May 12, 1997
Dear Friends and Supporters,
It is with great sadness that we send this letter to you, longtime friends and supporters of Judi Bari and of her legal struggle against the FBI and Oakland Police. Last October Judi was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer that had silently spread to her liver. Over the next four months, the aggressive tumor waged war against her already fragile body, and at 6:45 am on Sunday, March 2, Judi passed away in her Willits cabin, surrounded by family and friends.
Back in 1991 when Judi and Darryl Cherney filed their federal civil rights lawsuit and the Redwood Summer Justice Project was formed, none of us had any idea what damning evidence we would uncover of the FBI's sinister manipulation of the investigation of the car-bombing of these two nonviolent activists to serve the government's own repressive ends. We couldn't have foreseen that our suspicions of a larger COINTELPRO-style operation against Earth First! would be so thoroughly substantiated by the agencies' own records. And we certainly couldn't have known that Judi would not survive to see the case come to court.
For the last six years and up until just days before her death Judi worked tirelessly on the case, pouring through and analyzing thousands of pages of government documents and depositions, publicizing the FBI's outrageous abuses despite an almost total media "whiteout," and touring and doing radio shows to update activists on what we'd learned of government techniques of surveillance and infiltration used against Earth First' and other activists.
Because of Judi's relentless dedication to seeing justice in this case, Bari & Cherney vs. United States of America (formerly Bari vs. Held) has survived countless attempts by the FBI to suppress evidence, to obfuscate and cover-up the truth, and to have the case thrown out of court. Instead, we have compiled astounding evidence exposing the villainous dealings of America's secret police.
This is no time to back down. Those of us who have been working closely with Judi on the case since the beginning are still here, and still determined to carry it through. As Judi often said, this is not a case about Judi Bari or about Earth First! It is about the right of all activists to work for social change without fear of repression by government forces.
We're enclosing the latest update on the case with details on the brief Judi worked on until her death summarizing virtually all the evidence, and of the striking links between the current FBI lab scandal and those same lab experts' manipulation of forensic evidence in our case. We will continue to keep you informed, just as Judi did, as Bari vs. USA makes its way to trial.
As supporters of the Redwood Summer Justice Project, you have been crucial to our ability to survive all the FBI's machinations intended to wear us down and deplete our resources. You've persistently stayed informed and spread the word about the case, donated generously to keep up with the tremendous costs involved, and again and again come out to pack the courtrooms at hearings.
Now we sit on the verge of breaking through. We just received word that Judge Claudia Wilken has set a hearing for Friday, August 1st on our motion to dispel once and for all the government's claims-of immunity from prosecution. These immunity issues have been the focus of almost all the pre-trial wrangling, and a ruling in-our favor will move the case inexorably to trial. Join us if you can at 10:30 a.m. at the Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street in Oakland.
Whether or not you can make it to the hearing, please once again donate whatever you can to help us continue our struggle for justice. All contributions are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to Redwood Justice Fund and mailed to the address below.
Judi's death is a heavy blow to all of us who loved her and were inspired by her humor, her courage and her intelligence. But her work lives on in each of us, and in the Redwood Summer Justice Project. She left us with the foundation we need to reign in the FBI.
Que viva Judi Bari!
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