The current Headwaters/EarthFirst brouhaha

#gondwana gondwana at
Thu Sep 4 23:40:24 EST 1997

Mark Shippey wrote:
>   Jym Dwyer claims there are no examples of people who been
> aprehended committing acts of terror using the ideas promoted
> by Earth First! in the various versions of the book EcoDefense
> which include burning, slashing and other violence.
> What follows is exactly such an example. So, if Earth First!
> has "renounced violence" then.... why do they still sell literature
> that promotes it? The following event is one amongst the many
> where no terrorist was captured and held accountable.
>   Earth First! has always been the leading source of information
> and inspiration for the following type of environmental terror.
>   And now of course their apologists will claim that there is
> no connection between Earth First! and such events. Oh sure.
> There are *specific* instructions in various versions of EcoDefense
> for the following actions.....
> Clayoquot Sound Environmentalists Charged with Arson
> May 17, 1993
> As covered by the B.C. Province Newspaper and local Television News.
> Background: Logging of "Old Growth" Forest in the Clayoquot Sound region
> of British Columbia recieved vigorous and sometimes violent opposition
> from various environmental groups.
> Police apprehend three in Clayoquot Bridge Fire
> Ucluelet - Ucluelet RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for those who didn't know --- David D.] apprehended three persons at a Tofino
> reoadbloack following a Sunday night fire that damaged Clayoquot Arm
> bridges and nearly engulfed an MB contract security officer.
> James Michael Mullin, 50 At the time the offence was committed, he was
> the director of the Friends of Clayoquot Sound. He resigned in a phone
> call from jail.
> John Hennessy Shields, 22
> Jean Beyland, 41
> Frederick David "Doug" Fraser, a security officer employed by Sureguard
> Security of Nanaimo, says he was in his truck investigating a fuel spill
> on the bridges when the fire ignited around him about 11 P.M. Mr. Fraser
> immediatly drove through the flames to safety and radioed his
> supervisor, who contacted RCMP and the Ucluelet Fire Department. Mr.
> Fraser was not Injured.
> Mr. Fraser then returned to fight the fire with an industrial-sized
> extinguisher from his truck. He says he then saw a boat leave the scene
> from immediatly below the bridge.
> RCMP stopped three individuals shortly afterwards at a roadblock.
> "I was scared when the fire first started," Mr. Fraser said. "The I
> realized what they'd done to me and I was mad as hell."
> All the people in question resigned from whatever official environmental
> groups they were a part of, while in jail. It doesn't take a rocket
> scientist to see the story could have ended with a very unhappy note.

Forgive me....but your quote (I assume it's a quote, you don't identify
the journal it's derived from), does not say that any of those
individuals belonged to Earth First or had their actions sanctioned,
funded, or otherwise promoted by that organization. The actions you
describe are deplorable, indeed. Moreover, as a non-rocket-scientist, I
fully agree that you are most assuredly correct when you say these
events could have ended on "a very unhappy note." You are also quite
correct in pointing out that the tactics proposed by Foreman's twelve
year old book are unacceptable.

But it also "doesn't take a rocket scientist to see" that you are
engaging in innuendo here. Your evidence of sabotage is just an article
about three bozos without a link to Earth First, who went and did
something very wrong and very stupid. Your comments are not proof of
your premise that Earth First! is today, in the present, engaging in
such activity, although you would like your readers (again, through
innuendo) to connect one to the other.

I (and others reading this thread) would be interested in reading data
you might have in support of your premise which is based on directly
relevant factual material, and less on innuendo. I would also be
intrigued to hear your arguments in opposition or support for the
substantive issues being raised regarding Headwaters Forest:

Should it or should it not be cut down?

How is Pacific Lumber, as a company today, different than when Mr.
Hurwitz acquired it? Did Earth First oppose any Pacific Lumber
activities prior to Mr. Hurwitz acquisition of it? If not, how come?

Is Mr. Hurwitz a genuine, knowledgeable forestry professional with a
real interest in promoting long-term employment for workers in the
Humboldt County lumber industry?

If so, what is his background in agroforestry? What agroforestry school
did he attend? What are his arguments, as a forester, in opposition to
the (again substantive) issues being raised by the people in opposition
to Headwaters clearcutting?

Should the public support his arguments (if any)? Should the public
support him? Should the public support his goals? More specifically and
to the current point, should the public support the clearcutting of
Headwaters Forest?

All of these questions are meaningful. Can they be answered and
discussed cooly, intelligently, and dispassionately by reasonable people
in a democratic and useful manner? Or will people (including Mr.
Shippey) respond to this post of mine by focusing exclusively (at the
expense of all other issues) on the subissue of Earth First's historic
origins as a movement that inexcusably promoted violence?

It would be a pity if that happened. Earth First's current (not
historic, but current) behavior is, indeed, of some relevance to the
discussion, but it should not be obsessed with to the point where all
the other issues surrounding the present crisis are ignored or excluded.
Moreover, even if Mr. Shipley or others wish to address this sub-topic,
they should do so with factual data which is citable to source and which
reasonably tends to support the issue they put forth.

Having said all this, I have a couple of closing questions to ask:
Current meteorological models are all pointing to an El Nino condition
in the Pacific Ocean which is being referred to as the "weather event of
the centruy." Specifically, all indications are that this winter in
California (and in particular in Humboldt County where the clearcutting
is proposed to take place) will be one of extremely heavy and persistent
rainfall. Severe and catastrophic flooding is being predicted. Given
that this is the case, wouldn't it be wise to at least postpone the
beginning of the cutting until after this upcoming rainy season is over?
Would the delay of six months be unacceptable? Or would public policy be
better served if a major project of this nature, with known landslide
risks under ordinary conditions, is initiated at the beginning of what
is expected to be an extraordinary rainy season?

David Deutsch

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