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."
by Stephen Lendman
September 2010, Baltimore Chronicle
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.
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
"dangerous to human life" in violation of federal or state
criminal laws, if such actions:
intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
influence government policy by intimidation or coercion; or
conduct by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.
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
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
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:
"defendants....did knowingly and intentionally agree, combine and conspire with
each other, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to maliciously
damage and destroy, and attempt to do so, by means of fire and an explosive, (1)
a building, and personal and real property of the United States Forest Service,
United States Department of Agriculture (2) a building, and personal and real
property of an institution and organization receiving (government) financial
assistance....and (3) personal and real property used in interstate commerce and
in an activity affecting interstate commerce...."
Conspiracy alone was
charged to commit the following acts:
meeting at a Forresthill, CA
residence, purportedly to plan their attack, no supportive evidence cited;
defendant Weiner ordered a book titled, "Poor Man's James Bond," supposedly with
explosive making instructions;
defendants visited the alleged target sites
"to perform reconnaissance;" and
bought the following items: three bottles of
bleach, a hot-plate, glassware, a gasoline can, a car battery, and three jars of
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
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:
"There has never been (one like it in
America) that has involved this much entrapment, this much pushing by an
informant, by the US government and by the FBI behind it."
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
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."
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.
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.
Calling his sentence "fair, just, and reasonable," Judge Morrison C. England
found McDavid's talk and items bought "very serious....with respect to the
disruption of the Government....There was no question that this....was a
conspiracy, and (its) object (was) federal buildings or locations....this is a
new world after September 11, 2001...."
"So when taking all of these
factors into consideration, it is the judgment and sentence of this Court that
in accordance with the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, that the defendant, Eric
McDavid, will be sentenced to 235 months in federal prison. (He) will also pay a
special assessment of $100 immediately.... Upon release from imprisonment, Mr.
McDavid will be placed on supervised release for a term of 36 months."
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:
"During deliberations, we asked the court to please clarify for the jury the
issue of whether Anna was a government agent, and if so, when did she become
one. The written answer....stated 'no' that she was not a government agent, yet
we were told orally that she was."
"With the written response of 'no,'
and after reading the other written responses to the court, we ended our
consideration of the issue of entrapment, the vote (being) 7 - 5 to consider the
entrapment issue as a defense. Once the written response advised Anna was not a
government agent, we then changed to a guilty verdict soon thereafter."
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.
is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in
Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org . His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore
Chronicle with permission of the author.