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    Hippies Homeland Security Threat

    Mass Citations At Rainbow Family Gathering in Colorado

    A permit for a pilgrimage?

    by Karen Kilroy & Alan Canfora

    The Rainbow Family, an ad-hoc collective of free-spirited individuals,

    has made an annual spiritual pilgrimage since 1972 to various national

    forests. This year's Rainbow Family Gathering is outside of Steamboat

    Springs, Colorado, and will be held from July 1-7. The National Forest

    Service has determined that a permit is required this year and is

    arresting people as they arrive. Hundreds of early arrivals have been

    arrested, ticketed, held in detention camps, tried in secret inside a

    cramped garage without proper representation, fined, and ordered to

    leave within 24 hours.

    Over the past several days, a federal "National Incident Team" has been

    assembled to deny these individuals their constitutional right to

    assemble. The line between the power of the state and the federal

    government has been compromised, as Colorado State Patrol Troopers,

    county sheriffs, and local police have been brought into the National

    Incident Team.

    Why is this the year in which a socially conscious group of people is

    being confronted? Why is

    the media being fed stories about fire potential, with no mention of the

    ongoing battle of the Bush Administration to try to shut down their

    right of free assembly?

    In response to Hurricane Katrina, Rainbow Family members ran free food

    kitchens at which even FEMA personnel ate meals.

    Don E. Wirtshafter, an attorney, wrote a plea for help.  He suggests

    that the Bush Administration wants to make this a precedent to

    discourage groups from open assembly without a permit.

    What will happen once the expected 20,000 participants start to arrive

    at the meeting ground? Many of them will not know what is going to await

    them because they are generally not a cell-phone/e-mail culture. Many

    have spent the last weeks hitchhiking to the site or nursing along a car

    that breaks down every few miles, held together by duct tape. This is

    their spiritual gathering. They use any peaceful means to get there.

    Will they just "go away"? According to a website that allows the Rainbow

    Family to share messages, it doesn't look like it."*Ignore all rumors of

    cancellation or organization! Live Lightly with the Land and People*" is

    the prominent message posted on the site.

    There has already been an incident  (ABC News, Denver, Colorado)

    in which about 200 people encircled a

    police checkpoint, armed with sticks and rocks. The Forest Service drew

    their weapons, but retreated.

    The gathering is being held in a meadow with only one road out. The

    media has been given word that the reason they cannot assemble is

    because of potential for fire. This is another distortion of facts. For

    years now, the Rainbow tribe has waged an ongoing legal battle to defend

    constitutional freedoms.

    Attorney Wirtshafter requests that you call your congressperson now and

    alert them to this situation. Ask them to get the Administration to stop

    violating the constitutional rights of the Rainbow Gathering participants.

    The U.S. Government should make serious efforts to avoid, not provoke,

    another Waco or Kent State incident in our National Forests. In recent

    years, the conservative movement has openly declared a culture war

    against all remnants of the powerful 1960's movement for peace and

    freedom. Progressive activists should take action now and speak out

    against this looming dangerous battle in the modern culture war.

    Karen Kilroy is a web developer and videographer specializing in

    progressive political causes. Alan Canfora is Director of the Kent May 4 Center in Kent, Ohio, and was wounded at

    Kent State University on May 4, 1970. For more information on the Rainbow Family, see their

    unofficial website: