By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
Come out, Peg. This is the FBI.
In fact, an FBI agent had to summon the very law enforcement agency lied to earlier to bring out dogs and horses in an effort to find Peg Millett, who'd long since hitchhiked back to Prescott.
Defense attorney Gerry Spence wondered why the FBI was tricked out in full battle array like a battalion of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf's finest, when in fact, the vegetarians of Earth First! were well-known to abhor human violence and weapons of all kind. Why did the FBI mount Operation Desert Storm against the hippies of Operation Desert Tie-Dye?
Spence asked Special Agent Gary Reincke if the squad hadn't been briefed about the Prescott group's insistence on nonviolence. Before you go out on a mission, isn't it standard procedure to inquire whether or not you're going up against "vicious criminals or grandmother types"?
All of the agents pleaded ignorance: "We assume everyone is armed and dangerous."
The defense would not let such an answer pass. All of the lawyers know that the FBI had 807 hours of taped conversations in which the environmentalists repeatedly state their opposition to violence. Furthermore, FBI agents and informants had thoroughly infiltrated the group, and in fact, the FBI was transporting the saboteurs to the spot where they would be arrested. Spence forced witness Reincke to concede that Special Agent Fain's vehicle was so clearly known to the Bureau that it received considerate treatment at the crime scene. And so, said Spence, the FBI knew, because they knew all that there was to know, that these people were not armed or dangerous.
And yet, said Spence to Special Agent Reincke, the "whole truth" is nowhere reflected in the FBI's reports on this arrest.
"I don't understand the difference between the truth and the whole truth," replied Special Agent Reincke smugly.
"Yes," said Spence, pausing for effect. "Thank you."
In contrast to the Ninja/Star Wars regalia of the FBI, the environmentalists were shown to be armed with one, broken, Swiss army knife.
Special Agent Walter Garcia described from the stand taking Dr. Marc Baker, the biologist, into custody.
When surprised by the FBI, Baker had been wearing upon his feet something akin to water skis for midgets in a not-entirely-thought-through attempt to mask his footprints upon the desert floor.
These odd contraptions were two sheets of plywood approximately eighteen inches by ten inches that were secured to the bottom of his shoes by crude baling wiring. Dr. Baker stands a skinny six foot three inches, and the jury could only imagine the sort of headless-horseman flight he made in these harebrained Dr. Scholls when the FBI's flare exploded.
Special Agent Garcia was asked to put on one of the plywood skis and lie on the courtroom floor, completely stretched out, to mimic the loony position Dr. Baker was in at the point of arrest and to unwittingly mock the agent's own doomsday armaments.
Attorney Skip Donau posed the rhetorical questions that the defense team hoped would stick with the jurors. Isn't it true that you FBI agents were armed with automatic weapons and shotguns and helicopters, not because the people were armed or dangerous, but because you wanted to make a big splash with the press? Isn't that what this case is all about? The defense perspective comes sharply into focus when you consider a Los Angeles Times article that appeared shortly after the arrest. In that article, the FBI was quoted as claiming the defendants were apprehended with automatic weapons.
It is impossible to know how the jury reacted to this dance between the FBI agents and the defense attorneys. The jurors have not seen the press clips from the arrest.
Obviously, the defendants' supporters who filled the courtroom gallery were delighted. And why not?
The FBI agents were transformed by the defense lawyers into some semblance of that overpowering choir that dominated the television airwaves on Monty Python's Flying Circus. The choir on the British-based satire knew only one song but they were so majestically masculine that you imagined them filling cathedrals at the coronations of kings. And this vision was based entirely upon image, you see, because once you got past the richness of the sound, you discovered that the lyrics were:
Spam, spam, spam, spam
Oh, the music was marvelous indeed, but in reality they were only singing about World War II luncheon meat.
So, too, the FBI made a swell presentation, all yes ma'am, no ma'am, just the facts ma'am. And certainly they appeared to be stunning breeding stock. But underneath all that surface gloss, what was the content?
Was it simply paramilitary gibberish as the defense contended?
While the prosecution could never portray the environmentalists in the courtroom as Shiite terrorists, no matter what the government said to the press, Assistant U.S. Attorney Roslyn Moore-Silver did present witnesses to document the kind of damage these alleged tofu-innocents were capable of if given their head.
After a relatively brief appearance by the manager of the Snow Bowl to recount the dollar loss at the ski resort, the witness stand was taken by an engineer from Canyon Mine.