department oversight from the 1991 investigation, threatened within several disciplinary functions, administered by other BLM authorities as well as their legal department. Essentially, the interview transcript, thought to be the only copy, was destroyed by BLM legal department Attorneys. The Special Agent did keep a copy for himself. This is a patchwork of pertinent items taken from the actual interview.
Here is part of one Interview from the Undercover Investigation, and make no doubt the BLM is still operating as such today:
Agent: Let’s say you run 65 head in down here. You’ve got the BLM guy up on the mesa somewhere and he is watching with binoculars, you go and tell him there’s 50 head. Is that the way it works?
Agent: When in fact there is 65? What happens to the other 15 head?
Informant: The horses will be taken down to load out. Fifty head will be left there. The excess horses will be transported immediately out of there.
***Satellite Ranches (Journalist note: Paid for by taxpayer money and under false pretense, fraud)
Agent: What do you do with them then?
Informant: They’ll go to satellite ranches around the country.
This is an industry, Wild Horse Roundups and Horse Slaughter combined, and that makes money in abundance, most often from using taxpayer money. The BLM, the government agency responsible for Administering and Oversight, does not perform either function in a legal or responsible manner.
We can use here what was learned in Murderer’s Creek, Oregon Bait and Trap method of combined BLM/Forestry Roundups:
We discovered through perusal of FOIA BLM Inventory Sheets, 29 Wild Horses captured at Murderer’s Creek, inventoried as being loaded at the Trap Sight; although, eventually marked as DEAD. These 29 Wild Horses disappeared somewhere between Murderer’s Creek and shipment to the BLM corral and temporary storage facility in Burns, Oregon.
We spoke with both the Supervisor / Head Wrangler at Burns as well as being the person in charge of inventory at Murderer’s Creek since it was a BLM operation but the Forestry was conducting the roundup. He states clearly there were not 29 Wild Horses brought to the Burns, Oregon corrals, and insisted he did not know anything about this situation.
More troubling with this situation is the fact he was supposed to be On-Location whenever Wild Horses loaded into trailers for shipment to the Burns Corrals. This was a Forestry/BLM Trap and Bait Roundup, and there was a Forestry supervisor on location monitoring the trapping and loading of the Wild Horses. The Wild Horses were documented as being loaded, via inventory – receipts given, and payment given to the Private Contractor, which amounted to $1,000 per horse = $29,000 (i.e. taxpayer money lost to criminal behavior and conduct?) . . .
This is only a smaller example of what is ongoing in Nevada, Wyoming, Utah and other States where the BLM conduct Wild Horse Herd Rounds — and at Taxpayer Expense within the millions of dollars per roundup — which amounts to taxpayers covering the cost of roundups, storage, and transport for what is termed a Kill-Buyer, a person that has a truck and trailer to haul Wild Horses to Slaughter, either in Canada or Mexico, whoever has the best price for meat at the time. These are America’s Icons, the Wild Horses, and representative of America — and these people, BLM, Welfare Ranchers, and Kill-Buyers alike are spitting on and disrespecting every American by taking Our Wild Horses to Slaughter —
Keep in mind if this was legal, ethical, or morally correct, our government would be justifying these costs openly, rather than covering them up and consistently hiding them as they currently do so.
So once again we go to the Interview of an actual and admitted participant within the actual operation of how it all works, and placed together within an organized context (continued from Interview above):
Agent: Explain to me, satellite ranch.
Informant: Well, a satellite ranch is a number of ranches’ throughout the different areas that we catch horses that we distribute horses to, and it’s just holding pins. They are paid so much money to just hold these horses for a certain time period until we come and pick them up again. Depending on what we want done with them, or where those horses are going, some of the horses may be hot-branded with different distributors’ brands, or the horses will just be transported as slick.
Agent: Slick, no brand at all?
Informant: No brand at all.
Agent: Where would they go, the slick?
Informant: Well, they’ll – most of them will go to a distributor somewhere and in a time period be hot-branded, or some of them may just be distributed out as slicks, and let the general public . . . Some of them, if they’re decent stock, will go to regular cattle ranches. Most of them, over a time period, will go to killers, you know. They’ll be sold to somebody and they’ll find out, well, this son-of-a-bitch ain’t worth a shit, so they go down the road.
Agent: What was the largest amount stolen – horses you saw stolen from the BLM at one time or another?
Informant: Around 60, 70 head.
Agent: How much would a contractor (***i.e. Journalist note: Contracted with the BLM) get for these 60, 70 head of horses?
Informant: Oh, he’ll get anywhere from $300 to $500 a horse (***1997 price – not that much lower today), depending on their size and what the horse looks like. If he’s a well-built horse, he’s going to get more. If he’s a scrawny old nag, he ain’t going to get as much.
Agent: Have you ever personally drove any of those horses to a satellite ranch?
Informant: More than once.
Agent: How does that work? You don’t do it during working hours; how does it work?
Informant: It depends. Sometimes we do it during working hours, you know. If they’re paid to be gone, that’s when we go. Most of the time its been at night, you know, after the counts been jimmied around, those horses are moved. And you strictly drove down there to a certain location, open a gate and dump those horses out in a bunch of other horses.
Agent: At the satellite ranch?
Informant: At the satellite ranch.
Agent: The BLM guy . . . take them to the satellite ranch, and then be back by the next morning –
Informant: Yes, sir.
Agent: Business as usual?
Informant: Business as usual. . .
Agent: Do you think the BLM is aware of what’s going on with this thing, with the jimmy and the count?
Informant: I know some of them are.
Agent: Some on the inside – like the people that are supposed to be watching you guys, or the gather crew knows about it, you think?
Informant: Sure. Some of those guys are truck drivers, and they inform as to different guys that want horses. They supply names and addresses and stuff, and they receive a small percentage of the sale price for that information.
(***Journalists note: any time money is expressed as changing hands, that precisely, or eventually, comes out of the taxpayers pockets – conducive toward Fraud is understood, thereby the criminal behavior, as well as theft)
Agent: So they’re Brokers, actually? They’ll give the contractors names to take stolen horses to?
Agent: You told me that you observed the contractor pay the BLM agent with a check – a check for him. Is that correct?
Informant: Well, we just removed the horses when they was gone. He was to be gone for a certain amount of time. When he was gone, we loaded up and those horses were gone.
Agent: Do you think this is – is this a big money deal?
Informant: We’re well paid.
Agent: I’m talking about for the contractor. Is there a lot of money in this for the contractor?
Informant: He’s making a lot of money.
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.
[***We skip over Black-Booking and other illegal activities and bogus counts for a later article]
Agent: Tell me about the mind-set of the cowboy. How does this work in your guy’s mind? I mean, do you feel like it’s stealing? Do you feel like the BLM condones it, or what?
Journalists note: This will demonstrate there is not only abuse toward horses, but also the mind-set or intellectual level of the people who have been manipulated and chosen to carry-out the actual theft. The mind set and behavior toward abusive circumstances that are indeed involved here, and the cowboys involved, have been taken advantage of in several different psychological circumstances. Leadership from officials, or ranch owners toward their hired help, is definitely a prominent and obvious factor within this entire subject. In another words, those that know better, but are willing to sacrifice ethics and even break the law for money, within their organized efforts to rip off the taxpayer, has been allowed up to this point by many authorities.)
Informant: Well, it’s not actually stealing in our way of looking at it. It’s just a way of life, you know. It’s been a common practice for numbers and numbers of years, you know. There’s never been any paperwork ever required. If we wanted to trade horses, move horses, you know, it’s just a way of life, you know. . . You’ve got ranchers out there that are paying the permit fees on grazing, and then they have a bunch of wild horses move in, you know, they’re loosing money because they are paying for that grass. These wild horses come in and are eating up their grass, so they’re pissed off. It’s our job to disburse those horses, you know, so we do our best to get rid of as many as we can. I don’t really consider it stealing.
*** An HMA, or designated Horse Management Area, the area discussed here, serves as the legal and legislative aspect that Wild Horses are the priority. The ranchers leasing an abundant amount of land, in this case, has never had an under abundance of grass for grazing their stock, which is secondary anyway, on an HMA land and according to Law. There are simply not enough Wild Horses to overgraze the amount of land in discussion here. Then we go to the fact that Sales Receipts, from what we term Welfare Ranchers’, and their cattle that graze on America’s Public Lands, (GAO Report and DOI Report) less than 1% of overall sales of beef comes from Public Lands grazing-permit beef sales domestically in both 2012 and 2013; yet, this is at a taxpayer cost of $450 million dollars for BLM to just administer the Grazing Permit program yearly, and then subsidies in the minimal amount of $2.9 billion of taxpayer money –
Reference for Interview used within this article:
1997 April, Horses to Slaughter, Anatomy of a Cover-up within the Wild Horse and Burro Program of the Bureau of Land Management, PEER White Paper Number 14.