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Destroying property is not terrorism, by Jonathan Pauls mom

This is a heartfelt plea by one of the non-cooperating eco-defendant's mothers, one that is appropriately published as we approach this year's celebration of Mother's Day.
Destroying property is not terrorism
By Sarah Paul
Published: Friday, May 11, 2007

This Mother's Day might be the last one for years for which I might receive flowers or cards from my son. On future Mother's Days he will not treat me to brunch or take me to dinner. What I might get is a collect call from the federal prison where the Department of Justice will try to put him for many years.

According to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, my son is part of "the nation's No. 1 domestic terrorist threat," a small, underground environmental group that believes in nonviolence to living things but which engages in environmentally motivated property destruction.

Ironically, Gonzales made this proclamation the same week Michael Fortier, who was convicted for his involvement in planning the Oklahoma City bombing that murdered 168 people, was released from jail after serving 10 years. Although my son has neither killed nor injured anyone, federal law allows for sentences for these defendants ranging between 20 years and 1,000 years in jail.

The final decision is up to the judge; I hope that the actual sentences will better reflect the true nature of the crimes. While these defendants have struck deals with prosecutors for lesser sentences, should the judge determine that these were terrorist acts, she has the discretion to add 20 years to any sentence.

My son is one of nearly 20 young people that the U.S. attorney's office indicted more than a year ago for crimes of eco-sabotage and property damage, acts based upon their strongly held principles on animal suffering.

Like any parent, I am dismayed by some of the choices my son has made, namely his involvement in an arson at a horse slaughterhouse 10 years ago. The crimes with which these young people have been charged are serious, but any parent can disagree with their child's actions and still sense the unreasonable and unjust severity of the punishments they face.

The "terrorism enhancement" that the prosecution will seek on Tuesday has been and should be reserved for murderers and those who use weapons of mass destruction in this country, not vandals who have not harmed a living thing. In a post-Sept. 11 world, the T-word should be used with extreme caution.

I am one of many mothers whose children have been rounded up in a misguided witch hunt. My heart goes out to the mothers of all the other defendants, especially the mother of Bill Rodgers, who took his life in jail weeks after his arrest.

This Mother's Day marks a tragedy for us all, the result of some poor decisions by some young people and a prosecution obsessed with making examples out of them - and taking them away from us for decades to come.

Putting our children in jail for half of their lives is simply a mistake. My son is a volunteer firefighter and medic, and has spent his life saving animals and people. He has given of himself unselfishly to stop cruelty and suffering. Among others on their way to prison are a carpenter, legal aid worker, violin teacher, software engineer, disc jockey, journalist, health worker and several students.

Despite the mistakes that these young people made many years ago, they are contributing members of their communities today. One is even a young mother herself and could face more than 50 years in prison. The disproportionate sentence she faces only spells many more Mother's Days to come in which parents tied to these cases cannot be with their children.

Property destruction is not terrorism. The Department of Justice should save its "terrorism enhancement" for those who design to injure and kill, not our kids.

Sarah Paul is the mother of defendant Jonathan Christopher Mark Paul, who is scheduled for sentencing June 5 in U.S. District Court in Eugene. Prosecutors have recommended that he receive a sentence of four years, nine months under a negotiated plea deal.

An open letter to Jonathan's mom 11.May.2007 13:45

Another mom

I too am a mother.
I too have seen first hand the horrors which were common place at Cavel West Slaughterhouse in Redmond, Oregon. Please, do not feel dismayed by what your son has been accused of. Instead, feel love, respect and admiration for his convictions and his desire to bring an end to the cruelty, abuse and slaughter of thousands upon thousands of horses that passed through the doors of Cavel West. Because of Jonathan's courage and respect for life Cavel West no longer exists. Because of your son's supposed actions the slaughter of beautiful and innocent horses at this facility has ceased forever. Your son and others did not make poor decisions. They made the right decision. The only decision. The decision we should have all made.
I do not know Jonathan personally, but he and others like him receive my utmost respect and admiration.
I will be thinking of you and your son on Mothers' Day. Be strong for both yourself and for Jonathan

I Cry 11.May.2007 15:46


i cry for the horses, the mothers and a society that dares to put property before life. I do not cry for Jonathon but instead will sing praises for the work that he and others have done to show us the right path.
May all life be sacred and property be just that. Carry on the torch of truth

Corporate media reprint 11.May.2007 18:02

Cite your sources!

yeah 12.May.2007 09:15

no harm intended

that's why I posted that this was a repost. I
I didn't intentionally leave out the register guard cite. sorry.

"corporate media reprint" 12.May.2007 12:02

yes, it is

but don't particularly care if it's a "corporate" source venue or not -

(and in this case, above piece was written as a *guest editorial* ... i.e. by someone who happens to be **related to - or at the least has concern about** - activists for change .... could've been ONE OF US here at PDX IMC for all you know.... and don't PDX IMC'ers exhort people to "write letters to the Oregonian" [Fouad, etc.] from time to time? )

Also, see a lot of articles getting re-posted from Infoshop, WSWS, various libertarian/rightwing and many other sites onto PDX IMC.

Upshot? Important thing is citing your sources, "corporate" or not.

This is symbolic... 12.May.2007 17:18


...but I hope it leads people to resist in China. (Of course, the Chinese Communist Party and its lackeys like ANSWER would think that it is "counter-revolutionary terrorism".)