Tracy Stone-Manning, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), helped edit a radical environmental newsletter that advocated for violent action and sought to further the mission of the extremist group Earth First!, whose members committed acts of ecoterrorism in the 1980s and 1990s.
Stone-Manning testified that she “helped edit” a local Earth First! newsletter called the Wild Rockies Review while she was a graduate student at the University of Montana in Missoula 30 years ago.
Though the editors and contributors of the Wild Rockies Review at that time frequently used pseudonyms or just last names to avoid legal consequences for their writings, multiple issues listed a “Stone” under “Assistance” on their mastheads. Stone-Manning went by “Tracy Stone” before she was married.
One such issue was the “Autumnal Equinox Issue,” labeled Vol. 1, No. 3. Also named under “Assistance” on that issue’s masthead was Stone-Manning’s classmate Bill Haskins, who was one of seven, including Stone-Manning, who were subpoenaed in 1989 over a tree spiking crime.
The Autumnal Equinox Issue included an obscene letter to the editor advocating violent action, and potentially assassination, against government officials. The letter began, “Dear Weeniewanker, What is all this pussyfooting bullshit about sensitive treatment of Forest Service pigdogs who ream our public lands”:
“Rend the entire USFS [U.S. Forest Service] limb from limb and tear out its guts,” it continued. “These swine are evil and must be rubbed out.”
On page 13 of the same issue, an article outlined steps Earth First! followers needed to take to prevent the building of a road in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest, the same forest that was later the target of the 1989 tree spiking crime that Stone-Manning was involved in.
Stages one and two of the article’s plan included contacting stakeholders to express opposition to building the road, as well as suing those stakeholders when necessary. Stage three resorted to physically blocking the project work “with non-violent civil disobedience actions, and a few new tactics.” Stage four ominously only instructed readers, “Use your imagination!”
“Remember, we’re in at Stage 1 now. Let’s hope we don’t make it to Stage 4, but be prepared!” the article stated.
A “Stone” is also named under “Assistance” in the 1988 “Winter Solstice Issue,” labeled Vol. 1, No. 4.
An article on page five of this issue, titled “$ummer Fire$ Up in $moke,” strikes a tune similar to that of a recent Harper’s Magazine article written by Stone-Manning’s husband suggesting homes in wildfire-prone areas ought to be left to burn as a consequence of perceived poor construction and zoning decisions. Stone-Manning last year shared her husband’s 2018 article on her social media and described it as a “clarion call.”
The Wild Rockies Review article asked, “Who really is responsible for a cabin that is consumed by wildfire?”
“Stone” was again listed on the masthead of the 1989 “Spring Equinox Issue,” labeled Vol. 2, No. 1. That issue’s lead editorial included a defense of the criminal acts of tree spiking and monkeywrenching.
Tree spiking is a form of sabotage — and an act of ecoterrorism as defined by the FBI — in which metal spikes are hammered into trees to prevent loggers from harvesting them. Tree spikes have been known to destroy expensive logging equipment and cause injury to the loggers or millworkers processing the spiked trees. Monkeywrenching is any tactic used by saboteurs to prevent what they believe to be environmental destruction, and the term can encompass acts of ecoterrorism.
The editorial, titled “Who Are the Real Terrorists,” promoted “confrontational politics” like “non-violent civil disobedience” and then stated, “We can, as a group make no statement condoning or denying monkeywrenching.”
“Some criticize those who spend their time writing for being hypocritical, and not getting out into the field to do something directly related to the terrorism that our politicians and military-industrial complex are wreaking,” the editorial continued. “This is all well and good, as the hand that writes need not necessarily be the hand that spikes. What binds us is our common goal to put Earth First!”
The editorial described tree spiking as a “fine art.”
Also in the Spring Equinox Issue is a letter to the editor from “Sick of Talk” calling for monkeywrenching. “What stops a road? Sand in an engine. What stops a saw? Metal and clay,” the letter read. “We know monkywrenching [sic] works. So do it. Often. You can go join an organization if you just want to talk”:
Later in that same issue, an ad appeared for an anonymous radical newsletter called Live Wild or Die and indicated that Earth First! chapters distributed the journal. Live Wild or Die has often been described as the “most radical” of the activist publications circulating during that time period. One particular 1989 issue of Live Wild or Die contained an “Eco-Fucker Hit List,” which later became associated with Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber…