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green scare | prisons & prisoners

Environmental Activists Denied Bail in "Green Scare" Case

Eugene, OR - Release was denied at a detention hearing held in federal court in Eugene Thursday, June 1 before Judge Thomas Coffin in the case of individuals associated with what is being called the "Green Scare" round up of environmentalists in several states. The court heard arguments as to why Joyanna Zacher, 28, and Nathan Block, 25, should be released on bail. Judge Coffin denied bail.
Ms. Zacher and Mr. Block, both of Olympia, Washington, have been in custody since February for an alleged arson in 2001. Their arrest resulted from a bargain struck between federal authorities and one or more individuals previously arrested for the same alleged crimes. The previously arrested informants claim Zacher and Block's involvement out of hope for future leniency.

The Bush Administration continued to describe the alleged crimes as "terrorism" despite the fact that none of the defendants have been formally charged as such and no injuries or casualties occurred. In fact, Judge Coffin stated that he believes these are "arson cases, pure and simple". However, the judge denied bail despite the fact that Block and Zacher presumably meet the legal standard for bail. Neither fled or hid after others were arrested in December and no weapons were found at their homes.

The grand jury is investigating acts of sabotage linked to the underground ELF and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). There have been grand juries convened in San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Colorado affecting a broad sweep of environmental and animal activists suspected of property damage. The May 2001 fire occurred at the Jefferson Poplar Farm on the Oregon Coast. The "Earth Liberation Front" (ELF) claimed responsibility, citing the farm as a location for field experimentation with trees genetically engineered to grow unnaturally fast that could contaminate native forests.

Alejandro Queral, executive director of the NW Constitutional Rights Center said: "The federal prosecutor continues to refer to these cases as 'terrorism' and is seeking life imprisonment for the defendants even when the judge clearly sees them as 'arson'. This is a thinly veiled political persecution and the U.S. Attorney's Office is using these cases of property destruction as its perfect excuse."

Judge Coffin cited "new information" describing Block and Zacher as being willing to participate in increased violence, despite the fact that no specific statements about violence were credited to them.

US Attorney Engdall cited "philosophical discussions" during a 2001 book club meeting and vague statements from other defendants under coercive pressure to give information. The prosecutor also cited alleged philosophical leanings of deceased defendant Bill Rodgers of Arizona.

Coffin allowed Block and Zacher could come back to the court with arguments for bail release again.

homepage: homepage: http://www.cldc.org


Why the picture of Lacey? 04.Jun.2006 12:06

curious

I don't see any reference to Lacey in these stories...this seems a bit odd..please remove unless I am missing something.

philosophical leanings? 04.Jun.2006 13:12

theresa mitchell

This reminds me of the judge allowing Mumia to be painted as a Maoist. After the Portland Seven and the Mayfield cases, it's becoming pretty clear that prosecutors are becoming increasingly comfortable with essentially political prosecutions.

If 'terror' were truly the question, I think there would be a hell of a lot more prosecutions of persons who gave aid and comfort to abortion bombers and shooters. That's terrorism.

As for arson--I can't go for it "philosophically," at least not under these circumstances of near-total corporate media spin control, but the question here is whether these people are to be treated as people, or as mythical monsters. Frankly I don't stay up at night worrying about "eco-terrorism," and I know perfectly well that even if I stayed every night in a logger's camp, I would have nothing to fear from these people who so carefully avoid harming other people.

I wish I could talk directly to the prosecutors, and just say: please calm down, and do the right thing; don't go for these broad social-intervention theories that say you must intimidate all dissent.
I really think that's the intent with these hysterical charges, and denying bail, and so forth.

Lacey? 06.Jun.2006 10:12

m

there was a picture of Lacey because she is an unindicted federal witness, along with Jen Kohlar, so someone put her up with the other people who are cooperating