Mason: Victimized by Green Scare State Terrorism
Fighting for Justice in America now Criminalized
2005, then FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism, John Lewis,
told a Senate panel that ecoterrorism is "one of today's most serious
domestic terrorism threats," the 2001 USA Patriot Act creating the
crime of "domestic terrorism," broadening the definition to apply
to US citizens as well as aliens - henceforth, the Bureau dividing the crime
into two categories, international and domestic, the latter changing dramatically
in the past decade.
FBI's Domestic Terrorism Section Chief, James Jarboe, said two organizations
are principally responsible: the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal
Liberation Front (ALF), committing over 600 criminal acts since 1996, causing
over $43 million in damage. Lewis cited over 1,100 acts since 1976, resulting
in about $110 million in damages, and on June 30, 2008, the FBI used the
same figure for over 2,000 crimes since 1979 - against "international
corporations, lumber companies, animal testing facilities, genetic research
firms," and other companies harming the environment or animals, defining
the crime as follows:
use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent
victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for
environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target,
often of a symbolic nature."
FBI calls ELF and ALF 'loosely-organized movements whose adherents engage
in crimes like arson, fire bombings, vandalism, intimidation, assaults,
(and) stalking, etc."
web sites, ELF says its "mission is to defend and protect the Earth
for future generations by means of direct action," nonviolent civil
disobedience it calls "the moral road," adhering to Hippocrates'
dictum, to "do no harm."
defines animal rights as "the philosophy of allowing nonhuman animals
to have the basic rights that all sentient beings desire: freedom to live
a natural life, free from human exploitation, unnecessary pain and suffering,
and premature death."
action qualifies anyone for membership. No formal organizational structure
surveillance, harassment, and infiltration, the FBI pursues suspects, "taking
advantage of the 2006 revision to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (ACTA),"
a law the Center for Constitutional Rights calls:
vague and overbroad in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments....because
it criminalizes protected speech that causes an animal enterprise to lose
profits or goodwill, and (uses) undefined terms," requiring guesswork
to define their meaning and scope. "Neither the AETA's overbreath nor
its vagueness can be cured by the statute's rules of construction."
Only rescinding the law can do it.
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)
27, 2006, AETA amended the 1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act, making
it harsher by criminalizing First Amendment activities advocating for animal
rights, including peaceful protests, leafleting, undercover investigations,
whistleblowing and boycotts.
law exempts "lawful public, governmental or business reaction to the
disclosure of information about an animal enterprise," applying it
only to economic disruption claims, not damage, and makes it hard distinguishing
between the two. It also:
the kinds of facilities covered to any using or selling animals or animal
products for profit, food or fiber production, agriculture, education, research,
or testing - including zoos, aquariums, animal shelters, pet stores, breeders,
furriers, circuses, rodeos, other competitive animal events, or any advancing
agricultural arts and scientific interests;
any person, entity or organization connected to an animal enterprise;
to any form of advocacy;
threatening conduct and protected speech as well as communication with anyone
engaging in these practices;
corporate animal abusers with a vested interest in silencing dissent, and
any form of civil disobedience or protest activity, and designates animal
advocates as terrorists, even when they cause no physical harm; in addition,
the bill's language is so broad and vague, it's hard knowing the difference
between legal and illegal behavior, making it easy to target anyone for
any reason, even if no harm was done.
provisions make it a federal crime to travel in interstate commerce or use
the mails to harass, intimidate, criminally trespass, damage or, in any
way, interfere with animal enterprise operations, as well as potentially
risk bodily harm or death to anyone, or conspire to do so.
term may first have been used in 2002, referring to legal and extralegal
government actions against animal liberation and environmental activists.
The Spirit of Freedom support network defines it as "tactics the government
and (enforcement agencies use) to attack ELF/ALF" activists and anyone
Potter's Green Is The New Red.com (http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/)
calls it exploiting terrorism "to push a political and corporate agenda,"
specifically "how animal rights and environmental advocates are being
branded 'eco-terrorists,' " for their socially responsible civil disobedience
in defense of animal rights and environmental conservation and preservation.
the 1917 - 1920 and McCarthy era Red Scares, "Green Scare (operates)
on three levels: legal, legislative, (and) extra-legal....scare-mongering
(to) instill fear, chill dissent," and protect corporate profits, the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) saying:
against corporations by animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists are
costly to the targeted company and, over time, can undermine confidence
in the economy."
State Department presentation to corporations said:
incidents related to terrorism are most likely to make the front-page news,
animal rights extremism is what's most likely to affect your day-to-day
Scare also refers to the 2005 arrests, indictments and convictions from
the FBI's Operation Backfire (OB) against environmental and animal rights
activists, charging them with damaging property, conspiracy, arson, and
using destructive devices.
the Agency's code name for its ten-year domestic "war on terrorism,"
against dissent. It resulted in 17 Pacific Northwest arson indictments using
flawed and suspect evidence from an admitted heroin-addicted/ serial arsonist,
culminating in the largest ever roundup of alleged environmental and animal
rights activists, charged with various acts of vandalism, some defendants
testifying against others for leniency, others striking plea bargains, sentences
ranging from three years, one month to 13 years with most defendants punished
by Terrorism Enhancements (TEs) - used when the DOJ decides a crime aimed
to influence or coerce government policy, denying justice for political
Mason - One of Many Green Scare Political Prisoners
information about her, including current updates, can be accessed at:
old mother of two, she became activist as a writer, Earth First! organizer,
and free herbal healthcare collective volunteer. Also, a Cincinnati, OH
school extended care assistant where FBI agents arrested her on March 10,
2008, charging her with two charges of arson:
in December 1999 at Michigan State University's (MSU) Agriculture Hall genetics
laboratory, and the other
January 2000, involving logging equipment in Mesich, MI, both claimed by
MSU's Agriculture Hall "was a significant act," bound to bring
recrimination, former ELF press officer, Craig Rosebraugh, saying in his
memoir, "Burning Rage of a Dying Planet:"
only was the damage quite significant....but this was the first time arson
had been used to further the cause against genetic engineering (GE) in the
US. Furthermore, it was the first time the ELF had taken credit for any
predictable media distortion, ELF said Washington and agribusiness giants
like Monsanto funded MSU's research, using it to contaminate farmland with
GMO crops, known to harm humans and animals that consume them.
long-time environmental, animal rights and social justice organizer, Mason
had previously experienced government repression when (anti-)ELF actions
occurred in her community," making her vulnerable to future criminalization
for her outspokenness against destructive genetic engineering and forestry
5, 2009 DOJ press release headlined, "Michigan State University Eco-Terrorist
Sentenced in Arson Case," saying:
US District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Mason to 21 years, 10
months in federal prison for the twin arsons (the longest Green Scare sentence),
and "ordered (her) to pay over $4 million in restitution to MSU and
to victims of other similar acts of arson in Eastern Michigan and Southern
Indiana in which she participated between 1999 and 2003."
completing her sentence, she was also ordered to remain "on supervised
release for life....," the DOJ saying she "and her criminal associates
had sought to destroy or disrupt federally funded research that was being
conducted into genetic modification of crops for the purpose of feeding
Third World populations."
they and Western ones are fed these foods unwittingly, vast amounts of US
acreage alone contaminated with corn, soy and other GMO crops, unsafe and
unfit to eat, removing them is a humanitarian act deserving praise, not
(#04672-061) is at:
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 1731
Waseca, MN 56093
follows below about her solitary confinement, before which she described
her prison life, saying:
are awakened at 6:00am by lights and loudspeakers to get ready for work
at 7:00 or 7:30am jobs. My job doesn't start until 10am scrubbing pots and
pans in the kitchen."
I have to be up, bed made military style, and present for census count.
I usually shower, dress for work in my green part ranger uniform....and
write or read or do laundry until my work call."
"physically hard (water's boiling, soap and steel wool rip up fingernails
and fingers), pots are huge and heavy and hundreds of pans to carry, clean,
and carry again. My crew is a three or four woman team....and we work using
English and Spanish...."
work, I go to the recreation center and try to do two miles a day or more
of brisk walking on the fenced-in track and bike three miles."
was also able to "socialize, watch a movie, read, or do hobby crafts."
After 10PM, lights go out, "but we're allowed to play cards, talk,
or watch TV until 11:30pm in the television rooms."
they could sleep until 7AM and wear sweats all day. She said her relationship
with other prisoners was friendly, doing a lot for others who reciprocate.
Most know why she's there. "Generally, they think it's a bum rap that
I got so much time."
in Solitary Confinement, Denied Vegan Meals
a vegan, Mason's had trouble receiving a proper diet as prison authorities
aren't accommodative. Until recently, however, she got by with commissary
privileges, beans and rice, and around the edges with a baked potato, non-dairy
salad dressings, and other occasional vegan foods, though selections had
been thin - now denied according to an April 13, 2010 letter to friends
and supporters, saying:
requests for an adequate vegan died are still being denied by (prison) officials....despite
the Federal Bureau of Prisons having a policy ensuring (one) for inmates."
supporters to write letters to the Bureau of Prisons director and regional
head, asking them to have her facility follow policy.
7, her web site headlined, "Marie is being held in Solitary Confinement!
Please send letters of support," saying:
to her family, Mason's been in solitary confinement since July 1, in a small,
windowless cell, allowed outside in a small cage less than an hour daily.
Though able to receive letters from friends, family and supporters, she's
denied outside contact and email privileges, permited one phone call a week,
and has no access to the commissary or her property.
information explains why or for how long, except she's been reclassified,
perhaps before transfer to harsher confinement, possibly at one of two federal
prison Communication Management Units (CMUs), primarily for (bogusly designated
"high-security risk") Muslims in a demeaning, unpleasant environment
in which inmates get fewer rights than general population prisoners, with
quality, amount, and items conforming to a strict Muslim or vegan diet;
care, especially in emergencies;
contact, including email and mail privileges; and
rules prison authorities impose for any reason, whether or not conforming
to Bureau of Prison standards.
on Mason's status and treatment will be posted on her web site.
13, the Civil Liberties Defense Center reported that the San Jose, CA US
District Court threw out the the AETA prosecution of four animal rights
activists, the so-called AETA 4 - Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan
Pope and Adriana Stumpo, accused of "animal enterprise terrorism"
for picketing and distributing leaflets about animal experimenters, constitutionally
protected speech under the First Amendment.
court dismissed the indictment for failing to explain the alleged crimes
"with sufficient specificity to meet the requirements of the Fifth
Amendment (and) Fed. R. Crim.P. 7(c)(1)." The motion was granted "without
prejudice," meaning prosecutors may re-indict with an amended bill
of particulars, more clearly presenting the charges. However, the decision
is "a victory for activists everywhere!"
Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
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