Thursday, January 29, 2009

Where will the gathering be?

Visit this link to see the rap from last year on this very topic.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Notes from Thanksgiving Council

I apologize in advance for the readability (or lack there of) of these minutes. This is how I got them so have at it. I've xxx'd out gatherer's names since I don't have permission to publicily post them.



Reported By RXXX GXXX:

We met and talked all afternoon Friday and Saturday (November 28+29.) Almost 30 people present (listed below.) On Saturday, KENDALL CLARK, Forest Supervisor of the Carson N.F., sat + listened + talked with us for 2 or 3 hours.

I have condensed + edited a lot, as follows:

Comments on a given topic I have put together, wherever voiced. If Kendall of the F.S. was present, I have worked the comments with [→] in the left margin, so readers can know what went down with the F.S. present, and what was just among our group.

(Not all these were present at the same time.)

We met at FXXXX's place. Although he did not actually appear at council we all owe him a big THANK YOU, FXXXXX! WE LOVE YOU!

In general: most of us seemed very pleased at the same calm and order of the discussions, without a feather or focalizer. Exceptions noted below.


☼ = Consensuses
→ = Comments with FS present
~ = New Topic


☼We will hold a SCOUT COUNCIL on May 1, and another on June 1.

☼ The MAY 1 SCOUT COUNCIL will take place near LITTLE DRY CREEK, in the GILA N.F., in S.W. New Mexico.

☼ We will hold SPRING COUNCIL on June 10th.

☼At the Gathering in June and July, a DAILY MEETING will take place between F.S. RESOURCE people and RAINBOW people. This will be at an ACCESSIBLE COMMON SPACE at RAINBOW MID-MORNING.

☼ Office/ Banking council point of contact is P.O. BOX 251, TRES PIEDRAS NM, 87577. There are volunteers to coordinate the effort.

☼ We agree to HONOR ALDO LEOPOLD and his works on behalf of Mother Earth. We encourage everybody to continue his vision and works.

After an OM and a preliminary round of a white feather (which we used loosely), GXXXX BXXXXbegan with a lovely image:

Our world Rainbow movement as a green tree. The growing tips are the gatherings in new and especially war-torn areas: Bosnia, Turkey, Cambodia, etc. At these “buds� kids teach kids new ideas. We are the “trunk: and “tap roots� source of many trends- Recycling, Silence, peace activism, clean-up etc.

☺ SET-UP, P.R., etc.

☺ PRESS- Hostile and / or bad press caused much IRE. GXXX SXXXX (G.S.) called for a satellite linked news network, for quick release of videos. RXX SXXX (of CO.) would help.

SXXXX BXXX spoke on behalf of FXXXX. A “Press Crew� already exists! A 3 page news letter is available. Email Address:
Website is:

Summary of newsletter:

Objective: to get “main stream cameras� to any incident BEFORE attacks and harassment occur. It is hoped this would be a deterrent. A network of “passionate volunteers� expects to make a daily report + get it to town + on the net.

Press escorts to give tours of our beauty, sports, etc. Past actions in Pinedale + Elsewhere of this crew were cited much good publicity. Past failures need for onsite volunteers with camera – typers – etc.

→ Finally, in the presence of Kendall Clark (K.C.), the F.S. rep., Garrick suggested we pre-exempt wild statements by sheriffs etc., by a JOINT PRESS RELEASE with the F.S. RESOURCE people sometime.

→ this idea met with general approval (Not a formal consensus.)


Many voices deplored harassment and drunkenness at front gate. SXXX WXXX WXXX (SWW) offered his yurt for gate use; GXXXX offered to spend at least some time, in the yurt.
He hoped RXXX RXXX would be around to work the gate like last year. (RXX are you out there?) They’d pass out rap 107 and 701, etc. SWW also wanted a camp with GOATS SET UP near Kid Village (Ho-o-o!)

Cascadas pointed out a need for more Doctors and healers.

A TOWN MEETING was discussed; they’ve worked well in the past. GS and others offered to help, we don’t yet know if we will go south to the Gila, or North to the Carson. GB suggested 2 meetings, say in Silver City or Reserve and TAOS, sometime next spring; (April?) but only with fire, hospital, and emergency personnel (at first)

→ A need was felt to meet with local Hispanic people, sooner the better. We want to avoid an incident like ’95, when IXXX de VXXXand a bunch of Chicano loggers and activists came to us angry. Hospitality barely prevented hostility.

→ Our friend and lawyer Coyote JXXX MXXX (JM) recalled how he had heard one of de VXXX’ people say “We’re gonna shoot some rainbows.� He (JM) called Congressman Tom Udall; a mediator came out; etc. (There’s a lot more to this story.) Point is; we don’t want a repeat; and, lawyers with connections can FORESTALL problems, by their mere presence. (See more on this below.)


AXXXX DXX (AD) had a lot to say. He’s been busy, and he brought news from all over: From LOUISIANA: FXXX is there with a kitchen feeding many, many people. FELIPE is there too. Hurricane Ike’s damage is widespread.

CURRENT NEED: A storm lashed Low Island Is inhabited by a small group of “HUMMA� people in damaged houses. Officials want to move them off island to DRILL FOR OIL. They need VOLUNTEERS to hold the land, rebuild, and maybe to bring supplies by boat. [Contact #??] (Blockade runners? RG)

AD: A brother, STEVE KUBLIN, was MURDERED between Nov 8-11, 2006. He was known as a “gentle soul� who hitched to Thanksgiving councils etc. His body was found beside a Colorado highway not far from Paonia. We have offered a reward of $5,000.00 for info on the killer. An anonymous source has fingered a 23-year-old Paonia man, Jeremy Hodges, who has been arrested. If this bust proves valid, we would like to reward this anonymous source; Pledges of $ are being collected; send no money now, but please pledge something, via 970-252-4023 the idea is: It should be known;


And it will PAY WITNESSES to help us.

GS; Our brother SXXXX is sick, may be dying. He has worked for us long and hard. Please call him and let him feel part of us. 916-XXXX


Our hard-working shantisena team is sorely taxed.

AD: Death Camp is testing us. They’re a disruptive group – Why? Are they being paid to dog our steps? If not, they surely act that way. Their acts – swearing, shouting, attacking, squirting urine on passersby – are kids saying “help me.â€�? (Several other cases discussed.)

RG and others urged shantisena help in towns, not just to pay off shops for shoplifters as in the past, but also to prevent or nab shoplifters, especially AFTER gathering, to warn our people of “bad apples� and to gain good will.

GS; In Oregon, we caught shoplifters who were locals, and showed the sheriff something about his town and us. AD; If you see a shoplifter, you can make a citizens arrest – but here’s how: Cops don't like being superseded. Be prepared to be arrested yourself. Work in a group so you will get out quick. But be prepared to be busted. In the forest itself (said AD) he has never been busted (for a citizen’s arrest)

A need was felt for more young shantisena. Peaches (a young man), GB, GS, etc. gave examples. Much discussion:

- We need to calm angry people

- We can stop a group ( like Death Camp ) easier than an individual

- Decisions of council are not always followed through – why?

- Front gate has an important role to play

SXXXX (DXXX LXXX) spoke on the need for cameras ( with respect of course ). He wants to make a movie about Rainbow – and his vision of Rainbow. Sharp also writes and rides: he writes for ABATE, a newsletter for motorcyclists. He sees a lot in common between riders and Rainbows, and suggests a camp for them at Gatherings. Call SXXX at 845-XXXX, re ‘cycling or a groovy movie.


(DISCLAIMER: this part was most contentious, and impassioned. Please forgive lacks of selectivity and objectivity, of your scribe – me. This was hard to get. )


Friday we discussed much among ourselves;

Permit history (GB, AD, etc.);

3 years (2003-05) we had a signed permit –with massive problems each year. ’03, GB signed – there was harassment on many LEO fronts, and too many demands on the signer (who kept records of the whole thing admirably.) In ’04, a “ghost signerâ€� was used – a woman in Florida signed, and never showed up or contacted FS. Harassment continued. Such a signer is liable to a civil suit, we feel. So we haven’t used a “ghost signerâ€�. So in ’06 and ’07 we used an “operating planâ€�, an unsigned alternative which is allowed for under regulations. An O.P. is not a permit – it is a voluntary agreement between equals (Rainbows and FS), and still there was harassment, and it has tended to escalate – as at Wyoming, in the Kid Village.

FXXX: was present Friday – in ’07, he signed a permit for a regional Colorado gathering, which was not harassed like our simultaneous New Mexico “eventâ€� (whether Rainbow or not – see SP below), which was busted – 12 went to jail. GS challenged signing as putting him and others in jeopardy. FXXX said a signer is not made a “leaderâ€�; a permit can be good. In CO ’06 etc, the O.P. needed changes, and finding a council to change it was maddening to FS Resource officers like Tom Florich of WY. (Thus our CONSENSUS, see above, to meet daily onsite with FS Resource.) In our Oct ’08 meeting, Corbin Newman, Regional Forester, again asked for a signed permit so all this is not moot. CN cited “accountabilityâ€�

OXXX TXXX (OT), from Denver, proposed a lawsuit on the basis that we are a PUBLIC event, which “theyâ€� (FS) treat as a PRIVATE event. OT: FS regulations call us a “non-commercial group eventâ€�, which is a PRIVATE event. Therefore (say the FS), they may regulate us, AND, they need not supply certain services which they are obligated to provide to the public – the PEOPLE. An example would be handicap access parking [OT was involved in providing such access in CO gathering; Fred also was; many voices discussed the need for better HANDICAMP access, scouted early.]

OT wants to make a lawsuit on this point: that his, and our rights are violated by being called private.

GB: Historically, courts have rejected (in 1980), our being defined as a class (which can sue or be sued, for instance) because a class is a part of the human race; the whole race is not a class. Later (said GB) they defined us as an “unincorporated association�. RG questioned OT; “what if we don’t want the services the FS “must� provide?� “Would we be obligated?� OT had a 2 page handout on this lawsuit and a LOT of more info and ideas.

OT: Legal actions and protests distract the cops/LEO’s; they also make good publicity. Wheelchairs look good to media. GS: With JM (lawyer), GS is making a lawsuit to force the FS to obey their own regulations: in CFR 251 & 261 (Somewhere) an alternative to a signed permit, such as an “operating plan� (O.P.), is allowed. Elsewhere in the regulations the FS is compelled to use the “least restrictive� alternative; thus since O.P.’s have been accepted, they must be allowed in future. GB: If we have been “targeted�, this applies (“least restrictive�). GB etc. said an O.P. did not guarantee no harassment. GB: We need an ACLU camp, and a press group. The renegade bunch of LEO’s out of Atlanta are still likely to harass us.


→ When Kendall Clark of the Carson NF arrived Saturday. She was deluged with complaints, of harassment. (see below under LEO’s) But first she introduced herself.

→ KENDALL CLARK may be reached at 575-758-6200 or at She (KC) is a calm stately grey – haired lady of great dignity. She was attentive and responsive, spiritual at times (This sister is COOL, family, - RG.) She took notes, a few.

(Sec’y) ↓
USDA Undersecretary for
National Forest MARC REY
Regional Forester- NM., AZ.,CO., UT.

etc ↓------↓--------↓--------------↓---------------------------------↓

Lincoln NF
Cibola NF
Forest supervisor – Carson NF
/ ↓ \



The District Rangers, although they appear they appear low in this chart, actually have a great deal of power at their local level.

Notice the LEO’s (Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers) do not appear on the chart. They are a separate hierarchy;

DC head JOHN TWISS (resigned)
> ↓

B. MALDONADO, D. CHAVEZ, B. McCORMACK etc. – LEO’s (who busted us in ’07)

KC has only been on this job 4 months, but has lived in → TAOS area 2004-06. (RG complained, why do we always have to deal with new Resource personnel? We can’t discuss past offenses. Yet the same LEO’s dog us and know us too well.) (and new blood thinks anew, new broom sweeps clean. RG.)


Before KC arrived there were some more legal strategies discussed:

GB: we can file an “INTENT TO SUEâ€� on any likely harassment – this can forestall their actions. But we have to have current in-the-field evidence. It worked in NV ‘89

GS, GB etc.: MARC REY, USDA Undersec’y, is rumored to be plenty angry about what happened in WY at Kid Village, and he is allegedly initiating an investigation – by the Justice Department Inspector – General. The ACLU has also expressed interest in the case, and has drawn up some papers for us already. → Then Kendall arrived, and was questioned on the LEO’s. KC; The LEO’s work for us (Resource) – I can and do direct them.

→ GXXX SXXXXX (spoke for many): We’ve heard this too many times! (From Corbin Newman recently – RG) EVERY SINGLE TIME, the LEO’s and Incident Command TAKE OVER (voices; DISTRICT RANGERS, too!)

→GB; Yes; civilian control of the military, throughout history, is Democracy’s way

→GB; At least we are an “Incident� and not an “Emergency�

anymore – it’s better for our press coverage, and the money is better spent ( on Resource matters).

→TXXX; But, what about the FIRE set on us in WY, and the EVACUATION ORDER that caused needless panic? People abandoned their goods - - -

→PXXXX; Yeah, and we heard some of their fire crew

→LAUGHING at us, for being duped and forced out!!

→BXXX; If there’s another LEO incident in ’09 it’ll be a nightmare

→GS: There is a HISTORY of increasing violence by the LEO’s.

In the ‘90’s, they hired “cop-typeâ€� people; then, more and more “Special Forces – Delta force typesâ€�, who were promoted to supervisors. GS saw as “INEVITABLEâ€� that BLOODSHED →would occur. (GS repeated such remarks several times. He used inflammatory language. – RG.) Then the worst; As AD was saying “ we don’t want and adversarial relationship with you (FS) … “BODHI interrupted loudly;

→â€�It IS adversarial – it comes from the LEO’s! If they come to Kid Village again there’ll be a (bleep!)! (he was shouting)

→BODHI; “I am OUTRAGED at LEO’s among our CHILDREN! And, they came after our herb, which is SACRED to us!â€� He shouts rudely – KC cannot answer – VAL stands + opposed Bodhi hi Verbally – chaos + anger – people OMMM – finally, AD resumes: “A legal al atmosphere is adversarial by nature. We want instead a HEART- TO – HEART relationship. The LEO’s have a “scriptâ€�, an agenda: to create FEAR, their best tool. Fear loses power when there is LESS for the victim to live for thus, todays street kids, seeing chaos, enviro-disaster, everywhere they have less reason to live. To make such kids afraid, LEO’s become even harsher. AD; “ Some LEO’s are willing to shoot unarmed white people.â€� “Some youth, as in Death Camp, have a subculture which PUNISHES strangers using fear.â€� (Nothing to lose. Nothing to believe in. Gang mentality – RG)

→Coyote JXXX (MXXXX) (JM): Our friendly lawyer showed up when KC did.

→JM: I’m Coyote JXXX – a lawyer from Albuquerque. I have worked with many of the State’s finest law firms including Freedman, Boyd, and Daniels – a well known and powerful firm. I have worked with the ACLU as well.

→My goal: A lawyer for every incident! For every defendant, plaintiff, victim. The place for lawyers among us is to CURB the LEO’s. (JM himself, he said, had been ticketed for a “non turn signalâ€� scam in the woods, 4 miles after the alleged offense.) If lawyers are →present, things change. For example: → JM: In ’95, he helped calm some angry Chicanos. [ see P. 4 above – RG] Lawyers scare them! If we should win a suit (see P. 9 ), or obtain a “consent decreeâ€� → The LEO’s will be compelled to take “ sensitivity trainingâ€�. (ha ha!) Also perhaps pay a fine of as much as $500,000!! This scares them. We have other allies – Alan Maestas, a lawyer of TAOS, has offered to help. (RG: Alan is known and respected by me. Highly competent, dogged, former chief Public Defender here.)

Kendall CLARK (KC): Yes. You ask, where is out authority? We don’t always know. I will have out attorneys contact JM. Also, we have a meeting scheduled on Dec. 17, 2008, in Santa Fe. Can you (JM) be present?

→JM: I will try. Have court duties that day.


→KC: I've directed flood relief – I can cooperate. “You’ll find I'm a fairly sensible personâ€�.

→KC: “I feel, the land is speaking to us�. I do not want to micromanage.

→KC: In 2009, we of the FS celebrate the 100th anniversary of the works of ALDO LEOPOLD; here in TRES PIEDRES, he built a house. This giant, father of the wildlife movement, protégé of John (Muir), is my PERSONAL HERO – he knew and loved this land, established the CARSON and GILA forests. (AD and Sheila later told us more of him; see our consensus, above, to honor him.)

→GS: What about road closures? Will you cooperate?

→KC: We use them, have power to do so – we use a permit system for stock tanks, private owners, etc.

→JACK (to KC): I was in Alturas in CALIFORNIA. I saw there that $38,000 was given to any COUNTY that got a gathering – his money tempted some. By what authority?

→KC: I don’t know, I’ll ask TOM CONTERAS (name mentioned by Jack.) (She makes notes.)

→GB: The O.P. needs to be flexible. 100% approval, as we all know, is like “herding cats�. (KC agrees (as do all)) (no “blockers�) I hate to say it, but a “coalition of the willing� gets things done.

→KC: This is very hard for us. Dan Rael told me he came daily, but often couldn’t find main council – or the people he knew weren’t there – he searched fruitlessly sometimes.

→GB: Yes, Thom Florich in WY, and B. ROMERO and others have said the same thing (discussion led to CONSENSUS RE daily meeting onsite, see above P. 3 )

→GB (and GS etc.): We hear JOHN TWISS, head LEO in D.C. lied about the Kid Village incident – blamed it on us – called us ‘rock throwers’ etc. We hear he’s leaving. Good. We also hear he may be replaced by FARRELL, a (black) LEO known to us; we generally like him.

→But if officer SMITHSON is chosen – trouble! He is nasty!

→ (GS and other agree vehemently) (KC takes notes.)

→RG: When the Obama administration appoints a new USDA Secretary or Undersecretary, we want to meet with them. KC: still probably be March or so for new personnel.

→SXXXX SXXXX: I wanna know about the bad press in ’95. There were rumors that we left a “nasty mess�. Where did this come from?

→KC: Not from us. Dan Rael never complained, nor his deputy Ben Romero – no-one complained to me. In fact for Dick and Nancy (Gila and Cibola NFS), you have a remarkable record. Ben Romero, 2-3 months after the cleanup, was amazed, and positive; he couldn’t even find “tiny piecesâ€� of trash.


At the end of KC’s visit, we discussed sites briefly. Next morning (SUNDAY) some of us went over maps.

→KC: Of the sites we discussed ( in OCT – RG), one site north of LUNA< NM, (in the Gila), looks good to me.

→KC: It’s a flattering plateau – big pines, park-like – it’s wild and beautiful, but is there water for gravity feed (uphill)?

→GB: This area is the same “ bio-plateau� as our ’79 ARIZONA site.

→GB: RE scouting: near our ’77 NM site, N of the JCT. of the GILA and BLACK rivers, is worth looking at.


Saturday evening, after KC of the FS left, we continued; PEACE, GS, GB, Allis, etc:

Let's appeal to BILL RICHARDSON (NM governor, Commerce Secretary – designate). He's a possible ally.

GS: We should BEG for PROTECTION from LEO's, in person from Richardson; let's also meet OBAMA in person!

GB: I've asked FS for an inventory of possible (future) sites, and a plan to protect them – 100 sites eventually?

PEACE: I can help with the PR/press team – on the net

S P (and others): In 2007, in NM late JULY there was a “Full Moon Circle Ceremony� (where 12 were arrested.) We (i.e. SP) made a permit application and refused to sign same. So the FS understood the permit issue then and there.

SP: Yet, me and my lawyer (JM) were “cut outâ€� of the subsequent negotiations – this was unfair.

SP: The event was converted into a Rainbow event. Also an OP was turned down (by LEO Maldonado et al – RG) Was this because a permit was signed in CO (by FXX?)

FRED: I simply put notices up on the web – maybe that was how FS found out about it (event in NM)

RG: By word of mouth we, (Abe, Patha, I, Bob, Tony etc.), set up event as Rainbow. I was one of 12 busted, a volunteer lawyer helped us, we didn't intend to exclude SP but simply needed to defend ourselves, with counsel that volunteered (this case could still lead to a suit, if necessary – IMHO RG)

GB: In legal matters, remember, in court or out, the right argument does not always win. For instance, when we were busted (99 PA case) Judge Samuel J. Alito said to us (before he sent us to the slammer): “Why don’t you get someone broke (“immune from suitâ€�) to sign? You help paupers, get one to help you – a broke person can't be suedâ€�. (Imagine a judge so misguided. ( a fellow Princeton grad too, tsk, tsk – RG)

GB: So, we need to ask; who's on the bench? It's relevant.

JM: Win or lose, it's Public Relations. Here in NM, ayahuasca is legal because of a decent justice system here. It's hopeful.

RG: Well that's it. I'm tired of this job but also I'm proud. We talked TRUTH AND JUSTICE. GREAT SPIRIT, help us, and thanks.


Two poems

From AXX's notes --

Tipis and Tribe
Drums and dancing
I feel their drums
I feel their wild
Tribal energy Tribal magic
Tribal Thunder
I feel their drums
I feel their wild
The call of the wild
Echoes off Tipis and Tribe

The morning sun reflects on snow covered mountains
Laughter lifts skyward
On cold morning air.
Winter's embrace is just
Around the corner.
Tipi smoke rises
Over sound of a tribe
Greeting cold morning air
As morning sun reflects
On snow covered mountains

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why Council?

In the 21st Century, we have Facebook and Twitter, Tribe and Email. We have cells phones and Crackberries and a million tools to help us communicate, so why do we need to sit down in a circle on the land and council to create community and positive gatherings?

I'm glad you asked.

For those who don't know me, I'm not a Luddite by any means. I work in the bowels of computers all day long and have for close to twenty years. It's my paycheck and I'm completely comfortable with technology. If I weren't, I wouldn't have all these blogs and websites and send emails to hundreds of people on a regular basis and spend hours each day tuning queries and fussing over versions of dlls and hacking the registry. Yet, electronic communication only takes us so far.

So why Council?

Because when we sit in a circle with our brothers and sisters under an open sky with the soil beneath our butts, we communicate on so many levels.

Because when we pay attention to our brothers and sisters body language and breath, we are communicating on a non-verbal level.

Because when we hold open councils with lots of advance notice so everyone who wants to can participate, we increase the diversity of viewpoints represented (not just those we agree with).

Because when we council with people we don't like, don't trust, or don't know, we learn how to create peace in the world. Peace fails when people of differing beliefs, backgrounds, goals and desires cannot communicate with each other. Peace is a practice that we participate in when we council.

Because when we council on things some of us already know how to do, we are sharing our hard won knowledge with the next generation and paying it forward. We owe it to our ancestors to pass on the wisdom they shared with us.

Because when we council with fresh faces, we get fresh perspectives on problems we are facing.

Because when every voice has a chance to communicate by breath, words, body language, facial expressions, hand holding, and the sharing of thought, we create a bond, a community in the same way that two people deeply in love share physical contact to enhance their intimacy.

Because we truly have no leaders and the only way to make decisions in an open, respectful and peaceful process is to hold councils on the land and invite all people to participate.

Because when a gathering happens without councils and a decision needs to be made, it will be made by a small group of of people who have known each other for many years and may not consider the needs, desires and beliefs of all.

Because decisions need to be made at gatherings all the time: where to park cars, how to distribute food, how to keep ourselves and our family healthy, how deep to dig shitters, where to gather next month or next year, where do we want our family to be in the year 2020?

Because collectively we have so much wisdom and when we collect ourselves in one time and place to share that wisdom, we can change the world.

Because counciling is a practice just like meditation and practice gives us the tools and the strength to council or meditate when we are loosing our peace.

Because the only alternative to council is governments telling us what to do or how to live.

Because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Because we are the future, and if we can't create peace by respecting the needs of everyone, who can?

(Thanks GB for the idea)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

USFS Investigation into July 3 Incident

Some friends of mine put together an outline of how to submit information to the investigation. It's very useful, so if you haven't submitted your report yet, I suggest you read this and follow what ever you feel is revelant. As far as sending copies of your statement to them, do so if you like. If you don't like, that's cool too. If you want to make sure your statement is public info, I'd recommend emailing a copy to as well. If you don't want to, that's cool too. Please if you have thing to say, please submit it.

**************Begin forwarded message*************

D. Wirtshafter, Attorney at Law
S. Addison, PCU_/Free Assembly Project

1 January 2009 - PUBLIC RESOURCE INFO -

Rainbow Investigation by OIG - I. Full Info ~

~ Witness Statements & Evidence are needed for an Inspector General's
investigation of Rainbow Gathering harassment... a new opportunity
to bring extreme Forest Service tactics to light, and stop interference
in peaceable public gatherings for expression and prayer.


In a phone conference with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on 12/9/08, outgoing Under Secretary Mark Rey disclosed that an investigation was launched last July in the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG), related to incidents at 'Rainbow Gathering '08' in Wyoming. Our factfinding started the next day, with phone queries to OIG headquarters in DC, followed by a faxed letter on 10/13.
A response came by phone on 12/18 from their office in Denver, where this case was referred... the Assistant Special Agent In-Charge confirmed the protocol for public inputs, and discussed their procedures at some length.

This advisory draws on the counsel of experienced volunteers & legal workers around the gatherings, presented in 2 parts:
Here, "I. Full Info ~"... reporting complete facts on the OIG investigation, its scope, status, and requirements, and providing suggestions & resources for preparing submittals.
In tandem, "II. Discussion ~"... examining the process & politics of an Inspector General review, with concerns for key issues in any 'Rainbow' investigation, and cautions on possible outcomes.


The stated focus is the July 3 incident at Kid Village -- defined at the outset by the original request within USDA, although the OIG Special Agent could not confirm the source or substance by phone.
In this light, it was made it clear to him that this was NOT an isolated incident, but "extreme and bellweather" in a long pattern of escalating harassment, crossing a new threshold of violence: It was the first 'Rainbow' gathering where LEO's had actually fired weapons (of any kind) at unarmed people -- although in recent years various provocations have approached this level of danger.

The July 3 incident is significant and worthy of investigation in its own right -- but it is inextricable from the broader history, and has to be understood in this context. To this end, some background perspectives were outlined in the call -- especially the 'Group Use' permit controversy which has raged for 12 years and remains unresolved, and the targeted police roadblocks which were found unconsitutional in 2 Federal courts, yet persist.

Curiously, the lead agent on this OIG case was unaware of the concurrent investigation and ensuing Report of ACLU-Wyoming. All this was explained on the phone, and their October 3 Report was conveyed with thanks in a followup eMail to the Denver office.


The following address is confirmed, with a further option of using email:

attn: William Busby, Asst. Special Agent In-Charge
USDA Office of Inspector General -- Investigations
12136 W. Bayaud Ave. - Ste. 210
Lakewood, CO 80228
Bill Busby

~ Reference 'Investigation.... Rainbow '08....' (this is flexible), Case # KC899-0025.
~ Send materials by Certified Mail to confirm delivery, if possible.

1st -- they need 1st-hand written accounts of the July 3 incident, as well as photos and video documentation provided by the makers... supported facts are useful, proselytic rants are not.
Then -- also document other incidents & issues at the Wyoming '08 Gathering, to establish the pattern of official actions and sway of applied policies at this event... (this may extend to previous gatherings as well, 'pushing the scope' -- more on this in Pt. II).
Send signed/affirmed originals*, with reliable contact information... agents may need to follow up by contacting witnesses directly, and sometimes interviewing them in-person.


-- Writing a Statement: Give a simple chronological account of the incident(s); short numbered paragraphs are best. State the location, date, and time, what you were doing there; describe what occurred with careful details on actions & statements made, and provide names, agencies, & badge numbers of the Officials involved. Say what YOU know or observed... reports from known sources can be noted, but unconfirmed hearsay is not useful.

If helpful, use this 'OIG-Rainbow' Statement Form, prepared as a formal
presentation to this case investigation, with instructions included --
downloadable in 'RTF' format, easily adapted as a clean final document.

-- *Signing with Affirmation: Per OIG, it was "not critical" to sign with a notary, but this is still the best way to confirm one's identity as signer. As an alternative, include the following affirmation at the end, which serves to authenticate the statement & signature under Federal law:

"I declare under the penalties of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746
that the above statements are true."

-- Submitting via eMail: Sending statements by postal mail is better, but OIG agreed to accept information by email as well. You cannot actually 'sign' an email, so the above Affirmation is especially important. It's a good idea to compose your statement as a printable attached document (Word '.doc', 'rtf', or 'txt' format), cleaner than an in-line message on an email page. Also, request confirmation that it was received and entered into the case record.

- - Presenting Photos, Videos, & Audios: If you took photos or videos of an incident, or made an audio recording, such items must be 'authenticated' - i.e., affirmed as a true record of events, made by you personally. (Download an all-purpose 'Authentication' form here, ask for help if needed.)
This carries far more credibility than anonymous Web images or 'YouTube' videos... and it makes these items usable for legal purposes, and admissible as evidence if needed.

-- Preserving Documentation: Rights advocates & allies need to know what goes into this investigative record, what statements and records are presented, and to make sure that these materials are preserved for public-interest research and legal purposes. An agreeable attorney can protect this information and share it appropriately... please send copies of OIG submittals, and/or cc- by email:

Don Wirtshafter, Attorney email:
PO Box 18 (7002 State Rte. 329)
Guysville, OH 43735

Questions, ideas, debate, and support are encouraged.



Respectfully: scottie addison Don Wirtshafter
PCU_/Free Assembly Project Attorney at Law
St. Louis, Missouri Guysville, Ohio