Pack the courtroom as Bari vs. USA, postponed after the September 11 disaster, finally goes to trial on April 8! Now more than 11 years after a car bomb exploded under Earth First! activist Judi Bari as she drove her car in Oakland, her civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and the Oakland Police Department is both more difficult and more essential. Although Judi didn’t live to see trial (she died of cancer in 1997) her spirit is powerfully present in the final days of trial preparation.
The lawsuit alleges that the FBI and the Oakland Police Department framed Judi and Darryl Cherney (who was riding with her in the car) on charges that they car-bombed themselves. Instead of trying to find the real bomber, the FBI and the OPD tried to smear Judi and Darryl’s reputation in an attempt to disrupt the 1990 Redwood Summer protests which aimed to preserve the ancient redwood trees in Headwaters forest and elsewhere.
In the ten years the lawsuit has been pending, Judi and Darryl’s lawyers have uncovered shocking evidence of FBI and police misconduct, while surviving numerous government motions to dismiss the case.
With trial approaching, community support and public awareness of the lawsuit are crucial. During the trial, events that will include a summary of the week in court are scheudled for each Thursday (more info available closer to trial):
April 11: Ward Churchill, Native American activist and author, speaking on the history of the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations
April 18: the local Industrial Workers of the World will host Utah Phillips
April 25: The War Against Activists program will include discussion of violence perpetrated against activists, with speakers, music, and film clips.
May 1: Celebrate May Day with Earth First! at Ashkenaz
May 9: Copwatch will discuss problems with the Oakland Police Department, a defendent in the case.
May 16: Panel on the John Ashcroft attack on civil liberties.
May 24: the 12th anniversary of the attack on Judi Bari and Darryl Cheney. Watch for a major commeration!!
Funds are needed for the legal team who are fighting the case. Send donations to Earth First!, 106 W. Standley, Ukiah, CA, 95482, (707) 468-1660, www.judibari.org