Nine people charged in federal court in Eugene, Oregon with involvement in a number of Earth Liberation Front-claimed arsons against eco-destroying targets — victims of Operation Backfire and the so-called greenscare — will be sentenced to prison terms in May and June after all accepted plea bargain deals. Daniel McGowan, Jonathan Paul, Joyanna Zacher, and Nathan Block bravely held out for plea deals under which they do not have to cooperate with the government investigation and won’t have to snitch on any fellow activists in exchange for their plea deals. These four agreed to prison terms of up to 8 years.
Despite the fact than none of the defendants in the case were ever charged with the crime of terrorism, federal prosecutors are also seeking terrorism enhancements of up to an additional 20 years in prison against the defendants. No human being was injured in any of the ALF/ELF arsons and labeling these acts as “terrorism” shows the government’s willingness to use fear generated by 9-11 against domestic political radicals. While the government argues that the nine are “terrorists,” the snitch who turned all of them in — Jacob Fergeson — walks free even though he took credit for setting over 15 arsons in a span of 10 years begging the question, “why, If the defendants are indicted and convicted and have to fight the terrorism enhancement, does Jacob get a free ride and a pat on the back?”
The defendants need support to get as lenient sentences as possible. As Slingshot goes to press, the sentencing dates are: May 15: Oral arguments to determine if the Terrorism Enhancement can apply to any of the defendants — the Court could throw it out completely or consider it in each individual hearing later; May 22: Cooperating Defendant/witness (CW) Stanislas Meyerhoff’s sentencing hearing; May 24: CW Kevin Tubbs; May 25: CW Chelsea Gerlach; May 29: CW Darren Thurston; May 31: CW Suzanne Savoie; May 31: CW Kendall Tankersley (1 pm); June 1: Joyanna Zacher and Nathan Block; June 4: Daniel McGowan; June 5: Jonathan Paul. All hearings are in Eugene; Oregon at 9 am except where indicated.
Joyanna Zacher, and Nathan Block have remained in jail since their arrest and need support. You can write to them at the address below or contact their support committee:
• Nathan Block #1663667, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401
• Joyanna Zacher #1662550, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401
Daniel and Jonathan are out on bail. Direct support to them at: www.supportdaniel.org, Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan, POB 106, NY, NY 10156, friendsofdanielmcg@ yahoo.com, Friends of Jonathan Paul, PMB 267, 2305 Ashland Street, Ste. C, Ashland, OR 97520, email@example.com.
For more information about the greenscare, check out cldc.org, greenscare.org or portland.indymedia.org.
Briana Waters on trial
Briana Waters is now facing a September 17 trial in Washington for alleged involvement with an arson attack on the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001 that was claimed by the Earth Liberation Front. She faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in prison if convicted. A number of the defendants who agreed to cooperate with the government in the Eugene, Oregon greenscare cases (see related article, this page) are expected to testify against her. Briana — a mom and violin teacher — maintains her innocence and needs powerful support from the environmental community.
Briana needs help raising funds for her September 17, 2007 trial as well as statements of support from those who know her. She is free on bail. Contact supportbriana.org for more information. Think about having a benefit for her case and mail checks to: Briana Waters Legal Defense Fund c/o Eric Waters, P.O. Box 1689 Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10113.