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Mendocino County Today: November 22, 2012

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT is like reading the daily diaries of amnesiacs. Chris Smith's column on the Bari "mystery" in Wednesday’s paper is typical.

It's as if there's no history, that Cherney is still out there trying to get to the bottom of it. Not. He's out there with a movie mostly about his tedious self, still trying to cash in on the biggest event of his life, an event he's lied about and lived off since the day it happened 22 years ago.

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Dear Chris: Your piece on the Bari movie assumes the alleged mystery is somehow beyond solving and that Cherney wants to solve it. You might ask Bleys Rose and Mike Geniella what they think of the "mystery." They'll probably tell you that all the evidence points straight at Judi Bari's former husband, Mike Sweeney, currently the love interest of the PD's Glenda Anderson. Moreover, in 1990, as you should recall, an honest documentary film by Steve Talbot, later of PBS and Frontline, and also called Who Bombed Judi Bari, pointed straight at Sweeney, a 60s radical who belonged to a violent, cult-like group responsible for bombings in the Bay Area. Talbot also stated on Belva Davis's “This Week In Northern California” program that Bari had told him she was certain Sweeney had bombed her. You might profit from a look at the Bari archive at the AVA's website, which can be found at As Talbot, Geniella, and any number of other persons who have seriously looked at the case, will tell you, the case can be solved by DNA. I'll spare you that explanation but it's also on our website. What we have here is an ongoing scam orchestrated by Cherney who, of course, puts himself up front in this hagiographic epic. He literally can't afford to find out Who Bombed Judi Bari. He'd have to give all the money back. Best, Bruce Anderson, AVA

CHRIS SMITH REPLIED: “Thanks for this. I'm aware of the suspicions about Sweeney but don't believe its defensible to name him. I won't quote you, but why would do you think Cherney would not implicate or pursue Sweeney and instead insinuates that the FBI had a hand in it?”

SWEENEY has been named as the likely bomber by Talbot and many lesser figures down to myself. Sweeney threatened to sue KQED, the LA Times and, as I recall, even The Nation where Cockburn wrote about the case. He never sues. He's told people he doesn't sue me because my rich nephew pays my legal bills. Har de har. He doesn't sue because whomever he might drag into court would have rights of discovery and that would sink him. Talbot, incidentally, also pinned Sweeney as the guy who bombed the old airfield west of SR in 1980. I think if the case unraveled, and a DA who subpoenas DNA from a handful of likelies to compare against the known DNA from the famous Lord's Avenger Letter sent to Geniella, will solve the matter. On that glorious day, Cherney would be in deep trouble for everything from obstruction of justice to defrauding the government in their phony but winning federal suit, an action carefully edited by both sides to NOT broach the subject of who did it. And Cherney would have to give the money back, which is nearly a mil in his case. The Cherney group — him and several ghoulish female friends of Bari's — the very day of the bombing ran immediately to PC Central, the Pacifica Network and KPFA, to implicate the Blue Meanies, especially the FBI. In those circles the FBI is quite marketable as all-purpose villain. Cash flew in from everywhere in the country, a whole lot of it to Boonville where I forwarded it to Bari, none of which was ever accounted for. Just as immediately attention was magically diverted from the ex-husband, almost always the prime suspect in a violent crime against a woman. I knew Judi Bari quite well. We were allies throughout the Redwood Summer period. She wrote for my paper. I can tell you she was terrified of Sweeney. I can also tell you that Sweeney had reason to be terrified of her because Bari twice tried to solicit Irv Sutley, via Pam Davis, to murder Sweeney. Confronted about the solicitation on public radio KZYX, Bari said, on the air, it was a “joke.” I've got the tape recording of Bari admitting to the solicitation and saying she was just foolin'. Who the joke was supposed to amuse was not mentioned. To me, at this point, the even larger mystery than who did it is the mystery of why Susan Faludi suddenly her abandoned her book on Bari after getting a very large publisher's advance to write it. And why has Judi Bari's famous sister, Gina Kolata, never written about her sister's sad fate? And why has Bari's family never publicly demanded the case be solved? It's a great story, Chris, and I hope to see it end before I turn up my toes.

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THERE ARE NOW TWO big federal matters on slow boil in Mendo's always burbling caldron; we've got the Mendocino-Kansas dope case that involves several well-known Coasties, and now we've got a demand from a federal grand jury that the feds want our Auditor-Controller to hand over all the records of funds paid to the County under the County's aborted medical marijuana ordinance.

WE'D HEARD that something “big” was up, and “big” appears to be that the feds are seriously in pursuit of the Board of Supervisors and probably the Sheriff, none of whom are talking. If the feds want the money from the dope licenses — several hundred thousand dollars — it's not there. If the feds can't get the money, will they want flesh?

AS WE KNOW, the Sheriff briefly issued permits under 9.31 for collectives that “permitted” them to grow up to 99 marijuana plants; the County had already allowed 25 plants. All this was a reasonable effort by the County to garner a few bucks off a wildly profitable, untaxed form of federally prohibited agriculture.

THE FEDS soon sent a robot up from the US Attorney's Office in San Francisco to warn the Supervisors that they could be personally liable if they continued to sell zip ties or otherwise attempt to gain revenue from the production of devil weed. The County's program ceased. And now the feds want to see the records of how much money Mendo gathered from pot permits. The figure we hear is an estimated $500,000 which seems high (sic) to us.

CAN THE AUDITOR produce the receipts? If the feds demand a half mil can the County produce the money? This is going to be interesting.

THIS JUST IN FROM THE CHP: “On November 21, 2012 a Garberville Area CHP Officer observed a green 2004 Jeep Laredo traveling southbound on US-101 at a high rate of speed through Richardson Grove, resulting in an enforcement stop north of the Mendocino County line. The Jeep’s driver was identified by his California Drivers License as Luis Alonso Nolasco (DOB: 12/21/1972) from Paramount, California. While speaking with Mr. Nolasco, the Officer recognized the strong odor of marijuana emitting from inside the Jeep. Mr. Nolasco also related that there was marijuana inside the vehicle. During a subsequent investigation, approximately 111 pounds of processed and packaged marijuana was located inside the Jeep. The marijuana was processed and packaged in clear plastic bags, each weighing nearly a pound. Mr. Nolasco was placed under arrest on suspicion of marijuana cultivation, possession and transportation for sales. The Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF) responded to the scene and assisted Garberville Area CHP with this incident.”

AVOIDING AN APARTHEID STATE; Israel-Palestine – What is the U.S. National Interest? By Ralph Nader

Israeli elections are coming up in January so it is Palestinian hunting season again. Israeli cynics call it a time “for mowing the grass.”

Out comes the well-worn playbook by Israel’s militaristic government that has worked to silence Israeli politicians and citizens who want a two-state solution. This is an opportunity to use and test advanced weaponry from the U.S., compliments of U.S. taxpayers, and squelch ongoing peace efforts, small and large, by Palestinians, Israelis and international peace advocates.

The playbook’s first chapter is provocation to upset a tense but workable truce with Hamas, the elected government of Gaza. Hamas was encouraged at its creation years ago by both Israeli and U.S. backers to counter the secular Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Bit of a blowback there.

Israeli government leaders are expert provocateurs when they wish to seize land, water or prisoners and upset any movement toward a peace that would create a viable Palestinian state back to the 1967 borders, which includes East Jerusalem. When Israel came into being in 1948, it soon broke a UN truce and doubled its territory by taking the large area known as the Negev desert ,whose refugees ended up in the Gaza Strip. Now 1.6 million encircled and impoverished humans, blockaded and under siege by Israel, try to survive in an open-air prison little more than twice the size of the District of Columbia.

Israel’s strategy of breaking cease-fires and truces over the years has been documented by Princeton University history professor emeritus, Arno J. Mayer, in his scholarly book Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Verso, 2008).

In late 2008, Israel broke a months-long truce with Hamas with an attack that took half a dozen lives. Modern Israeli missiles and crude Hamas rockets started flying to and fro. Then Israel invaded the Gaza strip with soldiers to add to its previous incursions – 24/7 electronic and satellite surveillance, omnipresent spies, flyovers, and data mining (down to specific details on each extended family and neighborhood). With their avowed pinpoint bombing, the Israelis destroyed homes, schools, clinics, police stations, clusters of people at bus stops, farms, UN facilities and even hit the American International School – all with the blessing of President-elect Barack Obama.

Observers marvel at the precise knowledge by Israel of who was in what car traveling where in Gaza, before being vaporized. Yet somehow, the second-most modern military in the world could not detect and stop those garages assembling the rockets or the sites firing the crude missiles, which were the rationale for the Israeli invasion.

When the Gaza invasion-massacre ended, there were more than 1400 Palestinian fatalities, including around 300 children, and many thousands of injuries, a population surrounded by destruction and deprived by this illegal blockade-siege of medicines, food, water, electricity and the other necessities of life.

One large extended family in several adjoining homes was ordered by Israeli soldiers to congregate in the largest of the homes. Then the Israelis blew it up. This Samouni family lost about 30 of its members, or more than double the entire fatality toll in Israel, including those soldiers lost from friendly fire.

The current hostilities started in two stages. The first was a back-and-forth that saw an emerging truce broken decisively on November 14 when Israel pridefully blew up a car containing Hamas military chief, Ahmad al-Jabari who actually was leading the negotiations via Egypt with Israel for a longer-range truce.

Back to Israel’s playbook, chapter two can be called the instant, mandatory resolutions by the puppet show in Congress and the automatic one-sided mantra by the White House. “Israel has a right to defend itself,” said President Obama, from the occupied, besieged, defenseless Palestinians, whose lands, water, homes, businesses and freedom of movement are being taken relentlessly by the raiding Israeli government that is not content with possessing 78 percent of traditional Palestine.

More than 1500 Israeli reserve combat officers and soldiers signed a declaration refusing, in their words, “to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.”

The founder of Israel, David ben Gurion, candidly declared it “their [Palestine’s] land and we took it.”So Palestinians do not have a right to try to defend themselves against their cruel, powerful occupiers. Israel is violating several UN resolutions along with international law, according to many experts including Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories. But the U.S. gives Israel its unwavering UN veto cover.Finally, chapter three of the playbook is to make sure that the Israeli government advocates dominate the U.S. media – the talk shows, the news slants, and the opinion columnists. This is becoming less easy in an internet age. Which might explain that, along with homes, water wells, rescue teams, an ambulance, and other civilian installations, the Israeli air force already has bombed the office building housing Palestinian television studios and hosting media from the western world, including Fox TV. That is one indelicate way to tell these western journalists to get out of Gaza so that the truth about the immense civilian suffering and war crimes can no longer be told by them.

Still, the heroic Israeli progressives and peace advocates would not be silenced, in spite of some Hamas rockets nearing Tel Aviv. A few hundred of them demonstrated in this city, charging the Netanyahu government with provoking the fighting in Gaza to divert attention from conditions of social and economic injustices and civil liberty suppression in their country.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved peacefully, without violence. During quieter times, more than half the Israelis supported a two-state solution. A few years ago, 61 percent of Israelis, polled by a prominent university there, favored negotiations with Hamas. A majority of Jewish-Americans, though unorganized, favor a two-state solution.

In 2002, the Arab League unanimously (22 countries) presented with great fanfare an across-the-board peace treaty with the stipulation that Israel would adhere to UN Resolutions and allow a viable Palestinian state. Again and again, sometimes in full-page ads in U.S. newspapers, this offer was repeated only to receive scoffing and abrupt dismissal by the Israeli government. So, predictably, Washington did nothing.

So what is the alternative? A one-state solution with both Palestinians and Israelis having equal rights? Noura Erakat, who teaches at Georgetown University, framed the dilemma back in August when she quoted former prime minister and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak, saying, after leaving his former post, “If, and as long as between the Jordan [River] and the [Mediterranean] Sea there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or nondemocratic…. If the Palestinians vote in elections it is a binational state, and if they don’t vote it is an apartheid state.” His rival, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the same thing.

Awareness of this pathway is leading some extremist Israeli politicians who call Palestinians “vermin” and “rats” to think about the day when they can, with suitable provocations, drive the Palestinians into the desert.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)

PUBLIC MEETINGS TO BE HELD FOR PACIFIC COAST BIKE ROUTE STUDY. EUREKA – Caltrans and the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) will hold a second series of public meetings for the Pacific Coast Bike Route and California Coastal Trail Engineered Feasibility Study. The study will identify gaps in bicycle and pedestrian facilities along Route 1 in Mendocino County, develop a plan for prioritizing and implementing improvements, and establish realistic cost estimates for the highest priority projects.  The meetings will be held from 5:30PM to 7:30PM in Gualala, Point Arena, Mendocino, and Westport on the following dates: November 28 at Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center Street; November 29 at Point Arena City Hall, 451 School Street; December 5 at Mendocino K-8 School, 44261 Little Lake Road; December 6 at Westport Community Church, 24900 Abalone Street. The public is encouraged to attend one of these meetings to learn about the study by reviewing educational displays and materials, and provide comments about potential project locations. Caltrans and MCOG staff will be on hand to answer questions. The draft Feasibility Study is posted at

HOLIDAY EXPRESS motivates adults and kids  Train rides and toys, seasonal celebrations    by Roberta Werdinger   On Saturday, December 1, from 11 am to 3 pm, Roots of Motive Power,   Inc., joined by the Mendocino County Museum, will host its annual   Holiday Express. Seasonal observances will include visits with   Santa, rides on Engine #7 on the Museum's loop track, refreshments,   music, and storytelling and holiday crafts for kids. Admission to   the Museum is free this day, with exhibits on railroad history and   other exhibits including "Veterans History: Personal," "Golden   Gateway to the Redwoods," and "Bicentennial Signatures and Stamps."   The Mendocino County Museum is at 400 East Commercial St. in   Willits. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to   4:30 pm and can be reached by calling (707) 459-2736 or by    


  1. Jim Hill November 22, 2012

    The County would rather let the Feds seize the 9.31 money than return it to patients.

    That could be a title of a little article in the AVA.

    If I could write, I would do it, but as anyone who reads my opinion knows my grades in school were more math and science inspired.

    Let’s face it the Feds can seize anything the County owns. The County Bank account could easily yield the 9.31 money. The Feds are asking for a record of the collected money so they know how much to fill in the “notice of seizure.” box on a federal legal filing.
    It’s not a matter of does the County pay, it really gets down to the County can’t afford litigation.

    The County leaders could choose to immediately return all the money the patients
    Paid for the zipties

  2. Jim Hill November 22, 2012

    And then the Feds would have little basis to seize as the County could show it rectified the situation, by returning collected money, as soon as it became aware of it’s improper involvement.
    A few paragraphs could be used to investigate and explain why the Board chose to pass the ordinance without voter approval. Many believed if the County decided to tax only the sick and weak among us, it should have to pass by 2/3 popular vote as required by state proposition. The County later labeled the taxes as fees to get around voter approval. Research would reveal Tehama County charged $285 for the same service that Mendo received over $7500. The collections were taxes disquised as fees plain and simple.

    If the County Board votes to return all of the money to the patients that remitted, then the box on the Federal forfeiture filing could be filled in with a big zero. The Feds would prove their point, and the patients of Mendocino County would receive the check instead of the United States Treasury.

    As always just my opinion,
    Jim Hill
    Potter Valley

  3. chewsome November 23, 2012

    Regarding protection of Mendocino County zip tie medical marijuana registrants identity in federal Grand Jury subpoenas of Auditor-Controller financial records:

    A potential flaw of one attorney’s opinion on federal case law, is that Mendocino’s zip tie registration program was handled through the Sheriff’s Department and not the County Public Health, the later subject to state medical patient confidentiality law.

    The case cited was:
    ‘In re Grand Jury Subpoena for THCF Medical Clinic Records, 504 F.Supp.2d 1985 (2007), in which the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington issued an order quashing subpoenas served on the State of Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and on the THCF Medical Clinic to testify before a federal grand jury and for confidential medical records of 17 medical cannabis patients.’

    In contrast, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department could appear to have been operating outside of the medical confidentiality safe harbor afforded with California medical marijuana records.

    However, Mendocino’s plant tag program through the Sheriff’s Department, gave applicants the opportunity to register anonymously through use of the California medical marijuana state I.D. card program which is protected by state health confidentiality laws.

    Protection to these individuals, would appear to be supported by the decision in the Oregon case, and would appear to protect Mendocino zip tie registrants, unless perhaps, photo pictures of of the medical I.D. cards were retained or forwarded by the Sheriff Department, and kept as part of the financial records by the county Auditor- Controller.

  4. chewsome November 24, 2012

    Upon further research from someone clearing out belongings of a deceased AIDS patient, the County of Mendocino Official Receipt for Zip Tags, which would have been what was sent to the county Auditor-Controller, contains no individual patient identifiable information, thus patient refunds is not possible, and patient confidentiality laws is not an issue here with the federal Grand Jury subpoena, so relax.

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