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Bonnie Raitte & 20 others, Arrested in Boise Cascade Protest

ITASCA, Ill. July 25 (Reuters) - Police on Wednesday arrested 20 peaceful activists, including singer Bonnie Raitt, who were demonstrating against logging practices outside an office products company.
The protesters, who also included former Doors drummer John Densmore and activist and author Julia "Butterfly" Hill, staged a well-orchestrated sit-in outside the headquarters of Boise Cascade Office Products
Date: 7/25/2001 1:45:27 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From:  beka@ran.org (Beka Economopoulos)


IN THIS POST:
1) press release for today's action
2) statements of support from celebs
3) eloquent defense of civil disobedience from Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
4) congresswoman's letter to the IRS

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#1

For Immediate Release Contacts: Michael Brune, Chris Hatch
415/398-4404
Wednesday July 25, 2001 On-site cellular: 415-596-RAIN
(7246)

Twenty Leaders Jailed in Civil Disobedience to Defend Free Speech and Old
Growth Forests +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bonnie Raitt, Others, Arrested in Illinois Protest

ITASCA, Ill. July 25 (Reuters) - Police on Wednesday arrested 20 peaceful
activists, including singer Bonnie Raitt, who were demonstrating against
logging practices outside an office products company.

The protesters, who also included former Doors drummer John Densmore and
activist and author Julia "Butterfly" Hill, staged a well-orchestrated sit-in
outside the headquarters of Boise Cascade Office Products in Itasca, a suburb
of Chicago.

They were handcuffed and led away and later charged with disorderly conduct,
a crime punishable by a small fine, and released from the city jail.

"Deforestation worldwide is a life and death issue. We want deforestation
halted, we want it now and we want it for future generations," said Randall
Hayes, the founder of Rainforest Action Network, the group that organized the
event.

Cascade's parent, paper and manufacturing giant Boise Cascade Corporation,
has fought a public battle with RAN for more than a year.

"We believe that Boise Cascade Corporation, their old-growth logging
operation and their trading of old-growth around the world makes them an
American disgrace," RAN executive director Chris Hatch told protesters before
the demonstration.

"Their operations are barbaric and their anti-environment campaigns, their
efforts to stifle free speech are a disgrace to America," he said.

Boise Cascade is continuing efforts to reduce the amount of old-growth
forests used in timber production and has hired a third party auditor to
review their logging practices, said company spokesman, Michael Moser.

"Their accusations are incorrect," Moser said. "If they would correct the
information and agree to have a dialogue, then maybe progress could be made."

Boise Cascade and RAN have met three times and both sides say they are
willing to do so again.

"We'll offer a meeting right now," said RAN spokesman Mike Brune. "We're not
short on meetings, we're short on results."

00:26 07-26-01
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Chicago Civil Disobedience to Expose Boise Cascade’s Attack on America’s
Environmental Groups
_____________________________________________________________________
Chicago - More than 20 national environmental and social justice leaders
joined with music legends Bonnie Raitt and John Densmore and environmental
hero Julia Butterfly Hill to protest Boise Cascade’s crusade to silence
critics of its old growth logging practices. Directors from Greenpeace,
Alliance for Democracy, the Center for Environmental Health, the Chicago
Religious Leadership Center, and more than thirty other organizations were
arrested today while exposing Boise Cascade’s “Dirty Tricks” campaign to
limit free speech and smear Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

Raitt and others held a press conference this morning at the Radisson Hotel
to outline Boise Cascade’s anti-environmentalist agenda. Joining the
conference was Maria Gilfillan, a Chicago school teacher that was harassed
by Boise Cascade employees after her classroom wrote letters to the company,
urging protection for ancient rainforests that were threatened by a proposed
Boise Cascade plant in Chile. The peaceful civil disobedience immediately
followed the press conference at Boise Cascade’s Office Products
headquarters in nearby Itasca.

“Boise Cascade has launched a covert campaign designed to limit free speech
and muzzle critics of its old growth logging operations” asserted John
Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace.

“As an American citizen, I'm here to support our fundamental right to free
speech-- to peaceably encourage a healthy debate of all sides of the issues”
asserted Bonnie Raitt. “The smear tactics of attributing dangerous and
illegal activities to responsible, environmental public advocacy groups
clearly opposed to such tactics, I find both reprehensible and
undemocratic.”

As one of the largest loggers and distributors of old growth wood products,
Boise Cascade has been dubbed by many as “America’s Worst Logging Company”.
Boise Cascade actively distributes wood products from endangered forests in
the South America, Southeast Asia, Canada, and around the world. Boise
Cascade was also the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that helped to overturn the
popular Roadless Policy, a measure which would have protected 58.5 million
acres of America’s public wilderness areas.

The target of an intense public campaign for more than a year, Boise Cascade
has begun attacking critics of its controversial logging operations in an
alliance with anti-environmental groups “Center for the Defense of Free
Enterprise” and “Frontiers of Freedom Institute.”

Boise Cascade has harassed RAN’s funders, and has tried to smear RAN by
attempting to link the
organization to acts of eco-sabotage. Boise Cascade anti-environmentalist
allies held a Washington DC forum on “Eco-Terrorism and Extremism” in a
desperate attempt to label RAN as a terrorist group. Most recently, the
anti-environmental coalition is striking at the heart of American democracy,
attacking the 501(c)(3) non-profit status of organizations that participate
in non-violent civil disobedience. This attack, reminiscent of Nixon-era
‘dirty tricks’, would have undermined such historical achievements as child
labor laws, women’s right to vote, Civil Rights, and many others. RAN
adheres strictly to the principles of non-violent protest in the tradition
of MLK and Gandhi.

The jailed protestors include:

Bonnie Raitt Musician
John Densmore Musician & RAN Board Member
Julia Butterfly Hill Author and Activist
Catherine Caulfield Author and EXEC. DIR., Environmental Action Committee
of
West
Randy Hayes RAN Board of Directors
Jodie Evans RAN Board of Directors
Michael Klein RAN Board of Directors
Mike Roselle Earth First!, RAN, & Ruckus Society Founder, RAN Board of
Directors
Ronnie Dugger Founder and Director of Alliance for Democracy
Bea Covington EXEC. DIR. of Missouri Coalition for the Environment &
President of Board, Dogwood Alliance
Randi Spivak EXEC. DIR. of American Lands Alliance
John Passacantando EXEC. DIR. of Greenpeace US
Juliette Majot EXEC. DIR. of International Rivers Network
Michael Green EXEC. DIR. of Center for Environmental Health
Michael Ferner Assistant Dir. of Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy
Tom Weis EXEC. DIR. of National Forest Protection Alliance
Dan Hamburg Former Member of Congress, & EXEC. DIR. of V.O.T.E.
Thomas Hansen Director, Mexico Solidarity Network
Marla Rose Chairperson, EarthSave Chicago
Maria Gilfillen Chicago school teacher (retired)
###

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#2
Oscar Winners, Opinion Leaders Send Messages of Solidarity on Eve of
All-Star Demonstration to Defend Free Speech and Old Growth Forests from
Boise Cascade


Statements of Support for Demonstration at Boise Cascade Office Products,
Itaska, IL
Wednesday July 24, 2001

US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
“A reasonable observer is forced to conclude that Boise Cascade Corporation
is funding, or at least directing and initiating [the] campaign against RAN,
and that Boise Cascade Corporation is essentially contracting a smear
campaign to a front group willing to do its dirty work.”

Gloria Steinem
"The right to peaceful and non-violent protest is necessary to democracy. In
using this right to end the clear-cutting of forests, the Rainforest Action
Network is further serving democracy by protecting the rights of the
majority against the corporate profiteering of the few. I support this
action. I believe that in the future, the children of these corporate
leaders will be grateful, too."

Andrea Staples, California State Director, AFL-CIO
“An attack on the right to protest is an attack on the democratic mechanisms
that protect working people. Imagine a world without the 40-hour work week
or without the weekend. Imagine an America in which children are still
forced to work. We take these rights for granted today but they were hard
fought and won only by persistent protest. This is not just an attack
against Rainforest Action Network, it is an attack against working families
and our basic rights as Americans.”

Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon
"True democracy is built upon the tenets of free speech and peaceful
protest. Whether the goal is to stop clearcutting ancient forests or
challenge the politics of power, civil disobedience is an essential method
to help eliminate injustice in our society. We support Rainforest Action
Network in its efforts to challenge the abuse of corporate power and protect
the worlds' last old growth forests.”

Oliver Stone
"Given the success of Rainforest Action Network’s campaigns to save old
growth forests, it’s not surprising that the oil and timber industries are
trying to shut them down. But undermining Americans’ right to peaceful
protest is a gross miscalculation on their part."

Michael Stipe
"Preserving old growth forests for future generations is a goal that we
should all stand behind. I support the efforts of Rainforest Action Network
and many others who are striving to change the way business is done in the
logging industry today. It's up to the timber industry to stop logging old
growth forests and embrace responsible forestry practices today."

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#3
Statement of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney Network
July 25, 2001

When the British refused to vacate India, Ghandi taught us the power of one
human being to resist the destruction of liberty. When Rosa Parks refused to
yield her seat on the bus, she taught us the power of one human being to
resist the destruction of dignity. Many of us too are resisters - we resist
the destruction of life itself in its varied, subtle, and infinitely complex
forms.

We have come today again to resist - to resist the destruction of our power
to
resist. The moment Boise Cascade takes the blade of a chainsaw to a
300-year-old hemlock in a misted valley, sheltered from the rush of time, it
declares war on each of us. Our lives are not about getting back to nature -
we never left it. Our lives are inextricably joined with that of our planet,
and we therefore are obliged to defend it - to defend ourselves.

The art of resistance has foiled the visions of many technocratic boosters,
and has planted a seed of kinship with the Earth among the vast majority of
Americans. And therein lies the problem for Boise Cascade - while its
chainsaws can cut through the thickest spruce or redwood, they cannot sever
the binds of our innate connection to our planet. When a small group of
women in India started the Chipko movement, so named for its characteristic
physical embrace of the local trees to protect them against logging, they
established
that same unbreakable connection that burns inside us, even though many of
us make that connection from afar, in different venues. We are the voice for
those that have none.

Boise Cascade is determined to silence that voice. Its violence against the
Earth and its attempt to gag its voice are by no means coincidental - they
are dual manifestations of a unique approach toward other life, an approach
that
views life as mere raw material, a canned good to be exploited and disposed
of when convenient. If human history is any precedent, this attitude can be
defeated when the web of kinship reaches a critical mass. What Boise Cascade
does not understand is that our kinship is stronger than their lawyers,
their money, or their corporate intimidation. We will not be silenced. We
will not
be complicit. We are no more capable of severing ourselves from our planet
than can any of us detach an arm or a leg. And we will not rest until the
ecological chains of life are once again unbroken.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------


July 18, 2001

Mr. Charles O. Rossotti
Commissioner
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20224

Dear Commissioner Rossotti:

I am writing to express my disappointment and outrage at a petition that
Frontiers of Freedom (FF), a conservative front group for various natural
resource industries, has presented to the IRS. FF is seeking to destroy
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) by revoking their tax-deductible 501(c)(3)
status on the grounds that RAN engages in activities that publicly pressure
corporations, in particular Boise Cascade Corporation (BCC).

I have worked closely with RAN, and know from experience that they operate
in the finest tradition of 501(c)(3) organizations. In several prior cases
before the IRS, it has ruled that activities that draw public attention to
objectionable corporate activities fulfill a legitimate and important
educational purpose in a society where the withholding or carefully spun
interpretation of corporate information is the norm. RAN does not engage in
any violent or destructive acts and does not condone them and, contrary to
the public assertions of FF, its illegalities amount to no more than trespass
with an intent to humiliate. Their activities exemplify the American
tradition of
freedom of speech and organization, and the moment an entity that disagrees
with that statement is allowed to suppress it though financial
imtimidation, the freedom of every American is compromised.

Although BCC has denied funding or other affiliation with FF, the uncanny
correlation of timing, rhetoric, and agenda between the two suggest otherwise.

Over the past several months, tensions between RAN and BCC have reached an
apex, and at precisely the same time, FF announced a campaign to discredit
RAN and intimidate its donors, in addition to its IRS petition. A reasonable
observer is forced to conclude that BCC is funding, or at least directing
and initiating, FF's campaign against RAN, and that BCC is essentially
contracting a smear campaign to a front group willing to do its dirty work.

If the IRS rules against RAN, it will have a chilling effect upon nonprofit
activism and corporate accountability groups that face severe institutional
challenges in reforming corporations. BCC presents a particularly severe
problem, as its ethical transgressions have been numerous and severe. BCC
has spread misinformation regarding the effects of its logging activities on
forest ecosystems in both the U.S. and overseas. Its claims concerning
forest health, overseas logging, and effects on wildlife and forest
productivity,
are self-contradictory and contrary to science and common sense. This
disservice
to the public interest warrants far more concern than what it alleges
against RAN, including such viscous and malicious acts as, according to the FF
petition, "[taunting] Boise Cascade by floating over the company's
headquarters a 120-foot inflatable balloon shaped like a dinosaur and
bearing a sign reading, 'Boise Cascade: I love logging old-growth.'"

BCC also appears to have little problem with feeding off the public trough.
It is one of the largest purchasers of subsidized timber from the National
Forests. BCC is also now suing the federal government over the Roadless Area
Conservation Rule, after a record-shattering volume of public comment in
favor of the rule during its formulation. American taxpayers now suffer twice
to
meet the demands of this company.

Mr. Charles O. Rossotti, Commissioner
-----------------------------------------------------------------
July 18, 2001
Page 2

To resist the efforts of RAN is one matter, but to undercut this grassroots
group at its financial core as an act of retribution is entirely another.
This tactic sets a new standard for corporate dishonesty and malice,
particularly
when the citizen's group total annual budget amounts to pocket change in
comparison, as RAN's budget does. BCC would be well-advised to discontinue
this effort and seek genuine collaboration with RAN in setting environmental
performance goals, as many other large corporations have, such as Home
Depot.

BCC's resources and time would be better spent addressing thir environmental
shortcomings than in engaging in a smear campaign that diverts attention
from their own guilt.

The IRS must speedily and conclusively reject the petition of FF and set a
clear precedent that 501(c)(3) revocation requests without merit, used as a
campaign tactic, will not be accepted. Thank you for your attention to this
matter. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
Cynthia McKinney
Member of Congress

CAM/jcf/jjs

cc: Mr. George Harad, Chairman, Boise Cascade Corporation

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Beka Economopoulos
Rainforest Action Network
Citigroup Organizer
 http://www.ran.org
888-840-6416 office
917-560-3609 cell

"Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has
been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then you will
find that money cannot be eaten."
-- Cree Indian Proverb

homepage: homepage: http://www.ran.org
phone: phone: 888-840-6416