- In May 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.
- Then 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:
- "the 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."
- The FBI calls ELF and ALF 'loosely-organized movements
whose adherents engage in crimes like arson, fire bombings, vandalism,
intimidation, assaults, (and) stalking, etc."
- On their 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."
- ALF 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."
- Direct action qualifies anyone for membership. No formal
organizational structure exists.
- Through 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
- "unconstitutionally 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.
- The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)
- On November 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.
- The 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:
- -- expands 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
- -- covers any person, entity or organization connected
to an animal enterprise;
- -- applies to any form of advocacy;
- -- criminalizes threatening conduct and protected speech
as well as communication with anyone engaging in these practices;
- -- protects corporate animal abusers with a vested interest
in silencing dissent, and
- -- targets 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.
- Other 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.
- Green Scare Defined
- The 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 supporting them.
- Will 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.
- Like 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:
- "Attacks against corporations by animal rights extremists
and eco-terrorists are costly to the targeted company and, over time, can
undermine confidence in the economy."
- A leaked State Department presentation to corporations
- "Although 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 business operations."
- Green 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.
- OB was 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 expediency.
- Marie Mason - One of Many Green Scare Political Prisoners
- More information about her, including current updates,
can be accessed at:
- A 48-year 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:
- -- one in December 1999 at Michigan State University's
(MSU) Agriculture Hall genetics laboratory, and the other
- -- in January 2000, involving logging equipment in Mesich,
MI, both claimed by the ELF.
- Burning 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:"
- "Not 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 GE-related action."
- Dispelling 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
- "A 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 practices.
- Mason's Sentencing
- A February 5, 2009 DOJ press release headlined, "Michigan
State University Eco-Terrorist Sentenced in Arson Case," saying:
- Chief 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."
- After 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."
- In fact, 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 prosecution.
- Mason (#04672-061) is at:
- FCI Waseca
- Federal Correctional Institution
- PO Box 1731
- Waseca, MN 56093
- An update follows below about her solitary confinement,
before which she described her prison life, saying:
- "We 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."
- "Still, 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."
- It's "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...."
- "After 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."
- She 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
- On weekends, 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."
- Mason in Solitary Confinement, Denied Vegan Meals
- Being 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:
- "Marie's 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."
- It asked supporters to write letters to the Bureau of
Prisons director and regional head, asking them to have her facility follow
- On July 7, her web site headlined, "Marie is being
held in Solitary Confinement! Please send letters of support," saying:
- According 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.
- No further 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 regard to:
- -- food quality, amount, and items conforming to a strict
Muslim or vegan diet;
- -- medical care, especially in emergencies;
- -- outside contact, including email and mail privileges;
- -- whatever rules prison authorities impose for any reason,
whether or not conforming to Bureau of Prison standards.
- Updates on Mason's status and treatment will be posted
on her web site.
- A Final Comment
- On July 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
- The 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!"
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.