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Q&A with Mike Sweeney (March 8, 2000)

Dear Mike Sweeney,

Thank you for your prompt response. Here are my questions. I've left a space after each one. If you need more space, just add an extra sheet and reference your answers by the question number. I would appreciate you getting back to me today, at your very earliest convenience.

  1. Were you involved with the Venceremos group at Stanford, and with any of its legal activities?
  2. Were you involved in any illegal activities of the Venceremos group?
  3. Did you play any role in the bombing of the Isla Vista branch of the Bank of America?
  4. Do you harass your first wife, Cynthia Denenholtz?
  5. Did you play any role in the October 30, 1980, fire at the Santa Rosa airport near where you and Bari were living at the time?
  6. Did the Bari / Sweeney families get along?
  7. Did you ever harass or physically attack Judi Bari?
  8. Were you upset at her relationship with Darryl Cherney?
  9. Did you have any authorship role in (a) the so-called Argus letter to Ukiah Police chief Keplinger mailed in January, 1990; (b) the April l0, 1990 "second warning" letter to Judi Bari; (c) the so-called "Lords Avenger" letter of late May, 1990 to Mike Geniella?
  10. Did you play any role in the placing of a bomb and a placard at the Louisiana Pacific site in Cloverdale in early May, 1990?
  11. Did you play any role in the construction and/or placing of the pipe bomb that exploded in Judi Bari's car, May 24, 1990?
  12. Did you write some fiction concerning a character called Eliza Devlin?
  13. Did you use a biblical concordance at any time in the year of 1990?
  14. In 1990 did you possess a typewriter and if so, what brand was it? If more than one brand, what were they?
  15. Do you have any rebuttal to the analysis of Prof Foster linking you to the Lords Avenger letter?
  16. Did you build a replica of the Oakland car bomb and if so, why?
  17. Were you at the MEC in Ukiah at any time on May 23, 1990?
  18. Were you at home in Redwood Valley with the children on May 23, 1990?
  19. Were you at the home of Merydith Rhinehart on May 23, 1990?
  20. Were you ever questioned by the FBI or the Oakland Police Department in connection with the bomb that exploded in Judi Bari's car on May 24, 1990?
  21. Would you undergo a polygraph test on the above questions?

— Alexander Cockburn

Dear Alex Cockburn,

You have invited me, on several hours notice, to respond to accusations in an article you've written, but which you won't show me. I can only assume that the article is the latest effort to promote the hoax sponsored by your friend Bruce Anderson, and that your publisher is going to lend his pages to Anderson & Flatland for repetition of their libels.

In the interests of full disclosure, your publisher should know that you co-signed Anderson's petition in May, 1999, falsely accusing me of such things as “a violent past and well known domestic abuse,” and being “unable to precisely account for his whereabouts in the 24 hour period immediately preceding the bombing.” (copy attached)

Before making this decision to further a libel, you and your publisher should consider Anderson’s failure to document even a single one of his allegations. In a letter transmitted to Anderson by KMUD radio on January 25, 2000, he was asked to provide documentation for 11 of his accusations which, if true, must be supported by some kind of tangible evidence. Anderson couldn’t document a single one. The text of the KMUD letter is attached.

Here are the responses to your questions:

At Stanford I participated in a broad anti-war coalition, of which the Venceremos group was a part. I was never involved in any illegal activities of Venceremos.

I had no role in the arson at the Isla Vista Bank of America. This is a perfect example of the crackpot reasoning of Anderson & Flatland. Ramparts magazine published an article about the Bank of America under my byline in November, 1970. Anderson heard about it, and (evidently without reading it) declared it contains information about the arson which could be known only to the arsonist. One problem — it doesn’t. Read it yourself. Be happy to fax it.

I never harassed my first wife, and there isn’t any evidence of any kind that I did. Yet Anderson & Flatland claim she obtained a restraining order against me. When challenged to produce a copy of any restraining order (which would be a public document), they can’t. Instead Anderson writes that my ex-wife, now a judge, must have stolen it from the file. Are we through the Looking Glass yet?

It’s the oldest smear tactic in the book to falsely accuse legal protestors of violence. That’s what this Santa Rosa airport slander is about. Judi Bari emphatically denied, on the video and in her book, that she or I did anything except lead a petition campaign and speak at hearings. I had no role in any fire.

Your friend Anderson declares I had a “history of violence.” If this were true, there should be some record, some document, some fact over the past 30 years that establishes even a single violent act on my part. Anderson can’t produce one, because there are none.

I refer you to Judi Bari’s published remark in Timber Wars that she and I had a cooperative relationship in our divorce. Available on

I never attacked or harassed Judi Bari in any way. If I had, there would certainly be some record of it, since we lived next door to a deputy sheriff in Redwood Valley. I had no problem with Judi’s relationship with Darryl, and she had no problem with my relationship with Meredyth. We each went our own way.

I wasn’t the author of any of the letters you mention.

I had nothing to do with any bomb, at any time, at any place.

I have no bible or a concordance, nor have I ever used either.

In 1990, I did possess a typewriter, but I can’t recall the make. Look in Flatlander Ed Gehrman’s article — he got all excited when he turned over a sample of my typewriting to the Alameda D.A. investigator, who gave it to the FBI, who compared it to the Lord’s Avenger letter. But they determined the type faces didn’t match. Yet you are going to repeat the typewriter innuendo anyway. Are we through the Looking Glass yet?

Donald Foster doesn’t link me to the Lord’s Avenger letter — he only says a sample of writings he was told came from me had more stylistic similarities with the letter than samples of writings attributed to certain other people. he admits there’s no way to know if he analyzed writings by the actual author. Since Foster has refused to identify what he analyzed, from what individuals, it’s impossible to respond. Except to point out Foster was exposed as a fraud on national television, and elsewhere. See

I never built a replica of any bomb.

I wasn’t at the Mendocino Environmental Center at any time on May 23, 1990; staff of the MEC confirm this; I was in Redwood Valley with my children all of that day and night.

Since I shared the Redwood Valley property with Judi, my premises were searched by the FBI after the bombing along with Judi’s. I have never been questioned by any law enforcement agency; none have seen any reason to do so; and Mendocino County District Attorney Norman Vroman, in response to the Anderson & Flatland, said: “You need hard facts, not conjecture, innuendo, speculation, guesses.” (KZYX radio, May 24, 1999)

I would consider undergoing a scientific test for honesty once an accurate one is invented. Experts have testified that the polygraph is no more accurate than the toss of a coin.

— Mike Sweeney

One Comment

  1. Lee Edmundson July 17, 2021

    I don’t think there will ever be a definitive explanation of the Judi Bari bombing. No matter how long and how tenaciously the dawg chews at the bone. Hard evidence is simply not forthcoming. FBI? Why not? LP, GP, why not? Sweeney, why not? Far too many possible players. Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, chew, chew, chew. No hard evidence. Anywhere. Circumstantial is just that — without substance.
    Rest in peace, Judi Bari. May your legacy live on.
    Let’s stop the logging in Jackson State Demonstration Forest once and for all. For all time. This would be the greatest tribute we could bestow on Judi Bari’s legacy.

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