By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Margaret "Peg" Millett was known, according to Fain, as "Gristle," a moniker worthy of a character in Clan of the Cave Bear. Fain described Gristle as a marvelous singer and the half-sister of Kate Millett, author of the landmark feminist book Sexual Politics.
Peg Millett would become a critical actor in the drama that was unfolding.
Millett provided Tait with gossipy descriptions of several key players in Earth First! and told the FBI agent that the Earth is alive and we are all animals who need to be reconnected with our natural selves to save it. To that end, she attended a workshop titled "Council of Beings" in which participants took on the identity of endangered creatures who then spoke out to symbolic humans.
Millett went on to tell Tait that she did not trust Frazier, a man she feared was unstable.
Nonetheless, when the Rendezvous was over, Millett left Washington and drove back to Arizona with Frazier and Tait, one an FBI agent, the other a paid FBI operative and both destined to shove a cell door shut on Peg Millett.
With Frazier running interference, agent Tait milked his relationship with Peg Millett to penetrate the circle of radical environmentalists in Prescott following the July 4 gathering in Washington. And it was Millett whom Tait used to get inside Earth First!'s most significant protest in Arizona, the ongoing opposition to the astronomy project atop Mount Graham. A joint venture that envisioned as many as seven telescopes on the peaks of the Pinaleno mountain range in southeastern Arizona, the project pitted several American universities, the Smithsonian Institution, the Italian government and the Vatican--all of whom had plans for their own telescopes atop Emerald Peak--against a wide range of environmental organizations. The center of the controversy swirled around a rare red squirrel whose habitat was threatened by the proponents of advanced astronomy.
One month after returning from Washington, Tait made plans with Millett to attend the Earth First! Labor Day protest at Mount Graham. Gristle informed the FBI agent that Earth First! intended to plant trees and erect speed bumps on the roads the bulldozers would use to push up Mount Graham.
If this sort of activity appears to pose little threat to national security, it is nonetheless important to understand that between this demonstration and the eventual arrest of the Earth First! group, the FBI would devote considerable energy to infiltrating the activities aimed at stopping the Mount Graham development. Fain's end of this operation began with the FBI agent agreeing to ferry Millett and her friend Ilse Asplund to the Earth First! Regional Rendezvous over the Labor Day weekend.
At the rally, FBI agent Fain made many new acquaintances. He seems to have been most impressed by a gentleman who identified himself as "Rain."
As Fain listened, Rain explained that he worked in a pottery shop where he consumed ten to twenty peyote buttons a day. Fain's new friend also described marijuana cultivation conducted by various members of the Rainbow People, an anachronistic tribe found throughout the United States, including southern Arizona.
In a report devoted entirely to Rain, the FBI agent observed that: "It should be noted that Rain was using marijuana and liquor often during his presence at the Earth First! Regional Rendezvous on Mount Graham. Consequently, Rain was not very coherent and not always precise in his chain of thought."
The same cannot be said of Special Agent Fain, who succeeded in recording a precise and coherent description of Rain that concluded: "Generally wears Western garb with a floppy hat; Marine K-Bar knife on his right side and has a leather case containing a flute on his left side."
When it came time to discuss Nancy Morton and Dave Foreman, Special Agent Fain reported his impressions after she "facilitated" the group's decision-making process. Fain noted that Earth First! members sat in a circle and arrived at consensus on the latest stage of their protest.
It was agreed that after Earth First! volunteers identified the damage already created by the telescope project, Foreman would give a speech for the benefit of the media. Then he and others would pledge their lives to stop the bulldozers huddled at the base of the mountain. All in all, the plans of Foreman, Morton and the others in Earth First! were run-of-the-mill, ecological civil disobedience.
As you read through the FBI's records, as you watch the agents and the infiltrators at the Rendezvous at Round River and Mount Graham, it is difficult to understand why they are spying upon the members of Earth First! And then with no warning or context, a document appears in the FBI file that is as troubling as it is mysterious.
Dated August 30, 1988, the one-page report begins: "Owen C. Shackleton Jr., Investigator, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), provided the following information."
Shackleton commented upon an incident of sabotage that occurred at Arizona Public Service Company's Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (PVNGS) on May 15, 1986.
"Shackleton stated that this action was one of two successful acts perpetrated by individuals against United States nuclear plants. Shackleton further advised that if the fourth incoming power line to the PVNGS had been incapacitated, it would have been the responsibility of two diesel generators to maintain the cooling process required by the heated radioactive fuel rods. Shackleton stated that as the PVNGS had recently come `on-line,' the auxiliary power generated by two diesel generators would not have been required to cool the fuel rods. Shackleton cautioned that had the PVNGS been `down' and had the two auxiliary diesel generators been sabotaged or unable to fulfill their auxiliary power requirements, then a `meltdown' would have potentially occurred."