Federal authorities are planning to cut off the power of the wildlife refuge in Oregon that has been taken over by militia, exposing the armed occupiers to sub-zero temperatures in an effort to flush them out.
Armed militants will begin their third day at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a remote federal outpost in eastern Oregon, on Tuesday, and have vowed to remain for months in protest over the treatment of two local cattle ranchers.
A federal government official told the Guardian that authorities were planning on Monday to cut the power at the refuge.
“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” said the official, who is based in Washington, DC, and has knowledge of the planned response to the militia. “And it’s flat-ass cold up there.”
The official, who asked not to be named, said they were not privy to the FBI’s plan of action. However, they said the US Park Service, which is leading the crisis management reaction to the occupation in liaison with the FBI, planned to cut the power to the building where the militiamen are spending their nights.
Any such move would mark a significant escalation in the crisis. The local sheriff, FBI and other law enforcement officials have so far held back from confronting the militia, who are heavily armed and have lookouts on a watchtower.
The militia have said they do not want a violent confrontation but made clear they are armed and prepared for the arrival of law enforcement officials. However, it appears that federal authorities were planning to use the power cut, and an attempt to starve the militia of supplies, in order to force them out.
“After they shut off the power, they’ll kill the phone service,” the government official added. “Then they’ll block all the roads so that all those guys have a long, lonely winter to think about what they’ve done.”
I love the mocking paternalistic tone of that last quote- “You kids just sit there for a while and think about what you’ve done.”
They’re already sending out smoke flares for cheetos and socks, so I think a couple weeks of no internet and heat and they’ll either slink out or go all Donner party.