[imc-st.louis] MNF_Notice of Civil Rights Violations
sca at Free-Assembly.org
Mon Jul 18 16:49:16 PDT 2005
PCU_//\_Free Assembly Project_
Washington DC «» St.Louis MO
V/F: 314-781-1042 ..... PCU at Free-Assembly.org
_//\_________________________an Association of Volunteers__/
Monday, 20 June 2005
Clyde N. Thompson, Forest Supervisor
Monongahela National Forest
200 Sycamore Street, Elkins, WV 26241 Fax: 304-636-1875
eM: cnthompson at fs.fed.us
Attn: Randy Moore, R-9 Regional Forester
Dale Bosworth, USFS Chief
Mark Rey, USDA Undersecretary
NOTICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Mr. Thompson and Associates:
When we spoke on June 15, I stated dire grievances at the
conduct of Incident Command toward citizens trying to assemble for
the Rainbow Gathering in the Cheat/Potomac Ranger District.
I notified you verbally that pretexts for denying access are flawed,
their rights are being violated systematically under color of USFS
authority, and that this must stop.
Since then the crisis has worsened: With heavy and invasive
police presence, hundreds of citations have been issued in these few
days, campers are being forced out, and vehicles towed. There are
unconfirmed reports that the National Guard, emergency medical units,
and child protective services have been alerted - even the rumors of
which are darkly chilling to peaceful assembly.
Take Notice hereby of Civil Rights Violations by USFS Law
Enforcement & Investigations and allied police agencies, with the
collusion of the USDA Forest Service - to wit:
1. Police roadblocks have targeted those wishing to exercise First
Amendment rights, blocking entry on the principal access to the
public forum site of choice. It is not an 'information checkpoint'
if passage is conditional upon a criminal citation. This is
blatantly unconstitutional, by all measures of law, agency policy,
and the cases related to such tactics against National Forest
2. The 'Group Use' permit requirement is a known trap:
Unaffiliated gatherers cannot legally sign, and if someone does, they
incur vicarious liability, and the resultant 'group Holder' is
fraudulent. They are offered no alternative means of compliance, and
therefore are inevitably criminalized.
So it is a transparent pretext for galling police contact,
intimidation, and malicious prosecution on arbitrary thresholds,
violating basic rights of privacy, association, speech, and due
3. Upon the 'S. Dryfus' permit application under duress, on June
15 the agency denied authorization on flawed environmental grounds:
There is no basis to assert that the "proposed activity materially
impacts threatened and endangered species or their critical habitat",
when the factual record is clear: Gatherings have never caused a
'significant impact' by NEPA standards - local effects are transient,
no habitat destruction occurs, and they have always adopted effective
Operating Plans and mitigation measures - so they should be
categorically excluded from EIS documentation.
4. The misuse of environmental standards is all the more critical
in a constitutional view: Where First Amendment expression and
prayer are at-stake, the agency must show a compelling interest in
denying a traditional public forum, upon proof, not hyperbole. It
cannot undercut prompt 48-hour response as required by supposing long
speculative reviews. It may not lean on the deference of courts to
arbitrary policy actions, nor shift an arduous burden of disproof
5. Law enforcement tactics are calculated to burden people who
travel for expressive purposes - those most vulnerable in remote
places, out of public view, without local support or means of fair
defense in a court far from home. Federal misdemeanor citations have
been served en masse, setting up most victims for forced pleas &
collateral fines, and warrants on those who run. For the few who
fight the charges, the process is stacked against them - with
built-in breaches of defendant privilege and due process, weak local
counsel, and loyalties of familiar cops & lawyers in District Courts.
6. The June 9 Delegation of Authority put Federal police in
control of the site and USFS policy - supplanting the Forest
Service's broad public mission & qualified personnel with the narrow
purposes and concealed grounds of enforcement, as an end in-itself.
The FEMA-based 'Incident Command' team derives further authorities
from other regional agencies paid to join, including local police
under interagency pacts -- piggybacking jurisdictions, expanding the
scope of enforcement. The agency has abrogated its mandate as
trustee for all Americans, and now asserts Federal proprietary powers
over public land - an unprecedented breach of administrative law,
excluding the public at gunpoint.
Thereupon responsible officials of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and Forest Service are called upon to make immediate
agency remedies, pursuant to 5 U.S.C.A. §553, 5 U.S.C.A. §706, 42
U.S.C.A. §1983, the United States Constitution, and proper
* Rescind the Delegation of Authority dated 6/9/05, restore qualified
USFS line officers to administration of Monongahela National Forest,
to enable constructive cooperation.
* Waive the 'Group Use' permit form & 72-hour notice requirement, and
allow a few individuals to apply as Volunteers, to fulfill basic
application elements and trigger a special use Operating Plan and
Authorization for their chosen site.
* Drop charges on all alleged 'use or occupancy' violations (36 CFR
261.10(k)), and other petty charges arising from unlawful search or
seizure of gathering participants.
Be advised that this Notice is also conveyed to the USFS
Office of Civil Rights, seeking review and redress under its auspices
for official violations as cited above... and to appropriate
Congressional committees for urgent and continuing oversight on
related Forest Service policies.
The present course of actions on this public assembly is
disastrous, endangering to public health & safety, and detrimental to
our fundamental rights and the future of the National Forests.
There is still time to turn this around... we appeal for
immediate relief on behalf of thousands now suffering fear and harms,
and upon the highest public interests.
Your conscientious response is needed forthwith.
Scott Addison, Coordinator
PCU_/FAP ~ St. Louis, MO
314.781.1042 __ sca at Free-Assembly.org
Cc: Kathleen Gause, Director
U.S. Forest Service/ Civil Rights
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