[Ppnews] When does vandalism become terrorism
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Nov 2 13:43:26 EST 2006
this is an excellent piece by journalist Will
Potter. We strongly encourage you to bookmark his
blog which focuses on the Green Scare called
<http://www.supportdaniel.org>Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan
Ideology: Turning Vandalism into Eco-Terrorism
November 2nd, 2006 by
When environmental activists around the country
were rounded up as part of Operation Backfire,
General Alberto R. Gonzales told reporters,
Todays indictment is a significant step in
bringing these terrorists to justice. And when
the <http://www.shac7.com/>SHAC 7 were sentenced
for animal enterprise terrorism, it was for
their roles in a campaign to terrorize officers,
employees and shareholders,
Department of Justice said. The Operation
Backfire defendants are charged with serious
crimes, but not accused of harming any human
being. And the SHAC 7 are not even accused of
committing any of the property crimes that they
vocally supported on their website).
Keeping that in mind, take a look at some fires
in the news the last few weeks.
A Tuesday night fire at a longtime salvage yard
caused more than $50,000 in damage and the loss
of some hard-to-find car parts coveted by hobbyists.
The owner of the lot suspected criminal intent:
Ive had a lot of trouble over here, a lot of
vandalism, he added. Weve had vandalism the last two Devils Nights.
radio station said police were on the lookout for
tricksters and will be out in force to make
sure any mischief doesnt take place on Devils
Night. In many town these tricksters set
buildings on fire the night before Halloween.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/us/02reno.html>New York Times:
RENO, Nev., Nov. 1 Six people were killed and
more than 30 injured Tuesday night in a fire that
at least partly destroyed a historic residential
hotel in the downtown casino district here. A
47-year-old casino worker was arrested and
charged with arson and multiple counts of murder.
The police said they did not know of a motive.
reports that the suspect had previously served
prison time for murder. And
Valerie Moore, 47, had been drinking and
apparently flew into a rage Tuesday night after
she quarreled with a fellow resident at the
Mizpah Hotel before setting a mattress afire
So causing $50,000 in an arson, and destroying a
mans livelihood, is not terrorism. Vandalizing
property is the work of tricksters, not
terrorists. And burning down a hotel, murdering
six people and injuring 30, is still not terrorism.
Why? Because those criminals committed those
crimes out of anger, stupidity or malice. Not
politics. When animal rights or environmental
activists commit similar crimes but dont
injure anyone it is eco-terrorism. And when
they simply support underground activists through
websites and fiery rhetoric, they are convicted
The solution to this hypocrisy is not to label
individuals who burn down car lots, or even those
who murder people through arson, as terrorists.
All crimes instill fear, instill terror, but
labeling all crimes as terrorism sucks all meaning from the term.
Instead, we must make sure terrorism rhetoric
isnt batted around against the enemy of the
hour, and used to prosecute actions that, while
they may be criminal (or in the case of the SHAC
7 do not amount to anything more than words),
have not injured any human being. It is an insult
to victims of true terrorism around the world.
And it robs the accused of the possibility of a fair trail.
If all this sounds like an incredibly
conservative argument, youre right. Years ago
when hate crimes legislation was a much hotter
topic in state and federal legislatures,
the real danger of hate crime laws is that
they criminalize thoughts and beliefs. The law
should concern itself only with actions.
Prosecutors must prove intent, but examining
underlying beliefs goes far beyond that.
Conservatives feared the prosecution of crimes
based on the political beliefs of those in power.
Now theyre making their own fears a reality by
using their power to
activists they disagree with as terrorists.
Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan
Daniel McGowan is an environmental and social
justice activist, unjustly arrested and charged
in federal court. To donate to Daniel's legal
defense, send a check/money order made out to
"Lisa McGowan" to Lisa McGowan, PO Box 106, NY,
NY 10156-106. http://www.supportdaniel.org
December 7th Day of Solidarity with Green Scare Indictees
National Lawyers Guild ECO-LAW Hotline for
individuals arrested or subpoenaed for offenses
related to environmental or animal activism.
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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