[Bay Area Indymedia]
Prison Interview with Convicted Oregon "Eco-Terrorist" Jeff Luers
When Jeff "free" Luers and Craig "Critter" Marshall drove away from Romania Chevrolet in the early morning hours of June 16, 2001 after igniting the wicks of two one gallon milk jugs filled with Coleman fuel, they could not have known that this action would come to significantly alter their lives.
The Eugene, Oregon anarchist eco-activists had placed the firebombs under a row of SUVs in an attempt to bring attention to the disproportionate air pollution caused by gas guzzling vehicles.
Neither were aware that Luers had been tailed throughout the day by three plainclothes police since his release from jail earlier that day on a disorderly conduct charge stemming from activities during the Eugene "Seven Weeks Revolt" anarchist conference. The cops lost track of the two a block from the Chevrolet dealership. Ten minutes later, Springfield officers stopped them for a traffic violation. Both were taken into custody by the undercover agents who had been following them. It was later learned that one of the agents was from an anti-domestic terrorist unit. Luers and Marshall were arrested on Criminal Mischief One, a charge that carries about one year.
Since the time of Luers' arrest, the United States has seen an unprecedented dismantling of civil liberties via the excessive reach of the War on Terror. The largest roundup of eco-activists in US history began with the launch of the FBI's "Operation Backfire" on December 7, 2005. At a national press conference in January 2006, then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller unveiled a 65-count indictment targeting the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) with the claim that a "vast eco-terrorist conspiracy" was the U.S. number one domestic terrorist threat.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) was signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 27, 2006. It was pushed through Congress by wealthy biomedical & agri-business industry groups such as the Animal Enterprise Protection Coalition, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Center for Consumer Freedom, with bipartisan support from legislators Senator Dianne Feinstein and Rep. James Sensenbrenner.
AETA expands the legal definition of "terrorism" to include activity previously protected as free speech under the First Amendment. The Act's broad language brings ambiguity to statutory terms used in the offense and definition sections of the law. Such undefined terms as "interfere with," "profit loss," and "economic damage" might be applied to the results of lawful boycotts and peaceful protests: "interfering with" could conceivably cover undercover investigations of animal laboratories, Internet postings, email campaigns, or demonstrations and boycotts. Because of this ambiguity, the law arguably does not give a reasonable person fair notice of what is legal, as is required of a criminal statute. This is not resolved by the AETA's stated exemptions for "lawful boycotts" and "peaceful protests." Indeed, the elements of those acts may qualify as terrorist acts under the AETA. This brings a chilling effect not only to the work of eco and animal rights activists, but to all dissenters across the board. Luers in fact has never claimed affiliations with either ALF or ELF.
MG-What is the status of your release date? Are you still looking at December 2009?
JL-My current release date is December 16 2009. There is some contention between me and the Department of Corrections about this; the date should be December 15. That is my good time release date.
While it is unlikely to change, I could be released as late as June 17, 2010.