Ed Gurowitz hit the nail squarely on the head when he called the FBI to account for their recent harassment of members of the American Indian Movement. For readers not familiar with Ed's column of Sept 27th, the FBI "interviewed" AIM members related to their peaceful and lawful opposition to Nevada's black bear hunt, a hunt that violates federal treaties and threatens their religious practices.
Not only did the State approve this hunt against all scientific data and public opinion, they did so on Tribal Lands, something they've tried in the past and were ruled against in the Supreme Court, at a cost to Nevada tax payers of millions in legal fees.
But Ed left out two important parts of the story:
It is not only AIM being harassed, but members of the Nevada-based grassroots organization NoBearHuntNv, including myself. Our crime? Speaking peacefully at public meetings held by the Board of Wildlife Commissioners and in accordance with State Open Meeting laws, bringing out complaints to the Governor and Attorney General, and writing letters like this one.
How did the FBI come to be involved? The Department of Wildlife called them! The same agency that told the Senate Sunset Committee early this year that non-hunters should not have a voice in wildlife management because only hunters fund the DOW, which is both bad public policy and untrue (only 26 percent of DOW's revenue comes from hunters/fishers).
The same agency that refuses to obey the Public Records Act (Nevada's version of the Freedom of Information Act), even after the Supreme Court ruled scathingly against Gov. Gibbons for pulling the same nonsense. The same agency that falsified the population figures for mule deer (according to two hunting groups), sage grouse (according to US Wildlife Services) and back bear (according to every expert report on the topic).
The same agency that approved the black bear hunt - for the first time in Nevada's history - even though nearly 90 percent of the public surveyed in every public opinion poll were against the hunt.
Are Nevada's Wildlife Board and Dept. of Wildlife out of control? Unquestionably. Should the FBI investigate the corruption, incompetence and cronyism that dominate these organizations? Absolutely.