I just wanted to send a little note to say hi to everyone who has written and let you know I truly appreciate the support. It is functionally impossible for me to respond to all the notes, cards and packages, but they are getting to me and they really make me happy. Oddly enough, I seem to have sprained my thumb! I know, I can imagine the bad jokes now as I type this! It seems to be rather swollen and it’s certainly from writing too much. So, I appreciate your kind words and letters but between my job, studies, and my poor fat thumb, know that I may not be able to respond.
I wanted to share some news about some court cases I have read about recently and perhaps update people on the latest happenings related to the Green Scare. If that term is unfamiliar to you, I’m sorry. I think myself and many of us have just chosen to use that term because its easy to name it per se than to describe the full set of circumstances. What I mean is the US government’s obsession with investigating, harassing, prioritizing and prosecuting activists involved with environmental and animal rights activities. I’d like to think that this behavior on the part of government officials is just about illegal activity but sadly, it’s not. As Will Potter has pointed out on his informative blog, greenisthenewred.com, these campaigns of harassment, indictments, overzealous legislation, targeting by industry front groups, all create a chill around activism. “Will they come after me next? I don’t burn things down, but that Animal Enterprise Terrorism Bill seems so broad..”
Well, as you may know, a lot of people were arrested and indicted in my case– what the agents dubbed “Operation Backfire.” (Get it? It’s a joke– on us! Like, you know, our tactics/actions backfired! Nice one, secret agent boys!) Although it seems that our case is wrapping up, a Midwest grand jury was to convene (and was then postponed) regarding ELF actions in that region. You can read more about this on a new site:?
A few weeks ago, there was good news and bad news with two Green Scare trials. The good news is that former ALF prisoner, Rod Coronado, got a hung jury in his free speech case in San Diego. Rod was charged with an old law that alleged that he was instructing people on how to use incendiary devices. From the accounts I read, this so-called instruction was Rod speaking at a public event and a question was asked about an action he was involved with years prior (and which he had already done time for). The jury was deadlocked in favor of acquittal but ended up being unable to come to any decision. At this point, I am unsure whether or not the government will continue this vindictive behavior and file charges again. In either case, check out his support site at www.supportrod.org to donate or find out more.
Sadly, Eric McDavid was found guilty by a jury in the Sacramento ELF case. Eric was charged with conspiracy and was sold down the river by his two co-defendents who testified against him and will now receive a maximum of 5 years. Eric faces 5-20 years. It should also be noted that a woman only known as “Anna,” was not only the key witness but also a blatant provocateur in the case– constantly pushing the three young activists into planning actions. The judge denied the entrapment motion even though evidence kept showing up that “Anna” seemed to really want an action to happen so that she could please her FBI handlers. You may ask, “Why is the FBI recruiting 17-year old college students to push people into doing ELF type actions, even going so far as to pay her $70,000, rent and outfit a cabin for planning the actions, etc.?” That’s a good question. Eric is filing an appeal and last I heard needs help with legal costs and continued access to vegan food.
See www.supporteric.org for more information.
There are also a few ongoing cases associated with the Green Scare:
Tre Arrow: This American environmental activist is fighting extradition from Canada and has been held for three years now trying to clear his name and is being tried on very serious charges in Oregon state. The authorities claim he was involved in an ELF arson of the Ross Isnald Sand and Gravel company in Portland, OR and an arson of three logging trucks. Three people who have received reduced sentences claim Tre Arrow was involved although there doesn’t appear to be any evidence other than this. He was a well-known forest defense activist in Oregon and even ran for Congress. He sits in a jail in British Columbia and is appealing an extradition order. He needs your support. Contact his crew at www.trearrow.org If sent to the US, he will be facing life in prison like I was.
Briana Waters: This case goes to trial on February 4th, 2008. She is facing 35 years in prison and is accused of participation in the UW arson claimed by the ELF in 2001. More information: www.supportbriana.org
Finally, my friend Jeff Luers has been sent to Eugene for resentencing in his case. An Oregon appellate court ruled in favor of part of his appeal last year and Jeff faces a significant reduction in the length of his sentence. By now, he may have already been sentenced, but either way, check out www.freefreenow.org
There are websites that have much more information than I can convey. Check them out: