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forest defense | save the biscuit

Forest Service Endangers Lives of Forest Activists - Call Them Today!

On August 9th a tree-sitter had his support lines cut by Forest Service law enforcement, causing the platform to fall out underneath him. Call the offices for key Forest Service employees (especially Tom Lyons who is in charge of all Forest Service law enforcement in Region 6) and tell them that they cannot get away with endangering our lives!!!

Please call Wild Siskiyou Action to learn more or get involved:
541-659-2682
Siskiyou Forest Service: Endangering Activist Lives

Hey wonderful people! The following is a letter that is being delivered to
various representatives of the Siskiyou National Forest and the top three
rungs of the chain of command of their law enforcement division. We also
want to publicize these recent actions, including the unprecedented one of
cutting support lines to a "dunk 'em" style tree sit which spanned acres
of old-growth forest with a high percentage of living trees in unit 12 of
the Hobson timber sale.

Our goal is to publicize these actions, as well as numerous other
life-endangering actions that have taken place throughout the Biscuit
campaign. Unprincipled law enforcement officers seem to be taking their
intimidation tactics to ever-higher levels, at the same time as
restrictive policies, such as the recent joint BLM-Forest Service area
closure at the Hobson timber sale, are being employeed by agency
management. In this version of the letter, the phone numbers that can be
used to contact the recipients are included next to their names. Please
take time to spread this message and call these public officials and their
employees to express your concerns with their actions. As things stand,
there is still an occupied tree-sit in Hobson unit 12 with one
anchor-dependent line covering part of this spectacular forest grove, and
the sitter's safety is in the hands of the Forest Service, which means
they are in grave danger in the wake of recent actions taken by the Forest
Service. Sorry for the legalese language in the letter...

For the Forests, Burned or Not!

------------------------------------------

To whom it may concern, including:

Head of Forest Service Law Enforcement for Region 6 Tom Lyons (ie. the head LEO boss): 360-891-5267

-you can also use this number to contact Dan Hawk who is the head of FS law enforcement for Oregon.

Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor Scott Conroy (541) 858-2301
Illinois Valley and acting Galice District Ranger Pamela Bode (541) 659-4661
Siskiyou National Forest Law Enforcement Chief Lee Fox (541) 858-2451
Siskiyou National Forest Law Enforcement Sergeant Paul Williamson (541)
471-6500
Siskiyou National Forest Law Enforcement Officer Sean Thomas (541) 592-4000

Between August 8th and 9th of this year, employees of the Siskiyou Forest
of the National Forest Service have endangered several protesters lives
near to the Hobson Timber Sale in the Galice Ranger District, which is
part of the controversial Biscuit Fire "Recovery" Project. While engaged
in acts of civil disobedience in resistance to the onset of logging
operations, Siskiyou Forest Law enforcement agents have knowingly and
willfully taken steps to endanger protesters lives. These specific acts
include:

Sergeant Williamson spurring up two trees and cutting ropes supporting
an anchor-dependent tree sit in the south end of unit 12 in the Hobson
timber sale. One support line was cut before the Sergeant even initiated
verbal contact with the tree sitter, and when the second line was
subsequently cut, half of the sitter's platform fell out from underneath
him. This action is unprecedented on Pacific Northwest federal public
lands, and put the tree sitter in extreme danger of loss of life and limb,
particularly the risk of broken back from taking a lead fall, if he was
wearing a climbing harness, and more serious injuries if he wasn't.
Officer Ross was also present during this action, which took place during
the afternoon of August 9th, and

Elements of the support system for a platform hanging above Forest
Service road 2411 near the boundary between the Siskiyou National Forest
and adjacent Bureau of Land Management lands were removed by a team of law
enforcement officers including Sergeant Williamson on August 10th. The
loss of these supports put undue strain on support lines anchored into the
roadway, and caused the suspended platform to drop noticeably. In
addition, a heavy Caterpillar bulldozer operated by logging contractors
was used to punch a road through a hillside in close proximity to the
support line anchors in full view of law enforcement officers. Warning
materials were removed from the roadway, vehicles were allowed to pass
around on a temporary road cleared by the bulldozer, and no adequate
warning system was put into place to warn oncoming vehicles that
life-supporting anchors, consisting of tar-covered steel pipes and
dark-colored rope, were still anchored into the middle of the roadway
after the law enforcement vehicle escorts left around noon. Finally, in
the afternoon Sergeant Williamson was observed driving toward the support
lines at high speed, clipping one of them with his vehicle as he drove
past, either recklessly or willfully.

These actions taken by the Siskiyou National Forest law enforcement
officers inspire grave concerns in citizens who are concerned with the
welfare of human life and appropriate conduct of empowered law enforcement
agencies, especially in the wake of previous actions near the Hobson
timber sale, including the July 20th seizure of a documentary video camera
by Officer Sean Thomas, and the dismantling of an occupied barricade on
Forest Service road 2411 that same day, during which a chainsaw blade was
operated within inches of the occupant's head, and the rope supporting an
anchor-dependent platform suspended between two trees over a cliff was
cavalierly held by one officer while the anchor knot was untied and retied
to a manzanita bush on the side of the road.

Obviously agents of the Federal Government are not allowed to endanger
the health and safety of a human being, especially when there are no
emergency exigent circumstances that would warrant placing that person at
risk of serious injury or death. The officers were put on notice that what
they were doing could potentially result in serious injury or death. We
are hereby putting you on notice to cease and desist these actions now and
in the future or we will seek redress from the Federal courts.

As citizens who have engaged in the public process to comment on the
ecological management decisions undertaken by the Forest Service, we are
astonished and appalled at the conduct of the law enforcement officers
working for the Siskiyou National Forest. We care about human and
non-human life, and have conducted ourselves in a peaceful, nonviolent
manner, while protesting the Biscuit Fire "Recovery" Project. In
response, we have been carelessly, recklessly and willfully endangered by
your agents, and we will not tolerate the endangerment posed by cutting
ropes supporting anchor-dependent tree sits, driving into ropes
supporting suspended platforms, holding knives to ropes supporting
people's lives, pulling unstable "bi-pod" structures' support lines until
they nearly fall over, wheeling around 1200 pound concrete barrels with
people's arms locked into them or unsteadily jacking up heavy vehicles
with people laying underneath them, all of which are actions that
Siskiyou Forest law enforcement employees have taken since Judge Paul
Hogan reversed his injunction against logging in the fragile post-burn
habitats of the Biscuit Fire area early this year. Nor will we tolerate
any similarly risky or dangerous actions that could theoretically be taken
by your agency in the future. Only one notable action can be credited to
your agency: the utilization of a search and rescue team to safely secure
a platform suspended from the Green Bridge on March 14th. We recommend at
the least that you endeavor to employ skilled rescue technicians or
dispatch competent engineers to oversee the removal of forest-protecting
structures that you see as contrary to your
ecologically destructive agenda, and reprimand the rogue law enforcement
agents who have been perpetrating these actions.

Has anyone talked with LEO's about this 11.Aug.2005 00:17

how have they responded

Has anyone called the contacts listed above? Have they countered any of the statements above?
I would like as much info before I call.

Thanx

Yeah, people have talked to Lee Fox 12.Aug.2005 12:56

Fiddler's Friend

He initially agreed that the actions taken against the tree sit were illegal. On a repeat contact, when informed that one of his Law Enforcement Officers had done the cutting (he claimed he thought the loggers had done it), he remembered that he was there that day and had ordered the lines cut.

Relevant additional info 12.Aug.2005 13:42

New FS Law Enforcement Chief lacks Competence

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Contact: Chas Offutt (202) 265-7337


NEW FOREST SERVICE LAW ENFORCEMENT CHIEF LACKS CREDENTIALS
Agency Manual Hastily Amended; Independent Law Enforcement Program at Risk

Washington, DC In an unprecedented step, the Chief of the U.S. Forest
Service has appointed a new Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations
who lacks any previous law enforcement experience, according to agency
documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER). To accommodate the move, the agency has hurriedly
amended its manual to remove the requirement that the Director of Law
Enforcement must be a peace officer, i.e., GS-1811 Criminal Investigator,
and to allow the position "Top Secret access" without the normal
background checks.

On July 20, 2005, Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth named John Twiss, a
long-time Forest Service employee who has spent a good portion of his
career in staff positions within Washington. D.C. headquarters, as the
Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations effective July 24. Twiss is
the first person without any law enforcement qualifications or credentials
to occupy the top law enforcement slot.

In his new job, Twiss will oversee approximately 660 Special Agents and
uniformed Law Enforcement Officers who investigate resource crimes, such
as timber theft and fossil poaching, as well as a range of other crimes,
such as clandestine drug labs, on 155 national forests and 20 national
grasslands covering more than 193 million acres.

In addition to his lack of experience, Twiss' appointment also reverses a
decade of progress in increasing the professionalism of the Forest Service
law enforcement program in that a civilian will be making decisions about
how criminal and other sensitive investigations will be conducted.

Twiss has also signaled he will seek to end the independence of the law
enforcement program by making investigators answer to the forest
supervisors and rangers who are often the subject of investigations or may
be embarrassed by the outcomes of internal probes. After a series of
scandals in the early 1990s involving cover-ups of timber-theft, illegal
alien exploitation and prostitution, Congress mandated that the Forest
Service law enforcement be independent of, or "stove-piped" from, the
agency chain-of-command.
"By putting an unqualified suit, such as John Twiss, at the top of the
stove pipe, Chief Bosworth has, in essence, gutted both the effectiveness
and the independence of the Forest Service's law enforcement program,"
stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization led the
campaign to convince Congress to order the formation of an independent law
enforcement organization. "This move signals that all future Forest
Service investigations will be politically vetted."

The independence of Forest Service law enforcement drew the ire of
Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey last year after he unsuccessfully
tried to quash a criminal notice of violation against Representative Henry
Brown (R-SC) for negligence in allowing a fire on his property to burn out
of control and spread into the Francis Marion National Forest.

Aggravating concerns about the future effectiveness of the Forest Service
law enforcement program is mounting evidence that is seriously
under-funded in the face of a growing workload. According to a
confidential internal agency assessment, the Forest Service law
enforcement program has -

Only one officer "for every 291,000 acres of national Forest and every
733,000 annual visitors;"
Lost more than 300 positions during the past decade and today "204 LEI
positions deemed critical by the corresponding line officers are now held
vacant to remain within budget constraints;" and
Been assigned new Homeland Security, border patrol and other obligations
without sufficient funding, leaving the program "severely understaffed to
address need of National Forest lands."

"Far from being a forceful advocate for law enforcement, John Twiss was
tagged to put a happy face on an increasingly grim situation." Ruch added,
noting the irony of the appointment coinciding with the agency centenary.
"By this appointment, Chief Bosworth endangers the natural resource legacy
that the U.S. Forest Service is supposed to conserve for the next
century."

KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON FOREST SERVICE! 13.Aug.2005 13:22

LINDA SAFLEY

The FOREST SERVICE, IS WAY OUT OF LINE, this isn't the first time they have acted out on individuals trying to save the trees. And it's horrible on the activist's. It's outrageous, while the EPA, SITS BACK AND LET'S THE this going on. It's bad enough we have to be aware of POP'S (Persistant Organic Pollutants)in our mists, but now the destroying the lands. All of these issues are inter-related. Don't forget who we are, ambassadores for the saving of the planet, brothers and sisters. My heart goes out to any one bein incarcerated for standing up for the planet, and God bless all the brothers and sisters, who have giving their lives to protect what's left of nature.
PEACE & BLESSINGS!