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

green scare

greenscare witch hunt

about the green scare
Folks,
I'm really discouraged by the way in which this and related groups make kids who do eco sabotage into rockstars for getting arrested and then immediately turns into a witch hunt against them when the FBI effectively isolates them and terrifies them into copping a plea bargain. I know its not good to testify against your commrades, I'm clear on that. But I'm also clear that it is really really scary to be railroaded by the FBI. What is even more concerning is that I would wager good money that the majority of people who are posting these kids pictures and labeling them "snitches" have never ever encountered persecution by the FBI or have been "tested" in this way themselves.

The culture that is being created when we target these (often) young folks who were trying to stand for their beliefs and are now getting chewed alive by the powers that be is unhealthy and inhumane.

I'm sick and tired of all the grandstanding around "snitches", we all know you should not tell on your friends, but we are all flawed, all human, all psycologically fragile in some way that we may not discover until we are tested. We would all like to think that we would not cave in such circumstances but in *almost every* greenscare case in the last 5 years or so at least 1 or more of the defendants caved and copped a deal. Is this good? no. Is this reality? yes. Its like we've developed a spectator sport of waiting to see who caves and then excoriating them in a public venue. Its depressing and counter revolutionary.

I'd love to hear some intelligent conversation around alternative ways to reach these folks before a plea bargain enters the picture, any new ideas or comments.
i have similar feelings 20.Jul.2006 15:26

but

Unfortunately, this isn't an issue of rockstars and martyrs. People who cop plea bargains increase the chance of somebody else doing SERIOUS time (plea bargains are not offered unless the person has information that will help convict the noninformant), and in the case of Zachary Jenson it's over a crime that never even occurred and yet the person left behind in the dark, the one person who had the integrity to stand up for his ideals and maintain his innocence has now been turned on by someone who was supposed to be his friend. Where's your empathy and compassion for him? Plea-bargaining is back-stabbing and it's wrong.

Anyway, like the Sacramento prison support group has stated, no one is being asked to harry or persecute the snitchers. They are simply asking that no support be given them, and I think that is totally fair. If you turn your back on the movement, the movement turns its back on you; fair enough.

oh yeah, one more 20.Jul.2006 15:33

thing

It's not a "witch hunt". A witch hunt is what the feds are doing to activists right now. It's when people get targeted left and right for the slightest of suspicious circumstances by the established state power, with little or no regard to whether or not a crime was actually committed. The feds don't give a shit about guilt or innocence, they just want convictions because convictions reinforce their percieved legitimacy. Outing a known snitch is not persecution, it's an action that basically does a service to the activist community by letting everyone know that this person cannot be trusted, and anything you say to them you might as well be saying to a fed, who as we all know will twist anything you say around this way and that to make it seem incriminating.

taking a stand 20.Jul.2006 18:32

m

It is an assumption that people haven't had to deal with FBI. Let us not forget Jeff Hogg who was approached at his school and his home by this menacing force. He and his partner have had many sacrifices to make while he sits in jail for not committing a crime. Self-sacrifice is the basis of social movements, to make the pathway a little easier for the next person. Revolution doesn't happen over night, it happens over decades + and it is not easy. It is really unfortunate that several of the people facing prison are only in their 2nd decade. Barely enough time gain enough life experience to really make life choices. But, do not underestimate the power of people who feel strongly in their convictions.

Not wasting another tear 20.Jul.2006 19:17

Mother of Sam

The moment these "scared kids" capitulate to the terrorist state they are lost to us. Sad, harsh, but true. I will put my energy into those who stand strong, in the face of the state, for what they believe in. At the point the state takes their freedom, isolates them, etc., the only power they have left is to do the right thing, stand with their brothers and sisters, and not cave in. Sure, I understand that it is horrible and terrifying, and I have pity, but they are giving up the best part of themselves, and condemning others to longer sentences because of their fear. I will not waste a tear for those lost to the dark side. I just finished reading Thurston's release and he talks about "at least I'll be able to feel the sun on my face....etc." Nice for him, but how about those he has turned on, what about the sun on their face? Seems like the only safe way to do anything is by yourself. No wonder our society is so disfunctional. We make it so very easy for the oppressors to oppress, and we seem to have forgotten lessons hard-won by our ancestors - stick together, kids, and keep your mouth shut!

wait a 20.Jul.2006 20:13

minute

didn't Thurston just take a solo plea bargain, as in he plead guilty to lesser crime to save them the trouble of prosecuting him for one with a longer sentence, but he wasn't actually snitching anyone out?

you get to use my friend for your freedom, don't ask for my sympathy 20.Jul.2006 20:15

ca

I'm glad someone is asking for an honest discussion and not telling me to feel a certain way.

I read today in the news that Tubbs, Tankersley and Thurston:
Federal prosecutors said the three men [Sarah is included as a man here] have agreed to cooperate and provide assistance to the government in the investigation and prosecution of other co-conspirators involved in arson, conspiracy and related crimes.

This means they are going on the witness stand to put away my good friend for, if the prosecutors have their way, the rest of his life.

I'm not interested in vilifying them, or trashing them, or anything like that. It doesn't make me feel better, and it doesn't change them helping the government convict my friend.

I do, however, get upset when people say they should be supported in the same thread as support for my friend is discussed. Once in a discussion about my friend, someone said this person is getting so much support, people should support Kevin too and not just this one indiviual. Excuse me. I'm sorry. I was shocked by the lack of sensitivity of this person.

What it comes down to, I feel, when someone says something like that is, "My friend is more important and worthy of living their life than yours is. There's nothing wrong with them ruining your friend's life just to make their own easier." As much as I'd like to believe it, it's entirely naive to think that Darren Thurston is going to do 3 years and not have to cooperate. I know people won't be satisfied until the court documents are made public, that when people report back on what happened in court tomorrow it still won't be good enough, won't be enough proof. Whatever. I'd just like one of these supporters of a cooperating "conspirator" to tell me how they'd like me to feel. What do you suggest? What are you going to say to me when one of them takes the stand and points their finger at my friend? What are you going to say to me when you get to spend a sunny day with your friend 3 years from now (or 4 years, or 14 years), go on vacation, makes plans together and I will still be writing letters to my friend in prison and saving money to fly across the country to spend half an hour visitation with him? These aren't rhetorical questions. I'd like to know.

Yes, this certainly sucks for everyone. But you get the security of knowing you will get your friend back. I don't. So don't tell me to feel sympathy for them when they've used my friend to attain that security. You're taking enough from me already, you're not getting my sympathy. I don't mean to sound harsh, but don't push it. I won't trash your friends, but I won't tolerate you complaining that they aren't being supported the way non-cooperating defendants are.


wait a 21.Jul.2006 06:56

minute longer and you'll be brain dead

 link to www.oregonlive.com

"As part of their pleas, they agreed to testify against others charged in the case and to cooperate with the governments ongoing investigation into similar crimes that span at least six Western states."

who says darren is testifying? 21.Jul.2006 08:22

just wondering

you are assuming that each of these defendants has the ability to rat out others. remember - darren is only alleged to have been involved in a single incident - lichtfield - of the other 7 people alleged to have been involved (stan, kevin, chelsea, jenn k., joe, rebecca and justin) - four are co-operating and three are awol. who will darren be asked to take the stand against? of course if joe or rebecca get found, that might be an issue - but i would hazard to guess at this point they have got themselves well hid.

thanks 21.Jul.2006 08:39

ca

thanks for pointing that out "just wondering. i'm glad i know that.

conspiracy 21.Jul.2006 09:37

someone

by pleading guilty of conspiracy, you are implicating everyone involved. period.

not quite 21.Jul.2006 09:46

lets get the legal facts straight

no - that's not true actually. you are pleading to your own involvement in a conspiracy - not anyone else's involvement in it. since many of these defendants did not know each other or of each other - they could not be providing evidence that those individuals they did not know were involved. you can read the law however you want, but the law isn't applied the way that you are stating it.

more 21.Jul.2006 10:16

breathing fine

 link to www.registerguard.com

By pleading guilty to conspiracy, the three defendants provide strong evidence against their 10 co-defendants. The three said all 13 co-defendants were involved in a group they called "The Family," in which they studied targets, built firebombs and pledged secrecy in 18 separate attacks.

A third defendant, Darren Todd Thurston, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit arson to destroy a Bonneville Power Administration transmission line in Deschutes County in 1999. He also will plead guilty to a federal charge pending in California for arson at a BLM wild horse corral near Susanville in 2001. Engdall said he will dismiss other charges and recommend a 37-month prison sentence for Thurston.

I'm not sure what I'd do... 21.Jul.2006 10:52

....but I'm realistic

You write:
"We would all like to think that we would not cave in such circumstances"
However, I'm not so sure what I would do if "tested."
Add that to the fact that the "cause" has my sympaties and you arrive at the reason I have not undertaken covert/illegal action in the realm here under discussion.
After introspection I have made the decision that because I may hurt a movement by becoming involved beyond my personal, as you put it, human flaws and limitations, I will be active within my boundaries.
However, when people take on responsibility for others, or for a "movement" or "cause", they are to be held accountable. In my mind, people who undertake certain activities, and then roll-over or snitch, are guilty of, and accontable for, two different failures of responsibility. These are, one, the responsibility to the others involved, and second, the failure of responsibility for the lack of introspection leading to their involvement in stuff over thier heads....Betrayal is the word for shirking such heavy responsibility, and at the least, ridicule and shame are due them....

You Don't Get Reductions in Sentencing without Cooperation 21.Jul.2006 11:13

the fbi's been around for years

The three people from Litchfield whom you mention are "awol" may be painted as fugitives by the government and media, but we have no idea if they are even aware of their charges. So if Darren has agreed to implicate those three, he is informing on THREE non-cooperating indictees that could still be arrested and arraigned. How much more simple can it get? Let's get this discussion over with and forget about Darren for now - we'll see the level of his cooperation at trial, along with the others. This cowardice in the face of government repression is nothing to defend. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. If you don't agree with the proposed time, organize, don't fold. That's why we should focus on the non-cooperating defendants Nathan Block, Joyanna Zacher, Daniel McGowan, and Jonathon Paul. Solidarity for those who refuse to play the government's game of political dominoes.

zip it 21.Jul.2006 15:22

fist pack

Speculation helps no one.

it so easy for the outside 22.Jul.2006 06:47

time

its easy for people on the outside to make choices around support. you have no idea what kind of stress and manipulation these people are dealing with everyday. instead of ditching the narcs...we should figure out what made these warriors crack. these were friends and comrades...they were strong...they could have been us.
what could have prevented these problems and why are we not starting there? why do we jump to turning our backs? i am guessing a good portion of the people who are able to turn away have never done any time.

someone always says "zip it" 22.Jul.2006 22:29

anon

There's always someone who says to "zip it." There's always someone who says that it's easy to speculate when you're on the outside. And yet, clearly people need to process this stuff and clearly there are people who have experience on the inside and made the right choice (Rod, JP, Jeff, etc). Someone is always willing and ready to make excuses for people now a days--Jake had a bad childhood (who didn't?--oh, and I'd like to add, MAY JAKE ROT IN HELL), Stan was freaked out and is apparently losing his mind (he's always been a little odd), Kevin was faced with tough decisions, etc. As a high school teacher, I can tell you that parents do the same thing when their children get into trouble. They make excuses for their kids and demand that they be let off the hook instead of getting them to face responsibility for their actions. And so, we're supposed to say it's okay--it's okay to snitch on your friends, it's okay to go around with a wire and turn on your friends because how would we know what it's like, we've never faced life in prison (yeah, that's true, I have never faced life in prison, yep, you got me there, no way for me to deny that one, nope, no life in prison for me.) Well, I suppose I should just shut the hell up now because I have never faced life in prison so I can have no opinions and have nothing to say on the matter, okay, thanks.
For me the bottom line is this: you do the crime and get caught, you shut up the fuck up and get a lawyer. If the lawyer cannot help you then no amount of snitching will save you from time in jail. Stan sang like a bird and so far he's looking at the most time.
And by the way, this isn't really a witchhunt, from what I can tell. A witchhunt implies that those who are persecuted are innocent of the charges. Since most of them are singing like canaries it doesn't really fit the description. For it to really become a proper witchhunt, Stan would need to accuse someone like, well, me, of being involved. Than I would say, "heck no" and Stan would say, "uh huh, she was there with the walkie talkie" and then Kevin would say, "yeah, I saw her too," and I would still say, "no way," but they'd put me in jail anyway.
There are, what, three people who have not talked, yes? So perhaps if more continue to be charged and refuse to talk and plead not guilty then I might say it's a witchhunt. But hey, FBI, don't do anything to impress me.
I've blabbed on a lot--I will end with this: hey, dude (male or female) who started this discussion--good on ya--thanks! It's been interesting (except for those "zip it" people--kill-joys).
Oh, and less anyone think I am too flippant about all of this: this shit is breaking my heart. I think we can at least all agree on that--and there's nothing wrong with mourning for everyone (except Jake--he can rot in hell) and their lost youth, regardless of the mistakes they made once in the custody of those FBI assholes. (one more thing--sorry for the run-ons--I don't like punctuation much)