FBI and Oakland Pay Earth First $4 Million
May 24 Is 'Judi Bari Day' in Oakland

May 22, 2004

Earth First! activist and terror target Judi Bari. Credit: Earth First!
FBI and Oakland Police Pay
Earth First! $4 Million

(May 13, 2004) -- A fourteen-year saga ended last Friday, May 7, as the FBI joined the City of Oakland in paying Earth First! activists Darryl Cherney and the late Judi Bari through her estate a combined $4 million for violations of their first and fourth amendment rights as guaranteed by the US Constitution.

The lawsuit stemmed from a May 24, 1990 car bombing of the pair. The FBI and Oakland police instantly blamed Bari and Cherney for bombing themselves even though they had conducted no investigation and all evidence collected showed they were the victims of an assassination attempt.

Cherney and Bari were bombed on their way to a musical performance that doubled as an organizing drive for a campaign called Redwood Summer 1990. Bari played fiddled, Cherney guitar and they both sang and wrote songs.

A ten-person jury in Judge Claudia Wilken's Federal District Courtroom in Oakland originally awarded Bari and Cherney $4.4 million, but a post-trial contractual agreement was engineered to avoid appeals by both sides. Attorney Dennis Cunningham led a legal team of San Francisco Bay Area lawyers that included Bob Bloom, Tony Serra, William Simpich and Ben Rosenfeld.

Fee attorney James Wheaton of the First Amendment Project joined post-trial efforts to draft a fee motion which, if it prevailed, could have doubled the amount the defendants would have had to pay, setting legal precedents the FBI wanted to avoid and Oakland could not afford. Numerous other post trial motions and pending appeals were all dropped by all sides to conclude the case.

But when the dust cleared, the jury verdict remained in place. For one of the only too rare times in history, the citizens of the United States scored a victory for civil rights over the scandal-plagued, notorious Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI Has Yet to Identify the Bomber
Alicia Littletree, who lived with Judi Bari and was considered her protégé, was dubbed the "Most Valuable Paralegal" by all involved. "Our lawyers were the only legal team that could have pulled this off. They were geniuses," she said. When asked how Judi might re-act to the victory, Littletree said, "Judi wouldn't have gotten over the feeling that the bombing is not solved. That is a lingering part of the fight. Judi wouldn't give up just because the money came in." She added that the settlement served as "an easy way out for the FBI."

Cherney vowed to continue the investigation of the bombing. Included in the post-trial victory settlement, Cherney won the return of all property seized as evidence in the case. He was also able to convince the Oakland City Council to proclaim May 24 "Judi Bari Day." Plans are still being formulated for victory celebrations up and down the coast of California.

Cherney said that no individual involved with this case would net more than $500,000. When asked how he will spend the funds, he replied, "Acquire a modest home, help fund a continued investigation of the bombing, donate to worthy groups, and channel energy into producing CD's of eco-music."

"If we get a few more victories like this," attorney Bob Bloom reflected, "it might affect what the FBI -- the domestic army of the United States -- does to people."

In these days of the "War on Terrorism," Cherney added, "the government can not be trusted to decide who is a terrorist and who is not. There is a political agenda that the federal government follows in declaring peaceful activists to be terrorists while anti-abortion groups and the Ku Klux Klan remain unscathed.

"In the wake of 9/11 and Bush's assault on our civil rights, our trial victory is more urgent then ever," Cherney declared. "We the people will not stand for the FBI or any government agency clearcutting the constitution. May a thousand lawsuits bloom from this one to hold the FBI accountable for their too-many-to-count violations of the laws they are supposed to uphold."

Additional Resources:

  • For information on the bombing and attempted frame up by FBI of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney: www.judibari.org
  • Darryl Cherney's music homepage [Environmentally Sound Promotions, PO Box 2254, Redway, CA 95560]: www.darrylcherney.com
  • To hear "Bush It" by Darryl Cherney and the Chernobles (lyrics included):
  • For Remedy's tree-sit blog page check out: www.contrast.org/treesit
  • For Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters (Berkeley) see:

    Resolution to Declare May 24
    'Judi Bari Day' in the City of Oakland

    WHEREAS, Judi Bari was a dedicated activist, who worked for many social and environmental causes, the most prominent being the protection and stewardship of California's ancient redwood forests; and

    WHEREAS, examples of Judi Bari's efforts include the preservation of the Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County, the protection of the Cahto Wilderness area and the Albion River Watershed in Mendocino County, and the formation of a timber worker-environmentalist alliance; and

    WHEREAS, prominent environmental activist David Brower stated on the occasion of her untimely death from cancer at the age of 47, "Judi always projected an unwavering commitment to her values and her continued urgings to affect apathy into action. We will miss her commitment and compassion, her strength, courage and conviction. We can honor her by sharing it."; and

    WHEREAS, on May 24, 1990, Judi Bari was the victim of a car bombing in Oakland that nearly took her life; now therefore be it

    RESOLVED, that the City of Oakland shall designate May 24 as Judi Bari Day and celebrate and honor the work of Judi Bari in advancing the causes of forest protection, eco-feminism, labor organizing, bridge building between environmentalists and timber workers, and civil rights for political activists; and be it

    FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City shall encourage its schools, civic institutions and citizens to memorialize Judi Bari's work through art, media, festivals, school assignments and other creative means.

    Passed unanimously on May 24, 2003 by Councilmembers Brooks, Brunner, Channg, Nadel, Quoan, Reid, Wan and Council President De la Fuente.

    Wavy Gravy, the "Clown Prince of the Counter Culture" (High Times) and the "Loco-laureate of the Woodstock Nation" (LA Times).
    Wavy Gravy:
    Salute to a Good-humored Humanitarian

    by Paul Krassner

    When I first met Wavy Gravy, he was Hugh Romney, a thin, goateed, stand-up comic who wore a three-piece suit and performed abstract material. Now he's a roly-poly, socially active clown -- the illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Teresa.

    Wavy's portable commune, the Hog Farm, provided free breakfast at the original Woodstock festival; he has campaigned several times as Nobody for President; he kept the Yippie candidate -- a porker named Pigasus -- in a Lower East Side bathtub; and more recently Wavy has become a Ben & Jerry's ice-cream flavor.

    While traveling, the Hog Farmers once found themselves at a fork in the road. Up above, a pair of sky-writing planes were playing tic-tac-toe, and Wavy decided that they would go one way if the X's won and the other way if the O's won.

    Meanwhile, between the time that Charles Manson got released from prison and the time he orchestrated a mass murder, he was busy exploring and exploiting the counterculture, from Haight-Ashbury to Strawberry Fields.

    Driving his family around in a school bus painted black, Manson stopped at the Hog Farm, whose school bus was painted in rainbow colors. They were back on their land, all standing in a circle chanting "Om," which somehow caused Manson to start choking and gagging, so *his* family began counter-chanting "Evil." It was an archetypal confrontation. Manson even tried to exchange one of his girls for Wavy's wife, Bonnie Jean. But the black bus finally left, mission unaccomplished.

    When Bonnie Jean, whose Sufi name is Jahanarah, gave birth to a baby boy, they named him Howdy Do-Good. However, on his 13th birthday, Howdy legally changed his name to Jordan Romney. He is now a computer programmer.

    Wavy and Jahanarah run Winnarainbow, a performing arts summer camp. One year, I was the comedy counselor, and at the end of the season I had a one-night stand with another counselor on the outdoor trampoline.

    Wavy's Rainbow Bridge
    At camp, Wavy always led an orientation, at the end of which he would turn out all the lights and tell the kids, "In ancient times, I was a teenage beatnik, and I used to brush my teeth with Snickers bars and gargle with Hoffman's Black Cherry Soda and, after a while, I began to get these cavities and my teeth would rot out...."

    In fact, when he joined The Committee, a satirical improve troupe in San Francisco, dentists would leave their cards for him at the box office. Eventually, the Merry Pranksters' dentist, Dick Smith, began to work on his teeth. He overheard Wavy mutter to Neal Cassady, "After listening to a lot of Vietnam War body counts, the only flag I wanna salute is a rainbow," so Smith secretly made a rainbow bridge, each tooth a different color of the rainbow spectrum. Kids thought it was really cool.

    Wavy's rainbow bridge was formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland for their exhibit, "I Want to Take You Higher: The Psychedelic Era." We had a gig there, and he was walking a rubber fish named Saul Bass on a stiff leather dog leash. Wavy takes him everywhere.

    "I don't know what that means," he told me. "It may be my latent Christianity. But walking this fish in New York City, nobody asks me for money. People either enjoy the fish or they pretend it's not happening."

    The Heady Days of the Great Softball Game
    In addition to the rainbow bridge being on display, there was Wavy's sleeping bag, called "Home Plate" because it had actually served as home plate in the Great Softball Game. Two communes had challenged the Hog Farm. They all ate a lot of green acid left over from Woodstock, then proceeded to make up the rules.

    Second base was inside a cottage on the second floor looking out the window. Third base, you had to slide down a rope into a big barrel of water. And to get to home plate, a player had to pick you up and carry you home. And home, when you got there, was a foot rub, a cheeseburger and a line of coke.

    "It was back in those nutty days," Wavy explains, "and we didn't know any better. These days I think cocaine is Nature's way of telling people to spend money and be mean to their kids. If you saw the Woodstock movie, there is a scene where I'm snorting a line before I hit the stage. My mother said, 'What are you doing there?' I told her I was clearing my sinuses. That's when I started calling cocaine the Thinking Man's Dristan."

    Wavy's Arresting Performances
    Wavy has been arrested dozens of times at demonstrations for a variety of humane causes. Most recently he was busted while wearing a Santa Claus outfit with large red sunglasses and a red clown nose, calling himself "Insanity Clause." Wavy was among those arrested for trespassing and blocking the gates of San Quentin Prison, to protest the scheduled execution of Kevin Cooper, the only condemned inmate who has actively organized anti-death penalty protests. Cooper, an African-American, was convicted of murder, although an 8-year-old boy who survived the attack said the killings were carried out by three white people.

    Wavy also expends tremendous time and energy organizing benefits for a variety of humane causes. On December 13, he organized and emceed a concert at the Berkeley Community Theater as a benefit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Seva (the Sanskrit word meaning "divine work" or "service to God"), featuring performers Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Dead, Hamza el Din, and Steve Earle. The concert raised $250,000 for Seva. And on May 8, Wavy staged another Seva fund-raiser at San Francisco's Great America Music Hall.

    Co-founded by Wavy, Seva has been supporting projects and hospitals that have given back sight to more than two million blind persons through low cost or free surgery in developing countries around the world, plus community self-development programs that have helped thousands of indigenous peoples to drink clean water, read, write and deliver healthier babies, as well as promoting diabetes prevention for Native Americans.

    A couple of things I've learned from Wavy's work: (1) that altruism is the highest form of selfishness; and (2) that absurdity can be a spiritual path.

    Paul Krassner is the author of Murder at the Conspiracy Convention. A new book, Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs from Toad Slime to Ecstasy was edited by Krassner. Additional examples of outrageous accomplishments and creatively anti--authoritarian behavior are on view at: www.paulkrassner.com.

    Celebrate Seva's 25 Years of Compassionate Service
    To learn more, contact the Seva Foundation, 1786 Fifth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710, 510-845-7382, fax: 510-845-7410, orders: 1-800-223-7382. www.seva.org.

    For more information contact:

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