An unincorporated association
FRIENDS OF JUDI BARI
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 21, 2005
Media contact: Nicholas Wilson, info (at) fojb.org
A bookstore owner in Willits, California, announced that she has canceled a personal appearance by author Kate Coleman that had been scheduled for this Saturday, Jan. 22. Rani Saija, owner of Leaves of Grass Books in Willits, California, said that after getting her first look at Coleman's book, The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First!, only a week ago, she had changed her mind about promoting it, saying the book reads "like a trashy tabloid." Ms. Saija said she was not censoring the book and that her store will still sell it if customers ask.
Earth First! leader Judi Bari lived and died in a solar-powered cabin just outside Willits, a small town in Mendocino County 120 miles north of San Francisco. Over a thousand people attended her memorial gathering there in 1997. The canceled event would have been Coleman's second public appearance to promote the book. She is still set to appear at Gallery Bookshop in the town of Mendocino, California, on Sunday, despite the owner's review of the book as "quite unpleasant" and "mean-spirited" on his weekly radio show on KZYX.
Meanwhile, the unprecedented Internet demolition of Coleman's book reached a new peak as the page-by-page count of factual errors listed on www.colemanhoax.info grew to 351, and this in a book with only 232 pages of text.
Among the latest entries was an indignant response from Julia “Butterfly” Hill, the former tree-sitter and ecology icon who is the target of some of the same mean-spirited and false commentary that the book, from conservative publisher Encounter Books, directs at Bari. It’s untrue that Julia Butterfly “drives a Lexus SUV” as Coleman's book claims. In fact Julia doesn’t drive at all and has no driver’s license. She walks, rides a bike and uses public transportation. Julia sent a copy of her non-driver California ID for posting on the website www.colemanhoax.info, where it adds to a mountain of documentation that proves Coleman’s faux biography of Bari is plain wrong on countless allegations, large and small.
In addition to the page-by-page catalog of “factual errors and outright lies,” the website features a unique “INSTANT PROOF” feature that gives one-click access to documents and photos disproving key assertions in Coleman's book. That's where the new image of Julia Butterfly's non-driver ID card may be found.
Another new development was the admission by Coleman, at her first book signing event, January 8 in Fort Bragg, California, that she had been recruited and hired by the conservative Encounter Books to write the book, rather than undertaking it as an independent creative project.
Most of Bari's friends and associates wouldn't talk to Coleman after her first article trashing Bari was printed in a weekly Mendocino County newspaper whose then-editor, Bruce Anderson, is famous for his long and bitter personal vendetta against Bari, who briefly wrote for his paper. Many other key sources required for any fair and balanced view of Bari say Coleman never even contacted them.
The result is that Coleman's book was cobbled together from malicious gossip and rumors from a very biased handful of Bari's ex-friends, ex-associates, and others who turned against her long ago, and who are well-known in the Northern California region as attention-seeking critics of Bari with personal axes to grind.
Coleman has not denied that her book contract was brokered by neocon pundit David Horowitz, author of The Art of Political War: How Republicans Can Fight to Win (1999). Horowitz showed Coleman's article from Anderson's paper to his longtime collaborator Peter Collier, Encounter's publisher, who, like Horowitz, is a former leftist convert to the hard right. Coleman, who leans on her own leftist credentials, has written several articles since the late '80s for Horowitz's blatantly neocon FrontPage Magazine. In a current fundraising pitch for FrontPage, Horowitz says his mission is "exposing the left ... to ensure that mainstream Americans learn about the influence of these radicals, who they are, what their agenda is and how they're going about subverting our democratic process." (www.frontpagemag.com)
Encounter Books is a grant-funded non-profit that publishes books, targeted at a mainstream audience, promoting conservative ideology and attacking inspirational progressive leaders and values. Hillary Clinton, Noam Chomsky, and Al Gore have all been smeared by books from Encounter. The arch-conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which set up Encounter with a $3.5 million grant (according to a 1998 story in Publishers Weekly) also directly funded the book The Real Anita Hill, attacking Hill's character and credibility after she testified about sexual harassment at the nomination hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. David Brock, who authored the latter book, has since had a change of heart and confessed in his 2002 book Blinded by the Right that it was a paid-for hatchet-job that was mostly false.
With the start-up grant and continuing subsidies in the millions from the John Birch Society-linked Bradley Foundation, the catalog of Encounter Books features books attacking public schools, "political correctness", Mexican immigrants, the Muslim religion, and affirmative action. In contrast, Encounter's books promote and praise genetic engineering, school vouchers, Justice Thomas and McCarthy-era anti-communist TV icon Bishop Fulton Sheen. [more at http://www.colemanhoax.info/encounterbooks.htm ]
One of the major false claims in Coleman's book is that after Bari was bombed in 1990, she turned her back on forestry activism and instead hogged money and time for her civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police. The lawsuit, for trying to frame her as a terrorist to neutralize her as a forest defense organizer, resulted in vindication and a $4.4 million jury verdict for Bari and passenger Darryl Cherney in June, 2002.
On www.colemanhoax.info, this false claim is refuted with "Instant Proof" of 15 pages of newspaper clippings that document Bari's leadership of the long campaign to save Headwaters Forest, which continued right up to her death from cancer in 1997. This is typical of the exhaustive on-line documentation that Bari's supporters have provided to refute key assertions by Coleman.
In sharp contrast to memories of Bari as a hero of the environmental movement — honored by the cities of Oakland and Arcata, California, with annual Judi Bari Days — Coleman's book portrays her as a violent, dishonest and abusive "diva" who undermined the forest protection cause by hogging money and attention for her lawsuit against the FBI. The book presents gossip, insinuations and false allegations challenging the well-founded belief of Bari and her supporters that she was bombed in 1990 because of her leadership in organizing the Redwood Summer logging protests that year.
"The characters in the book are hardly recognizable as the people I know," said Betty Ball, of Boulder, Colorado, an old and close friend of Bari's who ran the Mendocino Environmental Center in Ukiah, California, where Bari worked from for many years.
"This inaccurate, incomplete and mean-spirited book could never be mistaken for a fair biography of Judi Bari," said Betty Ball. "It looks like just an extension of the FBI's attempt to target and discredit Judi and our movement. We're hopeful that the upcoming biography of Judi by Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Faludi (expected next fall) will give a much more honest and balanced portrait."
"The only reason they're attacking Judi now is because she was an effective leader of the radical environmental movement," said Alicia Littletree of Ukiah, one of Bari's closest friends, who was with her when she died. "They're just trying to rewrite history and tear down our heroes and icons -- and it's so poorly written!"
"Encounter Books should be investigated for false advertising for listing this book as non-fiction," said Nicholas Wilson of Mendocino, California, coordinator of Friends of Judi Bari. "It's pure fiction from the title all the way to the final sentence."
Amazon.com sales rank of Secret Wars of Judi Bari among books was a low 313,523 as of 2:00 p.m. Jan. 21, 2005, a fall of 4487 points from 309,036 two hours earlier.
For more information about Judi Bari see www.judibari.org and www.fojb.org .
Addendum to the web version of this release: The larger the Amazon ranking number the worse the sales; a rank of 1 would be the best selling book on Amazon.com). As of 4 PM the book's ranking had fallen another 11,824 points to 325,347th place, showing that the book is accelerating rapidly toward a well-deserved oblivion and the remainder tables.
See user reviews and the latest ranking at www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1893554740 Contribute your own reader reviews, and add or subtract weight from existing reviews by clicking on whether they were helpful to you.