January 5, 2005 (revised Jan. 6)

Book Attacking Judi Bari Sparks Quick Internet Rebuttal

Friends and family of the late environmental activist Judi Bari joined in a quick Internet response to challenge a new book attacking Bari. The book is being published this week by Encounter Books, which Bari's supporters call a right-wing publisher. The book is Kate Coleman's The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First!, and these critics say it's a clumsy hatchet job full of countless errors and omissions, and clearly biased against Bari and the environmental movement.

But don't just take our word for it, say Bari's supporters, see for yourself on the website In addition to a page-by-page catalog of 335 alleged mistakes and falsehoods, the website has a unique "INSTANT PROOF" feature providing documents and photos that instantly prove the falsity of key assertions in Coleman's book. This may be the first time in history that a book release has been met with an instant rebuttal via the Internet before the book even arrives in bookstores, according to Bari's friends.

"Encounter Books should be charged with false advertising for listing this book as non-fiction," said Nicholas Wilson of Mendocino, California. "This book is fiction from beginning to end."

Most of Bari's friends and associates wouldn't talk to Coleman after she wrote a 1999 article trashing Bari and her supporters for a newspaper whose editor, Bruce Anderson, has carried on a long and bitter personal vendetta against Bari. Many other key sources required for any balanced view of Bari say Coleman never even contacted them. (more about Anderson at and  )

Bari's supporters say Coleman's book contract was brokered by right-wing warhorse David Horowitz, who showed his longtime collaborator Peter Collier, Encounter's publisher, Coleman's article from Anderson's paper. Coleman, a supposed progressive, has written several articles for Horowitz that were published in his online Front Page Magazine. In a current fundraising pitch for Front Page, Horowitz boldly states that his mission is "exposing the left ... to ensure that mainstream Americans learn about the influence of these radicals, who they are, what their agenda is and how they're going about subverting our democratic process."

"Its absurd that such a lie-filled book could be published when there's so much information readily available to expose it," said Betty Ball, an old and close friend of Bari's, who was the founding co-director of the Mendocino Environmental Center in Ukiah, California. Now working at Rocky Mountain Peace And Justice Center in  Boulder, Colorado, Ball added  (speaking for herself), "The characters in the book are hardly recognizable as the people I know." She also observed that Coleman continually puts people where they weren't, gets dates and places wrong, attributes to unnamed sources at least 32 times, and relies on notorious enemies and rivals of Bari for information about her.

In sharp contrast to memories of Bari as a hero of the environmental movement -- honored by the cities of Oakland and Arcata, California, with annual Judi Bari Days Coleman's book portrays her as a violent, dishonest and abusive "diva" who undermined the forest protection cause by hogging money and attention for her lawsuit against the FBI. The book presents gossip and insinuations to challenge the belief of Bari and her supporters that she was bombed in 1990 because of her leadership in organizing the Redwood Summer logging protests that year.

"The only reason they're attacking Judi now is because she was an effective leader of the radical environmental movement," said Alicia Littletree of Ukiah, one of Bari's closest friends, who was with her when she died. "They're just trying to rewrite history and tear down our heroes and icons -- and it's so poorly written," she added.

Encounter Books, a grant-funded non-profit, publishes books promoting conservative ideology and attacking inspirational progressive leaders and values. Hillary Clinton, Noam Chomsky, and Al Gore have all been targeted by books from Encounter. The far-right Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Encounter's financial backer, also directly funded the book The Real Anita Hill, which attacked Hill's character and credibility after she testified against the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The John-Birch-Society-linked foundation also funded the racist book, The Bell Curve, and was a major backer of the Project For A New American Century (PNAC), a neocon think tank that produced the blueprint for world domination now being followed by the Bush administration.

With a multi-million-dollar start-up grant and regular subsidies from Bradley, the catalog of Encounter Books features books attacking public schools, "political correctness", Mexican immigration to California, the Muslim religion, and affirmative action. Encounter's books praise genetic engineering, school vouchers,  Justice Thomas and McCarthy-era anti-communist icon Bishop Fulton Sheen. [more at]

One of the false claims in Coleman's book is that after Bari was bombed in 1990, she turned her back on forestry activism and instead hogged money and time for her civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police. The lawsuit, for trying to frame her as a terrorist so as to neutralize her as a forest defense organizer, resulted in vindication and a $4.4 million jury verdict in June, 2002, for Bari and passenger Darryl Cherney in federal court in San Francisco. On, this false claim is refuted with "Instant Proof" of 15 pages of newspaper clippings that document Bari's leadership of the long campaign to save Headwaters Forest, which continued right up to her death from cancer in 1997. This is typical of the exhaustive on-line documentation that Bari's supporters have provided to refute key assertions by Coleman.

"This inaccurate, incomplete and mean-spirited book could never be mistaken for a fair biography of Judi Bari," said Betty Ball. "It looks like just an extension of the FBI's attempt to target and discredit Judi and our movement. We're hopeful that the upcoming biography of Judi by Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Faludi will give a much more honest and balanced portrait."

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