GREEN ISSUE: A court case — and a new film — delve into the unsolved question of the infamous environmentalist blast
"The case was an early forerunner of what we call the Green Scare cases, where the government sets out to make examples of people it perceives as leaders to try to chill activism in the environmental movement," said Rosenfeld. "It was quite a scary season for environmental activists."
The Green Scare did a lot to quell environmental activism, and some who were arrested at its peak remain in prison. But it didn't stop many — including Bari and Cherney — from continuing their work.
"Both Judi and I continued right out of jail. Actually, in jail the police wrote in their police report that I was trying to convert them to environmentalism," laughed Cherney.
"I participated in Redwood Summer and the Headwater Forest Campaign right through 1999 and continued through 2003. And now I'm making a movie about it."
The movie, Who Bombed Judi Bari? has been doing well since it had its world premiere at the SF Green Film Festival March 2.
The film's reception is "definitely very gratifying," says Mary Liz Thomson, the film's director, who "spent a lot of time editing it living in a cabin on [Cherney's] land up in the woods, using solar power."
Now she's touring California with sold-out screenings, as well as some free screenings, including a well-attended March 26 screening at Occupy Oakland.
Thomson says she has gotten positive feedback from occupiers and others currently working in social movements.
"We're just at the beginning of our launch and people are saying that it's really relevant right now. The timing was great"
Indeed, laws that build on the Green Scare have been rapidly passed in recent months, targeting other political groups.
Controversy flared after President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the U.S. to detain suspects without charge. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that the government can kill its own citizens abroad without trial. And on Feb. 27, The House of Representatives voted in favor of HR 347, the so-called "Anti-Occupy Bill."
Who Bombed Judi Bari? is an important history lesson for those faced with these new challenges. And Cherney may finally be on track to finding out the answer to the title's question.