To: Mr. Paul Grabowicz,
P.O. Box 24304
Oakland, CA 94623
Thanks for sending your two articles on Judi Bari. You and Carolyn do a better job of presenting the unbiased facts than many Bay Area reporters who seem intent upon whitewashing Bari and vilifying the police and FBI.
I prefer to be objective about the case because I believe objectivity is required to solve any puzzle, but I write this letter without your reportorial need for two sources of factual confirmation and balance of presentation between two opposing points of view. Having spent four years doing daily battle with Bari and her ex, Michael Sweeney, going to bed nightly attempting to analyze their true motives and anticipate their next bizarre gambit, I suspect that I may be the best living student of their public psyches. If I appear to stray from perfect objectivity, it is only because a certain amount of free-wheeling theory and editorializing, prohibited in straight reporting, is often required to arrive, detective fashion, at a semblance of truth and give direction to the search for additional facts. I'll start with a few comments on recent events.
I'm afraid Steve Talbot's TV documentary was gutted, at the last minute, by KQED's attorneys and, perhaps, by the very liberal station management. The result was just another whitewash of Bari, in which her own message was allowed to predominate, and a condemnation of the police. I was sorry too, that Steve included the gratuitous statement that Bari had been "up-front and honest" with him. I don't believe that Judi Bari has spoken ten consecutive, honest words in her life, at least not for publication. However, the way in which she uses the Press and misguides her listeners can vary from grossly obvious to deviously subtle. It takes a lot of thought and some serious sniffing around to discover just where and how you have been had. She knows all the right buttons to push.
Example: She makes continual reference to her responsibility of motherhood in full knowledge that it supercedes [sic] flag waving and apple pie in the hearts of your readers. After the bomb, she fretfully announced that she wouldn't be able to bear another child. Her maternalistic protests don't square with a mother who has continually subjected her children to public confrontations in which physical threats and violent epithets are the order of the day. Her entire lifestyle is counter to that of a mother who places her children's welfare first.
Nearly seven hundred people groaned when she stood her four year old daughter before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, at an acrimonious hearing, and had the child make a speech of fear that an airplane would fall on her and kill her in her bed if our airport was not shut down! Small children have no such fears. In a world where aircraft will remain ubiquitous, Judi Bari traumatized her own daughter for a political advantage! Think, too, how many women over forty, having raised their families years earlier, would identify thwarted childbirth as a prime concern following a bombing? Her remark was an obvious ploy for public sympathy. Every bone in my body tells me that she emerged from the anesthetic planning to cover her tracks and use the bombing for her own gain. With outside help, she played the Press like a violin from her hospital bed.
How can anyone fall for Bari's pretended opposition to violence? All the facts refute her. Few Americans have so completely immersed themselves in violence as she has. She studied revolution in college. She went into union organizing, the most confrontational form of business. When she became a leader of Earth First, she joined one of the most violence prone political groups in the country, a group which brags of doing over $25,000,000 worth of criminal sabotage annually. Some of her co-leaders have publicly proclaimed willingness to hurt or kill humans to benefit the environment. She married the man who arsoned Santa Rosa Air Center. (I know it but I can't prove it. Talbot says he has a confirming witness.)
The arson almost became murder when our flight instructor awoke to find his bedding on fire.
If, as Talbot quotes his witness, Bari opposed the arson, she certainly never condemned it. On the contrary, she took maximum advantage of it to claim the airport should be closed because we had no repair shop or restroom facilities. They were lost in the fire. (In fact, we re-established both, in temporary style, immediately after the fire.)
All of Bari's rhetoric is calculated to incite violence for the publicity it gets her and in hope of riling her opposition to ill-considered action. If you research the timing of her current anti-tree spiking posture, you will find that she never spoke against it until, for the first time in her life, she began to get very bad press for the spiking. Despite her protestations, she appears to love violence for the sensational forums it provides to her. If she has not courted violence all her life, she has given an extraordinarily good imitation of doing just that.
Among the documents I sent you, via Carolyn, are two leaflets written by Judi Bari and bearing her former Santa Rosa phone number. In them, she makes totally false accusations calculated to inflame neighborhood residents against the airport. It is far easier to tell a lie than to refute one. Bari, being a professional liar, is more difficult to trap than most. However, those two leaflets, in the hands of a skilled interrogator who has armed himself with the full facts beforehand, can prove that Bari attacks her victims with campaigns of massive lies. She normally injects just enough truth so she has a convenient exhibit to prove her veracity. The leaflets are special because she slipped up and left herself no escape clause. All of the salient points are utter lies. More important, they are provably unsupportable.
The first leaflet attributes a series of publicly onerous plans for expanding air traffic operations at Santa Rosa Air Center to "all the pilots." Bari never interviewed a a [sic] single pilot from the airport. There was no unified group which could speak for all or even a small number of the pilots. No one, other than my partner or I, had the authority to make such plans for the airport and we had a ten year record of discouraging exactly those changes which Bari said we wanted to make. In short, if she were pressed to produce just one pilot as a source for the allegations she made in that leaflet, she couldn't do it. The whole thing was a tissue of Bari's lies and there is an abundance of witnesses and physical evidence to prove it.
The second leaflet told airport neighbors that a County consultant had proposed moving the air traffic pattern to the west side of the field. It was obviously calculated to anger a lot of people who had not previously been subjected to air traffic noise. The fact is, in public [sic] meeting, Judi Bari, herself, proposed the west side move! The consultant, who chaired the meeting, announced that he had considered the move and had rejected it for safety reasons obvious to any pilot. Actually, only my partner and I had the authority to institute such a move and we were on record with the FAA as opposed to it. The day after the meeting, Bari circulated her lying leaflet. If their memories are stirred, an entire auditorium of witnesses can prove my point.
Her victims often find themselves with the terrible frustration and emotionally wrenching task of combatting an onslaught of Bari created paper tigers. Honest negotiation of complaints is impossible because so many of the complaints are made only of vapor. If one phony complaint is laid to rest, Bari creates another. She isn't seeking solutions to real problems because her goal is total destruction of her target. If solutions were found, she couldn't attain her goal. Naturally, her victims can't negotiate effectively with someone who will be satisfied only by their extinction.
I believe Judi Bari's public image, supported by most of the local Press, is one of a slightly unwashed and abrasive, honest environmentalist, a simple soul and loving mother, persecuted by police and an innocent victim of big industry and violent loggers.
My own image of her, supported by the facts set forth above and by years of piecing together a multitude of lesser bits of evidence, is vastly different. I believe she is a devious revolutionary, probably an anarchist, dedicated to destruction of the economy and the establishment rather than to constructive environmentalism. I know she is a constant, artful liar, not brilliant but instinctive. She knows what she can sell to her public in terms they will gobble up. Her rhetoric incites violence and precludes rational settlement of issues. She gravitates to violence and wallows in it while, perhaps, actually thinking of herself as a peaceful lover of children and dogs. The piece of her brain is missing which provides a true sense of humanity, genuine love, honor and integrity. Academically, she can define those words and use them cleverly for her purpose but they hold no more real meaning for her than ordinary double-talk does for you and me. She is truly amoral and, of course, doesn't know it. As such, she undermines healthy environmentalism and she is certainly a criminal menace to decent society.
If you approach Judi Bari with that image in mind, serious digging will turn up more and more evidence to support it.
Before I wrap this up, let me tell you about Allen Paisano. Allen was the American Indian aircraft mechanic who owned the maintenance shop at our airport. He had earned his mechanic's ratings, including the respected rating of Aircraft Inspector, while serving in the U.S. Air Force. During the 1970's, he conducted his one-man operation from a spacious office, complete with parts room and hanger space, in the same huge building which housed our office. Through the years, he had painstakingly and at considerable hard earned expense acquired the specialized tools, manuals and spare parts to become an independent, small businessman. He was probably the first member of his family or tribe to earn escape from the reservation, near Grants, New Mexico, and join the world of commerce in his own small way. He was proud of it.
Allen was wiped out when Judi Bari's husband committed arson. (See prior disclaimer.) As with my own business, Allen was uninsured for fire loss to the building's contents. Insurance premiums for that elderly tinder-box would have been prohibitively high. The day after the fire, all that remained of a seventy foot tall building was a two foot pile of soggy ashes. Between thin, stratified layers of those ashes, Allen found a handful of almost useless remnants from his lifetime of frugal accumulation.
With Judi Bari attacking the future of the airport, in a highly publicized, four year battle, it was impossible for Allen to find investment capital for a new shop, equipment, etc. For the rest of his life, that elderly man worked in the open air on a windswept, alternately freezing cold, searingly hot, rain flooded airport. He had no telephone so he borrowed ours. He drove many miles to purchase each new part as he needed it. His tools were little more than rusted and heat warped salvage from the fire. He kept them in a small box in the trunk of his car along with the FAA required files.
Allen seemed to accept the hardships stoically, (I never heard him complain against God or human,) but he could no longer view himself as a real businessman. He joked a bit less, stooped a bit more and kept more to himself. He drank himself to death a few years later.
His family came up from the reservation and held a small funeral ceremony on the airport. It was the most honest and touching such ritual I have ever attended. Then, they gave his little box of tools to an old mechanic friend and drove away.
My point is simply a replay of the old western movie theme. Whenever an unruly mob or individuals take it upon themselves to forcefully discipline others, they are likely to create one or more Allen Paisano stories. When Earth First destroys a bulldozer, knocks down a power line or eliminates a job, it cannot possibly anticipate or limit the ripple effect on human injury and suffering. Among intelligent people, seizure of that disciplinary authority is the act of an ego-manaical [sic] tyrant. Like Al Capone, Judi Bari may never be convicted of a specific violent crime but she revels in her leadership role and profits by the actions of the group.
The Press can't remain neutral. Headlines are the grand prize. They are the sought after, big-payoff to Earth First in exchange for colorful news. Only when editorials roundly condemn violent activism and the news media completely ignores the perpetrators' messages, forgets their names and skips their photos will the profit be gone from their brand of crime. Unfortunately, it's too late to forget Judi Bari. She was granted celebrity status long ago and must be discredited.
Reporters can't editorialize but they can certainly present offsetting evidence. Each time Bari cries, "FBI persecution," publication of her cry should be accompanied by a list of Earth First's own claims to major interstate crimes of sabotage and mention that the FBI is obligated to target leaders of interstate crime. After all, the FBI operates under legal constraints which often prevent it from responding effectively to defaming allegations.
On a final, more personal note; I was mildly taken aback, during the KQED airing, when Bari said I was seeking "revenue." Not because I wouldn't suspect myself of such a motive, but because the word didn't seem to fit comfortably as an accurate expression of my feelings. After a bit of introspection, I realized that I have never regarded Bari in the kind of light which could elicit a vengeful sentiment. Rather, I view her as a repugnant and destructive curiousity [sic], much as you might view a slimey [garden] garden slug or a nest of termites in your foundation joists. You recognize the need to banish the critters, and that you must learn about them in order to do the job properly, but you don't feel revenge for them. Vengence [sic] is an emotion you can feel only for a higher form of life.
I have no interest in rehashing the Air Center battle except insofar as it contributes evidence toward the eventual unmasking of Judi Bari. That is why I'm writing this letter for your records.
Bari has left a trail of grief, destroyed jobs and millions of dollars in loss to the economy. Much more than you may have noted. Culpability for her crimes must be shared by everyone who has been too stupid, weak, lazy, incompetent or self-serving to expose her, early on, for what she is. The list includes a few police, reporters, still active politicians and some of her honest but sheeplike followers. It is trite but true that early recognition of the real Hitler would have saved the world from its greatest tragedy. The same might be said of lesser lights like Charles Keating, Michael Milliken [sic] or Jim and Tammy Faye Baker.
Each time I talk with a reporter, I hope that he may be the one to expose Judi Bari. If the Press waits to do a post-mortem expose, after she has caused a lifetime of damage, it will have failed the obligation inherent in its First Amendment protection. It will be just another case of too little, too late.
Congratulations on your effort so far and best wishes for your future investigation. I'm willing to cooperate in any way possible. Feel free to give my telephone number to anyone who can benefit from my input.
Robert Ian Williams
cc: Steve Talbot