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E-M:/ Fwd: Suspicious Fire Destroys Van of Political Activist

Enviro-Mich message from "Rachel Martin" <rmartin@envirolink.org>

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On 5/27/99, at 2:35 PM, Earth First! Media Center  <hellbenders@envirolink.org> wrote: 

>May 27, 1999
>Contact Person:
>Josh Raisler Cohn
>440-775-4688 (through may 31)
>	On May 19, 1999 a suspicious fire destroyed the van of political
>activist Josh Raisler Cohn, who has been receiving harassment and threats
>for two years. It seems Josh has been targeted because of his
>environmental activism. He is an organizer with the Allegheny Defense
>Project (ADP), a Clarion, Pennsylvania-based group working to protect the
>Allegheny National Forest from destructive clearcutting practices. The
>fire started at approximately 4 a.m. while the van was parked behind his
>home in Oberlin, Ohio.
>	The fire is currently under investigation by the local police,
>the fire department and the FBI. The fire is being regarded as suspicious
>because there was what appeared to be the remains of a melted plastic gas
>container underneath the steering wheel, which looks like the origin of
>the fire. Some evidence has been collected out of the van and is being
>analyzed, and the van itself is still in Josh's driveway.
>	Josh has been receiving threats since the fall of 1996, when he
>became active with the ADP. He has had his car spraypainted, received
>death threats through email and through the postal service, been followed
>and had his movements documented over a 22-hour period in a threat this
>April. A wanted-style poster was put up on the Oberlin College Campus,
>where Josh is a student, offering a $500 reward for whoever "stopped him."
>He has also had a photo of himself with crosshairs drawn over his head
>placed in his mailbox.
>	There is a long history of documented violence against
>environmentalists, including people being run off the road, having their
>homes burned, their pets killed, being attacked, shot at, and even car
>bombed. May 24th was the 9-year anniversary of a car-bombing in California
>which seriously maimed two environmental activists working to protect the
>redwood forests. In March of this year an environmental group in New
>Mexico had a pipe bomb placed in their mailbox that would have killed
>anyone within several hundred feet had the fuse not failed.
>	While the FBI is investigating the incident there is a long
>history of the FBI failing to take threats against activists seriously,
>failing to investigate acts of violence, infiltrating and disrupting
>environmental groups as well as fabricating evidence against activists.
>Currently the FBI is considering Josh a suspect in the arson of his own
>van despite the history of threats  against him and other environmental
>	"Law enforcement does not seem to be taking these threats
>seriously, and the people who are committing these crimes are free to
>continue harassing me. This lack of protection is common when activists
>working to protect the environment and human rights are targeted, leaving
>people like myself vulnerable and terrorized," said Josh.
>	A fund is being established to help Josh pay his legal fees and
>to defray the costs to him from this attack. Check can be made out to
>"Josh Raisler Cohn" and sent to "Josh Raisler Cohn, 1025 Spring St.,  Ann
>Arbor MI 48103".
>Earth First! Media Center
>Andy Caffrey, director
>We're trying to remove the obstacles to your involvement.
>We could do so much more with your help. Forest activists are now being
>bombed, murdered, and assassinated without any outrage expressed in the
>media! We have just discovered that the violent "Wise Use" movement is now
>tracking every one of our postings. Your involvement would be an invaluable
>aid to our ability to maintain vigilance.
>Why not show this material to your friends? Just print it out and make some
>photocopies to help get the word out and to help us raise operating funds.
>Even more helpful material is available at our web site. Our postings about
>David Chain's killing have now gone out to over a million people on five
>continents and been translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish
>and Russian. Portugese is next!
>We have just gone through a tormenting last seven months and are *still*
>flat broke with broken down gear, scant supplies, and late bills to cover.
>If we are to continue on we need money and certain supplies such as Epson
>740 ink cartridges (B&W and Color), zip disks, videotape, postage, file
>cabinets and subscriptions to periodicals. And we could really use a
>scanner for our iMac so we could make photographs available to you. Please
>send contributions payable to "Earth First!" to
>Earth First! Media Center
>P.O. Box 324
>Redway, CA  95560

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