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By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
April 20, 2015

Josephine County, Oregon. Chapter of the renowned conservative organization Oath Keepers is joining a number of militia groups in facing another federal government attempt to violate the civil rights of gold miners who are lawfully working their claims while providing employment to other citizens, according to reports emanating from what's being called the frontline of the latest Obama power grab. See angry Federal Agents in action in Nevada below.

For the past several years, the miners from the Galice Mining District, located near Grants Pass, Oregon, have been arguing with officials from the federal government over mineral rights in Galice Creek. The Galice Mining District is compiled of a number of lawful claims, claim owners and authorized miners. It has been operating since the early 1870’s by rugged Americans who boast of their mines being one of the nation’s longest running operations in the US. They have also pointed out that their mining operation existed long before Washington bureaucrats created the repressive Bureau of Land Management.

Oath Keeper’s Josephine County Coordinator Joseph Rice in a statement to on Wednesday cautioned that “[t]his is not a standoff with BLM. We are not promoting any confrontation with BLM. This is a security operation for the protection of Constitutional Rights.” He also said his organization isn’t seeking agitators. “If you have a different agenda outside of the above peaceful mission statement, we don’t need your assistance. Please don't make any type of threatening phone calls to the local BLM or USFS as it undermines our mission, professionalism and is unwarranted.

Miners have found upwards of 10 million ounces of gold since mining began in the 1870’s, and independent geologists claim that only 10 percent of the gold in that area has been removed, which makes this a highly desirable location.

Not surprising is the fact that BLM bureaucrats have tried a number of times to disband the mining operation through trumped-up and unsubstantiated allegations of violations. Former Constitutional Sheriff Gil Gilbertson kept the BLM out of the county for his 8 year tenure (2007 to 2014) on constitutional grounds.

The Galice miners out of their own pockets paid lawyers tens of thousands of dollars to date in their battle against the BLM in the court system and arbitration. Attorneys representing miners have made many requests for BLM to produce the official rulings that show they are in violation, but their requests were ignored.

The BLM claims that the mine itself has no rights to exist in the area and that miners’ structures and equipment must be removed. The BLM also claims it has the authority to order the mining operation be halted and the tunnels should be filled to prevent access.

Last week, with the new Sheriff Dave Daniel (sworn in January 5, 2015 by Judge Lindy Baker) in office, BLM officials needed to be accompanied by one of Daniel's deputy's to serve a “cease and desist order” to the district officials despite no legal rulings by civil court. In fact, the civil court case is not even on the docket until possibly late 2015. The cease and desist order to the miners goes into effect on April 25, 2015. The BLM officials have threatened to burn the buildings down if they are not voluntarily removed by the date.

In a letter to the Josephine County Sheriff, Dave Daniel, Oath Keeper's officials said point blank, "No elected or appointed officials of Josephine County shall pass or enforce any law, ordinance, resolution, administrative rule, or statute that denies or erodes any of the provisions of this Charter Amendment."

The letter goes on to say, "Where any current law, ordinance, resolution, administrative rule, or statute within or outside of Josephine County may be interpreted to deny or erode any of the provisions of this Charter Amendment, that interpretation is void and is not to be enforced within Josephine County by any individual, group, or federal, state, or local governmental body or agency."

While the letter covers a number of issues, it originally covered the threat of the senate's bill titled Oregon Firearms Safety Act (SB 941), which expands background checks to the private transfer of firearms.

The owners of the Sugar Pine have stated that they will fully disobey the order as they claim that it is illegal and invalid. A call for assistance to the Oath Keeper’s and other State Militia groups has been made and there is no intention to leave the area by the deadline.

"This brewing hostility is so great that one would think that it is either intentional or simply that BLM, in their arrogance, have no interest in getting along with the locals. Since we have Mr. [Jay] Perez, BLM’s State Director, as a recipient of this e-mail, let me make the following items crystal clear: Mr. Perez has the power for his agency to keep the peace in this county and to protect his agency’s future," according to the Recorder for the Galice Mining District, Kirby Jackson. [Link]

"During a long-term crisis, it is those who are willing to work together that will have the best chance of making it. Whether it is your family, your friends, a church or a local group of people that you know, make sure that you have some people that you can rely on and work together with in the event that everything hits the fan. Loners are going to have a really hard time of surviving for long," said Oath Keepers Public Information Officer Mary Emerick.

This issue has far reaching implications. The outcome from this issue and the court ruling to come will affect all of America. The issue at hand is not just about the Galice Miners and the gold in the ground, but more about what the government says you can do with the ground under the control of miners.

These miners have the rights to the minerals in the ground and the government wants that changed. What comes next could affect every American. What if your backyard has a specific mineral that the government values. The BLM using any means necessary, can come in and tell you that you cannot grow your broccoli on your land because it absorbs this “special” mineral?

The bigger picture would affect farmers. What if gold, oil, or something like uranium was found under a farmer’s corn crop. Does the government have the right to those minerals and have the ability to override your use of your own land? This issue will have the ability dictate the future use of our public and private lands.

Meanwhile, Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel’s office released a statement regarding the incident:

“[Sheriff Daniel] in an attempt to mediate this conflict has contacted and met with the Coordinator of the Oath Keepers and the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Land Management out of Eugene. This was done to ensure the claim owner’s right to due process and avoid confrontation in the region.

“The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office wishes to express its intention to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Oregon to ensure the rights of all persons within Josephine County,” said the statement.

Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel told that unbeknownst to him, "a BLM ranger asked a sheriff's deputy to accompany him to serve the notice of non-compliance and forms to file an appeal on a claim holder." Sheriff Daniel reportedly has been attempting to mediate the dispute between the two parties and said he would step in if the tensions escalated.

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According to their mission statement, “Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters who will fulfill the Oath we swore, with the support of likeminded citizens who take an Oath to stand with us, to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.

“Our Oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians and not to any political party. In the long-standing tradition of the U.S. military, we are apolitical. We don't care if unlawful orders come from a Democrat or Republican, or if the violation is bi-partisan. We will not obey unconstitutional (and thus unlawful) and immoral orders, such as orders to disarm the American people or to place them under martial law. We won't ‘just follow orders.’”

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Not surprising is the fact that BLM bureaucrats have tried a number of times to disband the mining operation through trumped-up and unsubstantiated allegations of violations. Former Constitutional Sheriff Gil Gilbertson kept the BLM out of the county for his 8 year tenure (2007 to 2014) on constitutional grounds.