JUDI: So the bomb could not have been placed in Willits at the logger meeting two days before it exploded. The Willits police quickly determined this. But the FBI pretended (because the Lord's Avenger wrote that the bomb was placed in Willits), the FBI pretended to believe this, and they spent much time interviewing everybody from the meeting at Willits that we described at the beginning of our interview. They interviewed Jerry Philbrick -- they didn't interview Tom Loop, interestingly enough. Though both me and Darryl Cherney, in the minutes after the bombing, said: "Fort Bragg. Nazi movement. Death threats." -- both of us, without talking to each other said the same thing -- the FBI steered totally clear of Fort Bragg. They interviewed the police in Ukiah and Willits, but they never went to Fort Bragg.
While you are in the hospital under arrest, Darryl is in the Oakland jail. He is wounded. His hearing is gone in one ear, he's suffered a scratched cornea, and he's being kept without food or water, interrogated as if Oakland is some third world country. Then he's released. Days later, Mike Geniella of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat -- the Ukiah bureau: timber is his beat -- receives a letter signed by someone who calls himself "The Lord's Avenger."
I was arrested
three hours after the bomb went off. Darryl was arrested twelve hours after the bomb went off. They claimed he was uncooperative, that he acted suspicious. The truth is he was very scared, very traumatized, and he agreed to be questioned without a lawyer. He signed a consent to allow them to search his van without a warrant. He didn't behave in a way that a bomber would have behaved. He behaved in a way a victim would have behaved. But after they had interrogated him for four hours, and he signed away all of his rights, all of a sudden -- according to Darryl's description -- they leaned down and squinted into his good eye and said: "We can tell if this is your bomb, so you might as well confess."
The reason I have pointed to the fact that the Lord's Avenger letter was received by Mike Geniella within a day or two of Darryl's release from jail is that some people suspected Darryl of writing that letter to deflect suspicion, and timewise, it would have been impossible for him to do so.
JUDI: The Lord's Avenger letter was very skillfully used. It's literature. It's so well written, nobody I know can write that good: "I built with these hands the bomb that I placed in the car of Judi Bari. Doubt me not, for I will show . . . " And it says that the Lord told him to bomb me when I spoke at the abortion clinic the year before. That he saw "Satan's flame shooting from [my] mouth and ears, proving that this was no natural woman born of Ruth."
It goes on and on in this Biblical language. Very misogynist. It says, "Let the woman learn in silence, but suffer not a woman to teach or to usurp authority from the man." And it says that they targeted me for my pro-abortionist activity. I've done one clinic defense in my entire life, and that was it...
But that clinic defense was outrageous...
JUDI: Absolutely outrageous without a doubt.
You were singing songs about dead fetuses -- fetus-blaming songs. Really disgusting songs, Judi. Compared to the weight of the decision a woman must make when she chooses to abort, truly disgusting songs.
JUDI: I guess you've never heard the whole story: They were going to try to open an abortion clinic, the first one in Ukiah. It was a Planned Parenthood clinic that would have abortion amongst other services. And as soon as they announced this, the clinic director began to be harassed, particularly by a man named Bill Staley. There were bomb threats called into the clinic. I heard that Bill Staley followed her children home from school and told them: "Your mommy doesn't love you; she's out killing babies."
There were dismembered baby dolls with red paint strewn around her house. Bill Staley personally broke into the clinic once and threatened to rape her and make her have his baby. She called the cops on him several times.
So Staley is this kind of rabid, right-wing, ex-professional football-player, hometown fundamentalist. And when I heard the way he was harassing the woman (and I'd never met the woman who was the clinic director), I was outraged, and I wanted to defend her; I wanted to mount a defense of this clinic. When Operation Rescue vowed to shut down this clinic, I vowed to myself to keep it open.
There were three
local Earth First! groups as the time, and I went to each of them and asked them to help, but none of them wanted to sponsor the event. They all said: "This is not an Earth First! issue" -- incredibly. So I just took a sign-up sheet, and I said, "Okay, it's not an Earth First! demonstration, but anyone who wants to go sign up." Then I went to the lesbian coffee house in Ukiah, and interestingly, the lesbians didn't say "it's not a lesbian issue." Then I went and I recruited health care workers. So I put together this odd coalition of people under this ad hoc group that we called "Ukiah Anti-fascist League" to counter Operation Rescue. And it was important for us to have as many numbers as them -- and we did. Though there was no more than fifty people at this demonstration total -- twenty-five from each side. And there are many pictures of it. It's not a hard thing to document.
What we decided to do is this:
Well, if they were going to be bullies
we were going to give them a taste of their own medicine,
So Darryl and I, the night before, sat down and wrote some songs for this demonstration, and we published them in a little book called "Songs to Abort Fascism By."
And the most outrageous of the songs we wrote was called, "Will the Fetus Be Aborted?" -- because we decided we had to do this to a hymn, which was in keeping with the style.
The most outrageous verse had all the reasons people would have an abortion in it; so the most outrageous verse went: "Bridget had two kids already /and an abortion is what she chose. /The Christians showed her a bloody fetus/ she said, 'That's fine, I'll have one of those.'"
So we were truly outrageous. And Darryl was expecting the anti-abortionist to come and smash his guitar over his head so he was using a cheap guitar for that purpose, and we had photographers poised to take the pictures. We thought we would discredit them as violent. But they were so shocked at our behavior -- and I wasn't really aware of the ideology of the fundamentalist yet; I didn't really see how I would be perceived by them until I read the Lord's Avenger letter.
Not only by them. When I first heard the lyrics of that song, I was dumbfounded. I think of abortion as a sacred act, a sacrificial act. No woman does it without deep delving into her soul...
JUDI: [laughs] I did. I said, "That's fine. I'll have one of those."
I was shocked -- not knowing any of the precursor pressures on that clinic and the clinic directors -- I was shocked you would be so insensitive to Right To Life sentiments and the folks who show up to express them ...
JUDI: That was exactly the intention. When we wrote that song, with each verse another reason to have an abortion, we did it with the intention of pushing their buttons, to counter their -- what we thought were -- shocking tactics, by giving them a taste of their own medicine.
Well, what happened
was: instead of coming after us, they formed little prayer circles. They said" They're sick. They're sick." And I must say now, I was naive as to the ideology of the people I was going against -- as to how I would be perceived. I've always had a flippancy that has gotten me into trouble many times. But the song was too hilarious, and I'm not sorry that I wrote it, at all. Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon actually put out a punk version of it which is even funnier than ours.
I was convinced that song got you bombed. I have always believed the authenticity of the Lord's Avenger letter -- that whoever wrote it held those beliefs, was present at that rally in Ukiah, and placed the bomb... then felt compelled to take credit.
JUDI: And I don't believe that anymore. I believed it at the time. Because the letter was chilling. It seemed so real. And in the Lord's Avenger letter, not only did they tell their motives, they said that not only was it my defense of this abortion clinic, but that my "paganism festered," and I "attacked the men of toil in the woods", and tried to teach people that "trees were not gifts from God but that they were objects of worship themselves." The letter attacked me for my forest activism as well as for my "paganism."
And then he says: "Doubt me not, for I will describe the components as only I will know." And he then went on to describe (in a very different voice than the flowery, Biblical language) two bombs: one that was placed at the Cloverdale L-P mill two weeks before the bombing (that matched the bomb in my car), and the one in my car.
And he described them in exact detail. He described wires, the colors of the wires, the methods. -- But interestingly, he left out the motion device. The only thing wrong with the Lord's Avenger's description is that he left out the motion device.
And he said: "I placed the bomb in her car while she was at the meeting with the loggers in Willits. The wicked shall know no refuge."
Well, of course, this is refuted by the 12-hour timer.
But the Lord's Avenger has an explanation. He says: "The Lord stayed the hand of the clock for two days until [I] was joined in [my] car by the very man who had helped mock the good Christians at the abortion clinic years ago," and that way "God could take us out "with one fell swoop. "
Clearly, this isn't true.
What I began to see later, is what the Lord's Avenger letter did -- especially when I found out about the motion device, and that his very accurate description omitted the motion device...
The FBI says: "the person who wrote this letter must have been the bomber because they knew the construction of the bomb."
But there were two entities who knew the construction of the bomb at that point. One of them was the bomber. The other one was the FBI. And not only the FBI, but the San Francisco office.
Police photo of the actual dud bomb recovered from the Louisiana-Pacific sawmill at Cloverdale shortly before the Bari car-bombing. Note the fractured end cap from the pipe bomb lying on the floor. Next to the pipe bomb is a metal can of gasoline for incendiary effect. This bomb was built in a way almost identical to the bomb in Bari's car, except for lacking the motion trigger and adding the gas can. Bari believes this bomb was intended to fail to explode so as to point suspicion at her by way of the slogan painted on a cardboard sign found next to this incendiary bomb. This bomb was placed two weeks after the FBI conducted a bomb investigation training school in Eureka and two weeks before the bombing of Judi Bari. Police photo 1990
Albion Monitor January 13, 1997 (http://www.monitor.net/monitor)