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In this April 18, 2014 file photo, rancher Cliven Bundy, flanked by armed supporters, speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nev. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher, File)

In this April 18, 2014 file photo, rancher Cliven Bundy, flanked by armed supporters, speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nev. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher, File)

The mainstream news media has a name for the armed American militants holing up in a federal wildlife refuge building in Oregon and demanding “return” of previously stolen land — occupiers.

They’re like the protesters who “occupied” Wall Street, except with guns and threats that blood would be shed before they left.

The “occupiers” have been afforded a respectability and analysis that protesters didn’t get when they were unarmed Black residents peacefully marching through downtown Ferguson, Mo. Nor did 12-year-old Tamir Rice receive the kind of patience and desire for “peaceful reconciliation” the militants have, when he was gunned down by police in a Cleveland park with a toy gun.

And while the FBI did showed up to take on the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, we’ve seen no broadcasts of military tanks rolling in or SWAT teams assembling. This is the case despite a Facebook message from one of the militants that read, “We have basically taken over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. And this will become a base place for patriots from all over the country to come and be housed here and to live here. And we’re planning on staying here for several years.” He told others of like mind to “bring your arms.”

Just as outrageous as the euphemistic label mainstream media has applied to the militants is the lack of in-depth and informative coverage pointing out the irony around the land’s ownership. The Paiute tribe has complained the federal government took the land from them 137 years ago.

“There was never an agreement that we were giving up this land,” Charlotte Rodrigue, the chairwoman of the Burns Paiute Tribe, was quoted as saying. “We were dragged out of here.”

Added Selema Sam, a member of the tribe’s council, “I’m like hold on a minute, if you want to get technical about it … the land belongs to the Paiute here.”

A presidential order by Ulysses S. Grant in 1876 determined that the Malhuer Reservation — now the the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and once made up of 1.7 million acres of land — was intended “for all the roving and straggling bands in Eastern and Southeastern Oregon, which can be induced to settle there.” But when ranchers and settlers kept grazing their animals on the reservation land, they drew the wrath of the Pauite Tribe, leading to war. The 500 Pauite and Bannock members who survived were promptly marched off the land, “300 miles, knee-deep in snow … shackled two by two,” according to www.democracynow.com.

The militants are no strangers to armed standoffs. Organizers Ryan Bundy and Ammon Bundy (who has himself sought federal loans) are the sons of Cliven Bundy, a man who has been fighting the federal Bureau of Land Management for decades. Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay more than $1 million in fees and fines for grazing rights, engaged in a standoff with law enforcement on his Nevada ranch in 2014.

Worth noting — grazing on the federal land costs only $1.69 per month for each cow and calf, compared to $17 on private land in Oregon. These subsidies — called “welfare” in other communities — costs taxpayers $12 billion a year, according to the Western Watersheds Project. It also cited grazing as “a leading cause of soil loss, species endangerment, invasive species infestations and predator killing.”

While the mainstream news media has hard a time calling the protesters the militant terrorists they are, Black Twitter users have not. They tagged their observations and comments with terms like #vanillaisis and #yallqaeda.

Indeed, not everyone is confused about how to view these “occupiers.” A thug is a thug, by any other name.

Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune

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