Mike Sweeney


The Journal of the NIJ published a report titled “Assessing Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide.” From the report:

Women are killed by intimate partners—husbands, lovers, ex-husbands, or ex-lovers— more often than by any other category of killer. Homicide of women is a leading cause of death in the United States among young African American women aged 15 to 45 years. [The preceding sentence was revised March 11, 2014.] Intimate partner homicides make up 40 to 50 percent of all murders of women in the United States, according to city- or State-specific data-bases (as opposed to the Federal Supplementary Homicide Reports). Significantly, the Federal report doesn’t have an ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend category, which accounts for as much as 11 percent of intimate partner homicides of women and for 2 to 3 percent of intimate partner homicides committed by women. In 70 to 80 percent of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

Sweeney is Judi Bari’s ex-husband and therefore a suspect in her attempted murder. All ex’s are suspects. By definition Cherney is also an ex. Bari and Sweeney parted a few months before the Ukiah Abortion demo. Bari and Cherney parted weeks before the bombing.

Bari thought Sweeney did it or maybe not. A letter exists, the second one below that claims he did it. Because he and Bari were divorcing, because he was rumored to have been accused of spousal abuse by Bari, he is seen as capable of attempting to kill her. They both denied any abuse or accusation.

The Lord’s Avenger letter containing an odd use of capitalization reminded an investigator of Sweeney’s use of capital letters and therefore he was seen as capable of writing the letter. He built replicas of the two bombs for Bari to use as props therefore he could have built them originally.

Sweeney has been accused of being the Lord’s Avenger for at least 17 years. As can be seen below no actual facts support the accusation. No judicial or prosecutorial official has brought charges or even investigated the accusations.

Sweeney is doing relatively well today and thus, it is said, someone is covering for him.

Therefore, he is also accused of being an FBI informant.

The picture of Sweeney I get from the record is one of an interested Judi supporter. He did things for her, such as building replicas of the bombs from the Letter’s descriptions, at her request, even though the risk existed that he could be accused of have built the original bombs, for instance.

I also do not see why him acting in an impassioned way, typical of murderous ex’s, by trying to ruin her reputation as a non-violent activist. That does not describe passion to me.

The common wisdom is that the ex-husband did it. Once people realized that Bari had an ex suspicion automatically focused on him. Law enforcement ignored him. The Mendocino alt-media had a few named suspects that included Sweeney as well as Cherney, Sutley and Staley.

Investigative energy was expended, attempting to show that both Sweeney’s style of writing, the subject of his novel about the abortion struggle, his presence at the demo and his DNA being withheld from analysis made him worthy of a Grand Jury investigation. Stories were told about Judi’s statements saying she thought Sweeney was the one. A posthumously surfaced letter purporting to be Judi’s writing accused him again six years later. There was the rumor that became a theory of Sweeney that the gas bombs he allegedly used in his past reminded some of the first LA bomb at the Cloverdale Mill.

Even recently, he was the subject of a call for his arrest as the Lord’s Avenger.

The Accusers and their Accusations:

What is presented below are the three most thorough of the accusations. The first is by Bruce Anderson who is well known by those who follow this case or read the Anderson Valley Advertizer. The second is allegedly by Judi Bari but I am doubtful that it was her work coming seven years after her death no matter how trusted the source. The last accusation comes from Anderson again this time in 2014.


Bruce Anderson

Excerpt from “OFF THE RECORD”


by Bruce

IN ANTICIPATION of Ms. [Kate] Coleman’s soon-to-be released book on Judi Bari, the perp, aka Mike Sweeney of Keep Mendocino Beautiful, a Mendocino County recycling agency, and his helpers, primarily an unhealthy Little River man named Nick Wilson, the two sites are compilations of the transparently obvious efforts of Sweeney-Bari propagandists to discredit critics of the swindle that has just awarded Darryl Cherney and the two daughters of Mike Sweeney and the late Judi Bari $4 million.

PERSONS interested in the true facts of the case are encouraged to visit theava.com where they’ll find concise accounts of the controversy by Steve Talbot of PBS and KQED and Alexander Cockburn of The Nation and Counterpunch.

MEANWHILE, IF YOU HAPPEN to encounter the furtive Sweeney or one of his lead co-conspirators, Darryl Cherny, ask them (1) Why the long-promised reward for the identity of Bari’s bomber hasn’t been posted? and (2) Why they resist matching DNA samples from a dozen or so likely perps, beginning with themselves and including the late Bari; Meredyth Rinehard; Karen Pickett; Pam Davis; and Darlene Commingore against the existing DNA results from the case’s confession letter?

AS THE FBI, the Oakland Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, and probably the ATF’s bomb boys know, Mike Sweeney made the bomb that exploded beneath Bari’s car seat in Oakland back in May of 1990. Sweeney also wrote the confession letter he signed The Lord’s Avenger. His bombs prior to the one that abbreviated his ex-wife’s life, Sweeney, probably with Bari’s willing assistance, blew up one of the two hangers at the old Navy air strip in Santa Rosa in 1980 and, a month before the 1990 blast in Oakland, tried to bomb L-P’s offices just south of Cloverdale. As a Stanford Maoist back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, it was Sweeney’s campus-based cadre that placed explosive devices at numerous Bay Area sites that rich kid revolutionaries said housed enemies of the people. [Read the entire piece at the link]


 This next bit comes from Bruce Anderson. There is a back story to this that has not crossed my path but I am betting this is a Bruce special, written in the dead of night in the dark so no one can see him do it. Check out: http://www.liarunlimited.com.


The article below is of uncertain authorship published by the AVA. See below for cite.

Judi Bari Tells All [2004]

by Judi Bari

[Bruce Anderson’s] Editor’s note. The late Judi Bari, through her executor Darlene Commingore, left me the following letter with a strict instruction that it not be made public until five years after her death. Mrs. Bari-Sweeney died of liver cancer in 1997, cursing her former husband and her murderer, Mike Sweeney, to her last breath.

* * *

You’re probably surprised, Bruce, to be hearing from me again, albeit from the other side, as some among the living call the place where I am now. We’d been good friends until you belatedly began asking all the wrong questions about the bomb that blew me up in Oakland in 1990. I had to blame the bombing on the FBI or Bill Staley or loggers, because if I told the truth about what had happened to me Mike (Sweeney) would have driven up to my Willits cabin in the woods off String Creek and finished me off, as he often threatened to do. Does anybody besides that pervert Nick Wilson seriously think I would have moved to String Creek where any old body could have literally driven up to my front door and shot me without even leaving his car? String Creek! Are you kidding? The nearest neighbor was a hundred yards away. When it rained you couldn’t hear anything, and most of the people out there can’t here anything anyway because they’re stoned all the time.

If I didn’t know who bombed me, if I thought somebody would try to kill me again I would have moved into the Willits Police Station, not deep into the woods at the end of a lonely dirt road. I moved to String Creek after I was bombed because I knew Mike had bombed me, not some Christian obsessive like Bill Staley, or some deranged logger, or the FBI. I knew my husband did it.

So why’d I let him get away with it? I mean, he abbreviated my life. I was in perfect health before the bomb, but seven years later I was gone at age 47. And I was a feminist, too. Kind of. I didn’t like women much, but I never did meet a man I could trust.

I had no choice. If I’d told the cops the truth, Mike would have told the truth about me, and both of us would have gone off to jail for a long time. We would have lost our kids and the money and property we’d accumulated together and that he was trying to cheat me out of. Worse, I’d be nothing more than one more violent nut, one more mad dog who had to be permanently locked up.

You’ve got most of it right. We — Mike and I — knew we’d have a hard time keeping the truth from coming out. Too many people were already suspicious, but I had to tell someone and, unfortunately for both Mike and me that someone was Steve Talbot. Like you, he believed me totally that the bombing was a kind of mystery. Like you the only thing he knew about Mike Sweeney was that he existed, the evil ex-husband every other ex-wife in America complains about. Then I told him all about Mike, and Steve went and put it in his movie!

Unlike most ex-husbands, my ex really was evil. And smart. Well, not really smart. Cunning. He’s about half as smart as he thinks he is, which is still twice as smart as you and dumb ass Darryl put together, Bruce. I knew it was only a matter of time before Mike either killed me or tried to kill me. Which is why I tried to hire Irv Sutley to kill him. Hey! Peace and love on you, too. We’re talking “movement” here! Gandhi my patootie.

But as soon as the bomb went off I knew who’d done it. If the FBI or a logger or some Jesus crank had wanted me dead he’d have picked me off out in Redwood Valley. Or downtown Ukiah. Or anywhere in Mendocino County. You can do anything you want in that place because the cops are (1) stupid (2) lazy, and the DA is the cops squared. Anyway, if the FBI had wanted to kill me I’d be dead. They wouldn’t have used some cockamamie pipe bomb like the one Mike made and put under my seat.

So what was a girl to do? I knew I could pin it on the FBI and half the nut pies on the Northcoast would believe me. And if that didn’t work I knew I could blame it on the timber corporations and the other half of the nut pies would believe me. Or I could simply say a man did it and every woman in Ecotopia would say, “I knew it. I knew it. That’s what men do to us after two weeks of sex. They’re all the same.”

Mike decided to murder me because his attempt to snitch me off to the Ukiah Police Department didn’t work. He wrote to them using the pseudonym “Argus,” a typical freshman world lit reference a Stanford pseud like him would use. He told the cops he’d give them a heads up before I mailed off pot to my pot customers. The cops said, “Great! Let’s do it, Argyle.” But both the cops and Mike could never quite coordinate a bust.

Mike always has thought he was smarter than everyone else. I wouldn’t have married him if I thought he was a dummy. And I certainly wouldn’t have gone through the bourgie rigmarole of marriage and kids and a house and stupid ass car insurance if I’d known he was psycho. Which he quickly turned out to be, a really scary, controlling kind of guy. But like most women who marry the true psychos like Mike Koepf, to name another one who’s been married like seven times or something and has beat up every woman who spent any time at all with his fat, soleric ass, I didn’t know Mike Sweeney was a violent nut case until about a month after we’d thrown the rice around and cashed the big wedding checks we got from our rich parents. By the way, I grew up in Silver Springs Maryland, not in Waiting For Lefty’s taxi cab. Silver Springs is like Mill Valley or the Kentfield area of Marin County only the weather is shitty.

Looking back, I can say I was always out of control even though on the surface I was a goody two shoes cheer leader and a jock boffer in high school. And I got straight A’s, which anybody but an absolute moron couldn’t help getting because Maryland’s schools were even more retarded than the so-called schools here in Mendocino County. Also, thanks to high school football, I learned how to make the demo signs Mike and I years later stacked up in the corner of the MEC — including the one we propped up against a tree when Mike and I bombed LP’s office outside Cloverdale in June of 1990, the one that said “LP Screws Mill Workers.” I learned poster making in freshman girl’s pep club back in Silver Springs High School, home of the hip-yups. Incidentally, the only high school guy who ever treated me like a human being was the quarterback. After him it was like a hundred long-haired, lice-ridden oinkers in a row until I met Mr. Mega Oinker, ol’ Triple Oink, Mike Sweeney, the agent of my destruction.

I grew up terminally jealous of my yuppie sister. She was not only a lot better looking than me, she was a big time reporter at The New York Times. She had the big house in the ‘burbs, the rich academic husband at Princeton, and here I was a food stamp, money-from-home hippie married to a pipe bomb communist for the FBI in Christ awful west Santa Rosa! Could life be worse? We even had a fucking hibachi in the back fucking yard! It was pure hell. The only fun we ever had together was blowing up that hangar down the street.

Worse, I chose him! Mike had just been dumped by his first wife, the one he met at Stanford in Professor Franklin’s Maoist koffee klatch kampus klub. Mike had an interim girl friend we all called “Whisper.” I was “Shout,” of course. Whisper was a bedraggled, beaten down little thing who Mike glared at every time she dared say something. But I, Shout, like a fool, decided to take him away from her, Whisper, so I got into my halter top and bent over in front of him a few times as I poured his coffee and, like all men at the sight of large breasts, Mike’s eyes crossed, he began moaning and biting the back of his hand to regain control of himself. He was mine. God, men are dumb! Just like dogs. No control whatsoever. By my fourth anti-nuke meeting bend-over, Mikey was mine.

And I was dead.

But death was still 17 years up the Redwood Highway.

Like Rocky Graziano and my sister, I wanted to be somebody, too. I guess you could say getting bombed was the best thing that ever happened to me, fame-wise, which was another reason I lied about who did it. I liked being famous. I liked being a famous PC martyr even better. Fame helped me get what I wanted, which was to become even more famous. I noticed right away that I could do or say anything to anybody, and when someone tried to argue with me all I had to do was scream, “How can you talk to me like this? I’m a single mother who’s been the victim of a political assassination attempt!” That shut everyone but you and Mark Heimann up. Neither of you pigs ever did cut me any slack.

There were a few women who stood up to me: Anna Marie would get right back in my face, and so would Roanne Withers, Melissa Roberts, Jim Gibbons’ girlfriend Susan, Mary Moore, and even Susan Massini, the DA at the time. Massini really hated me. And there were other women I had to watch it around — smart, self-respecting women like Daphne Miller. She wouldn’t put up with any bullshit from me, and the others who argued with me like Melissa and Roanne and Anna Marie and Mary Moore, I would lie about behind their backs and get them ostracized. I just ignored your wife, Bruce, her and that Indonesian woman who lived with you guys. I knew if I even looked cross-eyed at them I’d have more than I could handle. Both of them hated me, and I knew both of them thought I was rude and crude, which I was, but I could have used them as Third World Women of Color if I needed them. Not that I did, so I never did have to turn on the charm. A lot of us upper middle-class girls are like this. Why? Entitlement, dude, a natural sense of entitlement. Daddy will always be there to bail us out no matter what we do. Look at my idol, Bernadine Dorn. She got over big time, didn’t she? And so did I, kind of.

I had so many groupies after the bombing, especially big shot groupies like David Brower and Amy Goodman who knew nothing about either me or Earth First!, and sure as hell steered clear of me until the FBI bombed me and I was famous for a week, ha ha ha. My fame was my main weapon here in Ecotopia, and I surrounded myself with idiots who helped me and Mike get over. Er, check that. Karen Pickett and Pam Davis aren’t idiots. Darlene Commingore is a useful idiot, as are nutballs like Tanya Brannan, Annie Esposito, that dwarf Esposito is married to, and the whole gangs of gullibles at KMUD and KPFA. Great big women, little cringing “feminized” men. The activists of the Northcoast!

Alicia Littletree Bales came to stay with me when she was about 12, fresh out of junior high drug rehab in Sacramento. Talk about blank slates! I taught her everything she knows, meaning, I’m afraid, that she is forever unteachable. But she and cracked pots like Naomi Wagner and a couple of other crones still show up for Earth First! events with my ashes in a see-through jar, channeling me on the solstices and throwing the E. Chingawa or whatever it’s called.

Hard to believe Mike hasn’t been arrested yet. The cops are soooooooo dumb. What does he have to do, bend himself over? He’ll blow up the Mendocino County Courthouse first. Remember when those pages from the novel he wrote about me turned up? He called me “Eliza Devlin,” which ought to give all the KZYX and KMUD-type doofuses some idea of what Mike really thought about me. Well, duh, as a certain 210 pound Sapphist at the Redwood Summer Justice Project likes to say. If your husband wrote a 400-page novel about you, a roman cliff, I believe they’re called, while you were still married whose main character was called “Eliza Devlin” (“lying devil,” and do I have to explain everything to you morons?), well duh mister man, what’s so surprising about a pipe bomb under my car seat?

Any kind of real life complications are way too tough for the stoners I surrounded myself with to figure out. Yes, my ex-husband bombed me. But we went on to cooperate for joint childcare and my guy even went on to make two replica bombs for me so I could take them on the road to show the saps what kind of device the FBI made to try to kill me! I made darn near a million bucks just for myself, and not an audit ever from anyone! I even bragged on film about how accurate Mike’s dummy bombs were! I hear you and Jim Martin and Ed Gehrman and Irv and the rest of you have a copy of that tape, and that you also have the audio tape from KZYX where I admit I got Pam Davis to try to get Irv to kill Mike for me. Kay Rudin made the video tape of me demonstrating the replica bomb and you and everyone else has the KZYX tape where I say I got Pam Davis to talk to Irv about killing Mike. So there’s all this evidence pointing straight at Psycho Man, Mendocino County’s so-called recycler, and the lazy ass cops just go on pretending it doesn’t exist.

But in a way I still love the guy. He’s a real mensch, whatever else anybody says about him. When I hit him, he decked me. When I called him a child molester he put the pipe bomb in my car. Most men wouldn’t have the guts. And I hated him, too. That’s life! It’s not always so simple. Yes, just before I died I screamed the bastard away from me. My stooges didn’t know how to handle that one, but what was I supposed to do, give Sweeney a goodbye kiss? He killed me for cryin’ out loud!

Yeah? What about my family? Why hasn’t my father stationed himself outside a federal building demanding that the Justice Department find the bomber? Why hasn’t my New York Times sister written a book about me to find the bomber? Why hasn’t my family come out for me? My sister can find the time to write a book about, of all things, exercise, but she won’t write one to find out about Sweeney? Is that pathetic? My sister, a big shot reporter and author, a 55-year-old woman writing a book about how old bats can look like they’re 15?

My parents and both my sisters knew Mike did it. They always hoped it would all just go away. Instead, I went away, and you know what? I don’t like it. I hope you get Sweeney, Bruce, although you better hope you get him before he or his father get you. They could get a Mex to do you for $3,000 and hop back across the border. Happens all the time.

This place where I am now is no fun. Just like they say in church, it’s run by a great big white bearded patriarch man-type guy. Women get all the lousy jobs. They’ve got me working in a day care center, and I’m the smartest person up here.





by Bruce Anderson

The FBI and the Oakland Police had prematurely arrested Bari and Cherney on the presumption they had knowingly transported the device that almost killed them. In the few years left to her, Bari, and a handful of acolytes, including Cherney, raised large amounts of money for an ultimately successful federal libel lawsuit against the FBI and the Oakland Police Department. They said if they won the suit the award would go to environmental causes.

Instead, Bari’s daughters, Cherney, and several left attorneys, walked away with several million dollars; nothing went to persons or groups active in the environmental movement. The lawsuit, incidentally, was co-authored by the feds and Bari’s attorneys to exclude all mention of whose bomb set the suit in motion. I, and several other dissenters, via a cozy agreement worked out by the federal attorneys and Bari’s lawyers, were excluded, by name, from being called to testify.

Within days of the blast, Mike Geniella, a reporter with the New York Times-owned Santa Rosa Press Democrat, had received a letter from a person signing himself The Lord’s Avenger. Written in thunderous, faux Old Testament prose, the Avenger described the bomb in detail only the bomber could know. The bombing suspect now became a deranged fundamentalist, and the FBI, always a dependable villain among the left, became the Avenger’s enabler if not co-conspirator.

Bari and Cherney, with their well-placed allies in the Pacifica Network, including Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, have always managed to ignore inconvenient questions about the bombing, especially those raised in a fine but mostly unseen documentary on the case by Steve Talbot, who went on to anchor PBS’s Frontline series. Talbot’s film was called “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” Talbot answered that question on information supplied by Bari herself — that Judi Bari was probably bombed by her ex-husband. Talbot, without directly identifying Bari’s ex as the bomber in the film, pointed straight at him.

But after Bari’s death, Talbot appeared on a San Francisco-based television program called “This Week In Northern California” to say that Bari had told him she was certain her ex-husband had bombed her, that the great assassins of the corporate-FBI nexus so beloved by the Pacifica Network had to be moved aside for what was really a fancy case of domestic violence.

Bari’s ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, magically kept off stage all these years as the likeliest suspect, is not the usual estranged husband. He comes with special qualifications; he belonged to Professor H. Bruce Franklin’s often violent Maoist posse at Stanford in the late 1960s. He and Bari met at a Maoist labor organizing event, married and moved to Santa Rosa where a hangar on the mostly abandoned airfield next door mysteriously blew up one night prior to their relocation to Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. The airfield was home to weekend pilots who annoyed the Sweeney-Bari household with their overflights; Sweeney and Bari had successfully sued Hewlett-Packard to halt development of the tract the airfield rested on. Police suspected Sweeney and Bari — they had no other suspects — but were unable to make the case against them. By the time Bari-Sweeney arrived in Mendocino County where their marriage soon disintegrated, the two radicals had enjoyed, you might say, a uniquely explosive relationship.

In the twenty-two years since Judi Bari was blown up in Oakland, out there in what’s left of the American left, it’s an article of faith that she was a martyr to the usual malign forces that do the dirty work for our ruling circles. Tune in Democracy Now or KPFA out of Berkeley and you will hear someone saying that the author of the attack on Judi Bari remains a mystery but we, wink-wink, we in the know, we know the corporations and the feds got her.

What you won’t hear, because alternative explanations of the case are excluded from Pacifica’s preciously PC airwaves, is that the mystery of who bombed Judi Bari isn’t a mystery at all, that it can be solved via the known DNA lifted from the Lord’s Avenger Letter. No one seems interested, least of all the FBI in whose archive the evidence molders, but that DNA exists and has been found to be primarily female, placed on the Lord’s Avenger’s communique in 1990, just before DNA became the slam-dunk investigative tool it has since become.

Judi Bari is still being bombed by persons deliberately obstructing resolution of the case, most recently in the form of an hagiographic epic assembled by Cherney that mostly features himself and Bari singing. It is also called, “Who Bombed Judi Bari?”, a nice piece of cynicism that might make it appear that the honest film of the same title by Steve Talbot didn’t pre-date Cherney’s film by twenty-one years. Predictably, Cherney’s version of “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” has gotten big play from Amy Goodman and the cringing speakers-of-truth-to-power at places like KPFA.

The even larger mystery of Who Bombed Judi Bari is this: Why isn’t what passes for a left media in this country demanding that the Bari case be solved? Why did Susan Faludi suddenly abandon her book on Bari after getting a large publisher’s advance to write it? Why has Judi Bari’s famous sister, Gina Kolata of the New York Times, never written about her sister’s sad fate?

And why has Bari’s family never demanded that the case be solved?



Responses to the Sweeney Accusation[s]:

Mike Sweeney Responds [1999]

by Mike Sweeney

This is a response to Bruce Anderson’s article.

I did not bomb Judi Bari, or write any of the letters.

There is no credible evidence that I did. Ed Gehrman can string together as many lies as he wants, but there are no facts at the bottom of it.

Any so called “literary detective” who claims to identify me as a “plausible” author of the bombing letters is just wrong.

Don Foster looked at only what Gehrman gave him, whatever that might have been. To his credit, Foster admits that his study offers “no guarantee that the Flatland archive includes writing by the actual bomber of Judi Bari” and that similarities among the three letters are “inconclusive.”

Foster’s study isn’t evidence. It’s just a trendy new way to score points in the old feud between Irv Sutley and Judi Bari.

Ditto for the remark about the typewriters. If somebody has a genuine typeface match-up, go straight to the police. Don’t talk about “the same brand” of typewriter. Smith-Corona probably made ten million typewriters.

Judi Bari isn’t around any more to deal with disinformation from Irv Sutley and his friend Gehrman. So I’ll say a few obvious things on her behalf.

Judi spent the last seven years of her life looking at every detail of the bombing. Judi was convinced that she was bombed because she was an Earth First! leader. Judi uncovered police dirty tricks from start to finish. She sued the FBI for false arrest and slander. It was one of the biggest disappointments of her life not to live long enough to see victory. Judi told the FBI: “Find the bomber. Then fire him.”

Accusing me is another way for Sutley to continue his feud against Judi. It’s a way for Sutley and Gehrman to draw attention to themselves and a way for Flatland magazine to sell more publications about “alien abductions, UFOs, and conspiracy theories,” among its other specialties. So it looks like this slander campaign will go on for a long time. Anyone who seriously thinks I could be the bomber should think about these facts:

Judi and Darryl went off to the Bay Area at least 18 hours before the bomb exploded. The police say the timer on the bomb couldn’t run more than 12 hours. I wasn’t in the Bay Area. It’s well known that I was home in Redwood Valley the whole time taking care of our two daughters, then ages 9 and 4.



Sweeney was a hundred miles away, Bari explained.  …the bomb in my car had a 12-hour timer, so it couldn’t have been placed anywhere but Oakland, where I stayed the night before it exploded.  Timber Wars , p. 313)


Darryl Cherney’s  response to Anderson’s newest accusations [2013]:

I have this clip and Talbot says no such thing. In fact, Judi did consider her husband to be a suspect and then, before 1990 was over and after much research/investigation, determined he was not. She was never “certain” about anyone. However, Talbot’s documentary determined the most likely suspect was the source of this disinformation campaign in the first place: Irv Sutley, who clearly helped write a police informant letter (DNA and typewriter evidence) that came with a photo of Judi with Sutley’s Uzi (taken presumably as a joke album cover) that only Sutley, myself (Sutley sent me three photos) and his landlady (Judi’s close friend) had access to. Sutley admitted rummaging through the photos and sending one (a photo of Judi with Sutley’s Uzi) to Bruce Anderson, who published it.

Police never questioned Bari or Sweeney about the airport arson, strange if they were the “only suspects.” But more importantly, this illogical accusation goes to the heart of Bruce’s accusation: because Mike Sweeney, Judi’s ex, is an alleged suspect in an act of sabotage in defense of his neighborhood (albeit pretty radical sabotage in the form of arson), he is therefore both technically and mentally capable of murder. Well by that logic, anyone who ever wired his or her own home or got in a fist fight (like Bruce has more than once–understandably–with the subjects of his vitriolic writing) could be a suspect. The fact is that Judi’s ex didn’t have the opportunity to put the bomb in the car given the nature of its timing devise. The theory that the timer malfunctioned for 48 hours is not likely. And even if Sweeney had bombed Judi Bari, one has to go through the giant leap of logic that he has the entire FBI and Oakland Police force at his back to arrest his victim on site. Bruce has explained this by stating that Sweeney was an FBI informant–thereby going completely counter to his own meanderings. If Sweeney worked for or with the FBI then the FBI was behind the bombing. Further, Sweeney didn’t have a motive, at least not to the degree the timber did with Judi Bari unionizing and organizing against it en masse. Sutley and Anderson would have us believe that Judi was trying to kill her ex by hiring Sutley through a third party as a hit man and so therefore Sweeney tried to kill her first, as opposed to turning her into the cops. Judi did joke once about killing her ex, which she readily admitted. Further, if there is any evidence on anyone in this case, I urge people to take it to a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction–they are the ones to handle dangerous people and illegal matters, presumably.


For the bet refutation of the above see: http://www.liarunlimited.com


Archives and overviews

Please note that there is much media on the topic however the impression we draw is that no writer or investigator has had sufficient energy to look at the Lord’s Avenger letter as a set of clues that reveal the bomber. Instead the tendency is to conclude the bomber wrote the letter. The case against Sweeney is void of facts, and therefore devolves into a conspiracy that makes any credulity flee from the suspected motive: he was her ex.


Drinking the Wicked Bari Brew – Again

by Mike Geniella, March 25, 2010

Twenty years later I should know better. But I can’t stop myself. I’m going to partake of the wicked Bari brew, knowing a nasty hangover is sure to follow.

What has me bellied up to the bar of disbelief is the persistence of a cadre of Northern California activists to demean anyone who raises questions about anything related to the saga of Judi Bari, the late Earth First organizer who survived a 1990 car bombing only to die of breast cancer seven years later.

Bari was a rowdy character who reshaped the North Coast environmental movement, pushing aside the boys in Earth First to gain control over a wobbly series of public protests against corporate logging practices. She loved to project a tough image, but insiders knew of her insecurities and her tendency to swagger despite doubts. Bari, in short, shared the traits of most leaders: idealistic yet pragmatic, brash and brainy but capable of breaking under stress, and at times brutally honest, cleverly manipulating, and yes, on occasion, deceitful.

It’s also true that despite Bari’s shortcomings, no one since her death has ever come close to achieving her notoriety, and her accomplishments in radical environmental politics on the North Coast.

Bari to her credit privately disdained much of the fawning that went on around her. She knew she wasn’t a “hero,” that her successes were limited and due largely to the tenor of the times. Corporate timber companies and their excesses were easy targets, and redwoods, the trees of exploitation, are still beloved icons in the national psyche.

She also knew activists’ antics sometimes played into the hands of corporate interests, drumming up political support for the public purchase of private timberlands–lands that netted corporate renegades hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money. Texas billionaire Charles Hurwitz for one walked away with at least $300 million in cash for Headwaters Forest, far more than his soon-to-be bankrupt Pacific Lumber Co. could have ever pocketed if every last tree in the now protected 3,000-acre ancient forest had been chain sawed.

Still the Bari myth-making continues – the most recent push to canonize Bari is a Facebook web site called “In Memory of Judi Bari” – along with the bashing of anyone questioning the farce.

For the uninitiated, Bari was seriously injured in a 1990 car bombing in Oakland. Police investigators contend that if the crude device had exploded as designed, Bari could have been killed.

Incredibly on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the bombing, the true facts of the incident remain elusive.

In a Feb. 15 blog posted on theava.com entitled “Looking for Truth, Finding Myths,” an obvious question was once again asked. Who bombed Judi Bari?

I observed that “its mind numbing to think someone has been living with the secret for two decades while moving among us.”

“Sadly, two decades of myth-making among Bari supporters, government agents and the media have not helped serious fact finders,” was the conclusion.

After several days of silence, a ragtag band of Bay Area radicals lashed out.

“The real issue is not the identity of the bomber,” pontificated Steven Ongerth, a self-described labor organizer and ferry boat captain. Ongerth lists Bari on a very long list of “heroes.”

Ongerth, an Alameda resident, says he’s written a book on Bari’s ties with timber workers, a developing relationship that he and others believe led to an attempt on her life. He’s also one of the honorary “administrators” of the “I Remember Judi Bari” web site. Most are familiar North Coast names: Darryl Cherney, Betty and Gary Ball, Alicia Littletree, Nick Wilson, and the two Bari daughters, Lisa and Jessica.

Ongerth in a posted response to theava.com dismissed the call for the Bari bomber to be finally identified.

In the larger scheme of things, Ongerth said “the identity of the bomber is not particularly significant.”

And in characteristic fashion for Bari loyalists, Ongerth called theava.com blog “garbage” and “yellow journalism.”

But as typical of the “We are right, you are wrong” crowd, Ongerth urged true believers “to respond to this garbage, but please do so respectfully and honestly. Debate the content on its merits. Refrain from name calling or stooping to the level of mudslinging.”

Oh. Okay.

Still Ongerth and the web site promoters weren’t done.

“The level of intellectual dishonesty and revisionist history on the part of those claiming to be “looking for truth, and finding myths” is staggering. The title of this blog entry should have been “running from truth and creating myth. Shameful indeed!”

Gene Lawhorn, another so-called site “administrator,” berated Anderson Valley Advertiser Publisher Bruce Anderson, and publicly asked, “So did Geniella drink Bruce Anderson’s kool-aid or was he always an asshole?”

Not surprisingly Ongerth and other Bari worshippers described themselves as “ethical and intellectually honest.”

Of course.

So I’m asking them to truly honor Bari 20 years after the bombing by helping get to the truth of the matter.

Here are the known facts:

A pipe bomb was planted under the driver’s seat in Bari’s Subaru. Someone a few days later wrote a letter under the pen name of the “Lord’s Avenger” and claimed responsibility. Bomb-making experts, citing the accuracy of the letter’s contents, concluded that the author of the Lord’s Avenger letter either assembled the device, or was there when it was.

DNA testing was done later, and the results showed a man and woman had handled the envelope. The woman sealed the flap with her saliva, and the man licked the stamp and placed it on the envelope for mailing.

If we knew who these people were, we’d have the answer we all seek.

But we’re not likely to know anytime soon because the cast of characters surrounding this incident won’t voluntarily submit DNA samples to narrow the list of possible suspects.

So the bomber and accomplice will continue to hide among us, basking in the knowledge that people like Ongerth don’t think their identities are really all that “significant.”

http://theava.com/archives/5363 [ 2010 Mike Ginella, Press Democrat]

The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the …           www.amazon.com › Books › History › Americas                                            Amazon.com, Inc.

In l990, a car bomb in Oakland almost killed radical Earth First! leader Judi Bari and her passenger, a co-leader and onetime lover, Darryl Cherney. … The Secret Wars of Judi Bari traces Bari’s rise from college activist to a would-be Mother Jones of the Redwoods. … In The Secret Wars …

www.encounterbooks.com › Biography/Memoir





The book is a thinly-veiled continuation of the right wing’s campaign to smear Bari as a violent domestic terrorist, despite her well-known commitment to non-violent activism. In her lifetime, Bari was in fact criticized by fellow activists for being “too” nonviolent, particularly for her stance against “tree spiking”—the tactic of inserting metal spikes intrees slated for cut-down, in order to blunt or misdirect the logger’s chainsaw, which she said endangered the loggers. Under Bari’s influence, the Northern California and Southern Oregon chapters of Earth First! repudiated the practice. “The rest of Earth First! still endorses spiking, and many of them reacted to our no-spiking policy by denouncing us as traitors or dismissing us as wimps,” she wrote in her 1993 book Timber Wars.

Coleman misses no possible potshot in her caustic caricature of Bari. The book refers to her four times as “braless,” depicts her as having “fistfights” with sister Gina and ex-husband Mike Sweeney; and accuses her of abusing alcohol and speed. The latter two claims are disputed on a website edited by Sweeney, Colemanhoax.com, which enumerates an astonishing 351 factual errors in the book.




Kate Coleman is the author of The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First! published in 2005 by Encounter Books, a non-profit publisher with a neocon agenda, funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and other well-known right-wing funders. Neocon Peter Collier was then publisher at Encounter Books.

Coleman has publicly stated, and told San Francisco Chronicle reporter Edward Guthmann, that Collier solicited her to write the Bari book, and paid her an advance, after she had an article critical of Bari published in the Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA), a Mendocino County California weekly newspaper whose editor and publisher Bruce Anderson (editor) carried on a long and infamous vendetta against Bari.

In February 2005 Bill Berkowitz wrote of Coleman’s book that “Given Encounter Books’ anti-progressive bent and anti-environmental mission and record, one can’t help but wonder whether journalistic standards were plowed aside in the rush to publish a pre-emptive strike against environmentalists.” [1]





Apr 8, 2010 – Kate Coleman is the author of The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First! published in …

Coleman’s Book Stirs the Pot, by Bruce Anderson [Kate …


Anderson Valley Advertiser



Feb 9, 2005 – BLEYS ROSE’S fine but decade-and-a-half tardy piece on the Bari … Kate Coleman’s breakthrough book on the Bari interlude as he also brings …



A modern Joan of Arc leaves a mystery – latimes

For The Record

Los Angeles Times Thursday April 24, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 5 inches; 187 words Type of Material: Correction

Judi Bari books — An April 14 Calendar article about two forthcoming books on late environmental activist Judi Bari quoted Berkeley writer Kate Coleman explaining that a central theme of her book was that Bari had been a victim of domestic abuse. The Times has no independent verification of the truth or falsehood of this allegation, which Coleman says is based primarily on a series of interviews with Bari’s close friends and associates. Before her death from cancer in 1997, Bari publicly denied similar allegations. Bari’s ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, also has repeatedly denied reports of spousal abuse that have appeared in other newspaper, radio and Internet news magazine accounts. In May 1999, a group of Bari’s friends and local journalists presented Mendocino County Dist. Atty. Norman Vroman with a petition calling for an official investigation into the unsolved 1990 bombing of Bari’s car that cited “well-known domestic abuse and dissension in the marriage at the time of the bombing.” Interviewed recently, Vroman recalled receiving the petition but said he did not pursue an investigation. Sweeney has denied any involvement in the bombing, which left Bari severely injured.




Apr 14, 2003 – To Berkeley writer Kate Coleman, she. … Two prominent authors will examine the life and legacy of Judi Bari, an aggressive defender of …

Mangled History – Cursor.org




Feb 17, 2005 – Kate Coleman and Encounter Books’ not so secret take down of Judi Bari, Earth First!, and the ‘dead-enders’ of the environmental movement.


SWEENEYDIDIT.COM. A reader writes: “Did you know that Mike Sweeney has put up a couple of Bari-related web sites, with the apparent purpose of discrediting Kate Coleman? They’re at: colemanhoax.com and baribooks.com. The really interesting thing is that there’s a link to the baribooks.com site on the Amazon page for Coleman’s book! Apparently Sweeney paid for this privilege — click on the “What’s this?” line near the “Sponsored Links” section of the Amazon page for an explanation. Sweeney doesn’t put his name on the baribooks.com site, but it’s his. Here’s the WHOIS information: Registrant: P.O. Box 1001, Ukiah, CA 95482. Domain name: BARIBOOKS.COM Administrative Contact: Sweeney, Michael <sweeney12@hotmail.com> P.O. Box 1001, Ukiah, CA 95482 US 707 468 9710.”

BUT THANKS TO CHERNEY and his “movement” lawyers who had The Lord’s Avenger Letter tested for DNA we know that a female sealed the envelope containing the letter, a male licked its stamp. Let’s find out who, shall we?


A DOZEN WELL-AIMED SUBPOENAS for a command DNA party and we’ll find out who, but the forces of law and order so far don’t want to find out who bombed Judi Bari because it seems that powerful interests prefer to pay out $2 million federal tax dollars and to tap Oakland’s taxpayers for $2 mil more to pay off a small group of crooks associated with the late mystery woman, including her ex-husband. The crooks have successfully cashed in on both the myth of Bari herself and the myth that she was bombed by the FBI. Or a Christian zealot. Or a free floating misogynist. Or a logger. Or an amalgam of all of the above, as all of the above are slam dunk villians wherever disbelief is willfully on hold.


LOCALLY, the Bari myth is now perpetuated most enthusiastically by persons for whom Bari’s Redwood Summer campaign was either far too radical or who were non-participants. The Bari myth’s propogandists don’t allow skeptics to discuss the case at any of Northern California’s free speech radio stations, including KPFA, KMUD and KZYX where a whole range of no-go subject matter is disallowed.


IF I WERE SWEENEY I think I’d lie low and continue to hope the cops remain uninterested in solving the case rather than set up mercenary websites which only beg the question of how it has come to be that the ex-husband has remained off the primary suspect list? Of course it is true that a couple of books on the case are in preparation but, as of today, nobody knows what either book will say. Why not wait to renew the slander campaign against critics of the politically correct version of events until the books are out?

Jan 15, 2005 – Drawing on extensive interviews with her friends, comrades, and critics, Kate Coleman describes Bari’s struggle for selfhood against her …

The Secret Agenda of author Kate Coleman


The Secret Agenda of Author Kate Coleman and the real story of Judi Bari and Earth First! Below are some of the more important inaccuracies contained in The …

C O L E M A N T R U T H . C O M


Reviews: ‘The Secret Wars of Judi Bari’ … Kate Coleman had a peripatetic upbringing in New Jersey, New York, Florida and California before graduating from …

The Judi Bari Website


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