UPDATE: "Bidder 70" RELEASED FROM "THE HOLE"

And that’s the good news. The bad news is he was recently placed in solitary confinement in the first place. But I am jumping ahead of myself.

Tim De Christopher is no stranger to fans and followers of Mountainfilm in Telluride. He is an impassioned member of the tribe, who has making annual appearances in town over Memorial Weekend speaking out about saving the environment, which in his view, amounts to saving the world for his and future generations.

For those who have been truly living in a hole, here’s Tim’s story in a nutshell.

Tim De Christopher was moved to activism after attending the Stegner Symposium in 2008 and then speaking with Terry Root, PhD, one of the lead scientists on the International Panel on Climate Change and winner (with Al Gore) of a Nobel Peace Prize. Months after meeting Dr. Root, a little over three years ago, in December 2008, in the waning days of the Bush administration, a then 27-year-old Tim put it all on the line.

In the face of failing protests, Tim made an 11th-hour decision to halt a midnight sale by Bureau of Land Management of thousands of acres of pristine Utah land surrounding major national parks. Tim was ultimately escorted out of the auction by guards, because, once inside, he had made another life-changing decision: he would do much more than simply raise a red flag. By raising his paddle, Bidder 70 “won” over 14 parcels or about 22,500 acres of wilderness, with no intention – nor the means – of ever sealing the deal with a check for $1.8 million.

Despite the fact the Obama administration ultimately invalidated the auction, Tim was subsequently convicted by a federal court of making false bids on energy leases.

On July 28, Telluride Inside… and Out received a note from Telluride local, filmmaker Beth Gage, who with husband George, made a documentary, “Bidder 70,” about Tim and his environmental activism, which will premiere at the 34th annual gathering of people like Tim, interested in protecting and preserving an endangered planet and threatened ideals.

“Dear Susan,

You may have heard but Tim got a 2 year sentence and was whisked out of court and into a prison van in chains within minutes of his sentence.  I thought you might like to re-print Terry T Williams’ letter to the editor.

Hugs,
Beth”

“Dearest Friends:

I wanted to share with you this letter to the editor on Tim DeChristopher’s sentencing of two years
in a federal prison.  Such a terrible injustice.  Such an infraction of free speech.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/52271955-82/dechristopher-judge-benson-continuing.html.csp

With love,
Terry”

And then there was the more recent injustice, insult to injury if you will. Here’s Beth summary of the particulars:

“On March 9th Tim DeChristopher was removed from his Minimum Security Federal Prison in Herlong, CA, to its Special Housing Unit (SHU) commonly known as “The Hole.” For the past three and a half years, my husband, George, and I, through our company Gage & Gage Productions, have become Tim’s friends and his admirers as we have followed him, documenting his actions in our feature documentary, ‘Bidder 70.’

“Since July 26, 2011, Tim De Christopher has been serving his sentence with no complaints. We believe Tim’s indictment was the product of pressure by corporate energy interests, his sentence was compounded, as the judge stated, for refusing to be silent about his beliefs, and his being moved to the Special Housing Unit appears to be a matter of political pressure.

“For those who believe anyone who breaks a law, must be bad and, therefore, punished, remember all the peaceful civil disobedient acts of the past and how our views of those civil dissidents have changed over time. Tim DeChristopher is a moral, ethical, honest, courageous young man who decided not to be powerless, to try to make a difference, and to fight for a healthy and just future for us all.  This is not justice.”

And then this from the organization, Peaceful Uprising, which supports Tim and believes as he does that saving our environment is a “moral imperative”:

“Beloved community,  THANK YOU for all of your support and work on this . I received a call from Tim this morning at 8 a.m. letting me know that he (Tim) was transferred back to the minimum security camp late yesterday due to the thousands of calls that were received! ”

Amen. Well maybe. We think this is not a Hollywood ending.

In fact, it  is not an ending at all. More like a pause in Tim’s harassment for the crime of turning his beliefs into action. Peaceful Uprising – along with the rest of Tim’s admirers and followers –  knows a lot of unanswered questions remain on the table, among them: Why was Congress involved in moving Tim into isolated confinement? Who ordered the investigation?

For more, go to Peaceful Uprising’s blog: Getting Starte: http://www.peacefuluprising.org/breaking-tim-dechristopher-transferred-out-of-the-hole-but-questions-remain-20120327

And if you are not convinced about the values of this brave young  – and clearly vulnerable – political prisoner, listen to my interview with Tim from May 2011 just before his last trip to Telluride for Mountainfilm:

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