Albion Monitor

+ Readers who closely followed the Bear Lincoln trial may remember that Mendocino District Attorney Susan Massini was supposed to announce her decision on a possible retrial, this time on manslaughter charges. It appears that she's made up her mind, but isn't telling.

Massini met on Thursday (November 18) with two of the Lincoln trial jurors, who presented her with petitions containing more than 1000 signatures opposing retrial. Jury foreperson Eileen Urich and juror Dorene Burdick, along with Round Valley Indians for Justice leader Cora Lee Simmons, spent over 90 minutes discussing the case and the urgent need to correct law enforcment problems in Round Valley. Massini told the three that she had made her decision, but didn't reveal it.

The petition delivery was timed to come just before a scheduled court hearing November 21 at which Massini's decision was expected to be made public. The hearing has been delayed until December 5 because Judge John J. Golden was unavailable on the original date. (November 22, 1997)

+ Self-styled prophet Willie "Ray" Lampley will stay in prison for a few more years, now that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court has reject his appeal.

Last year, Lampley and two conspirators were convicted of planning to blow up family planning clinics, gay bars, government agencies, and offices of civil rights groups. The 66 year-old Lampley, his wife, and another man were arrested before any of the bombings took place.

Insisting that the organizations were working to take over the United States and establish a New World Order, Lampley also claimed to be the "Prophet of Yahweh" in bizarre, rambling messages on the Internet. He also claimed that Jesus Christ would represent him in court, and that he had a Second Amendment right to construct powerful fertilizer and fuel oil bombs, similiar to the kind used at Oklahoma City.

Without irony, the three had based their appeal partly on grounds that the jury that convicted them couldn't be impartial -- because the trial took place during the first anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. (November 22, 1997)

+ Sure, he's a zealot, but it looks like he moonlights as an art critic as well. According to Freedom Writer, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry is on a book tearing spree, leading a band of merry vigilantes into stores to rip pages from a photography book, striking two dozen bookstores in different cities.

The books under attack contain fine art photographs by Jock Sturges. As Freedom Writer notes, his books contain nudity, such as people of all ages sunbathing. The photos are not sexual in nature; there is nothing pornographic about them. All of Sturges' work with nudes is done with individuals and families who chose nudity as a lifestyle. Any photographs of minors are made with parental consent.

Barnes & Noble sent a memo to all its stores which ordered Jock Sturges' books to be kept under lock and key. When a Freedom Writer reporter sought out Mr. Sturges' books at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side in New York, he was told that he could view the books only in the presence of a security guard.

But Monitor readers might remember that this isn't the first time that Terry has tried to censor. In 1995, he warned the New England Journal of Medicine that they would be "hunted down and tried for genocide" for publishing a report on common drugs that can induce abortions. Although the editor insisted he didn't really think it was a threat, the Journal stepped up security. (November 22, 1997)

+ The leader of the U'wa people in Columbia has revealed that he was beaten and threatened with death if he didn't sign an agreement allowing oil exploitation on tribal lands. He refused to sign the document, according to a report from Envirolink News Service.

At an October protest demonstration at the Los Angeles offices of Occidental Petroleum, Roberto Afanador Cobaria presented an open letter to the presidents of Occidental and Shell Oil disclosing the beating publicly for the first time. He wrote: "Today I speak for the first time in public of the threat and beating I have received by hooded men in the night, demanding I sign an authorization agreement or die. Can you see how the U'wa are already suffering from oil exploitation? The war that spreads throughout Colombia will spread to U'wa land if your oil project starts. Can you see how it is already arriving? Oil may be good to sell, but it causes war."

The 5,000 member U'wa tribe has threatened mass suicide if the oil exploration planned by the two companies on U'wa ancestral lands goes ahead. Cobaria says his people cannot negotiate over oil. "You speak of negotiation and consultation with the U'wa," Cobaria wrote. "My people say that they cannot negotiate. Our Father has not authorized it. We cannot sell oil, the blood of our Mother Earth. Mother Earth is sacred. It is not for negotiation, so please do not try to confuse us and others with offers. Please hear our request, a request that comes from our ancestral right by virtue of being born on our territory. Halt your oil project on U'wa ancestral land."

Roger Gillott, spokesman for Occidental Petroleum, told ENS in an interview, "These are issues between the U'wa and the government of Colombia." An Occidental's executive vice president also told reporters that the company was "...committed to being a good neighbor wherever we operate," and that an agreement with the U'wa would assure them benefits. (November 22, 1997)

+ Now that the Cold War is over, what are we doing with our stockpiles of armored vehicles, assault rifles, and other implements of war? Why, we're giving them to local police agencies, according to a recent Associated Press story. In the last year, more than $200 million worth of used military gear has been doled out, AP found.

It's anyone's guess why they think they need such armaments -- particularly since the Justice Department reported last week that crime nationwide is at its lowest level since 1973.

David Shaw of the California Criminal Justice Planning office said that over $30 million of surpus planes, helicopters, sniper scopes, parachutes, and much, much, more has been distributed in this state. "As long as it's not a cannon, they'll probably get it," he told AP.

The army toys also included bayonets -- hardly the sort of tool you'd think most police need, although the article hastened to add that they were being used as "utility knives." Perhaps most distressing is that one of the departments requesting bayonets was the Humboldt sheriff's office -- an outfit that has demonstrated that it can't even responsibly use pepper spray. Frightening is the chance that someday Rep. Frank Riggs (R - Scotia) might again take the floor of the House, this time to defend protesters receiving "a little utility knife incision in the chest area" from cops. (November 22, 1997)

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