#330 Please Act To Protect Rainbow Family And Your Rights

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006
Subject: #330 Please Act To Protect Rainbow Family And Your Rights


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #330 – Monday, 26 June 2006

Don E Wirtshafter, Attorney at Law, a well known activist in the
cannabis law reform community, has appealed for your assistance in a
message below. Writing from the ‘Rainbow’ Gathering he has asked for
our and your support. Please do whatever you can. Thank You!

A Saturday article in the Denver Post, with pictures, is one of the
latest press articles http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_3974355

A good article written before the feds came down hard

The best Rainbow website http://www.welcomehome.org


Dear Friends and Family,

I need your help to protect my “family,” the collective efforts of
tens of thousands of citizens known as the “Rainbow Family.” This
week, near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service has
taken illegal action to stop this annual assembly for expression and
prayer, in gross violation of the participants’ essential
Constitutional rights.

The ‘Rainbow’ Gatherings have borne a legacy of spiritual & cultural
pilgrimage to the National Forests since 1972, the purest exercise of
open consensual assembly in our time. The annual ‘Gathering of the
Tribes’ draws thousands over the first week of July, focusing on the
4th as a holy day of prayer for peace and freedom. In recent years
small regional events in this mode have emerged, and such gatherings
have taken place in many nations around the world.


Some say the “Rainbow” Gathering is the continuation of the idealism
of Woodstock. I think of it more as my annual spiritual retreat and
family reunion. Since 1980, I have gathered with my family to compare
ideas and pray for peace. I arrive loaded with the burdens of my
work, depressed about the world situation. Each year I depart with my
faith in humankind renewed and with the energy to fight the beast
another year.

The rainbow family is not organized in any way; it is an exercise in
self-determination and cooperation in the public interest, without
need of government controls. We understand that no matter what comes
down, it is the respect and care for each other that win in the end.
We have no leaders or leadership, we have no offices or officers, we
have no treasurer or treasury. We sit in counsel, often for days at a
time in order to make mutual decisions, but there is no power to
enforce these decisions on any individual. In the end, just like in
society, it works because enough responsible people make sure that
what needs to be done gets done.

We have been doing rainbow gatherings for over 30 years, each time in
a different national forest across the country. We come in and set up
a village in the woods. Cooperative kitchens pour out a wide variety
of foods. Seminars on just about any topic are run by the hour. The
Rainbow is known as a healing gathering; people with various ailments
come for help. Here in one place they can receive healing, from
herbalists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and masseuses working with
osteopaths and physicians. These healers work as a team and share
their knowledge in a holistic approach that teaches all involved a lot
about the roots of medicine.

Religious groups, ranging from Christians to Hare Krishnas set up
camps. It’s truly a free society. We go pretty far back in the woods
to get away from the ills of civilization like alcohol and hard drugs.
We have our gathering and then restore any damage we cause to the
woods. And we have a perfect record of restoration of the forest.

It’s great to walk through a gathering and see so many people but not
a scrap of paper on the ground, not a cigarette butt in sight. Each
year we train thousands of newcomers how to get along in the woods
without destroying the place. Knowledgeable Forest Servide ‘Resource’
personnel love us; it’s the Federal bureaucrats and police from
Washington who are on our case.


The Bush Administration has spent millions of dollars trying to stop
the Rainbow Gatherings. They are enforcing a ‘Noncommercial Group
Use’ permit regulation that is impossible for unaffiliated individuals
to comply with. 36 CFR 251.54 They require that that someone sign as
an agent for a fictional group entity named as permit Holder — which
then must assume full liability from the Government and bind
participants vicariously to its terms.

By the creed of the gatherings, no one can appoint themselves to such
a position. More importantly, such an ad hoc gathering has no legal
capacity to designate agents or act as a group party in any way. As a
result, individuals are denied personal standing in First Amendment
exercise and subjected to harsh criminal prosecution for being
anywhere near the area.

The Forest Service requires that a permit be applied for in advance of
the gathering. And they use any excuse possible to deny a permit
application when we manage to submit one. This year their denial was
based on the fact that a logging company had a permit to log in a
nearby parcel of the national forest, even though there is no logging
activity present whatsoever. The site is far remote from any
inhabitants — but still the Forest Service is all over our case.

Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to block this harmless
gathering from taking place. The scariest aspect of all this is how
Homeland Security is using these gatherings to perfect their
techniques of martial law. Regulations written for the Federal
Emergency Management Authority to deal with natural disasters are now
being used to crush dissent in this country.

Each year the Rainbow Gathering is declared a “National Incident” and
federal military law ensues. A Special Agent is appointed “Incident
Commander”, with a Delegation of Authority, a large law enforcement
“Team”, and huge budget to control the gathering. Qualified Forest
Service administrators lose their power, while the county sheriff and
other officials are brought into targeted law enforcement actions by
inclusion in the Incident Team and other inter-agency agreements. Each
year Homeland Security gains more power over the individuals involved.


At this writing Forest Service law enforcement has issued over 500
tickets to the early arrivals at the gathering in Colorado. They have
blocked the road and have prevented food and water from reaching those
who managed to get into the gathering before the police roadblock was
set up.

The 500 people with tickets are being herded into trials like none
anyone has seen before in America. These pseudo trials are prototypes
for what Homeland Security will use in the cases of insurrection or
even a plague. Defendants lose the right to a public hearing (this
year these hearings are being held behind closed doors in a firehouse
garage near the site.

Attorneys and legal observers have been denied the right to even view
these trials. The defendants are not explained their rights nor
afforded the right to an attorney, the right to summon witnesses, the
right to a jury trial, etc. Defendants ordered to appear each day at
9:00 a.m. and sit in the hot sun without water or sanitary facilities
until their trials. Some have now been waiting for several days.
These abbreviated trials only take a few minutes. Last year I tried
to help a string of defendants defend themselves in these “trials” but
felt helpless to do much as the system was clearly stacked against

This year is especially frustrating to me as I have to watch this come
down from 6000 miles away. Right now I am in Hungary at a medical
conference for my employment. I am flying home on Thursday and plan
on being in court Saturday, July 1st, to defend some of my best
friends who got a ticket for “illegally gathering” as they drove down
a public highway.


The confrontation this year is getting more intense by the minute,
which is why I am asking for your help. The only way to stop a
massive conflagration in Colorado in the next few days is to get
thousands of people to contact their political representatives as well
as the responsible administrators at the Forest Service to demand that
this repression stop immediately.

Please, even if you can never conceive of yourself at a Rainbow
Gathering, you must understand that if these citizens lose their
constitutional right to gather, we all lose such rights. This year
the Rainbow Gathering is being used to set precedents that will be
turned against drug policy, civil liberty, anti-war or other activists
in the near future.

Following are some instructions on who to write and/or call We hope to
start flooding the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service
with complaints starting Monday morning and not stopping until
harassment stops. It is especially important that we get a few
Congressional representative and Senators concerned enough to write
the Forest Service for an explanation of why so much money is being
spent to keep people from camping in the National Forest set aside for
exactly that purpose.

Please keep the pressure on these bureaucrats until we are able to
spread the word that the government has backed off and that the
gathering can proceed unhindered.

If you do not know the contact information for your Congressman or
Senator, you can find this here http://www.house.gov/ . You can call
your representative at 212-224-3121. Besides your representatives in
Washington, please call and write the following people to voice your
protest to this harsh treatment of people who just want to go on a
camping trip in the woods. Keep the calls coming until word is passed
around that the government has called off their dogs. Please forward
this letter to your friends and feel free to re-post it on any
listserv or website you wish.

Don E Wirtshafter


Please Contact As Many of the Following As Possible

USDA, Natural Resources & Environment

Mark Rey, USDA Undersecretary

1400 Independence Ave. SW, # 217-E, Washington, DC 20250

Tel 202-720-7173 Fax 202-720-0632



Kathleen Gause, Director 202-205-8534

USDA Forest Service Civil Rights Staff, Stop Code 1142, 1400
Independence Ave., S.W., Washington., DC 20250-1142

Tel 202-205-1585


Office of the Chief

Dale Bosworth, Chief

USDA Forest Service, Yates Federal Building (4NW Yates), 201 14th
Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250

Tel 202-205-1661 Fax 202-205-1765

Executive Assistant, Karla Hawley, Tel 202-205-1195


Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests

Mary H. Peterson, Supervisor

2468 Jackson Street, Laramie, WY 82070-6535

Tel 307-745-2300 Fax 307-745-2398


U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region (R-2)

Rick Cables, Regional Forester

P.O. Box 25127, Lakewood, CO 80225-0127

Tel 303-275-5451

Richard Stem, Deputy Regional Forester, Resources Tel 303-275-5451

Steve Silverman, Office of General Counsel, Regional Attorney Tel

Bill Fox, Law Enforcement & Investigations, Special Agent in Charge
Tel 303-275-5253

Jerome Romero, Deputy Director of Civil Rights Tel



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Prepared by: Richard Lake for DrugSense =.