November 3, 1982

U.S. Attorney
Boise, Idaho

Dave Scott
Asst. Director for Recreation Management
Forest Service
USDA 20250


This letter is in regard to what we see as the need for clarification of the rights of people to religious assembly on public lands. Yearly since 1972 our group, Rainbow family Tribal Council has sponsored such religious assemblies which we call Rainbow Gatherings, Additionally, these Gatherings are assemblies wherein we petition the government to change its domestic and international relationship to one of Peace by -- among other actions --our being a living example of a peaceful lifestyle.

Due to increased surveillance and the current law enforcement perspective concerning our Gatherings we are going to address the following in this letter: I. Clarification of the appropriate duties of the law enforcement agencies; II, The special use permit -- which involves Forest Service planning and policy; and III. Previous and present report practices especially in relation to the Washington State Gathering of 1981.

The U.S. Constitution is explicit in guaranteeing to support the, people's unalienable right to peaceable assembly and religious expression, The associated rights of the people to free, expression and free association are likewise mandated by the Constitution to prevent interference or harassment by private, public or political interests, These rights of expression and association are essential to the maintenance of a free society.

In fact there has been interference with the Rainbow Gathering and the rights of the people attending the event, on the part of various local, regional and federal agencies.

During the most recent Gathering held outside of Council, Idaho, July 1982, the U.S. Forest Service enforcement division in conjunction with the county sheriff's department recorded license plate numbers of practically every vehicle entering.

Gathering, This has been observed and noted by many family members and was admitted to openly on many occasions by several officers from both agencies, For example, on the evening of June 20th Sheriff Jim Hileman in the presence of federal law enforcement ranger Steve Jefferies spoke to two Rainbow Shanti Sena (security people) stating it was his "duty" to record these numbers.

This was done over our objections and constitutes clear violation of numerous civil and religions liberties.

Section P 4 of our operational plan with the U.S. Forest Service provides for the Rainbow Family to have sole responsibility for security within the parking areas, Thus this intrusion amounts to breach of contract.

More importantly, the act of recording all license plate numbers of those attending interferes with the freedom of religion and the right of peaceable assembly.

First, the members of any church might be afraid to attend if they were subject to identification checks enroute.

Second, this interferes with the members' ability to concentrate on religious and spiritual activities.

Third, the list of Gatherers obtained from license plates violates the U.S. Constitution by creating a prior restraint resulting in a chilling effect on freedom of expression, speech, association and assembly for religious purpose or right to petition for peace.

Fourth, the license checks produced no warrants, no stolen cars, nor fugitives, One may conclude that law abiding citizens attended the event. This indicates no probable cause for such surveillance tactics.

Fifth, this action can make people afraid to attend next year.

An additional interference has been the excessive presence of law enforcement on site.

This presence constitutes breach of contract as specified in our operational plan in writing with the Forest Service that provides for the Tribal Council to have sole authority for security within the site; also in oral agreement with the sheriff's department and Forest Service on June 10th where it was stated by Ranger Gene Benedict and Sheriff Jim Hileman that "low key law enforcement" was their planned course of action.

with respect to our operational agreement, intelligence gathering by observation and photography amounts to unauthorized security, The continual presence of the sheriff's and ranger's teams amounts to an unauthorized security force.

These activities interfere with basic Constitutional rights: the mere presence of sheriff's posses and intelligence gathering -- interferes with freedom of expression, speech, association, and exercise of religion since surveillance photography and intelligence gathering causes a chilling effect on such freedoms.

Picture yourself attending your church picnic and being subject on arrival to license checks, police photography, and aerial surveillance of your camp, as well as horseback surveillance teams that photographed and took notes even in the personal camping areas of your assembly. This constitutes invasion of privacy.

The separation of church and state becomes violated when the vestibule of the church becomes a potential police state.

No clear or present danger of violence exists, The Rainbow Gathering has consistently presented an overwhelmingly crime-free environment, even at peak periods with 10,000 or more people present.

Few law violations by gatherers have occurred. in this year's situation, there was one incidence of illegal purchase of salmon, one reported burglary attempt (which was later reported in the Council Idaho newspaper as not being associated with the Gathering), two vehicles stolen from the Gathering, some stolen travelers checks, and a few petty thefts, These do not constitute a major or even minor set of circumstances of law-breaking.

The Rainbow Council has a consistent record of working cc-operatively with law enforcement agencies whenever a particular situation has presented the need.

The fact that license numbers were taken down and other `surveillance done did neither prevent nor cause the few incidences to be resolved. Only the incident of July 10th with Heidi Saugen who on her way from church was "busted" for possession of her sacrament (marijuana) resulted from this illegal and unauthorized surveillance.

Additionally, an "affinity group" chose to Gather at Mud Creek, 40 miles away from the Rainbow Gathering, This group was threatened with arrest, roundup, and possible National Guard action by the county Sheriff, if they bra not Gather with the Rainbow Gathering. This affinity group has given us written testimony of this harassment.

Although we can understand the presumed burden of the county Sheriff having two peaceable assemblies in his jurisdiction, this type of "high-handed" action could be prevented by his having clear written statements from the Forest Service and Justice Department on duties concerning such events.

Through this letter we are registering our formal protest of this treatment of the affinity group's Gathering.

Our equal protection rights have been violated due to differential treatment. There are no license checks on local church parking lots, University of Idaho football game parking lots, nor the town of Council's 3rd of July annual Porcupine Races, nor any other mass Gatherings, This is prejudicial and discriminatory treatment.

Recording the names and addresses of car owners amounts to compiling a membership list which cannot be obtained unless on actual, clear and present threat to the U.S. Government (Communist Party of Indiana vs. Whitcomb, 414 U.S. 441, 1914).

The names and addresses and license numbers obtained should be turned over to our Tribal Council pursuant to the freedom of association clauses of our Constitution, We have the right to know who we are and to protect membership from government intrusion and harassment,

In regard to the Special Use Permit submitted to us by the U.S. Forest Service: This is invalid and unenforceable since it was never agreed to nor applied for. The federal government through their agent Forest Supervisor Kenneth Weyers presented it to us without application; it was unsigned by the Tribal Council, This clearly fails to meet contract law requirements. Neither was there any meeting of the minds, and the papers in question were issued unilaterally.

Further, the bill for $25.00 and related penalties which was presented along with the permit is illegal in view of the Constitutional provisions preventing the government from requiring even a penny for a group of people to assemble for religious purposes, This fee restricts people's freedom of association, freedom of religious assembly, and right to gather to petition, Additionally, at its basis it is invalid due to an unenforceable contract, Furthermore the penalty clauses violate the usury laws by requiring excessive interest, And in the perspective of the whole Gathering, many recognized participating religious groups included in the event are being taxed illegitimately by this fee.

The right of the Rainbow Family to Gather is supported both by Statutory and Constitutional law.

It is a firmly settled matter in U.S. case law that the rights of people to assemble for religious purposes shall not be interfered with for secular purposes, nor because regulatory agencies deem interference appropriate, nor because the religious views expressed might be unpopular, nor because local ordinances make such prohibitions, In each instance the law has held for the people's right to attend and maintain their religious assemblies.

From July 1972 through July 1976 there were no special use permits, Nor was there any special use permit in 1981; also in 1980 there was a permit signed under duress of federal officers impeding the entrance to the Gathering.

There is currently the ongoing tradition of operational plans without special use permits or permissions, This includes also a tradition of oral contracts and agreements regarding occupation of lands, duties and proceedures, Insistence on special use permits now constitutes an estoppel in pais of a functioning set of agreement relationships.

These operational plans are available in the reports of the U.S. Forest Service from previous years or from our own records.

We have obtained, under the freedom of Information Act, the report made concerning our Gathering last year (1981) on the Colville National Forest. Without going into overbroad detail, let us inform you that the report is full of factual lapses and some blatant lies that could not have been in good faith recorded from the available evidence. Such statements as that our doctors are without M.D. certification or that "homemade hand grenade" materials have been found are utterly without basis in fact and should lead the reader to serious questioning of the reliability of the report as a whole.

Additionally, the time, effort and taxpayer expense that has gone into these often elaborate reports, often covering very far-fetched material, seems to be a wasteful and unproductive work that could have its positive aspects accomplished by much more modest means.

Further, it was stated to several of our liaison persons on different occasions by federal agents that biographies, computerized, with numbers for easy access, of people the government presumed to be our "leaders" were available to law enforcement. Yet, this item about biographies was not mentioned in the 1981 Washington Gathering report.

In regard to the issue of public policy towards us which the Colville report recommends, we feel most strongly that there is a great difference between a public policy that supports the people's right to Gather and promotes a positive cooperative relation between the people and the public service agencies, and a policy which restricts the people's right to Gather thru increased regulation, surveillance and harassment.

In order to evolve a national policy which may involve public hearings, congressional or departmental review, etc., we would be willing to appear and testify about group use of public lands especially in regard to religious or spiritual peaceable assemblies or Gathering to petition the government, We have a great deal of documentation and material which could be presented on this matter.

Our purpose in writing you is to ask for clarification on some of these matters and to make certain requests, Specifically:

1. That license plate numbers be returned to us and that any copies whatsoever stored with any government agency be eliminated; this includes any computerized notations or any other extensions of this surveillance.

2. That you take a public and actual position that will in fact protect our civil liberties.

3. We ask for clarification of the rights and duties of the officers of the law as regards religious assemblies.

4. We ask for clarification of your position as regards the legitimacy of these actions in breaking our agreements.

5. What is the agencies' probable cause for all this surveillance?

6. Where does the duty of an officer or agent to protect the community end and their intrusion into the privacy of others begin?

7, What grounds, if any, do you see for the U.S. Forest Service and the local Sheriff to record and process the license plate numbers of all those attending the Gathering?

8, W hat is your position regarding the legitimacy of the special use permit and fee request?

9, Why have enforcement teams grown in numbers when the size of the Gatherings has remained relatively the same?

10. What is the need for the long and often unfactual and irrelevant material produced in the U.S. Forest Service reports?

11. What is the Justice Department policy and Forest Service policy concerning the right of the public to Gather on public lands for peaceable purposes?

historically and traditionally the United States has backed religious freedom. We have seen patterns of surveillance and the presence of overreaching authority throughout the II years of our Gatherings. Yet there has been no concrete. evidence of violence or crime that would call for such activity and interference.

We see in air this documentation indication of a prejudicial and discriminatory stance on the part of the federal government and county authorities.

We see this as the result or a misguided concept of what is the right and proper duty of the officials involved?

Therefore we are respectfully sending you this request for clarification of these matters.

Sincerely, for the Rainbow Liaison,

Garrick Beck
Feather Hammond
Barry Adams
Sunny Adams
Ma Gyna Carla

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