Jonathan Paul: "Will The Real Eco-Terrorists Please Stand Up?"
Will The Real Eco-Terrorists Please Stand Up?
2nd Prison Dispatch from Jonathan Paul
When I was arrested in early 2006 for the destruction of the Cavel West horse slaughterhouse, the media went into a frenzy with headlines describing me as an "eco-terrorist" or "eco-terror suspect". The local newspaper in my area had a heyday putting out stories fed to them by the federal government. The news media in my area surely enjoyed being the mouthpiece for the corporations and the government. For me it was not the fact that they reported the story of my arrest, but how they reported it.
The government's use of the term "eco-terrorist" works well for their fear-mongering and paranoia inducing plans to terrify the general public into complacency, inaction and silence. After the September 11th attacks, the government proclaimed that anyone who opposed the policies of our government would now be dubbed a "terrorist". This was the perfect opportunity to begin to shred the Constitution and to reign in our civil liberties protected under the Constitution by using fear. By instilling fear in the American public, our government and the corporations that rule the government, began to criminalize the people's right to oppose their practices, therefore ensuring their bottom line - maximum profits for 1% of the population, the super-rich and elite.
This is all disturbing to me not only because our rights are being trampled, but more importantly, because they are destroying our natural world with impunity. The war on nature is directly related to the war on the Constitution. Don't get me wrong - I am not a patriot of our current government. I am a patriot for the planet and the natural world as a whole. In our country people have rights - or we used to. But what happened to the will of the people, or the "public interest?" It is the special interests and corporations that call the shots, not the "will of the people". Our government does not govern based on what is best for the public interest, as our values and voices are slowly being silenced by the fear instilled by the powers-that-be. We are becoming zombies with no voice because we are being lulled into a state of hopelessness and apathy. But this is not an incurable disease; we have the power to make change.
So how does this fit in with the "eco-terrorist" issue? It is all part of the bigger plan. "Natural resource extraction" is a necessity in the bottom-line of corporate industry. By painting those who are concerned with the natural world with the broad "fanatic-bunny hugging - tree hugging - terrorist" brush, the corporations and government can continue to justify their "resource- extraction" (or earth rape as I prefer to call it) and deter future activists from trying to address the dire environmental issues facing the world that our government refuses to acknowledge because it will not increase profit for their corporate friends (Halliburton, Chevron, Blackwater, to name a few).
In the 1980's a man by the name of Ron Arnold created the term "eco-terrorist". He defined this term as any crime committed to save nature. As a leading figure of the "wise use movement" this new term was a great tool for Arnold. The wise use movement consists of resource extraction corporations such as the timber, mining, oil, fishing and cattle farming industries. The same industries that will sacrifice the health of the planet and its inhabitants for their bottom line. The term "wise use" is intended to delude the public - that these industries are "concerned about the environment and use the land wisely". This couldn't be further from the truth and is a classic example of early spin doctoring by industry hacks. The dire impact that these industries produce is the major reason why our planet is in calamitous trouble. This is also why these industries need to create the public perception that they are "earth friendly" or "green". Here are some examples of greenwashing that come to mind: "Eco-Imagination" by General Electric, a corporation responsible for nuclear proliferation; and "Clean Coal" by the coal industry as it continues to excavate whole mountains from the earth and spew toxins into the air.
By advertising themselves as "green", these industries hope to convince the public that their #1 concern is the environment and they are doing everything in their power to make things "green". Unfortunately, many will watch the commercials that these industries produce and say, "Oh, that's nice, it's good to see they are changing."
I question who are the REAL eco-terrorists. Is it the activist who breaks into a lab after the government refuses to take action against blatant illegalities and frees hundreds of dogs, cats, monkeys, rabbits and other unfortunate animals from horrendous pain and torture? Is it those who choose to sabotage the machines that cut down the forests, dig the land into open pit mines that pollute the water and air after the government refuses to enforce even the meager environmental regulations that exist? Is it even those who choose to burn an empty building that is slaughtering up to 500 horses a week with the blood of those horses running out of the sewers after even local government and communities wanted them shut down for breaking the law?
Or is it the timber companies that clear-cut hundreds of square miles of old-growth forest until less than 3% is left in the US alone while the federal agencies charged with protecting our public resources turn a blind eye? Is it the energy companies that spew out tens of thousands of pounds of greenhouse gasses into the air? Is it the oil and gas industry that moves into the pristine wilderness, drilling millions of acres of untouched offshore habitat, endangering the lives of countless species and the lives of the indigenous people who rely on that environment to survive? Is it the industry that dumps toxic waste in our water and land and pollutes the air we breathe? Could it be our government, run by, and complicit with the earth-raping corporations who believe we the people are too stupid to stop them?
Who are the real eco-terrorists? I suggest that the industries of the world stand up and be counted. They, in fact, are the real eco-terrorists. How many thousands of people have died because of their callous disregard for the health and safety of people and the planet? How many species of plants and animals have gone extinct because of their destructive, illegal practices and outright greed? Those in the present administration and law enforcement who protect the bottom line of industry may also stand up and be counted. They too are responsible for not only encouraging the industries to continue their exploitation, but also enable them to expand their ways under the protection of the police state.
I would also like to give Exxon-Mobil a special commendation of top general in the eco-terrorist movement, or "family," as the feds like to say. By spending millions in the last 20 years to muddy the waters on the issue of green house gasses and climate change, they have prevented us from changing to clean energy and brought us to the tipping point if we are not already past it.
And to the last CEO of Exxon-Mobil, Lee Raymond, with his severance of 400 million dollars, HE should be looking at life plus a thousand years in prison, not my codefendants. He should be forced to pay restitution to all the people he has sickened or killed, and all the land, air and water he has irreparably poisoned. He is guilty of eco-terrorism. His corporation has terrorized the planet and detrimentally changed its delicate balance of life forever.
I have been known to be a pessimist. Those who know me know my famous quote - "we're doomed". The question is - are we really doomed? We very well may be in many respects. But does this still justify our dirty deeds? No. Does this mean the Captains of Industry can continue destroying our planet? No. Even with the dire predictions of the future we must take action. The people of the world must stand up and demand clean alternative energy, the rehabilitation of forests around the world, curb species extinction, reduce our own population, and most of all - make a change in our own consciousness that we pass down to the next seven generations. If we can begin to attain this goal then radical effective change may be possible.
When all the animals are free from exploitation and the earth is treated like our true mother, then those who choose to fight at night can take off their masks and retire for good.
The Captains of Industry, the government, and the media they control can call me a terrorist and lock me in their prisons. They can try to break my spirit and make me one of them. They can enable and support the ones who attempted to take my life. They can even try to convince the public that I am a "danger to society" and make me out to be the devil. But I have a light you can never extinguish because I am a true patriot. I may not be a patriot to the death culture, but I am a patriot for the earth. I, along with many others, stand for the culture of justice and life. I stand for the earth and all her creatures.
As I sit here in prison I see red-tailed hawks flying overhead. I see rabbits running through the fences and razor wire like it isn't there. I see ducks and songbirds fly over me. I see true freedom. I hate being here. I know why I am here. Although I chose many years ago not to use fire as a tactic because of the inherent dangers involved, I know somewhere out in the world a wild foal is born and a herd of horses run free because the Cavel West horse slaughterhouse no longer exists.
In solidarity for the animals and the earth,
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 45th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85086
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