U.S. to Pay Environmental Activists $2M (FBI: false arrest, illegal search, slander)


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w4rma
April 24, 2004, 06:42 AM
Fri Apr 23, 7:26 PM ET

OAKLAND, Calif. - The federal government has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by two environmental activists who were arrested and branded eco-terrorists by the FBI 14 years ago.

Darryl Cherney and the estate of the late Judi Bari, who died of cancer in 1997, will divide the settlement and a separate $2 million settlement from the Oakland City Council last year.

The two activists from Earth First! were arrested by the FBI when a pipe bomb exploded in their car in Oakland on May 24, 1990. Bari, who was driving, suffered a crushed pelvis and Cherney was cut.

The two activists later sued the FBI and Oakland police investigators, alleging false arrest, illegal search, slanderous statements and conspiracy. They claimed officials lied to try to make a case and ignored evidence that would have cleared them.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=542&ncid=693&e=10&u=/ap/20040423/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/fbi_settlement

more detailed:

Judi Bari was nearly killed in a still-unsolved terrorist attack on May 24, 1990, when a motion-triggered pipe bomb wrapped with nails exploded directly under her driver's seat. She and Darryl Cherney were driving through Oakland, California when the bomb exploded. They were on a concert and speaking tour to recruit college students for Redwood Summer, a campaign of nonviolent mass protests against corporate liquidation logging.

Judi was maimed and disabled by the bombing, while Darryl received lesser injuries. In the previous two months, both had received numerous death threats from timber industry supporters and had reported them to local police. They had copies of written death threats in the car, where investigators found them. Right away, Judi and Darryl told paramedics and police officers that they had been bombed because of their activism against the timber industry, and both of them separately named the same individuals and a right-wing group that they believed were behind the bombing.

But instead of investigating the bombing as attempted murder, as the evidence clearly showed, the FBI, with the willing collaboration of the Oakland Police, tried to frame Judi and Darryl for the bombing, further victimizing them by false arrest and accusing them of knowingly transporting the bomb that nearly killed them.

It was a deliberate, politically motivated effort to target and "neutralize" Judi, Darryl and Earth First!, and to discourage people from traveling from all over the nation to join in Redwood Summer. The sensational false charges made headlines nationwide, and the FBI and their Oakland Police accomplices kept a two-month media smear campaign going with a series of false claims about physical evidence linking Judi to building the bomb.

But after delaying arraignment for seven weeks, when it was finally time for the District Attorney to present evidence in court and file formal charges, the FBI and Oakland Police didn't actually have any. The D.A. announced he would not file charges, citing the lack of evidence. The Oakland Police closed their "investigation," but the FBI continued theirs, telling the media that Judi and Darryl were their only suspects.

The FBI then used the pretext of investigating the bombing as cover for a nationwide investigation of Earth First!, sending agents to create dossiers on over 500 people whose only crime was to have received a long-distance phone call from Judi, Darryl, or one of 14 other people associated with them.

A year after the bombing, when it was clear that the FBI and OPD were making no genuine effort to solve the bombing, Judi and Darryl filed a federal civil rights suit against the FBI and OPD. The suit claims false arrest and unlawful search in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It also claims a politically-motivated conspiracy in violation of the First Amendment which attempted to suppress and chill their free speech by discrediting them in public perception as violent extremists.

“This case is not just about me or Darryl or Earth First!,” Judi said. “This case is about the rights of all political activists to engage in dissent without having to fear the government's secret police.”

Fully 12 years after the event the bomber or bombers are still free because, as overwhelming evidence has shown at trial, instead of mounting a genuine investigation of the bombing, the FBI and OPD:

* falsified, fabricated and manipulated evidence,
* perjured themselves under oath to get search warrants and high bail,
* conducted a sustained media smear campaign to fool the public,
* blamed the victims despite clear evidence of their innocence,
* conspired to frame and demonize Judi Bari and Earth First! for political reasons,
* spied on nonviolent environmentalists in a phony investigation of the bombing,
* failed to investigate fingerprints and other evidence pointing to the real bombers, and
* covered up their own wrongdoing and obstruction of justice.

To this day the FBI has never retracted the false charges or apologized. The FBI's sustained propaganda campaign against Judi, Darryl and Earth First! succeeded in fooling some people into believing they were bomb-using extremists.

The lawsuit was delayed from coming to trial for nearly 11 years by defense motions and appeals intended to wear the plaintiffs down and prevent the case from ever coming to trial. They gained an immense advantage when Judi died in 1997, but Judi's estate, Darryl Cherney, their legal team and supporters have have kept the suit alive and have cleared every hurdle and won every appeal. The courts ruled several times prior to trial that there is substantial evidence to support the charges.

The evidence was presented in a jury trial that began on April 8, 2002, and ended June 11 with a stunning vindication of Judi and Darryl, and a $4.4 million award of damages. A full 80% of the damages were for First Amendment violations, showing that the jury understood that the motivation for the false arrest and illegal searches was to interfere with Judi and Darryl's political activism with Earth First! in defense of the redwoods.
http://www.judibari.org/default.html#History

And in the thread above, the FBI wants to be trusted with an expansion of wiretapping (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=78575). :scrutiny:

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only1asterisk
April 24, 2004, 07:03 AM
I'd sooner believe that these two nuts were transporting a bomb than that they were targeted by a bomber that just happened to also attack the lumber companies.


David

HBK
April 24, 2004, 07:17 AM
I think you're right. It's a lot easier to believe that these two nuts were transporting a bomb than it is to believe they were targets. Earth Firsters usually do the targeting.

w4rma
April 24, 2004, 07:19 AM
I'd sooner believe that these two nuts were transporting a bomb than that they were targeted by a bomber that just happened to also attack the lumber companies.I think you're right. It's a lot easier to believe that these two nuts were transporting a bomb than it is to believe they were targets. Earth Firsters usually do the targeting.A jury disagreed with you.

The jury clearly found that six of the seven FBI and OPD defendants framed Judi and Darryl in an effort to crush Earth First! and chill participation in Redwood Summer. That was evident in the fact that 80% of the $4.4 million total damage award was for violation of their First Amendment rights to speak out and organize politically in defense of the forests.
http://www.judibari.org/jury's_message.html#continue

HBK
April 24, 2004, 07:30 AM
Yeah, probably a California jury of their peers made up of a bunch of Democratic Underground nuts. Scott Peterson should be so lucky, :rolleyes:

only1asterisk
April 24, 2004, 07:31 AM
w4rma

What's your point? Juries have been setting the guilty free and sending the innocent to prison for years.

I don’t give a ******** what someone else thinks. I’m not going to let some predigested, “unbiased”, article represent me. I’d rather make my mind up for myself. The article you posted is short on facts about the case and long on making these people look like victims. I’d like to see what evidence this jury used to come up with this verdict, until then what I said first stands. I find it FAR more likely than not that the FBI had this one right from the beginning.


David

Iain
April 24, 2004, 07:34 AM
I'm amused (and disturbed) that you advocate the rule of law and proper legal procedure as checks to abuse of power most of the time.

Yet when it is somebody you disagree with suddenly those procedures aren't good enough anymore because 'innocent til proven guilty' doesn't apply to 'leftists' or whoever you wish to see locked up.

One rule for the goose and another for the gander eh?

Sergeant Bob
April 24, 2004, 07:37 AM
And in the thread above, the FBI wants to be trusted with an expansion of wiretapping.
What happened to the Spam?

only1asterisk
April 24, 2004, 08:03 AM
St Johns,

Hardly, sir! With the scant facts available from a brief search, I can see exactly why the FBI investigated these people. It made perfect sense to do so. The fact that they were able to bring a successful lawsuit has nothing to do with their guilt or innocence or even the incompetence of the FBI. The difficulty is I don't trust our judicial system to find its @$$ with both hands.


David

longrifleman
April 24, 2004, 12:29 PM
Here's a thought. Maybe everybody in this mess is guilty!

The position of the bomb should have been easy to determine from the blast pattern. Anybody dumb enough to transport a live bomb under their own seat deserves a little pain. If somebody else planted it that would make more sense. That doesn't mean that the targets weren't going to plant other bombs elsewhere. The Earth Firster's have been known to do that stuff.

The FBI's labs have been caught screwing with evidence often enough that if I was on a jury I would look hard at anything that was questionable and not verified by an independent source. I wish I didn't have to feel this way but once trust is lost it is difficult to get it back.

The larger lesson here is that any govt. agency that wants to frame people they don't like for any reason can put those people in a world of hurt quick. Even if we don't particularly like the people involved, and I think the Earth Firsters are complete wack jobs, if we let the govt. cross the line it will likely cost a lot of good people their lives to get them back where they belong.


PS. St Johns, a PM coming.

7.62FullMetalJacket
April 24, 2004, 01:35 PM
St. Johns is right (and w4rma too).

I think this is a just verdict. It is true that Earth First! is a terrorist organization. But mere association is insufficient to be railroaded like this. I find it hard to believe that a "motion-activated bomb" would be transported under the driver's seat by the bomber.

Remember, we are gun owners and most a little right-of-center. We could also be targets in this kind of incident.

BowStreetRunner
April 24, 2004, 11:03 PM
true, just like pax posted in another thread:
He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression. – Thomas Paine

BSR

Standing Wolf
April 25, 2004, 12:16 AM
She and Darryl Cherney were driving through Oakland, California...

They should have been bicycling.

only1asterisk
April 25, 2004, 01:24 AM
Or a least riding a bus.

David

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