Home > Darryl Cherney, Judi Bari > Earth First! bomb victims win again

Earth First! bomb victims win again

It’s been almost 21 years since a bomb exploded beneath the car seat of Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, but litigation goes on.

The two won a $4.4 million verdict against the FBI and Oakland Police in 2002, but were back in court following notification that evidence in the case — remnants of the bomb — was about to be destroyed.  Lawyers for the duo requested the evidence be returned to them as per a later settlement that reduced the award to $4 million, and the court agreed.

Bari died of cancer in 1997, but Cherney is happy with the court’s decision.

“It feels fantastic,” Cherney told KMUD news. Law enforcement and the Obama administration are having to “deal with tremendous transgressions by America’s secret police, the FBI,” he said.

Cherney said the FBI cited the case of Unibomber Ted Kaczynski as reason that he should be denied the evidence.  But the court said that case supported Cherney because unlike the unibomber, Cherney has clean hands and good intentions with the evidence.

The bomber has never been found, or even investigated according to Cherney and Bari, who were accused of bombing themselves by FBI and police.

Cherney said it’s rare to have a case where activists come out on top, and that the situation is “not amazing if you see that the FBI never thought they would get caught.”

The evidence will be turned over to a DNA analyst chosen by Cherney and approved by the court.

The bombing occurred on May 24, 1990 as the activists were beginning a campaign against logging of old-growth forests.

  1. Hank Sims
    March 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Congrats to Darryl et al. An important win.

  2. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    March 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Ditto from above,

    Amazing personal perseverance added.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  3. Ponder z
    March 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    MythBuusters is doing an episode on car bombs. A pipebomb with nails is one of them. Buster the Test dummy is in the drivers seat and the nail bomb is under his seat. They used a Subaru wagon.

  4. Anonymous
    March 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Giving the bombers back the evidence is plain wrong.

  5. tra
    March 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    It would be interesting to see what a trained professional specializing in “cold cases” might be able to turn up. Sure, it’s been many years since the crime, but some crimes do get solved decades after they were committed.

    There are a lot of very disturbing aspects to this case, the most obvious one being the way the FBI and Oakland PD tried to frame the victims for their own bombing. Related to that is the fact that the FBI didn’t seem to try very hard to find the real bomber. As a result, the real bomber may still be walking around free, and who knows what other crimes such a person may have committed since then.

    By the way, does anyone really believe that if the victims of the bombing had been a pair of FBI agents instead of a pair of environmental activists, that the FBI would have basically let the investigation peter out and then try to destroy the evidence? Fat chance.

    The real bomber is guilty of attempted murder, and I don’t think there is any statute of limitations on murder or attempted murder. I hope this evidence gets put to use finding and prosecuting whoever was behind this bombing.

  6. tra
    March 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    That’s some deep denial you’re suffering from, 8:25.

    There wasn’t a single shred of evidence indicating that either Judi Barry or Darryl Cherney were in any way involved in the manufacture of the bomb, or placing it under the seat of the car, or aware that it was there, or involved in any way other than as targets and victims of the twisted individual(s) who carried out this attack. Which is why the FBI and the Oakland PD got their asses handed to them in court…over and over again.

  7. March 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    “statute of limitations on murder” is none.

  8. Anonymous
    March 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    There are a lot of very disturbing aspects to this case, the most obvious one being the way the FBI and Oakland PD tried to frame the victims for their own bombing.

    I sat through every single day of the Bari/FBI trial in 2002, and I believe the evidence showed that the FBI and OPD were dumb rather than evil. Bari and Cherney were official suspects for a couple of weeks at most.

    None of that takes away from the importance of preserving this evidence. If you weren’t around the Emerald Triangle in 1990, it would be hard for young understand the gut-punch that this was to the community, to say nothing of what it was to the victims themselves.

  9. Hank Sims
    March 22, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Sorry — poor late-nite iPhone skills. The above comment was mine.

  10. skippy
    March 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Sheesh. Tra is correct…nailing it again. Our little voice of reason sneaking and speaking up in our small corner of the world.

  11. Owltotem
    March 23, 2011 at 12:16 am

    8:25, must be from Grants Pass :)
    Stay down Darryl!

  12. longwind
    March 23, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Hank, what you’re forgetting about the dumb FBI was that they never investigated anybody else for the bombing. Nobody. Never. Even after two weeks. The FBI never even did a DNA analysis of evidence in their possession–because as far as they were concerned they already had their perps, the facts be damned.

    I’m not a member of the Judi and Darryl church choir, but their victory in proving the frame-up also established that no investigation was ever conducted. It’s a historic and very hard-won documentation of the FBI’s role as “America’s political police force.” (to quote Judi, despite my scruples . . .)

  13. Hank Sims
    March 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Longwind: If I recall correctly, they did look into other suspects for a while. Of course, those suspects were people like Bill Devall.

    Point taken, in other words.

  14. Decline To State
    March 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I was on the opposing side from these two during the timber wars but still applaud this decision by the courts. This kind of behavior by law enforcement cannot be condoned or rewarded. Once again the FBI has shown the American public that they are not our friends.

  15. Owltotem
    March 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Doesn’t this bring back fond memories :)I actually had to extract the tape from the archives

    At the north end of town there’s a caveman
    And he carrys a gigantic club
    He overlooks a Dennys, Stil Chainsaw and Penny’s
    And he’s sending you a message Bub
    He says, We’re Oregon clearcutters and fur browed head-butters
    And we don’t like tree-huggers at all
    And we’ll tell you ‘It’s the climate’ and if you don’t freakin’ like it
    Take it up with us Neanderthals

    Grants Pass…Grants Pass…A place where they wanna kick my Ass

    Its the ultimate compliment!

    199sumpin (it all sorta ran together :)

  16. Eric Kirk
    March 23, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Is that a caveman? I always thought that statue was supposed to be Bigfoot.

  17. Eric Kirk
    March 23, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Hank – I tend to think that the FBI wasn’t stupid, but not pure evil either. I think it was a political/cultural bias and they just couldn’t bring themselves to side with activists against loggers, or be perceived so. It was a lack of professionalism which caused them to skew their investigation despite the hard evidence. There are still people who believe the bomb was intended for monkey-wrenching despite the obvious.

  18. Eric Kirk
    March 23, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I’m not a member of the Judi and Darryl church choir, but their victory in proving the frame-up also established that no investigation was ever conducted.

    It wasn’t even really a frame up. They just didn’t bother following protocol because they had made up their minds before they even knew what happened.

    I do have to say that the speed by which the FBI was on the scene is suspicious, but maybe that’s not unusual in a bombing situation in an urban area.

  19. longwind
    March 23, 2011 at 8:40 am

    It really was a frame-up, Eric. The FBI announced the bomb was on the back seat when any and every idiot could see that it blew up under the front driver’s seat. They said roofing nails found at Judi’s house were identical with the finish nails or whatever they were in the bomb. They were completely different, though the FBI even said the different nails were proven to have the same factory ‘batch numbers,’ which don’t even exist. They just made that up and put it in their report.

    Frame-up pure and simple, documented to be worth $4.4 million in damages. Frame-up.

    In context: Judi and North Coast activists were running Prop 130, Forests Forever that summer, which would have ended old-growth logging in California. It was running ahead in the polls. After the bombing and its attendant government slanders, libels and perjuries, Prop 130 was narrowly defeated statewide.

  20. March 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Owltotem, as a former resident of Oregon, I just gotta say…HAHAHA!! I luv that song! Some lines in it are so spot on that it still makes me laugh even though I’ve heard that song a thousand times!

  21. Forest Nymph
    March 23, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I was working on Prop 30 and also was at the all night vigil sleeping on the sidewalk outside the OPD, while they interrogated Daryl inside the night of the bombing. There was a lot of subversive activity going on to keep prop 130 down and keep cutting. The week before the bombing, I was heading south on 101 in my compact Dodge and was run off the road by a logging truck. I always suspected I’d been “tagged” by the industry for being seen taking pictures a couple days earlier in the week of the sky high piles of logs. This issue will be laid to rest when further investigation is done to determine who was behind the bombing…

  22. Anonymous
    March 23, 2011 at 9:42 am

    The bombing delivered a message. Screw with the power structure and die. MX, JFK, MLK, RFK, Judy Bari, RIP.

  23. Eric Kirk
    March 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I am noticing that certain usual suspect voices are absent from this thread. I think it’s an indication that whatever they might say, the evidence is pretty overwhelming for FBI wrongdoing either by design or gross negligence. I have yet to have a conversation with someone who believes that Judi and Darryl were responsible for the bomb who know anything significant about the case and jury verdict.

    The default response is that “slick lawyers” bambboozled the jury, but as someone who has seen them in action, I can tell you that while Serra and Cunningham are excellent attorneys they are anything but “slick.” To coin a sports analogy, they don’t employ a “west coast” fancy short pass offense. They’re blue collar run up the middle fullbacks. Pretty straightforward in their presentations.

  24. skippy
    March 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Yours truly is enjoying this thread, your knowledgable posts, and remembering the local trip down memory lane.

  25. High Finance
    March 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I guess I am one of those “usual suspects”.

    Obviously the FBI botched their investigation. Despite the Hollywood movies, they are no more perfect than anyone else.

    Those who claim(ed) it was all a conspiracy by the FBI to murder the Earth Firsters are too juvenile to waste time responding to.

    But it is not settled that Cherney & Bari or their friends did not cause the bombing by their own stupidity.

  26. longwind
    March 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

    $4.4 million dollar jury awards don’t settle nothin’ in HiFi’s universe. But it’s getting a little lonely out there . . .

  27. @&$^*(&
    March 23, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Could you explain yourself, HiFI? How exactly did their stupidity cause the bombing? Were they stupid for being activists who would have obviously been bombed? Were they stupid for not checking their car for explosives?

    What are you talking about? It has been settled that Judi and Daryl were victims of a brutal crime.

    If you can’t see that I don’t what to say.

  28. Hank Sims
    March 23, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I think it was a political/cultural bias and they just couldn’t bring themselves to side with activists against loggers, or be perceived so. It was a lack of professionalism which caused them to skew their investigation despite the hard evidence.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I was trying to sum up under “dumb.”

    I can tell you that while Serra and Cunningham are excellent attorneys they are anything but “slick.” To coin a sports analogy, they don’t employ a “west coast” fancy short pass offense. They’re blue collar run up the middle fullbacks. Pretty straightforward in their presentations.

    TONY SERRA?!? I wouldn’t call him “slick,” but I certainly wouldn’t call him “straightforward,” either!

    Everyone should enjoy this Forum interview with Serra. Amazing, entertaining stuff.

  29. longwind
    March 23, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Hank and Eric, I can see your points about dumb beat-dicks filling out forms. Their biases may be as all-encompassing as the Pope’s. But. Cointelpro, the counter-intelligence program that by its own declaration disrupts, disarms and neutralizes groups it disapproves of, is more than a dumb bias. It is a bureau within the Bureau that coordinates false attacks on political victims.

    For national security reasons, obviously, we can’t know nothin’ ’bout non o’ that stuff. We can just see that it frames people, locks them up, and kills them for a better world. I don’t think we should act as if we don’t know this. We do know this.

  30. Random Guy
    March 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

    “Those who claim(ed) it was all a conspiracy by the FBI to murder the Earth Firsters are too juvenile to waste time responding to.”

    It’s like saying government agencies would dose people with LSD, or secretly infiltrate protest groups to discredit and dismantle them, or discuss assassinating the president, or bomb the shit out of foreign civilians. It’s all still happening today and they’re only getting better at it, thanks in part to people like you TROLL.

  31. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Those who claim(ed) it was all a conspiracy by the FBI to murder the Earth Firsters are too juvenile to waste time responding to.

    But it is not settled that Cherney & Bari or their friends did not cause the bombing by their own stupidity.

    In other words: Despite not a shred of evidence pointing toward Cherney and Bari we should continue to suspect them of being guilty of their own bombing, since they haven’t been able to 100% prove their innocence. Meanwhile, FBI is not just innocent until proven guilty, we shouldn’t even consider the possibility of their involvement.

    Two decades after the bombing, and the double standard is alive and well.

  32. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

    What seems most likely to me is that some crazy person planted the bomb (from either side), the FBI really believed Cheney and Bari were transporting it so made up evidence (mentioned above) to support that conclusion and then, like is so often the case, couldn’t admit they perjured themselves and falsified evidence, so doubled down. So long as they can maintain the thinnest veneer of credible deniability, they don’t have to deal with the crimes at least a few of them committed in their zeal to put Cheney and Bari in prison. Here’s to hoping Cheney’s investigators finally figure it out.

  33. skippy
    March 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Yours truly readily enjoyed <a href="Link text “>Mr. Sims’ 10:39 link of the KQED/Michael Krasny interview with attorney Tony Serra. If you have the time (nearly an hour), it’s a very worthwhile listen on a number of levels. Thank you for pulling that out of the archives, Mr. Sims. Now that’s hybrid journalism– and a complementary addition to the topic.

  34. skippy
    March 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Mea culpa. Mr. Sims’ 10:39 KQED link and Tony Serra interview, is here.

  35. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I think it’s quite likely, Plain Jane, that events unfolded more or less as you outlined in your 11:27 comment.

    Just to be clear, my 11:14 comment was not meant to imply that the FBI caused the bombing, or that I’ve seen any evidence of their involvement. By far, the most likely scenario is that it was some “crazy” or just murderous individual or individuals, who targeted Cherney and Bari because of their environmental activism.

  36. Eric Kirk
    March 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    But it is not settled that Cherney & Bari or their friends did not cause the bombing by their own stupidity.

    Yes it is. You do know what kind of bomb it was HF? It was anti-personnel, of no use for monkey-wrenching. It was intended to kill the people in the car, so unless they were intending to loan the car to someone they intended to kill, it was not their bomb – not by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.

  37. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    There is also a possibility that it was a crazy in their organization who was jealous of their prominence, a crazy in another organization, or even someone who decided they would make good martyrs for the cause. However, I think it was most likely someone out for revenge because of tree spiking or loss of jobs, or even a hired hit designed to kill and discredit them at the same time.

  38. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I do think it’s an open question as to what extent the FBI agents just “botched” the investigation, and whether to some extent they deliberately “botched” the investigation.

  39. HiFi The Troglodyte
    March 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Hi FI’s anscestors obviously never so much as dangled their toes in the genetic gene pool.

  40. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    There are a lot of possibilites, PJ, but I don’t recall that there was any tree-spiking going on, so it wouldn’t make sense for it it be revenge for that.

    General revenge for what some folks in the timber industry perceived as an attack on their jobs and their way of life — well that seems more plausible.

  41. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    There had been tree spikings and lots of talk about them, Tra. Wasn’t it a mill in Ukiah (or Fort Bragg) where a mill worker was seriously injured due to a spike, origin unknown, in a tree they were sawing?

  42. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Environment Radicals Target of Probe Into Lumber Mill Accident
    May 15, 1987|LARRY B. STAMMER | Times Staff Writer
    The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday that it is investigating the possibility that malicious damage by timber harvesting opponents may have been responsible for a lumber mill accident in which a worker was injured when a huge saw band flew into his face after hitting a large nail embedded in a log.

    It was the first-known accident that could be linked to “tree-spiking,” a tactic advocated by radical environmental activists to stop the logging of old-growth trees. Timber industry officials charged Thursday that the “eco-tage”–a play on the word sabotage–was endangering the lives of lumberjacks and sawmill workers.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1987-05-15/news/mn-5213_1_louisiana-pacific

  43. High Finance
    March 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    It is a sad comment on most of the posters here, that Plain Jane (of all people!) made the most sensible post here at 11.27am and 12.11pm.

    Indeed, some “crazy person from either side” did the deed. But it was not necessarily murder. Someone on Cherney/Bari’s side might have just been using them for transportation (with or without Cherney or Bari’s knowledge) and the bomb went off by accident.

    Random Guy & Mouse, recess is over and your teacher is calling you back to class.

  44. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    JEEZUS HiFi! What part of Eric’s post regarding the nature of the bomb didn’t you get? It was a bomb designed to tear people up, not sabotage a piece of logging equipment or even a building. The bomb was deliberately placed to kill the people in the car, attempted murder.

  45. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    PJ,

    It was 20 years ago and my memory of that time is far from perfect, so maybe there had been tree-spiking here on the Redwood Coast. The article you linked to does show that there was at least “talk of” tree-spiking or other “eco-sabotage” causing sawmill injuries, but that article really only states that they were “investigating” whether that was the cause of the incident at that sawmill, not what the outcome of the investigation was, much less whether anything had been proved (of course as a potential motive for the bomber, that kind of certainty isn’t the issue, they may have just believed what they wanted to believe and acted on that basis).

    At any rate, Bari herself was strongly opposed to tree-spiking and any other tactics that might result in injuries to timber company workers, and she made her views known very clearly. So if someone targeted her in “revenge” for tree-spiking, they picked an entirely illogical target. But it’s certainly possible…someone far enough off the deep end to carry out a bombing like that obviously isn’t a very clear-thinking person to begin with.

  46. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    One of the really “great” things about terrorism, Tra, is that the threat and possibility of carrying it out terrorizes people. Like I said, there was a LOT of talk about tree spiking and something mill workers obviously worried about.

  47. Lassic
    March 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    And wer’re supposed to trust the FBI to give all the
    pieces of the bomb back???

  48. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Indeed, some “crazy person from either side” did the deed.

    That is possbile, but not certain. The person was either crazy, or simply acting with murderous intent. I guess you could say that anyone who commits or attempts murder must be “crazy,” and philosophically I’d be inclined to agree…but as a practical legal matter we don’t automatically consider all murderers and attempted murderers to be “crazy.”

    But it was not necessarily murder. Someone on Cherney/Bari’s side might have just been using them for transportation (with or without Cherney or Bari’s knowledge) and the bomb went off by accident.

    Well, given that it was an anti-personnel bomb, that person would have to be planning to attempt to murder someone whether it was Bari and Cherney themselves, or, as in one of your scenarios, Bari and Cherney were just innocents duped into unknowingly transporting the bomb, which the bomb-maker and prospective murderer intended to retrieve from the car and use at a later time.

    The scenario you paint is, I suppose, within the realm of possibility, but it doesn’t seem very likely. After all, Bari and Cherney were headed to a Redwood Summer rally, so if the bomb was intended to be used there, then other envrionmental activists would be the most likely targets/victims.

    I suppose you could further speculate that the bomb-maker or their accomplice(s) intended to retrieve the bomb from the car during the rally, and then bring it somewhere else, or transfer it to some other person or persons for later use…but now we’re talking about quite a complicated plan and, in my opinion, a very unlikely scenario.

    It seems to me that a much more likely is that the anti-personnel bomb placed beneath the Judi Bari’s seat was intended to do exactly what it did — to injure and attempt to kill Judi Bari.

  49. Random Guy
    March 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Doesn’t bother me one bit to hear about old growth trees being spiked. Takes 1,000 years for them to grow and five minutes to murder. If they could defend themselves, the world’s population would be rightly in check. Imagine if trees could scream? They are alive, conscious and essentially symbiotic with all life on the planet…

    …lest we forget http://tinyurl.com/4g335xt

  50. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Plain Jane said: “One of the really “great” things about terrorism, Tra, is that the threat and possibility of carrying it out terrorizes people. Like I said, there was a LOT of talk about tree spiking and something mill workers obviously worried about.

    Of course that works both ways. The other “great” thing about terrorism, is that exaggerating the risks of a particular group engaging in terrorist activities can advance the interests of those who may seek to instill fear in the potential victims, and harvest anger and outrage towards the “suspect” group (the obvious example being the current right-wing fearmongering about Muslims in America).

    Stoking fears about EFers in the redwood coast region possibly engaging in acts of sabotage that might endanger timber workers — well, that was all to the benefit of the timber companies and their allies, whether there was any real basis for those fears in the first place.

    It may well be that anger and a desire for revenge was deliberately whipped up or exaggerated by some in the timber industry, without the EFers ever wanting any workers to fee afraid or terrorized. If that’s the case, and this turned out to be the motive for the bombing, then those who ginned up and/or exaggerated reports of deadly eco-sabotage would be partially culpable in causing the series of events that led to the bombing.

  51. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Certainly a legally safer way of putting a hit on someone. Just look at the virulent hatred expressed on blogs against environmentalists, and these aren’t the craziest of crazies. Well, maybe one or two might be capable of violence.

  52. Anonymous
    March 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Jane, Cheney was Vice-President. No doubt you meant Cherney.

  53. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    You’re right, 1:33. My fingers have typed Cheney a lot more than Cherney. :D

  54. Anonymous
    March 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Plain Jane says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm
    There had been tree spikings and lots of talk about them, Tra. Wasn’t it a mill in Ukiah (or Fort Bragg) where a mill worker was seriously injured due to a spike, origin unknown, in a tree they were sawing?

    Yes. That did happen. A real human being was seriously injured in a saw mill.

    I always thought the best thing Earth First could have done to prove it did not really believe in spiking trees would have been to raise money to help that worker recover from his injuries and support his family. But Earth First did not do that. A golden opportunity lost.

  55. Anonymous
    March 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    The sawmill incident made Earth Firsters seem like eco-terrorists to other mill workers. That did help create sympathy for the lumber industry. But one thing went without saying then and now. For about 150 years, it has been common practice to drive big nails into trees to hang camping gear on. Tents, tarps, lanterns. In time, the trees grow over the nails. Voila! A 150 year old Earth First tree spike! Do you see what I mean?

  56. @&$^*(&
    March 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    1:51 beat me to the punch about other sources of metal in trees. There are more than just camping gear, of course. For a long time, LOGGING EQUIPMENT was anchored to trees and stumps with very large SPIKES.

    But it didn’t go without saying. It has been said over and over, but despite no evidence that it was an act of sabotage it continues to be used as justification of all kinds of behavior towards environmentalists to this day.

    Here in redwood country, all of the injuries and deaths in the timber wars have been on the environmentalists’ side that I know of.

    Please remind me if I missed something, but the one injury at one mill that was never shown to be related to activists has remained the touchstone for industry rage for a long time.

  57. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    That’s why I said, “origin unknown,” 1:51. Of course, if there hadn’t been threats of spiking trees, maybe they wouldn’t have been accused.

  58. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Again, Jane, I’m not denying that that may have happened. But again, assuming the story you are relating is accurate, just the fact that a mill worker was injured when the blade hit a spike “origins unknown” does not demonstrate that it was eco-sabotage.

    Now this could have been the exception to the rule, but in the past, when EFers in other parts of the country spiked trees to try to stop them from being harvested, they always made that fact public long before the harvest was to take place. That was the whole point — to dissuade the timber companies from cutting down the trees. Of course it’s possible that some “lone wolf” crackpot was responsible for the incident you refer to, and that person was either ignorant of the history of that tactic, or else was more intent on causing mayhem than stopping any particular tree from being cut down.

    By the way, I don’t in any way approve of tactics that are as dangerous as tree-spiking can be — I don’t consider that “nonviolent” civil disobedience, because it risks the injuries or deaths of the workers, especially since the history of the use of that tactic quickly showed that the timber companies almost always went right ahead and cut the trees down and milled them up, despite the known danger to their workers. So, right from the outset, tree spiking was a morally indefinsible tactic as well as a demonstrably ineffective one, and it certainly became counterproductive to the movement as a whole.

    At any rate, I don’t disagree that indidents of tree-spiking, or at least the belief/suspicion that it was being practiced by EF folks in the Redwood Coast region, might well have played a role in the motives of whoever planted the bomb under Judi Bari’s seat. There’s no specific evidence for that, so far as I know — but of course the lack of evidence doesn’t necessarily suggest that that might not have been a factor, since, as nearly everyone agrees, the investigation was first botched, and then abandoned.

  59. @&$^*(&
    March 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Were there “threats”?

    I was pretty young at the time, but as I recall, tree spiking was mentioned in a book and then after the incident at the mill, it was raised as a possible cause of the metal in the tree by the industry and the law enforcement.

  60. George S.
    March 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Tony Serra New Book out this year..has some northcoast cases incl..Bear Lincoln Case Ukiah
    “Lust For Justice” http://www.lustforjustice.net/Excerpts.html

    Tony Serra Law Office Website:
    http://www.pier5law.com/j-tony-serra.html

    Tony Serra Wikipedia bio:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Serra

  61. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    The fact that those sawmill injuries may have wrongly been blamed on EFers doesn’t really change the possibility that the bomb-maker’s motive was based on their belief that EFers were responsible and their desire for revenge based on that belief.

    Whether the underlying accusation was true or not, if someone believed it was true, that might have fueled a desire for revenge. If so, the irony is that this revenge was directed at precisely the wrong person, since Bari was strongly opposed to tree-spiking or any other acts of eco-sabotage that could possibly pose a safety risk to workers.

    But it wouldn’t be the first time that murderous revenge-seekers have directed their violent rage toward the wrong targets. The millions of Americans who justified the slaughter of many thousands of Iraqui civilians, on the basis of seeking revenge for the 9/11 attacks, well, they were every bit as far off the mark.

    Sadly, the victims of violent acts of revenge are often just convenient targets who are only loosely associated (if at all) with the actual perpetrator of the events that trigger the desire for revenge in the first place.

  62. High Finance
    March 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    It was 1987 and the mill worker who was seriously injured is named George Alexander.

    And Random Guy, you are a dirt bag.

  63. Eric Kirk
    March 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    It was also not planted by an activist, but by a landowner whose property kept getting poached by the logging company. The mill was in Cloverdale.

  64. @&$^*(&
    March 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Yeah, thanks HiFi. that is the article we are talking about. Way to pay attention.

    But I agree that Random Guy’s comment is disgusting.

  65. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Eric Kirk said: “It was also not planted by an activist, but by a landowner whose property kept getting poached by the logging company. The mill was in Cloverdale.

    Hmmmmm…the plot thickens.

    Do you have a source and/or link for that, Eric?

    That would be consistent with my memory of that period — that there was indeed plenty “talk” of tree-spiking by eco-activists, but I don’t remember any proof of their involvement. In fact it was my impression that these rumours had been more or less debunked.

    I wouldn’t discount the possibility that in some case or cases in the Redwood Coast region there could have been actual tree-spiking by some wingnut acting in the name of forest defenders (but directly against the nonviolence policy adopted by the movement as a whole), but I haven’t yet seen any evidence of that cited on this thread.

    Of course, whether they were accurate or not, those rumours could have fueled the motive of a bomber who believed that the rumours were truthful.

  66. Eric Kirk
    March 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm
  67. Anonymous
    March 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Fascinating reading, Eric. Judi Bari writing the fullest account I’ve ever read about tree-spiking, while denouncing it. She had a mind like a steel trap, that one did.

  68. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Judi Bari said in this article that AFTER Anderson was injured, her group, and a few others, denounced tree-spiking, but that Earth First! did not.

    “The rest of Earth First! still endorses spiking, and many of them even today react to our no-spiking policy by denouncing us as traitors and dismissing us as wimps, without ever considering the reasons for our actions.”

  69. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Er Anderson should be Alexander.

  70. March 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Tra, the story about the Cloverdale spiking is based around a Sheriff’s office report which named a local called Bill Ervin as a suspect. Ervin wasn’t associated with Earth First! but is in fact a conservative Republican. But apparently he spent a lot of time advertising about his supposed tree spiking activities. He had some axe to grind with LP (sorry, couldn’t resist..)and claimed that he spiked trees on the border of his property so that LP wouldn’t “accidentally” harvest them. But this was never substantiated and he was never charged, at least to my knowledge. The real loser wasn’t Earth First! or Ervin, but George Alexander. After almost getting killed, LP and the industry used him as a poster boy and, after the press died down, LP laid him off.

  71. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks, Eric, for the link, and Randy for the elaboration.

    Well, so far no one on this thread has offered any evidence of actual EF-related tree-spiking in the Redwood Coast region. That’s pretty much the way I remembered it, lots of rumours and assumptions based on tree-spiking in other areas, but nothing ever proven to have happened locally.

    That being said, many people, especially those who were in the timber industry, those who lost jobs in the timber industry, and those who were getting a lot of their information from those in the timber industry, did believe those rumours and help themselves to those assumptions.

    Did one of them snap, and decide to bomb Judi Bari in “revenge” for something she had no part in, that she in fact strongly denounced, and that may never have happened in our area at all? It is possible.

    But it’s also possible that it was “revenge” for what some in the timber industry (mis)understood as an attack on all logging or as an attempt to shut the whole industry down. It didn’t exactly help the situation that anytime the timber companies decided to lay off some workers (often having to do with market conditions and previous overlogging that left timber inventories short) they would typically make a point of blaming environmentalists for those job losses.

    There are other possibilities, too, of course, but these do seem like a couple of the more plausible motives.

  72. Plain Jane
    March 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    And always right before Christmas or when any of their logging plans was challenged. There are many who falsely believe that environmentalists caused the decline in the timber industry. Deeply held beliefs are virtually unshakable regardless of facts.

  73. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    That’s right, Jane — instead of “I’ll believe it when I see it” it’s often more of a case of “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

  74. HiFI The Troglodyte
    March 23, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    “High Finance says:
    March 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm
    It was 1987 and the mill worker who was seriously injured is named George Alexander.

    And Random Guy, you are a dirt bag.”
    ******************************************************
    HIFinance,once again shows himself to be the permanent shitstain on the underwear of insignificance.

  75. Sheryl
    March 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Hank, since you sat through the trial, do you recall how the FBI justified the failure to follow up or take seriously the similar bombing at the Cloverdale mill two weeks before the bombing of Bari and Cherney? (See SFGate article, where it says “The Cloverdale bomb was left outside a Louisiana-Pacific Corp. lumber mill and partially blew up on May 9, 1990, causing minimal damage. It was accompanied by a cardboard sign reading, “LP screws mill workers,” and was presumed by investigators to have been set by the same person who created the Oakland bomb.” That sounds like a pretty hot lead (or at least would have been a hot lead 21 years ago). And if the FBI and the Oakland investigators blew off that lead, that being done intentionally to serve the Cointelpro strategy starts to look plausible, given how glaring it is to disregard that. Even for those of us who are reticent to presume conspiracy where pure incompetence would fully explain. But I didn’t sit through the trial, so I’m curious what you saw.

  76. Anonymous
    March 24, 2011 at 12:22 am

    “HiFI The Troglodyte” should have his scatological comment removed, Heraldo. Then take this comment off, too. The Herald will be cleaner as a result.

  77. KILL MORE TREES
    March 24, 2011 at 12:47 am

    KILL MORE TREES! KILL MORE TREES!! IT’S GOOD FOR JOBS!KILL MORE TREES!

  78. SING ALONG!!!
    March 24, 2011 at 12:56 am

    OOOOOHHHHH…we don’t care that our great grandparents killed trees, we don’t care that our grandparents killed trees, we don’t care that our parents killed tress AAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNDDDDDDD OUR GRANDCHILDREN WON’T CARE THAT WE STILL KILL TREES!!!

    SECOND VERSE!!!!

    OOOOOOHHHHH…KILLING TREES MADE A BUNCH OF PEOPLE RICH! Kill more trees PUT EM ALL IN A DITCH! TREES ARE FOR US TO KILL KILL KILL!!! Killing trees PAYS THE BILLS!!!

  79. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    March 24, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Logging – a problem is the “great divide” between onsite loggers and in-office business plan navigators/speculators. It is easily understandable that loggers in the field would be disconnected or disenfranchised from the companies’ executive class in so far as material misrepresentstion is concerned. I would presume larger companies pose more of a systematic problem than smaller outfits when discussing employee knowledges with regard to what is actually going on – it is similar to other business sectors within the economy as well, like retail shoppings.

    JL

  80. Derral Campbell
    March 24, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Terrible police work. Again. Like the brainless pepper-spray caper, law enforcement showed its reactive, un-thinking process of selective retribution. And again, the benefit went to brainless Earth First, who so lowered the bar of reason in the redwoods. A great cause, a necessary struggle fought by knucklehead know-nothings whose selfish arrogance alienated whole communities form the cause of conservation.

  81. Derral Campbell
    March 24, 2011 at 9:44 am

    (That would be “from” not “form”)

    If only a responsible organization had been leading the charge for conservation. If, if, if. Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy all left it to EF to muddy up the waters of discourse, making it easy for corporate logging to make fun of environmentalism. Sitting astride a Forest Service office and banging on it like a drum, dropping a huge stump on the floor and terrorizing workers who thought it was a bomb – that’s the way to make your point all right. If you’re preaching to the choir. Otherwise your clown act has alienated the rest. Now, this persisting narrative with heroes like J. Butterfly (how DID you like Central America?) and D. Cherney – I’m still sad for the woods. How many logging roads were enabled by Earth First arrogance, paved with their off-putting? Nice if you like irony.

  82. Anonymous
    March 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Derral Campell, yes!

  83. Random Guy
    March 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

    DC your argument is crap, sorry. “Everything sucks because nobody protested correctly.” NOT!

  84. Thirdeye
    March 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    It is standard police procedure to investigate intimates and associates in murder cases. OPD and the FBI never did in the Bari case. That was left to KQED’s Stephen Talbot, Flatlander Magazine, and the infamous Bruce Anderson of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. They developed the best-substantiated theory of who the assailant was.

    Judi Bari knew who her assailant was, but she covered for him because 1) he could also incriminate her, and 2) the COINTLPRO theory glorified her as a martyr for “the cause” and carried the prospect of a big payday.

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