Concerned Community Members Shut Down Presentation by By Luke Ruediger

Suzanne Savoie

Suzanne Savoie

from Earth First! Newswire

On the evening of December 18, 2013, anarchists, activists, and concerned community members of the small rural community of Williams in southwestern Oregon, shut down a presentation by Luke Ruediger, the husband and supporter of federal informant Suzanne Savoie. Ruediger and Savoie have been slowly attempting to reintegrate back into activist circles and environmental activism since Savoie’s release from prison in early 2011.

Suzanne Savoie served only 8 months less of her expected sentence for cooperating with the federal investigation against the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and radical environmentalists in general.

She was an active participant in this movement, but turned on her former comrades when she was arrested. She made statements against them, provided information which helped with other people’s convictions, and provided the identities of two people yet unknown to the investigation which eventually led to their arrests and conviction.

She also, in her agreement with the government, has a life-long status as a provider of information for any future investigation. Simply put, she is a snitch and a danger to any community she tries to become active in.

Her husband Luke married Savoie at the time of her cooperation with the state, he has fully supported her decission, he has lied and been misleading about the facts, and he has arrogantly and unapologetically encouraged her to rejoin activist circles. Ruediger, a former activist and long-time resident of southern Oregon works in forest restoration.

He recently released a book about the Red Buttes Wilderness and was asked by the Williams Community Forest Project (WCFP), a local grassroots environmental education and activist group, to give a public presentation at the Williams Grange.

This was too close to home for many residents, in particular people who have personal connections to many of those arrested and have served (or are still serving) time in prison due to Savoie’s actions.

It is also a strong concern for many environmental activists who see the danger in allowing Savoie and Ruediger back into these circles, especially in a public way.

A handful of concerned people went to the monthly WCFP meeting to discuss their concerns about the event with the group, which was mostly well received, except for the group’s treasurer, who is a close personal friend of Savoie and Ruediger as well as an employee of Luke’s, and the group’s unofficial leader and spokesperson, who was unconcerned about the facts. But except for these two, overwhelmingly those who attended the meeting could see the problem with the presentation that was being sponsored by the group and with Savoie and Ruediger’s inclusion in this community.

The night of the presentation, people gathered outside the Williams Grange with flyers containing information about Savoie and Ruediger and the situation in general (see below), as well an altered flyer for the event with the word “CANCELED” in large letters across it.

While numerous members of WCFP understood the dilemma and were in agreement that the event should probably be canceled, the group’s unofficial leader and spokesperson was still unconcerned with the issues and proceeded to set up for the event and make condescending comments about those who wanted the event shut down.

Eventually, Luke showed up and was told by the group outside that the event was canceled, and gave him the numerous reasons why. After members of WCFP finally agreed, the spokesperson for the group told Luke he should go home. Luke stayed to argue for about ten more minutes before speeding out of the parking lot to the cheers of satisfaction.

Only a handful of people came to actually attend the event, and when people gave them the information as to why it was canceled, there was a general sense of understanding. Suddenly, a car came flying into the parking lot to defend Luke and express his disbelief.

Apparently Luke had left to go to one of his and Savoie’s few supporters in Williams for help. This individual was obviously ignorant of the facts, nor did he care to understand the level of seriousness involved with their actions. He proceeded to yell and get belligerent with people and was soon joined by another Savoie and Rudiger friend supporter from the Applegate Valley.

This went on for a half hour or so before everyone left the event. The message was sent, the precedent set, the day was done.

Hopefully, the integrity, passion, and critical thought that was expressed that night can set an example for how people might deal with snitches attempting to become a part of a community, and hopefully, it can shed light on this issue that some are unaware of, or simply choose to avoid because it makes them uncomfortable. WCFP, has some big decisions to make, both in their internal processes, and in what they choose to support and who they are willing to work with.

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(text from flyer handed out at the event)

NO SNITCHES IN OUR TOWN!

Luke Ruediger and Suzanne Savoie Stay Away!

Why Are People In Opposition To This Event?

There are numerous individuals here today, others who live in this town and region, and many more in activist communities around the country who stand in opposition to federal informant Suzanne Savoie, her husband Luke Ruediger, and situations like this event.

Individual and personal reasons vary from person to person (so try talking to different people, rather then lumping everyone together and brushing them aside), but there are some common points most are in general agreement about. — Suzanne Savoie (the spouse and partner of Luke Ruediger) was once an active member of a radical environmental group that came under federal investigation and severe repression.

She traded vital information with the investigators so she could receive leniency for herself. The information she gave led to two arrests and and aided in many more convictions. She helped put people in prison for years and has agreed to continue to provide information when requested by the federal government for the rest of her life. She traded in the freedom of others for her own freedom. She took people away from their loved ones so she could be with hers…..these people acted in trust with her and committed these acts with her for the selfless cause of standing in the way of environmental destruction….and she turned on them and their cause.

Different people have different feelings on how to resolve this issue, but an overwhelming opinion is that she, and her husband, should not attempt to re-engage in environmental movements or activist communities, they should not attempt to re-integrate into communities they were once a part of……they should move on (and away), or stay home. This is a minimal and reasonable requirement considering the countless lives Savoie has negatively affected.

– Luke Ruediger, Savoie’s husband, traded in his involvement in these movements and communities when he encouraged, fully supported, and married a known cooperator with the investigation against the radical environmental movement. His previous involvement and current projects should have no bearing in how people view his breach of trust and lack of solidarity. He has made his choices and he must live with them. It is possible for him to care for the earth and share his knowledge without a public presence and without engaging in group events.

The possible educational value of Luke’s book, The Siskiyou Crest: Hikes, History & Ecology, is not the question here. The pertinent issue is his character, and his presumption of entitlement.

Who Is Suzanne Savoie?

Suzanne Savoie (aka “India”) of Applegate, Oregon is a former participant in the radical environmental group the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). She took part in actions with cells of this group and was later charged with arson at Superior Lumber Co., in Glendale, OR. She was sentenced to more than 51 months in prison for her role in two arsons. She turned herself in to FBI agents in mid-January 2006. Savoie named, gave information about, and made statements against Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher, as well as other members of the ELF. On the day of her sentencing the court and the feds noted that she gave substantial assistance. Also during her sentencing her own defense lawyer noted that she “…had to reveal other people’s roles “of necessity” and that it was “just the nature of the system”.

She was given a sentence only 8 months less than expected because of her cooperation with investigators. Released in March 2011, she is living with her husband Luke Ruediger in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. She continues to spin the facts to her own benefit and claims her so-called “innocence” as a reluctant federal informant, but like the other codefendants who made similar decisions, as well as those who chose not to cooperate with the repression, she had a choice, one she must live with.

Both Savoie and Ruediger have attempted to integrate themselves back into various communities and situations and return to to a “normal” life as if nothing has happened. Her husband has attempted to rejoin the activist community, something only thinkable within the relative privilege of this particular community.

Doesn’t The Red Buttes Wilderness, Grayback Range and Kangaroo Roadless Area Need Our Support? Of course, in any way we feel we can help, stemming from who we are, the strategies we employ, and the tactics we choose. But just as all ecosystems are connected, so are all issues, the forests aren’t just being decimated in a vacuum, it is a global struggle of life and death. This event is a perfect case of liberal single-issue short-sightedness. If we truly understand the totality of what the world is facing, if we deeply connect to the wild, then freedom cannot be a side issue. If the Williams Community Forest Project (WCFP) cannot embrace a diversity of tactics and people, it is just another project which is doomed to irrelevance.

If WCFP chooses to disregard solidarity with other activists and earth defenders and instead decides to invite a speaker who joined forces with a snitch because they believe he may have some valuable information or unique talent, where does this end….a white supremacist because he is a good organizer and advocate for the forest? A meth pusher because she is an expert in mycology? No, sometime we need to draw a line in the sand, and today, we are saying “NO SNITCHES IN OUR TOWN!”

A Few Sources:

http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/informant-tracking

http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/2007/06/report-from-sentencing-for-suzanne.html

The heavily redacted plea agreement is here http://www.targetofopportunity.com/Savoie_plea_agreement.pdf

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