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Phone Interview with Oregon State Prisoner Jeffery "Free" Luers

This is about a twenty minute interview with Jeffery Luers. Free is a political prisoner being held on domestic/environmental terrorism charges for firebombing some SUV's. He was sentenced for 22 years. Find out more from the interview!

[ June 12 International Events Planned | Appeal Awaiting Oral Arguments in July | Background ]

jeff
jeff "free" luers interview
This is released now, in part with the international day of Solidarity for Jeff Luers that is on June 12th.

great listen! 08.Jun.2004 19:21

audio fan

i listened to this interview and it was great to hear Free speak about his case, "terrorism", and the need for change in the world, in his own words and with his own voice. Highly recommeneded!

Stay strong Free 10.Jun.2004 18:23

root

thanks indymedia for this awsome interview!

NOT a political prisoner 11.Jun.2004 03:47

Jack

Is he a political prisoner?
No. He is an arsonist. The Arson may have been for political reasons, but this does not make him a political prisoner.

That said, his sentence is far too long- he was sentenced this long for political reasons. This still does not make him a political prisoner- it makes him a victim of the prison system. There are many such victims.

A political prisoner is someone who is railroaded for a crime they did NOT commit or imprisoned for writing, speaking, or gathering.

Do not cheapen the term. Calling the guy a political prisoner is on par with calling Reagan, Clinton, or Bush a "great" president or great "leader."
There are REAL political prisoners in America. This man is not one of them. He is just another victim of harsh sentencing. Do not confuse that legitimate cause with being a true political prisoner.

This man is an arsonist. Beyond that he is a victim of the system in the same way that many people in prison are.
Side with him, discuss him, argue his motives, but don't call him a political prisoner.
If you do you are no better than a right wing crank spouting their brand of propaganda.

He is just another example of anarchists being the worse enemies of anarchy.

Wow Jack 11.Jun.2004 04:50

Jill

That's a really good point Jack. He's not necessarily a political prisoner, but the political climate shaped his sentencing. Interesting, and for all intents and purposes, completely true...

interviewer-please get in touch with us 11.Jun.2004 10:31

friends of free

hey get in touch with us,ok
friends of free
 freefreenow@mutualaid.org

thanks!

jack and jill 11.Jun.2004 13:23

away from home

all prisoners are political prisoners

Bull 11.Jun.2004 14:00

EE

some prisoners are just criminals!!!!!

who gives a fuck... 11.Jun.2004 18:06

adam

about semantics. FREE FREE!

?? 11.Jun.2004 18:11

adam

when did this interview happen?

This guy's a freaking nut job 11.Jun.2004 18:13

Why

I don't get it man. Someone please explain to me the thought process behind using these type actions as a means of protest. It just becomes a perpetuating cycle of violence.

it does? 11.Jun.2004 18:28

.

Please explain how the "cycle of violence" has been perpetuating by burning SUV's.

Perhaps you should also explain whether you think burning SUV's warrants more prison time than multiple homicide or rape.

Give a Hoot..Dont Set Fires to S.U.V.s 11.Jun.2004 20:51

Blactoe Stynkyfeet

Jeff..sorry bro..you're an arsonist...believe or not..and crackin' jokes for the judge (or to the judge)prob tacked on 20 years...ya...they can do that..if i were your Attorney i would've slapped you..but thats neither hear nor there...what i want to know...is the chick who did the interview blond??"uhhh sooo,,uhhh hehe uhhh soo" and why not burn your own S.U.V.?? if you want to make a statement say it..but the destruction of other peeps property...whats up with that? sooo...uhhh what were you driving at the time of the crime?? a camareo?? or where were you taking the bus? did you drink from a plastic bottle??did you turn on your computer?? HELLLOOO MCCFLLLYY..youre guilty of the same crime the S.U.V. drivers are...you waster...you eco polutting capitalist pig...you..Eco Totalatanarist then the "i hate Bush rant" was great..is Micheal Moore going to do a movie about your "plight" ???? i hope you learned a lesson...you prob didnt..look..all joking aside..I'm The Grand PhoBah of The Small Peoples Liberation Front..I know...the Dam pro-lifers..but hear me out...if you really want to know the truth.. no bullshit.. ask Jesus Christ into your life he will change your heart...your mind and your life..maybe S.U.V.s are causing more polution then a hyundai..but burning them is a poor demonstration, you've been working for the Dark Side young Jedi..and 22 years..thats pretty crappy..it is .i mean that..get a good Christian Lawyer...best advise...he would knock it down to to 2 years..I'll say my prayers for you..i'll even donate some money for the legal bills..on the condition you take the authority of the judge seriosly..thats so important..you dont sound the least bit remorseful...Timothy McViegh wasnt remorseful either..Think about it..and good luck.

A Saturday morning rant 12.Jun.2004 11:47

trinity

Well, I support this guy, I think any statement or action that brings light to the problems at hand is good. People have different opinions about how things should be taken out, but I think it's more important to do something. Luers is a warrior, he calls himself an eco-warrior, but really I think he is among our ranks as warriors in the oldest war ever, the war between master and servant. We need all forms or resistance. And calling this violence is absurd, unless you think he hurt all those SUVs. THEY ARE INANIMATE OBJECTS! Eating a hamburger is more violent than burning SUVs. Some people. Hell, Driving an SUV has got to be as violent as burning them. Those mean animal faces on the grill (yes many of them are designed so that the front end looks like a ferocious animal). By driving an SUV you are making the statement that you are in favor of destoying the environment. Unless of course you have a large family to drive around.

And as for all you "there are peaceful ways to do things" well don't you think we do peaceful things on a regular basis? Just one unpeaceful action makes you think we don't know about peace...we are violent people? Bull. Anyhow...What has peaceful protest done about the assult on Iraq and Afganistan? What did peaceful protest do for the indigenous people in Southern Mexico? And an armed revolt? Without an guerilla army, the last jungle in north america would be a grave for the mayans and a grazing land for McDonalds. There is a time and place for everything, and most of you damn liberals who get on people's asses for not being peaceful...You do nothing but whine for your country. Stand-up, make a statement... Why do you think the republicans get what they want... They don't whine...them make demands.

maybe he is a political prisoner 12.Jun.2004 16:20

me

About the arguement that he is not a political prisoner...
In my understanding...and the dictionary (yes I looked it up) a political prisoner is someone who is incarcerated for their political beliefs. So...someone commiting arson might get several years sentence....be out on parol in a couple years... so if Jeff were simply an arsonist then he would most likely be out on parol by now. And take a look at what the same court gives to others...

"On February 26 former Eugene Police Officer Juan Francisco Lara was sentenced to less than 5 years for crimes relating to sexual abuse of women and other acts of misconduct while on duty. There were 11 victims that spoke at the hearing about how Larašs actions have irrevocably changed their lives for the worse. Many of the victims reported that they were so afraid of Lara that they had to move away from Eugene."
He didn't even have to register as a sex offender! On top of it, he had no remorse what-so-ever for what he did.

So, to me, he is a political prisoner because he is in prison for his political beliefs. But that is just an opinion.

Think carefully 14.Jun.2004 02:26

Jack

He's still NOT a political prisoner. (noun: Someone who is imprisoned because of their political views )
A political prisoner is in BECAUSE of their views, speech.

This man is not a political prisoner. He is in jail BECAUSE he set a fire. He is in jail FOR arson. If he had the same views and spoke much louder, wrote, became mildly famous, he likely would not be in jail. He is there because he started a fire. A political prisoner is one who did not start a fire, killed in self defense, is framed, is in JUST for their views speech. That is what a political prisoner IS. There are real ones (examples, arguments for Mumia, Peltier)- and setting the net too wide is a disservice to them. People like this guy and Ted Kaczynski do not belong on the list.
Think carefully- they DID it. Political prisoners are innocent or arguably innocent. This is key to the defense of people like Mumia and Peltier: frame-up for politics. This is no frame up- he started a fire. Period. This is WHY he is in jail.

The distinction between property damage and violence is a valid distinction. Property damage is not violence, but arson is potentially violent because of the possibility of loss of life and spread of the fire. The fact that no one was hurt is a point to consider, but not to the point of being used as situational BS. What about all the fumes?
Key is the idea of ends justifying means. If you are aiming for an egalitarian, peaceful, anti-authoritarian society you do not get there with these kind of tactics. Propaganda by the deed is BS that brings no anti-authoritarian progress. It instead flames the fires of reaction. This is that his fire wrought.

He was arrested for starting a fire. He did start a fire. He was given a long sentence because: 1) he admits he started a fire and he defends the action; this makes him a danger to start more fires; this increases his sentence; and 2) he has views that the system and the jury found repellent.
Support him in the last part, fight the prison industrial complex, prison is doing society no good, but know that this is not grounds to call him a political prisoner. Set apart your ideas from his action. His action did not advance your ideals.

News-flash: the system finds MY ideas repellent. I'm not in jail. I didn't start a fire. If I am in jail next month, say, it will not be because I started a fire, etc. I will be a political prisoner. Oddly, I doubt I would get the same support as this guy from the "community." NOT starting a fire is just so "non-revolutionary."
I've been threatened by cops plenty. So far not arrested.

Starting a fire is a stupid thing to do. Lets imagine for a minute that the ends do justify the means. What effect did this "action" have?
1) The car dealer wrote off the loss, collected insurance, salvaged parts/vehicles, sold them. Result: they profited by this action.
2) Many people were outraged by this act of "terrorism." Result: some of them went out and bought SUVs at the dealer to "support" them and strike a blow against the "evil eco-terrorist nuts," which includes all who speak against SUVs.
3) The media got a juicy story about them there "evil anarchist terrorists." Result: anarchism mentioned in media as terrorist ideology, terror for the sake of terror, no ethical value.
4) Ditto the politicians, prosecutors, right-wingers. Result: justification for harsher sentences, more laws, more swing rightward to "protect" property rights.

5) If the idea is to build mass support this is a total loss. A few fringe defenders and the mass support-- is for throwing the book at the guy. This did nothing tangible to get his ideas out there in mass society; no real damage to the dealership or capitalism; actively helped the politicians and the right-wingers with their agenda.
This is why, when the FBI infiltrates left groups- these are the kind of actions they help foster. Yeah... real good. "revolutionary."

Yeah this "action" worked real good. NOT. He's a political prisoner. NOT.

Sentence too long? Yes. Is calling him a political prisoner helping. NO.

do what it takes 14.Jun.2004 04:15

harrison dynamitefx@yahoo.com

fire may not be the best method but people need to wake up ! there are so many issues that are buried under lies every day. there are more of us than there are of them, why do they have control? stay Free ! no bars can hold you !!! -much love.


Remembering that crime is a social creation 14.Jun.2004 08:33

r

I agree with you, Jack. Calling him a "political prisoner" distorts the meaning of the term and takes away its power. If people begin to think political prisoners have actually committed some legally determined "criminal" action, rather than just having ideas and making them public, then true "political prisoners" will be at a loss. People will forget who has started a fire (or any other legally determined crime) and who has simply had controversial ideals.

That said, it is important to remember that "crimes" are socially constructed. Burning property other than your own in this country is criminal because our culture places private property at the top of the importance list. (And apparently women's sexuality is much lower on the list of things to protect in this country). It is imperative that we remember his crime was defined as such in this time and in this place. It is easy to forget that what is "criminal" (and the resultant sentence) reflects the dominant culture and not some absolute truth. Just a thought.

comment 14.Jun.2004 10:02

xxx

"stay Free ! no bars can hold you !!!"

Why do you spread lies like this? He is inside prison at the moment, right? So i guess those bars can hold him. His life is destroyed. But what do you care, it is more important to have martyr for the movement, right? I hope you dont tell people no bullet can stop you.

comment 15.Jun.2004 11:14

Bob damphouse@yahoo.com

First off the interviewer was hilarious (unintentionally).

Secondly I would disagree with the hard fast points that this guy is not a political prisoner. I think it's somewhat subjective. If he is being punished more harshly because of the political statement behind his crime I think it is fair to argue that he is a political prisoner, at least on some level. For example if someone is arrested at a peaceful protest and given an extreme sentence for loitering (or something like that) I would still consider this person a political prisoner. Because they are being held longer for their political views than any crime they have committed. I get the feeling that Jack disagrees with his tactics (as do I), and so is being less objective about the situation, but maybe I'm reading into it too much. All and all I would say there is an argument for him being considered a political prisoner. Just because someone who's views you disagree with are political prisoners doesn't cheapen the term.

Again 15.Jun.2004 14:18

Jack

Dear Bob (and all),

There is a difference between a political prisoner and a victim of injustice. We are all, likely, victims of many injustices- we live in an unjust system (the means we use to address this system is vitally important).
A political prisoner is a very special and specific thing. If we call all victims of injustice by that terminology, we cheapen the term and we cause very real harm to those the term actually applies to.

What I have said is that he is a victim of injustice, not a political prisoner. (He is also not without culpability.) It is very reasonable to support efforts on his behalf to help him in his situation.
However, my points still stand:
He is not a political prisoner. Calling him one does not help him and harms real political prisoners.
Further, his action did not raise awareness outside a fringe audience, did not reduce pollution, did not harm capitalism, did not aid in setting up an anti authoritarian society.

It did one thing: fanned the flames of right-wing reaction. There will be more laws and longer sentences as a result.

He hurt himself and his cause. He aided the system. He likely helped sell more SUVs than he torched.

Also, as a poster said crime is a construct and a reflection of society. But it is important to remember- means build ends; ends do not justify means.
The type of actions we are discussing do not build for a non-oppressive future; this is simply more might makes right.
Can I burn down your house because you don't have solar panels?
Can I trash all the cars in a poor neighborhood because they are old and get poor gas milage, the drivers who need them to go to work and support their families at starvation wages be damned?
Someone will declare this action was aimed at the wealthy; however, not all SUV drivers are wealthy and I assure you, this caused the wealthy no real harm: they wrote it off, cashed in on insurance, probably sold a few more SUV to outraged people.

Set aside "crime" and look at ethics. Anarchism (and Jeff claims to be one) aims to build an ethical society.
Did this action do this? No, it supported "might makes right."

There is a hell of an enemy out there and you can't win by playing the game their way. That's what this action was- the system LOVES this. The system LOVES those who support it. It helps legitimize the system to the masses.
Keeps critics silent, marginalized, written off as nuts.
Keeps the police and the lawmakers strong.
This is exactly how the system wants you to "fight" it. In a way that strengthens it.

This is not revolutionary.
Einstein said, "We cannot solve the serious problems that face us with the same level of thinking that created these problems."
Einstein, as all should know, was a pretty smart fellow.

The system is powerful and destructive. We need to be ethical, creative, and cunning. We need to do things that actually hurt the system and build a more ethical society; not the same old things that failed to work before and some people keep trying over and over again.
As I said the FBI infiltrates and encourages JUST THESE TYPES OF ACTIONS. This is what they want. To support it is to play right in their hands, play their game by their rules, and LOSE- all the while making the system stronger.

Of course he's a political prisoners - he is also a freedom fighter 16.Jun.2004 13:00

Iris from Palestine

Every body who is in prison because he was fighting to save our world from catastrophy is a freedom fighter & a political prisoners.

and... it's REALY nasty to blame Free's friends that they are happy "to have a martyr for the movement" - to have your friends & comrades imprisoned of dying is the mosr sad thing in the world - I'm sure that all Free's were very happy to have him with them ourside, free. Don't forget it's the system that put him in prison...


Jack 16.Jun.2004 16:30

not a freedom fighter either, unless...

In addition to not being a political prisoner he is assuredly not a freedom fighter.
Unless we are talking about George Carlin's famous quip: "If firefighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? ... Freedom."

He made not a single person more free, the earth not a bit cleaner. He made one person considerably less free (himself) and helped the right wing stir up some support for more laws and longer prison stays.
As sad as it is that his life has been so harshly effected, it is more sad that people want to make him into a myth and a martyr rather than rally any real kind of help for him. Kind of like the end of Monty Python's Life of Brian, where Brian is being Crucified and his group came- not to free him- but give him an award for his martyrdom. Then the suicide squad comes and kills themselves in from of him- rather than free him- to "show the Romans." That film tells you all you need to know about western radicals.

A lot of shady people and groups tend to get called freedom fighters- like the Reagan funded Contras and the the cuban exiles in Miami. Both reliably fighting against freedom. "Freedom fighters." Not really a great compliment.

This kind of dogma ("He's a political prisoner!" He's a freedom fighter!") is not helping the environment or the guy in prison- or anyone else. He is a guy who did an ineffective act that helped no one; a guy who had some good ideals and some really worthless ideas about tactics; and a guy who got a hell of a prison sentence for a stupid, ineffective, useless act.

Making him a myth and a martyr is a sad, sad thing to do. Blind stabs at justifications and blind dogma. We see that also in the fawning praise for Reagan...
The left and the right are not that far off. They both need so much to believe in something that they grab something off the shelf and then swear by it; no matter what and no matter the harm done; a complete blind eye to cause and effect, real world effects, logic, coherency between actions and ideals, their own mouthed ethics.

Politics... religion... closed mindedness.

burning S.U.V.'s and most other vandalism is retarded 16.Jun.2004 18:55

spitball

Sport Utility Vans have can have a valid utilitarian purpose to transport people, unfortunately it seems they are all too often used as an ego jacking status symbol for Americans to exalt themselves over others.

Mr. Leurs is an example, that if you do indeed see your fellow citizens reaking with some sickening aura of vanities, driving along as single passengers in an S.U.V., do something a little more creative to vent your hostility, some legal insult . . . like

"Hey you evil stuck up asshole or bitch, why do you need that big gas guzzling piece of shit all to yourselves? You look pathetic needing that overated vanity around in, how about you use it for something more constructive like hauling hay to feed the cattle your T-bone Sirloin steak you plan to eat tonight?"

In fact, if you have time and resources, just slip that note on the windshield wipers of SUV owners wherever you find them.

That would be a lot more courageous and constructive than destroying people's property.

Sadness of Reality 17.Jun.2004 10:40

sirhess sirhess@cox.net

Amazing to read what your thoughts are! Jack, I admire your determination, how adimant you are, it flows through the screen with much force! To get to my point, I read what was said here and I see all of you having strong ethical, moral, social, and many other issues or else why make the comments you have made. What I see is a people that are just trying to be heard, and attempting to find any angle they possibly can in order to be heard. It is VERY FRUSTRATING to live in the society we live in today, absolutely! We live in an age where people are in a never ending attempt at staying on the fast lane, being at par with the Jones'. It is sad, and your points make that clear. No, I don't believe burning someone else's property is the way to make a point...burning, such an old idea....did it work for the KKK? Don't think so. As "Jack" stated, you have to be more cunning. It is what the system wants. Growing up the way I have it was extremely difficult for me to believe that the politicians did not have my best interest in mind. I have unfortunately found out that not to be the case a lot of the time. You must stop and think though...what is the best way to be heard? Definately not blowing up an SUV, or doing anything illegal for that matter, but by simply gathering the people that want to make a change and become VERY LOUD! Certain things are not going to fly. Sorry, have the belief that a eating a burger is an atrocity, okay. Well, this is what you believe, make a point to tell others. Get mad at the lady driving the SUV....make a statement the right way. What I find amazing though is this...how many people making these statements really believe in what they are saying? Or even know why they are making the statements they are making. Have they actually gone overseas and saw how the other people look, act, what they believe? Or do they take the information from a pamphlet and go with it? That is the real problem....they do not investigate and understand what they themselves are truly saying, they just want to be heard. One of the most amzing things just came to my attention this week...did you know that the last time Sweden was ever connected with the rest of Europe proper was during the Ice Age...until now. There is an ice link from that country acctually connecting them with the rest of Europe at a particular point. Amazing though isn't it that we hear we are experiencing global warming? It is true, our our ozone is depleting, but that can be reversed...and many believe it is. Just stop, think about it, and then be heard, the right way. We have laws for a reason, society would not stand if we did not. Now, hoever, you may not like all the laws....I know I don't, but that is where we need to be loud, mnake a stink, the correct way. Doing one bit of harm to attempt righting the other harm will not get you the proper attention, they will just focus on the current wrong you are perpetrating. Finally, absolutely, I think the prison system needs to be overhauled...I find it amazing, I knew a kid of 18 once, actually I knew him through a friend pretty well. He did something wrong, he broke into houses and stole art work, etc. He was caught, admitted to it and everything. He got 45 years for it. He got out after 15 years. This guy had no rehabilitation. They did not teach him about his mistakes....about why we have rules for our society...they did not assist him with the proper ways of thinking. And then, you look at someone like Hinkley, the guy who shot Reagan...he is out for all intents and purposes now? We need to have our leaders be i more in touch with the grassroots of our society!

a couple of points 17.Jun.2004 12:50

historian

Property destruction has indeed been a strong force for social justice in the United States. Indeed there has never been any social change that has not been brought about through illegal actions. So, though burning crosses on people's lawns did not help the KKK, stealing slaves from slave-owners (theft) did help the abolition movement. Non-violent civil disobedience (breaking the law) did help the civil rights movement. The Boston Tea Party (property destruction) did help spark the revolutionary war. So whether property destruction will be judged an effective tool is a question left for history to answer. It is far too early to judge the consequences of such actions.

Think of it this way; in 1963 one could have argued that Martin Luther King's sit-in (an illegal act of civil disobedience) that resulted in his arrest helped the forces of segregation gain support. At the time people could have (and did) argue that it was an "unwise and untimely" activity. Yet through history we can see that King's determination was an appropriate and effective tactic at the time. Reread his Letter from Birmingham Jail and draw your own analysis.

 http://almaz.com/nobel/peace/MLK-jail.html

As to whether Free is a political prisoner, I think Bob got it right when he said, "Because they are being held longer for their political views than any crime they have committed." If Free had been given the same sentence that would have been given to someone performing the same acts as a drunken prank or for profit than he would not be considered a political prisoner. Indeed, even if he had been given a harsher sentence but only served the same amount of time he would not be considered a political prisoner. But, after such time that someone guilty of arson would typically have served (about 4 years in Oregon) a person still being help because of the political nature of her or his actions should be considered a political prisoner. So, at this point I would say Free is not a political prisoner but by all indications will be in the near future unless he is released.

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

- Martin Luther King Jr.