In the last issue of Slingshot we published a number of articles about the green scare — the government’s attempt to label acts of property destruction in which no one is hurt as “terrorism” — and the rash of criminal cases against eco-activists accusing them of involvement in arsons claimed by the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. The term “eco-terrorist” was dreamed up by corporate/industrial think-tanks to try to silence anyone who would put life and the environment over earning a buck.
Since Slingshot issue #90, there have inevitably been numerous developments in the green scare criminal cases, plus additional criminal charges brought against other defendants. With fast changing criminal case information, it is hard for a quarterly newspaper to keep up — we suggest you keep up with the details of these cases on-line (see below.)
All those arrested are facing outrageously harsh potential prison sentences, sometimes for vague crimes in which no action actually occurred, and in other cases for instances of property destruction in which no one was injured. The harshness of the sentences are based on the politics of the defendants more than the seriousness of any crime — even assuming there was any crime. Some defendants face life terms for arsons which — if committed for non-political motives — would only earn them a few months behind bars. The point of these government actions is to scare us, but we won’t be scared.
The government and their corporate masters want us to watch what we say and who we associate with or to focus on reacting to their oppression instead of engaging with our world and creating new and beautiful visions for it. The only way these tactics can succeed is if we give in to fear and spend all our energy reacting to their repression. The logging companies, developers, and factory farmers win if we cease to live in defiance of their brutal machine. Efforts like prisoner support are important, but can’t take the place of staying militantly on the offensive with vibrant and creative actions that are motivated by mutual love and respect for ourselves and our world. Having said that, prisoner support is crucial — people need to know they’ll receive support if they are targeted by the state.
Here’s some brief updates about additional arrests / charges. We realize this is horribly incomplete — check our last issue and other resources. And if you have info you want us to publish, please send it to us:
• Jeff Hogg was jailed until further notice on contempt charges May 18 in Eugene, OR for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury after he was granted immunity. He can be held up to 18 months or until the grand jury expires. Just before entering the courtroom, Jeff spoke briefly to a small crowd gathered at the Federal Building. He expressed gratitude for all the support he and his partner have received during this difficult time. He spoke of the need for people of integrity to stand firm against the witchhunt. He implored us all to ask what we would do if we were in his situation. Would we choose to be strong?
• On May 11, federal prosecutors indicted Briana Waters, 30, of Berkeley, Justin Solondz, 26, and Bill Rodgers, who killed himself in an Arizona jail after his arrest in December, for the 2001 arson against Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington. Waters is free on bail. Solondz has not been captured and is believed to be living outside the USA. If convicted, they face 35 years in jail.
• Animal liberation prisoner Peter Young — currently serving two years in federal prison for a series of fur farm raids in the midwest — has been charged with additional state crimes in South Dakota for the same acts. If convicted, he could face dramatically more time than his current two year sentence. He is seeking help with legal costs. Send donations to Peter Young Support Fund 740A 14th St. #237, San Francisco, CA 94114 / www.supportpeter.com.
• As of press date (June 2), Zachary Jenson, and Eric McDavid are still in jail in Sacramento accused of conspiracy to destroy property by means of fire or explosives. No property was actually damaged and the case is largely based on an FBI paid informant who set them up — traveling with and providing housing for the defendants and sleeping with one of them. Zach has been recommended for release on bail by his pretrial services officer and will have a hearing before a judge where the judge will decide whether to grant Zach bail. No date has been set for the hearing.
In depressing news, it looks like a third defendant in the case, Lauren Weiner, has agreed to cooperate with the government. She plead guilt to a lesser charge in late May and according to assistant US Attorney Steve Lapham “the defendant agrees to cooperate with the continuing investigation and prosecution of this case”. Eric and Zachary are still in need of your support, letters and funds. Check www.supporteric.org and www.supportzach.org
• The feds indicted Darren Thurston, Rebecca Rubin, Joseph Dibee and Justin Solondz, April 6 on charges of a 2001 arson against a federal horse corral near Susanville, Calif., that housed wild horses and burros rounded up from public rangeland. Thurston is in jail in Oregon – the government hasn’t located the rest and they may be outside the USA. Although no one was injured, the FBI said that the charges were the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force. Prosecutor McGregor W. Scott repeatedly labeled the arson as an “act of terror” in statements to the media. If convicted, the charges carry up to 50 years in prison.
• The latest info is that all defendants charged in Eugene, OR with a variety of alleged arsons claimed by the Animal Liberation Front / Earth Liberation Front will be tried together on October 31, 2006. They all need massive support leading up to the trial. Here is contact info for some of them:
* Daniel McGowan – released on bail – support group www.supportdaniel.org/
* Chelsea Gerlach #1308678, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave; Eugene, OR 97401, www.supportchelsea.org
* Darren Thurston #701415, Multnomah County Detention Center, 1120 SW Third Ave., Portland, OR 97204, www.freedarren.org
* Suzanne Savoie – Released on Bail – firstname.lastname@example.org
* Joyanna Zacher #1662550, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401, email@example.com
* Nathan Fraser Block #1663667, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Briana Waters – released on bail – www.supportbriana.org
Green Scare Resources
• Civil Liberties Defense Center: www.cldc.org
• Portland Independent Media Center portland.indymedia.org/en/topic/greenscare/
• Green Scare info website: www.greenscare.org