Friday, April 06, 2012

Bombing Judi Bari: The political context

Photo by Ben Rosenfeld

The stories on the recent court order and the new movie on the attempted assassination of Judi Bari don't put the event in the proper political context. The car bomb went off in May, 1990, just as Bari and Darryl Cherney were launching Redwood Summer, a series of demonstrations opposing the destruction of what was left of forests on the northcoast.

The story in the Bay Guardian doesn't mention the Forests Forever initiative on the November ballot that year, a measure to reform timber practices in California, which of course the timber industry was vigorously opposing. The FBI and the Oakland PD immediately blamed the bombing on Bari and Cherney, associating Redwood Summer and timber reform in general with terrorism, helping the timber industry defeat a serious threat to their profit margins (Nick Wilson's account of those events is the best).

Why would the US government want to destroy the physical evidence in the case? Why not turn it over to an independent lab to see if any fingerprints or DNA evidence lead to the bomber? The behavior of the authorities in this case has been suspicious from the beginning, and the government's arguments against releasing the evidence based on legal technicalities seem disingenuous.

More context: there was that suspicious FBI car bombing school for law enforcement that took place on Louisiana-Pacific property a month before the Bari  assassination attempt. Bari, who was a good writer, leaves an interesting account of the bomb school conducted by the FBI agents who---another coincidence!---then played an important role in the subsequent bombing investigation.

My article from several years ago on some of the issues still being debated on the car bombing.

And neither the Guardian nor the Chronicle get the name of the organization Bari and Cherney were leading right, since they leave the exclamation point off of Earth First!

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