In This Update, Tuesday 05/23/01
Mattole Treesit raided, 3 arrested
A treesit that bound together the old-growth douglas-fir canopy of a progressing clearcut in the Mattole was raided yesterday by Pacific Lumber security and the Humboldt County Sheriffs. Climber Eric, counterpart to infamous Pacific Lumber tree-climber Dan Collins, cut out activist gear, slashed traverse lines and lowered a treesitter from the canopy. The two other activist in the web of support lines, traversed from tree to tree but to no avail. They eventually made it to the ground and escaped, regrouping with other activists nearby in the woods.
On Monday, May 21st, 2001, two other activist were arrested, one on the ground and another who had climbed a tree to stop it's felling. He could do nothing as loggers cut the other unoccupied trees all around him. As the day wore into the night and with no supplies he had little choice but to descend into law enforcements waiting hands. As this process was happening his support on the ground was manipulated and lied to by Pacific Lumber loggers who claimed that "your friend in the tree fell out and died". She was relieved to find out it wasn't true but violence takes many forms including playing on any human beings worst fears...
Their have been 33 arrests in the Mattole since logging began on May 9th, 52 arrests since November. One logger who engaged in conversation with an activist said they'd be done with operations in a weeks time.
Activist Charged With Eight Felonies
David Werher, a nineteen year old activist from San Francisco is being charged with eight felony counts of child endangerment and eight misdemeanor counts of contributing to delinquency of a minor by the Humboldt County District Attorneys office for bringing underage students from San Francisco up to Humboldt County to demonstrate in the Mattole. Eight of these young adults were arrested Friday May 11th. Most of these arrest were in a backwoods action that shut down logging in a progressing clearcut on Long Ridge. The Humboldt County Sheriff is alleging that these young adults faced "potential bodily harm" by David for introducing them and transporting them to the Mattole actions.
Sgt. Steve Knight has claimed "The juveniles were apparently dropped off without sleeping bags, maps or appropriate clothing near the Monument Road gate." In actuality all the students who went into the Mattole had proper gear, food supply, wilderness survival training and a 12 day backpacking trip under their belts. They were better prepared than many adults who've trekked to the Mattole. All had parental permission to come on the trip and participate in demonstrations. Many of these activists were arrested without their gear and one young man was separated from the main forest defender group for 24 hours after being chased by Sheriffs deputies. Two young activists had sticks thrown at them by Pacific Lumber loggers and endured heavy verbal violence.
Robin Kelley, mother of one of the 17yr old activist was quoted in the Eureka Times-Standard as saying "Any danger he was in was from the loggers, the police department and the fish and game department. I think they came home more courageous, angry at what's going on in the world."
These trumped up charges are an attempt to make a scapegoat out of David, and smear our movement. He is a caring, loving man who has no criminal record and hopes to someday become a teacher. David had a surrender court date yesterday and despite his strong charges, his lawyer was able to convince the court to keep him out of jail until trial.
120 Day Sentence For Forest Defender
On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2001, Kim Starr and Jeff Nigham were found guilty by a Humboldt County Jury for trespassing and resisting arrest for their April 5th action in defending the Mattole old-growth Both of these brave activist had locked down to a junked car on Long Ridge that had blocked Maxxam access for 130 days. Jeff accepted a 30 day sentence and two years probation. Kim refused probation and was sentenced to a whopping 120 DAYS in the Humboldt County Jail! She will enter jail on Friday morning after arranging her personnel affairs.
To this authors knowledge, never has a nonviolent activist in Humboldt been sentenced to such a stiff jail stint for ancient forest defense. Again it begs the question who really should be on trial; nonviolent who risk their lives to protect what fraction is left of our ancient forest ecosystem or an outside Texas Corporation that continues to desecrate Humboldt County at the expense of salmon, endangered species and downstream residents. Two other Mattole activist remain incarcerated, one for a thirty day sentence for misdemeanor trespassing and the other his second arrest on Maxxam land. The present has not been kind to direct action activists, perhaps history will look more favorably upon us... We will provide addresses so our community can send Kim and Jeff letters of support in jail...
Call 707 441-3828 to get the address to write Kim while she's doing her 120 days in jail
Activists ask for human rights observers in Mattole
EUREKA -- Several people on Tuesday urged the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to consider sending neutral human rights observers to monitor logging protests in the Mattole.
Michael de Leon, a Garberville resident, was one of three people who directly addressed the board during the public appearances section of the meeting.
More than two dozen activists have been arrested on suspicion of trespassing on Pacific Lumber Co.-owned land in the Mattole over the past few months.
However, de Leon and the other speakers said protesters are being harassed and assaulted by PL contractors.
"There's a crisis out there," de Leon told the board. He said he had only anecdotal evidence, but it keeps adding up. He also said Sheriff's deputies tend to ignore the alleged harassment.
"The perception arises that police are acting as PL's security force," he said.
The board considered sending an observer to the area earlier this year, but rejected the idea in March.
Second District Supervisor Roger Rodoni, who represents the area in question, said the board has no plans to take any action.
Rodoni said the board dismissed the idea of sending an observer to the property primarily because of liability issues, such as trespassing on private property.
"And where are you going to find someone who's neutral?" he asked.
Sheriff Dennis Lewis was not at the meeting, but Tuesday afternoon disputed the activists claims. He said he has received no information about the alleged harassment or of his deputies looking the other way.
He said he would expect his deputies to "take appropriate action" if they witnessed any crime being committed. If the activists have a problem, they should show him proof.
"I'm not going to chase rumors," Lewis said.
Josh Brown, an organizer at Earth First, said an extensive record has been compiled during the past few years, in particular the case of David "Gypsy" Chain. Chain was killed three years ago by a crashing tree. Activists claim the tree was felled deliberately.
Brown, who has participated in the protests for about six years, said a neutral observer is needed because often the worst incidents occur in the "backwoods."
"It's just our word against theirs," he said.