$23.00 donated in past month
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense | Police State and Prisons
Rainbow Children Detained in the name of Homeland Security!!!!
right to assemble
Rainbow Children Detained in the name of Homeland Security!!!!
Please take the time to read this and do your part to help. Details are at the bottom on how to help.
Thanks: The Freedom Files w Heretic.X
I Have Woken UP!
Since 1972 people from all over the US and the world make a trek to the National Forests for something called "The Gathering Of The Tribes" to express activism mixed with alternative spiritual practices and prayer.
The Bush Administration has spent millions of dollars trying to stop the Rainbow Gatherings. 500 people who have been issued citations, are then being herded into "trials" like none anyone has seen before in America.
These pseudo trials are likely prototypes for what Homeland Security will use in the cases of insurrection or even a plague. Defendants inexplicably lose the right to a public hearing (this year these hearings are being held behind closed doors in a firehouse garage near the site.)
Attorneys and legal observers have been denied the right to even view these trials. The defendants are not explained their rights nor afforded the right to an attorney, the right to summon witnesses, the right to a jury trial, even fresh water!
We must understand that if these citizens lose their constitutional right to gather, we all lose such rights. This year the Rainbow Gathering is being used to set precedents that will be turned against drug policy, civil liberty, anti-war or other activists in the near future. Phone Numbers and A list Of Actions You Can Take Are listed at the end of the full story posted below and marked with **asterisks**.
Original Post From:
----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Fight American Fascism
EVERYONE!. This is serious businesss. This is not a joke, or anytime to ignore what is really going on. I am posting this again in an attempt to get EVERYONE involved. These people are having all of their rights violated and being thrown into all of those nice prison camps that we have heard so much about. It is your American duty to help these people. I have inclosed latest letter that I recieved right below. PLEASE help in every way possible so we can show the department of Homeland Security that we are not afraid and that they can not do this!
My Original post has been deleted and they will not let me post this any more.
At last contact, there are about 2-300 sites on other side of Roadblock. They are arresting EVERYONE! Any one on road or in area are being taken to a round up point to be taken to Detention camps! The family has been determined to be a threat to Homeland Security, so begins the first MASS ARRESTS!
THIS NEEDS TO GET OUT VERY SERIOUSLY! THIS IS A WACO TYPE SCENARIO ABOUT TO HAPPEN!
PLEASE GET THIS OUT TO EVERY ONE YOU KNOW
I don't care who you are, or what you're beliefs are, you NEED to help with this in order to protect our freedoms. Please read this article and voice you're support by calling you're representatives and everyone else. I know most of you don't read or act on what I post but PLEASE do it this time. We have now lost our free internet because we didn't do enough, let's not lose our right to assemble.
Dear Friends and Family,
I need your help to protect my family, the collective efforts of tens of thousands of citizens known as the "Rainbow Family." This week, near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service has taken illegal action to stop this annual assembly for expression and prayer, in gross violation of the participants essential Constitutional rights.
The 'Rainbow' Gatherings have borne a legacy of spiritual & cultural pilgrimage to the National Forests since 1972, the purest exercise of open consensual assembly in our time. The annual 'Gathering of the Tribes' draws thousands over the first week of July, focusing on the 4th as a holy day of prayer for peace and freedom. In recent years small regional events in this mode have emerged, and such gatherings have taken place in many nations around the world.
THE GATHERING EXPERIENCE --
Some say the "Rainbow" Gathering is the continuation of the idealism of Woodstock. I think of it more as my annual spiritual retreat and family reunion. Since 1980, I have gathered with my family to compare ideas and pray for peace. I arrive loaded with the burdens of my work, depressed about the world situation. Each year I depart with my faith in humankind renewed and with the energy to fight the beast another year.
The rainbow family is not organized in any way; it is an exercise in self-determination and cooperation in the public interest, without need of government controls. We understand that no matter what comes down, it is the respect and care for each other that win in the end. We have no leaders or leadership, we have no offices or officers, we have no treasurer or treasury. We sit in counsel, often for days at a time in order to make mutual decisions, but there is no power to enforce these decisions on any individual. In the end, just like in society, it works because enough responsible people make sure that what needs to be done gets done.
We have been doing rainbow gatherings for over 30 years, each time in a different national forest across the country. We come in and set up a village in the woods. Cooperative kitchens pour out a wide variety of foods. Seminars on just about any topic are run by the hour.
The Rainbow is known as a healing gathering; people with various ailments come for help. Here in one place they can receive healing, from herbalists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and masseuses working with osteopaths and physicians. These healers work as a team and share their knowledge in a holistic approach that teaches all involved a lot about the roots of medicine.
Religious groups, ranging from Christians to Hare Krishnas set up camps. It's truly a free society. We go pretty far back in the woods to get away from the ills of civilization like alcohol and hard drugs. We have our gathering and then restore any damage we cause to the woods. And we have a perfect record of restoration of the forest.
It's great to walk through a gathering and see so many people but not a scrap of paper on the ground, not a cigarette butt in sight. Each year we train thousands of newcomers how to get along in the woods without destroying the place. Knowledgeable Forest Servide 'Resource' personnel love us; it's the Federal bureaucrats and police from Washington who are on our case.
REPRESSIVE FEDERAL POLICIES --
The Bush Administration has spent millions of dollars trying to stop the Rainbow Gatherings. They are enforcing a 'Noncommercial Group Use' permit regulation that is impossible for unaffiliated individuals to comply with. 36 CFR 251.54 They require that that someone sign as an agent for a fictional group entity named as permit Holder -- which then must assume full liability from the Government and bind participants vicariously to its terms.
By the creed of the gatherings, no one can appoint themselves to such a position. More importantly, such an ad hoc gathering has no legal capacity to designate agents or act as a group party in any way. As a result, individuals are denied personal standing in First Amendment exercise and subjected to harsh criminal prosecution for being anywhere near the area
The Forest Service requires that a permit be applied for in advance of the gathering. And they use any excuse possible to deny a permit application when we manage to submit one. This year their denial was based on the fact that a logging company had a permit to log in a nearby parcel of the national forest, even though there is no logging activity present whatsoever. The site is far remote from any inhabitants -- but still the Forest Service is all over our case.
Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to block this harmless gathering from taking place. The scariest aspect of all this is how Homeland Security is using these gatherings to perfect their techniques of martial law. Regulations written for the Federal Emergency Management Authority to deal with natural disasters are now being used to crush dissent in this country.
Each year the Rainbow Gathering is declared a "National Incident" and federal military law ensues. A Special Agent is appointed "Incident Commander", with a Delegation of Authority, a large law enforcement "Team", and huge budget to control the gathering. Qualified Forest Service administrators lose their power, while the county sheriff and other officials are brought into targeted law enforcement actions by inclusion in the Incident Team and other inter-agency agreements.
Each year Homeland Security gains more power over the individuals involved.
RIGHTS CRISIS IN COLORADO --
At this writing Forest Service law enforcement has issued over 500 tickets to the early arrivals at the gathering in Colorado. They have blocked the road and have prevented food and water from reaching those who managed to get into the gathering before the police roadblock was set up.
The 500 people with tickets are being herded into trials like none anyone has seen before in America. These pseudo trials are prototypes for what Homeland Security will use in the cases of insurrection or even a plague. Defendants lose the right to a public hearing (this year these hearings are being held behind closed doors in a firehouse garage near the site.
Attorneys and legal observers have been denied the right to even view these trials. The defendants are not explained their rights nor afforded the right to an attorney, the right to summon witnesses, the right to a jury trial, etc. Defendants ordered to appear each day at 9:00 a.m. and sit in the hot sun without water or sanitary facilities until their trials. Some have now been waiting for several days. These abbreviated trials only take a few minutes. Last year I tried to help a string of defendants defend themselves in these trials but felt helpless to do much as the system was clearly stacked against them.
This year is especially frustrating to me as I have to watch this come down from 6000 miles away. Right now I am in Hungary at a medical conference for my employment. I am flying home on Thursday and plan on being in court Saturday, July 1st, to defend some of my best friends who got a ticket for illegally gathering as they drove down a public highway.
WHAT TO DO --
The confrontation this year is getting more intense by the minute, which is why I am asking for your help. The only way to stop a massive conflagration in Colorado in the next few days is to get thousands of people to contact their political representatives as well as the responsible administrators at the Forest Service to demand that this repression stop immediately.
Please, even if you can never conceive of yourself at a Rainbow Gathering, you must understand that if these citizens lose their constitutional right to gather, we all lose such rights. This year the Rainbow Gathering is being used to set precedents that will be turned against drug policy, civil liberty, anti-war or other activists in the near future.
Following are some instructions on who to write and/or call
We hope to start flooding the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service with complaints starting Monday morning and not stopping until harassment stops. It is especially important that we get a few Congressional representative and Senators concerned enough to write the Forest Service for an explanation of why so much money is being spent to keep people from camping in the National Forest set aside for exactly that purpose.
Please keep the pressure on these bureaucrats until we are able to spread the word that the government has backed off and that the gathering can proceed unhindered.
If you do not know the contact information for your Congressman or Senator, you can find this here. You can call your representative at 212-224-3121. Besides your representatives in Washington, please call and write the following people to voice your protest to this harsh treatment of people who just want to go on a camping trip in the woods. Keep the calls coming until word is passed around that the government has called off their dogs. Please forward this letter to your friends and feel free to re-post it on any listserv or website you wish. Email me if you have any questions.
Don E Wirtshafter
Attorney at Law
Box 18 Guysville, OH 45735
740 662 5297
don [at] hempery.com
USDA, Natural Resources & Environment
Mark Rey, USDA Undersecretary
1400 Independence Ave. SW, .. 217-E
Washington, DC 20250
202-720-7173 Fax: 202-720-0632
mark.rey [at] usda.gov
Kathleen Gause, Director 202-205-8534
USDA Forest Service
Civil Rights Staff
Stop Code 1142
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington., DC 20250-1142
Tel (202) 205-1585
Office of the Chief
Dale Bosworth, Chief
USDA Forest Service
Yates Federal Building (4NW Yates)
201 14th Street, SW - Washington, DCÊ20250
202-205-1661; Fx: 202-205-1765
Executive Assistant...Karla Hawley, 202 -205-1195
Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests,
Mary H. Peterson, Supervisor
2468 Jackson Street -- Laramie, WY 82070-6535
307-745-2300 Fax: 307-745-2398
U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region (R-2)
Rick Cables, Regional Forester
Mail: P.O. Box 25127 -- Lakewood, CO 80225-0127
Richard Stem, Deputy Regional Forester, Resources: 303-275-5451
Steve Silverman, Office of General Counsel, Regional Attorney: 303-275-5536
Bill Fox, Law Enforcement & Investigations, Special Agent in Charge: 303-275-5253
Jerome Romero, Deputy Director of Civil Rights: 303-275-5340
Some resources to research these issues further:
The best Rainbow website:
A good article written before the feds came down hard:
More recent coverage:
Well, in response to this post, I feel the need to do some rumour control here. I'll preface this by saying that it is longstanding Rainbow Family consensus that nobody has ever, or ever will represent the Rainbow Family.
The main thing I want to point out, is that some of the "information" given here is at the very least a week old, if it is anywhere near accurate at all, and that things have changed considerably on the ground since the time some of the stuff in this post was put out there. And some of the claims here have not actually ever happened; The main fictional claims are that there have been no internment camps set up, and that people are not actually being "rounded up".
This is not to say that people aren't having their civil rights violated, but not necessarily to the extent that this poster makes it seem... And it's not to say people shouldn't be calling their congressional reps about the constitutional violation of civil liberties that is definitely happening by harassing Rainbow Gatherers; I just want to be sure that people who may be calling/writing, will be doing so with some of the more current information, and that folks have a little more context than the Common Dreams article (http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0629-34.htm)
gives, and a little more accuracy than the above post gives.
This is actually NOT the first year that Rainbow has been targetted by FS law enforcement efforts to shut down the Gatherings... it has been happening since Day One (1972, in Granby Colorado, roads were blocked and 5,000 folks put on their packs and walked in 5 miles to the gathering site)... and it got worse during Bush I regime, in 1988 when the Texas Gathering was roadblocked completely, and supplies had to be brought in by boat. Since 1995, when the Forest disService anti-gathering regulations passed, it has been "illegal" to gather in the national forest in groups of over 75 without a special-use occupancy permit.
Most of us have resisted signing such a permit, on the grounds that it is our constitutional and goddess-given right to gather on public lands, for the purposes of free assembly, religion, and speech... we have consistently fought this regulation in the courts and have lost every time, with several of our Family serving up to 90 days in federal prison for their resistance.
There are many reasons we have resisted this rulemaking. One of them is that since 1984 people in our family, with the backing of the Family Council, have consistently entered into agreements, called "Operating Plans" with the Forest Service Resource Managers (not to be confused with LEO's/Incident Command officers/treepigs) who are familiar with the unique needs of their national forests, and who can help us locate appropriate sites for our shitters, compost pits, and kitchens in a way that is suitable for the area, keeping hydrology and geology in mind...
Before this 1995 administrative rulemaking, these resource manager folks also helped us with site locations for regionals, as well as helping us get the appropriate vegetation seed for the area during cleanup. We typically arrange emergency medical transport as well as planning for how recycling and garbage disposal will happen, as well as contacting local tribes and local businesses to let them know what to expect, and to find out if there are special sites we need to protect/avoid. (Nowadays those that seem to be starting to sympathize with us & help us out are often transferred out of the area for the time of the Gathering)
Businesses in the area around a Rainbow Gathering typically make between a quarter million and a million dollars in revenues from the presence of our temporary village. We are also often the only location for many miles where it rains for a couple weeks, even during drought spells... (How can you have a Rainbow without the Rain?)
Another reason some of us have felt the need to resist this rulemaking, and indeed it was fought successfully for over 10 years before it finally passed in it's current form in 1995, is because of our deeply held belief in the concept of the Commons; Public land should be available to the Public to use.
This is what is so frightening to those who like to think they're in Power, because if we can do it, then anybody can. And that's the biggest threat, as the public lands get increasingly co-opted by privatization by corporations who are steadily charging more and more for the Public to enjoy Public lands...
So, to get into the nuts and bolts of the rest of this story, now that I've provided a little background, for context, since this on as well as the Common Dreams article leaves the reader wondering why this "sudden" targetting is happening, and we are left with the impression that this is an action being taken by the government seemingly out of "nowhere"... I'll now try and fill you all in on what I believe to be true, although I am not at this moment on the ground at the Colorado Gathering, much to my sadness, so cannot attest that what I believed to be "true" this morning hasn't already changed as things do when thousands are working together to create H.O.M.E... Heaven On Mother Earth.
Yes, I believe that still, right now at the 2006 Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes, there is a "roadblock" of sorts; During the daylight hours around every 3 cars are stopped and those in the vehicle are told by the officers that the Gathering in Colorado is illegal, and that those entering are subject to being ticketed for participating in an unpermitted gathering.... The actual offense is: "Use or occupancy of National Forest System land or facilities without special-use authorization when such authorization is required."
As is typical when the "Incident Command Team" is invoked by the presence of an "Incident" - which means there are over 1000 people at the site - the local law enforcement is called upon to help the FS Law Enforcement (Tree Pigs) out. This is nothing new, and is a typical situation when ICT (formerly FEMA) is brought into the picture, as it has been every year since I can remember - I've been going to Rainbow Gatherings since 1989, and my first National Gathering was in Colorado in 1992.
Many of us fit the description in the Common Dreams article, with broken down vehicles and are hitching to the Gathering, and some don't have cell phones... but I must say that the around one million dollars in revenue is coming from somewhere and if you do the math, for only around 10,000 people to be bringing that much money to the local towns, (and spending a lot more in preparation before we arrive) - many of us are also affluent, and most of us hold down regular jobs, have careers, mortgages, families, farms, and even (gasp) well-running vehicles!! We bring what we want to contribute - our skills, our workshops, our costumes, our literature, our food, our kitchens, our medical and herbal skills, our tipi lodges, our shovels, our tarps, rope, saws, water filtration for 10,000 people, barrels for the ovens, blankets for the sweat lodges, and most of all, our love. And our desire to create intentional community every year in a different National Forest. To pray for world peace and healing, to send our healing message to the universe.... that people CAN do this in the forest, that total strangers CAN work together and solve all the problems that come with this kind of an autonomous, leaderless Gathering... of 10,000 + people in the middle of the forest for a couple weeks... and clean it up without a trace except soil compaction...
This kind of co-operation has been severely limited in recent years, because anyone who tries to work with the FS gets labelled an "organizer" of an illegal gathering, and pressured to sign a permit or do jail time... various creative responses have been offered over the years, resulting in little change in this targetting process, and making it very difficult for necessary preparations to be made before the Family comes H.O.M.E.
To get back to what is going on; As of today, Thursday June 29th, we are told by our Sisters and Brothers on the land that Roadblocks start around 10am and stop around 6pm, and are gone by dark. Then the cars are generally waved on, although some are searched and some are ticketed. The cars then generally continue driving into the Gathering from the roadblock according to all the reports I've read... it was estimated by one source that there were between 2,000 and 3,500 people at the Gathering right now as of this morning, although the FS says around 4,000 have arrived.
No, there are not people being "rounded up", nor is there any "detention camp", as has been mentioned in the above post, although ticketing is still happening, both on the road and inside the Gathering. pretty much wherever the treepigs want to hand out tickets... for participating in an illegal Gathering. Tickets are generally $100.00, and have been handed out for the past 5 years or so at all the Gatherings that don't have permits, (like this one) and then after the permits are signed, (and even when they aren't) tickets continue to be given out for nudity, dogs off leash, digging shitters, setting up kitchens/waterpipe & filtration apparatus... etc.
As I said already, this repression is happening as a result of the power the FS Law Enforcement branch gained after the 1995 passage of the anti-gathering regulations. At around the same time, similar laws passed governing gatherings on BLM land, and gatherings in city parks were also severely restricted around that same time period, give or take a couple years. At least half a dozen Rainbows have now served time in federal prison, 3 months generally, for opposing these regulations, and Rainbows have lost in court time and time again on all sorts of different approaches to fight these anti-gathering regulations.
As of this morning's report, Rainbow gatherers report that roadblocks in Colorado currently go into place around 10am thru 6pm and that water filtration is going into place, and until that fully happens (generally by the 1st), bringing water is essential.
The timing of the above post may have been just a little late, because this time last week there WAS an actual blockade solidly in place until lots of Rainbows encircled the cops... and ... with love I assume, convinced these cops to back off, and abandon that blockade, allowing folks to re-enter the Gathering who had been blocked out for a time. Apparently the cops left after being encircled without citing anyone.
People went to court last Friday and got either reductions in their fine or set court dates for those pleading innocent, set for 2 dates in early July. The court dates on Friday didn't have anything to do with this encircling incident and they were not trials, just people pleading innocent or guilty and paying fines or getting court dates set, and the reason there were not public defenders assigned to the people in court, is because the prosecution is not seeking any jail time for those ticketed.
So I guess what I'm trying to get across is not that people's civil rights AREN'T being violated, or that people shouldn't call their congressional reps to alert them to this breach of civil liberties.. but I just wanted to put this situation into a little broader context than the authors of this article and the Common Dreams article have done, so that people can understand a little better what this is actually all about.
p.s. Regarding the exclusion of attorneys, or legal observers, and callout for help from one attorney who works with our Family, below is the first hand report that came out Monday June 26th, 3 days after Friday's court date, as it was reported on by a Rainbow legal observer who's been in our Family for well over 20 years, and who posted the following to our Rainbow list. This posting and one before it apparently generated some misunderstandings and some folks have been posting various interpretations of this post around at various websites, so I'm reposting this here in the hope that this will clarify where some of the more hysterical callouts may have been started. The plea for help was generated last week when there was a complete blockade. That is no longer the case, and as things change fast during the Gathering, it is best to find out what's really going on by going to the Gathering yourself. Now that Family is on the Land, Family will deal with all these situations on the Land as it has been doing for well over 3 decades.
[This Report is from Court near/in Steamboat Springs Colorado on Friday June 23rd - this report was not archived on the unofficial newsgroup archive, but was instead sent out to one of the public Rainbow listserves, so maybe this wasn't read by the person posting the above article. ]
Presiding was Magistrate West from Durango doing an admirable job of advising pro-se defendants of constitutional rights; prosecuting was Wade Angelo (sp) from the U.S. Attorney's Office who did a good job of advising the pro se defendants in turn what the consequences of various pleas to the Forest Service charges might entail. Most of the charges for the Rainbow family members stemmed from being in the National Forest north of Steamboat in a gathering of more than 75 people without a special-use permit and they were being prosecuted under 36 CFR Ch. II s 261.10 (k): "Use or occupancy of National Forest System land or facilities without special-use authorization when such authorization is required."
We provided some minimal pro bono advice. Since the government had waived seeking any jail time, the defendants apparently were not eligible for FPD. Most of the defendants plead "No Contest" to the charges and the government requested only a minimal fine of $100.00 (plus an administrative surcharge of $25.00 and victims' compensate charge of $10.00). If the Court felt during sentencing there were extenuating circumstances, it often lowered the base fine to $50.00. Several defendants requested continuances until the next Court date which is June 30 or July 7 to consult with legal counsel. While it was like any arraignment...reminiscent of a cattle being led to slaughter...one time a U.S. Marshall provided some friendly assistance on whether or not the charges would show up on an F.B.I. check and once a security screening guard helped a defendant with change for the court fines. One defendant plead not-guilty and a trial to the Court was to be held after the arraignments were finished. This is like Orwell with Heller's Catch 22 and Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant --
If you go to witness the proceedings or to provide pro bono advice, watch out for the National Forest Law Enforcement folks and ask, politely, to speak with a U.S. Marshall and do not let the Forest Service "pretend" like they are seeing if it would be alright for you to attend. Be amazed at the sheer mass of humanity being ushered through a legal system most cannot comprehend. But also you might be impressed that the Federal Court and particularly Magistrate West are doing a pretty good job under the circumstances. Some photos are here:
....If these trials are ongoing, I would request that someone in the area go there simply to observe - not as a defense attorney (don't flash a bar card, but get the names and agency of anyone denying you access) - and if you/they are denied access, you/they are prospective plaintiffs. It is better to go with several than simply as an individual, and better to get the interaction on tape if you have a recorder or video camera. Each of us has a right to attend public court hearings and would have standing to raise a claim in federal court if our right to attend is curtailed.