By Stephen Lendman
For OpEdNews: Stephen Lendman - Writer
Marie Mason: Victimized by
Green Scare State Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman
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
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.
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:
"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
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 interests;
-- 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
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.
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
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
"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.
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:
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 rooms."
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
Mason in Solitary Confinement, Denied Vegan Meals
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."
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:
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
-- medical care, especially in emergencies;
-- outside contact,
including email and mail privileges; and
-- whatever rules prison
authorities impose for any reason, whether or not conforming to Bureau of
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.
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
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