Whistling for the Jaguar

The un-redacted story of the jaguar, Macho B's snaring and death.

Archive for the tag “USFWS”

New legal ruling regarding Macho B investigation file

Last week I was sent this link

Judge Jorgensen, a federal judge in the District of Arizona for the U.S., has granted federal officials the right to privacy even if they were investigated and recommended for prosecution in a federal case and remain employed by the taxpayers of the U.S.!

Five Years

Because of Macho B we have the knowledge of what jaguar “conservation” truly means in Arizona and thus, the U.S.   Because of him,

CDY_0004

We can protect him,

Jaguar 2012-10-25

It is past time to get AZGFD out of endangered carnivore “conservation.” It is time to shatter the incestuous world of wildlife conservation in Arizona. It is way past time to hold AZGFD and USFWS accountable for all they have not done to protect jaguars and other species (mainly carnivores) and all they did to contribute to Macho B’s snaring and death. If you have an idea on how to accomplish these goals please contact me (whistlingforthejaguar@yahoo.com) or please contact whomever to get the ball rolling. If you have information on how these agencies failed to protect any species and/or may have been complicit in their injury or death please speak out; either here or somewhere. It is time to act. Will you join me?

Say what?!

I received an email from Ron Thompson recently and have embedded it below in this post.  Thompson was McCain’s supervisor/confidante/mentor on the AZGFD lion and bear snaring project and is currently employed on the tax payer funded University of Arizona jaguar study.

His message was just too bizarre so I had to share it.

Ms. Janay,

After just now reading your blog I see you are as biased as Dennis Wagner or any reporter was in the McCain jaguar debacle, of which you were one of two key figures. Your constant use of “according to McCain” in reference to my involvement should alone alert your intelligence to be suspect of any one’s involvement when referred to by McCain verbally. Yet you constantly repeat his false testimony as the truth when blogging about others, especially me. Even the unknowingly can see the blame switch by McCain to persons who had no evidentiary record of conspiracy with evil McCain except that McCain said this or McCain said that. Yes, I initially supported McCain, that was my job as the contracts administrator for AZGFD lion and bear captures – until McCain told me that you were going to tell the press a “lie” about his use of scat. Imagine that, McCain telling me that YOU were a liar and not him. That was when I became suspicious without even so much as hearing your name prior. So because your blog has violated my legal right to not be defamed by your written and published word, I have decided to include you in a suit that I am preparing against the USFWS law enforcement agents who conducted the shoddy investigation, including one that I supervised until he quit Game and Fish for reasons I am familiar with. As McCain’s past “perceived supervisor”, as you and only you quoted,  I apologize now for reopening this event and if you want to reread your blog and then redact every “McCain said” you might have a clearer picture that only one person schemed to make it happen………….. who then, as YOUR “perceived supervisor”, McCain included you when he told you to place scat at a snare. I guess that made me YOUR supervisor at a higher level.
Ron Thompson

Wrapping up

Though I have seen the whole, un-redacted investigation file of Macho B’s case, legally I could only report on this blog what was included in my redacted Freedom of Information Act request. I had requested the whole investigation file and I received pretty much all of it. This blog is by no means the entire story and I am doubtful the full version will ever be known. Close to 98% of what is on this blog I discovered as a defendant in this case preparing for trial.

Just this past December I learned through the AZ Republic’s series on Macho B about a document that originated with USFWS “Jaguar Lead,” Erin Fernandez and was re-drafted by AZGFD’s Endangered Species Coordinator, Terry Johnson just 16 days before Macho B was captured. This document was a “draft” shared between USFWS and AZGFD that outlined a financial plan to capture and collar a jaguar with Macho B cited as the likely candidate. The “draft” was completed in time for a March 2009 deadline to submit proposals to the Department of Homeland Security for a chance at acquiring part of the $50 million mitigation funding or “pot of gold” as many AZGFD officials referred to it. This document was never turned over or talked about to the USFWS Special Agents in charge of the Macho B investigation and therefore, neither my attorney or I knew it existed. I believe this document could have been beneficial in a Motion to Dismiss that was submitted by my attorney so I am currently looking into any legal recourse I may have for AZGFD and USFWS suppressing evidence in a federal criminal investigation. And because of this suppressed document I seriously have to question how many other documents were suppressed and what else did the USFWS Special Agents fail to discover and investigate.

Currently, Emil McCain is claiming victimhood in the Macho B case while at the same time admitting to whoring out the truth and federal laws in exchange for being wined and dined and promised future employment by former AZGFD biologist and current University of Arizona jaguar researcher, Ron Thompson (see AZ Republic series, parts 1-3 under blogroll). When McCain directed me to place jaguar scat at the BJDP cameras and near the AZGFD snare on February 4, 2009 I believed he was a legit researcher whom had permission from AZGFD, USFWS, & BJDP to attempt to capture and collar Macho B. After Macho B was collared and McCain and Childs did not correct AZGFD’s statements that Macho B’s capture was “accidental” I became suspicious. Then after I contacted Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star to tell him Macho B’s capture was definitely not accidental and McCain’s reaction was to attack and defame my character with his words supplemented by a script his father provided, I thought I had been duped by someone I trusted. It was at this point I considered him to be some evil, master-mind. When I read the discovery of my case while preparing for trial it became clear that McCain had intent to capture and collar Macho B all on his own and this intent was encouraged and fostered directly by Thompson (AZGFD), Johnson (AZGFD), Smith (AZGFD), Childs (BJDP), and indirectly by Van Pelt (AZGFD), O’Brien (AZGFD) and Fernandez (USFWS). Now, I just view McCain as a sociopath; adamant about taking zero responsibility for his actions (he has a history of breaking laws, maiming and killing jaguars) and even incapable of viewing any wrongdoing he has done as wrong. He always chooses the victim card as his defense and his new version of that is curious as he waited years to shift blame from me as a liar to Ron Thompson as his pimp. Since he suspiciously leaves Childs out of the equation I am wondering if Childs is still of some use to McCain? Perhaps Childs is dusting off a seat at the “jaguar conservation” table for McCain when his probation is over in two years?

To date, AZGFD has not been held accountable for violating the Endangered Species Act by illegally capturing Macho B during the course of an illegal lion and bear research project which had not been properly vetted and was done without the correct permits and without authorization from the USFWS. AZGFD has also not been held accountable for allowing their sub-contractor, Emil McCain to dictate when a visual health assessment would occur after Macho B was captured and had not moved for days. AZGFD deferred to McCain though he had no knowledge or experience in monitoring a jaguar, was not a vet, and constantly referenced mountain lion behavior to define Macho B’s behavior, though Macho B was obviously a jaguar. So because of McCain’s ineptitude and inexperience Macho B wasted away for twelve days and by the time someone with actual vet experience got to him he was diagnosed with irreversible kidney failure and killed. AZGFD has also not been held accountable for high-risk snaring protocols. Snares were only checked once a day, in the morning. Snares were placed in active human and drug smuggling corridors putting captive animals and perhaps humans at risk. Snares were activated during a time of year when it can snow one day and be seventy plus degrees and sunny the next, thus risking hypo and hyperthermia (Macho B was hypothermic) to the captive animals. The area was also inhabited by diverse species and any animal held captive in a snare could have been attacked by another animal as possibly evidenced by the javelina tooth found embedded in Macho B’s tail. And then the actual personnel and handling protocols for a jaguar capture went beyond negligent. Smith and Crabb had no vet experience, barely any wild cat experience, they didn’t even have the presence of mind to clean the dart wound on Macho B’s leg though Smith pulled the tranquilizer dart out himself. This same general area on Macho B’s leg is where the subcutaneous emphysema was located during the necropsy and was cited as one of the factors contributing to the decision to euthanize him. And AZGFD obviously has not been held accountable for lying to the public about their agency’s role in Macho B’s capture and health decline just like none of their personnel were ever charged or prosecuted for their roles despite the evidence.

USFWS still has “Jaguar Lead” Erin Fernandez in their employ and she continues to be involved in jaguar work despite her own agency recommending her for prosecution in the Macho B case. USFWS continues to be a partner with AZGFD in jaguar conservation allowing AZGFD to remain a lead agency in the “effort.” USFWS also covered for AZGFD when it became abundantly clear that AZGFD did not have the right permits to capture Macho B, no matter what the circumstances, and amended AZGFD’s permits for them a year after Macho B’s death to include pages of language authorizing AZGFD to capture and collar a jaguar. And as evidenced in this blog, the USFWS Special Agents in charge of the Macho B investigation didn’t exactly do a thorough or aggressive job.

Next are the empty words of AZ Congressman Grijalva. He requested USFWS lead in the investigation and then this past December when he got an inkling of the negligence and cover-up that occurred in Macho B’s case he said something about learning more about “prosecutorial decisions and the continuing role of key government officials in federal jaguar studies.” I first contacted his office 64 days ago to inquire if he really would follow-up on these issues but his office has never returned my calls or emails.

And then there is the former AZ U.S. Attorney, Dennis Burke. No one can question him as to why he chose not to prosecute any government officials in the Macho B case because he had to retire after his role in Operation Fast and Furious (AZ US Attorney and ATF joint gun smuggling/walking operation. A gun from this ridiculously negligent operation turned up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.) was made public.

One couldn’t dream of a more convoluted, corrupt, disturbing, sad and twisted tale surrounding the capture and death of an endangered species. If the government agencies, including legal ones, entrusted with conserving endangered species and enforcing endangered species law can get it so wrong with the most endangered species to reside in the U.S. just consider how bad it is for an endangered bug, plant, bird, or just about any other species living in the ecosystems that make up the U.S.

Open letter to Congressman Grijalva

January 16, 2013

Dear Congressman Grijalva,

I have contacted your Tucson and Washington DC offices on numerous occasions. I have left messages and talked with people on your staff that assured me someone would respond to my questions. So far, there has been silence from your office.

Last month you were quoted in an Arizona Republic series that highlighted the government corruption and cover-up that occurred in the jaguar, Macho B’s investigation:

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., who originally requested the criminal investigation, said Monday that his previous attempts to get answers were stymied but that he is determined to learn more about prosecutorial decisions and the continuing role of key officials in federal jaguar studies.

“It’s hard to describe,” Grijalva said. “Not only the tragedy involved, but the attempt to manipulate and cover up.”

Is the above quote accurate and are you truly going to learn why Dennis Burke decided not to prosecute AZGFD and USFWS officials in this case and why those same officials are still pocketing a government or otherwise tax-funded salary and why they continue to be involved in jaguar research?

In 2009 I came forward as the whistleblower in the Macho B case. The information I provided Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star was passed on to you and it was you whom took responsibility for the Macho B investigation by requesting that USFWS be the investigative lead on the case. As it turns out, USFWS did a poor job investigating and Dennis Burke did an even worse job on deciding whom would or wouldn’t be prosecuted.

Will you please honor and complete your responsibility to the Macho B investigation?

As I write this I guarantee that AZGFD are making sure their jaguar capture protocols are current and their federal permits are valid in preparation for capturing and collaring the jaguar that has been documented recently by the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine site. In fact, a year after Macho B was snared and killed, USFWS “amended” AZGFD’s permit to specifically include, and thus allow, for the capture and collaring of a jaguar in Arizona! Unfortunately for the jaguar, the same people involved in Macho B’s illegal snaring and death will be apart of this capture through their AZGFD, USFWS, and University of AZ jaguar study affiliations.

Will you allow this jaguar, or any other documented in the U.S., to be the next victim(s) of the governmental agencies that captured, collared, and killed the last jaguar to be documented in this country? I beg of you that you don’t.

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you in the near future. Your offices have my contact information.

Sincerely,

Janay Brun

Permits

Who’s on first?

As I researched permits and the permitting process while preparing for my defense in the Macho B case I had a constant headache. Very few people in AZGFD and USFWS grasped what permits were needed to incidentally or intentionally capture a jaguar and the process and requirements needed in order to fulfill and honor the actual permits. As one USFWS official stated, “Nobody really has a clear understanding of how this permitting works, quite frankly.” He went on to say, “I don’t know that there’s anybody else in the nation that does permitting the way Game and Fish’s (AZ) permitting process has morphed into.”

The Permits

There are two permits repeatedly referred to in regard to Macho B’s capture. The first is the Section 10 permit [10 (a) 1 (A) ]. According to a USFWS official, “Section 10 permits are “our” authorization for incidental takes of species to private entities. The state is included because they are a non-federal entity.” Even though “jaguar” had previously been listed on AZGFD’s Section 10 permit it wasn’t on the version that was applicable in 2009. So AZGFD repeatedly referred to the next permit that was often mentioned, the Section 6 Agreement, as their authority to “incidentally” capture a jaguar. Again, according to a USFWS official: “The USFWS had a Section 6 agreement, under the Endangered Species Act, with the State of Arizona Fish and Game Department which covers the incidental take of species for actions done under that agreement. The states use that agreement to get their Federal Aid money from the USFWS.” Another USFWS official categorized the Section 6 this way: “The Section 6 agreement provides no authority for the take of an endangered species. That agreement talks about cooperative agreements, MOUs, MOAs and basically, funding. It is how to move money from the “feds” to the states. It’s how the states and the USFWS are going to cooperate on recovery plans. This is how we’re going to play nice.”

AZGFD violated their Section 6 agreement by not consulting with the USFWS prior to placing snares in Macho B’s habitat. Assuming Federal Aid is now aware of AZGFD’s violation they have the option to pull all funding for this project.

Determinations

According to a USFWS official that issued Section 10 permits for research and recovery in the Southwest Region: “If AZGFD was doing mountain lion research and did not know that a jaguar was in the area, they would be covered by their permit. If AZGFD knew that a jaguar was in the area of their mountain lion research [which they did], then AZGFD was not covered by any federally issued permits.” One of the USFWS SAs questioning this official gave the following scenario: “Say the same guy that was downloading the pictures of the jaguars is the same guy setting the snares for another study [referring to McCain]. He’s actually working both studies. Would this fit under the current permit(s)?” The official answered, “No.” This official also said that Smith and Crabb whom actually tranquilized, handled, and collared Macho B were also not covered under any permits. This is because neither AZGFD nor the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project (BJDP) amended their Section 10 permits with the USFWS to include activities and personnel from both projects. AZGFD and BJDP were cooperators on the AZGFD lion and bear snaring project not just because McCain was pulling double duty by working on both projects but because they were utilizing the same study area (an AZGFD snare within feet of a BJDP camera) and AZGFD was utilizing BJDP photo data to determine where the AZGFD snares would be set to meet their project’s goals of capturing and radio collaring lions and bears [and, apparently Macho B]. In addition, not a one of them was listed on BJDP’s or AZGFD’s permits.

Another official with USFWS whom was knowledgeable about permits stated: “If the jaguar capture was purposeful then AZGF should have assembled a risk assessment team [as determined in the jaguar conservation framework that discusses jaguar capture protocols] which would have included a representative from USFWS… if you do not follow the conditions of the permit then the permit is invalid. Now, if the capture of the jaguar was incidental then because of an ongoing AZGF mountain lion/bear study, was it funded or approved by any Federal involvement. If funded by USFWS, Federal Aid then under Section 7 a biological opinion should have been completed by AZGF with consultation with USFWS.”

There was no biological opinion, aka, environmental assessment done by AZGFD nor did they engage in a Section 7 consultation with the USFWS. Under the AZGFD-USFWS Comprehensive Management Systems agreement it states: “The responsibility for reviewing proposed jobs for possible impacts to federal listed endangered and threatened species is assigned to the Department’s (AZGFD) Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Branch. This step is part of our EA (Environmental Assessment) checklist. If any listed species may be affected by any activity the Department undertakes the Department will ensure compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.”

The EA and Section 7 should have occurred BEFORE the lion/bear project set and activated their first snare.

AZGFD never initiated an EA or Section 7 consultation for the lion/bear snaring project despite receiving federal funds through Federal Aid. These checklists are not optional but mandated by policy and law. AZGFD cannot claim ignorance of these checklists and consultations as the procedures to address any impact to a threatened or endangered species during the course of any AZGFD activity are outlined and defined in their own documents.

Bottom line 

AZGFD did not have a permit to intentionally or inadvertently capture a jaguar because they violated the federal law known as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by not initiating any consultation/review/checklist for the lion/bear project that was occurring in known jaguar habitat and when it was known Macho B was present. AZGFD violated every permit they had, nullifying all of them, and thus, the AZGFD lion/bear project was an illegal study and Macho B’s capture was in violation of the ESA.

The effectiveness of jaguar scat

Contrary to what McCain told me, the jaguar scat he obtained from the Phoenix Zoo and had directed me to place at BJDP cameras and near the AZGFD snare that trapped Macho B was not from a female jaguar in estrus. According to Stuart Wells of the Phoenix Zoo, whom supplied the scat to McCain, the scat was from both the female and male jaguars housed at the zoo and the female was not in heat during the scat collection. It wasn’t until days after McCain received the scat that Wells thought the female had just come into heat because the male jaguar had begun “mewling” at her.

During the criminal investigation, the USFWS Special Agents tasked the USFWS “Jaguar Lead,” Erin Fernandez to investigate the effectiveness of jaguar scat as a scent lure and how that related to the “take” of Macho B. Fernandez reviewed eight studies that used attractants and two of those concluded that the scent lures had no long range effect but were effective to hold the animal in front of a camera long enough to obtain a better photo. Fernandez told the USFWS SAs that, “although jaguars have well developed olfactory organs, there was little published information on the olfactory ability of jaguars.” Fernandez stated, “she did not think that scat would have a long distance effect.”

With regards to using jaguar scat as a scent lure and if that met the criteria for a “take” violation of the Endangered Species Act Fernandez was uncertain. She explained there was too little known about Macho B and when the scat was used in relation to his detections in southern Arizona. If a case for a “take” violation could be made Fernandez suggested the use of jaguar scat as a scent lure could meet the definition of “harass” under the “take” violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Ron Thompson of AZGFD and McCain’s perceived boss on the snaring project also told the USFWS SAs that “there are no published studies on the effectiveness of scat for lions and jaguars.”

Missing Document

After reading part one of Dennis Wagner’s Macho B series in the AZ Republic (see blogroll for link) I contacted him to find out about an AZGFD document he referred to that was drafted on February 2, 2009 just sixteen days before Macho B was snared. I had never heard of this document and as a former defendant in this case that struck me as disturbing. Terry Johnson, the former Endangered Species Coordinator for AZGFD had taken “responsibility” for the document in Wagner’s article but Johnson had not turned over this document to the USFWS Special Agents (SAs) during the course of the Macho B investigation and never mentioned it. Neither did his cohorts whom he sent the document to, Bill Van Pelt and Ron Thompson of AZGFD.

Wagner supplied me the name of the missing document: “Jaguar Collaring and Monitoring in the AZ-NM Borderlands with Mexico.” I then sent a public records request to AZGFD. Below is their response and explanation for the document. Links to the document and internal AZGFD emails about the document can be found under the blogroll or by using the links provided in the text.

AZGFD Response to my public records request:

We are in receipt of your records request and this letter will serve as the Department’s response. We understand that you desire the report that Mr. Dennis Wagner referred to in the Arizona Republic series which began December 9, 2012 and ran through December 11, 2012. There was no “report” and the document referred to was never published. Mr. Wagner is inaccurate in his characterization of the document. There was a tentative (draft) funding “proposal” document that was never finalized. We have four iterations, the first of which was authored by Ms. Erin Fernandez of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and dated September 14, 2007. The email chain and the draft proposal for funding document are posted on our website in the Macho B page under “Other Relevant Documents.” This was a draft proposal generated by/for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider in anticipation of seeking funding for jaguar research along the border, for which as much as $50 million was to be made available for allocation from the Department of Homeland Security to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Note that Ms. Fernandez referred to her original 2007 version as “Internal– Draft” and commented that “Once they are finalized, they’ll be used for our discussions with DHS regarding implementation of jaguar conservation measures.” Of the Department’s three iterations, developed at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service request in late January and early February 2009 to cover three time-frame and budget alternatives by adapting Ms. Fernandez’ version, edits were done by Mr. Ron Thompson, Large Carnivore Biologist (no longer with the Department), Josh Avey, Habitat Branch Chief (no longer with the Department), and (primarily) Terry Johnson Endangered Species Coordinator (now retired). Again, however, none of the three Department alternatives was formally conveyed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and all three remain unpublished agency draft proposals to date. Ms. Fernandez original draft may well be in the federal Report of Investigation (ROI). The records package of the emails and associated documents, regarding the draft proposal for funding, you requested, are located online on our Macho B page of the Department website in the “Other Relevant Documents” section, at http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/jaguar/OtherRelevantDocuments.htm. Look to the bottom of the page Ms. Janay Brun December 20, 2012 Page 2 of 2 for “Other Relevant Documents.” A shortcut that will go directly to the page location is http://www.azgfd.gov/MachoBRecords. Consistent with the Department’s philosophy of transparency and open government, these documents are posted online, so that all who wish to have access or view them, are able to. Please direct any further questions you have regarding these issues to me.

Respectfully, Jim Paxon Chief of Information Arizona Game and Fish Department

Mr. Paxon states that the missing document was a draft and never finalized. That it was a document to be turned into the USFWS so they in turn could submit it to the Department of Homeland Security for consideration in granting some of that $50 million “pot of gold” for jaguar research, which included collaring a jaguar. The document specifically names Macho B as the “likely” candidate for collaring and Johnson’s version includes the dates of Macho B’s detections over the years, 1996-2008. I do not believe this document was viewed as a “draft” by Fernandez, Johnson, Thompson, or Van Pelt. I believe they viewed it as their permission slip to capture and collar Macho B. Below are a few reasons why.

Reasons #1 and #2:

The day after Johnson sent the “draft” of the jaguar collaring and monitoring document Van Pelt and Thompson, both recipients of the “draft”, became aware that Macho B could be snared because he had been documented in the vicinity of the AZGFD snaring project and the snares were being opened/re-activated at that time.

Neither Van Pelt or Thompson attempted to stop the snares from being reopened/reactivated nor did they express any concern for the possibility of Macho B being snared. If Macho B’s snaring and collaring wasn’t authorized yet, why no action from either man? And where was Johnson during this time?

Reasons #3 – #7:

Why did Johnson not provide this document to the USFWS SAs? He was asked to turn over anything and everything that had to do with jaguars as he was the “lead” for his agency, AZGFD on the species. In addition, why did he never mention this document to the SAs? Why did Thompson and Van Pelt also not mention it to the SAs? And what about the “jaguar lead” for the USFWS, Erin Fernandez? She never mentioned this document and despite the SAs seizing her computer this document was supposedly never located as it was never provided to my attorney in the government’s disclosure. And why did the SAs not find the emails discussing the document or the actual document which was emailed during the course of the investigation? If there was no conspiracy among these people to intentionally capture and collar Macho B, why was there so much silence and why was this document suppressed?

I also have to wonder if this document was ever provided to McCain or Jack Childs or if they were verbally made aware of this document through a phone call?

The missing document should have been provided to the USFWS Special Agents and anyone connected with the document should have been questioned. The fact that those things did not occur leads me to believe what McCain suggested in the AZ Republic article is true; that there was a conspiracy among AZGFD and USFWS officials to capture and collar Macho B to force the funding of jaguar research along the AZ-NM borderlands with Mexico. But, I still do not believe McCain was a victim in that scenario. I’m positive that he and Jack Childs giddily decided to go along with the conspiracy. What is most disgusting is that Childs, Thompson, and Fernandez all benefitted from their conspiracy as they are apart of the DHS funded (funded by tax payers), USFWS granted, $771,000 University of AZ jaguar study. And all of these people, except McCain for the time being, are still involved in jaguar research and will most likely end up capturing, collaring, and killing another jaguar in AZ all in the name of “conservation.”

STOP THE PRESSES

Part one of an investigative series into Macho B’s capture and death was published today in the AZ Republic (see blog roll for link). I spoke with the reporter, Dennis Wagner on one occasion. I decided not to be involved in his article because as I wrote to him:

If your angle is truly about the cover-up that occurred in Macho B’s case regarding state and federal employees not being charged, anything McCain has to say will only take away legitimacy from that argument. McCain knowingly broke the law, lied about, defamed people at an attempt to protect himself and then engaged in his own cover-up with Smith. In an email he stated with regard to catching & collaring a jaguar, ” Yeah, the fucking feds won’t give me permission, so I will just have to accidentally do it.” In another email regarding permits for Macho B’s capture McCain stated, “they (AZGFD) did say they would have never giving (sic) us permission to do it, but are very glad we did…” and with regard to Macho B’s capture McCain stated, “I have to tell you I have pulled a hell of a fast one on the system here. I orchestrated this whole thing… I set the snares and I waited till I knew what was coming. Then I placed a little of my very very special sauce…” The cover-up is an important issue not just in Macho B’s case but is also part of what I suspect to be a larger problem in wildlife conservation. It is too important an issue to be tied into McCain trying to defend his ego by blaming others for his actions. That does nothing for the benefit of the next jaguar or wildlife conservation in general. In fact, considering McCain’s history in wildlife work, his involvement in your article makes a mockery of the serious consequences that occur to wildlife because of incompetent, inexperienced, and arrogant biologists. Please do not quote me in your article.

So, part one of the series was published today, “Who killed Macho B?” And there is McCain doing what he does best, defending himself; “I think that my case is much more one of being ‘lured into a trap’ than that of Macho B…” And then he goes on to say, “Simply put, I was set up.” My quotes about McCain being a fall guy follow seemingly endorsing McCain’s claim to victimhood and my belief he was set up. I do not believe McCain was set up and I certainly do not believe McCain was a victim. Macho B was a victim and he is dead. I do think McCain became the fall guy for AZGFD because he set himself up to be the fall guy when he lied about everything from the beginning. He put himself front and center in that first AZ Daily Star article denying scat was used and attacking me. He gift wrapped himself to AZGFD to be their fall guy. I can only hypothesize that it was a no-brainer for them.

In this article McCain seems to be putting a lot of blame on the guy he considered his boss on the snaring project, Ron Thompson. Based on the emails and interviews I received in my FOIA request and have provided on this blog I do believe Thompson encouraged McCain to go after Macho B. He certainly didn’t stop him. But the examples McCain provides in this article are deceitful.

McCain says Thompson “placed a paper bag in my truck containing fresh jaguar scent…” That is wrong. McCain thought it contained jaguar scent, he gave the bag to me thinking it contained jaguar scent but as I wrote in an email titled, “fake do-do,” to him (provided in my FOIA request): “The bag with male jag shit was actually a bag of wood shavings. Smelled too good to have been shat or pissed upon.” McCain replied: “That’s strange. would have thought Ron would have given me good stuff. maybe he thought there was urine on it…not sure…”

Next, McCain claims an “assistant” was present when Thompson told him: “He stated several times, ‘What you need to do is get a GPS collar on a jaguar — not in Mexico, but in the U.S., on Macho B.’” I contacted the “assistant” whom I believe McCain is referring to this morning and that person denies there was ever such an exchange. It could be a different person McCain is referring to, but he used the moniker “assistant” during that time period and attributed it to the person I contacted.

Now the big one for me is that it was reported there is a Feb. 2, 2009 (16 days before Macho B’s capture) AZGFD report outlining a proposed budget to capture a jaguar: “The draft document announced that Arizona, New Mexico, the USFWS and Jag CT ‘propose to capture, collar (with GPS and satellite technology) and monitor jaguars in this region. To start, likely a jaguar referred to as Macho B would be selected for monitoring.'” WOW! I don’t believe I have ever seen that document. That would have been an important document to have as I was preparing for trial. And if I haven’t seen that document I would like to know why I haven’t. To the best of my knowledge and recollection it was not provided in the disclosure of my case and that would entail that it was a suppressed document. If it wasn’t provided, who the fuck suppressed it?

And lastly, it is reported McCain now claims responsibility for placing scat at the snare. Shit, why didn’t I think of that!

Janay Brun, Part 1

March 29, 2009: I emailed Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star with the following information: the AZGFD snares set for their lion/bear project were placed in a canyon known to be utilized by jaguars; that a two week old picture of Macho B was retrieved on Feb, 4 and that BJDP camera site was just a few miles away from the AZGFD snares opened/activated on the same day; I was told to place female jaguar scat obtained from a zoo at cameras and the snare that eventually caught Macho B; Macho B’s tracks were found on Feb. 5 in the canyon where the snares were activated but the snares remained opened for several more days then were closed for a few more and then once again, reopened/activated at which point Macho B was snared a few days later; Macho B was hypothermic at his capture; I described the snare tree and finding pieces of his claws embedded in the bark; and I talked about the snare being referred to as a “kill snare” by experienced trappers (I had spoken with a neighbor whom used to be a professional trapper) because circulation is cut off to the extremity snared, there is no adequate padding on the snare to prevent further injury to that extremity (i.e. cutting into skin) and large mammals are known to exhaust themselves, some to the point of death, to get free.

March 30: I spoke to Tony Davis and Tim Stellar.

March 31: Davis spoke to McCain about my allegations of scat use. McCain and Smith met to conspire about covering up the use of scat in and near the AZGFD snares. At this point AZGFD and USFWS are  aware of my statements.

April 1: AZ Congressman Raul Grijalva makes inquiries with USFWS about Macho B’s capture and death. The federal criminal investigation into Macho B’s capture and death is launched. USFWS, AZGFD, and the AZ Attorney General’s Office are all on board for the investigation. Later it would be determined AZGFD would conduct their own, internal administrative investigation, the USFWS, at Congressman Grijalva’s request, would conduct the federal criminal investigation, and the AZ Attorney General’s Office would play no part except, I suppose, as legal counsel for AZGFD. On this day McCain goes to the snaring area and removes all jaguar scat from BJDP cameras close to the AZGFD snares. He does not notice the scat at the capture site. His actions constitute obstructing justice, tampering with evidence, hindering an investigation, etc. but he is never charged with these crimes.

April 2: The article written by Davis and Stellar based on my statements is published in the AZ Daily Star (see blogroll for link, AZ Daily Star article about scat). The article focuses on the placement of scat which becomes a she said/he said scenario when McCain denies it. His lying and denying focuses the investigation on himself and the scat. This gives the AZGFD and USFWS a huge pass on having to explain to the rightfully outraged public about their processes that allowed first, for the employment of McCain on the snaring project. The guy whom had access to all the cameras so he knew where Macho B was and the guy who chose the snare sites and who also happened to be a staunch advocate for collaring a jaguar. Second, for allowing snares to be built and activated in an area known to be utilized by an endangered species. Third, allowing those snares to remain open/active when Macho B’s presence was documented in the snaring area and on the actual trap line. This sort of breather gave the agencies time to come up with a game plan that included amending permits (more on this in a moment), and for AZGFD to come up with the strategy of disowning McCain and creating the talking point that would become their defense: Anywhere in SE AZ presented the possibility of inadvertently capturing a jaguar.

I meet with the USFWS Special Agents (SAs) on seven occasions and talked with the lead SA on the phone a few times. I turned over Macho B’s claw shavings I had collected from the snare tree, BJDP photos from all the camera sites, GPS coordinates for BJDP cameras, emails, the container the jaguar scat was in and leftover scat, the laptop McCain had given me to do BJDP data entry, and McCain’s hard drive that he gave me before he went to Spain that contained even more pictures and documents. I gave the USFWS SAs the names of people to talk to and directions to McCain’s home. I cooperated fully and every time I was asked.

May 6, 2010: I had my last interview with the USFWS SAs and they informed me to seek legal counsel. On May 15, one of the SAs presented me with a summons to appear in the U.S. district court because they alleged I, “placed jaguar scat or was directed to place jaguar scat at snare sites in an attempt to capture and trap an endangered species, to wit, a jaguar.” This constituted an alleged “take” violation of the Endangered Species Act.

May 20, 2010: I entered the Evo A. DeConcini Federal Building and Courthouse in Tucson, AZ. The building is named after a former AZ Attorney General and AZ Supreme Court Justice that according to Bill Bonanno’s book, Bound by Honor, A Mafioso’s Story, was friends with the Bonnano crime family‘s boss, Joe Bonnano. I then entered a courtroom that was packed with shackled men, all alleged to have entered the U.S. illegally on more than one occasion. My lawyer and I waited for my name to be called so I could plead not guilty to the charges presented against me by the AZ U.S. Attorney’s Office. This federal office was then led by AZ U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke. As it turns out, in a small world kinda way, Burke was given a job at the beginning of his career by DeConcini’s son, Dennis, a former senator for AZ. Burke had also worked for the AZ Attorney General’s Office (the lawyers for AZGFD) and for Janet Napolitano when she was Governor of AZ and then when she was appointed head of the Department of Homeland Security. According to McCain, his landlords at the time were friends with Napolitano. Burke would later have to resign his post as the U.S. Attorney for AZ because of his involvement in the Fast and Furious gun walking/smuggling operation. This operation allowed guns to be smuggled from AZ into Mexico in order to “track them” to cartel members. Unfortunately, guns from this operation have been found at murder scenes in Mexico and in AZ, most notably at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. I would find out later in the press that Burke had tried to discredit the whistleblower whom informed Congress of Operation Fast and Furious.

After court I was taken to the U.S. Marshall’s office to be fingerprinted and have my picture taken for my new FBI file. I then went to Pretrial Services and waited to meet my officer in a room full of people talking about their prison time due to drug charges. I finally met the pretrial officer and he explained what was expected of me while I awaited trial and what I had to do to comply with the terms of my release.

A few days later my lawyer contacted the U.S. Attorneys Office to see if they would do a Diversion Agreement. They said no, absolutely no way. They then offered me a plea deal, three years probation and I couldn’t work on large cat research in the U.S. during that time. I said, no, absolutely no way. Not long after I turned down their plea deal the AZ U.S. Attorneys Office charged me with conspiracy to take an endangered species.  Several days later a real conspiracy occurred when the USFWS amended AZGFD’s endangered species permit to authorize future intentional jaguar captures (see blogroll for link to new permit).

July 2010: I attended my first pre-trial hearing. The AUSA was pushing to have my trial scheduled for the following month even though he had yet to provide my attorney the disclosure documents for my case. Disclosure is basically the evidence that is being used against a defendant. The AUSA tried to say that all the calls from the press concerning the case prevented him from getting the disclosure to my attorney and he wanted the judge to place a gag order on myself and my attorney. The judge rebuked that request and gave the AUSA a deadline to meet in regards to turning over the disclosure documents to my attorney so he could begin preparing my defense. Trial was then set for September.

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