Posts Tagged Tim DeChristopher
From Orwellian executive orders, stem-cell research, torture, abstinence education to compromised federal appointments, broken countries, armies, educational and economic systems, the undoing will take years (short list).
Interior Secretary Salazar undid the illegal BLM auction at which Tim DeChristopher did his brilliant act of civil disobedience. Regrettably, US Attorney Brett Tolman, a Bush (Hatch) appointment, has decided to prosecute Tim on two felony charges, up to 10 years in prison.
I write today ask you for two things:
- Send this to anyone you may know in Utah who can help get bodies to the pre-arraignment rally in Salt Lake City on Tuesday morning.
We were ecstatic when another American Hero, James Hansen called to offer his support at Tim’s arraignment (another reason to recommend this post and urge more media).
- Please recommend this post at DailyKos (must be existing diarist) in hopes of getting some national media attention on this travesty of justice motivated by the Oil Lobby and right-wing politics.
We simply cannot let Tim go to jail for THAT!
You will recall Tim DeChristopher is the University of Utah student who disrupted a last minute, illegal oil and gas lease give-away auction of pristine public land in Utah last December. Timeline here.
Never mind that the auction was declared illegal Never mind that no one has ever been prosecuted for not paying for BLM leases awarded at auction. Never mind that we raised the money to pay the leases and the BLM rejected it and is now demanding Tim pay an $81,000 fine.
With all the political under currents at play, it’s impossible to predict the outcome. We know Matheson has submitted candidate names for replacement US Attorneys. We also know that an unnamed oil lobbyist knew about the indictment before Tim’s lawyer did.
We as citizens of this planet understand that Tim’s actions symbolize something much larger than a dysfunctional government auction but a corrupted system catering to old dirty energy. This fossil fuel pathway is the same one that will lead us over the climate tipping point if we do not ALL peacefully object to its destructive course. Our collective future is at stake, we must stand in solidarity with Tim to advocate for the world we want to see our children grow up in today or face the largest regret in human history tomorrow. Thank you ALL (and a special thanks to Michael Raysses for his great and ‘rescued diary‘ –Anatomy of a Clusterfuck)
…and of course JohnnyRook RIP
¶Tim DeChristopher’s lawyers received the bill Friday, a day after he was indicted on a pair of felony auction-rigging charges. The bill was characterized by one of the lawyers and Bureau of Land Management officials as a demand for a civil penalty unrelated to the criminal proceedings.
¶DeChristopher said he has raised around $100,000 from a broad range of supporters. Weeks after the Dec. 19 auction, he offered to make a down payment on his bids, but was flatly rejected by the BLM, which said it was too late.
¶The fine the BLM issued Friday was unrelated to any deposit or money DeChristopher owes on his bids. It opens a possible civil claim that DeChristopher can contest in an administrative appeal, according to BLM officials.
Tim DeChristopher INDICTED! US Attorney Brett Tolman (Utah) has leveled formal charges. Tim’s response
This will be a political show trial at taxpayer expense.
A grand jury indicted Tim DeChristopher this afternoon. He’s charged with two counts of violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Act.
Democracy Now: University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher explains how he “bought” 22,000 acres of land in an attempt to save the property from drilling. The sale had been strongly opposed by many environmental groups. Stephen Bloch of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said: “This is the fire sale, the Bush administration’s last great gift to the oil and gas industry.”
This is about politics. US Attorney Brett Tolman (Jason Chavetz look-alike) is Orrin Hatch’s ‘boy.’ I think we may assume Tolman has given up any hope to being retained by Obama’s Justice Department and is gunning for Jim Matheson’s (D-UT) seat or the new 4th District seat.
Utah Now (full story): He’s the 27-year-old college student and environmental activist who disrupted a public land auction last month by bidding up several parcels intended for oil and gas development. Join us as we take a closer look at what some are calling a case of modern-day monkey wrenching.
You have to give him credit for trying. Utah State Rep Mike Noel of Kanab managed to get his bill through which would punish land lease bidders who have no intention of buying those leases. This, of course, is directed at the action of our local hero, Tim DeChristopher, whose spontaneous idea managed to disrupt a fraudulent auction (the lease sales from which were later canceled by the Obama administration).
The thing is this: it’s been done. No-one would attempt to do it again because clearly the parties involved will now be very alert to any such possibility. It couldn’t happen twice. It really was the perfect protest, at the right time and done in the best possible, peaceful way. I’d call it a work of art in the civil disobedience arena, and one that cannot be duplicated.
So why do we need Rep. Noel’s bill? I guess because it always makes people feel better when they prevent something that really upset and frustrated them from happening again in the future – even if there’s no possibility of that event.
Tim DeChristopher is still the champion!
I am directing my efforts to building Peaceful Uprising to encourage, train, support and defend those who will take nonviolent direct action to defend our future. – Tim, 2.4.2009
Tim DeChristopher will hold a press conference at 4pm today at the east side of the Utah State Capitol. That’s today Feb 4, 2009
Its been my great honor getting to know Tim DeChristopher since his brilliant act of civil disobedience. But it is especially sobering to consider that he could easily end up in prison. I understand, the willingness to suffer years of incarceration is part of the romanticism of civil disobedience. But it this case, it would send a devastating signal to this generation.
One of Tim’s most ardent and more senior supporters chaffed at the decision to raise money to cover the $45,000 bond on the leases exclaiming, “What’s the point of civil disobedience if you’re not willing to go to jail?”
Just the day before, after meeting with the lawyers, Tim quietly corrected me when I used the word ‘jail’. “It’s federal prison” he reminded me. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Tim is your average exceptionally bright, humble and brave guy trying to do the right thing and suddenly faced with years in a federal prison.
Tim is at the mercy of a politically motivated federal prosecutor in a state that – lets get serious – HATES environmentalists and loves Oil & Gas jobs. If you need to be reminded, take a moment to review a few Utahn’s sentiments toward Robert Redford.
“Please know that by stopping the gas and oil development many families and communities will be hurt tremendously.”
“Interesting that all these rich people are so ‘for the environment’ and so out of touch of the rest of the people, their neighbor, brother, sister, other human beings. At what point are they going to get it (probably never) that PEOPLE and their livelihoods are more important.”
“Can you say elitist snobs or environmental hippocrites [sic]?”
Unfortunately, we are not dealing with a simple matter of right and wrong or of justice and law. Tim is facing a complex combination of forces uninterested in the future and welfare of a college student who acted out of frustration by the failure of an entire movement to stop eight years of a devastating and illegal assault on the environment by the Bush administration.
Tim’s generation is looking at a worldwide scientific community telling us its probably too late; that the environment is past the tipping point. Tim’s generation has two choices: become hysterical, or do nothing. We wonder why today’s youth are so apathetic.
Lets send a message to Tim’s generation by doing everything we can to keep him out of ‘prison.’ The alternative will not only destroy Tim’s life, and justify the apathy, but it will also signal an entire generation to just give up.
I thought I was acting alone. I thought what I did last Friday at the BLM oil and gas auction was just an individual act of civil disobedience against a fraudulent auction and against a cruel leadership indifferent to the future of my generation.
I was wrong. What I have learned since then is that America is still a place where when you stand for what is right, you never stand alone. I can now see that I acted together with all Americans who respect the right as much as the law. I stood with Thoreau, Adams, Parks and Bob Moses. I now stand with the thousands who have expressed their solidarity with my act and will join me in Washington DC on March 2nd for the Capitol Climate Action.
The tremendous outpouring of support which I have received in response to disrupting the BLM’s oil sale has been overwhelming for me. I can only assume that the thanks many of you have offered is not thanks for doing what you won’t, but thanks for awakening your own sense of efficacy. My actions were just the striking of the match head. The purpose of a match is not to light the world by its own flame, but to ignite the tinder and kindling which keeps the fire going. If my act is to be relevant, it must ignite the tinder of grassroots uprising which will burn the fires of change around the world.
The tinder of support already burning has given me hope that this country is ready to meet the urgent challenge before us. That challenge is clear and cannot be understated. James Hansen, the IPCC, Al Gore and others have warned in no uncertain terms that the next couple years are our last chance to take drastic action in response to climate change if we are to protect our civilization as we know it. I believe America is ready to make the sacrifices necessary to rise to that challenge.
For decades the environmental movement has been dominated by cadre-based organizations who told the rest of us to just let the professionals handle things. We have been told that the best we can do is to sign an internet petition and send our donations so that Big Green could hire lobbyists to fight our battles. The upwelling of grassroots energy is finally responding that we are willing and able to do much more. We have discovered that hope for genuine change resides not on K Street or with Obama, but in ourselves. This uprising holds true to the faith that our heritage of civil disobedience is not dead and that we can again make this a government of the people.
In 2009 our new Congress and new President will decide our fate. They will either show heroic courage in standing up to powerful interests and defending our future, or they will demonstrate tragic failure. Failure to respond to this unprecedented crisis. Yet they can only follow the trail we break. So as they decide, we will be there. We will be in Washington on March 2nd, and we will be in every community in America all year long refusing to surrender the future of all for the short term profits of the few. Every one of us faces our own opportunities to make a difference. By responding to those individual challenges to our conscious, together we will defend our future.
Please thank Tim in a comment on this post. And please also donate whatever you can to his legal defense.
Yesterday, in a brave act of civil disobedience, Tim DeChristopher threw a Monkey Wrench into one of the Bush Administration’s parting shots at environmentalist and the American people.
Please ask everyone you know to register their gratitude and support for Tim here or on his statement.
Media so far… Read the rest of this entry »
I have been an environmentalist for most of my life. I have marched, held signs, written letters and spoken to my Congressman. I have built trails and removed invasive species in National Parks. I have educated friends on climate change and donated to a dozen different groups. Countless others have done all these same things for decades in defense of our wilderness and a livable future.
It hasn’t worked. Even with a new administration, we are not on track for a livable future. This has been made clear by James Hanson, Bill McKibben, Al Gore and many others. The legitimate pathways to power have not provided us with the ability to defend the survival of our civilization. Yesterday I decided that the crisis facing us requires more critical action than has been taken in the past. When faced with the opportunity to seriously disrupt the auction of some of our most beautiful lands in Utah to oil and gas developers, I could not ethically turn my back on that opportunity. By making bids for land that was supposed to be protected for the interests of all Americans, I tried to resist the Bush administration’s attempt to defraud the American people.
At this point it appears that I was successful in my attempts to disrupt this fraudulent auction. The federal officials who took me into custody said that I cost the oil companies in the room hundreds of thousands of dollars and prevented 22,500 acres of land from being sold for fossil fuel development. I had a very open conversation with the federal agents about my motivations and values. They were friendly, respectful, and somewhat sympathetic.
What I did no doubt puts me at significant risk, including prison. But my future was already at significant risk. As we get closer and closer to the point of too late, we have less and less to lose from resisting. Accepting the true depth of the climate crisis is extremely scary, but the purpose of fear is to motivate us to action. Many of us have sat around countless times saying how much we needed someone to do something. If I am not willing to take a stand for my generation, then who will? This year I have come to terms with the idea that I might be my own best hope to defend my future. Hopefully all of us will realize that we are the ones we have been waiting for.
With a plot that would have done old Ed Abbey proud, a college student managed single-handedly to disrupt the BLM oil and gas lease auction sufficiently to prevent some parcels from being sold at all, and running up the prices for others.
An act of civil disobedience without any destruction being done. Clever and well-executed.
Tim DeChristopher, 27, faces possible federal charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on more than 10 lease parcels that he admits he has neither the intention nor the money to buy — and he’s not sorry.
“I decided I could be much more effective by an act of civil disobedience,” he said during an impromptu streetside news conference during an afternoon blizzard. “There comes a time to take a stand.”
The Sugar House resident — questioned and released after disrupting a U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction of 149,000 acres of public land in scenic southern and eastern Utah — said he came to the BLM’s state office in Salt Lake City to join about 200 other activists in a peaceful protest outside the building Friday morning. But then he registered with the BLM as representing himself and went to the auction room.
There, he thought about the times he has marched, fired off letters to his congressmen, signed petitions and supported environmental organizations — all to no avail.
“What the environmental movement has been doing for the past 20 years hasn’t worked,” DeChristopher said. “It’s time for a conflict. There’s a lot at stake.” [snip]
BLM official Terry Catlin said the agency didn’t want to reopen the bidding on the parcels DeChristopher snagged unless all interested parties were able to compete for the leases. That means the parcels won’t be available again until at least February — after Obama takes office — during the next scheduled auction.
DeChristopher, who acknowledged upping other bids by about $500,000, said he would be willing to go to jail to defend his generation’s prospects in light of global climate disruption and other environmental threats.
“If that’s what it takes,” he said.