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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
FACTS & COMMENTARY:
Eric McDavid: Victimized by Green Scare State Terrorism
Under the Patriot Act's vague language, government has been prosecuting mainly left-wing activists as "terrorists."
Saturday, 11 September 2010
The government may confiscate or freeze all foreign and domestic assets of any individual, entity, or organization engaged in, planning, supporting, concealing, or perpetrating any act of domestic or international terrorism against America - even by protesting nonviolently.
The October 2001 USA Patriot Act's Section 802 created the crime of "domestic terrorism" (applicable to US citizens) for the first time, applying it to persons engaged in acts "dangerous to human life" in violation of federal or state criminal laws, if such actions:
The Patriot Act gave Washington expansive powers to investigate and prosecute "terrorism," including environmental and animal rights activists demonstrating peacefully or engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience, America's longstanding tradition, now harshly criminalized, those convicted subject to long-term incarceration.
For example, in 2001, several prominent Americans engaged in civil disobedience on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico by unlawfully entering an airbase to protest against regular Pentagon military exercises, including bombings. It's now called domestic terrorism to influence government policy.
Under the Patriot Act's Section 806, with no hearing or notice, the government may confiscate or freeze all foreign and domestic assets of any individual, entity, or organization engaged in, planning, supporting, concealing, or perpetrating any act of domestic or international terrorism against America - even by protesting nonviolently.
Other provisions are just as harsh, using vague language giving authorities wide latitude to twist the law perversely and advantageously, targeting anyone for anything called terrorism.
Eric McDavid is one of many victims, serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for "thought crime," encarcerated for his political beliefs, targeted by an FBI undercover informant who entrapped him unjustly.
Detailed information on him can be accessed by just clicking here.
Previous articles described "green scare," the Spirit of Freedom support network calling it "tactics the government and (enforcement agencies use) to attack" environmental and animal rights activists and anyone supporting them - called "eco-terrorists" for engaging in socially responsible protests or civil disobedience against harmful corporate practices. Opposing them is now criminal, repressive laws like the Patriot Act putting innocent people at risk, McDavid one of many.
On January 13, 2006, he, Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner were arrested, charged with "conspiracy to damage and destroy property by fire and an explosive," the January 25 indictment stating:
Conspiracy alone was charged to commit the following acts:
Yet prosecutors said these activities violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(n), even though engaging in them and all items bought are legal and nonviolent. Prosecutors cited no incriminating evidence proving otherwise. How could they? There was no plot or crime, the FBI inventing guilt by entrapment, a scheme used numerous times before, snaring innocent victims in the "war on terror."
A government informant called "Anna" befriended, encouraged, deceived, and entrapped them, earning at least $75,000 for her services, according to Sacramento-based FBI Special Agent Nasson Walker. "She was the glue" said McDavid's lawyer, Mark Reichel, explaining that "Take away Anna, and (the case) would have scattered in the wind like so many tumbleweeds."
In an affidavit filed in the case, Walker said she was used in at least 12 prior cases, entrapping others like McDavid, Jenson and Weiner, provoking them to discuss actions they never committed or wanted to, manufacturing fake crimes. Reichel explained that "when you have someone poking you and prodding, egging you on," you end up saying or going through the motions of things you'd never do, but may seem like it, making defendants vulnerable because jurors are afraid to exonerate.
McDavid's case is especially troubling, according to Reichel:
He was charged with one count of conspiracy, commonly used against activists and others when no real evidence exists, the idea being to intimidate juries, ensure convictions, crush dissent and discourage others. Twice he was denied bail, despite no past criminal record or history of violence.
As a result, pre-trial, he spent two years isolated in Sacramento County Main Jail in "Total Separation," given no contact with other prisoners and allowed out of his cell only a few hours weekly.
McDavid is a vegan. Protesting for acceptable food, he conducted two hunger strikes, and suffered two bouts of pericarditis - an inflammation of tissue surrounding the heart, causing chest pain and long-term complications if not properly treated. Born in October 1977, he's now 32 years old, a shocking condition for someone that young, something he never before experienced.
Under pressure, his co-defendants copped a plea for a lesser sentence, agreeing to testify against McDavid. His case is clear entrapment, his trial defense citing it in vain. Despite no incriminating evidence and proceedings "riddled with errors, lies and blunders," jurors convicted him, many later making "damning statements about the FBI's handling of the case."
Nonetheless, on May 6, 2008, he was sentenced to 19 years, seven months in prison, equivalent to a 2nd degree murder judgment in some states. McDavid committed no crime yet got, up to that time, the longest ever Green Scare punishment, increased by Terrorism Enhancements (TEs) - used against defendants trying to influence or coerce government policy, an act of honor, not a crime, when challenging lawless, harmful practices.
In February 2009, animal rights activist Marie Mason received 21 years, 10 months and a $4 million dollar fine (another travesty of justice). Just click here to read an article on her case.
In June 2001, environmental activist Jeff Luers was sentenced to 22 years, eight months for burning three SUVs - to raise awareness how gas-guzzling vehicles exacerbate global warming. No one was hurt, $40,000 in damages resulted, and the vehicles were refurbished and sold.
A political prisoner, Luers appealed in January 2002, his hearing held in November 2005, and on February 14, 2007 the Appeals Court remanded his case to the Circuit Court for resentencing. On February 28, 2008, it was reduced to 10 years, a hopeful sign for McDavid, Mason and others like them, wrongfully imprisoned for their activism and honor.
Imprisoned at FCI Victorville, Medium II, Adelanto, CA, McDavid's appealing his conviction and sentence.
A Final Comment
On August 9, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard McDavid's oral arguments, focused mainly on "the incorrect written response to a question the jurors asked during deliberations....the oral answer (given) was the complete opposite from the written" one, after which jurors quickly reached a guilty verdict.
Afterwards, however, the deception outraged juror Diane Bennett, saying:
To prove criminal conspiracy, prosecutors must show McDavid conspired with one or more others. His codefendants, however, absolved him, testifying that no illegal actions were planned. As a result, it was his word against Anna's, an FBI provocateur, paid to entrap innocent victims prosecutors want to convict.
The presiding appeals judge expressed interest, having previously been involved in reversing a sentence because of erroneous jury instructions. Defense counsel was hopeful, noting other important arguments also raised and likely wait before a decision - on average six months to a year, a long time to perpetuate injustice never easy to reverse in a climate of fear, police state terror, pervasive spying, entrapment, and complicit courts.
It's "a new world after September 11, 2001," not a fair or just one.
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 September 11, 2010.