The Judi Bari Trial: A Radio Debate (May 9, 2002)

Speaking In Tongues; Radio Station KDVS, Davis, Ca. Thursday, May 9th, 2002. Host Ron Glick. Guests, Attorney John Clarke; Editor, Bruce Anderson.

Host Ron Glick: We're going to be talking about the Judi Bari bombing. I've got John Clarke who is an attorney who has been following the case and Bruce Anderson from the AVA who's been following the case for many years... John Clarke is an attorney specializing in criminal and civil litigation in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland. His cases currently include the representation of James Sanders and his wife Elizabeth in a civil rights suit against the New York FBI field office director James Kallstrom, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman James C. Hall and eight other individuals. The case alleges that the Justice Department targeted Sanders for James's accurate investigative reporting on the July 1996 downing of TWA flight 800. The case was transferred to New York where it is pending. Mr. Clarke has been attending the Judi Bari trial. I also have Bruce Anderson, the flamboyant and outspoken editor of one of the best newspapers in northwest California, the Anderson Valley Advertiser. 

Bruce: This case can't be discussed on any other free speech radio station in Northern California. I appreciate an opportunity to present a dissenting perspective on it. 

Ron: I'm sure you'll have your opportunity today. John, you say this case is not about who bombed Judi Bari, but it's about how their free speech rights were impinged upon. Can you elaborate on that? 

John: Sure. The case alleges a violation of First Amendment rights; also a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and also alleges a conspiracy and wrongful arrest. As you said, the issue of who actually planted the bomb is not an issue in the case. The plaintiffs are alleging not that the FBI or OPD planted the bomb, but rather that they wrongfully accused Darryl and Judi of knowingly transporting the bomb. And that they did so in order to smear them and smear their ongoing efforts at recruiting people to go to, as you said, and participate in Redwood Summer, which was an activity aimed at slowing down the cut of the old growth in the northern California counties until the local residents could vote on some legislation that was pending to make it law. Just slow down the cut of the old growth. 

Ron: Bruce, you've long been writing as a critic of the case. What's your objection to the case, the way it's been structured? 

Bruce: 12 years after bombing, the event is finally presented as a First and Fourth Amendment rights violation case, but what it really is, in my opinion, and in the opinion of others who have followed it very closely and who were participants in Redwood Summer and who actually knew Judi Bari -- Judi Bari wrote for my paper, incidentally, and her book is composed of articles that first appeared in the AVA, so I worked quite closely with her and knew her quite well -- see this case as a cynical attempt to cash in on what is essentially a fancy case of domestic violence. I think it's clear that her ex-husband not only made the device, he wrote a follow-up letter called the Lord's Avenger Letter. But who actually did the bombing has been excluded from the case underway in Oakland -- deliberately excluded. What remains of the case has been arrived at by Earth First! -- or Darryl Cherney's version of EF!, I should say. Cherney's Earth First! and the government are co-dependent. The case has been amended I think eight times. So here we are in federal court without any mention of what may have happened -- who did what. The case has been pruned of the false arrest charges, by the way. It's essentially a defamation case brought for $20 million after more than a $1 million has been raised by this same group of very cynical people who claim they've raised the money to support the lawsuit but who have lived off it all these years. And here we are. I think we've got a breathtaking scam underway and I don't think it's going to be successful. 

Ron: I just want to say that the opinions expressed on this program are those... 

Bruce: (Laughs) You'd better say that! 

Ron: Not of the University of California, KDBS, or the host of this program. John, how do you respond to Bruce's indictment of the plaintiffs? 

John: I'm pretty much in shock. I don't... I haven't been following the case for as long as Bruce has, certainly. I really knew very little about it before I arrived here. But I would say that if he's so sure that it was Judi's ex-husband, why is it that the FBI didn't investigate Sweeney? And why is it that the FBI didn't investigate the numerous leads that they DO have? That is really the heart of the case. 

Bruce: I agree. 

John: Those leads were not pursued in the course of this investigation. Why didn't they follow up on the many many leads they had? It was because it was a sham investigation. 

Bruce: That's right. And I have no way to account for that, other than the historical job performance of the FBI, which has been lazy, stupid and often malicious, as it certainly was in this case. The FBI closed the books on the Bari Bombing, I learned years afterwards, in 1993. They had the nerve to claim that they closed the case because nobody would talk to them. (laughs) Criminals would truly run amok in this country if police agencies stopped investigating cases because nobody would talk to them. 

John: That allegation's not even true! There were a number of people who didn't want to talk with them without a lawyer present. But that doesn't mean that they refused to talk to them and didn't help them try and find the true bomber. There were numerous people, by the testimony, numerous people who were very anxious to do that. Judi and Darryl being among them. They begged the FBI to follow up on these leads and they wouldn't do it. 

Ron: Could I ask the question, Bruce? If you're so sure... if we were to assume that your accusation is true about who the bomber is, is it possible that the FBI didn't want to look at that person because maybe they were... they had some connection to the FBI?

Bruce: There's got to be some way of explaining the absence of the FBI investigation. You can't blow a person up in the middle of a major American city and not have an investigation. Mr. Clarke's quite right; there wasn't an investigation, or certainly no investigation that we knew of. So I have no way of accounting for the absence of an investigation until the records are released -- if they're ever released. Maybe we'll find out the last week or so of this trial, but I doubt that we will. On the other hand, on the Bari/Cherney side of the case, it's not quite true to say that they begged the FBI and the various police agencies involved to investigate the case. They didn't. They wanted the FBI to investigate all aspects of the case except the one that pointed directly at domestic violence or some other kind of in-house violence that implicated them. Darryl Cherney, for instance, posted, or claimed to have posted, a $50,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of Charles Hurwitz, the CEO of Maxxam/Pacific Lumber, for destruction of the redwoods. But he's never posted a nickel or made a comparable offer to find the person responsible for blowing up his comrade.

John: That's simply not true. 

Bruce: That is true. 

John: They hired their own DNA experts to try and compare the DNA from the Lord's Avenger letter to a number of people they believed to be suspects. They are the one's who investigated and they investigated a lot more... 

Bruce: I'm glad you brought that up. Yeah, they tried to match the DNA from the Lord's Avenger Letter, which is a confession, with persons that they hoped to implicate in the bombing. None of those persons happened to include Judi Bari's ex-husband. Darryl Cherney said a request of Mike Sweeney for his DNA would be an invasion of Sweeney's privacy! And they say they can't find Judi Bari's DNA. They could get some from her children, I would think. And they have no DNA from Mike Sweeney's girl friend at the time of the bombing, Meredyth Rinehard. 

John: You're getting off on a tangent. 

Bruce: No we're not. You brought up the DNA. I'm just telling you who they tested and who they won't test. 

Ron: But guys, that's not even an issue in the case! Who planted the bomb? That's not an issue? 

Bruce: Pretty weird case, isn't it? 

John: No, it's not a weird case! The issue is the FBI's and the OPD's failure to investigate and their effort to frame and wrongfully accuse Judi and Darryl of knowingly transporting a bomb. As I said, you've been following the case for certainly a lot longer than I have, but I have seen the evidence that was presented to the jury, including the car, and the bomb was obviously under the front seat. I hope you will agree to that! 

Ron: Let me jump in here guys and go in a different direction. Darryl Cherney testified this week. I read the AP account of his testimony, and I have to tell you, John, that I lived in Humboldt County in the late 1980s. I knew Darryl and I knew who Judi Bari was. I remember that Darryl Cherney went on 60 Minutes and made one of the most inflammatory statements I've ever heard -- something like he would strap a bomb to himself and take out a dam if he was terminally ill. He was essentially living out Edward Abbey's fantasy from the Monkeywrench Gang to gain notoriety for himself. I've said for many years that if this thing ever went to trial, that the Feds would try and get that statement in. And they did get that statement in. How's that gonna play with the jury? 

John: I don't know, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Darryl did testify that he said it, but that he asked the 60 Minutes producer not to play that remark; that he'd said a stupid thing and that he was sorry he'd said it. The point is we should really stick with the issues in the lawsuit. And that is whether or not the FBI and the OPD are liable for wrongfully accusing Darryl and Judi of planting the bomb. 

Ron: But you have to play to a jury. You're in a civil trial. You have to convince the jury. 

John: You have to convince the jury of the issues in the case. So let's not stray from the issues in the case.

Ron: Come on, you're a lawyer and you're going to tell me that juries don't respond to this sort of thing? The jury knows that Darryl was out there saying these sorts of things. 

John: That's right. They do know that, but the issue in the case is whether or not they were wrongfully accused... knowingly, wrongfully accused. The defense by the government is that the OPD and the FBI made a good faith mistake. That is really the central defense -- that they made a mistake, but they'd made it in good faith. Obviously, it wasn't a good faith mistake. Their own expert, FBI agent Williams, told the FBI that the bomb was under the seat. I was going to say that your listeners may not know this, but the jury sure knows now about the construction of this bomb. It had two safety devices on it. One was a toggle switch, an on/off switch, you had to flip it on in order to arm the bomb. The other was a timer. When the time elapses the bomb is armed. And the third one is a motion device. When the ball bearing is dislodged, it hits two wires and completes the circuit and the bomb ignited and that happens when you drive over a bump or come to a screeching halt, or change lanes abruptly -- something like that. What kind of an idiot would put that under their front seat armed in all three of those ways? 

Bruce: An idiot who didn't expect it to go off. The average idiot wouldn't carry a bomb, period. There's all kinds of possibilities as to why the bomb might have been in the car. 

John: Are you saying that they were carrying it? 

Bruce: Oh sure. That's always been among the possibilities. But we don't know why the bomb was in the car. 

John: Are you out of your mind? The jury has been told to use their own common sense and they will apply that. 

Bruce: Right. But there's disagreement among the police agencies involved, which is why they have separate attorneys. The Oakland Police Department cops have their own attorney; the accused FBI agents are defended by Justice Department attorneys. The OPD's expert contradicts the FBI's expert. 

John: Do you need an expert to answer that question about whether you'd place an armed bomb wrapped in nails, an anti-personnel bomb under your seat? ... 

Bruce: Lots of terrorists groups have been transporting similarly armed explosive devices for years. That's the way bombs are transported. 

John: You'd put it in the back seat or at least in the trunk... 

Bruce: That bomb, if it had functioned properly, would have blown up the vehicle and killed the occupants of the vehicle no matter where it was placed in the car.

John: The bomb functioned as it was designed. 

Bruce: No, it only partially functioned as designed. One end blew off first. Much of the force of the bomb moved laterally. 

John: You haven't been listening to the testimony. 

Bruce: I've read the testimony and I'm telling you that the testimony is contradictory. And it's beside the point on this issue. What I'm saying is that there are a number of possibilities as to what actually happened. Only one possibility of the case has been pursued. Excuse me; two possibilities: One is the FBI and OPD's version, which is that Darryl and Judi were knowingly carrying the device. The second possibility is the Bari/Cherney version, which is that somebody put the bomb in their car and it went off, but they didn't know it was there. I'm saying that there's at least eight other possibilities. 

John: What's your version? What's your theory? Why they'd put an armed bomb wrapped in nails, that almost killed Judi with a motion detector set up for a two hour drive?

Bruce: Two hours? To get it out of Ukiah and away from the guy who put it in the car, that's why the two hours on the timer. You're not listening. You're trying to score rhetorical points by deliberately misconstruing what I said. What I said is there's a number of possibilities. At least ten. 

John: But that's among them? 

Bruce: Sure, yeah. Absolutely. And Darryl Cherney and Judi Bari claiming non-violence after the fact is simply laughable to anybody who knew them. 

John: Redwood Summer participants were required to undergo non-violence training.

Bruce: Baloney. 

John: And they signed a non-violence pledge. 

Bruce: (Laughs.) I was a participant in Redwood Summer and there was no such requirement. 

John: Well, that was before the jury and it was uncontested. 

Bruce: The whole case is uncontested! Or most of it, anyway. Earth First! as an organization, as it exists as a so-called organization, was engaged in what is quaintly now called industrial sabotage. It was not engaged in killing people. There's always been language confusion in this case; the term "terrorist" has been misapplied to tactics aimed at decommissioning equipment, not people. Right up to maybe two weeks before the bombing Cherney and Bari were advocating monkey wrenching, industrial sabotage. 

John: They were not... 

Bruce: They certainly were.

Ron: I'm going to jump in here... 

Bruce: I can go straight to my newspaper archive and show you where Judi Bari advocated monkey wrenching. 

Ron: Bruce... 

Bruce: Don't tell me what she advocated and didn't advocate. I knew her and I was there. 

Ron: I've got to tell you I was also there at the time and there were a number of years leading up this bombing when Darryl Cherney was going around advocating tree-spiking. I had come out of the anti-nuclear movement, which was committed to non-violence and I was appalled! I wouldn't talk to the guy for a long time. We didn't get along for a long time because I was contending that his scene was never going to go anywhere until they got real and understood that you can't go around advocating that sort of violence. Guys, I've got to take a break. 

KDBS, 90.3 FM Davis, California. This is the Speaking in Tongues Hour. We're having a very heated discussion about the Judi Bari bombing and the civil litigation in federal court 12 years later with John Clarke and Bruce Anderson.

Ron Glick continues: Also in the testimony of Darryl Cherney, the defense, which is the federal government, got in that Darryl had written a song, "Spike a Tree for Jesus." On redirect his attorney Dennis Cunningham rather than read the song had Darryl sing the song as Darryl played his guitar! Which I would think would be rather inflammatory to the jury. An AP writer said that some of the people in the audience looked on and smiled, but apparently some of the jurors did not look so happy with it. John, you were there. What was the point of the attorney for Judi's estate and Darryl to have Darryl sing that song to the jury? 

John: I can't speak for Dennis Cunningham, but Darryl has nothing to hide. That may have been the point. Earth First!, as I said, had a non-violence code and everyone was required to agree to it, and this is uncontested no matter what your other guest might say.

Bruce: I was master of ceremonies at two Redwood Summer events, and there was no sign-up sheet where anybody signed up promising to behave non-violently. 

John: They had to undergo non-violence training; they had to sign a non-violent pledge. 

Bruce: (Laughs) 

John: The issue is whether the FBI and OPD acted in good faith when they placed Darryl and Judi under arrest. I think the reason this case is important -- let's not lose sight of it -- is because the FBI has a 65-year history of perverting our laws for the purposes of political repression. That's a violation of the First Amendment of our Constitution. That's why this case is important. To come out and say that it's some sort of money-making scheme is, to me, shocking. 

Bruce: (Laughs) 

John: This is an important case. We see the FBI in this ongoing modus operandi of them using COINTELPRO, a counter-intelligence program. In 1976 in the Church hearings, they documented a 40-year history of this sort of thing; it's been going on and on ever since and this is a perfect example of it. The death threats, the fake press releases that were supposed to have come from Earth First! in Arcata? There is no Earth First! in Arcata. They spelled Darryl's name wrong. These underhanded tactics to violate Darryl and Judi's and others' rights of assembly and freedom of speech. 

Ron: Bruce, is this the poster child case for anti-COINTELPRO? 

Bruce: It's a poster child case for the absence of a reputable left in this country. It's a poster child case for an utter absence of integrity on what remains of the left in this country, because this case has been a fraud right from the very beginning, yet a whole lot of so-called leftists have signed on to it as sponsors. By the way, Hill and Knowlton, the famous advertising company, put out those fake press releases. 

John: How do you know? 

Bruce: It's documented in my paper and lots of other places. Hill and Knowlton was hired by the timber industry to devise a strategy that would discredit Redwood Summer demonstrations. They admitted it at the time. In fact Judi herself may have written about it, now that you mention it. 

John: But how do you know? 

Bruce: It was tracked down at the time by people writing for my paper. It was part of what was called the Yellow Ribbon campaign. Louisiana-Pacific and Georgia-Pacific hired Hill and Knowlton to do this kind of thing. I thought everybody knew that. But people don't know that because nobody can talk about this case from a dissenting perspective. We can't argue about it like we're doing right now any place the so-called left controls! Which is why Mr. Clarke is ignorant of the history of the case and ignorant of essential facts like these.

John: I have heard what the jury has heard and that is invisible evidence. Much of it, contrary to what you have to say, is uncontested. Now you may transport a bomb, triple armed under your seat, but I can't think of anyone else, even a five-year old, who would do such a thing. 

Bruce: I can't think of anybody else who would claim to be non-violent and who would claim under oath not to have been engaged in illegal activity who would then get up on the witness stand in front of a jury of people unknown to him and sing a song celebrating industrial sabotage! That's beyond moronic. That's self-defeating. Frankly, I hope that bizarre presentation cost Darryl $20 million to perform, a half-mil per line. But if these were honorable people they would have sued for $1, not $20 million if what they're after is to clear their names. But no, they're going for $20 million worth of respectability. It's a case brought by a bunch of unscrupulous mercenaries, including their jive lawyers. 

Ron: John, why can't Bruce be right? I mean, Why can't... These people are suing for civil damages. Why not apply Ockham's razor and say it's simply about the money? 

John: Under civil law the only thing you can get is money. That's the only remedy that there is. That's why they're suing for money. But that doesn't mean... 

Bruce: Why so much money? 

John: That is their reason for bringing suit and fighting this thing for 11 years -- to make some money off it.

Bruce: Candor at last!

John: We should all really be following this case in the context of what the FBI has been doing in this country for 65 years, particularly in light of the recent passage of the USA Patriot Act, which is really in large part a wish list, an FBI wish list of investigative powers. 

Ron: But I just keep coming back to this idea that these people are not good poster boys for this sort of an attack on the FBI and what the FBI is doing. Darryl and Judi were out there advocating tree spiking right up until they decided to do this Redwood Summer campaign. Darryl had gone on 60 Minutes with inflammatory statements. If I'm William Webster of the FBI and I see Darryl Cherney on 60 Minutes (looking like Charles Manson) saying he's going to blow up a dam, I call in whoever it is I call in and I say, Take care of that guy! 

Bruce: (Laughs) 

John: Take care of it in what way? 

Ron: I don't know -- however the FBI does this sort of thing. 

Bruce: This case has been fueled by the sinister history of the FBI. The Bari-Cherney people opportunistically and cynically seized it as their funding hook and the basis of their phony suit. It's how they've raised money for 12 years -- trying the FBI on the basis of the FBI's history, which I happen to agree is a record of malice and incompetence, a fact of American history uncontested by any informed person. But the FBI and the Oakland Police Department in this case did what any other police department would do when a bomb goes off; they concluded that somehow the people in the car had something to do with that bomb going off and, morons that they are, they went ahead and arrested Darryl and Judi prematurely on the basis of visible physical evidence that did not support the charges. And here we are 12 years later. Many people listening to this program probably think that this case has something to do with trees and something to do with free speech. It doesn't. The beneficiaries of this suit -- if it's successful -- are three private individuals. The two daughters of Mike Sweeney and Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. The money is not going to buy a single tree. The purpose of the case is to enrich three private individuals. 

John: To the extent that the plaintiffs are successful, it will benefit the United States of America in that Americans will be educated around the fact that the FBI has been found guilty of violating the First Amendment. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, in accordance with their 65 year history. The judge has ruled that the FBI and its 65 year history is not admissible in this trial, so the FBI defendants and the OPD defendants are coming to trial with a clean slate. They're starting from square one insofar as what the jury knows about them. So a directed verdict will not be guilt by association or guilt by prior conduct, as the FBI has tried to make the case against Darryl and Judi, as has, it would seem Mr. Anderson. 

Ron: John, have the defendants set up any kind of trust, or foundation or anything to put this money into to put it back into their environmental work? 

John: Judi did, in her will, yes. 

Bruce: No, she didn't. 

John: Yes she did. 

Bruce: No she didn't. She left it vague. That if successful a certain portion of the proceeds would go to good things, but the language of the will is vague to the point of being non-existent and, we may recall, Judi Bari is dead. 

John: It's supposed to go to an environmental organization.

Bruce: No, that's not true. I don't think the will has ever been made public in its entirety. She left it vague, and she's dead; her heirs can clearcut whole forests if they care to. 

John: You're disputing that? 

Bruce: Yes. But I'd like to point out that the judge also excluded expert testimony that would undermine the Bari-Cherney's assertions that they were framed. For instance, Professor Don Foster, the foremost attribution scholar in the English language, was excluded from being a witness in this trial, as I was and as several other persons were who would testify to reality, not myth. Although I had nothing to testify to beyond my own experience with these people, but the other specifically excluded persons, in a real trial aimed at discovering the truth of these events, were also excluded.

Ron: Isn't it the fact that they didn't have to have a good reason to keep you out of the trial? 

Bruce: All I know is that without prior notice five or six of us were ruled out in advance as "obsessive and deranged." (laughs). I'll cop to being obsessive, but I'd at least argue deranged. But we never had a chance to do that, which of course is typical of the free speech people Mr. Clarke claims are fighting for all of us. But let me say that every objective, fair-minded, honest, smart person who's looked at this case says, Hey! Wait a minute! This case is a lot of nonsense. There's an article by Steve Talbot, the well-known PBS producer with the Frontline series, coming up on Salon.com that says we all ought to look at the ex-husband and that the case is a joke unless it considers the who and the why of it. 

Ron: Talbot did the documentary "Who Bombed Judi Bari?" I saw that piece in your newspaper where he said that the ex-husband Sweeney was the only person who wouldn't talk to him. 

Bruce: Right. Talbot was on KQED television the other night where he said, Here we are going to trial with no mention at all of what happened or who did it. He said forthrightly, on Bay Area television, that we ought to be looking at the ex-husband here because ex-hubbykins had a history of both explosive devices and domestic brutality about which another ex-wife complained. So what's going on here? What kind of a weirdo case is this where who did it can't even be mentioned? And what kind of plaintiffs do you have claiming to be friends and admirers of Judi Bari who do not want to find out what happened to her? 

John: Of course they want to find out what happened to her! 

Bruce: No they don't. Never have. 

John: It's just not an issue in the case. 

Bruce: (Laughs) Hah! They've never wanted to find out Who Bombed Judi Bari. They've gone around the country for ten years not finding out who did it. 

John: They've spent money on DNA testing. How is it that you can conclude that they don't want to know who? 

Bruce: Why don't they put up their own DNA?

John: Here's where we go back to using our common sense. Wouldn't any person want to know who did it? 

Bruce: Not if it might cost them $20 million! Why doesn't the ex-husband put up his DNA? Why doesn't Darryl put up his? Why don't they find some DNA from the late Judi Bari and put hers up? Let's all get together for a DNA party! Let's get to the bottom of it! That's what's so outrageous about this thing -- that this case is aimed at getting money for Darryl and Bari and Sweeney's two children and a handful of ghouls who have supposedly worked on it all these years, but not at finding out the truth of the event. 

John: Right. It is frustrating. 

Bruce: This case is solvable.

John: If it is, and I think you're probably right about that, why is it that the FBI will not solve it? 

Bruce: That's a very good question. And I agree with you 100% on the FBI. They're an ominous, ongoing farce that should have been disbanded back in the days of that nutcake, Hoover. 

John: Don't you think this case gives the people a snapshot into that history and that reasoning? And isn't that important for people to know? 

Bruce: No. People aren't as stupid as the pseudo-left seems to think they are. We wouldn't have fanatics flying airliners into high rises if the FBI knew what it was doing. But in this case, the FBI has been pruned from the case. This case is against several individual FBI agents and several individual Oakland Police officers. FBI policies and practices aren't on trial here. It's just these individual guys. 

John: The plaintiffs are saying that the FBI's not on trial. 

Bruce: That's not what they say when they're out there raising money for 12 years: they have said that the FBI is on trial while cynically concealing the fact that it's individual cops and FBI agents on trial. 

John: You're right. The FBI as an agency is not a defendant here because of sovereign immunity. But these are FBI agents. And the FBI agents are the ones who are guilty, if they are guilty in this case, of political repression by repression of free speech over the past 65 years. Now to say that... 

Bruce: They're private contractors? They operate independently? 

John: The FBI as an agency is not a defendant in this case.

Bruce: They're not; they're a funding pretext. But that fact has been concealed from the many dupes who have sent in money to the Bari-Cherney people for 12 years to support the case. 

Ron: Let me jump in here and ask about the FBI. I had an email exchange with my ex-co-host today. He said that the FBI, when they testified in this case, they sounded like, particularly this guy from Santa Cruz, Sena, he sounded like they didn't know anything at all about Earth First! or the environmental movement or what was going on. I simply responded to my co-host that they can play it that way because they knew they had Darryl Cherney's 60 Minutes' statement. And he emailed back to me the song about tree spiking for Jesus. So, do you think the FBI knows more than they're telling us? 

Bruce: Yes, they do. And if they say they didn't have Earth First! down as a "terrorist" group, they're lying. Agent Daly, who was an associate of another agent by the name of Buck at the time of the bombing investigation, argued at the time with me that Earth First! was a terrorist organization. I told him he was full of it, that EF! was more like a showbiz organization, that it had painted a crack on the face of the Grand Coulee dam. Certainly there were people who identified with EF! who spiked trees, but to regard Earth First! as a terrorist organization on the basis of an occasional tree spike was silly. But Daley was adamant. He said no, Earth First! is on our list of terrorist organizations. I would have been happy to testify to that much in the case. The FBI is lying if they say that they didn't consider Earth First! a terrorist organization. But getting back to Mr. Clarke's grand talk about this being a First Amendment case... Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney and all the persons supporting their law suit at places like KPFA and up here on the Northcoast, have no regard whatsoever for free speech. It's obscene for them to say that this case is about the defense of the First Amendment because they don't defend anybody else's free speech rights except their own! 

John: Free speech works. 

Bruce: Which is why they've suppressed it in this case. We could not have this discussion at KPFA, or in Anderson Valley at KZYX, not at KMUD in Humboldt County. Free speech? Where? 

Ron: Bruce, I hope that the Anderson Valley Advertiser prints that you could have it on KDBS 90.3 fm in Davis. 

Bruce: I certainly will. And if anybody passes out free speech awards, you get one. 

Ron: Gimme a plug, Bruce! 

Bruce: I will. A kiss and a marriage proposal too, if you want. 

Ron: John, what were you gonna say? 

John: I was gonna say that to make the allegation, the claim, that this case has nothing to do with free speech couldn't be further from the truth. 

Bruce: (Laughs) 

John: It couldn't be further from the truth. Darryl and Judi were very effective in recruiting Redwood Summer and environmental causes. 

Bruce: No they weren't. Redwood Summer was just starting to be organized when the bomb went off. 

John: They were accused of knowingly transporting a bomb. And they really have never lived that down. Judi is still fighting for her reputation even from the beyond. 

Bruce: Her reputation as what? She said she was a radical. What radical cares about how the government characterizes her?

John: And so is Darryl. So is Earth First! So is the environmental movement. So to say that this case has nothing to do with First Amendment rights is just ludicrous. You say that it has to do only with what they have to say, not with what anyone else has to say. 

Bruce: Of course. 

John: Well, that's the way these things work. If you know that illegally seized evidence in a criminal case cannot be used against the defendant, that's not to protect the defendant, that's to protect everyone else but the defendant to preclude that sort of thing happening in the future. We have to enforce our Bill of Rights. 

Bruce: Yes we do. And not selectively by a small band of opportunists, but Redwood Summer was only announced around May 1st, and was just getting going when the bomb exploded. The bombing helped publicize Redwood Summer, if anything. 

Ron: I have to ask, Do you think that what happened was that you had Darryl who didn't know much about what he was doing when he was organizing Redwood Summer, and you had Judi doing some pretty silly things too, like singing Will the Fetus Be Aborted at an anti-abortion rally? Do you think this was a situation where you had people who didn't know much about organizing and then thing got so big so fast and totally got out of control? 

Bruce: Yeah, partially, but Judi was a brilliant organizer and had had political organizing experience prior to Redwood Summer. Cherney didn't know a redwood tree from an oak and had had no political organizing experience. She led him around by the nose, politically. She was definitely the brains in that relationship. 

Ron: She's the one who got him to swear off tree spiking. I could make no progress with him for years. 

Bruce: Tree spiking is a very bad thing to do. You're going to risk maiming or disfiguring or killing some guy just trying to earn a living by cutting trees down? Tree spiking is a form of terrorism. 

John: Judi Bari was highly successful in bridging the gap between environmentalists and loggers; she was making approaches to the millworkers, the people in the lumber industry... 

Bruce: Absolutely untrue. There was rhetoric aimed at achieving a united front against the outside timber corporations, but it was much too late for that by the time Bari arrived. Besides, the timber industry on the Northcoast can't be organized by people who don't work in it. Judi held one meeting in Willits with logging contractors; that was it. She was unsuccessful at organizing anybody except old leftists, hippies, people who think they can communicate with trees, free range screwballs, and so forth. These people comprised her political base because there are lots of them up here on the Northcoast; that's who she organized. There were no mill workers, no loggers involved in these protests. A few maybe, but not many 

Ron: But there were a lot of forest activists -- I happened to have been one -- who were doing work to slow the rapacious destruction of the forests of the Northcoast. I looked at these people as Johnny Come Latelies. 

Bruce: They were Johnny Come Latelies. And they completely shoved aside people who had been fighting bad timber practices for a long time. But to hear this claque of opportunists tell it, the environmental movement on the Northcoast began with the arrival of Darryl Cherney and Judi Bari.

John: All that may be true to an extent, but what difference does that make in regards to this lawsuit? What we're talking about is a lawsuit about violation of our own civil liberties. That's the issue, that's the case the plaintiffs are going to give to the jury to decide. To say it's unimportant is off the wall. It misses the boat. 

Bruce: The suit would have a lot more credibility if the late Bari, and Cherney, and the people now supporting the lawsuit, ever rolled out for anybody else's First Amendment rights. This suit didn't fall out of the sky to land whole in Oakland Federal Court. It has been built on lies over 12 years! They don't want anybody talking about it from the Who Done It perspective because it would collapse if people knew everything about it. They've gone to extraordinary lengths for 12 years now to prevent the conversation that we're having here today. And you can verify that at Time-Tested Books in Sacramento where phone calls were placed not to allow me to speak. Karen Pickett in the Bay Area did the same thing. She operates out of the Ecology Center in Berkeley. She got out an email about my appearances in the Bay Area. 'Don't let him speak. Call the bookstores to shut him down. If he does speak, show up and disrupt him. Don't let him talk.' These are the kinds of First Amendment advocates we're talking about here. 

John: We're talking about violations of the First Amendment. The First Amendment doesn't apply to individuals, it applies to the government action. Again, for you to say that this case is not important on First Amendment grounds is beyond belief! It's just a ludicrous proposition. You may not like Judi... 

Bruce: I did like Judi Bari. 

John: Or like her organizing techniques. Or you may characterize them as Johnny Come Latelies, whatever. That doesn't detract from the importance of this suit. 

Bruce: The suit is undermined by the hypocrisy of the people bringing it. I regard Judi Bari as a truly tragic figure. I think she did what she had to do, and I think she took the truth of what happened to her to her grave. I think that she was very brave right to the end because if she'd told the truth about the bombing it would have complicated the lives of her daughters enormously, and it would also have criminally implicated friends of hers, people who were close to her. I think that's what happened here. 

John: This is a First Amendment lawsuit. It does not have to do with who it was who placed that bomb. 

Bruce: It didn't start out that way. 

John: They're being framed for having planted it. 

Bruce: It didn't start out as a First Amendment lawsuit; it's been edited eight times by people who are at this point co-dependent: the FBI, the government, and the Oakland Police Department are Darryl Cherney's co-dependents in this thing at this point. It has nothing to do with free speech, and it's not an important case except as an example of the utter bankruptcy of what passes for a left in this country. 

Ron: I was there at Redwood Summer and remember Charles Hurwitz getting away with the plunder of the redwoods. How are people who think that trees and this community and these people are important, how are they supposed to react to something that's been reduced to a free speech issue? 

John: This case is about free speech. I'm not saying that those other issues, which are certainly related issues, are not important, and it certainly doesn't downplay those issues and the ruining of the timber-based economies of the Northcoast. But it is a free speech case. It is primarily a free speech case. That's one of the three counts, violation of the First Amendment. From my point of view, having seen this sort of thing before, and having prosecuted this sort of thing before, is that that is very very important to the way that we function in this country. Free speech and the protection of our rights of free speech and association is the point of this lawsuit. And again, for Bruce to say that it only protects the speech of those who are behind it or associated with EF! is simply not true. Just because it has to do with this particular case, these particular facts, doesn't mean that it doesn't protect the free speech of all of us just as in, as I spoke earlier, keeping evidence out that's collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment is not designed to protect the guilty, it is designed to protect all of us from Fourth Amendment violations committed by the police. 

Bruce: What I said was that free speech would be enhanced if the people bringing this case weren't the mercenary phonies that they clearly are. If they didn't have a history of trying to stop the free exchange of opinions, the suit might have value. That's what I said. There's a distinction there that you're missing on purpose. 

Ron: Bruce Anderson, you run a newspaper, how is free speech doing in America? 

Bruce: Very poorly. I think it's imperiled because, among other things, the left doesn't consistently stand up for it. There's one standard of free speech. It either exists or it doesn't exist. It's like the old joke about pregnancy. You either are you aren't. If you shut down dissenting perspectives on controversial cases, you are not enhancing free speech. Simple as that. 

Ron: John Clarke, how is free speech doing in America today? 

John: Not well, and I'd have to say there's definitely some truth to what Bruce had to say about that. I represented some people who were associated with a conservative cause and liberal radio stations among others didn't want to have anything to do with it, although they were misreading it because it was really about government corruption. But it had to do with the Clinton administration and I'm not going to get into that. But I'd agree with Bruce's assessment. And I'd also say that this case furthers the goals of free speech in our country, and to say that simply because the plaintiffs have this bad attribute or that bad attribute doesn't ... true or not, is not the point. The point is that the lawsuit and particularly if it's a plaintiff's verdict, will further the goals of free speech. I really don't think that Bruce would disagree with that. Would he? 

Bruce: Yes, Bruce would disagree with that because when both parties to a so-called free speech case have cynically pared that case down to its bare minimum by deliberately withholding from consideration the wider implications and the wider facts of the case, such as Who Did It, I think they damage free speech. I think anybody with common sense looks at this and says, Hey? What the hell kind of case is this? Are you telling me that the American government, with its vast police state capacities, doesn't know who did this? Couldn't figure out who did this? That they went to all the trouble to frame a couple of people who, objectively, presented no threat whatsoever to extractive capitalism? Darryl Cherney and Company have raised over a million dollars to investigate the case and bring their case into federal court and they haven't been able to get to the bottom of it? They refuse to test the ex-husband's DNA? The girlfriend's DNA? Come on! This isn't a free speech case; it doesn't do anything for free speech. What it does is encourage the cynicism of anybody who cares about trees, free speech, the left, the future of free people in a free country! It's a very bad thing that's occurring in Oakland Federal Court. 

John: You're saying that even if it's a plaintiff's verdict, right? 

Ron: Guys, we're going to run out of time, but I want to give each of you one last shot to make a statement. But I'd also like you to predict how the jury's gonna decide. John Clarke? 

John: This case is important and it is regarding free speech, regardless of who the plaintiffs are. I'll just refer again to that analogy about keeping out evidence in a criminal case that is collected by violating the Fourth Amendment. It's to protect all of us, not just the criminal defendant. It's to protect other people. That's what this case is doing. As to my prediction, I'm optimistic, let me say that, about a plaintiff's verdict in this case. Obviously, they were wrongfully accused of knowingly transporting a bomb. Judi Bari was in so much pain that when she was brought to the hospital she asked the medical personnel who were working on her to let her die. She was in so much pain. What kind of a person would do something like that. Obviously they were framed. 

Ron: Bruce, your last thoughts on this and your prediction about what the jury's gonna do? 

Bruce: Men have been doing unspeakable harm to women since recorded time began. I have no idea what the jury's going to do. One of the jurors doesn't even speak English. I expect him to be the foreman, thus appropriately completing this 12 year charade. I'd like to see Bari-Cherney win and be awarded one dollar in damages. I think that would be justice.

One Response to "The Judi Bari Trial: A Radio Debate (May 9, 2002)"

  1. Noel   June 4, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Correction; UC Davis Radio station KDVS (K-Davis)

    Reply

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