On May 24th, 1990 a motion-activated, anti-personnel bomb exploded in Judi Bari’s car as she and Darryl Cherney were driving in Oakland, CA. Both were Earth First! (EF!) activists organizing ‘Redwood Summer,’ modeled on the civil rights movement’s ‘Mississippi Summer’, to halt logging of California’s remaining old growth redwoods. Minutes after the explosion, the FBI terrorism squad was on the scene. Three hours later, Judi was arrested while in the hospital; twelve hours later Darryl was also arrested. But due to a lack of evidence, the district attorney refused to prosecute Judi or Darryl. Law enforcement authorities never pursued any other suspects.
Judi and Darryl sued the FBI and Oakland Police for civil rights violations, winning a landmark decision in 2002. During the proceedings, they uncovered a massive amount of evidence that the FBI, despite assurances to the contrary, had been spying on EF! for years under COINTELPRO, the FBI’s counter-intelligence program launched in the 1950s.
This podcast is built on a radio special from the year 2000, looking at the circumstances surrounding this (still unsolved) assassination attempt. There is a lot of tape of Judi Bari speaking about the context in which the bombing occurred, including efforts to disrupt the organizing and persistent death threats, about the bombing itself and the immediate aftermath. She talks extensively about the bogus investigation launched by the FBI which was never intended to find the bombers, but designed to frame Judi, Darryl and Earth First. I hope you enjoy and learn something from this show.