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Glenda Goes Off (Nov. 21, 2001)

Glenda Anderson is the senior reporter at the Ukiah Daily Journal. She lives with Mike Sweeney. Sweeney, assisted by supervisor Richard Shoemaker and people like Wes Chesbro, was installed six or seven years ago as the second of two Mendocino County garbage agencies. Why there isn’t one county garbage agency is one of those questions county officials prefer not to answer. Before Sweeney was a tax-paid recycler, he recycled airplane hangars, timber company offices and estranged wives with various kinds of bombs.

Friday morning I was at the Garden Cafe in Ukiah to meet the well-known journalist, Kate Coleman. She’s writing a book on the Bari mystery. Soon after I joined Ms. Coleman, Glenda Anderson, seated nearby, got up to leave. Spotting me, Glenda, ordinarily a demure personality type, yelled at me, “I got here two years after all the Bari stuff. You are lying about me. You have no regard for the truth whatsoever.” She repeated these statements mantra-like all the way out the door as the cafe’s staff and patrons looked on, stunned.

Boorish public behavior is always tiresome, but it’s common here in Mendoland among “liberal” women. Why? I suppose they know they can do it without being bounced out the door onto South State Street. If I’d gone off on Glenda I know I’d have spent the weekend at the County Jail. But usually it’s street hags I’ve got to fend off, not journalists. Not long ago I had to warn an unhinged woman that if she didn’t get out of my face I was going to pop the male dwarf she was carrying in her fanny pack. “That’s not my husband, you bastard, that’s my baby!”  she screamed.

But consider Glenda’s verbal drive-by: If she’s so concerned with the truth as it affects her and the sawed-off psycho she’s been shacked up with all these years, why doesn’t she simply call me and tell me that I’ve got my Glenda-Mikey chronology wrong. I’d even invite her to write a clarifying letter to my paper if I didn’t know she was a reporter for the Ukiah Daily Journal. 

If I’m wrong, I don’t mind saying I’m wrong. I’m also willing to say I’m sorry, and say it in print, too. Instead, Glenda waits weeks to encounter me in person, performs her live coffee break psycho-drama that absolutely no one else in the place wants to see or hear, and runs out the door. This is a journalist doing this; an educated person, not that either qualification translates as a guarantee of civilized public behavior.

Really, Glenda, instead of standing by your man, you oughta be taking notes. Or collecting lover boy’s DNA samples.

But as a professional courtesy from one journalist to another, here’s the basic case against your roommate, Glenda. 

Sweeney was Judi Bari’s husband at the time she was blown up in Oakland in May of 1990. I and others think Sweeney made the bomb that blew Bari up. Those others include quite an impressive array of writers, several of them nationally prominent. Alternate theories of the case are not allowed at almost all NorCal media venues.

There are two books in the works on the Bari bombing, both of which are likely to be highly skeptical of the version of events promoted by groups like the Mendocino Environment Center, the Redwood Summer Justice Project, Mendocino County Public Radio, and KPFA in Berkeley. All of these groups are tax exempt; two of them are organized as charities although there’s nothing charitable about them. There sure as hell isn’t anything charitable about the people who dominate them. All four organizations function as employment programs for unscrupulous and inert “activists” who are only enlivened at the prospect of easy cash. Their rhetoric to the contrary, there is no evidence they are out to make the world a better place. 

Sweeney is an interesting person. He’s very smart but, like many criminals, not quite as smart as he thinks he is. 

The bomb Sweeney made that exploded beneath his wife was designed to kill people. It didn’t kill his wife, although she died seven years later from it. Sweeney, from the day of bombing 11 years ago, has managed to divert attention from himself as the primary and obvious suspect. I think he’s been able to elude primary suspect status because he’s been protected by federal law enforcement. 

As a Stanford student, Sweeney edited the student newspaper and joined an SLA-like campus political cult inspired by an English professor called H. Bruce Franklin. The group disintegrated in the early 1970’s after a series of arrests following the murder of a prison transportation officer, a young man named Hernandez who was unarmed when the car he was in was fired upon by four Stanford students operating under the delusion they were revolutionaries. The student Maoists fired on the Hernandez vehicle to free a prisoner who, on a tip from inside the group, was arrested a month later.

Sweeney’s girl friend at the time of the pseudo-left Stanford cult, which called itself Venceramos, was also a faux-revolutionary. Her name is Cynthia Denenholtz. She and Sweeney married and had two children, now grown, and probably as ignorant of mom and pop’s exciting college days as contemporary Mendocino County, including Sweeeny’s present love interest, is of Sweeney’s secret life as a terrorist. 

Denenholtz divorced Sweeney, got a law degree and now functions as, of all things, a family court magistrate for Sonoma County. She is not known to consult her Little Red Book for advice on how to resolve troublesome in-house disputes.

The former Mrs. Sweeney  had to get restraining orders against Sweeney to keep him away from her when the couple separated. On at least one occasion Sweeney vandalized her property in Sebastopol. Other legal actions involving Sweeney in Sonoma County are no longer part of the Sonoma County public archive. There were several of them.

Bari and Sweeney became a couple soon after Sweeney’s marriage to Denenholtz ended in 1979 or so. Bari and Sweeney began life together in southwest Santa Rosa near the old World War Two airfield. Annoyed by weekend air traffic, Sweeney constructed an explosive device rigged to containers of gasoline and, one memorable night, managed to blow up one of two hangars at the air field. A young man who functioned as a sort of watchman was asleep in the hangar that exploded into flames; he had to sprint for his life. The second hangar did not explode into flames because Sweeney’s ignition device failed to touch off its desired containers of gasoline. Neither device ignited the twenty thousand gallons of airplane fuel contained in an underground storage tank. If the fuel in the underground tank had exploded as Sweeney had hoped it would, the young man asleep in hangar number one would have slept forever. 

The police and the owner of the property were convinced that Sweeney was responsible for the spectacular attack on the air field. The police recovered the faulty device intended to blow up the second hangar. It would turn out to bear identifying similarities to an explosive device that failed to fully ignite a gasoline bomb placed at the then-offices of Louisiana-Pacific in Cloverdale in May of 1990, ten years after the bombs at the Santa Rosa air field.

 The Cloverdale bomb placed on the porch of L-P’s administrative offices at Cloverdale was accompanied by a placard-size sign announcing, “L-P Screws Mill Workers.” The sign resembled in size, script and sentiment the placards that were then stored at the Mendocino Environment Center for instant demonstrations across the street at the Mendocino County Courthouse.

A month after the failed Cloverdale bomb at the L-P office, a motion-activated pipe bomb exploded beneath the seat of Judi Bari’s Subaru as she drove past Oakland High School. She was nearly killed; Darryl Cherney, her passenger, was slightly injured. Bari had enjoyed robust health prior to the bomb. She died of liver cancer in 1997, undoubtedly because of the damage done to her by the bomb. 

Sweeney and Bari were still married at the time of the Oakland bomb, although they were estranged. Bari told friends that Sweeney had beaten and raped her, and that she was afraid of him. Sweeney is known to have abused Bari early in the couple’s marriage when they still lived in Santa Rosa. At the time of the Oakland bombing, Bari was also worried that Sweeney would act on his threats to seek custody of thier two children in the Bari-hostile Mendocino County courts. Bari, through her friend Pam Davis, twice solicited Sweeney’s murder, a fact Bari admitted but laughed off as a “joke” when the solicitation was mentioned on Mendocino County Public Radio.

The point of the “joke,” and to whom it may have been amusing are unknown, but dismissing as a “joke” a failed attempt to get someone to kill your husband when that someone turns down the job still fails as humor but makes perfect sense as a solicitation to commit murder.

Bari and Sweeney had each other in a mutually felonious death grip at the time Judi Bari was bombed. If daddy tried to get custody of the children on the seemingly solid grounds that his daughters were in danger because of their mother’s radical political activity and her neo-hippie, dope-drenched life style, mommy would have revealed his after-hours activities as airport bomber and, perhaps, as her co-conspirator in the Cloverdale bomb aimed at L-P. Mommy could also say daddy tried to kill her in Oakland with one of his famously flawed explosive devices. Sweeney hasn’t made a bomb yet that worked the way it was supposed to.

So, when Bari survived the Oakland pipe bomb constructed by her cunning little husband, she and Sweeney really had no choice but to agree to divert attention from hubbykins onto grander forces like the left’s perennial fall guy, the historically culpable FBI. Or corporate timber interests. Or fundamentalist Christian zealots. Or all three in one plot against Bari. 

But if Sweeney went down, so would Bari because she’d done felony-quality crimes too, with and without her energetically nocturnal husband. 

The fun couple decided that if they wanted to stay out of federal jail permanently lose custody of their two little girls, not to mention loss of Bari’s rep as a “non-violent” tree hugger and Sweeney’s aspirations for respectability as a garbage bureaucrat, it was in their mutual interests to pretend to have a “model” post-marital relationship.

And that’s what they did. They said the FBI did it, and for eleven years now the mercenaries promoting the forever pending federal lawsuit have pretended that Mike Sweeney couldn’t possibly have bombed his wife.

  Bari moved to a cabin east of Willits where she was a sitting duck for a follow-up attempt on her life, and Sweeney moved into the hills west of Ukiah and life as a public bureaucrat. 

In the alienated but unsophisticated circles the Bari-ites travel in, the FBI’s notorious Cointelpro program is instinctively invoked as the enemy of all that is good. No remote tribe in the deepest Amazonian wilds has as simpleminded a world view as the reigning cult brains at key Bari-ite installations. 

Not that the FBI hasn’t engaged in illegal undercover work such as Cointelpro. Here in Mendocino County in 1990 I think the FBI created the Mendocino Environment Center as its Redwood Summer listening post, an opinion confirmed in my by the owner of the premises refusal to divulge who originally rented the place from him and who yanked its phones and re-wired the dump after the Bari bombing. The MEC’s landlord writes in occasionally to denounce me, but he’s suddenly silent when he’s asked basic questions.

Mike Sweeney maintained his recycling office at the Mendocino Environment Center at the time he attempted to recycle his wife via a pipe bomb. The space was free to Sweeney; he even had his own key to the place. He used the MEC’s “non-violent” auspices to slip his last known live bomb beneath the driver’s seat of his wife’s Subaru the day before it exploded beneath her in Oakland. After the bombing he made a replica of the device he used on his wife that she could take around to “demonstrate to the environmental community” how the real bomb worked.

What a guy! Always helping out. 

Recent DNA evidence in the case has made a lot of people very nervous. If Sweeney’s DNA is matched to the DNA found on a post-bomb letter Sweeney wrote to Mike Geniella of the Press Democrat as “The Lord’s Avenger,” the persons who bombed Judi Bari will be known for an irrefutable, scientific fact. 

The Lord’s Avenger letter describes the bomb in detail known only to the person who made it. Professor Don Foster, widely considered the number one guy in the world in attributional scholarship, says it’s clear that Sweeney is the Lord’s Avenger. Foster, who gives classes to the FBI’s documents analysts, is best known as the man who revealed Joe Klein as the author of Primary Colors. 

Sweeney and his co-conspirators in the post-bomb cover-up, have let it be known that  requests for him to volunteer his DNA to see if it matches that found on the case’s key documents is an “invasion of his privacy.” He also has often threatened to sue persons, publications and audio and visual media who mention his name as the likely perp in the Bari bombing. 

Sweeney hasn’t sued anybody because if he does his years of murderous criminal conduct will be revealed. 

Most places in America, bombs placed without regard for their potential harm to uninvolved, random persons is viewed as undesirable social behavior. Sweeney has so far gotten away with his bombs because of the uniquely retro media of the Northcoast and its uniquely retro but numerously naive “progressive” citizens. A psychopath of Sweeney’s intelligence and cunning can get away with murder in Mendocino County, which is what Glenda Anderson’s boy friend has managed to do. Whether or not he will live out his days in nervous rusticity at his unmarked forty acres hidden off Running Springs Road west of Ukiah is at least as likely as Osama bin Laden emerging alive from the war in Afghanistan.

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