portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements oregon & cascadia

forest defense | green scare | prisons & prisoners

Briana Waters Free after Arraingment

A young mother from California pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to charges that she helped torch the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, Briana Waters, 30, of Berkeley, Calif., was charged with arson and using or carrying a destructive device during a crime of violence.
Mother, 30, charged in 2001 UW arson
Few details given in case against Briana Waters

By HECTOR CASTRO
P-I REPORTER

A young mother from California pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to charges that she helped torch the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, Briana Waters, 30, of Berkeley, Calif., was charged with arson and using or carrying a destructive device during a crime of violence.

The indictment gives few details of the case against Waters. Federal prosecutors wrote only that she is alleged to have destroyed and abetted in the destruction of the UW building.

Fire gutted the Center for Urban Horticulture after someone firebombed the office of a researcher there. Later, the Earth Liberation Front took responsibility for the fire, saying on a Web site that the researcher's office was targeted because of his genetic research.

The UW spent $7 million rebuilding the center.

Waters, a musician and violin teacher in California, where she lives with her husband and young daughter, has not been in custody.

She appeared in court with her lawyer, Nancy Tenney, upon receiving a summons. The petite, bespectacled Waters said little during the brief hearing.

At one point, she smiled to her daughter and husband.

Neither she nor Tenney would comment afterward.

John McKay, the U.S. attorney in Seattle, would not elaborate on the case against Waters, except to say that she is the first person to be charged for direct involvement in the UW fire.

"This is an important case," McKay said outside the federal courthouse. "The charges are serious."

The arson charge carries a sentence of five to 20 years. The second count against Waters carries a minimum 30-year sentence and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Still, despite the lengthy sentence Waters faces, and an investigation that has been going on for years, federal prosecutors did not seek to have her held in custody. Waters was simply ordered to surrender her passport.

But Magistrate Judge Monica Benton, commenting on the potential life sentence, said that at a minimum, electronic monitoring of Waters was appropriate. She ordered that when Waters returns to California, she be placed on what she called passive monitoring.

Trial was set for June 5.

The investigation into the UW fire is continuing, federal officials said.

In December, federal agents conducted a series of raids around the country aimed at arresting many of those believed involved in a series of fires in five states, many of them hitting such targets as research labs, car dealerships and timber firms.

Some of those arrested were indicted in January by a grand jury in Eugene, Ore. Of those, three -- two men and one woman -- were accused of being involved in the UW fire.

Two of them were Stanislas Meyerhoff, 28, of Charlottesville, Va., and Chelsea Gerlach, 28, of Portland. Gerlach is accused of having conducted reconnaissance of the center before the fire.

Meyerhoff and Gerlach are both in custody. One man, William Rodgers, of Arizona, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator, committed suicide

support film 31.Mar.2006 13:59

Jeremiah peter_pan@riseup.net

Hi I am working on a film about the green scare, and i'm looking for people who have know any of the arrestees who would want to speak out about their arrests or intimidation by law enforcement. Several people in our area have had Federal agents harrass them at their homes for supposed links to arrestees. If you are willing to step forward, i would love to talk to you. On camera, or by anonomous audio recording.

Email me at peter_pan(AT)riseup.net if you want to take part in the project.

here is some background info...
My project is a short film, tentatively called liberation, which will address the issue of the us government using fear as a means to throw the country furthur into fascism. I'm an anarchist who has lived in washington most of my life, I was falsely convicted of nearly blinding a police captain in seattle, my trial started september 13th 2001, a few days after 9-11, I never believed i could have a fair trial but after people became enraged with fear and the desire to lash out against anyone different than them i knew that i was going to go to jail. However, i got lucky. The police captain who was injured admitted after my conviction that he was actualy on a different street, with shopping mall between us and that it would have been impossible for me to have hurt him. so i was released.

I dont assume that the people who have been swept up in the green scare will be as lucky as i was. I also dont believe they are guilty as charged. Of course i cant know what has or has not happened in relation to the incidents, but i know in my heart that they never intended to cause "terror" and so are not guilty of that, and i will never be convinced otherwise.

I dont know how you feel about the arrests, or about being served papers, or what your politics are, but if you have become part of this story, i feel that your experience needs to be told. I hope i can help with that.

If you have any more questions feel free to email me, at peter_pan(AT)riseup.net

This film could hurt people facing charges 02.Apr.2006 23:51

woodswoman

I don't know you or your background, but I want to caution people against participating in this film. First, there are now at least 14 people facing so-called terrorism charges carrying potential sentences of several decades, and talking about them or their cases on camera could SERIOUSLY affect their upcoming trials. I am a friend of one of these defendants, and that person's attorney has strongly advised against discussing the case with reporters of any kind.

If you know a filmmaker well on a personal level, meaning for a minimum of several years, I can understand why you would consider speaking with her/him on camera (although I still think it's a mistake prior to targeted activists' trials). However, anything less than a close relationship with a filmmaker is asking for trouble -- you cannot assume this person is an ally. It would be horrible if footage of you talking with this filmmaker was used not only as the basis for future charges against you, but against others as well.

This is very dangerous territory. Watch out for unknown people who want to "tell your story."

film 08.Apr.2006 10:38

brian waters brianwaters75@37.com

woodswoman is right no comments for legal reasons after the trial I will add my substantial comments if they are wanted and will participate

BRIANA IS BEING USED AS A SCAPE GOAT 20.Apr.2006 14:32

SANDRA BUCKINGHAM , PHOENIX ARIZONA sdbplus123@yahoo.cm

After reading all the articals and thinking about this, I feel that Brianan is being used as a scape goat to gathere information on the other people mentioned. They know she is not one of the master minds in this or a flight risk or they simply wouldnt have let her go. Or maby they are hopeing if they apply enough pressure she will turn states evidence. SO LOOKING AT THIS REALISTICALLY: 1. Gather much needed information by putting bianan on trial. 2. Hopeing if enough pressure is applied, Briana will become a state witness. It is a freaking setup and it stinks. It's very clear to me what is going on here, doesn't take a Rocket Scientest to figure this one out. Briana is being used to make their case against the others.

out of control 27.May.2006 22:28

acdc

I know Brianna and she is a wonderful person and fantastic mother. This government is out of control and I just heard that in another state a man was put on parol for 10 years for raping a 13 year old girl twice because he was too short to serve time in prison.

A system out of control.

"Film" plan 06.Oct.2006 00:53

skeptical lawyer

Several things about this person's story/"background" sound suspicious to me - not the least of which is that they would have gone ahead with a trial on 9/13/01... but also, the very circumstances of how he "got off" sound implausible - if you were already convicted, how did this new information about the police officer's location come about?! Appeals only look at errors in the process of the original trial - there has to be some very RARE circumstances before you can introduce new evidence, etc., etc.

The lesson here - in all of this - really is DON'T TRUST ANYBODY. I tell my clients this all the time, but unfortunately, folks never seem to listen. SHUT UP> DON'T TELL THE POLICE, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR LOVER, ANYONE, ANYTHING.

You have the right to remain silent. USE IT.

As for Jen, Lacey, etc., etc - I know it's easy for all of us to say they shouldn't have cooperated - but this is serious. People are scared, and they're having to make horrible choices. Maybe those choices are selfish, and maybe they are just shifting the awfulness of the situation onto other shoulders - but until YOU have had to face the reality of 30 or 40 or 70 years in a prison cell, you really can't imagine the hell these guys are going though. It's easy to be self-righteous when you're safe. Have some compassion - and remember who the really enemy is. Save your energy for that fight, not for your comrades.

"Only the very safe can talk about wrong & right..."

"Film" plan 06.Oct.2006 00:53

skeptical lawyer

Several things about this person's story/"background" sound suspicious to me - not the least of which is that they would have gone ahead with a trial on 9/13/01... but also, the very circumstances of how he "got off" sound implausible - if you were already convicted, how did this new information about the police officer's location come about?! Appeals only look at errors in the process of the original trial - there has to be some very RARE circumstances before you can introduce new evidence, etc., etc.

The lesson here - in all of this - really is DON'T TRUST ANYBODY. I tell my clients this all the time, but unfortunately, folks never seem to listen. SHUT UP> DON'T TELL THE POLICE, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR LOVER, ANYONE, ANYTHING.

You have the right to remain silent. USE IT.

As for Jen, Lacey, etc., etc - I know it's easy for all of us to say they shouldn't have cooperated - but this is serious. People are scared, and they're having to make horrible choices. Maybe those choices are selfish, and maybe they are just shifting the awfulness of the situation onto other shoulders - but until YOU have had to face the reality of 30 or 40 or 70 years in a prison cell, you really can't imagine the hell these guys are going though. It's easy to be self-righteous when you're safe. Have some compassion - and remember who the really enemy is. Save your energy for that fight, not for your comrades.

"Only the very safe can talk about wrong & right..."