CAUGHT UP IN THE ACT

"If you were to describe the very worst that any defendants have done," observed Dr. Baker, "it would be insignificant compared to the sheer apathy of the average American, much less the international destruction of the environment for their own comfort."

Dr. Baker did not arrive at this rather stiff-necked position recently.
"Seeing the picture of a dodo bird in the dictionary as a child, and I don't think I was an unusual child, was very upsetting. If it were up to me, something like that would not happen.

"Ever since I left home, I have been working towards a career in botany. I've always been interested in the process of evolution, how things came to be. I am interested in how these things affect human beings. The facts are there; we've already destroyed thousands of species."

When a man embarks upon a path as tutorial as the one Dr. Baker has chosen, it can be a solitary experience. testify against her husband. The U.S. Attorney's Office has since contacted her attorney, Joe Abodeely, to make the same demand. Though the government cannot easily compel such testimony in Arizona, that did not prevent the intimidation from escalating.

"The impression I had was that if I didn't testify, they would indict me," recalled Mrs. Baker in a conversation last week. "Basically what they said was that if you go to prison, who is going to be here to take care of your children?"

In the end, the government proved that it knew how to get through to all of the defendants, not just the Amazon adventurer.

With more than 800 hours of bugged conversations, defendants literally caught in the act, one paid informant and one undercover FBI agent, the prosecution dealt from power.

On Tuesday morning, as New Times went to press, defense attorneys entered into negotiations with the U.S. Attorney's Office for plea agreements on behalf of their clients.

Word prior to the meeting portrayed the government's primary target, Earth First! co-founder Dave Foreman, getting off with simple probation. While defendants Marc Baker, Peg Millett and Ilse Asplund were expected to escape with light sentences, ringleader Mark Davis was looking at a multiyear sentence.

How do prosecutors and FBI agents begin to get through to someone who would spend two years in the Amazon bush?

"Seeing the picture of a dodo bird in the dictionary as a child was very upsetting.

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