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green scare | police / legal

Oregon eco-saboteurs plead guilty but are not implicating others

Civil Rights Outreach Committee

For Immediate Release: November 8, 2006
Lauren Regan, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Eugene, OR, 541-687-9180
Alejandro Queral, NW Constitutional Rights Center, Portland, OR 503-295-6400; 202-491-6204

Oregon Eco-saboteurs Admit Responsibility
Remain Resolute in Not Implicating Others

Eugene, OR - The four remaining non-cooperating defendants in the Oregon "Green Scare" case today changed their pleas and agreed to drop their request for production of NSA surveillance materials and data. Recent negotiations between federal prosecutors and the defendants resulted in a global resolution non-cooperation plea agreement whereby the four defendants will agree to accept responsibility for their own roles in environmentally motivated crimes, but do not agree to provide information or testify against anyone now or in the future.

Joyanna Zacher, Nathan Block, Daniel McGowan and Jonathan Paul appeared in federal court this morning before U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken to enter pleas related to acts of property destruction and arson. Zacher and Block each plead to one count of conspiracy, attempted arson, and two separate incidents of arson. McGowan plead to conspiracy and to two separate incidents of arson. The government is recommending they be sentenced to 96 months in federal prison. Paul plead to one count of arson and one count of conspiracy. The government is recommending Paul be sentenced to 60 months in prison. All four defendants are free to argue for a lesser sentence. The next status hearing will be on December 14 to determine when sentencing will occur.

Despite the agreement however, federal prosecutors have asked the court to apply a "terrorism enhancement" at sentencing. Should Judge Aiken grant the government's request, the non-cooperating defendants could face up to 20 years in prison in addition to the terms of the plea agreement. The government is seeking the "terrorism enhancement" despite the fact that the crimes to which they have admitted responsibility only involve the destruction of private property; no government property was damaged in any of the incidents.

After the hearing, Jonathan Paul, through a statement made by his sister Alexandra Paul, indicated that after the Cavel West slaughterhouse fire, "he realized that fire was an unacceptable means to an end, no matter how compelling." He also stated however, that he "will continue to be a person deeply committed to the betterment of our society and the elimination of animal and human suffering."

During the hearing, Daniel McGowan made a heartfelt statement to a packed courtroom that "this plea agreement is very important to me because it allows me to accept full responsibility for my actions and at the same time remain true to my strongly held beliefs." McGowan's attorney, Amanda Lee, added that Daniel "did not identify or implicate any other individuals."

Despite the pleas entered today which resolve the Oregon cases in their entirety Jeff Hogg remains imprisoned without having been charged with any crimes for his refusal to testify against others after being subpoenaed to a federal grand jury. After the hearing, Hogg's partner Cecilia Storey made an emotional plea for his immediate release from custody.

Copies of a press packet with a synopsis of the prosecution, related articles background information, historical examples of sabotage in the U.S., and a history of FBI repression of political activism are available upon request.
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Excellent news! 09.Nov.2006 14:48

Down with Snitching.

These people stuck to their guns and refused to sell out their friends and in the end they may serve more time, but they still won't spend their whole lives in prison and they didn't lose their integrity. They get to come back to a movement that will welcome them with open arms. Meanwhile their sell out co-defendants will be forever shunned.

Best wishes to Jonathan, Joy, Daniel, and Nathan! We should also remember Brianna, she is still saying that she is innocent and asking for her day in court.

Yes, great news 09.Nov.2006 15:23

Down with Shunning

Hopefully everyone can move forward now, serve their (unjust) sentences and move on, and that includes those who are in prison as a result of people blabbing about their involvement to a wire-wearing crackhead snitch.

There aren't enough people in this movement for us all to ride our high horses and shun people who were brave enough to take action but who couldn't see risking a lifetime in prison. Especially after their own cases were so badly compromised by some people not keeping their mouths shut.

Let's focus on the real enemy - the government, the same bastards who are still pushing for "terrorism enhancement" sentences for those who pleaded guilty today. And who are still destroying our forests.

"Bravery" includes reponsibility 09.Nov.2006 16:02


It's not brave to take action and then, when caught, sell out one's former friends to save their own skin. Bravery is standing together and telling the federal government, and Big Timber who pressure them to target and persecute activists, that there will be no deal if it includes implicating other folks-- dead, alive, fugitive, or already co-operating. Bravery is understanding that being caught means potentially serving life in prison, not flipping and weakening an entire movement by calling into question the integrity of those one chooses to work with. Informants, agent provacateurs, snitches, and co-operating witnesses should expect the same treatment and it should not be allowing them back into our spaces and movements, trusting that they won't again sell down the river those they are, for the moment, closest to.

The greater enemy is the enemy within 09.Nov.2006 16:15


Yeah Jacob Ferguson is the snitch who started the ball rolling on this case, but there would be no case if the people he rolled on did not roll themselves in turn. If Stanislas, Darren, Kevin, Chelsea, Kolar, Lacey and the others had not decided to assist the government in their efforts to prosecute their more principled co-defendants no one who'd have to plea and the government would just have some idiot junkie with a long criminal history and a pentagram tattoo on his balding head to show a jury. That and some vaguely incriminating tape recorded conversations.

Fuck the government bust first FUCK SNITCHES!

its not over yet 09.Nov.2006 16:16


I just want to remind everyone not to let up on all their good work. Its taken good lawyers, a whole lot of money, and solid support work to get these 4 non-cooperating co-defendents to where they hopefully won't be spending their whole lives in prison. . . and its going to take a lot more support work to get them the best possible deal and the lowest possible sentences. Further, only an overwhelming showing of solidarity and community outreach and support will end the green scare. So keep up the good work and step up what can be stepped up. and ps- Organize an event in your city for December 7th if you haven't( http://greenscare.org/1206call.html)! Hats off to the four co-defendents and to all freedom fighters and political prisoners.

The movement needs more such activists 09.Nov.2006 21:01


There are no words to express my admiration for these four individuals. They should be held in the highest esteem and be an example to all of us. Thank you for your conviction, dedication, honor, bravery and respect.

concerning darren and chelsea 09.Nov.2006 23:24


while i applaud the four for not agreeing to turn evidence, the fact of the matter is that their co-operation would hardly be needed by the prosecution in any event. jake may be a junkie, and that may have been a weak point for the prosecution, but he acquired *dozens* of cd's worth of wire evidence. jen kolar, too, may have gained wire evidence (correct me if i'm wrong), and meyerhoff agreed to corroborate almost instantaneously. add all that up and the feds had a pretty open and shut case, especially given the nebulous nature of 'conspiracy' charges and how easy they are to make them stick.

which brings up darren and chelsea. there has been a tremendous amount of bashing of these two folks here and elsewhere for their pleas. in response to that, i would submit this: given the tremendous amount of evidence the feds had (the wires, testimony etc. i believe darren had forty *thousand* pages of discovery delivered to him) a guilty verdict was, essentially, a foregone conclusion. in the face of that, what would we have had the do? sacrafice 30+ years of their lives? to accomplish what? their co-operation would have been incidental at best and, in the face of that overwhelming evidence (taped confessions, no less), it would have been a purely symbolic act. it's a lot to ask of someone to risk spending the rest of their lives in prison for little more than the sake of appearances. i was never comfortable making a request like that and was always a little surprised that there were so many who were.

certainly, the four played out this whole situation better than darren and chelsea did. with no one left in custody not having pled guilty, a plea without co-operation was much more feasible, and the simultaneous pleas were an excellent display of solidarity. however, please remember that darren and chelsea were not fortunate enough to have been granted bail and were forced to make their plea decisions without unfettered access to their supporters or the ability to communicate or co-ordinate with other defendants.

heart-breaking... 10.Nov.2006 06:12


I agree with allqsallthetime. Truly this whole situation is heart breaking. And 5 - 15 years in prison (as the plea bargains state) is no walk in the park. Can you really truly imagine the next 8 years of your life in prison? Not to mention the 20-30 year 'terrorism enhancement' they may all get. For actions that caused physical harm to no one many people who truly wanted to make the world a better place will spend a decade in jail. I am glad that the case worked out allowing a plea bargain for Daniel, Joyanna, Nathan and JP without their needing to cooperate. I am thankful they can take a plea bargain without the added guilt of cooperation.

I have not stood in their shoes. I can't imagine what any of them felt given a situation that i believe at least for Joyanna, Nathan, JP, Daniel, Chelsea, Kevin, and Darren - the already existing evidence was strong enough to guarantee conviction. I will not judge Darren, Chelsea, or Kevin. I am not convinced they added evidence not already available, nor do we know what went on behind closed doors. Who knows what they were told, and what else was happening. Did Chelsea, Darren, and Kevin have information leading them to believe that Joyanna, Nathan, JP, and Daniel were also negotiating plea bargains? With no one going to trial (I am very confused by the situation with Brianna) it seems likely that we may never see Chelsea, Darren or Kevin testify against anyone - could they have known or suspected this would be the case from internal information and felt more pressue to take an earlier / less good plea bargain?

SOLIDARITY: Regardless of whether you choose only to support Daniel, Joyanna, Nathan, and JP or to case a wider net - I would hope everyone who has cared about this issue or whose heart can feel for these individuals will commit to be there for them for the next 8 - 28 (in case of enahncement) years. Send money. Send letters. Send love. And when they get out reach out and help them live their 'outsie' lives again. Solidarity can't end with the plea bargains. And it can't end with the trial dates. It can't even end when they walk out of jail - FREE AGAIN - after 8 years. Commit to be there for them.

excuses for darren and chelsea 10.Nov.2006 08:21


well, it's not like nathan and joyanna were free to do those things either. and part of the reason they weren't is because chelsea and savoie provided fresh testimony that was used against them in their bail hearings! and in reality, chelsea chose the strategy of ignoring her supporters and letting a less than competent family member run her support committee without replying to any supporters untill after she turned states witness.

you can make all the excuses you want: but from your turn of events, there is a no reason that darren and chelsea couldn't have worked with the 4 non-cooperating folks and acted in solidarity with them. after all your saying it was all locked up with jake, kolar, and meyerhoff. not to mention tubbs, philabaum, savoie and harvey.

so darren and chelsea have been saying over and over that when this is all through some magic information will come out that vindicated them, that shows that they only acted with integrity. i really they can muster something better then their cooperation being merely incidental! they've been telling ex-supporters and supporters this whole time in the face of questions like "did you agree implicate others in you plea agreement?" and they respond, when it all comes out it will be shown that theres no reason to call them snitches. well, here we fucking are. it's show time. what do you have to prove?

few things worse than being a snitch in prison, y'all.

wiretapping 10.Nov.2006 09:51


I wish the 4 would have held out for the response from the government on the wiretapping in this case. Has anyone ever wondered how the FBI found Ferguson?? I believe that is where the wiretapping began. Were they monitoring him for drugs or something else and the ELF/ALF information fell into their laps? Once they had him on the hook, they persuaded and paid him to wear a wire. What other promises and deals did they make with him? He seems to be the main arsonist in all of these fires. If this information would have come before the court, I believe the entire case against all the defendants would have been thrown out because of illegal wiretapping. I don't claim to know this, I said this is what I believe happened.

As far as these 4 people getting a better deal than the others and being better people than the others; my comment to that would be, these 4 have been living outside of prison. They had the personal support of family and friends. They have had the opportunity to get up in the morning and go to work. The others who have been jailed since 7 December 2005, only have short (maximum 15 minute) phone calls with family. The have had the prosecutors visit them whenever they felt like questioning them again. We have no clue what was said to those folks that may have made them feel completely hopeless. Facing a government prosecutor and hearing you are going to be locked away for life plus 335 years is bound to have an effect on you. Plus, back in December 2005, after Bill Rodgers committed suicide, these people were placed on suicide watch supposedly. 6 plus days, over the Christmas/New Years holiday, locked for 23 hours per day in a small cell without anything but a bible. Not even regular issued prison garb. A suicide gown. No sheets, one blanket. 10 squares of toilet paper, not a roll. Vegetarians/vegans being fed animal products. My question still, suicide watch or psychological torture???

Folks should go back to the beginning of the "green scare" on 7 December 2005 and read all the links. There are 2 screens full of links on indymedia. It's a good refresher what happened in this case and to these people. I don't believe these 4 people are any better than the folks still sitting in prison. I just think they got a better deal because a years later, the government wanted to clear the "green scare" off their desks, before the real illegal wiretapping information came out.




lets not forget the Washington case 10.Nov.2006 11:39


Lets not forget about the ongoing case in Washington. The FBI has knocked at two Olympia homes this past week. The battle up here continues. Lacey and Jen K are busy pointing their fingers.

after reading these comments 10.Nov.2006 11:40


I realize what a sorry state this movement is in. If you support snitches or give them any sympathy you are not part of the movement I'm helping to build. These four had the courage to resist snitching on each other in the face of ALL other defendants in the case snitching on them. What these pleas do though is forfeit having a jury and possibly getting acquitted. The government's scare tactics worked 100% and most defendants openly renounced their past actions and eco-warrior ways. This outcome is nothing to celebrate or be happy about.

These 4 deserve to be supported, but all other people in this case are snitches for life and should be treated accordingly. Tolerating snitching is movement suicide. People need to get over the fact that their trusted and loved friends snitched so thoroughly that these 4 had to plead guilty to crimes the government had NO PHYICAL EVIDENCE.

Some comments glorify these 4 defendants "taking responsibility" for their actions. When is the government and capitalism going to take responsibility for destroying ecosystems around the world and exploiting humans and all living things? Since when do corporations and government get to be the victim in all this? Why are people on this thread falling for this bullshit? The actions these four plead guilty to did not harm any living thing, were not difficult or dangerous for firefighters, and effectively accomplished what they set out to do. The fires were set for a very important and serious reason. Please, lets not for get that.

This movement needs to have a serious disscusion about Snitch Culture.

regarding "me" 10.Nov.2006 12:43


You don't have all the facts. It's a complex legal case, and having suspisions about how things went down is speculation about best, and considering that some of the information you're hypothesizing about is out there, it's ignorance. The Rolling Stone article this past summer talks about how Jake Ferguson got involved with the case. The NSA was not going to give up illegal wiretap info. They're not giving it up for Congress, so why would they do so for this case?

These 4 have not all been outside prison! Get your facts straight! This information is all available and out there. Nathan and Joyanna have been in prison since March. Jonathan and Daniel were out on bail, yes, but others who were out on bail (Suzanne Savoie, Kendall Tankersly) still chose to cooperate.

Jonathan, Daniel, Joyanna and Nathan did not take a deal when the other six took their deal. They chose not to go to trial because they were facing minimum of life if convicted. It's a big gamble to leave that up to a jury. They faced the same choices faced by the others, they were all arrested and threatened with massive jail time. They decided not to cooperate. Why are people so anxious to find fault with that?

this saddens me 10.Nov.2006 18:47


Both N&J are not activists, they may at one time have believed in the pursuits of the elf, but at this point they see no way to the end of this disgusting culture especially not engaging in the fruitless and silly endeavors of the activist community. They choose to live meaningfull lives where they create art, interact with nature, and hermit away from this collapsing disgusting world. I dont think they really care one way or another what this whole activist community thinks about them. the facts are they didnt implicate any one because they saw it for the filthy act that it is, not so they would be accepted into some activist "community" once they are free. they have been sitting in county jail since their arrests in march, trying to figure out how to deal with this horrific and devastating situation. my hope is that those out their claming to know them, thier motives, or have insights into what they are facing will know the need for this to end. end the babble, the speculation, get off the internet and perhaps you may heal from the sickness this culture has created inside you.

unless you have been there 10.Nov.2006 20:31


You might want to think about things a bit. Those who are not wanting to cut anyone any slack.
FBI Cops are seriously trained to get you to talk. Unless you have been subjected to mental torture and physical duress, you have no idea. Threats on family and friends. Being worn down for weeks. Family wearing you down. Guilt trips. You are not in your rational mind IN A HURRY!
Advice: If you all plan on doing this shit, you better train HARD to counter cop training. Meaning how to survive interrogation. Good luck!

get real 10.Nov.2006 22:33

stop it

The worst snitch is Jake. Not because he uses heroin but because he betrayed the movement by trading in the lives of courageous people and aiding the government in dismantling social movements for his own immediate financial gain. Darren, Chelsea, and the others are snitches too. Yes they buckled under enormous pressure but they do not deserve our solidarity because while they were activists once, now they have aided the government in undermining the movement and in making life harder for people who are true to their ideals. Not only have they betrayed and punished their co-defendents, they have also made life harder for all activists. If you want to support Darren, Chelsea, or Kevin Tubbs, you might as well send checks to the Bush administration or the FBI. Thats essentially what you are doing by supporting them. The four remaining co-defendents, however, coninue to stand by their ideals and continue to stand for the possiblity of a better world; one in which old-growth forests stand and civil liberties, human rights, and the possibility of dissent still exist. The others and the state are doing the opposite. and no armchair activists need to be criticizing or second-guessing the decisions of activists facing life in prison or their top-shelf attorneys because those idiots who long to make martyrs out of our friends and comrades are not helping anyone except maybe the state and the captitalists. End of story.

Not lucky, just smart 10.Nov.2006 23:42


The government never "offered" anyone a non-cooperation deal. The 4 defendants had to ask for it and insist on it, or no deal. The other defendants could have done the same thing, but chose to accept what the gov't offered. All they had to do was wait.

A Matter of Principles 11.Nov.2006 08:23


And can we please have Jeff back now?

If only everyone had the courage and principles of folks like Jeff, along with Nathan, Daniel, Jonathan, and Joyanna, only Jacob would be facing down all he's admitted to.

For the supporters of folks still claiming to have not cooperated-- now that all of the indictees cases are nearing resolution, why would you not push to have their plea agreements unsealed? Surely unsealing those documents would vindicate those who appear to have cooperated but insist to the contrary.

Solidarity from Ohio 13.Nov.2006 15:29


Our hearts are with everyone who continues our fight. Much compassion from the heartland.