Three Activists Jailed
For Immediate Release
Mattole Forest Defenders Confront the Sherrifs Department in Defense of the Mattole
Yesterday, Carl Anderson, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber head of security, entered the Long Ridge area accompanied by 11 Humboldt County Sherrifs. California Department of Forestry towed a Scotia Fire Department search and rescue vehicle out to the freestate.
At approximately 10 a.m. the vehicles arrived at the free state, where the search and rescue crews began to work on removing activists from lock-down devices. Items such as the jaws of life and a jackhammer were utilized in this process. The three activists who were locked down were removed, arrested and taken to jail. At this moment, they are housed in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.
The sheriff's department worked until 1 a.m. this morning to dismantle the road blockade. This morning, a large contingent of Mattole residents and concerned citizens arose before dawn to blockade all of the gates leading to the timber harvest plan. No law enforcement personnel or timber workers attempted to enter the area today.
The free state has been under siege since Tuesday, April 3rd, 2001, when Carl Andersen and the Maxxam County Sheriff ransacked the protesters food supply and destroyed one of the blockade devices. On Wednesday, April 4th, 2001, a California Highway Patrol helicopter flew at low elevation over the free state for several hours.
In addition to the physical siege, the activists have been victims of a public smear campaign waged by Pacific Lumber's public relations spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkle. Ms. Bullwinkle has been claiming that Maxxam biologists were turned away and threatened in recent weeks on Rainbow Ridge. Although biologists may have been turned away, their safety was never threatened by the forest defenders in the Rainbow Ridge Area. Forest defense in the Northcoast region has an impeccable record of non-violence, to which John Campbell recently testified during deposition in the wrongful death lawsuit of David "Gypsy" Chain v. Pacific Lumber. This lack of trust in Maxxam's biology department came to light in the recent controversial release of the watershed analysis in the Freshwater basin.
"The residents in the Freshwater community hired an outside biologist who was initially not allowed access to Maxxam's final draft of the watershed analysis," stated Boone a treesitter via phone from the treetops during the siege. " Maxxam's biology department ignored the resident's biologist, manipulated their own data and failed to recognize the data gathered by credible resident scientists in the Freshwater analysis. Why should we be trusting their word in the Mattole?"
A large committed crew of people remain on Long Ridge, determined to stop the desecration of the amazing old growth Douglas Fir forest. This non-violent direct action, nicknamed the Mattole Free State, has been successful in halting logging in the Mattole watershed for more than 125 days.
During the past year, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber has initiated an onslaught of timber harvest plans in the most sensitive regions of its holdings: the Mattole river watershed. These THPs are clearcuts, exclusively in old growth Douglas Fir forests, and are planned in drainages which have extreme seismic activity (1992 saw 7.1, 6.9, 7.2 earthquakes in a 24 hour period,) intense rainfall (up to 200 inches per year,) and easily erodible soils on steep mountainous terrain.
A demonstration in support of the jailed activists took place today, outside the Humboldt County Superior Courthouse and Correctional facility at 5:00pm. The demo was in support of the jailed activists being held on charges unknown, because they did not receive an arraignment today in court. They will be held in jail throughout the weekend.
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