Burns Chronicles No 7
What is Brandon Curtiss?
Outpost of Freedom
February 15, 2016
I received a phone call from Ryan Payne, shortly after the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was entered by nine people, and restored to ‘open to the public’. Ryan indicated that there was a need for others to come join them, as they were concerned for the safety of such a small crew.
Now, many will question why they might be concerned for their safety, however, we need only consider the last few weeks to understand, as many patriots do, that the federal government tends to solve problems with bloodshed, unless all parties come out with their hands up, and submit to arrest whether there is a real crime, or not.
With the understanding that those who might enter the Refuge, since renamed Harney County Resource Center (HCRC), might find that the government would want to arrest them, it was felt by the Operation Mutual Defense Advisory Board (OMD-AB) that a caveat regarding that possibility be included in a call out.
Upon being advised, through other sources, that Brandon Curtiss, Idaho III%, had secured a 40-acre parcel for visitors to camp on, this seemed to be the solution to an alternate location for those who might otherwise not show up because of the caveat.
However, one of those inside of the HCRC expressed his concern that Brandon (“Brandon” will be used as a collective name for Idaho III% and Pacific Patriot Network (PPN), and the individual, as appropriate to the context), had stated that he was there, along with his following, to assure that there would not be another Waco, and suggested that “he would probably drop his gun and run, should things change for the worse”. It was with this in mind that I sought to contact Brandon, on behalf of OMD, and managed to do so through Pete Santilli, on January 10.
When I told Pete that I was trying to reach Brandon, he said, “just a minute”, and he handed his phone to Brandon. Brandon was cordial in the first part of the discussion, though he was rather assertive. “Any militia that come to Burns are under my command”, he said. That sounded like a sort of militia martial law, and Brandon, with 8 or 9 years of law enforcement experience, but no military experience, has taken command. But, then, I knew this was the “prime directive” when I called for Brandon. He also claimed to have secured forty acres for camping purpose, directly across from the Refuge, though I found out later that it was directly across from the Narrows, about six miles from the Refuge. Perhaps he “secured” it, or perhaps it was a fantasy, as he did not even know where it was.
I had been directed by the OMD-AB to ascertain whether, if Brandon decided to order everyone to go home, would he release those who came under the OMD banner? For him to understand what this question was being posed, seeking a solution, I prefaced it with the “drop guns” concern.
Can I say that I was surprised when he “dropped the phone and ran”? Well, I wasn’t as surprised as I might have been, since the first few minutes on the phone, I was mostly listening, while Brandon appeared to want to both ask and answer his question as well as the reason for my call.
Pete, endeavoring to get patriots to work together, reestablished communications by having Brandon call me. This time, however, it sounded as if we were on speakerphone, and additional parties were present, including Eric Parker and Brooke Agresta.
I tried to explain that I am old school, and when you seek a solution, you must understand the problem. I don’t believe that they ever fully digested that thought, as they spent quite a few minutes berating me, telling me what I said, which is not what I said, since I didn’t have the opportunity, and finally concluded with Brooke telling me that she would destroy me in the patriot community if I didn’t do something (I don’t recall what) in the next three minutes, as she spoke for the next two minutes and then hung the phone up.
Well, that discussion didn’t go to well, so I had to find an alternative for those who didn’t want to risk the possible consequences of staying inside of the HCRC. That, however, would have to be put off to another day.
That was my first ‘introduction’ to Brandon Curtiss, though his name had come up earlier. In a report given by Ryan Payne to an OMD-AB special meeting, November 19, nearly two months before the above incident, Ryan Payne explained some circumstances surrounding the meetings held with both the Hammonds and Sheriff Ward. The report, though second hand, bears out what subsequent events tend to substantiate. The pertinent part of the report can be heard in this 12: 30 – clip, Ryan Payne speaking.
The foundation for subsequent activities by PPN, Idaho III%, and to some degree, OathKeepers, is clearly established.
My next dealing with Brandon Curtiss occurred on January 28, two days after the murder of LaVoy Finicum. Due to the arrests made during the Ambush, I no longer had access to people and information that were necessary to what I intended to write. Though my room was booked for another night, I had decided to return home where I am accustomed to writing. So, I began loading my truck for the return journey.
The evening before, I had written a call out (explained in Stand Up; Stand Down). In that call out, I had recognized the necessity of an immediate response, and that response would have to come from the Harney County area, to be effective. What it said in part, was:
“Attention all Oathkeepers, Idaho Three Percenters, Pacific Patriots Network, especially Brandon Curtiss, Joe Rice, Eric Parker, and Stewart Rhodes.
. . .
You have an obligation to proceed to the Harney County Resource Center (the wildlife refuge), immediately, in order to protect the patriots still there. If you fail to arrive, you will demonstrate by your own actions that your previous statements to defend life, liberty, and property were false.
As I was carrying some things to the truck, a man walked up to me. I recognized him as Curtiss, and I noticed that there were 4 other men with him, all in their twenties or thirties, and 3 of them quite husky. Brandon introduced himself, and as is my habit, I extended my hand. He replied that he would not shake my hand and then accused me of calling him a coward. Now, the circumstances didn’t warrant, in most cases, my attention to exact words, however, my reply was something along the lines that I did not call him a coward, only his action, or lack thereof, would make that determination.
One of the, let me call them, “goons”, was taking video with his phone, so there exists a record of these dealings. So, if I am in error, let them come forward with the entire video.
As I continued to go to the room and return to the truck to load it, Eric Parker challenged me, as well. They tried to block my passage, and I had to walk around them. At one point, I was putting things in the back seat (4-door) and when I turned around, Curtiss had blocked as much of the area between the door and bed of the truck as he could block. There is no doubt that he wanted me to “push” my way through, and then claim that I had assaulted him. However, I turned sideways and managed to slide out and go about my business.
During the course of my coming and going from the room, I called the manager and asked him to call the cops; that I was being threatened and harassed. It might seem ironic to some that I ended up calling the cops on someone who spent 8 or 9 years as a cop, but why not give him a taste of his own medicine?
While the harassment continued, and threats were being made, I heard a voice from behind me saying, “Leave him alone!” One of the beefier goons went up and faced this rather short, wiry guy. When I glanced back over that way, a few seconds later, the goon had decided not to take on the little guy.
The manager walked by and told me that he had finally gotten through to the police. Just a minute or so later, Brandon offered me his hand. I told him that he had his chance, and chose not to take it. At about the same time, the little guy said, quite loudly, “Don’t do it”, meaning don’t shake his hand. I was really beginning to like this guy.
When I had the truck nearly loaded, I went over to see who this supporter was. I asked him if I knew him. He simply replied, “Wolf”. He explained that he was a friend of KC Massey, and it struck me that I had interviewed him when I did the story of the shooting by the BPS agent. I couldn’t recall, at that time what his real name was, and now that I do, I think I’ll just leave it at “Wolf”.
He told me that he had been asked to go to Burns to protect me, though he refused to say who gave him those instructions. So, that will remain a mystery to both the reader, and me but it was nice to know that someone, besides my family, was concerned for my safety.
While still talking with Wolf, the police finally arrived. I explained what had occurred to the officer. In the meantime, another patriot that I had met the night before had been watching from the second floor balcony, and he came down and joined us. Both he and Wolf confirmed what I told the cop.
Meanwhile, other cops were interrogating Brandon and the goons, so that head cop, the one that I had spoken to, went over to put the pieces together. Soon, he returned and said, “Everything has been taken care of. You have nothing to worry about. If there is a problem, call us and we well be here, right away.” I thanked him and wished him a good day.
Meanwhile, the second floor patriot was joined by his girlfriend. I offered to take all to breakfast, but Wolf decided it would be his treat. We went to a local truck stop and had a great breakfast, and a wonderful conversation between real patriots.
Interestingly, my dealings with Brandon Curtiss were not over. On February 4, just after 11:00 AM, I received a Facebook PM from him. It started out, “All bullshit aside with our differences, I am not planning on storming any barricades. That would be insane. This is getting spun up and out of control.”
This led to a rather extended PM exchange, and a phone call (identified in the PM), that led to what I thought would be a resolution of our differences and beginning to work together. It had to do with a conversation that I had earlier with someone who contacted me as he was traveling to Oregon.
The post in question, which will also appear in the PMs, states that PPN “will march through the barricades and through the FBI.” This information was passed on as unconfirmed, but would be necessary for the person to get to the Narrows and be prepared to bring those who were not affiliated with PPN to join them, if it were true.
My team continued to track the source of that information in an effort to confirm, or deny, the “information”. It had become quite apparent that many absurd stories had been circulating, by that time.