Letters (July 12, 2000)

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SWEENEY’S NEW SHILL

Editor:

Some responses to your ed reply to the letters from Nick Wilson and Susan Crane last week:

• “By 1967…the most intimidating effects of the Cold War were over.” But the US war on Vietnam was still going full blast, and the Peace and Freedom Party was started in 1968. Irv Sutley was in the Peace and Freedom Party and in the Communist Party. Given that the FBI heavily infiltrated the CP, and given Sutley's still-unexplained activities around the bombing of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, Wilson's sense of historical context is more plausible than yours. And recall that the FBI had just set up Dave Foreman and some other Earth First!ers in Arizona. Evidently the FBI never really went out of the Cointel business.

• What exactly is “illuminating” about Steve Talbot's movie on the bombing? Sutley was named in the movie as a suspect, which he should have been. According to both Bari and Cherney, Sutley set up the gun pictures. He admits taking some of the pictures, sending one to the AVA and at least one to Cherney. Another was sent to the Ukiah PD by “Argus.” Argus tried to arrange to set Bari up for a pot bust, and Bari testified that Sutley tried to buy pot from her at the time. And Sutley was one of only four people who knew the pictures even existed. The others: Bari, Cherney, and Pam Davis.

• “The sight of her former husband slipping a parcel into Judi Bari's car in downtown Ukiah would have aroused no suspicion whatsover.” Not at the time, perhaps, but he would have been taking a huge chance that someone would remember seeing him do that, since Ukiah is the county seat of a sparsely populated county and many people recognize each other on the streets. And your suggestion that placing the bomb in the car during the noon hour, across from the courthouse in Ukiah was somehow a less conspicuous way of doing it than at night in Oakland or Berkeley is ridiculous.

• “It seems clear to me he [Sweeney] so desperately needed to place himself in Mendocino County that it is unlikely he traveled all the way to the Bay Area with it [the bomb] to place it there.” Yes, indeed, that scenario is very unlikely. Another unlikelihood: that Sweeney wrote the Lord's Avenger letter, since the author of that letter claims the bomb was planted in Mendocino County. If the bomber placed the bomb in Mendocino County, why would he then draw the attention of the authorities back to the county after the bomb had exploded in the Bay Area?

• What is your evidence that settlement talks in the RSJP suit are ongoing? Wilson accurately characterized the demands in the lawsuit. Why do you continue to maintain that it's all about money?

• You suggest that Susan Crane is less than candid about the cops blowing up the “replica.” Could you be more specific? Your ed reply and your conversation with Captain Walker merely repeats the information that was in the Press Democrat's account of those events at the time. But Crane says that the idea of making a replica was abandoned, that she placed the pipe in a bag by the door of her house to return it to the store, someone — Betty Ball, actually — looked in the bag while Crane was at work, thought it was a bomb, and called the cops. Hence, there's no evidence that Sweeney or anyone else made a replica — it was just a pipe and two caps — and there's no evidence that Sweeney or anyone else wrote a press release. Crane “concedes” no such thing in her letter.

The so-called New Evidence case accusing Mike Sweeney of planting the bomb in Judi Bari's car is riddled with logical fallacies and factual errors. In short, as DA Vroman tried to tell you guys months ago, your evidence falls way short of validating the serious accusations you're making.

Rob Anderson
San Francisco

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Ed reply:

(1) By 1967, as you know, the FBI’s infiltration of the CP was the running joke that there were more FBI agents than Commies in the CP. The CP was also regarded by most young radicals as an irrelevant relic, as you also know, and about as revolutionary as the neighborhood canasta club. P&F and the CP of ‘68 undoubtedly had its share of snitches, but there’s no evidence whatsoever that Sutley was either a snitch or a provocateur. Sutley is the same vintage we are and, like us, got active in the early 60’s via CORE. The police agents from that time were inevitably the boys and girls suggesting that we all go out and commit major felonies so they could arrest us. The FBI is apparently still using tax money to facilitate felonies, as in the famous Earth First! case in Arizona you cite.

Sutley’s explanation of the Bari interlude is that he knew her casually from the pre-Mendo days time they were both active with Sonoma County’s left, that he rented a room from Pam Davis, a friend of Bari’s, that Davis and Bari asked him to come to Ukiah for the abortion rally as a body guard, that he once asked Bari to buy him some pot in that same period, that he, Davis, Bari, and Cherney spent the weekend following the Ukiah abortion demo in Piercy where Cherney managed a derelict motel, that in Piercy Sutley mentioned he had a couple of guns in the trunk of his car, Bari and Cherney said “Goody! Goody!”, that Bari wanted to pose with a gun for a music album she planned to call, “They Sure Don’t Make Hippies Like They Used To.”

You and Mike Sweeney’s other shills now claim that Judi Bari was somehow set up by Sutley to pose with the gun. You knew her: did Judi Bari, the securely middleclass princess of Silver Springs, Maryland, ever do anything she didn’t want to do? This notion that Sutley, who isn’t what anyone would call glib, talked her into posing with an Uzi is as unlikely as the theory that Sutley sent the gun photo to the Ukiah PD as the visual accompanying an offer to snitch Bari off. Who was in a better position to function as a police snitch, Sutley, who would have to commute from Davis’s house in Santa Rosa to know Bari’s movements, or Mike Sweeney, who lived on the same Redwood Valley property as Bari? Nobody’s saying the morons in the FBI weren’t up to their old cointelpro tricks in the 1980s and on into the 90s. Their budget is still something like $40 annual mil for clandestine work screwing up dissident American groups (as Muslim fanatics blow up the World Trade Center right under their startled noses), but your assumption begs the question: What do the FBI’s crafty cointelpro strategies consist of? In the Arizona Case, an agent named Fain, as part of a scheme to get Dave Foreman, seduced a woman close to Foreman, eventually convincing her and a couple of other people to go out into the desert and commit a major felony with him, i.e., take down a power pole. This scheme was pegged to a psychopath of an FBI agent taking advantage of a vulnerable person’s affections; this tactic isn’t exactly Galen-quality, is it? When he wasn’t plucking the poor woman’s heart strings, Fain and the master spies back at the office were buying information on Earth First! from a consensus loon and dope head who also had some association with Arizona Earth First!

Davis has got to be subpoenaed. None of the people with direct knowledge of the case have been deposed. Why is that? Why doesn’t Davis step forward to explain who had access to the photos? Judi Bari undoubtedly had a set of her own, and what with Mikey living in a trailer literally a few feet away, he would have had access to them too. He was in and out of Judi’s house all the time. Davis, by the way, also twice relayed a request from Bari to Sutley to kill Sweeney, verification of which was provided by Bari herself on KZYX to Annie Esposito, a Bari-ite propagandist. In that conversation, Bari dismisses Davis’s offers on her behalf to get Sutley to kill Sweeney for $5,000 as a “joke.” Har-har. (People who claim Bari and Sweeney separated amicably either didn’t know them or are lying about the true nature of their relationship which, it is now obvious, was murderous.) Davis, like a lot of people still around, knows a lot about the case neither side to the pending federal action has bothered to depose her. Or Sutley. Or Sweeney’s girl friend at the time, Meredyth Rinehart. Or lots of people. Strange case, wouldn’t you agree?

Talbot’s movie is illuminating because it reveals Sweeney as the most likely suspect in this case, and it also reveals Mikey as a guy who likes explosions more than most Stanford grads going way back. Without Talbot’s work, Sweeney may have remained permanently off stage, where I’m sure he would have preferred to remain. If his cockamamie pipe bomb had worked the way it was supposed to, it would have been case closed ten years ago, but one end cap blew off just a little too early and Mikey was left with a live ex-wife and a lot of explaining to do. His first explanation came a few days later in the Lord’s Avenger letter which, as we know, is the work of the bomber to broaden the suspect pool so as to include everyone — Christian fanatics, logger psychos, males as a species — everyone except a former Stanford Maoist trying to become respectable citizen but whose ex-wife not only has a list of the felonies they’ve committed together, she hates him, fears him, she’s always drawing attention to herself and, by extension to the reborn Mikey O’Shamrock, of Keep Mendocino Beautiful. Worst of all, the ex-wife has a big mouth. She had to go. And she did, in a way, her life abbreviated by the attempt on her life. If Judi Bari had found someone to knock off Mikey before he got her, she might still be with us. But Sutley was not only not interested, he was insulted by the suggestion. He should have taken it to the police as the solicitation for murder that it was. Talbot, by the way, has always cooperated with the various Bari-ite legal teams while the Bari-ites themselves pretend he, his film, and his research on the case don’t exist. He said in the interview with the AVA several months ago Bari told him about Sweeney making the device that exploded the hangar at the old Navy airport in Sonoma County, and also told him lots of other things about your new pal he hasn’t yet revealed.

Blowing someone up, or making a bomb for them to transport, is by definition taking an enormous chance. Carrying a bomb all the way to Oakland or Berkeley from Redwood Valley where Sweeney had to be present both for purposes of his alibi and to distance himself from the subsequent explosion is doubly dangerous. And triply ridiculous. It’s possible the thing was placed in Oakland or Berkeley, but until Sweeney and his girl friend at the time, Ms. Rinehart, are subpoenaed and deposed I guess we’ll have to settle for one or another of the five accounts Sweeney has offered for his whereabouts in the period immediately prior to the explosion. Where was he? Who was he with? Where was Ms. Rinehart? Where were the girls?

It would be helpful if Sweeney would brief you shills every day so we wouldn’t have to go over the same old stuff. During the last hearing in the case, Judge Enabler — Wilkins, I believe her name is — told attorneys for both sides to keep on trying to arrive at a settlement before a Judge Johnson. so the phony baloney case won’t be hauled out in front of a jury.

I suggest Susan Crane either doesn’t remember what the thing looked like or she’s not telling the truth about the episode. Whose idea was it to make the replica? You need a piece of pipe and a couple of end caps to impress upon the “environmental community” the image of a pipe bomb? As limited as many of us are, I think we can figure out what a pipe bomb looks like without being shown one. But what we can’t visualize is the “signature” device Sweeney prefers, involving timers and little steel balls (which he seems to possess, actually) that ignite whatever explosive our mutual friend has decided to use on his target du jour. Fortunately, the things never work. The Airport device failed to ignite the second hangar and an underground fuel tank otherwise the watchman would have been killed. The Cloverdale device failed to ignite its accompanying container of gasoline. And one end cap of the Bari bomb blew off before the other, thus diverting some of the blast laterally rather than vertically.

Crane recalls that Mikey was to write the press release about the replica; why him? In her letter to me dated June 17th, Crane says, “I was going to get a piece of pipe, and Mike was going to write a press release. After we thought about it, we each decided it wasn’t such a good idea. I had bought the pipe (9” and 2 caps) at a local plumbing supply and intended to return it to get my money back. I had it near the front door, so I’d remember to take it back.”

Another coincidence, right? Who was going to make it? Who knew its dimensions and how it worked in the summer of 1990? It’s not likely Sweeney was selected by his ex to write the press release because he knew exactly how the device worked since he built it and she knew by then he’d done it, and that he had lots of experience at creative lit, having written a novel centered on a female environmental activist called “Eliza Devlin.” Eliza Devlin? Gee, who could that be a reference to, and do we need Dr. Freud to tell us how Mikey felt about his ex? And she about him?

By July 23rd 1990, when the Ukiah PD appeared at Susan Crane’s house in Ukiah to confiscate what they thought was a live bomb, the fun couple had no choice but to cooperate and conspire to pin the whole works on the FBI, Big Timber, religious nuts, Irv Sutley, whomever, whatever would serve the purpose of diverting attention from Mike Sweeney, the logical, obvious place to begin an investigation of this event. If Judi Bari told the truth about what happened, Sweeney would point out that she helped him to do all kinds of illegal things, beginning with criminal acts of harassment aimed at Sweeney’s first wife, Ms. Denenholtz, another former Maoist now functioning as a Sonoma County magistrate. With each fessing up about the other, both Judi Bari and Mike Sweeney would have been packed off to the pen, with all the unhappy consequences thereof.

Vroman also said that he was unlikely to get FBI cooperation in what is essentially a federal case; that he was underfunded; that it was a complicated case that would require more resources and expertise than is available to him; that the case is ten years old. However, he and Sheriff Craver both told Jim Martin and I that they would send an investigator out to ask Sweeney to reconcile his pre-bomb alibis. Whether they did dispatch an investigator to question Sweeney, I don’t know; it doesn’t seem so. Even if they had, as the FBI itself may have at the time of the bombing, Sweeney undoubtedly told them that unless they came back with a warrant or a subpoena, take a hike. What Vroman and Craver didn’t say is this: that nobody in a position of local authority really cares who bombed Judi Bari. Moreover, given the fact that they are politicians, how do they defend an expenditure of time and money to investigate this event in a county where all the players are unpopular? That said, I’ll say this: A tough DA can figure out ways to indict The Little Sisters of the Poor. And I’ll say this, too: The DA’s office in this county, and most counties, I’m sure, are 9-5 people. They put in their day and go home. A case like this one requires a prosecutor with imagination and stamina, not a 9-5’er who took the job in the first place because the money’s good enough and it beats lurking around the Courthouse hoping one of the black robed hacks will throw you a conflict case. Up here, as you know, the name of the game is Let’s Make A Deal, and let’s make at least a half hour before Miller Time. Nobody seems to know what kind of a case the U.S. Attorney has, but they’ve always seemed awfully confident, haven’t they? they haven’t bothered to subpoena anybody. Judi Bari produced her own “deposition.” Apparently they know who did it, and I think they’ll have to offer up Mr. Keep Mendocino Beautiful as the guy if the case gets into court. But there’s something else at work here, some embarrassing complications that neither side wants revealed. Whatever it is, it has prevented resolution of the case, and it accounts for the Bari-Cherney request to seal the record.

I think it’s clear Sweeney’s apparent exemption from Number One Suspect status all these years has occurred because the feds are unable to nail him in a way that also protects whatever cretinous clandestine projects the FBI was up to here on the Northcoast during the Redwood Summer period. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the MEC was a federal listening post — it sure as hell isn’t any good at anything but, at best, symbolic resistance. If the feds and the Bari-ites can figure out a negotiated settlement that can satisfy both sides, as they are in the process of trying to do, we’ll never know what happened because an agreement to seal the records is what the ongoing haggling is really all about, I’ll bet. That, and how much money it will take to keep the creeps involved quiet. It all stinks. Always has. And so do you, bro, running errands for a wife killer and the FBI, your critical faculties either atrophied or on hold.

PS. Do you mean it’s all about money, the shill squeaks? It isn’t about principle, is it? Cherney puts up $50,000 for the “arrest of Hurwitz” not a nickel for the arrest of the man who bombed Judi Bari. (Or trees.) But send these people more money. They need it, don’t they?

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WHERE’S SILENT SIMON?

Dear Bruce:

Oh the dirty laundry — the more they hang it out, the dirtier it gets. Go figure. The politics of KMUD butt sniffing and circle growling has quickly degenerated to the point of making all board and committee members — appointed or elected — look petty and unable to deal with the real business at hand. Interesting, since these positions are not filled on a first come, first serve basis, but filled by appointment from those in positions to make intelligent choices — or by popular vote of the community that owns the station.

So how is it that everyone was so off the mark? It's pretty ugly to think of this group as little more than a cluster of vicious, vindictive creeps with so little going on in their lives that they convene at every opportunity to sit around drooling and rubbing their hands together while they figure out ways to pay Simon back or wrestle for control of the station. And for what? Fame? Fortune? I don't think so. They do it for free because of some seemingly lost, noble notion of community radio. Community radio should be vital, pulsating — reflective of the growing and changing community.

Unfortunately, attempts at change are met with demands for recall and impeachment.

I say shake it up! The concept of the station is much more appealing than the station itself. Fear of change creates the stagnant kind of radio I hear KMUD becoming. Simon doesn't seem to be protesting much. Is he really so bummed? Where else can you under-perform and rather than get sacked, have a new job description created tailored to this level of performance to cush your bruised ego? And then, in this “new job” capacity, have your employer pay for you to go to school? Heartless bastards the whole bunch of them!

Those so vehemently opposed would be much more useful contributing more than lip service (or, forgive me, mudslinging) to these issues. It feels so good to get mad and vent. OK… now roll up those sleeves and put some energy and creativity into the real work — making everyone agree, and everybody happy, happy, happy. As I understand it, there are procedures and policies involved in every move these branches of station government make. Some body isn't telling everybody where they got the information that they based their decisions on. Why? Because they're following policy — and taking a lot of shit for it. Like my brother used to say when I accused him of fouling the air with a silent but deadly fart, “A fox smells his own hole first.” In other words, posturing and butt sniffing is a waste of time — smell their breath.

Anonymous Caller
Garberville

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THE GREENS, SOB

Editor,

When Medea Benjamin and her goons started beating on Seattle's black youth in front of sweatshop row, I couldn't believe it. (Yes, there is footage.) When she then talked of, “Here we are defending Nike and doing the police's job,” I lost all respect for Global Exchange. When Naderite Mike Dolan then proceeded to give credit for shutting down WTO to his ephemeral (liberal pipe dream) coalition of Big Labor and Nader, Inc., I lost all respect for the rest of Nader, Inc.

I was there at Sixth and Union and I know perfectly well who was in the streets. It was veteran northwest activists who cut their protest teeth at Warner Creek, Headwaters, North Roaring Devil, Middle Santiam, etc. And, Big Labor was miles away at a self-congratulatory rally during which not one speaker even mentioned the beatdown being applied by Seattle's finest to other members of the “coalition.” They did not stop the rally and come to our aid. Then, when they finished the rally, their own “marshals” steered the Parade away from the fray.

It would have been a far different climate had they come to our aid and Clinton had been forced to cancel his visit and the WTO collapsed.

It was a tremendous opportunity lost and I hold Dolan, Benjamin and Nader responsible. Sweeney and the other Big Labor patsies? Well, what else would I expect?

So, I take it quite seriously that Nader, Inc. has taken over the “Green” Party. Yes, I think that is prima facie evidence that “it is broken.” They may have the machine to take credit where undue, they may have the machine to protect Nike from inner city youth, and they may have the machine to take over the hapless “Greens,” but they have no real base of support. And, given the recent China vote, they really have no solid political machine at all. Just a bunch of tireless self-promoters in my opinion.

Yes, I would be interested in a real Green Party. Let's just forget this sorry, subsumed exercise and start one.

Sincerely,
Michael Donnelly
Seattle

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WHAT’S WRONG WITH READING?

Editor,

I am writing in response to the exchange between you and Michael Wiest/Jane Thomas concerning Utah Phillips in last week's paper. I think you are wrong about Utah. It seems to me that he is a person who has been passionate about storytelling most of his life, whether it be via folk song or spoken word. I have a feeling he would be telling his stories even if he wasn't making a living off of it. As I see it, the money is his just reward for the good work he has been doing all these years.

Utah is keeping the stories of early radicals and their heroic deeds alive for us younger folk and I appreciate it! I find it vitally important to know the battles that have been fought and are continuing to be fought in the name of democracy and freedom in this country. These stories inspire me and encourage me. They make me realize that change is possible and people can make a difference. Also, I need to hear the stories of places, classes, and ethnicities different from my own so I know how many different ways there are to live a life. These alternative voices constantly give me good ideas for better ways to live my own life. Finally, the siren call of “normal” and “status quo” is so compelling (because of its omnipresence and, therefore, sheer volume of its cry) that I need the continuous input of these alternative voices — their ideas and examples — to keep me steady on “the road less traveled” to a better, more conscious, way of living. (Isn't this where much of today's movement lies — in consciousness raising?)

These are the reasons why I listen to and love shows like Utah Phillips' and why I read and love newspapers such as yours. I hope the day comes when you, too, are making a “fat living” singing your songs.

Best,
Estrella Acosta
Mendocino

(Vogel is German for “Bird” — get it?)

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UKIAH’S TORQUEMADA

Dear Editor:

In the last thirty years environmentalism in America has evolved from concerns that we understood to concerns that are nebulous and nonsensical. We used to protect animals that had been hunted to the brink of extinction. Now we put animal species on the endangered species list that aren't species and aren't endangered. It used to be that we stopped our pollution from contaminating drinking water and waterways. Now we call water polluted when it isn’t, and the Clean Water Act deals with issues that have nothing to do with clean water. We used to really have dirty air and we did what we could to clean it up. Now we have new clean air regulations to clean air where the air is clean. Driving the nebulous nonsense is a cultural pathology akin to the Roman Catholic inquisition of 500 years ago where enforcement of environmental laws is too often done on the basis of who you are and not what you have really done.

The disease thrives here. Mendocino County Assistant District Attorney Barry Vogel is investigating the logging industry for “past and future cumulative impacts associated with a healthy forest environment to protect the public interest.” Cumulative impacts analysis in forestry has legal standing but no practical, conceptual, or real world application. Any conclusion that you want can be drawn. “Healthy Forest Environment”? What is that? If you answer, “healthy trees.” You’re wrong. The real answer is some environmentalism babble about a socio-economic natural biodiverse balanced harmonious sustainable ecosystem forest. And like cumulative impacts every forest in the county fits or doesn't fit the criteria for a healthy forest environment depending on the wishes of the observer. I could complain that the county is wasting money which it is.

But the bigger issue is why is the county involved in this witch hunt?

If Mendocino County wants to have an environmental inquisition why is the logging industry being singled out? Why isn't the County doing a cumulative impacts investigation of other business sectors? Or how about on itself? Or better yet, how about the County investigate Barry Vogel and his friends to see if their cumulative impact on the county environmental health is, has been, or will be in the public interest?

This is interesting to see. Environmentalism will eventually end up in the dustbin. And hopefully be of only marginal historic interest. I often wonder though, how environmentalism in America will play itself out. The similarities between environmentalism and movements of this type in history are striking. The Crusades, The Inquisition, National Socialism, Ethnic Cleansing; history repeats itself. And it is all happening right here beautiful Mendocino County. It's very interesting indeed.

George Hollister
Comptche

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HELP

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Leif Pallesan, age 25, was diagnosed with kidney failure with no prior warning in April. Both kidneys have failed and he is currently on dialysis four hours a day, three days a week, and awaiting a kidney transplant. His sister Harvest, age 21, is a blood and tissue match to be the kidney donor and has passed all the tests so far that will qualify her to give one of her kidneys to her brother. She has just one more test to take on May 24th and if all goes well the transplant operation is scheduled for June 7th.

Leif has health insurance that will cover most of the costs, but not all. I am asking the people in the Greenfield Community and friends to help with these expenses by contributing to the Pallesen Transplant Fund. The energy and support from our community is so powerful, I know it will create a healing energy for both my children. Thank you from the deepest part of my heart.

If you would like to help, please send or take your contributions to: Leif Pallesen, FBI Pallesen Transplant Fund Act. Number 351-329108-3, Washington Mutual, 700 S. State St., Ukiah, CA 95482.

Zephyr Pallesen
Ukiah

PS. Be sure to put the account number on checks. Thank you.

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US V. LEONARD PELTIER

To the Editors:

On Monday, June 12, in a hearing before the parole officer at Leavenworth Prison, attorneys Ramsey Clark, Carl Nadler, and Jennifer Harbury filed a request for parole for the Native American leader Leonard Peltier, whose immediate release from prison is strongly supported by Amnesty International (which recognizes Peltier as a political prisoner), by the Kennedy Memorial Center on Human Rights, and by 250 Indian tribes represented by the National Congress of American Indians. The request is also supported by the Assembly of First Nations tribes of Canada; by Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and Rigoberta Menchu, by Nelson Mandela and his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and by many other responsible political and religious leaders, including one of Peltier's own judges on the Federal Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Leonard Peltier has already served 23 hard years behind bars for the alleged murder of two FBI agents, Ron Williams and Jack Coler, at Oglala on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, on June 26, 1975. This young man, aged 27, who had no violence on his record, was part of a group of between 12 and 20 young supporters of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who took part in defending a local community against harassment by two agents who had entered private property for disputed reasons, despite strong warnings not to do so from the tribal police. Peltier escaped to Canada but was captured and extradited a few months later, largely on the basis of fabricated depositions from Myrtle Poor Bear, who was alleged by the prosecution to be his girlfriend and an eyewitness to the killings. She confessed before his trial that she had never laid eyes on Mr. Peltier in all her life. Meanwhile, two other young Indians, Darrell Butler and Robert Robideau, indicted originally with Peltier on identical evidence and charges but tried separately in his absence, were entirely acquitted in federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (“The jury agreed with the defense contention that an atmosphere of fear and violence exists on the reservation,” the jury foreman said, “and that the defendants arguably could have been shooting in self-defense.”) Had Peltier not escaped to Canada — had he been tried with his two companions — he would never have served a single day in prison.

Peltier's trial, arbitrarily removed from Cedar Rapids, was turned over to Judge Paul Benson, a Nixon appointee and former state attorney general in Fargo, North Dakota. Meanwhile, some peculiar new evidence had been produced by the FBI and assistant US attorney Lynn Crooks. This included strange testimonies that directly contradicted some of the prosecution's own evidence in the Cedar Rapids trial and also a last-minute ballistics test that seemed to tie the defendant to the murder weapon. Most of this evidence would later be shown to be false, but the crippling restrictions on defense testimony imposed by judge Benson in the 1977 trial (for example. he refused defense attempts to bring prosecution witness Poor Bear to the witness stand after the prosecution had sensibly declined to do so) and an inflammatory summation by prosecutor Crooks would win the day for the United States. Duly convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, the defendant was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in federal prison.

We know of no Native Americans who take pride or satisfaction in the tragic violence at Oglala that June day; the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux and thousands of other Indian people who have supported Peltier so loyally and strongly at trials and hearings over two decades would not have done so if they thought him guilty of the cold-blooded killings charged by the prosecution. Mr. Peltier has repeatedly expressed regret about the needless loss of those young men as well as concern for all their families. “I pray for those agents' families,” he has said, “just as I pray for the families of all the Indian people who died brutally on our reservations” — including the young AIM Indian Joe Stuntz who also lost his life on that June day, and whose execution (he was found shot between the eyes) was never investigated.

This man — rarely mentioned in official documents — was among the sixty-four or more traditional people and AIM supporters who met violent ends on Pine Ridge Reservation in the three dark years that led up to the shoot-out, mostly at the hands of FBI-supported vigilante Indians who opposed the AIM. Though the federal government has jurisdiction over capital crimes committed on the reservations, none of these Native American deaths was seriously investigated; nor were any of the malefactors arrested and indicted — all too clearly, as their people say, because “Indians don't count.”

That the victims' colleagues were outraged by the deaths of Mr. Coler and Mr. Williams is understandable — the two young agents were executed at point-blank range after being incapacitated during the shoot-out — and no one denied that swift justice must be done. Unfortunately, the vast “ResMurs” investigation that, from the start, terrorized the reservations, and also the ensuing prosecution by the US Attorney's Office, seemed less concerned with justice than with vengeance. During Peltier's hearings on appeal, his judges on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (St. Louis) repeatedly criticized the FBI and the prosecution for abuse of the judicial process.

In 1982, these magistrates, still troubled by the coerced Poor Bear fabrications and the rickety ballistics evidence, listened to oral arguments for a new trial, then ordered an evidentiary hearing (in Bismarck, North Dakota, October 1984) which clearly established that the ballistics evidence had indeed been manipulated to establish Peltier as the lone killer: a key document from the FBI lab, unlawfully withheld from the defense, demonstrated unequivocally that the weapon allegedly used by Peltier during the shoot-out could not be linked to a bullet casing found near the bodies which Crooks had called “perhaps the most important piece of evidence in this case.”

Judge Benson, unbudging in his view that justice had been done in the casc of United States v. Leonard Peltier, refused to order a new trial, and once again (in 1984) his ruling was appealed before the circuit court. By now, the uneasy prosecution was referring to Peltier not as the lone killer but as an aider and abettor, and Judge Gerald Heaney reminded Crooks that in his summation at the Fargo trial he had pointed at Peltier as “the man who came down and killed those agents in cold blood.” Pressed on this point by Judge Donald Ross, Crooks blurted in frustration, “But we can't prove who shot those agents.” At last the truth was out. In its decision in 1985, the appeals court concluded that the prosecution had “withheld evidence from the defense favorable to Peltier [which] cast a strong doubt on the government’s case” and acknowledged the possibility that had this evidence been brought forth, the jury might have voted for acquittal. Even so, astonishingly, the high court held that these circumstances fell short of the judicial standard required in ordering a new trial.

Judge Heaney, who wrote this finding, remained so troubled by the fabrications and manipulated evidence that in a television interview in New York in 1989, after his retirement, he would call it “the toughest decision I ever had to make in 22 years on the bench.” On the same program, Crooks loudly refused to repudiate US government use of fabricated evidence: “I don't agree that we did anything wrong but…it don't bother my conscience one whit if we did!”

This amazing statement from a Justice Department officer outraged Senator Daniel Inouye. “I was a US Attorney once,” he fumed one day in his office in the Capitol, “and that man is a disgrace to the profession.” In the National Law Journal (June 26, 1990), Judge Heaney would observe that the FBI was “equally responsible” for the deaths of its agents; on April 18, 1991, in a letter to Senator Inouye which also noted that Peltier had already endured 14 years in prison, the judge urged commutation of his sentence as a way of beginning a “healing process” in the long bitter relationship between the US government and its native peoples.

Those 14 years cited by Judge Heaney have extended remorselessly to 23, as the prisoner ages and grows ill (Poor medical treatment of coronary problems, diabetes, potential liver failure, and near-blindness in one eye.), and still the Department of Justice and the White House fail to act on a clemency petition filed seven years ago, in November 1993, by Ramsey Clark, although Peltier's cause is strongly supported not only by his own people but by the great majority of American citizens who have informed themselves about his case — almost everyone, in fact, except Prosecutor Crooks and the FBI. Nearly a quarter-century after locking him away, these avengers who admit they never proved who killed those agents continue to pit the United States against Leonard Peltier, still brandishing the same old allegations — that Peltier had a violent record, for example, including previous assaults on other law officers: that he has no support from his own people; that his guilt for the murders has been firmly established; that “he openly states he feels no guilt or remorse or even regret for the murders.” (FBI paid advertisement, The Washington Post, November 3, 1999.) These long-disproven slanders are being spread in a frantic effort to deny the one man they put in prison the fair hearing that might win him parole or clemency before he dies. The FBI and its Agents Association are currently spending many thousands of tax dollars lobbying congressmen, the White House, and the media, including numerous letters to the editor from Bureau personnel and large paid attack ads in The Washington Post (which otherwise ignores the Peltier story):

“In an extraordinary step, FBI officials across the nation are mobilizing to prevent a presidential pardon for Leonard Peltier, the American Indian activist imprisoned for murder whose claim of innocence has inspired a two-decade protest movement on his behalf. FBI officials in Milwaukee say they fear that Peltier…will be freed by President Clinton on his way out of office.” (Joe Williams, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 21, 2000, in a piece on a letter to the editor by an FBI agent named David Williams.)

Three months ago, in March, I had a phone call from a lawyer who has never been involved in the Peltier case but was aware of my longtime concern. A friend in the Justice Department had just mentioned to him that the FBI was intensifying its anti-Peltier vendetta within the department, with Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis as the point man. In recent days, this friend informed him, Mr. Margolis had gone to the Attorney General's office to reiterate the Bureau's case, and he was followed there by Director Louis Freeh, who had taken the trouble to bring with him the lurid photos of the agents' bodies at Oglala.

Could it be that these men sense that colleagues at Justice may be growing embarrassed, questioning the ethics as well as the vindictiveness of their campaign? What are they so afraid of, unless it is the truth? Could that truth be hidden in the 6,000 pages of evidence pertaining to the ResMurs investigation that the Bureau still refuses to release under the Freedom of Information Act, citing “national defense” considerations — this in reference to tragic episode on a dusty reservation farm a quarter of a century ago in South Dakota? Is it national security which is threatened here or the protections of our Constitution, not to speak of the nation's reputation for democracy and justice, which is stained more deeply with each passing year that this man's life is wasted in prison?

On June 12 of this year, Mr. Peltier came up for parole, as he has regularly since 1993. Not surprisingly, his release was fought on a new Internet site that calls itself NPLP (No Parole for Leonard Peltier) and parrots the same old allegations, but the efforts of this outfit were quite unnecessary. Even before entering the hearing room at Leavenworth, Mr. Peltier reports, he was told by a guard, “Man, they ain't gonna give it to you.” He knew that, of course; in December 1995, when the parole officer had recommended a favorable decision, that recommendation was filed away for months and months by the US Parole Commission in Washington and then denied.

Mr. Peltier had long since met all reasonable criteria for a favorable decision by the parole board; indeed, by the board's own rules and guidelines, he was perhaps more qualified than any other prisoner at Leavenworth. Yet, in an echo of the FBI’s Catch-22 propaganda, the board regularly demands that the prisoner express remorse for his guilty role in the death of the two agents which he has denied for 23 years and which even his prosecutor admits was never proven. (As Jennifer Harbury points out, to withhold parole because the prisoner won't admit to a crime that he denies committing is another unlawful violation of due process.) This time, the Leavenworth parole officer, having heard out the prisoner's attorneys, turned them down flat, mainly on the grounds that Peltier's version of events did not correspond with the FBI version for which he was convicted; he scarcely glanced at the five boxes of letters and endorsements from around the world, or even the medical evaluations. The final decision must of course be made by the US Parole Commission (which could spare the administration and the Justice Department a hot potato in an election year by the simple expedient of granting justice).

Why is the US government still prosecuting this defendant a quarter-century after it imprisoned him? And why is the media so incurious about the reasons? As American writers, we urge the Commission — and the administration and the Justice Department — to consider Mr. Peltier's petitions with a fair and open mind, in the spirit of healing that Judge Heaney recommended a decade ago in urging commutation in this case.

Peter Matthiessen, E. L. Doctorow, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., William & Rose Styron
New York

* * *

WHO NEEDS ’EM?

Letters To The Editor

The days go by fast and the months even faster. Half of the last year of the second millennium is slipping away before our calendars. What has changed?

Cognitive dissonance prevails at the personal, local, state and federal levels and on to a worldwide scope like a plague.

There have been many crusades organized to save the whales and one can ask, “why?” These large mammals are alive but they eat a tremendous amount of sea food that could otherwise be available to the savage human breed of animals, that's us, folks.

They are consuming huge amounts of salmon and other choice cuts of fish that are never recycled unless we eat the whales, or exterminate them, Who needs them except as a base for a crusade of “do-good ism.” Let the big ones eat the small ones then we eat them. Makes sense. And when they are gone, we eat the next smaller size of marine predator.

Also, there are frequent gatherings of opponents to the death penalty outside prison walls prior to a scheduled execution who claim that the practice is not humane, or more correctly, the prisoner may not be guilty which would be a valid argument. By the way, are we savage humans actually humane?

Consider, however, the mass atrocities committed by our righteous government against millions of citizens, women, children and men, because the savages in Washington DC claim it was the correct thing to do to enhance peace worldwide. Get serious, folks.

Why are the same citizens who protest outside a prison complex not protesting outside the buildings of our national capitol for the horrible murders authorized by those safe and sound behind governmental walls? Want to crusade against murder? Discourage those who commit big time. One at a time will not matter to the planet but millions at a time? Or will it? We aren’t running out of humans, are we?

Faithfully,
Carl Flach
Alameda

* * *

THE COLUMBIAN WAR

Dear Bruce Anderson and Alexander Cockburn,

Re: “The Way the World Works” and “The Magnificent Eleven,” AVA June 28, Glad to see you finally picked up on the Colombian counter-insurgency issue. During my four month stay in Colombia 1999-2000 I read about the impending US aid package in the Bogota “Times” (E1 Tiempo), Crushing foreign debt and a nationwide plague of strikes had put the Colombian government on the ropes by late '99. The appeal to the US for help began as a plea for humanitarian aid. The US, response was that Colombia had to prove its willingness to participate in the War on Drugs. A group of drug lords was duly sacrificed to the US international drug enforcers who staged a midnight raid on Colombian soil and extradited the hapless cocaine exporters.

According to rumor these men were to be imprisoned in the US for 20 years, then sentenced to death. This was a risky move for the Colombian government which stopped allowing the extradition of drug lords after a series of terrorist bombings in Bogota a few years back. (These bombings were designed to discourage cooperation with the War on Drugs as well as make law enforcement in Bogota impossible,)

This act of capitulation was not enough for the US which demanded a counterinsurgency program as a condition for any aid package. The Colombian government expressed reluctance to comply with US wishes on this point. A counterinsurgency program would cost Colombian lives, and shouldn't foreign aid be used to save lives? The US refused to budge and allowed Colombia to slip into bankruptcy. At last Colombia was forced to agree to any and all terms, just give us the money dammit!

Sorry, says Clinton, now it’s up to Congress.

Meanwhile the FARC continued to overwhelm rural townships and blow up banks. Guerrilla roadblocks, assassinations, kidnappings, strikes, and similar bad news dominated the headlines. Right in the middle of all this, early in January ‘00, the wife of a US military colonel working in the US embassy in Bogota was arrested on drug smuggling charges. Apparently she had smuggled millions of dollars worth of cocaine from Bogota to New York and her husband had helped hide the money in the Embassy. How's that for the pot calling the kettle black?

The Hispanic paper in the East Bay ran an article about this double standard in March or April but I didn't see any of the big dailies pick up on it. Not a peep from the AP. How about tracking down this story and seeing if we can't make a few heads roll, Mr. Cockburn.

So much for the history lesson.

According to the North Coast XPress out of Occidental, CA, “the US already puts about $300 million a year into the elitist government of Colombia which has been in a protracted Civil War with peasant rebels.” I think 35 years or more qualifies as protracted. Again, “For the past year, the US has had about 250 military advisors on the ground… With the new funds, we’ll send more troops there to train two additional 900 man battalions to fight the insurgents… The Pentagon also is providing 30 fully armed Blackhawk helicopters, 33 Huey helicopters, as well as CIA intelligence and satellite surveillance data.” Can anyone say “another Vietnam”?

A brilliant University study of paramilitary and guerrilla activity in Colombia with detailed maps appeared in the Colombia Times in October or November. Note that the paramilitary are right wing terrorist groups ostensibly organized to fight the guerrillas. They are sponsored by wealthy rural landowners and are composed mostly of retired Colombian military (most Colombian males over 25 fit this description) and Israeli mercs. Their primary activity consists of hunting down and executing peasants believed to be supporting the FARC or ELN, Often the paramilitary will exterminate whole villages. Such mass executions rarely reach the news, and Colombian army units as a rule do not engage paramilitary forces. Both groups seem bent on destroying the ELN and FARC. Yet the rebels continue to win battles and gain territory.

I had the rare privilege (as an American citizen) to encounter several of these key groups first hand. As a passenger in a small Colombian cargo boat en route from Panama to Cartagena I was obliged to translate for the crew when a US blockade helicopter detained our vessel. The helicopter crew's gringo Spanish, obviously read from a phrasebook, had all of the bilingual passengers rolling with laughter, and barely surpassed the level of gibberish. We might have been carrying two tons of cocaine for all that could be gleaned from the helicopter's feeble string of endlessly repeated and misunderstood questions. Finally they left us in peace after several hours of circling, probably because they were low on fuel. US. tax dollars at work, par excellence.

My encounters with Colombian regular military were all brief and polite, with few questions asked. These are just ordinary guys with families to feed.

I stopped by mistake once in a town controlled by paramilitary forces. Inquiring for a room, I was ushered into the back and urged in whispered tones to leave town pronto. Uniformed irregulars in camos eyed me on my way out, but did nothing.

On a small highway I passed through a large ELN holding and spent one night hiding out in a hotel. No one in town wanted to give me a room for fear of guerrilla reprisals. Later I met an ELN unit out on the highway, six rebels dressed in peasant garb driving an old Dodge. Two of them carried sub-machine guns, another two had pistols. A few more arrived, all unarmed. They questioned me closely, inspected my passport, and informed me that no foreigners were allowed in the area. In compliance with their wishes I left their territory without delay. I was not harmed, kidnapped, or even robbed. I ought to have more information for you in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

Salvatore Mondragon
Eureka

* * *

ZEN AND THE ART OF BRIDGE BUILDING

Dear AVA:

Thanks for turning your “trendy round eye” toward our efforts at Shenoa Springs in your June 14 issue. Clearly, you gain glee in stirring things up — a worthy pursuit without which we would not be living in such a fine and frisky country.

So, just to stir back a bit, let me mention that the site you referred to as an “Indian burial ground” has never unearthed a bone and also doesn't happen to be the site of our proposed bridge. The bridge will be in exactly the same location as the summer bridge built annually for decades past. Environmentally, it will be a big improvement over the old gravel ramp-and-flatcar affair as it won't cause silting. As for the new bridge not being as pretty as the Greenwood Bridge, I haven't seen the plans yet, have you? Personally, I picture it as quite lovely: long, surprisingly narrow and delicate-looking, and painted the jade green of the river on a clear spring day.

Of course, you were right about some things: we are a couple, now own Shenoa, still have careers in the city and we are Zen Buddhists. My Belfast-raised husband Paul Haller has been an ordained Buddhist priest for more than 25 years, including many years of intense monastic training. For seven years he was head of practice at the respected San Francisco Zen Center. Now, as director of outreach, he develops programs to help people society has abandoned.

And yes, we do have more than two bucks to rub together. A former Zen monk myself and mother of two children, I earned it all from scratch: first, by doing public relations to fact-minded journalists like yourselves and later, through sage investing in pre-IPO Internet companies. We are still amazed at our good fortune.

I'm a fifth-generation Californian and I know that Anderson Valley is a precious gem, a rare opportunity. As a child, I saw the golden hillsides of Southern California disappear under housing tracts and brown haze. Paul and I can save Shenoa's 160 acres and make it a tiny refuge for native plants and wild creatures being forced out by development and monocrops. Someday, I hope that Shenoa visitors will see well-conserved woodlands and forty acres of meadows humming with butterflies and birds above a blaze of California wildflowers, instead of bland European livestock feed or factory fields of grapevines.

We've worked hard to be able to realize this dream and it's a joyous one that will be generously shared. Please don't begrudge us a bridge. Besides, we'll have a lot fewer bucks after we've paid for it.

Yours,
Melody Haller
Philo

PS: Anyone with concerns about what we are doing at Shenoa or useful restoration experience to share is welcome to call me: 895-2649.

* * *

WHY THE FIRST TRY WENT BUST

Dear Bruce,

Passage of the high school construction bond in Laytonville moves forward a long awaited and much needed project. However, the effort some years back to build a new high school did not fall apart because the community could not agree on a prospective site as was recently reported. It fell apart because the superintendent and several of his board members tried to force down the town's throat a piece of property lying in a flood plain that no one else wanted but them. No other site was allowed even to be considered.

The superintendent of that day insisted that the district build the new school in a cattle pasture that periodically flooded and was owned by the superintendent's landlord who, on the verge of bankruptcy, desperately needed the school district to buy the property to save him. It was a scheme and swindle from beginning to end. All efforts to talk sense to the superintendent or the several board members mesmerized by his slickness were squashed. They even falsely declared that no other property was available as a school site and, adding insult to injury, exempted themselves from the required environmental impact study, something they knew the cattle pasture site, being in a flood zone, would never pass.

The consequence cost the district tens of thousands of its own money plus several millions that had been promised by the state to fund the entire building project.

In his efforts to split and manipulate the community into “us vs. them” this superintendent concocted the famous Lorax fiasco which brought added embarrassment to the town and painted it as somehow dysfunctional. He accused those who opposed him of being against the kids for not wanting to build the school on his landlord's flooded pasture. Life-long residents who knew the history of the property were shouted down and ridiculed as having no interest in the education of the town's children. Several on the school board fell eagerly into this plot believing themselves superior to all who opposed their rough-shod behavior.

One of these came in the form of Dan K’Vaka who confronted me with the reprimand: “How dare you question the school board's authority.” His attitude was so pompous and so ridiculous that I could not help but mock it in a letter to the paper which said that in Dan's horoscope-reading hippie past his old blue Volkswagen must have worn a bumper sticker admonishing everyone to “Question Authority.” Except, of course, Dan's.

The long and short of the story was that under threat of a lawsuit, the superintendent gave up his swindle and fled town, several members of the school board were replaced at the next election, the district's children were left in a broken down facility wanting a new school they were taught by the teachers that they had been cheated of, and Dan K’Vaka moved onto the same road as me where we became members of the same road association through which he proceeded to seek revenge by bullying and harassing me and my wife with the same contemptible arrogance he practiced on the school board. Over the course of five years he caused such misery and stress in our lives that we finally gave up, sold our home and moved away. The course of those events are the subject of a soon to be published expose entitled, “Buried alive in Mendocino County.” It opens with our experience of moving to what we thought would be a piece of paradise only to find ourselves living next to Michele Rogers and the dope business which she and her husband ran for many years, growing, distributing and selling marijuana, during which time she associated herself with the local health clinic and affiliated herself with Mr. K’Vaka, and they became beneficiaries of the grant-financed social welfare industry on which so many of their kind feed.

Sincerely,
Bill Evans
Media, Pennsylvania (formerly Laytonville)

* * *

MYTHOLOGIST McCOWEN

Editor,

You continue to falsely state that the civil suit depends on Tony Serra's ability to “bullshit a federal jury into believing the ludicrous story that the FBI and/or timber interests tried to murder Judi Bari.” (Ed Reply 6/28) You didn't think it was such a ludicrous idea when you regularly made such statements as “I’ve been convinced from the first that the attack on Bari was the work of Louisiana-Pacific…” (AVA, Here & There, 8/19/92.) However, the civil case does not allege an FBI and/or timber interest conspiracy to murder Judi Bari. The suit alleges false arrest, illegal search and seizure and an FBI/Oakland PD conspiracy to falsely associate Judi and Darryl with explosives and to chill their First Amendment rights to organize and advocate for social change.

As recently as 9/29/99 (Editor's Desk) you wrote “Kept to the simple allegation that the FBI and Oakland PD agreed to blame Bari and Cherney for nearly killing themselves with a time bomb placed beneath Bari's seat with no evidence to support the allegation, the Bari suit seems to me irrefutable.” That is the case and it is irrefutable. I'm still waiting for you to explain how you could say in the same article the bomb could have been “for some hare-brained scheme of Judi Bari's.”

I suppose it’s natural for you to blame the victims and condemn the civil suit since you've changed your stance on nearly everything and everyone even remotely connected to the bombing case. But what exactly is it you want to accomplish? If the suit goes down the drain so does any realistic chance of bringing the bomber to justice. The FBI files will remain sealed; the case will remain closed; Judi and Darryl will remain the only official suspects, and the FBI and Oakland PD misconduct will be swept under the rug.

The only records Plaintiffs seek to expunge are their records of false arrest. You seek to expose their true motive by printing their request to Jerry Brown “That all appropriate law enforcement agencies expunge and seal all records of the arrest of Bari and Cherney relating to the May 24, 7990 bombing.” (Ed reply, 6/28.) There is nothing here that seeks to close case files. To the contrary, the plaintiffs demand that all investigative files on Earth First! be released and that an independent investigation be undertaken, specifically to identify the bomber.

Here in Mendoland, where curmudgeonly faux journalists are free to re-write history, you are able to say “By 1967, as every other journalist in the country knows, the most intimidating effects of the Cold War were over, No radical I'm aware of gave the FBI so much as a second thought by '67 except to sneer at them,” and “There was nothing much to disrupt in '67, less to disrupt: in 1990, and nothing at all to disrupt today.” (Ed reply, 6/28.) I suppose the FBI Cointelpro (Counter Intelligence Program) never existed and the FBI did not disrupt AIM, the Black Panthers, and other groups with fatal results? And the FBI did not spend millions of our tax dollars in an effort to discredit Earth First!; an effort that continued into the 90s? You now pretend that the FBI was a bureaucratic tabby cat that went to sleep in 1967 and never woke up.

You persist in saying, “The lawsuit people have always been secretive; only you stooges have access to the Cult's legal information,” (Ed Reply, 6/21) just after I related how the Plaintiffs made 50 copies of the case brief and hundreds of pages of documents and testimony available at cost to anyone who wanted it back in March, 1997.

I also seem to recall that you were invited to review all 7,000 plus pages of the FBI files and copy anything you wanted provided you were willing to go to the attorney' s office. You insisted that Judi send you all 7,000 pages and when she declined you accused her of withholding information, confirming once again that your propensity for personal attacks exceeds your journalistic grasp.

You continue to refer to the galvanized pipe with attached end caps as a “mock-up bomb” or “replica,” (Ed note, 6/21.) but it doesn't alter the fact it bore no resemblance to the bomb concealed beneath Judi Bari's car seat with the intention of killing her.

I also recently spoke with Captain Walker who only remembers a pipe nipple with attached end caps. He was very clear that there was no battery or timer. I then showed him a picture of the mock-up constructed by the FBI. Lt. W alker indicated that the duct tape covered pipe (the duct tape secured the nails used for shrapnel effect) was about the right size but he didn't seem to remember the duct tape. He was certain there was no pocket watch, 9 volt battery, safety switch, motion switch, wires and other elements that would have made it a replica. The device was not “rendered harmless by the state bomb tech” as you state — it was harmless.

Who built it? We are talking about screwing two threaded end caps onto a threaded pipe nipple, a procedure so technically challenging your parakeet could master it. This procedure requires the same special tools and expertise as screwing the lid back on a mayonnaise jar. Susan Crane probably attached the end caps before leaving the hardware store to make sure they fit, as people often do when buying pipe fittings. Or perhaps a helpful clerk was the culprit. Crane herself said the AVA “had the facts wrong.”

The point is that there was no “replica,” the construction of which demonstrated the mechanical ability and technical knowledge required of the bomber. Will this be sufficient to deter you from falsely claiming there was a “replica” and using it to falsely associate your favorite suspect with explosive knowledge? I doubt it.

You impugn the motives and abilities of the “incompetent” legal team for years and try to sabotage their case and you’re I surprised they don't communicate with you?

You say you saw me at Copperfield's during one of your demystification road shows, but I haven't been near the place in well over two years. The only one of your events I've been to is May 24 in Ukiah, but when present I will always make my presence known. What is your problem? If no one shows up you say they are afraid to debate. If anyone asks a question you say they are trying to silence you.

You say you would have hit me on the spot May 24 “but I sensed I was being set up…because the kind of ‘progressive’ you claim to be runs straight to the cops whenever anybody so much as raises a voice in your direction.” (Ed Reply, 6/21.) I have never claimed to be a progressive but let’s compare my response to your challenge to fight (I politely declined) to your response to Heimann's innocuous threat to “squash you like a bug” left on your answering machine 6/28/99. You reported the crime to the Sheriff’s Department, forwarded a taped copy to them, drug two deputies over the hill to take a report and ran straight to the courts for a restraining order. (“I Created a Monster,” 8/15/99.) Please refrain from falsely imputing your behavior to me. (In the spirit of our new commitment to decorum, please delete [this] paragraph of the letter. “You say you would have hit me on the spot…” which adds nothing to the substance of the letter.)

Sincerely,
John McCowen
Ukiah

PS. Contrary to your belief, l don't “pay you a dollar every seven days.” (Ed Reply, 6/21.) The other “screwballs” can speak for themselves. I prefer to read the AVA at the tax supported County Library and make copies on the tax exempt county copy machine. It’s one thing to be called a dunce but I'd feel like one if paid for the honor.

PPS. There was no set-up. I will put you in jail if you assault me. (Please delete. This looks like a challenge in print. I intend it as a factual statement for the Editor’s information. I will work on my behavior and I encourage you to do likewise. Aren’t you the guy who, when I complained of personal attacks in the AVA, you cited the example of Willie Brown and all the flak he catches? (11/3/99, Off the Record.) If Willie and I can take it, surely so can you.

PPPS. Anyone who has read this far and wants one may receive a postage paid copy of all 550-plus pages of the legal brief and the supporting documents and testimony that constitutes plaintiff's statement of the civil case by sending a money order for $30 to PO Box 454, Ukiah, CA 95482. (This brief presents the real civil case, the one that is in court, as opposed to the one that exists as ancient history or as a figment of your imagination.)

PPPPS. Mark, working to bang out a letter here and there gives me renewed respect for all the work that goes into the AVA every every week. I have used ellipses to indicate deletions so you can check if I am altering meaning, but feel free to delete them and also the “and” between two quoted sentences from the same paragraph. I didn't know how else to indicate the deletion. I understand if such a long, late letter doesn't run this week, but if I send in another letter and they both run at once, why not label the second one “Dunce II” instead of ps which my second letter that ran 6/21 really wasn 't? Thanks again for the typesetting. I know if must be difficult to work off the tortured copy I provide you,

PPPPPS. I appreciate Bruce’s willingness to air opposing views and regret other folks didn’t take a more straightforward approach from the beginning, but it’s all part of the pathology of the AVA where rational discourse often proves elusive.

* * *

Ed reply: Like everyone else outside the small group of people who have lived off the case for ten years now and hope to cash out big time when it’s settled out of court as it’s in the process of doing, I’ve expressed a range of opinions about the case, and I’ve often been wrong. I’ve had to feel my way through the case in the deep dark, and I’ve been lied to by people I thought were truthful. So? The major obstacle to the truth in the Bari case is the people with a vested interest in tagging the FBI and/or Big Timber with the crime because that fantasy can be marketed to the credulous on the PC Circuit via KPFA, KMUD and KZYX. The vested interest Bari Cult people can also market themselves as noble warriors fighting off the corporate state while simultaneously employing themselves in no-sweat sinecures funded by tapping the PC Circuit for donations and selling the tone deaf songs about their own entirely self-alleged heroism. That’s the long and the short of the Bari-Cherney phenomena, with an attempted murder by an ex-husband and the usual cretinous undercover hijinks devised by the FBI, a national police force founded by a clinical paranoid who spent his off-hours prancing around in a cocktail dress. Only in America could this utterly bizarre nexus of nut, killers and cops be considered plausible, Mr. Planning Commissioner, which is why I’ve always considered myself fortunate to have been born here.

The more I learn about this case the cleverer it seems, with lots of associations now confirmed I’d only suspected before. Such as you and your role as landlord, funding agent and propagandist for the Bari-Cherney scam. Why, I understand you gave Bari-Cherney ten grand way back, and it must be nice to have that kind of dough to toss at people one barely knows. It must also be comforting to possess the kind of resources which has allowed you to rent primo real estate to the MEC murks for $200 a month. There’s still lots I don’t know, but what I do know stinks, frankly.

Since you’re the MEC’s landlord and the MEC has received somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 from the Redwood Summer Justice Project whose personnel are interchangeable with “public radio” KZYX to.... to what? One, I’d say to perpetuate the myth of the Bari case; two, to neuter what little progressive political energy there is in Mendocino County; and three parlay the attack on her (if that’s why Sweeney put the bomb beneath her seat) into a great big pay day for a handful of truly awful people who claim to be devoted to making the world a better place who have also lived off the myth for a decade now.

The most aggressive defenders of the Bari case myth — Tanya Brannan, Miss Tree, the psychopathic Hanrahan, Cherney, Annie Esposito, Haldane, Matricide Mike, a half-dozen lawyers — are self-interested to varying degrees. Their strategy, and yours, is to impugn the skeptics on a personal level rather than address the issues we’ve raised.

The Redwood Summer Justice Project, one of several Bari-Cherney related fundraising devices, has also enlisted key persons who I hope to see on the stand one day answering questions about the case. But those persons won’t talk, haven’t been deposed by either side, and often turn up fully compromised as members of boards of directors of various trust funds and fake non-profits, which is where we find hard-hitting “progressives” like Bruce Haldane and Annie Esposito of KZYX’s “news” team, and Miss Tree, and Sweeney’s ex-girl friend, Meredyth Rinehart (and Sweeney’s essential alibi witness), and Joanne Moore, and Mary Korte, and Karen Pickett, and other persons known to prefer myth to reality, or persons who must be compromised with a seat on one of these shell games to keep them quiet, or to keep them in crucial positions like KZYX to block public discussion of the case. I admire the person or persons who set it all up — Mike Sweeney and Judi Bari, I should think, because it covers most of the after-the-fact bases. Sort of.

You and the other shills, have gone to extravagant lengths to protect Sweeney by diverting attention from him.

The mock-up bomb recovered from Susan Crane’s house? Ten years later it has become merely a length of pipe with a couple of end caps affixed to it. Maybe, maybe not. Crane says Sweeney was standing by to write an accompanying press release when the project was scrapped. Sweeney doesn’t sue me (or anybody else) because he doesn’t have the money to do it and I in particular don’t have any money to recover when he wins. He’s well-to-do, as is his family and the Bari family. Sweeney won’t take a polygraph because he says they’re a form of voodoo. Polygraphs are routinely deployed by literally thousands of employers, including almost all police agencies at all levels of government. Pat Thurston wasn’t fired because she talked about the case on the radio, she was fired because the wine industry was angry with her. The Sweeney family’s connections with, and pressure on, the owners of the station had nothing to do with it. The facts are the opposite, and not only according to Thurston.

The problem with arguments of this type is that intelligent people say to themselves, “Yeah, yeah, but when you add all this stuff up it’s obvious these people, Sweeney especially, are hiding the truth.”

Let’s start with the replica of the bomb the MEC people had intended to display to help interested persons “understand” the nature of the device that exploded beneath Judi Bari’s seat. Your argument is, basically, that neither Crane nor the cops remember it very well. You suggest that the Ukiah PD and the state bomb guy were so flummoxed by a harmless piece of pipe with a couple of end caps screwed on to it that they and the state guy assumed it was live. You also seem to think piece of pipe and a couple of end caps would be of use to the curious as they tried to understand the bomb that nearly killed Judi Bari.

Dude! You need a piece of pipe and end caps to show people what a pipe bomb looks like? Nope, you need a replica complete with a pocket watch, a battery, a little ball bearing, and the rest of its parts to make it clear to people how this particular 3-step bomb actually worked.

But according to you and the other shills, the fact that Sweeney was handy to write an accompanying press release, as Crane tells us, is mere happenstance, as is the fact that Judi Bari herself, a little more than two years later, on May 24th 1993, is captured on videotape announcing that her ex-husband (she only had one) made a replica of the bomb that was so precisely constructed it fit snugly beneath the driver’s seat of the Subaru model she was driving when the real bomb exploded. But you ignore the fact of Kay Rudin’s videotape of Bari herself talking about her ex-husband’s replica in the plaza of the Frisco Federal Building with her overwrought legal team and a couple hundred other persons standing there looking on. May she was she referring to a second replica Sweeney made just for the edification of the two divorced lovebirds.

Maybe there were two replicas. Maybe Susan Crane’s memory of the device recovered by the Ukiah police is imprecise. Maybe the thing was a lot more like a working bomb than Susan Crane recalls. Maybe she, like you, prefers the myth of Bari-related events over the reality. Maybe lots of possibilities, but not very many probabilities, other than those which point straight at Mike Sweeney, Judi Bari’s ex-husband.

At some point after the real bomb he made and placed beneath his wife’s car seat in May of 1990, Mikey made a replica bomb. As a former refrigeration mechanic, maybe the guy just likes to monkey around with pipe.

You and the other shills seize tiny discrepancies in aspects of the case we’ve raised while ignoring the larger confirmations of those same niggling discrepancies, as you’ve done with the discussion of the mock-up of the bomb. You’re right, John; the state bomb guy did not “render” the mock-up bomb harmless. The mock-up carried off from Crane’s house was already harmless. Nobody had to “render it that way.” I used the wrong verb. Gotcha, Bruce, you faux journalist you!

But how do you explain that Judi Bari herself, on May 24th 1993, in front of the Federal Building in SF before a couple of hundred witnesses, filmed by Kay Rudin, her statement that “my ex-husband” made a perfect replica of the bomb that blew her up.

Yes, it’s true for the umpteenth time, that the pending federal case alleges false arrest and defamation, but in its earlier versions Irv Sutley was named as the go-to guy for an FBI/Big Timber murder plot mounted against Judi Bari. When more intelligent attorneys, Tony Serra’s team, presumably — took a look at the case, Sutley and the great FBI-Timber conspiracy became strictly a false arrest and defamation suit because that’s all that the facts, as they are known, support. As I’ve said a million or so times, the present case seems to me irrefutable so long as it’s considered all by itself without any explanation of how and why it came to be that the Oakland Police and the FBI managed to charge Bari and Cherney with carrying a bomb on the basis of evidence that was visibly, demonstrably untrue. The FBI made this fundamental and incomprehensible error because they’d tried to kill Bari and now had to frame her because she had survived the assassination attempt? And they’d tried to kill her because she represented a fundamental threat to the timber industry? Please.

How come the ex-husband, a man who spent his youth as a left cult guy, whose comrades committed numerous acts of violence including murder, the guy Judi Bari divorced, the guy she was afraid of, the guy she said was trying to cheat her on their property settlement, the guy who had threatened her with a custody fight for their children, how come that guy isn’t a suspect here?

Two huge mysteries here: The FBI arrests Bari and Cherney on the basis of physical evidence — placement of the bomb — that is obviously untrue, and the ex-husband is never considered the primo suspect; at least he says he has never been questioned by any law enforcement agency.

You and your self-aggrandizing friends at places like the MEC and KZYX seem to have a lot more respect for the abilities of the FBI than its numerous critics, and tons more than I have. In the Bari case the FBI arrests her and Cherney because they say the bomb blew up behind Bari and was therefore visible, ergo Bari and Cherney were knowingly carrying it. But we could all see from the television news pictures of the car at the scene of the bombing minutes after the explosion that the device had obviously detonated directly beneath the driver’s seat of the car. But hey, this is the super sleuth agency that mowed down the Davidian children, picked off the guy’s wife and kid at Ruby Ridge, and recruited the Yosemite murderer to help them gather evidence, thus giving that particular psycho plenty of time to decapitate another young woman. Apparently no one at the FBI ever gets fired for gross, lethal incompetence, but to hear the Bari-ites one would think the FBI is some kind of American Mossad.

The Bari-Cherney attorneys, if this odd ball case even gets into court, are going to have to explain the entire context of the bomb to a jury of ordinarily skeptical Americans, and ordinarily skeptical Americans aren’t going to buy the FBI-Timber conspiracy because there’s no evidence to support it, and the explanation of this event as one more government plot against a brave enemy of the state is going to come tumbling down in a deluge of improbabilities because the whole show is a fragile edifice of Bari-Sweeney-driven lies.

By my count there are at least 60 specific, insurmountable ex-husband-as-perp indicators and zero FBI-Oakland Police Department perp indicators. (We’ll pause here while someone from the MEC or KZYX, or a Sweeney surrogate like Rob Anderson, yourself or the Renaissance Man of Little River, says, “How about the FBI’s Bomb School on L-P land in Humboldt County just before the bombing?” Thank you, Mr. or Ms. Shill. You can go back to sleep now until the subject comes up again next week.

The Bomb School invoked by the Bari-ites as if it’s the proverbial smoking gun linking the FBI to the 1990 attack on Bari, is a regularly scheduled event held under the auspices of the College of the Redwoods. Cops from police forces up and down the West Coast enroll in the class to learn how to deal with various kinds of explosives. As you may have noticed, lots of people monkey around with bombs these days so it behooves law enforcement to know something about them. (Right here in Anderson Valley a guy recently blew part of his hand off as he assembled a pipe bomb. Presumably, the bomb was not going to be used on an environmentalist.)

The Bari-ites seem to be suggesting that the FBI practiced blowing up cars in HumCo then went down to Oakland and blew up Judi Bari with an oddly-constructed, mickey mouse pipe bomb, one end of which blew off prematurely, thus sparing Bari and Cherney’s lives. The FBI doesn’t have access to fail-proof explosives and people who know how to use them? The Bari-ites then say the roster of the bomb class held just before Bari was blown up in Oakland is “missing.” Subpoena it, along with Agent Doyle, who gave the class and who also appeared at the bomb site in Oakland. The FBI, I understand, claims the Mendo section of their files has been “lost,” and Ms. Yuppo, the alleged federal judge who has allowed this kind of farcical defiance limp along now for ten years puts it all over for another year-and-a-half. Sorry, pal, none of this, including the innumerable and endless delays, are acceptable. Why didn’t Judge Yuppo tell whichever jive FBI agent claimed the files were lost to bring them back after lunch or he could sit in an iso cell until his office produced them? But it’s all a big charade, I’d say, strung out all these years in the hopes when it was finally hidden away nobody would even remember it.

So then the argument becomes, “Judi Bari represented such a threat to timber interests she had to be killed.”

There are some low down boys in the timber industry, but if they felt it necessary to knock off people who represented major threats to their profits, where would they begin? David Brower or Judi Bari? Nasty as the big boys are, they don’t make irrational decisions, and murder in the context of Redwood Summer would have been totally irrational because, objectively, even if several thousand college students had showed up for Redwood Summer, they would not have been able to shut down many timber operations. The Northcoast is too big, and there were too many logging shows underway; additionally, there was no indication that large numbers of young people intended to head out for a summer of direct action in Ecotopia in any case. And if they had, who was here to meet them? The leadership on the Northcoast was (and is), well, defective, to put it mildly, and totally unprepared to efficiently dispatch several thousand eco-warriors to tree-saving venues, even if eco-warriors had shown up in significant numbers.

(A few years later the Headwaters demos managed to be both politically innocuous and irrelevant. The option of taking an aggressively non-violent but seriously disruptive stance against Hurwitz by closing down 101 or even lightly traveled highway 36 was rejected out of hand by the show biz-oriented “activists” who appointed themselves to the Headwaters leadership roles. Instead of some serious pressure on the industry, we all participated in a mass hootenanny and ritual arrest-fest, complete with movie stars and best-selling song singers, and a good time was had by all. (Gawdess! What pathetic bullshit. Hurwitz must laugh himself to sleep every night.)

Redwood Summer, even if Judi Bari hadn’t been blown up, would have been a similarly tame series of demo-excursions because, militant rhetoric notwithstanding, the Northcoast environmental movement is mainstream-conventional, totally an adjunct of the Democratic Party, and many of the people you read and hear about all the time as saving trees are much more interested in enviro-careers for themselves than they are in preserving what’s left of American wilderness. (Darryl Cherney serves nicely here as exhibit A.)

The trees, basically, are props for dates on the PC Circuit.

If the only records the plaintiffs seek to expunge are their records of false arrest, why don’t they explicitly make that request? Here’s what they’ve asked for; and readers can make up their own minds about what it means: “That all appropriate law enforcement agencies expunge and seal all records of the arrest of Bari and Cherney relating to the May 24, 1990 bombing.”

That’s the whole show, John. Everything Cherney and the $20 mil gang want to hide about their own sleazy behavior can be hidden behind this one sentence; it’s got plenty of stretch in it.

The FBI’s vaunted Cointelpro program of the 1960s worked because it was aimed at people and groups vulnerable to the crudest tactics of disruption — insults, faked communiqués, conjured accusations of misconduct, cash payoffs to its leadership (Gee, how much money do you suppose the feds would have to spread around to neuter the MEC and KZYX?), the use of agents as sexual seducers, and so forth. I think the FBI “disrupted” Redwood Summer simply by encouraging the screwballs already here to do their thing, and brought in a few more screwballs for the occasion. I also think they used the MEC (surprise!) as their listening post during that period. Maybe you could tell us about some of the people we haven’t seen since, John, since you own the building. Whatever light you can shed about who funds who and what would be most appreciated.

The Panthers and AIM cases bear little to no resemblance to one another. The Panthers, under the psychopathic Newton, were a criminal organization who hid everything from murder to big-time dope dealing behind the pseudo-Marxist rhetoric fashionable among left cults at the time. The Panthers did a few good things to cover the bad things the leadership did constantly. AIM was attacked, on more than one occasion, in military fashion by the FBI who also armed and deployed Indian goon squads to destroy AIM’s opposition to corrupt tribal governments and the ever-corrupt and incompetent Bureau of Indian Affairs, which acts as expediters for corporations intent upon one form or another of annexation of tribal lands. Of all the martyrs of the FBI’s Cointelpro programs of the 1960s, only Leonard Peltier’s is righteous.

Judi Bari would not allow me to look at the files she said she possessed unless she was present “to explain certain things.” I told her I didn’t want or need a guide, and she told me I couldn’t see them. Two years or so ago, attorney Bill Simpich, said Mark Heimann and I could come down to his office in Oakland and not only look at the files but could copy whatever we wanted from them. Just when we’d arranged to make the trip down there to devote a couple of days to looking at the file, we were unable to reach Simpich to confirm access. In any case, we were never confident that we’d be allowed to look at everything the Bari-Cherney legal team had assembled. I’d the Bari-Cherney lawyers are about as trustworthy as the rest of the Redwood Summer Justice Project, and if this is “the movement” I’d prefer not to move.

Incidentally, the file the Redwood Summer Justice Project sold for several years as a fundraiser is a fraud, assembled in no particular order and containing nothing of any significance or even relevance to the case. I also note here that Tanya Brannan’s salary as boss of RSJP is something like $40,000 annually, complete with no-interest loans to herself to “remodel” RSJP’s office space which, apparently, is located at her house.

The RSJP’s take through ‘98 is more than $600,000. The Bay Area Coalition For Headwaters, Environmentally Sound Productions, the MEC, aspects of KZYX, at least one fund for the Bari-Sweeney children, the Purple Berets, and who knows how much unaccounted for cash directly given to Bari and Cherney themselves is all related one way or another.

That wasn’t you at Copperfield’s? It must have been some other furtive, ferret-faced passive-aggressive. Sorry.

Before readers fork over $30 to the shills for the case, check the internet if you know how to access it. I’m told the thing is there for nothing. Anybody who sends these people money is likely to get ripped off. Besides which, the case, in its present, honed down form, is neither the wild version first hauled into federal court by the Bari-ites, nor does it offers reasons why it all happened in the first place. The one the scammers will sell you simply says that Bari and Cherney were falsely arrested then defamed as terrorists, which is true in so far as it goes.

Your PS reinforces the passive-aggressive diagnosis rendered above. The fact is that the AVA is the only venue on the Northcoast where this case (and many other issues) can be discussed, you and your friends having reduced tax-exempt, partially tax-supported KZYX, KMUD and KPFA to catechism camps for not only the Bari case but other issues as well. (The MEC was born a eunuch, as was KZYX. KPFA, at one time, was smart and lively. Ditto for KMUD.) As for the pre-emptive excuse-making you and other wimp-twit pwoggies resort to as reasons for not arguing in the AVA, people either defend themselves and their alleged principles or suddenly remember they have dentist appointments when it’s time to put up or shut up.

* * *

TENCH-HUT!

Editor,

Well here we go again. I believe the wording of the 2nd Amendment can be construed that every gun owner is already a member of the militia, subject to call for drill and duty. I also believe that many local authorities during WWII, citing the Constitution, did require gun owners to show up for drill.

I say, let a courageous elected governor give notice that all gun owners in the state are to show up for Thursday night militia drill, and furthermore, that all gun owners absent from such are liable to military justice AWOL proceedings. The next time someone buys bullets who wasn’t at the required militia meetings, he can face a jury. The next time someone commits a crime with a gun, there’s an additional penalty.

Of course, you can opt out by turning in your grampa’s duck gun to the authorities.

As for me, we can chat at the meetings between “left face” and “forward march.” See how easy it is?

Leslie Piper
Santa Rosa

* * *

BAFFLED IN BOONVILLE

Editor,

Good times are a curse for governments. One would think that in prosperous times as we are having that all kinds of government would be paying off their debts, primarily bonds, which as I have stated before is a mortgage. But alas, they are only creating more debt.

It absolutely baffles me that we are going to tear down a perfectly good building (our firehouse) which is free and clear, and that has room enough in back to build another building almost as big as the present firehouse if they need it — which they don’t.

Then there’s the water which is not used for drinking or cooking or showers, only for washing trucks. Again I’m baffled at what’s wrong with those big bottles of drinking water?

I am baffled why this Board does not want to go with the Amador program which is cheaper and covers the Valley year-round, 24 hours a day.

I am baffled why this Board wants to get the Valley into long-term debt, and as we all know, the amount of money required to do this undertaking will be underestimated as all government jobs are, and they will come around begging for more money.

My only answer is that the Board falls asleep when Chief Colin Wilson talks on and on, or he is a hypnotist.

Every time I pick up a newspaper here is another county or city wanting to raise a tax. As I stated earlier, this propensity to give government tons of money is not a blessing but a curse. Oh yes, the new word for begging is “fundraiser.”

Completely and Absolutely Baffled,

Emil Rossi
Boonville

PS. Business borrows money in expectation of making money. Governments borrow money in expectation of raising taxes.

* * *

OLD FASHIONED 4TH

Editor,

Thanks to all those who joined with us at the Fairgrounds for a wonderful Old Time 4th of July celebration. It was genuinely a community event, and one that we hope will become an annual occasion here in the Valley. I'm happy to report, too, that the event was a substantial fund-raiser for the AV Education Foundation that will further our efforts to enrich the educational opportunities for the youth of the Valley.

Special thanks as well to Dave Gowan and the very supportive staff at the Fairgrounds, to Judy Long and the Volunteer Firefighters Association and a hot Chili Cook-Off, to Pat Hulbert and the ladies of the Methodist Church for delicious huckleberry pies, to Linda Filer of the AV Health Center for wine sales, to the Chamber of Commerce Board for ticket sales, to the Lion's Club for all their important assistance and to the American Legion Post for flags and a Color Guard for our kids' parade.

Boontling was well represented by Bobby Glover and Wes Smoot, and to them and the Kimmie Codgers our thanks for connecting us with our heritage.

And our heartfelt thanks go to Susie Carrell and the AV Brewing Co., John Schmidt and the Boonville Hotel, and Leslie Hummel of All That Good Stuff for major contributions: beer and hotdogs for the adults, and great prizes for the kids' parade.

Many other volunteers helped create the event, and our thanks to go Brian Blumberg (music and sound coordinator extraordinaire), Bruce Hering (a perfect Uncle Sam), Don Bissattini at the hotdog grill all afternoon, and our entertainers: Mr. Eleven, Lady Rainbow, Toni Pickles and Professor Dubious. To the musicians — the HumDingers, Mendocino Ric and Frida's Circus — our special thanks for making your talent a part of our afternoon. Suzi Miller and our parade judges (Lanny and Sandy Parker and Indre Vitez) were winners themselves, and so were Marilyn Pronsolino and the AVHS Cheerleaders. And for decorations that transformed the grove we thank Steve and Emily Anderson and Mike Shapiro for their hard work and creativity, as well as Justin, Aaron and Carlos for the heavy lifting!

We had games galore too, and for that our thanks go to Donna Pearson-Pugh and Linea Toten for bubbles of fun, Flick McDonald for volleyball, and Brian Huggins for his amazing weaving looms.

Finally, I must thank the board members of the AV Education Foundation: Sharon Shapiro, Janet Anderson, Quincey Imhoff, Sherman Juster, and Tex and Lynn Sawyer. Their imagination and hard work over many months must be applauded.

Next year? Of course! So mark your calendars now, dream up a costume for the parade, and plan to join us again for an Old Time 4th of July Celebration right here in Anderson Valley in 2001.

Sincerely,

Michael Addison
for the AV Education Foundation
Boonville

* * *

BARRY VS. THE BIG BOYS

Dear Editor,

I attended the Mendocino Forest Council meeting on July 6th in Ukiah at which Deputy District Attorney Barry Vogel gave a low-key presentation to the Council describing the interest of his office in the past, present and future of the forest products industry in the County. He mentioned the significant impact it has had and will continue to have on the welfare of our citizens on employment, on our water, on the air we breathe and on the wildlife, including a magnificent resource, the salmon. At issue was the depletion of the forests and the need for the logging industry, government and citizens to work together to ensure that the future of Mendocino County will not continue to be jeopardized by unsustainable forest practices. For such cooperation it is essential for logging companies to openly present their immediate and long-term planning for public comment.

As only one of the several large timber companies in Mendocino County (Hawthorne Timber Company, LLC, a subsidiary of The Campbell Group) refuses to reveal pertinent data for their plans, the DA’s office is moved to protect the public interest by finding out the facts.

Quite frankly, I was delighted to learn of the DA’s concern for this matter and view it as one of the few encouraging developments in an otherwise bleak situation. Let’s hope that the DA’s office will convince the Hawthorne Timber Company to follow a non-confrontational course by submitting all the data that Jackson State Demonstration Forest and Mendocino Redwood Company have volunteered to do.

Heidi Gundling
Philo

* * *

BOBOS

AVA,

While re-upping for another year of Pulitzer-potential wood pulp ranting from Bruce Anderson and staff, I’d like to offer my condolences to Nicholas von Hoffman for his writing assignment last week regarding David Brooks. (“The New Upper Class,” AVA, 7/5/00).

Two months ago I had to endure an interview between Brooks and Grechen Helfert on South Bend Public Radio, WVPE — much better than your watered-down Philo version. Having only previously witnessed Brooks as a talking head on the moronic spinoffs of TV info commerce, e.g., CNBC, I was able to visualize this asshole spouting acronymic pleas to those who wear 350-count Egyptian cotton undies while mentally masturbating as their charwomen bend over to attend to their God-Forbid progeny.

Knowing many BOBO-inskis from being around on Planet Earth long enough to gain their trust and admiration for my artistic talents on the COW circuit (California-Oregon-Washington), I can assure you that their plebeian allegiances run as thin as their waistlines and vapid interiors (both mentally and domestically). Contrary to Brooks’ assertion of the BOBOs’ soulfulness, their real classisms surface under stress and confrontation. I know: I’ve seen it, not just once, but dozens of times.

Their usual solution to THE REAL WORLD, as opposed to their invented realities, is Flight (how Freudian, me being a Jungian and all). High tech security, exclusive clubbing, huddled living arrangements in Urbania as opposed to country living with a panache for firearms (OK for me, but not for the lowlies) typify these emergent gods.

Do we really need to know that money does not, can not and never will substitute for authentic compassion? What’s next? 100 Questions in Old House Renovation under the aegis: “I’m cool, how about you?”

Allan Millet
Bailly Town, Indiana

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