The controversial prosecution of two rural ranchers for setting fire to public land has attracted militiamen to remote Harney County. The two ranchers are rejecting any idea they will ignore a court order to report to federal prison, but the militia plan a rally and parade on their behalf.
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BURNS – The strangers carrying the whisper of danger arrived in the vast territory of the Harney Basin just before the holidays.
Ammon Bundy once helped his father repulse the government in an armed showdown on a Nevada desert. He was Tasered for his effort.
Ryan Payne, an electrician from Montana, joined that same standoff and boasted of organizing civilians into sniper squads that drew a bead on federal agents.
And not long ago, Jon Ritzheimer worried the FBI with his threatening rants against Muslims in Arizona and elsewhere.
Now, the men say, they are in Burns to help Dwight and Steven Hammond.
The Hammonds are father and son ranchers, due to report to federal prison on Monday. They were convicted in 2012 of arson for lighting public land on fire adjacent to their ranch land south of Burns. They have been imprisoned once and must return for an additional term after federal appellate judges said they had been illegally sentenced the first time………
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