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Marie Mason: Victimized by Green Scare State Terrorism
Eco-terrorists dare to question corporations' benign goodness and take action for the public good, in their opinion.
Saturday, 17 July 2010
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.
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 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 Rights calls:
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:
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 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:
A leaked State Department presentation to corporations said:
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 Marie Mason, including current updates, can be accessed at freemarie.org.
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:
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: Speaking for the Earth Liberation Front:"
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 consume them.
"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.
A February 5, 2009 DOJ press release headlined, "Michigan State University Eco-Terrorist Sentenced in Arson Case," saying:
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:
An update follows below about her solitary confinement, before which she described her prison life, saying:
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:
It asked supporters to write letters to the Bureau of Prisons director and regional head, asking them to have her facility follow policy.
On July 7, her web site headlined, "Marie is being held in Solitary Confinement! Please send letters of support," saying:
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:
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 Amendment.
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!"
Listen to Lendman's 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.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on July 17, 2010.
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