The Accused Fights Back
In May 1990, a pipe bomb exploded under Earth First! organizer Judi Bari's car seat, shattering her pelvis and sending her and another activist to the hospital in critical condition. As Bari lay recovering in her hospital bed, FBI agents walked in and arrested the logging protester, charging her with bombing herself.The Oakland, California district attorney cited a lack of evidence in refusing to prosecute the FBI's allegations that Bari had inadvertently blown herself up with her own terrorist bomb. But Bari wasn't about to drop the incident -- more than six year's later, the activist is still trying to get her lawsuit against the FBI for false arrest, illegal search and seizure and violation of free speech before a jury. "They [the FBI] are doing everything they can to throw roadblocks in the way," she says.In November, Bari says she won an important ruling to help expedite the pre-trial wrangling in the case, but it may still be months, or even years before the case is heard.But Bari is running out of time. The mother of two has breast cancer and says doctors have given her six months to live. Bari says she and her lawyers have gathered thousands of pages of incriminating evidence against the FBI showing that the federal agents lied about evidence in their "sham" investigation and "used the bombing as an excuse to investigate Earth First!" Bari says she'll "absolutely win" her case when it gets to trial. "Any jury looks at this [evidence] and they [the FBI] will be dead."Bari's evidence against the FBI includes documents showing: * The bomb was hidden under Bari's seat and not in the open on the floor of the back seat, as the FBI originally alleged. * The nails used for shrapnel in the bomb did not match nails found in Bari's car or house, as originally alleged by the FBI. * The pipe bomb was triggered by a motion device and apparently targeted at Bari.Bari said that FBI documents show that instead of looking for the real bomber and following up death threats she had received, the FBI used the incident as an excuse to step up their political investigation against Earth First! For example, one set of documents shows that FBI agents throughout the country investigated 634 long-distance phone calls made by a group of forest activists that had hung a political banner at a California anti-logging rally.The FBI has succeeded in delaying the case for years, but ironically, that strategy could be backfiring. The FBI is losing more and more credibility in the eyes of the public, she says "Since 1990 we've had Waco, we've had Ruby Ridge, we've had Richard Jewel," Bari says. After the FBI publicly apologized for wrongly naming security guard Richard Jewel as its lead suspect in the Olympics bombing, CNN did a report on Bari's case. Bari says Darryl Cherney -- the other activist injured in the car bombing and arrested by the FBI -- will continue the case if Bari dies before it goes to trial."I'm not interested in settling," Bari says. "They can offer me any amount of money they want. I want this to go to a jury so they can be exposed."