Political prisoner 'Free' reflects on green scare

By now everyone knows about the arrests and indictments handed down to 11 people charged with ELF actions. The SHAC 7 have been convicted on all counts for maintaining a website. Rod Coronado has been arrested for explaining how he committed his arsons. Activists have been arrested in Sacramento charged with thought crime. Not to mention the various Grand Jury investigations around the country.

Like it or not, the radical movement has found itself in the middle of a war. The ELF, ALF, anarchists and other radicals have been declared the number one threat to the state. The FBI devotes more time and energy to activists than it does Al-Qaeda.

For every article I write, I wonder if this will be the one that lands me back in the hole. The FBI, in connection with the Oregon Department of Corrections, reviews all my outgoing mail. Some of my mail has been censored and not allowed to go out at all. I am banned from meeting with the media. None of those who were arrested are allowed to contact me, or allowed to be contacted by me.

I’m beginning to feel a lot more like a P.O.W. than a political prisoner.

This crack down on radical activists, though it comes not unexpectedly, has begun to take its toll on me. Some of the charges stem from a solidarity action for Craig “Critter” Marshall and me. I also know people involved with these cases.

Daniel McGowan is one of my closest and dearest friends. I owe so much of the support I’ve received over the years to him. At his bail hearing they used his support and friendship for me against him. The prosecution used letters and pictures of us as if it were evidence of a crime.

I used to play in a band with Jacob Ferguson, a now known informant. I used to watch his kid. Alleged cooperating witness Sarah Harvey and I lived together for a time. She helped build the first treesit at Fall Creek.

Convicted activist Josh Harper and I go back many years. I still have the article “In honor of Jeff Luers” he wrote after my conviction. He and I have stood the line together many a time, and I do not know a more courageous and dedicated man.

It breaks my heart to see my friends falling subject to the state. I applaud Daniel, Josh and the others who have stood their ground with heads high. I am sick and disgusted with Jake. I hope that anyone cooperating with the state will again find their courage and honor, and refuse to testify.

In these harsh times the role of prisoner support takes on a whole new meaning. And it’s not enough just to support those who have been arrested and convicted. The struggle must go on the offensive. The movement can no longer sit back and let the actions of the accused stand for the hearts of the many.

These arrests are not intended to target individuals anymore than my sentence was meant to punish just me. The state has declared war on dissent. Our ideals, our dreams, our very existence as a movement has been targeted for eradication.

Detective Chuck Tilby, of the Eugene Police Department, created a report on anarchists for their journals. The content was focused on “Conflict and Terrorism in 2005”. The article detailed ways for law enforcement to create protest zones so far away from an event that it would be impractical or seem unattractive to protesters who wanted their message heard. The article suggests that police use infiltration, grand juries and informants against “above ground” activists in attempts to extinguish “under ground” activities.

Incidentally, Chuck is one of the detectives who had Critter and I under surveillance the night of our arrest. During my trial neither he nor any other officer could recall the order being put under investigation, but it did not come from within the Eugene Police Dept.

This is not the first time the state has used tactics like these. Counter insurgency tactics were employed against the American Indian Movement (AIM), and Black Panthers.

Two very powerful movements that were not stopped by government repression were the Civil Rights movement and the struggle for the eight-hour workday. There was success because no matter what the state threw at them they refused to back down. They continued their struggles with their commitment and determination.

True movements support their prisoners by replacing them on the front lines. Real struggles challenge repression with resistance.

This is a state of emergency. Not only our success, but also our existence depends on your actions. The police state is here. Everything we’ve long feared is coming to pass. This isn’t someone else’s fight anymore, it’s yours. What are you going to do about it?

-Jeff Free Luers