[Ppnews] Daniel McGowan Speaks Out

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Nov 22 14:21:53 EST 2008


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On Jun 12, 2007, at 9:01 AM, Political Prisoner News <ppnews at freedomarchives.org 
 > wrote:

> Monday, June 11th, 2007
>
> http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/06/11/142258
>
> Exclusive: Facing Seven Years in Jail, Environmental Activist Daniel  
> McGowan Speaks Out About the Earth Liberation Front, the Green Scare  
> and the Government's Treatment of Activists as "Terrorists"
>
>
> Last week McGowan was sentenced to seven years in prison for his  
> role in two acts of arson in Oregon in 2001. The judge ruled that  
> one of the fires was an act of terrorism. He was sentenced along  
> with nine other environmental activists – the government compared  
> the activists to the Ku Klux Klan. We also speak with Lauren Regan  
> of Civil Liberties Defense Center.
>
> Last week, a federal court sentenced environmental activist Daniel  
> McGowan to seven years in prison for his role in two acts of arson  
> in Oregon in 2001. The judge ruled that one of the fires was an act  
> of terrorism. McGowan was one of six environmental activists  
> arrested in December 2005 in coordinated multi-state raids dubbed  
> “Operation backfire.”
>
> A month later, they were indicted together with five others by a  
> grand jury on charges of property destruction, arson, and conspiracy  
> relating to actions going back nearly a decade which were attributed  
> to the underground Earth Liberation Front. No one was hurt in any of  
> the actions.
>
> The eleven activists were threatened with life sentences if they  
> refused to cooperate with the government and serve as informants.  
> After months of negotiation, in November of last year, McGowan and  
> three others pled guilty to some of the charges on the condition  
> that they would remain non-cooperative with the state. As a result,  
> the government has sought a “terrorism enhancement” for their  
> sentences. The National Lawyers Guild called the terrorism  
> sentencing enhancement issued to Daniel McGowan an unnecessary and  
> excessive government tactic to discourage the exercise of free speech.
>
> I am joined now in our New York Studio by Daniel McGowan, sentenced  
> to seven years in prison last week. He begins his term on July 2 and  
> this is his first broadcast interview since the sentencing.
> 	•	Daniel McGowan, Environmental and social justice activist from  
> New York. More info on his case is at SupportDaniel.org
> 	•	Lauren Regan, Executive Director of the Eugene-based Civil  
> Liberties Defense Center, which provides legal protection to  
> environmental and social justice activists from corporate and  
> governmental attacks on civil liberties.
> AMY GOODMAN: Last week, the court sentenced environmental activist  
> Daniel McGowan to seven years in prison, for his role in two arsons  
> in Oregon in 2001. The judge ruled, one of the fires was an act of  
> terrorism. McGowan was one of six environmental activists arrested  
> in December 2005 in coordinated multi-state raids dubbed “Operation  
> Backfire.” A month later, they were indicted together with five  
> others by a grand jury on charges of property destruction, arson,  
> and conspiracy relating to actions going back nearly a decade, which  
> were attributed to the underground Earth Liberation Front. No one  
> was hurt in any of the actions.
>
> The eleven activists were threatened with life sentences if they  
> refused to cooperate with the government and serve as informants.  
> After months of negotiation, in November of last year, McGowan and  
> three others pled guilty to some of the charges, on the condition  
> they would remain non-cooperative with the state. As a result, the  
> government has sought a “terrorism enhancement” for their  
> sentences. The National Lawyers Guild called the terrorism  
> sentencing enhancement issued to Daniel McGowan an unnecessary and  
> excessive government tactic to discourage the exercise of free speech.
>
> I am joined now in our Firehouse studio by Daniel McGowan, sentenced  
> to seven years in prison last week. He begins his term July 2. This  
> is his first national broadcast interview since the sentencing. We  
> welcome you to Democracy Now!, Daniel.
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Thanks for having me, Amy.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Let's go back to 2001. What happened?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well in 2001, I was involved with the Earth  
> Liberation Front and I was involved in two separate arsons in one  
> year. One was at a company called Superior Lumber Corporation that  
> was a logging an old growth forest in Oregon and the Northwest. The  
> other was a company called Jefferson Poplar Farms, which, I believe,  
> was involved in genetic engineering tree research. So I was involved  
> in this group; we did these two arsons. I had severe reservations  
> about being involved in destroying property, but I felt very  
> strongly about the issues. I felt at the time, we were not getting  
> anywhere with sort of polite protests, very disenchanted with the  
> whole political process. And we targeted these two facilities for  
> um, you know, using fire, and destroyed a significant portion of  
> them. The actions were intended to destroy corporate property. We  
> took extreme precautions in these actions so we wouldn't harm  
> anyone. But after the second arson, I became incredibly disenchanted  
> with the use of fire. I saw the rebound effect; I thought about how  
> dangerous it was and the life, the lives that we put at risk by  
> igniting basically a million and a half-dollar arson at Jefferson  
> Poplar Farms. Along with some other issues it just lead to me  
> leaving the group and moving on with life, getting back to the  
> activism that I had been involved with for the last ten years.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Jefferson Poplar Farms and Superior Lumber. Why  
> Superior Lumber?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, it had -- on some level it had to do with the  
> fact that Superior Lumber was very similar to many of the lumber  
> corporations in the Northwest. They weren't particularly -- they  
> weren’t the largest, but they certainly just were logging old  
> growth forest using helicopter logging and having a really  
> devastating impact on the ecosystem there. They are very unpopular.  
> A lot of people did not like the impact they were having on local  
> ecosystems. But they were sort of picked because they were so  
> unspectacular. But they're one of the many, many companies in the  
> Northwest that are continuing to liquidate the national forest as  
> well as, you know, private lands.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: How did you set them on fire?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well actually, I was a look-out for that ar- for  
> that action. I had been involved, but only for a short amount of  
> time. I didn't have a lot of experience with the creation of  
> incendiary devices. I was invited from some people that I had met a  
> few months prior and I was a look-out and with about four other  
> people including the main informant in the case named Jacob Ferguson  
> who wore a wire -- just in 2005 to wire our conversations.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: In 2005?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Yes, in 2004 actually. But he was involved in that  
> arson; he is not indicted for that. And you know it was a pretty  
> simple affair, actually. And I was the look-out. And there is a few  
> other people involved. And you know, when we were driving off, we  
> heard the four-alarm radio signal and the next day we found out it  
> was a million arson damage.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: And what does it mean to say you became disenchanted?  
> What then did you do?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, I had been involved in activism since around  
> '97. And for a brief period of time in that activism, I took to  
> destroying property as -- because I am essentially a very pragmatic  
> person. I felt like I was willing to try other things. The tactics  
> we were using were not working. We were sort of bringing up safety  
> issues for myself and others. I was willing to look at that and say,  
> well I need to step back in this. I have to say the --
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Were you concerned that someone might have been asleep  
> inside, or --
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, I wasn't concerned about that cause I think we  
> took extreme precautions and definitely many actions were called off  
> based on things like security guards. What did it for me was, some  
> of the members of the group I was involved in went and -- right when  
> my friend Jeff Luers was about to go on trial -- went back and  
> destroyed 36 SUV's at the same exact car lot that Jeff was going on  
> trial for burning a year prior. And I have to say that had a massive  
> impact on his trial and he chose a judge trial at the moment -- at  
> that time - and got a 22 year, eight – uh, 22 year, eight month  
> sentence. And that sort of carelessness really made me step back and  
> start to look at my actions as being very dangerous and having  
> repercussions beyond my control.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: What were you recorded in 2004 saying by Jacob Ferguson?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, Jacob was an old friend. And I was recorded  
> essentially reminiscing with old friends about things that we were  
> involved in. So there is definitely a lot of leading me into  
> conversations about these actions. It wasn't a direct confessional,  
> but I was certainly -- listening to the wire taps, you can see that  
> I was involved in these actions and I had knowledge about particular  
> things. So, it was certainly enough to get an indictment.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: So, Jacob chose to cooperate.
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Yes.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: You have chosen not to.
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Yes.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: What does that mean?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, essentially it’s me living my life as I was  
> taught by my parents, which is you don't point fingers at people to  
> get out of trouble. And I made promises to myself at that time and  
> to others that I wouldn't ever blame them. If we were ever in  
> trouble I would never blame them for getting into trouble. My three  
> codefendants and I have chosen that route. And by choosing that  
> route we have definitely been -- the government would say we haven't  
> been punished but we have definitely been punished in the sense of  
> like just getting a lot of hostility and venom on the part of the  
> prosecution and even the judge.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: And Jacob's decision, your old friend, your thoughts?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, I think it is really sad. I think he fell into  
> a really sad time in his life and he was abusing drugs. And they  
> used the threat of taking his child away from him. I think it is  
> ultimately a really horrible choice and I don’t know how he lives  
> with himself but I mostly these days feel a lot of pity for Jacob,  
> more than anything.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: What happens to him?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, from what I understood from one of the defense  
> counsels, who sat in court last month, Jacob is going to be pleading  
> to one count of arson and receiving probation this month in Lane  
> County. I suppose a stern lecture from the judge but that doesn't  
> always make it easier on any of the nine plus defendants that are  
> now going to federal prison.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Daniel McGowan, environmental and  
> social justice activist who will be reporting for jail. Well, it is  
> not clear when, set for July 2, maybe longer. We will talk about  
> that. We will talk about the Environmental and Animal Liberation  
> Front when we come back with our guest, Daniel McGowan. Stay with us.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Our guest today is Daniel McGowan, environmental  
> activist, has just been sentenced for two arsons he was involved  
> with in 2001 in Oregon, sentenced along with other people. He's  
> headed to jail perhaps July 2 unless he's able to put it off for the  
> month that he is asking for. We're also joined on the telephone by  
> another guest. We're joined on the phone by Lauren Regan, executive  
> director of the Eugene-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, which  
> provides legal protection to environmental and social justice  
> activists from corporate and governmental attacks on civil  
> liberties. We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Lauren Regan.
>
> LAUREN REGAN: Thanks, Amy.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about this case, Daniel McGowan's case?
>
> LAUREN REGAN: Sure. I think there are probably two overarching  
> important issues relating to this case that make it important for  
> everyone across the country to really take a look at and scrutinize  
> what is going on here. And the first is that since Daniel's arrest  
> and other's arrest in December of 2005, the government has attempted  
> to say that this case is not political. However, the evidence  
> sharply disdains that point of view. Primarily, as soon as these  
> folks were arrested, Alberto Gonzales, our chief attorney and  
> beleaguered head of the country’s legal division, got on television  
> stations and had a press conference where he labeled these American  
> citizens as eco-terrorists. These were individuals that were  
> innocent until proven guilty. At this point, all of them had  
> presumed innocence, and yet the head lawyer of the nation in a pre- 
> trial press conference labels them as eco-terrorists, basically  
> destroying any possibility they would have had as a fair trial.
>
> And that theme has permeated throughout proceedings including even  
> at the sentencing; the government was still trying to say that this  
> case was not political. And it is sandwiched by the fact that as  
> soon as nine out of ten individuals were sentenced, Gonzales again  
> has another press conference after the sentencing, thanking his crew  
> for the good work they have done and again labeling them as eco- 
> terrorists.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to that moment, to the sentencing, June 4,  
> the governments lawyers comparing Daniel McGowan and the other  
> defendants to the Klu Klux Klan. This is a clip of your lawyer,  
> Daniel, Jeffrey Robinson speaking about this outside the federal  
> courthouse in Eugene, Oregon.
>
> 	•	JEFFREY ROBINSON: The thing that I would like to say is that  
> both Ms. Lee and I have a great deal of respect for the lawyers in  
> the U.S. attorney's office. And in particular Mr. Pfeiffer who made  
> the argument for the government at the terrorism enhancement motion  
> several weeks back. While I respect him and while I think he is a  
> good and decent man, Mr. Pfeiffer lacks knowledge about things that  
> he discussed in that courtroom. He stood in that courtroom as a  
> representative of the United States government and told Judge Aiken  
> that Daniel McGowan and his codefendants were essentially the same  
> as the terrorists from the Klu Klux Klan. That meant something to me  
> personally as an African-American. And I am disappointed that my  
> federal government would make that kind of a comparison in a case  
> like this. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and I was born in 1956.  
> I know something about the Klu Klux Klan and what they were about.  
> And what they were about was murder, was killing, completely  
> different from Daniel McGowan and these defendants.
>> AMY GOODMAN: Lauren Regan, um, of the Civil Liberties Defense  
> Center, would you care to elaborate on that point?
>
> LAUREN REGAN: : Well, this was this -- you know, there was so much  
> rhetoric, so many exaggerated statements made throughout each  
> proceeding that occurred in federal court recently. I mean, some of  
> them as outrageous as comparing them to the Klu Klux Klan, others  
> much more subtle. And you know, the judge, that statement went on  
> and the judge herself also stood silent and didn't comment at all on  
> this type of -- sort of slanderous statement. That combined with the  
> fact that the government and the court continued to protest that the  
> government was not attempting to label these individuals as  
> terrorists, that was the other giant miss that was going on. They  
> repeatedly would say, oh, we're not trying to label these  
> individuals as terrorists for the rest of their life, we just happen  
> to be seeking this terrorist enhancement against them for the first  
> time in the history of the United States, that this enhancement was  
> applied to individuals charged with property crimes that didn't  
> cause any harm to human life.
>
> And so regardless of the lip speak that the government continued to  
> give to the court and to the public, it was incredibly clear that  
> that is exactly what they were trying to do. There was no other  
> purpose or reason that this terrorist enhancement should have been  
> applied to ten individuals, ten young people who committed acts of  
> sabotage, which of course are crimes. But the crime of arson and  
> some of the other crimes that these individuals were already charged  
> with carried more than a life sentence. One of Daniel’s  
> codefendants was looking at life plus 1150 years for his role in two  
> arsons. But yet the government somehow needed this terrorist  
> enhancement to additionally punish them, if not to label them as  
> terrorists and the resulting chill that would trickle down to the  
> environmental movement, there was absolutely no other legal or other  
> purpose they would have needed this enhancement, other than to go  
> back to Congress and be able to proclaim, look, we have convicted  
> ten terrorists, now give us billions of dollars to continue this  
> fight and give us these tools to legally spy on U.S. citizens, as we  
> know they have done throughout the last several years.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: I am looking at an article on Counterpunch by Michael  
> Donnelley that talks about this case. And it says: “Fast forward  
> two years, the government's target becomes the grassroots. Under the  
> code name “Operation Backfire” the feds began the largest round  
> up of eco-activists in American history. On December 7, 2005, seven  
> people arrested and charged with participating in a wide array of  
> property destruction actions the feds linked to the Earth Liberation  
> Front and the Animal Liberation Front. The very same day, several  
> more folks were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in Eugene,  
> Oregon. A full dragnet was launched against grassroots activists. On  
> June 20, 2006, Ashcroft’s successor, Attorney General Alberto  
> Gonzales announced the 65-count indictment against a fictional  
> entity, the government calls the family. Four more arrests brought  
> the total to 11 with conspiracy charges now added. Ironically, after  
> serving ten years also on the very same day, Michael Fortier who was  
> convicted for his part in the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed  
> 168 people, was released from jail. In contrast, the government is  
> threatening environmentalists who injured no one with extraordinary  
> sentences ranging from 30 years to life plus 335 years.” Lauren and  
> then Daniel, I will get your response.
>
> LAUREN REGAN: : Well, that is definitely accurate information. On  
> the same day that Jonathan Paul was set to be sentenced, the  
> government was seeking 57 months for his role as a look-out in an  
> arson that happened in 1997 to the Cattle West Horse Slaughterhouse  
> facility. And on that same day, Scooter Libby was sentenced for his  
> role in outing Valerie Plame as a CIA operative to 20 months. So  
> when you start comparing the prosecutions of the right versus the  
> left, the fact that over 30 abortion doctors have been killed by  
> right-wing extremists, yet this enhancement was never sought. The  
> Oklahoma City bombing, as wha- you know, Michael Fortier being one  
> of the defendants in that, the terrorist enhancement never sought in  
> those cases.
>
> So, you see clear discretion being exercised in favor of right  
> versus left political wins, which of course is intolerable when you  
> are talking about justice and equality and, you know, like crimes  
> being prosecuted in like manner. All of these are grave injuries to  
> our entire system of justice, not in particular to this case. And  
> let's not forget that deforestation is the number 2 cause of climate  
> change in the United States right now. And so, instead of actually  
> addressing these issues and uh, you know, stop subsidizing the  
> timber industry, the government has chosen to kind of deflect that  
> nationwide attention onto these particular crimes. And they ask, you  
> know, what could have been done to prevent this type of action, this  
> action that Daniel and others took. And clearly, if the government  
> had taken responsibility and had actually addressed some of these  
> huge environmental issues, actions like this would not have been  
> necessary, particularly with regard to climate change, even the  
> judge in court admitted that there are only eight years until the  
> planet is tipped to the point of no return. But yet, we still see  
> politicians and others sitting on their hands. If the government  
> wants to know what is the easiest way to stop underground activists  
> from acting in this way, well, being responsible politicians and  
> actually dealing with these issues would be a real easy cure.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Daniel McGowan, would you care to respond to the  
> disparity in sentences in a case like well, Fortier – Michael  
> Fortier coming out of jail at a time that you were all being indicted?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, it is ironic, of course, but uh, it’s  
> something I was very familiar with, doing support for Jeffrey Luers,  
> um, seeing all these arson cases where people get, you know, I think  
> the federal uh, you know, average arson sentence is 3.5 years. And  
> I’m looking at, you know, seven years. And uh, you know, peop-  
> looking at people lik Scooter Libby, looking at these, uh, right- 
> wing terrorists getting, you know, slapped on the wrists, is really  
> offensive. Um, one thing that was interesting was when the re- 
> indictment happened with Alberto Gonzalez and John Lewis having a  
> press conference in DC. That was also the same day as the Senate  
> wire tapping investigation, or the hearings. So I think that the  
> government – you know there’s an analogy used in court often by  
> the judge, about having my cake and eat it too. And I think it’  
> really interesting, cuz um, there were times where, I think everyone  
> in the courtroom was scratching their head. On one hand, it’s not a  
> political case. I'm told that I am an arsonist, I’m not gonna be a  
> political prisoner. The judge was very upset at that, um seeing that  
> on my website. Um, but then I am not being treated as an arsonist,  
> I’m facing a mandatory life sentence. On the other hand, it’s not  
> terrorism. And then they're seeking the enhancement. it seems like  
> they were so sensitive to what was being said in the media and in  
> particular, my codefendant, Jonathan Paul’s sister, had a very  
> about widely distributed op-ed piece about my brother the terrorist.  
> And they were literally responding to it in court. And so my answer  
> - my question was – you know, if I’m not a terrorist, then why  
> are you seeking an enhancement? And if DC is not running the show as  
> they said – as they claimed – they actually at one point said: we  
> haven't had a phone call from them in six months as if that meant  
> something, as if that meant, er, erased the legacy of the Attorney- 
> General of the United States getting up there. And I as at Lane  
> County at the time, I didn't even hear about it until I got an  
> article, and I picked it up and I was like, oh my God, Gonzalez just  
> said something about my case. I’m really sensing that this is going  
> to go bad, at this point. Uh, it’s always felt like DC was pulling  
> strings, I mean. >
>
> AMY GOODMAN: John Lewis, the Deputy, Assistant Director of the FBI,  
> uh, said one of today’s most serious domestic terrorism threats  
> come from special interest’s extremist groups, such as the Animal  
> Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front, and Stop Huntington  
> Animal Cruelty Campaign. Can you explain these groups, who these  
> groups are?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Sure. Um, the Earth and Animal Liberation Front I  
> think is a response to extreme, uh, disenchantment on the part of  
> young people that don't see any way of effectively making change. I,  
> I see it as uh, there are groups that employee property destruction,  
> arson and the liberation of animals from laboratories and other  
> facilities. Um, you know, I left the ELF in 2001, but When I hear,  
> you know, these definitions being thrown around like that, it just,  
> it kinda makes me shutter. Now, uh, Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty  
> was, eh, you know, until recently, legal, above-ground campaign,  
> that was trying to close a animal laboratory, named Huntington Life  
> Sciences, in New Jersey and England. And I think the property rights  
> movement and the government likes to conflate, you know, sort of  
> above-ground legal groups with underground groups in a way of kind  
> of like, just having them blend in together. So they can use the  
> same exact legal tools and repress – repression against groups like  
> that. And they’ll often throw Earth First in with that definition.  
> So it’s the ELF, ALF, Earth First, as if they're all really the  
> same thing. Even though they are choosing radically different  
> tactics, based on their affiliation.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: You grew up here in New York.
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Yeah. Yes, in Rockaway.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: How did you end up in Oregon?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Uh, funny question. Uh, well yeah, I grew up in the  
> city. And it’s strange, you know, when people say, Oh,  
> environmentalists that grew up in Rockaway, its kind of hard to  
> imagine. But, I was working in nonprofits in Manhattan. Different  
> rainforest protection groups. And I went to a, a environmental  
> gathering out west and I met a bunch, a bunch of really interesting  
> people, and it blew my mind. I told myself I was gonna go to the  
> Headwaters Forest Campaign, and when I was, literally, in the center  
> of the nation, on a train David Gypsy Chain was killed by a logger,  
> and by the time I got to San Francisco…
>
> AMY GOODMAN: He was protesting logging and a logger had cut a tree,  
> and it fell on him…
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Exactly, it killed him. And uh, so I was told, you  
> know, we don't have spots in our campaigns, so I stuck around in San  
> Francisco, until I eventually went to Eugene to work with the Earth  
> First Journal. I was blown away by Oregon. I had never seen trees  
> like that before, I had never seen forests or animals or anything  
> like that. And so, I had, it had a really profound impact on me. And  
> I was already quite radicalized by, I was, I couldn't believe uh,  
> the fact that people accepted what was going on there. I couldn't  
> believe the clear-cuts on the, on, on mountain tops. I couldn’t  
> believe the animal cruelty that I experience – that I saw.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Daniel, how are you preparing for prison?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, it’s been a long time coming. I got arrested  
> 18 months ago, and it was pretty clear to me that I would be doing  
> some time from that...
>
> AMY GOODMAN: We had your wife on then.
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: That’s right. That’s right.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: How is she doing?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: She's doing well. She's really excellent. She’s a  
> great person and she’s handled this really well. She’s been  
> running my support campaign from Day One. Putting up the website,  
> dealing with all the work that is required. The excessive  
> fundraising that we have to deal with for legal costs. I have been  
> in contact with a lot of people that have done time in the federal  
> system, I’ve been reading as much as I can, I’m reading  
> everything, obviously on the Bureau Prisons website, which is pretty  
> minimal. Um, I’ve been talking to prisoners and trying to figure  
> out where I am going. There’s still just so many question marks. I  
> know how long, I don't know where I am going. Um, so I…
>
> AMY GOODMAN: You are asking to stay out of jail beyond July 2nd.
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: We will be asking that at some point, yes. Um, the  
> judge gave me a self-report day of July 2nd. My intention was to  
> finish my classes which end in about a week and a half and wait for  
> the Bureau Prisons to let me know where I am going, and then just go  
> right to that prison. But I uh, in April I started a master's  
> program in Environmental Sociology, at Antioch University. Just sort  
> of a self-directed, self-created program, I have my own, I recruit  
> my own instructors, make my own classes and it will end up with me  
> getting a master's degree in two years. And hopefully, I will be  
> able to do that in prison.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: As you reflect on your life right now, what are your  
> thoughts?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Ah, it’s really hard, I’m still trying to get the  
> big picture of all this. Uh, I definitely have regrets. I have  
> regrets that I, you know, employed arson as a tactic. I don't think  
> morally I’m wrong about what I did, but I do think, strategically  
> and tactically it is unwise decision. I wish that I had people in my  
> life at the time to kinda guide me back to a different path. But you  
> know, I was very disenchanted and very upset about what I saw. I  
> think those feelings are legitimate and I think young kids that have  
> these feelings right now and not so young kids are, um, you know,  
> they're legitimate thoughts and we have to, basically, we have to  
> come up with ways of dealing with the crisis and stop ignoring it.  
> And that was my message to the media that day, after sentencing, was  
> we have to stop pretending this is all about crime and punishment  
> and start dealing with like, real issues, like global climate change.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Your lawyer filed a motion, compelling the government  
> to declose- disclose – whether the National Security Agency had  
> conducted a legal surveillance and monitoring during the  
> investigation. Can you take about the surveillance? And I would also  
> like to put the question to Lauren Regan, in a bigger sense.
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: We were never able to determine whether or not there  
> was any actual surveillance. I think, uh, from what we are seeing in  
> the media and what we’re seeing from Gonzalez and Bush's failed  
> statements about surveillance, I’m assuming there was a lot. But  
> the government was really very squeamish about it. They fought the,  
> uh, motion, very hard. And when we were in plea negotiations,  
> removing that motion was a key part of the plea agreement going  
> forward. So we removed, er, we rescinded our motion as a result of  
> that.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Lauren, your response.
>
> LAUREN REGAN: Well, I would agree with Daniel that the motion was  
> probably the tipping point, strangely, for the government to non- 
> cooperation deals. Up until that point, they had said you will  
> either go to trial and get life in prison or you will cooperate with  
> the federal government and name names. And for the last four  
> defendants that was just an unworkable situation. And we filed that  
> motion. Basically, the judge ordered a person from Washington, DC --  
> it was interesting. When the hearing first happened, the US Attorney  
> stood up and tried to say that he personally was not aware of any  
> illegal surveillance and so that should be good enough. And the  
> judge said, no, you need to bring somebody from Washington, DC, that  
> is in the Central Intelligence Agency and have them testify under  
> oath that in fact that did not occur. And prior to pushing that  
> envelope as far as we possibly could, the government capitulated to  
> the non-cooperation deals, and, uh, like Daniel mentioned, the  
> motion was rescinded based on that. It was also filed in the case of  
> Brianna Waters, which is a codefendant, who is being prosecuted for  
> the University of Washington arson, uh, in the state of Washington.  
> And interestingly, in those Washington cases no terrorist  
> enhancement is being sought for them. But her attorneys also filed a  
> motion seeking NSA disclosures and that’s currently being battled  
> in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: If people want to get more information on your case and  
> what is happening to you, your time in prison, Daniel, where can  
> they go?
>
> DANIEL MCGOWAN: Well, they can go to the website run by friends and  
> family. It’s www.supportDaniel.org
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you for being with us Daniel  
> McGowan. We will certainly follow your case and follow the latest  
> also when you are going to prison. Lauren Regan, Executive Director  
> of the Eugene-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, thanks very much  
> for joining us.
>
>
>
> Freedom Archives
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>
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>
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