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Confusion, Courage in Mendocino
[... People from the Movement from all over took shifts guarding my hospital room ...]

NEW SETTLER: In Mendocino county, immediately after the bombing, there is a sense of runaway history gone wild. Fear is spreading through the activist community: who is going to be next? In Fort Bragg, Anna Marie Stenberg, herself residing in the middle of timber town, organizes a candlelight vigil on Main Street in front of the burnt library building. From all over the coast, people find it within themselves to be counted. Lawyers who have never been there before are there. The whole knoll is filled with people who will not let this bombing scare off what Redwood Summer might accomplish.

On the outskirts of the vigil lurks Jerry Philbrick and some of his guys -- drunk, skunk drunk, jeering -- expressing an enormous sense of betrayal that you who had pledged non-violence were carrying a bomb. The FBI and the Oakland police are attempting to block any other interpretation of the event. They have called KZYX and so intimidated the general manager, Sean Donovan, that Donovan has a notice taped to the door of the studio that if anybody mentions anything about the bombing that does not come from the FBI, they will immediately lose their show. I'm at home and somebody from the station calls me and says, there's this notice here, what should I do? I said, "Tear it down. That's 'prior restraint'." I'm telling this tale because the attempt to control the story was immediate. And wherever that attempt at control exists, people have got to learn to resist, automatically.

JUDI: And I want to say it's still going on. KPFA had me on a year and a half ago to talk about the bombing for a half hour show with Larry Bensky, and the next day the FBI called and asked for a tape of it. And KPFA just turned it over. They didn't even demand a subpoena.

I'm sure they knew the charges were not going to stick. But they didn't even care. What was important was to discredit not just me, but to discredit our whole Movement
I went on KPFA and talked about the SLAPP suit, and the next day, L-P subpoenaed the tape. And it really had a chilling effect on KPFA. They don't give me access on that station anymore. These two incidences, where immediately the authorities moved in and threatened the station, I too believe it is important to resist that. Because what this was about was creating an image.

The charges they were leveling against us, I'm sure they knew they were not going to stick. But they didn't even care. What was important was to discredit not just me, but to discredit our whole Movement, discredit Redwood Summer in the moment. They would worry later about the repercussions. They needed to stop this thing right now.

Also the meshing of gyppos and activists -- the human contact. That had to be interrupted. And I saw that happen at the vigil for you in Fort Bragg. I went to talk to Jerry -- he'd been my eldest son's football coach. I knew him in his sweetest most mentoring role. Chief Bickel (thank god) hovered over us during the whole, short, shout: Jerry and his guys were so mad, so sure you blew yourself up, so sure armed Redwood Summer activists would be swarming in from all over the country next, bent on blowing up their equipment.

JUDI: And I really like Jerry Philbrick, by the way. Jerry and I kind of have the same personality. We're on different sides, but we get along. And we had established something of a personal relationship in these mediated meetings. And that's why he felt so betrayed. I didn't see him after the bombing until probably a year and a half later. He hugged me. He was clearly very moved. I have maintained a friendly relationship with him. And I have to say, I can understand how he felt. I've seen a pictures of some of the timber supporters with these very vicious looks on their faces. They were carrying signs that said: "Non-violent people don't carry bombs."

Even within the Movement, there was some question as to well, if not both of you, might Darryl be capable of carrying a bomb? He had been associated with what was thought of as the "bombing" down in Santa Cruz. Or if not Darryl, Judi was wearing camo when the car blew up, maybe she was capable of it ...

JUDI: [laughs] Actually, Darryl was wearing camo. I was not.

The point is, even within the Movement, though there was never a willingness to say both of you were transporting a bomb, but there was an openness to divide, to separate. All that was based on the FBI's story coming out of Oakland -- almost immediately. What have you learned four years later as a result of your monumental effort to hold the FBI accountable for its treatment of you following the blast. This resolve of yours, not to let what they did fade away?

JUDI: Before we get into that I need to address the fact that all along there has been a level of suspicion, and I guess the most recent one was the thing that came out in the AVA, in which Bruce said that "fair-minded people" believed I blew myself up. I said who are the "fair-minded people?" He said you.

Me! Hey I've always held to my Lord's Avenger theory. It just gets more elaborate, the more information you turn up.

JUDI: Anyway, saying that "fair-minded people now think I was transporting explosives" -- and saying it right after I had uncovered the new FBI information in discovery -- was a vicious, personal attack. His reasoning was: 'well, she's not important enough for anyone else to have bombed, so she must have bombed herself.'

I loved Bruce Anderson, and at the time of the bombing, he was one of the closest people to me in the world
It hurt so bad when I read that. In fact I was out of town. (I go out of town a lot these days; people don't realize that, but it puts me at a disadvantage because I don't even hear some of these things until after they've been out for more than awhile.)

Anyway, I was out of town that week, deposing the scariest FBI agent I've ever sat in a room with. I mean, this guy Frank Doyle -- he's the bomb school teacher, he's the one at the scene quoted vilifying me -- he is a very evil man. He's the most evil person I've ever sat in a room with for several days. Sometimes the Depositions are fun (as you know), but Frank Doyle was very traumatizing, and I came home from that and picked up the AVA and there was this article from Bruce saying that fair-minded people think I bombed myself and that I have a horrible personality.

It was devastating to read that. I cried for days. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I loved Bruce Anderson, and at the time of the bombing, he was one of the closest people to me in the world.

Although many, many people did many things to help me survive that bombing, there is no individual I can name more than Bruce. He came every week. I looked forward to his visits. He held my hand in the hospital. Even when people stopped coming, he kept coming for a year. He came up to my house. He used to drive up here and visit me every week while the AVA was being printed -- long after everybody else had gone away. And I loved him. And I thought he was my best friend.

Of course we had had falling outs over feminists issues. But I didn't think that was important enough for him to write what he did. Bruce Anderson knows I didn't bomb myself. He knows that! He held my hand in the hospital. And for him to say something like that felt like such a deep betrayal. I began to understand how I think that Geronimo JiJaga must have felt when the party turned on him and Huey Newton ordered people not to testify in his behalf when he was charged with murder. I felt how David Hilliard of the Black Panthers must have felt when he was expelled from the party while he was in jail. It was such a deep betrayal, because Bruce knows that isn't true.

Within minutes of the bombing the first FBI agent arrived on the scene
I hadn't read that about myself for four and a half years, and to read that again felt so bad. It brought back all those feelings. It was such a blow. It's hard to deal with to this day. Now Bruce is saying: "I didn't say I think she bombed herself. Just fair-minded people." Well, right! It still hurts. And people say: "You shouldn't pay any attention to him. He's just a jerk." But he's not just a jerk to me. He was a very important person in my life and it hurts to have him attack me like that. It hurts to have him repeat the FBI lies, even if he's just doing it to be provocative. People say: "He's just trying to sell his paper. He always does that." If he wanted to sell his paper, why isn't he exposing the FBI instead of trying to "expose" me? This is an outrageous case. And it's gotten very little publicity. And I tried to have him be the conduit. I told Bruce about Bomb School long before I told Mike Geniella, and he dismissed it -- didn't think it was important. I don't know why he's chosen this course. Why he has chosen to attack me instead of the FBI. It's certainly safer. I'm not going to put a bomb in his car. If his goal is to sell papers its a pretty short sighted method. He could -- and I had thought he would -- be the vehicle through which this information would be released. And he seems unwilling to play that role.

To think Bruce accused you of bombing yourself just to sell papers underestimates his complexity . . . We can get back to that Judi. Let's talk now about the new information and what it counters. What happened at the site and who these people are who were putting out the story that you bombed yourself: the new 'Who's Who' in your case.

JUDI: Within minutes -- literally within minutes of the bombing -- the first FBI agent arrived on the scene. And it's interesting because usually a bombing is the purview of the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) not of the FBI. It would only be the FBI's area if it was a terrorist bombing: so if I was the bomber, then it would be the FBI's case; but if I was a victim, then it would be the ATF's case. But strangely, the FBI shows up right away. They are among the first respondents.

And have you ever found any explanation for that?

JUDI: Well, they have a pretty funny one. In the files, the first guy who shows up right away, an Agent McKinley, he says: "I was driving through Oakland on my lunch hour, trying to find an apron for my child to use in a school play when I heard on the radio this explosion had taken place and I went over to see what was going on."

That's his excuse: he was looking for an apron.

He was among the very first responders. Within a half hour to an hour (different records show different times -- certainly within an hour, and I think within the half-hour), twelve to fifteen members of the FBI Terrorist squad -- Squad 13 -- had arrived on the scene. There were also twelve to fifteen Oakland police. There were one or two ATF agents. Quite a few people had converged on this scene.

But the FBI had a huge presence there, and Squad 13 were the main respondents. The guy with the apron was not on the terrorist squad. He called them. Frank Doyle is the bomb expert from Squad 13. He's what they call a certified bomb technician.

NEXT: FBI Rushes to the Scene
Entire Judi Bari interview © New Settler Interview

Logging crew blocked by an Earth First! demonstration near Willits, CA. A junked Pinto car was half buried in the middle of the dirt logging road in July 1991. Photographer unknown

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Albion Monitor January 13, 1997 (

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