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May 25 2013

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, you’ve got some explaining to do.

23 years ago yesterday, as my friends Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were driving through Oakland, California on their way to appear at a Santa Cruz rally against clearcutting California’s remaining old-growth redwoods, a bomb exploded beneath the driver’s seat. Judi was in that drivers’ seat and nearly died of her wounds. She lived in constant pain until cancer took her life seven years later. (Thankfully, Darryl’s injuries were not as severe.)

The bomb was a home-made nail-filled pipe bomb with a motion-sensitive trigger. (The explosion happened as Judi and Darryl were driving past a middle school’s bus stop at Park and Macarthur boulevards in Central Oakland: it’s a wonder no one else was injured in the blast.)

Judi and her daughters after her release from the hospital. David J. Cross photo

At the time of the bombing, Judi, Darryl, and their fellow Earth First! activists in Northern California had been the targets of a campaign of sustained harassment, including death threats. Mailed leaflets featuring Judi’s face with superimposed crosshairs, for instance. A few weeks before the explosion, Judi had been run off a rural Northern California road Silkwood-style by a logging truck. The local cops told her “if you get killed, then we’ll investigate.”

The context for this was that some time earlier, a local timber company — Pacific Lumber — had been bought out leveraged-style by junk bond trader Charles Hurwitz. Hurwitz  and his shell company Maxxam then started to liquidate PL’s holdings to generate cash. Among those holdings were some of the 5 or so percent of remaining old-growth redwood forests in California, which PL had previously been logging slowly enough that some people actually called the company a sustainable timber firm. Those trees started getting cut really quickly, endangering wildlife, the safety of timber workers , and the lives of people who lived downhill from the clearcuts.

Activists countered with a campaign modeled on the Civil Rights movement’s sit-ins, originally called Mississippi Summer In The Redwoods. Before long Judi and Earth First! had become central to the campaign, whose name was quickly shortened to Redwood Summer.

It was a really tense time in Northern California. Maxxam/PL managed to persuade some workers that the hippies were threatening their jobs, and the consequent conflict was ugly. That ugliness made the press fairly often. What didn’t make the press was the fact that Judi was an old-school union organizer: she identified more with the loggers than did most enviros, and she built some serious bridges between the two camps. Among other things, she got Earth First! in Northern California to renounce tree-spiking. She helped unionize a timber firm. Above all, she worked with timber workers to point out that sustainable logging meant sustainable employment, and that Maxxam’s cut and run practices meant mills would be closing as soon as the last tree was cut.

Still, those threats were out there and continuing. As horrified as we were when the bomb went off, it wasn’t particularly a surprise. What was a surprise was that the FBI arrived at the crime scene within minutes, and that the Oakland Police Department arrested Judi and Darryl before they’d been extracted from the ruins of Judi’s Subaru, charging them with transporting an explosive device.

The interior of Judi’s Subaru, the blast damage showing that the bomb was directly beneath the driver’s seat and not in the back footwell. Oakland Police photo.

The architect of this legal strategy? Mythbusters’ bomb expert Frank Doyle, then a special agent with the FBI.

Four weeks before the explosion, Doyle had run what was called a Bomb Investigator’s Training Course in Eureka in which law enforcement agents blew up cars with pipe bombs and then examined the wrecks for forensic evidence. There are two things that are especially spooky about this confluence of events. First was that Doyle, on arriving at the corner of Park and Macarthur, told his fellow first responders — four of whom had attended that course — “this is your final exam.” His statement was caught on tape.

The second spooky coincidence was that the bomb’s construction closely paralleled that of the practice bombs used at Doyle’s “bomb school.”

Doyle told the press that the damage to the car showed that it had been carried behind the driver’s seat, therefore was visible to the passengers, therefore they knew it was there and were deliberately transporting it. That lie was thoroughly shredded in a later court case, but at the time the press ran with it. Within two months all charges against Judi and Darryl were dropped for lack of evidence. You still hear people refer to them as the “people who were carrying that bomb.” The act of character assassination worked — a sentiment with which a Federal court judge and jury agreed.

Judi died of metastatic breast cancer in March 1997, leaving behind two young daughters. In 2002, that federal judge ordered Oakland cops and FBI agents to pay $4.4 million to Darryl and to Judi’s estate for violating their civil rights. During the trial agents admitted tracking Judi and Darryl for weeks before the bombing. The forensic evidence was clear. It was pretty much an open and shut case.

I am not saying that Frank Doyle had  other than an after-the-fact a role in the attempted murder of my friends, though it wouldn’t shock me if I found out that he did. But Doyle absolutely did thwart an effective investigation of that attempted murder. That’s a matter of established record. He ignored obvious leads, misrepresented evidence, and worked to frame activists for a horrible act of violence against them.

And nonetheless, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman decided to use Doyle as their go-to guy for explosives on Mythbusters. Despite the fact that Doyle tried to destroy two lives with a myth of his own concoction.

Let me be clear about one thing. Judi was not just targeted for being an environmental activist. The worst harassment, the worst threats that Redwood Summer activists received were directed at women. My friend Karen Pickett got some of those threatening letters too, and they were rife with misogyny to the point of being nearly laughable, before the bomb went off. (The accusation that women Earth First! activists were “box lunch eating lesbians” got used a lot.) One of the prime uninvestigated suspects in the bombing, a blithering godbag calling themself the “Lord’s Avenger,” claimed responsibility for the bombing and said it was in retaliation for Judi doing clinic defense at the Ukiah office of Planned Parenthood. That may or may not be true, though the Lord’s Avenger did apparently possess some interesting knowledge about the bomb’s construction.

Either way, Judi’s feminist activism definitely played a more than significant role in her being targeted. Male Earth First! activists got threats, and some of them were scary indeed. But it was the women who bore the brunt of the threats and harassment, and Judi paid the biggest price.

420196_10151439794042467_196739301_n

The film “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” screened on the outside of the Mythbusters building in San Francisco, May 24 2013

Which raises a question. For all the criticism it has received for being sensationalist and superficial, Mythbusters essentially serves as a public face of Skepticism to viewers who have never heard of Skepticism. Yet apparently it’s no big deal for Adam and Jamie to support, employ, and publicize a man who may have helped target a feminist environmental activist for unbelievably painful harassment, and who certainly provided effective cover for the people who tried to kill her.

Darryl Cherney, who has plowed some of the proceeds from the court settlement into making a film about Judi, is trying to get Jamie and Adam to explain why they employ Frank Doyle. They’ve been reluctant to answer, even though Darryl went so far as to offer a free screening of the film on the wall of Mythbusters’ building this weekend.

Anyone concerned with the role of women in the Skeptics’ movement ought to ask them for an answer.

106 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    A familiar pattern and story.

    You could substitute anti-creationist, climatologist, pro-choice for environmental activist and it would read exactly the same. Including getting pictures in the mail with you in the cross hairs of a rifle sight.

    BTW, if it happens to you, do make sure to look under your car every morning for bombs. That is what some prominent climatologists do. It is an extra step but as one put it, “I’ve been doing this for so long, it seems like normal.

  2. 2
    Chris Clarke

    BTW, if it happens to you, do make sure to look under your car every morning for bombs.

    Interestingly enough, though most car bombs are placed under the car or in the engine compartment because most cars not owned by broke hippies are hard to break into without alerting the owner, the Eureka Bomb School practice bombs were all placed inside the passenger compartment, just like the one that maimed Judi.

  3. 3
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Best of luck getting some answers from Mythbusters, and especially finding out the truth about what happened.

  4. 4
    Chris Clarke

    That last is possible. The Oakland Police Department still has the bomb in evidence. It was assembled with duct tape, which may well have captured some identifiable DNA or other micro-evidence not accessible in the early 1990s.

    Last time I spoke with Darryl he said his attorneys are currently battling to keep the OPD from throwing the bomb in the trash.

  5. 5
    raven

    I remember the Judy Bari bombing well.

    The FBI immediately blamed her despite a total lack of evidence. And never bothered to investigate and find out who actually did it.

    IIRC, Bush the first was president then. They weren’t even pretending to enforce the laws.

  6. 6
    togamonkey

    Perhaps we should begin this line of questioning by asking whether any of these coincidences result in any evidence beyond coincidence. So what if Frank Doyle told his former students that this bomb investigation was their final exam? That sounds like a good teacher, finally sending his students into the field for real. So what if Frank Doyle got it wrong on where the device was when it went off? It seems far more likely that he simply made a mistake. Just because he made a mistake does not mean he was covering up a conspiracy plot to murder them. So what if the bombs were similar? Pipe bombs filled with nails are the kind of thing the FBI investigates. Should they not train their agents what the aftermath of one looks like?

    Honestly, this article sounds very much like a conspiracy theory article. Things are “spooky coincidences” and motivations are assigned to people who seemingly have no reason to have those motivations. Why would the FBI want to cover up a murder of a fairly prominent citizen? Isn’t it the FBI’s job to prevent that very thing? Why would Frank Doyle intentionally lie about where the bomb was? I’m not saying the FBI is a saintly organization, or that Frank Doyle is a paragon of humanity, but why cover up a murder? And if they were trying to cover it up, couldn’t they at least have done something that actually held up in court?

    I also find it ironic that you would use the phrase “character assassination,” while simultaneously attempting to assassinate the characters of Frank Doyle and the Mythbusters. What evidence is there actually against Frank Doyle? If all we have is an encouraging speech to his former students, and a botched bomb report, I’m not impressed. And what the hell do the Mythbusters have to do with any of this? They use a bomb expert on their show, which frequently uses explosives. Shouldn’t they go to a guy who knows a bit about explosives? Maybe a guy who taught at a “bomb school”?

  7. 7
    Chris Clarke

    Perhaps we should begin this line of questioning by asking whether any of these coincidences result in any evidence beyond coincidence.

    A federal court and jury did just that for you over a decade ago. Try to keep up.

  8. 8
    sleepingwytch(inactive)

    Ugh, evil G-men, somehow I’m not surprised.

  9. 9
    Gretchen

    Darryl Cherney, who has plowed some of the proceeds from the court settlement into making a film about Judi, is trying to get Jamie and Adam to explain why they employ Frank Doyle. They’ve been reluctant to answer, even though Darryl went so far as to offer a free screening of the film on the wall of Mythbusters’ building this weekend.

    The most likely reason is that Adam and Jamie didn’t hire Doyle and this is the first they’ve heard about his past. Their legal team is probably currently puzzling out what this is and what to do about it.

  10. 10
    Lofty

    Doesn’t surprise me. Their immature frat boy attitudes turned me off them years ago. The old shows with Scotty were worth watching, their newer stuff is not showing them to be all that good at critical thinking. Have a suspected accessory to murder as a friend? No worries, he makes good explosions, duuude.

  11. 11
    Infophile

    If I had to guess, I’d say that Adam and Jamie employed Doyle before learning about this incident (most people would automatically consider an FBI agent trustworthy), not learning about it until relatively recently (correct me if I’m wrong here). Now that they have such a longstanding relationship with him, there’s big cognitive hurdle in the way of considering that he might have done such a horrible thing in his past. So they make excuses in their minds, engage in special pleading, denial of the evidence, etc. to keep from having to admit that they employed someone who could do something so horrible.

  12. 12
    sleepingwytch(inactive)

    This is sickening, fuck these assholes. The FBI and DHS are full to the brim of social conservative assholes just waiting to pull stuff like this on innocent people.

    It’s disgusting, fuck these shit for brains. >=(

    I feel like so much anger at these assholes for reasons I won’t get into here, but suffice to say I don’t think highly of the FBI or DHS, or any of these alphabet soup assholes like the DEA that raid people dying of cancer smoking marijuana they have a prescription for. Fucking worthless fucking assholes, FUCK!

    God I hate these people.

  13. 13
    magistramarla

    We’ve been catching up on McGyver reruns, since we’ve always loved the show. This sounds much like the plot of one of those episodes. Now I’m wondering – was that episode based on this case. The writers of that show seemed to be very sympathetic to such causes. That’s part of why we love McGyver.

  14. 14
    raven

    What evidence is there actually against Frank Doyle?

    The immediate blaming of the victim on the basis of zero evidence. The failure to even investigate an attempted homicide and terrorism incident.

    If all we have is an encouraging speech to his former students, and a botched bomb report,

    Doyle was an FBI agent. Not an ice cream salesperson or paperboy. It was his job.

    I’m not impressed.

    Me either. We’ve had far better trolls than you. Do try harder.

  15. 15
    Inaji

    togamonkey:

    Perhaps we should begin this line of questioning by asking whether any of these coincidences result in any evidence beyond coincidence.

    Let’s go for remedial reading comprehension for you – from the OP, right up there ^:

    In 2002, that federal judge ordered Oakland cops and FBI agents to pay $4.4 million to Darryl and to Judi’s estate for violating their civil rights. During the trial agents admitted tracking Judi and Darryl for weeks before the bombing. The forensic evidence was clear. It was pretty much an open and shut case.

    4 million isn’t awarded lightly, nor is such an award granted with no evidence.

    So what if Frank Doyle told his former students that this bomb investigation was their final exam? That sounds like a good teacher, finally sending his students into the field for real.

    So what? Seems to me that such a vicious murder attempt shouldn’t be left to students, who are very likely to miss a great deal, things which would not so easily evade someone with experience. You aren’t terribly bright, and I would be somewhat distressed to find a student you (or a student anyone) investigating a murder attempt.

  16. 16
    chigau (違う)

    well … fuck

  17. 17
    raven

    wikipedia:

    The company (Pacific Lumber Company) filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2007.

    and

    During the pendency of this litigation MAXXAM filed for Bankruptcy.

    I haven’t paid much attention to this for a long time.

    Pacific Lumber was 145 years old. After Hurwitz and Maxxam bought it, it ended in bankruptcy. So did Maxxam. Not sure what exactly happened here. It looks like Hurwitz did a Bain/Romney. Bought the company, bit it in the neck, sucked out as much blood money as possible, and dropped the remains.

  18. 18
    Chris Clarke

    Caine!!!! <3!!

  19. 19
    Muz

    The ‘hammering the public figures’ angle makes some sense I guess, but it’s a tad sensationalist. Have our intrepid journos tried digging around the production company rather than doorstopping the Mythbusters themselves? The show is largely the creation of Beyond International and probably Discovery these days. I wager they look in the Hollywood production directory under ‘explosives’ to find people.

  20. 20
    Inaji

    Chris!!!! <3!!

    Seriously happy to see you, too. ♥

  21. 21
    Gregory Greenwood

    The best spin that can be put on this is that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman didn’t look very closely into the background of the person they chose to employ as their bomb disposal expert (which is more than a little worrying in its own right), and are now either engaging in calculated damage limitation as they try to buy time to work out what to do about it, or as observed by Infophile @ 11, they may be in denial that someone they know and have employed could have done this, and so are trying to handwave the issue away rather than deal with the fact that a court ruling has confirmed that Doyle interfered in due legal process, that he may possibly be linked to or directly involved in an act of attempted murder (though this has yet to be established), and the evidence certainly seems to support the notion that he is a very nasty peice of work indeed.

    Of course, the other possibility is even worse – that they have known about this for some time, or even knew from the outset, and simply didn’t care about it until the matter started to come to the attention of a larger constituency of people.

    I have enjoyed Mythbusters in the past (though it has gone somewhat all-explosions-all-the-time recently, and the immature frat boy attitude described by Lofty @ 10 is becoming ever more grating), so I would like to believe that they are better than this, but as I have learned the hard way merely wishing that some relatively prominent figure was a halfway decent human being has no impact whatsoever on the stubborn reality. I think it is undeniable at this point that they have serious questions to answer. While I cannot see any way in which they can come out of this well, there is still the question of whether they were ‘merely’ lax and foolish, or actually believe that Doyle’s at the bare minimum highly questionable history is unimportant set against his ability to rig up cinematic pyrotechnics.

  22. 22
    Chris Clarke

    but it’s a tad sensationalist. Have our intrepid journos tried digging around the production company rather than doorstopping the Mythbusters themselves?

    Darryl’s made a bunch of attempts to contact the show’s producers, from what I know.

    As for “sensationalism”, I can’t really argue. Here’s the thing: someone put a fucking bomb under the driver’s seat of a friend of mine, and another person arrested her for it while she still had shrapnel in her fucking ass because he didn’t like her politics.

    So hell yes I’m angry, even a quarter century later.

  23. 23
    ekwhite

    Thanks for the article Chris. One thing you left out is that at the time, the FBI was trying to paint Earth First as “Ecoterrorists.” Blaming Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney for an act of violence commited against them fit into the narrative they were peddling – that Earth First, and by extension all environmentalists, were dangerous fanatics. Frank Doyle’s ‘investigation’ fit that narrative perfectly.

    That is not to say that Doyle had anything to do with planting the bomb, but it seems that he jumped to conclusions based on what the FBI wanted the narrative to be.

  24. 24
    Jadehawk

    holy crap.

    I sort of knew this story of Bari and Cherney being framed for the bomb that nearly killed them, and the whole disaster around Pacific Lumber; I never knew about the connection to Mythbusters.

    Holy fucking crap.

  25. 25
    Inaji

    Gregory:

    Of course, the other possibility is even worse – that they have known about this for some time, or even knew from the outset, and simply didn’t care about it until the matter started to come to the attention of a larger constituency of people.

    Colour me cynical, but I’d put money on “oh, all that’s long ago, it’s the past, we’ve all learned, yada, yada, yada.”

  26. 26
    ekwhite

    PS: Has anyone ever noticed how much Chris Clarke looks like Edward Abbey?

    Edward Abbey

  27. 27
    Jadehawk

    Why would the FBI want to cover up a murder of a fairly prominent citizen? Isn’t it the FBI’s job to prevent that very thing?

    the “job” of the FBI is to maintain order.

    It looks like Hurwitz did a Bain/Romney. Bought the company, bit it in the neck, sucked out as much blood money as possible, and dropped the remains.

    something like that. IIRC, Pacific Lumber was bought with borrowed money in a hostile takeover, and then made responsible for paying off that debt; which was achieved by logging everything in sight, then filing for bancrupcy

  28. 28
    Jadehawk

    The ‘hammering the public figures’ angle makes some sense I guess, but it’s a tad sensationalist.

    yeah. amazingly enough, sometimes the only way to get people to listen is to “sensationalize” the issue until it’s too loud and too everywhere to continue pretending it’s not there.

  29. 29
    Muz

    Chris @22
    “Darryl’s made a bunch of attempts to contact the show’s producers, from what I know.

    As for “sensationalism”, I can’t really argue. Here’s the thing: someone put a fucking bomb under the driver’s seat of a friend of mine, and another person arrested her for it while she still had shrapnel in her fucking ass because he didn’t like her politics.

    So hell yes I’m angry, even a quarter century later.”

    Anger is entirely appropriate, possibly forever by the sounds of it. Kicking up some stink around the famous guys gets the story and film some attention it could probably use. I’ve been reading All The President’s Men lately though so it’s kind of rubbed off. Some long form digging on who, if anyone, knew what in the Mythbusters company could be a story.

  30. 30
    Gregory Greenwood

    Caine, Fleur du mal @ 25;

    Colour me cynical, but I’d put money on “oh, all that’s long ago, it’s the past, we’ve all learned, yada, yada, yada.”

    Sadly, I can easily imagine Savage and Hyneman, or the production team for Mythbusters, issuing a not-pology with almost exactly that wording in the not too distant future. If it follows the usual pattern of such things, it may possibly include a dig against people who supposedly want to ‘persecute’ Doyle/the show/the presenters/the Discovery Channel (delete as appropriate) due to sinister and unspecified motivations.

    Afterall, they ‘introduce kids to the wonders of science’, and so anyone who criticises them or their show for any reason would be just the most awful kind of person…

  31. 31
    chigau (違う)

    Mythbusters™ can fire any off-camera person without explaining to anyone.

  32. 32
    sadunlap

    I live in the Bay Area and followed this case closely as it was unfolding.

    The most important point:
    1. The initial news reports parroted uncritically the FBI’s statement that they knew the bomb had been behind the driver’s seat because of the epicenter of the explosion. The alleged location of the bomb was the only evidence they ever stated that Barry and Cherney intentionally transported the bomb.

    2. After legal proceedings and FOI requests finally forced the FBI to release the crime scene photo of the car (included in this post above) we see clearly the epicenter of the explosion was directly underneath the driver’s seat.

    Caught the FBI in a Big. Fat. Hairy. Lie.

    Someone like togamonkey can try as s/he might to talk circles around this all day long. We have incontrovertible evidence the FBI lied. The head of the San Francisco office of the FBI had to resign over this. (Not that the national news media noticed).

  33. 33
    Jafafa Hots

    The old shows with Scotty were worth watching,

    Yes. I think some also has to do with the editing… they make it so loud and use such annoying quick-cut editing these days it is unwatchable. It’s like a long Pepsi commercial or something.

  34. 34
    aluchko

    @Gregory Greenwood

    My guess is they hired him without doing a real background check (who would think to do a background check on a retired FBI agent?). By the time they learned about this they’d already become friends, and as pretty much anybody would they’re now protecting their friend.

    I’m really skeptical that he was in on the bombing, but if the court case showed he was deliberately trying to frame her, or at least deliberately distorting/manufacturing evidence, than he should be in jail. In that case I favour turning up the heat on Mythbusters until they have to dump him.

  35. 35
    Ichthyic

    but if the court case showed he was deliberately trying to frame her, or at least deliberately distorting/manufacturing evidence, than he should be in jail.

    like OJ?

  36. 36
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Ah fuck.

    So this is what cognitive dissonance feels like. I’ve felt it before of course, but never when I was as aware of the phenomenon as I am now.

    I love the Mythbusters, love it enough to consciously overlook their shift from showing the process of testing to emphasising the results with as big an explosion as possible. But this revelation really hits home.

    I believe in social justice. And I believe that authorities who do as Doyle did, placing their politics above the proper prosecution of the law should be publicly vilified for it at the very least.

    But the real kicker is that I believe that those of us who have the public’s attention should use that platform to do good whenever and wherever they can. In this case the Mythbusters have an opportunity to do that by publicly distancing themselves from Doyle in a manner that brooks no doubt as to why. But they won’t do that.

    They won’t because somewhere in their organisation there will be someone who will say “No, we can’t. It will hurt our brand.” Nevermind that for some of us, such an act would in fact make us admire them more, the economic forces that drive television productions won’t count that.

    I think the best we can hope for is for them to stop using Doyle. There’s a younger bomb guy by the name of JT who they’ve used on many occasions with no sign of Doyle anywhere. We’ll just see more of JT.

    And every Monday I will learn firsthand how cognitive dissonance feels as I continue to watch.

    Fuck.

  37. 37
    aluchko

    I should note there’s also the explanation of prejudice + shoddy police work. The FBI thought Earth First! were eco-terrorists, Frank Doyle gets a call and is told that a couple eco-terrorists just had their car blow up. He shows up and the first thing he sees is that the bomb was inside the car right after he finished teaching a course that a bomb inside the car is left there by the occupants. Knowing what we do about confirmation bias it’s not hard to see him immediately figuring the bomb was theirs, then shoehorning all the evidence to fit what he “knew” to be the true narrative.

  38. 38
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    [Waves at Canie.]

  39. 39
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Why would the FBI want to cover up a murder of a fairly prominent citizen? Isn’t it the FBI’s job to prevent that very thing?

    Because they consider the “prominent citizen” either a troublemaker or not a person at all.

  40. 40
    Inaji

    Aluchko:

    I should note there’s also the explanation of prejudice + shoddy police work.

    Yes, that’s an explanation, however, I think Doyle’s behaviour was more obviously sinister at the time. Look at his prime response, to tell his students this was their final exam. I’d say there was most likely a pressure on them (unspoken or no) to arrive at the results he personally wanted and posited, and no good investigator worth their salt would leave such a case in the hands of students.

    Given his views, his behaviour, the resignation of the SF head, and the final disposition of the federal judge in the case, everything leans toward Doyle knowingly acting with vindictiveness and the expectation of getting away with it.

  41. 41
    Inaji

    *Waves to FossilFishy*

  42. 42
    aluchko

    @Caine, Fleur du mal

    I don’t know, “this is your final exam” could be sinister, it could also mean “we’ve been learning about this, now is your chance to apply what you’ve learned”.

    A malicious intent is possible, but just like you’re incorporating “this is your final exam” into a sinister narrative couldn’t he have done the same?

  43. 43
    lou Jost

    I was active in Texas EF! at that time, and I remember all this with sadness and rage. In 1990 I was working as the resident biologist/guide at a fancy lodge in the Amazon basin, and one day our big dugout canoe brought me the person who was prosecuting Judi— this Oakland DA, and a couple of his staff, for a week’s vacation under my care. It was an amazing chance to tell them about what Judi was really like, since they were my captive audience for the week. The DA was a nice guy and quite open, and though I got the feeling that his staff did not believe the FBI account, he apparently did. He said the nails or the electric tape (can’t remember which) matched some found in Judi’s shed. But these were common brands, so that was bogus evidence. I think he didn’t really know much about Judi or Darryl, or EF!, and was just getting the FBI’s side of the story, and buying it. I was able to give him a more balanced perspective. By the end of the week, he and his staff seemed more open-minded about the whole thing.

    We also “interrupted” Hurwitz’ speech at the University of Texas–he was there to receive some achievement award from the corrupt Business School! He probably wet his pants that day…

  44. 44
    Brad

    I asked Adam for comment through one of their side projects, where he’s a little looser in the mouth.

  45. 45
    Inaji

    Aluchko:

    A malicious intent is possible, but just like you’re incorporating “this is your final exam” into a sinister narrative couldn’t he have done the same?

    Seems to me that you’re going out of your way to find excuses for Doyle. I don’t share that need.

  46. 46
    left0ver1under

    Gregory Greenwood (#21) -

    The best spin that can be put on this is that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman didn’t look very closely into the background of the person they chose to employ as their bomb disposal expert

    Several times Savage has referenced (read: sold) Doyle to the viewers as one of those who arrested the Unabomber. One proper arrest, or even thousands, does not mitigate misconduct on Doyle’s part.

    Doyle is as big a fraud as the allegedly “ex-military” guy Canterbury on Discovery’s “Dual Survival”.

  47. 47
    left0ver1under

    Chris Clarke (#22) -

    Darryl’s made a bunch of attempts to contact the show’s producers, from what I know.

    I doubt it will make much difference, but I’ll be forwarding an email to Savage asking why he continues to associate with Doyle. With luck, enough voices will change their minds.

    As for “sensationalism”, I can’t really argue. Here’s the thing: someone put a fucking bomb under the driver’s seat of a friend of mine, and another person arrested her for it while she still had shrapnel in her fucking ass because he didn’t like her politics.

    So hell yes I’m angry, even a quarter century later.

    I’m not comparing your friends to Cuban communists when I say this, but the lack of justice sounds a lot like the case of Orlando Bosch, the CIA stooge who murdered 73 by blowing up an airplane.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Bosch

    The guilty went unpunished because those in power didn’t like the victims. (See also: the lenient sentences given to christian terrorists – Kopp, Rudolph, Roeder – who bombed abortion clinics or murdered doctors.)

  48. 48
    Chris Clarke

    Several times Savage has referenced (read: sold) Doyle to the viewers as one of those who arrested the Unabomber.

    Now THAT was some top-notch police work: the FBI harassed Bay Area environmental and progressive activists and academics to no avail and then eventually Kaczynski’s brother turned him in.

  49. 49
    psanity

    Besides all the obvious activism-related reasons for Judi to be targeted, didn’t she also have a nasty ex? I think the Anderson Valley Advertiser was making a case against him, at about the time of the federal lawsuit. Of course, Doyle screwed everything up to the point where we’ll probably never know. The federales were all about proving all environmentalists were terrorists then. Evidence didn’t really enter into it.

    PS: Has anyone ever noticed how much Chris Clarke looks like Edward Abbey?

    That is about the first thing I noticed about Chris’s photo, when he arrived here. I had a chuckle over the impression; I’m still occasionally mildly startled by his avatar.

  50. 50
    PZ Myers

    Wow. I’m going to be on the shit list of every prominent skeptic in the world, aren’t I?

    Good.

  51. 51
    changerofbits

    It seems the best way to redeem the show (even if they were ignorant, somebody responsible for the show shouldn’t have been and is accountable) is to do a special episode where they expose Frank Doyle’s lies, in the most thorough, gory, skeptical detail. Of course, being a “skeptic” means you don’t go after folks associated with “sacred cows” like religion and the FBI, right?

  52. 52
    Marcus Ranum

    Sounds exactly like the COINTELPRO stunts that FBI agent provocateurs were doing to the civil rights movement, the KKK, the SDS, the peace movement, etc. – Basically hammering down every nail that stuck up just a little bit above baseline. Even to this day the FBI has created more terrorist incidents than it has halted (through “sting” operations against radicalizing groups that can be penetrated by provocateurs) – it’s amazing that anyone trusts the FBI. They are the American Gestapo.

  53. 53
    Marcus Ranum

    (Except the FBI predates the Gestapo)

  54. 54
    obscure1

    Thanks for the most informative post Chris. I was also living in Frisco (ha-ha) at the time and was appalled by how the local TV stations played up the FBI’s version of events. What leftover #47 said about Orlando Bosch is very true also. One must remember that G.H.W. Bush (former Director of the CIA under the Ford administration) was president at the time and any active environmentalist was on some spook’s list.

  55. 55
    Ichthyic

    Wow. I’m going to be on the shit list of every prominent skeptic in the world, aren’t I?

    The only thing worse than being on the shit list of every prominent skeptic in the world, is NOT being on the shit list of every prominent skeptic in the world.

    …er, it was one of Shaw’s!

  56. 56
    aluchko

    @Caine, Fleur du mal

    Seems to me that you’re going out of your way to find excuses for Doyle. I don’t share that need.

    I’m not letting him off the hook, the FBI should be rigorous in constantly re-evaluating the evidence and considering alternate theories so a case with errors that severe would never get near a courtroom (and any agents responsible for it should face serious repercussions). That’s why shoddy police work is a problem, because it allows cops to go to court on their hunches which can be completely wrong.

    However, that doesn’t mean he was deliberately framing her.

  57. 57
    changerofbits

    aluchko, what do your Occam’s razor shavings tell you? Does the prospect of bombing yourself seem more extraordinary than it being the work of someone else?

  58. 58
    lochaber

    Remember, and armed society is a polite society (unlike those militant atheists…).

  59. 59
    lochaber

    I don’t know how I managed that, but somehow posted in the wrong thread. :( too many tabs open, and not even drunk yet…

    anyways, I’m not sure why some people still think of law enforcement as ‘trustworthy’. I’ve learned some time ago that there are few things more dishonest then a cop.

  60. 60
    left0ver1under

    Chris Clarke (#48) –

    So the FBI harassed subscribers of an academic journal, when in fact publication of the Unabomber’s Manifesto in other subscribed print – the NYT and Washington Post – led to his capture. Charming.

  61. 61
    Ichthyic

    the FBI should be rigorous in constantly re-evaluating the evidence

    except when they’re actively doing the opposite.

  62. 62
    Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity

    Does the prospect of bombing yourself seem more extraordinary than it being the work of someone else?

    @57: So you’re saying the options are either that they blew themselves up with a bomb or that the FBI agent framed them?
    It couldn’t have been any of the other groups mentioned above? Like the angry ex, the Lords Avengers who claimed responsibility for it or maybe an angry logger?

    All aluchko has done is point out that assuming that Doyle is guilt of attempted murder without stronger evidence than presented it the OP is not rational and that there were other possible reasons.

  63. 63
    hyperdeath

    Chris Clarke

    …and then eventually Kaczynski’s brother turned him in.

    I get the impression that this is what most counter-terrorist intelligence amounts to. It’s 1% snooping, and 99% a close acquaintance knowing what they’re up to, and turning them in.

    Here in the UK, there’s a story every year or so about the security services stopping some terrorist cell. In my opinion, the most likely means by which they terrorists were discovered, was by them trying to recruit someone who went to the police instead.

  64. 64
    Nick Gotts

    most cars not owned by broke hippies are hard to break into without alerting the owner

    This bit (but to be clear, nothing else – I remember the incident and it seemed obvious even then that the authorities were not being honest), I question. I recently lost my car key, and it took the guy who came to open it all of 30 seconds, with no damage to the door at all.

  65. 65
    Lofty

    I recently lost my car key, and it took the guy who came to open it all of 30 seconds, with no damage to the door at all.

    Especially as the vehicle seems to be from the 70′s before locks were made pick proof. Given half an hour as a teenager I made a serviceable lock pick to rescue the neighbour’s keys from a then newish Japanese car.

  66. 66
    left0ver1under

    lochaber (#59) –

    I’m not sure why some people still think of law enforcement as ‘trustworthy’. I’ve learned some time ago that there are few things more dishonest then a cop.

    I wasn’t going to post any more about this, but then I ran across a news item proving your point:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9800692/Only-half-of-officers-would-report-colleague-who-punched-suspect.html

    Only half of police officers would report a colleague who punched a suspect as a punishment for fleeing and resisting arrest, figures showed, as senior officers called for a new code of ethics.

    [...]

    It also found up to one in 14 officers would take a drunken driver home instead of reporting the accident if they discovered the driver was an off-duty officer.

  67. 67
    Gregory Greenwood

    aluchko @ 34;

    My guess is they hired him without doing a real background check (who would think to do a background check on a retired FBI agent?)

    When hiring someone as an expert in explosives, I would have thought that an indepth background check would have been a basic matter of due diligence, no matter what their prior career may have been. That someone has worked for the security sevices in the past does not speak at all one way or the other as to their character or their suitability for such a role.

    By the time they learned about this they’d already become friends, and as pretty much anybody would they’re now protecting their friend.

    While this is an understandable impulse, uncritically defending one’s friend without even bothering to ascertain the facts of the matter is one thing if you are acting as just a private individual, and another if you are a relatively prominent figure with a social obligation to use your position responsibly. While Savage and Hyneman might be the personal friends of Doyle, and thus lack the necessary distance to see things objectively, it seems doubtful that the same is true of the entire production staff. Someone should have caught this.

    I’m really skeptical that he was in on the bombing…

    It certainly has yet to be clearly established that he was involved with the bombing, though some of the similarities mentioned in the OP between the structure of the bomb and those practice devices used at Doyle’s ‘bomb school’ are a legitimate cause for suspicion.

    …but if the court case showed he was deliberately trying to frame her, or at least deliberately distorting/manufacturing evidence, than he should be in jail.

    I agree that this should be the case, but unfortunately it is simply not how the justice system works. The victims here were members of a group that the government and broader social authority structure had decided were undesireable ‘eco-terrorists’. It seems clear that there was little interest at the time in doing much other than trying to pin the blame on the victims, and even now it seems unlikely that anyone in a position of power will be in a hurry to air the FBI’s dirty laundry in the name of justice for people that they would probably write off as a ‘bunch of hippie tree-huggers’, and so automatically undeserving of justice in their eyes.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    left0ver1under @ 46;

    Several times Savage has referenced (read: sold) Doyle to the viewers as one of those who arrested the Unabomber.

    And when it comes to lionizing counter-terrorism ‘heroes’, we all know how certain kinds of people can get a little… lax when it comes to painting them ‘warts and all’ – what is a little attempted perversion of the course of justice and placing one’s own political ideology above your obligations as an officer of the law (leaving aside any question of potential involvement in a bombing for now) between friends…?

    One proper arrest, or even thousands, does not mitigate misconduct on Doyle’s part.

    Agreed – this can’t be a numbers game where one can trade off doing your job properly in some cases in return for ‘get out of jail free’ cards when you subvert the law for your own purposes. Even if Doyle’s record is otherwise impeccable, what happened with regard to Judi Bari and Darryl Cherneyto would still be an unacceptable abuse of power, and a charge that must be answered.

    Doyle is as big a fraud as the allegedly “ex-military” guy Canterbury on Discovery’s “Dual Survival”.

    I am unfamiliar with that particular show, but as a general point frauds on the Discover Channel are not exactly unheard of…

  68. 68
    mickll

    Could be that Mythbusters doesn’t want to annoy their law enforcement friends, given that the bomb “experts” get them nice ratings.

    Not a justification for their actions, but a possible reason.

  69. 69
    Nick Gotts

    Especially as the vehicle seems to be from the 70′s before locks were made pick proof. – Lofty

    I won’t describe exactly how my car was opened in 30 seconds – although probably anyone who wants to know can find out – but it didn’t involve picking the lock. That would be tricky with a (relatively) modern car, but I’d guess the way the guy did it would still be the easiest in the 1970s.

  70. 70
    spike13

    A practiced hand can open a seventies era car with a “slim Jim” only slightly slower than using a key.

  71. 71
    susan

    I’ve heard about this case over the years and it’s infuriating. I’m glad to hear about the movie and that Darryl’s still pushing for answers. I’ll email the show and attempt to see/buy the movie–I noticed there’s a potential showing in San Jose in June; if they show it sometime during Netroots Nation (June 20-23 in San Jose), that would be most excellent. The only other thing I could think to do is remove “Mythbusters” from my DVR Season Pass schedule. Thanks for drawing attention to this story–I hope they do the right thing and stop paying Doyle.

  72. 72
    slatham

    The link to contacting mythbusters didn’t go anywhere for me, so I found the “leave the title of the myth you want us to bust in the subject heading” email address ([email protected]) and left this:
    “I saw a lot of footage of Adam at the Reason Rally and was impressed, and I like your show, but it’s worrying to learn that you pay and promote someone who generated a terrible myth (that the environmentalists blew themselves up). Even more worrisome that in hiding the truth Doyle caused so much additional damage. He shouldn’t be rewarded for that. Perhaps it’s not Mythbusters’ place to punish Doyle, but it’s a hurtful irony that a show dedicated to busting falsehoods fails to act against falsehood-promoters in the real world.”
    I usually don’t write without doing a bit of research first, and I’m a bit uncomfortable just skimming the blog post and sending. Hopefully my missive is on track.

  73. 73
    chrisv

    ” I’ve learned some time ago that there are few things more dishonest then a cop” What’s that saying…Power corrupts, etc?

  74. 74
    Matrim

    Gregory Greenwood, 67>

    When hiring someone as an expert in explosives, I would have thought that an indepth background check would have been a basic matter of due diligence, no matter what their prior career may have been. That someone has worked for the security sevices in the past does not speak at all one way or the other as to their character or their suitability for such a role.

    You’d be (mostly) wrong. Qualifications are generally considered WAY more important than background issues. There are plenty of explosives experts who have sketchy backgrounds that don’t get weeded out. Essentially, so long as you’ve never been convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor you’re unlikely to receive any more background screening than you would at any other job (unless you’re going to be dealing with classified material, which a number of explosive jobs do). Having worked in an explosive career field both in the military and civilian sectors, I can tell you that the only time I was ever subjected to a background check beyond the normal application process was when I was being reviewed for my security clearances.

    It certainly has yet to be clearly established that he was involved with the bombing, though some of the similarities mentioned in the OP between the structure of the bomb and those practice devices used at Doyle’s ‘bomb school’ are a legitimate cause for suspicion.

    Not having seen the specifications of either his training devices or the device that injured Judi, I cannot speak with certainty, but similarity between the devices is not necessarily anything sinister. Pipe bombs are relatively simple devices, and the likelihood of any two pipe bombs being similarly designed is pretty good. Even something that sounds a bit complex, like a motion sensitive trigger, can be fabricated as easily as twisting two pieces of wire into a specific shape. Now, if it turns out that the bomb was built using the same parts (not just similar ones) as the practice devices (same brand of power source, same gauge and make of wiring, etc) that would be more damning, or if it used something more complex and less readily available in its design (such as a mercury switch instead of a tremble switch)

    =====

    Nick Gotts, 64>

    This bit (but to be clear, nothing else – I remember the incident and it seemed obvious even then that the authorities were not being honest), I question. I recently lost my car key, and it took the guy who came to open it all of 30 seconds, with no damage to the door at all.

    That’s true, a person with the right tools and the experience can open a car door rather quickly. However, most people who are planting bombs in vehicles are not experienced in popping locks and don’t have the tools. That’s why most vehicle bombs are under cars, in wheel wells, or in the engine compartment. It’s much faster to just slip something under a vehicle than to fiddle around with it for a few minutes and potentially get caught.

    =====

    To me, the thing that stands out the most is the “misidentification” of the detonation location. There is simply no way someone with more than a week of post-blast analysis training should mistake the location of an explosion like this. There are no serious confounding factors in this case, it shouldn’t have happened. Thereby I can only conclude that the misinformation was deliberate. I do wonder why he (or they, as there was a team and not just him) thought they would get away with it, it’s incredibly easy to confirm that they are wrong just by looking at a simple photograph. And in a case like this their work was certain to be checked not only by the Bureau, but by independent experts. It seems a strange thing to attempt.

    Personally, I don’t think that Doyle or his team planted the device. If an explosives expert wanted to kill Judi they could have done it with something considerably more effective than a pipe bomb (a shaped charge, for example) and still made it look home made. However I do believe they lied about their investigation. Still, this is mostly just my musings, any additional info could shift my opinion. Regardless, as the info stands right now, I think that Mythbusters should let him go. Of course, this likely won’t affect his career in the slightest, if he wants work I guarantee there are plenty of companies that would jump at the chance to have someone with his qualifications and experience (regardless of his behavior on this investigation), but at least he won’t be in the spotlight anymore.

  75. 75
    Ichthyic

    However, most people who are planting bombs in vehicles are not experienced in popping locks and don’t have the tools.

    what an odd thing to say.

  76. 76
    Ichthyic

    If an explosives expert wanted to kill Judi they could have done it with something considerably more effective than a pipe bomb

    not if they were trying to make it look like an accident.

  77. 77
    Ichthyic

    I won’t describe exactly how my car was opened in 30 seconds – although probably anyone who wants to know can find out – but it didn’t involve picking the lock

    OTOH, I have seen my own modern (as in installed in the early 90s) deadbolt lock on an apartment I lived in picked in exactly 6 seconds by my local locksmith.

    Cost me 40 bucks for the housecall, but well worth it. gave me a lot to consider when i saw that.

    In fact, I asked him straight up: “How long did it take you to learn how to pick a deadbolt lock like that?”

    “Few weeks”, he says.

    “Really?”

    “Yup. But…. it cost me a lot for the right tools.”

    “Right tools?”

    “Yeah. What.. you think it’s just paperclips and hairpins or something?”

    “…”

    “You have to have custom built pin pushers that are designed specifically for picking locks like this”

    “oh. Can just anyone buy those?”

    “No comment.”

  78. 78
    Matrim

    what an odd thing to say.

    Odd though it may be, it’s still true. These aren’t people who spend their days training to open car doors. The people who can pop a lock in a matter of seconds are generally people who have been doing it for years. Sure, you can learn to do it in a matter of weeks, but you’re not going to be doing it in 6 seconds (Hell, I’ve seen professional locksmiths take several minutes and need to try a few different sets of tools before they find the correct ones) Even with the proper tools, a lack of experience can slow you way down. And, generally, locksmiths aren’t exactly the most common bombers. Most people who plant bombs in cars are not experienced in gaining entry to the passenger compartment. Again, that’s why most vehicle bombs are not planted in the passenger compartment, but in the easily accessible areas of the vehicle.

    not if they were trying to make it look like an accident.

    Yes, they could have. If we’re supposed to buy the fact that they were transporting an armed explosive device with a motion trigger, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to work in any number of angles that would have made it much more lethal, even if a shaped charge would be too conspicuous. I can think of about a dozen different ways to ensure a kill without making it look any more suspicious than it already is, and that’s without actually sitting down and working out better designs. I’m not saying that they couldn’t have done it, I’m saying that if they did it was a pathetic job for the amount of experience they had. It seems highly unlikely to me. I think it’s much more likely that someone opposing the actions of Judi and her associates decided to bomb them and the investigators just wanted to use the situation to stick it to some “troublesome environmentalists” after the fact. Again, though, I am still curious as to how they thought they’d get away with it when even the most brief of examinations counters their findings.

  79. 79
    Ichthyic

    These aren’t people who spend their days training to open car doors.

    and you know this… how?

  80. 80
    lochaber

    I think I’ve heard someplace that there are masterkeys to common automobiles that dealers and such can get.

    I’d argue against bomb makers knowing/learning how to manipulate locks and gain entry to secure areas, etc. Not that they necessarily know how, but they are already learning a skill that is not well-accepted in society, and not openly taught. I’d guess most wouldn’t use it on a car since a bomb in the passenger compartment is more likely to be noticed then one under the car, in a wheel well, etc. (plus, on the inside it has to have a separate ignition device, instead of just relying on something engine-related.)

    And the ‘final exam’ bit was poorly worded at best.

    Anyways, just to add to the conspiracy angle >:), LEOs and feds have access to all kinds of entry devices – those mechanical pick guns, car opening tools (I remember as a kid, cops would often open cars that people had locked keys in, and would use those ‘slim jim’ tool thingies) and probably all kinds of stuff I don’t even know exists. Plus, since they were following them for weeks prior, they could have probably gotten enough info (either through the VIN and registration stuff, or failing that, the lock itself) to fabricate a key.

    I don’t know enough about this to say it was a conspiracy, but at the very least, I think it was a case where the feds were looking to bust someone they didn’t like, and then the bomb gave them an opportunity to push charges for that bomb. The person they don’t like goes away to jail, the case is closed, and they don’t have to do any more investigation or paperwork. :(

  81. 81
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I love how, whenever the topic of the US (or any other “Western”, aka US-supported, country) government actively suppressing leftist activism, even though we know that…

    -Woodrow Wilson established the Committee on Public Information to increase anti-German sentiment (mostly by using propaganda sent from the British Ministry of Information) so that US entry into WWI would be politically possible; after the war, the Committee turned its attention to socialist activists in the US and helped propagate the First Red Scare

    -McCarthyism happened

    -The Bay of Pigs invasion happened

    -The US was instrumental in installing fascist dictators across Latin America, most notably in Chile, Guatemala and Argentina, as well as instructing their military personnel on torture techniques

    -COINTELPRO happened

    -US security forces, including the FBI, were harassing and infiltrating peace activist groups during the run-up to and early stages of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars

    -And now, that DHS and other agencies engaged in surveillance on the Occupy movement

    someone always has to come in with some reasons as to how it might not be state security, therefore we’re just assuming state security and this is unfair (and, in the process, implying that it couldn’t have been state security).

    I seriously wonder if there’s parts of FBI and/or DHS dedicated to trolling the internet for posts like these and posting silencing junk. I’ve heard rumblings about the CIA and NSA having agents with multiple sock accounts used for this purpose, and, well…considering the fact that the US left has been suppressed so far that what passes for “left” is literally a watered-down Right with no overt fundagelical nonsense (not to mention coddling a bunch of “blue dogs” who really actually belong on the Right), I would not be surprised at all.

  82. 82
    shoeguy

    Here in rural Warshintun (Not DC) you can’t swing a proverbial dead kitth without hitting a couple of survivalist/militia/gun fetishist/secessionists guys with big assed beards, yet the FBI continues to call the Earth Liberation Front the most dangerous domestic terrorist organization in the USA. The ELF has spiked a few trees and burned their share of McMansions and Hummers, but person was ever targeted. They are a piss poor terrorist organization if there ever was one. Our wingnut militias are constantly planting bombs with the expressed intent of killing and terrorizing minorities or leftists.

  83. 83
    Matrim

    and you know this… how?

    Because I have 10 years of experience in a career field where one of my primary duties was the render safe, disposal, and collection of evidence related to IED incidents. There aren’t many subjects where I actually have any claim to authority, this is one of the few. Again, I’m not saying that its impossible that someone spent weeks or months learning a random skill to assist their bomb planting, nor am I saying that the people who already have those skills couldn’t be bombers. I am saying that its highly unlikely. Until we have some more evidence, which I certainly think should be collected, it seems unlikely that the FBI had an active role in the bombing. We know that Doyle and his team lied about their investigation. That makes them crooked, it makes them scum-sucking liars who attempted to throw innocent victims under the bus for political reasons, but it doesn’t make them attempted murderers. Now, if we find physical evidence on the device linking them, or if some of the design factors I mentioned above are confirmed, then we have to reevaluate.

  84. 84
    demonhype

    shoeguy @ 82:

    Call me a conspiracy nut, but I have a feeling that’s on purpose. The out-of-control right wing fanatics do what a lot of the authoritarians in power would like to be able to do, except those in power have an agenda and have to maintain an image. The right wingers commit the crimes against the left and minorities, the authoritarian powers get what they want (a dead opponent as an example to frighten and therefore silence other members of the opposition), and they can pretend it’s not a part of their agenda, just the work of some “insane” people who totally don’t have anything to do with them. Along the lines of what happened to George Tiller.

    And so good groups, peaceful groups, and even groups with a genuine just cause are spied on fearfully and in many cases silenced through various means, while the actually dangerous and violent extremists are given a free pass, because they serve as an extension of the powers that be, only without accountability–and therefore without limits.

  85. 85
    darrylcherney

    Darryl Cherney, here. Producer of the movie, bomb victim with Judi Bari and challenger to Mythbusters. Allow me to clear a few things up:

    Our challenge to Mythbusters is simple. Frank Doyle DENIED saying “This is the final exam.” He did so under oath two times seven years apart. If he was lying, it would be perjury, punishable by up to 5 years in the big house. Although the statue of limitations is up, Mythbusters can use voice recognition machines to bust the “Myth” that Doyle said, “This is the final exam.” It’s that simple. It is an important part of the case, especially because he denied it, long before his voice could be hear repeatedly on Mythbusters. Here is the comparison of Frank Doyle’s voice on Mythbusters to the voice at the bomb scene saying “The Final Exam” line: ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7txlRbsQpg

    Doyle was found “guilty”–liable is the term for civil trials–for lying about the location of the bomb and other matters in order to frame Judi Bari and myself. This is a done deal, proven in a court of law during a six week trial. He violated our Free Speech–the First Amendment–rights, the federal court jury unanimously agreed.

    The FBI testified repeatedly they had no files or foreknowledge of who Judi and I were. So no one from the FBI could have (falsely) told him we were terrorists, unless they were/are hiding documents out of the 10,000+ pages they turned over. However, Doyle taught bomb school up in Humboldt 30 days earlier and personally rented the land to blow up cars from Louisiana Pacific Lumber Company (L-P), one of Judi’s principle adversaries. Doyle’s L-P contact, Security Chief Frank Wigginton, was also his acquaintance and Wigginton knew Judi, myself and the upcoming protests, as that was his job and experience.

    And then a bomb goes off at an L-P mill two weeks after bomb school but two weeks before Judi’s car, tying a thread between bomb school, LP and the car bomb. And that bomb was made by the same individual because that individual took credit for both, describing them in great detail in “The Lords Avenger” letter, found at: http://www.judibari.org/DNAprsrelease_010917.html

    These are the facts, not a conspiracy theory. It is well documented in my movie http://whobombedjudibari.com/ and in many other places.

    So as Doyle was convicted of lying and trying to frame us for silencing us, the question remains, why? Who put him up to it? Clearly he was a stooge, but a willing stooge. His friendship and tenant/landlord relationship with Judi’s principle adversary–Louisiana Pacific is a clue. And even moreso, Doyle chose the blow up the insides of two cars when he testified that is an unusual situation–most bombs are placed on the outside. So he did create the bomb scene 30 days before it happened.

    And for the record, as part of the trial, I hired AAA and they slim jimmed their way into a same-model Subaru in 7 seconds. That part isn’t worth debating.

    We have nothing against Mythbusters. We want Mythbusters to simply try to bust the Myth of Frank Doyle saying “This is the final exam.” And from that we might learn why he was so eager to lie and run cover for the bomber. It wasn’t a mistake, as the jury ruled. Enjoy the show and as Jamie says, “Stay safe.”

  86. 86
    triamacleod

    Lochaber @ 80

    I think you are referring to ‘jiggle’ keys. They are used heavily in the repo trade. I imagine that law enforcement would have access to better devices, which may have a different name, but I do know that jiggles tend to be sold in sets related to car manufacturers so they can gather the car with as little damage as possible.

  87. 87
    Lofty

    Matrim

    Again, I’m not saying that its impossible that someone spent weeks or months learning a random skill to assist their bomb planting, nor am I saying that the people who already have those skills couldn’t be bombers. I am saying that its highly unlikely

    In an organisation as big as the FBI it would be unlikely that you couldn’t access the skill required at short notice. It’s not as if the vehicle was picked at random, the perps knew exactly who they were targeting and would have the correct tools available. Learning how to break into one particular vehicle from an expert instructor is trivially easy compared to knowing how to break into every vehicle ever made.
    And its also trivially easy to make your break in look like a druggie was looking for loose change, cars get molested by lowlifes all the time. Who would you report the break in to if you knew the law was bent like a corkscrew?

  88. 88
    Christopher Bingham

    One other detail: If I remember correctly, the “training” involved the same make and model of vehicle that was bombed.

    With the FBI’s history of COINTELPRO, the Red Squads, continuing investigations and harrasment of anyb kind of protest group on the left, Occam’s razor falls more on the side of FBI collusion. The coincidences start to add up in ways that are very hard to ignore – and I don’t mean stuff like Lincoln / Johnson spelling games.

    Free speech is free until it starts to be effective. All of this happened in the context of Prop 130 being on the ballot, which would have limited the rate of logging off the Redwoods. It failed.

  89. 89
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    If the FBI would do this:

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2013/01/21/the-fbi-wrote-a-letter-to-martin-luther-king-telling-him-to-commit-suicide/

    I wouldn’t put bombing activists past them.

  90. 90
    viajera

    @83

    I’m not saying that its impossible that someone spent weeks or months learning a random skill to assist their bomb planting

    But again, as someone pointed out earlier, this is an old car: a 1981 Subaru station wagon according to this source. Cars from back then were far easier to break into than today’s cars. When I was a teenager, I used to regularly lock my keys inside of the old late-70s clunkers my parents loaned me. Even I – who had absolutely no training or (initially) experience – could get in with 5 minutes and a coat hanger. It’s not that hard to do.

    Chris, I’m glad you shared this update. The bombing made a huge impression on me as I got involved with EF! in the PNW in the early-mid 90s. But I hadn’t heard about the judgement, or Frank Doyle’s connection with Mythbusters.

  91. 91
    James McGuinness

    I was involved in this insanity. I was a founding member of Seeds of Peace. We were contacted by Earth First! to help get Redwood Summer under way. They were working on getting environmental groups involved while we worked on getting the peace and antinuclear crew involved. We also brought the kitchen, took care of the bathrooms and did a number of trainings. We were also involved in many of the early meetings. When the bombing happened, Judi and Daryl were following my girlfriend to our home in Berkeley at the time. After the blast, a cop showed up, and she told him to get help and who was in the car. He took her to his car and got reinforcements quickly. She was held as a material witness, which meant she had no rights.
    They then raided our house, and brought my housemates to the Oakland jail, telling them nothing about what happened, and separating as many of them as possible. I had gone to our mailbox in S.F. and came home to see fed and cops going in and out of our house. I tried to turn around and go the other way but was pointed out. So I went to the house and was prevented from entering. They asked did I live there? I said yes. It was a duplex, so they asked where I lived. We rented both sides, so I merely said there. They told me about the bomb and said my friends had gone to the jail “voluntarily? It was a lie as I found out when I got there. We waited for a few hours until the feds decided they would talk to us, and we refused. We went home and found they were still raiding our house ad couldn’t enter.
    They searched f hours and found duct tap, maps, and wires. That was it. I help a press talk at the house the next day and showed the warrant which wasn’t issued until hours after they had raided us, and what they found. Nearly every reporter admitted they has everything the feds had found in their own homes. So were basically absolved. I was also the first guard on Judi’s door when the cops were called back from the hospital, and decided they would no longer be there to keep her safe.
    So I believe there was a conspiracy to get her and Darryl. My housemates and I were also followed for weeks after the bomb. The feds never picked up anyone who disagreed with us and wrote letters to the editor, but did to people who wrote and agreed. I was at an EF! rendezvous where Judi Judi was doing a Cointelpro workshop and met a friend of mine from Chicago who was harassed after writing a letter in support of the two of them. So the conspiracy seemed seemed much bigger than we knew.
    I was in NYC with OWS and went to the documentary. It is quite good. I don’t know who placed the bomb, but I know the feds lied, and they did nothing to find the truth. It will be very interesting to see where this investigation leads. I m in touch with Darryl and hope to see him in NYC again when the movie returns here. Hopefully with more answers. And anyone who doesn’t believe the feds cold do something like this, has simply never stood up for anything worthwhile. I have been in raids more than 5 times, and know they lying sacks of shit.

  92. 92
    Christopher Bingham

    I just watched “Who Bombed Judi Bari” and saw both the picture of the vehicle and Doyle’s statement in the affidavit. It is SO clear exactly where the bomb was placed that there is no way an “expert” could be doing anything but lying. His statement also clearly influenced the statements of the officers that followed his to help build a case.

    The guy shouldn’t just be fired from a television show, he ought to be in jail.

  93. 93
    lasthop

    As much as I despise what Frank Doyle did, the fact that the article targets Jamie and Adam really bothers me. They really have nothing to do with Doyle’s past – and Darryl’s “challenge” for them to MythBust Doyle doesn’t really make sense – their show is ‘mythbusters’, not ‘crimesolvers’.

    Yet apparently it’s no big deal for Adam and Jamie to support, employ, and publicize a man who may have helped target a feminist environmental activist…

    What a weaselly sentence. What about Adam and Jamie’s past actions and words leads you to believe that it’s “No big deal.” for them? Is it really that inconceivable that they were simply unaware of his involvement in the case, or the extent of his wrongdoing in it? Do we even know that Adam and Jamie singled him out as their go-to guy, instead of having him recommended or provided by some producer?

    Anyone concerned with the role of women in the Skeptics’ movement ought to ask them for an answer.

    Anyone concerned with justice at all ought to ask them, but anyone with sense should also recognize that

    A) They probably aren’t going to reply, or make any decisions right away.
    B) Any action they do take will, and should, be careful.

    Think about it – what would you do if you found out that you had a long standing business relationship with someone, and someone you don’t know approaches you and presents solid evidence that that someone did a terrible thing? Would you come out right away and denounce him publicly? Would you dig into it yourself first? Would you consider your response in light of the business that you run and the people you employ?

    I get it, Darryl thinks he can get justice by leaning on Doyle’s business associates, and in some sense I hope that he does. That said, I think he clearly goes to far in implying that Jamie and Adam don’t care about what Doyle did.

  94. 94
    lasthop

    I should have said that Chris, not Darryl “goes to (should have been too) far in implying…”

  95. 95
    Chris Clarke

    Yeah, it’s not like Doyle was prominently involved for years in a front-page case in the same media market in which Mythbusters is produced, or that the show’s whole purpose is to advocate that we all do due diligence in which truths we accept at face value.

    I don’t actually care what Adam and Jamie and their producers feel about Frank Doyle in their heart of hearts. What matters is their actions. Or inactions.

    what would you do if you found out that you had a long standing business relationship with someone, and someone you don’t know approaches you and presents solid evidence that that someone did a terrible thing? Would you come out right away and denounce him publicly? Would you dig into it yourself first? Would you consider your response in light of the business that you run and the people you employ?

    So you’re saying that this prominent history of Doyle’s, including a high-profile court case, was not completely known to their producers and their producers’ attorneys from the moment they decided to hire him?

    I’m saying they have questionable political judgement and I want them to change their minds. You’re defending them by saying they’re incompetent. Nice defense.

  96. 96
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Jackie #89:

    If the FBI would do this:

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2013/01/21/the-fbi-wrote-a-letter-to-martin-luther-king-telling-him-to-commit-suicide/

    I wouldn’t put bombing activists past them.

    Funny that you should bring up Martin Luther King.

    ‘Cause, see, the King family brought a wrongful death suit against the US government in 1999, for the assassination of Martin Luther King — and won.

    The jury–six blacks and six whites—found that King had been the victim of assassination by a conspiracy involving the Memphis police as well as federal agencies. This verdict affirmed Ray’s innocence, which the King family has always maintained.[48][54] William F. Pepper represented the King family in the trial.[55][56][57] The family requested a mere $100 in restitution to show that they were not pursuing the case for financial gain.

  97. 97
    lasthop

    So you’re saying that this prominent history of Doyle’s, including a high-profile court case, was not completely known to their producers and their producers’ attorneys from the moment they decided to hire him?

    No, because I don’t assume that I know what other peoples’ knowledge or motivations are without some kind of evidence. You might call that… skepticism. The original case (1990) happened well before the original Mythbusters season (2003), and the judgement came down the year before (2002) – presumably when they were ramping up for the first season. I don’t think it’s implausible that Jamie and Adam didn’t have that case at the forefront of their minds in 2005 when they had to set up a big explosion on their show.

    I’m saying they have questionable political judgement

    Again, who? Jamie and Adam? Where have they demonstrated a political judgement in regards to Doyle? They engaged “FBI Experts” to help with a giant explosion in 2005. Doyle was one (of many?) expert who helped them rig an explosion. I think it’s only reasonable to expect that they were concerned with one thing at the time – the explosion. In a later episode, they even mention that the explosion in 2005 was done because the producers’ wanted something more in the show, which wouldn’t indicate that J&A made the connection

    In retrospect, it’s clear that they made a mistake in engaging Doyle, but we have no evidence that they had a complete understanding of the case, or that they should have at the time. What’s more, the only reasonable thing that we can currently infer from their continued use of Doyle is that they like the way he blows stuff up.

    You’re defending them by saying they’re incompetent. Nice defense

    I’m not so much defending them as criticizing a poor argument.

    If they were private investigators, then yes, they would be incompetent, but they’re not. I don’t expect Madonna to be a competent chef. I don’t expect Penn & Teller to be competent cartographers. I don’t expect Jamie and Adam to be competent background investigators, and I think it’s silly to do so.

    More to the point, I don’t think that it’s reasonable to expect that the hosts/stars of a TV show be directly concerned with the histories of any expert on their show, especially when we have literally no idea how they became acquainted with that expert in the first place.

  98. 98
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    And. I also must note the sheer ridiculousness of people defending a failure to perform due diligence by a show that is about performing due diligence.

  99. 99
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    If they were private investigators, then yes, they would be incompetent, but they’re not.

    since when was due diligence only expected of private investigators?

  100. 100
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Three points:

    One: If I were to vet someone to help me with explosions my due diligence be to make sure that that person was qualified to handle explosives safely. If it came up in that investigation that the person I was considering had a horrific black mark on his record, as Doyle does, I probably would reject him for political reasons. But if it didn’t come up, if I called his references and they said “Yup he worked for us with explosives safely in the time periods he claims.” I doubt I would dig further.

    Two: The production company responsible for Mythbusters is Australian. It’s plausible that they’d never heard of Doyle’s shady past.

    Three: Despite the forgoing I think that the Mythbusters as an organisation ought to publicly distance themselves from Doyle in a manner that makes it clear as to why.

  101. 101
    Ichthyic

    Because I have 10 years of experience in a career field where one of my primary duties was the render safe, disposal, and collection of evidence related to IED incidents.

    I’m glad you admit to this, but at the same time, this is not saying you have ANY FUCKING CLUE whatsoever what Doyle, or his trainees, were given information about.

    what’s more, as has been mentioned numerous times, this is NOT complex information to impart.

    really does sound like you’re trying to invent excuses.

  102. 102
    thedude

    I’ve never been impressed with the intelligence of “law-enforcement”, but claiming that someone transported a bomb under the drivers seat is just ridiculous.

  103. 103
    thedude

    Ichthyic:

    “oh. Can just anyone buy those?”

    Today they can:http://dx.com/s/lock+pick

  104. 104
    David Utidjian

    To the people hypothesizing that opening a locked car door is some complex and subtle skill, it isn’t. The equipment to do it is as simple as a wire coat hanger or piece of a broken band saw blade. Of course one need not have on to all that trouble and could simply buy the tools at the local car parts store. So called ‘slim-jims’ (not the processed snack) for opening car doors are widely available. These days you can even buy them on Amazon. There is no need to pick the lock.

    There is also no need to undergo a long training process. With minimal training and practice with a bit of patience one can develop the skill so it is usable with about an hour of practice. It is really not all that complicated. It is also a skill that is common. Perhaps not among your friends and acquaintances but still very common.

    I do not make these claims about availability of car opening tools and the knowledge on how to do so idly. I lived in the same neighborhood as the car bombing and remember the incident quite well. I was working my way through school as a mechanic at the time and had a pretty good idea on what was sold in the local car parts stores.

    As far as the actual whodunnit speculation goes…
    Whoever made and put the bomb under her car seat had to know enough about her to know where she was and what she was driving. I remember at the time that they were trying to pin it on Bari. But that doesn’t make any sense at all for the people that knew her as a friend.
    The other option is someone else within or associated with the Earth First movement. Again that doesn’t make any sense for similar reasons. They would have to be close enough to know where she was at the time.

    In my opinion it would have had to have been someone (or a group of someones) that knew where she was. They would either have to be very close to her or have been tailing her. The only group *known* to have been tailing her was the FBI.

  105. 105
    Paul J.

    Erm… This does sound a bit like a conspiracy theory.

    The FBI certainly seems to have been trying to cover up their own incompotence (and were indeed taken to the courts for that) but as regards drawing further conclusions? Well, its not impossible. Not really very convincing though.

    But hey, maybe they should stop working with him for having been an incompetent creep. I get that.

  106. 106
    darrylcherney

    Really appreciate all the comments. Just so we’re on the same page, Doyle and the FBI were not incompetent. Quite the opposite. They were convicted of lying with intent to frame in order to silence us in violations of the First Amendment of the Constitution. If there was any incompetence, it was that they weren’t able to successfully frame us.

    Now that the jury and the courts have declared the above statement true, the question is why? Let’s remember Doyle was the first on the scene to blame us for being bombers. Who gave him his orders? Or at least from whom did he have permission. His personal relationship with L-P lumber, Judi’s primary adversary, is certainly a clue. And his boss, Richard W. Held, Special Agent in Charge of the SF FBI Bureau, had a long, documented history of framing, disinforming and even allowing killings of activists to take place. This is from the US Congress, just so we’re on the record. Sen. Frank Church and Congressman Don Edwards committees fleshed this out pretty well and banned the program–Cointelpro. The FBI continued, Doyle, Held, etc. by simply changing the name.

    I don’t believe the FBI put the bomb in the car. I believe they allowed the bomb to be put in the car on behalf of the lumber industry. And that makes them an accessory to commit murder. Doyle was just one, but still one, of the small group involved with this. And attention is brought to him because of his association with Mythbusters. When Doyle switched from law enforcement to entertainment, the playing field he sat on changed. He is now a much more public figure and subject to a different kind of scrutiny, as we see here.

    And yes, this is to stir the pot, in which Doyle is certainly an ingredient, in order to find out who bombed us.

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