Infiltration and disruption of activism
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August, 2002:
A federal court jury in Oakland, California, on June 11
ordered the FBI and the Oakland Police Department to pay $4.4 million
in reparations and damages to Earth First! activist Darryl Cherney,
46, and the estate of Judi Bari, who died of cancer at age 47 in
March 1997. On May 24, 1990, as Bari and Cherney drove through
Oakland on their way to Santa Cruz to rally fellow anti-old growth
logging activists, a nail bomb detonated under the seat of Bari’s
car. Cherney escaped with minor injuries, but a shattered pelvis and
lower back injuries left Bari permanently disabled. Although no
evidence ever linked Bari and Cherney to the bomb, both were
arrested within hours for allegedly possessing it.
The charges were later dropped. Local media and private investigators eventually named three other potential suspects, with alleged histories of having threatened Bari, but no other arrests were made. Bari and Cherney sued the FBI in 1991 for allegedly destroying evidence, misrepresenting the facts of the case to news media, ignoring the death threats issued against Bari, and withholding evidence from the investigators representing Bari and Cherney. The case took 11 years to reach court. The jury, after 17 days of deliberation, ordered the FBI to pay $2.4 million and the Oakland Police to pay $2 million. Despite her injuries, Bari remained active with Earth First until her death. The City of Oakland has announced intent to seek reversal of the verdicts, while the Department of Justice is reportedly considering whether to appeal.
Nearly thirteen months after filing a similar suit on May 7, 2001, PETA on May 29, 2002 again alleged in an amended complaint against the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and the parent firm, Feld Entertainment, that the circus hired the private security company Richlin Consultants to infiltrate and disrupt PETA from 1989 until 1992. The spy job was allegedly directed by Clair E. George, who was deputy director of operations for the CIA from July 1984 through December 1987. Responsible for all CIA covert activities, George was convicted of lying to a Congressional committee in 1987, but was pardoned in December 1992 by former President George H. Bush, one-time CIA director and father of the current President. The infiltrations came to light as result of a falling out among the spies, one of whom tried to sell their secrets to Progressive Animal Welfare Society founder Pat Derby, who was also a target of the infiltration. Derby sued Feld Entertainment in June 2000. Feld reportedly settled the case by agreeing to retire several circus elephants to the PAWS sanctuary and fund their upkeep.