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green scare

Green Scare... Or Green Smoke up my ass?

I think this movement needs to look in the mirror
It's the winter solstice today as I write this, with a little more than a year of the "Green Scare" business behind me. After months of wading through endless reams of court papers, news accounts and transcripts, and after many long conversations with old friends, I'm convinced its more green spin than green scare.

Most people agree how the story began, with Jake Ferguson recording hours of conversations with fellow arsonists for the feds. I knew Jake from Warner Creek and other Salvage Rider era actions. To hear people talk, he was a scoundrel and a wastrel back then. Don't believe it. Jake was one of the best people around in those days. If a Fed had offered Jake a million bucks to tell where we crapped in the morning, Jake would have punched him in the face.

I don't know what happened to him, but it must have been pretty heavy. I know Jake started using heroin, and a lot of people who use the stuff become addicts who would sell out everyone they ever loved for three bucks and a cigarette. I know he had a lot of law enforcement attention focused on him, and maybe at some point he figured the Feds were going to make their case one way or another—and decided to sell out his friends instead of taking the fall himself. I like to think I wouldn't have done the same, but I ain't gonna swear to it unless it happens to me.

God knows why the elves talked about their crimes with a guy who mysteriously started popping up in cities all over the country—a guy they knew was a user with a bunch of heat on him.

But they did, and once the Feds had the tapes, the gig was up. Looking at life in prison, almost everyone cooperated. Some people evidently gave up a lot; some people little or nothing. Jake and all the cooperating defendants got lumped together as "snitches" by loud-mouthed movement personalities. Thanks to the loose talk, all the defendants are now at risk of being killed in the violent underworld that is Federal prison.

The name-calling is pathetic. Jake comes and goes as he pleases here in the Eugene area. He doesn't have anything to worry about from the wannabe hard cases and their "snitches get stitches" talk. The people doing the name-calling are poseurs who would piss their pants and run the other way if they saw Jake Ferguson on the street. It's easier to weave paranoid fantasies about people who are in prison and can't defend themselves.

Four of the 17 indicted did stand on principle, for a while. At least one of them swore that there "would never be any cooperation with their captors." Not that they were all captives—the one doing the loudest talking was out on a multimillion dollar bail put up by his family. Eventually these folks folded, too, signing deals that promised "to disclose the sum and substance of any conversations defendant had with others," among other things.

The movement spin about "cooperators" versus "non cooperators" is just that—PR spin. Read the "non-cooperating" plea agreements yourself. The "non-cooperators" deal is only good if they give the feds everything they want, just like the "cooperators."

Some people are holding out for evidence of illegal NSA/CIA wiretapping to salvage some martyrdom out of this mess. I've got no doubt the NSA is reading this at the same time you are, but the government didn't do the real damage—the movement COINTELPRO'd itself. The case against the ELF got broken open because the cops exploited drug abuse, bullshit gender politics and egoism, the same kind of crap that continues to this day with the name-calling and finger pointing.

I think this movement got set up by it's own self-appointed spokespeople and opinion leaders. They glorified arson and arsonists for years, mostly for simple ego gratification. Remember Dear Ned Ludd, Earth Night announcements, the EcoFuckers hit list? These guys wanted to be part of movement that was as hard-core as the Black Panthers, or the American Indian Movement or the Irish Republican Army. They wanted people to believe arson was a right-on tactic, and that we could deal with the consequences. But we're not, it isn't, and we can't.

The cooperating defendants didn't do what the radical chic elements of the movement expected of them. Maybe they are all bad people, or maybe the expectations are screwed up. I happen to know they're not bad people.

I can't help but think the real reason the movement talking heads are demonizing the cooperating defendants is because the talking heads have always been about horning in on the glory and sticking other people with the responsibility. They want to feel important—either through an idealistic affinity with arsonist heroes who don't get caught, or through movement martyrs in need of spokespeople and support groups and so forth.

When some of the elves didn't play by the script, copped a plea, and renounced the ELF, the talking heads didn't have heroes to hitch their stars to. So they decided to draw attention to themselves by creating villains.

There are more than a dozen old comrades in jail or on their way. I'm going to judge them entirely on what I know about their character, and how they're coming to terms with the stupid mistakes they made. I'm done letting this movement do my thinking for me.
this is fucking bullshit! 22.Dec.2006 13:02

supporter of some

i'd expect someone who has remained friends with snitch lacey phillabaum to write something this fucking ridiculous and inaccurate in order to smear and blur and smudge the line that has been drawn in the sand between those who have cooperated with the government and those who have stood their ground.

the thing is, JAMES, that this line wasn't drawn by those who refused to cooperate. it was drawn by those who squealed to the cops, claiming such shit as "there was no other way" and "we had no other options."

well, the fact the the FOUR NON-COOPERATING defendants (and big fat fuck you, for trying to say daniel mcgowan and the others cooperated, which is 100% false) showed that you do not have to fuck other people over to survive. they stood their ground, refused to implicate others, a got a plea deal that is only slightly longer than those who snitched. the government said they had two options: snitch or go to jail for the rest of their lives. they proved the government and the snitches wrong.

so, frankly, you and your snitch-apologia post can go to hell.

This article is the biggest spin 22.Dec.2006 13:13

Dana

"Thanks to the loose talk, all the defendants are now at risk of being killed in the violent underworld that is Federal prison. " Oh please if only your pal Lacey, Suzanne, Darren and the other snitches would get some payback justice for all the shit they caused, but federal prison is not OZ (that's a TV show hippies.) Prison is no certainly no fun but they're not likely to shanked just for having snitched on their former comrades.

As for trying to focus all the blame on one person, Jacob. That is a bunch of crap, cause even with the tapes there would be no case if others hadn't flipped. Nathan, Joy, Jonathan, Suzanne, Kolar, Lacey and Darren never would have even been indicted! You can't blame Jake for that.

"Jake comes and goes as he pleases here in the Eugene area. He doesn't have anything to worry about from the wannabe hard cases and their "snitches get stitches" talk." Actually he is convinced that someone is going to kill him for his betrayal. I think that a big part of him is hoping that someone does too. See the Rolling Stone interview.

"The people doing the name-calling are poseurs" Like who? Maybe Peter Young is poseur to you, maybe Jeff "Free" Luers who also spoke out against the snitches is also a poseur, maybe The Earth First! Journal, Spirit of Freedom, Bite Back, No Compromise, etc. all a bunch of poseurs huh? You and Lacey are the only real radicals huh?

"The "non-cooperators" deal is only good if they give the feds everything they want" This is simply not true, your own spin perhaps. The non-cooperating defendants only disclose to prosecutors their own actions and any thing that may implicate others they agreed not to talk about. The prosecutors consented to this, and it all ready happened. They didn't snitch on or even mention the snitches even. They didn't mention the dead or those on the run. No new arrests will be made based on anything the non-cooperating defendants said.

The truth hurts 22.Dec.2006 15:40

James

Well, I'd say the truth hurts, but it doesn't seem like the truth has penetrated.

Read the plea agreements. The relevant parts from Daniel's deal I excerpt here (but don't take my word for it, read it yourself):

-------------------------------------------------

Information:

Defendant agrees to disclose to the Government all information in his possession that is true about his personal participation in any of the offenses alleged in the indictment and any uncharged criminal conduct. Defendant agrees to participate in disclosure sessions with the government... provided that defendant shall not be required to reveal information that inculpates others... During the disclosure session(s), the defendant shall:

...

Disclose... if an offense was done in concert with others, disclose the sum and substance of any conversations defendant had with others... Should defendant refuse to disclose information on the grounds that it would inculpate or reveal the identity of others, the Government may require defendants attorney to articulate the basis for this refusal, including the reason(s) defendant believes such information would inculpate or identify another... Should the parties be unable to find a way to allow defendant to disclose the refused information and should the government deem such information to be of vital importance to the Government, defendant and defendant's attorney will be so advised and given a reasonable amount of time to decide whether to disclose the refused information. If defendant thereafter persists in refusing to disclose the refused information, the disclosure session will terminate, the global plea agreement with co-defendants Zacher, Block, McGowan and Paul may be declared void, and the court will be advised that all four defendants' cases will proceed to trial.

...

Substantial Assistance:

The government acknowledges that defendant's plea agreement is of substantial assistance. Upon defendants' successful completion of every condition of the plea agreement, the government agrees to move to authorize the Court to impose a sentence below a level established by statute as a minimum sentence for any offense to which the defendant has agreed to plead guilty.

-------------------------------------------------

"The government acknowledges that defendant's plea agreement is of substantial assistance." Sorry, but that says it all. The feds aren't giving out free lunches. Daniel and the "non-cooperators" got a vastly reduced recommendation because they signed deals that said they agree to give the feds everything the feds wanted, except for names. Unless the feds really wanted names, and then they had to give them names. Or the deal is off.

You assume that the "non-cooperators" gave the feds nothing of value. Nothing that led to an arrest, is that the standard? There's "cooperators" who also gave the feds nothing of value, people you are calling snitches who didn't give up anything the feds didn't already have. So what's the difference? An activist rain dance outside the courtroom?

My real point is that all the finger pointing has gone on long enough. What really is the point of all the snitch talk? So you feel all feel tough and hard-core? Radicaller than thou? Is it really worth someone getting killed? Even if someone is a worse snitch than Quiesling, do you really want to get someone hurt?

The topic of glorification 22.Dec.2006 15:43

and self-destruction (don't marr AIM)

I'm sorry, but Ned Ludd etc was inspiration, just like herbal advice columns. There are so many people that would never have thought outside the box had there not been people to push the envelope like that.

Gimme a break. You're saying AIM & Black Panthers movements are equivalent to simple arson? AIM started to help people that were getting fucked over by the cops and inspired countless young Natives to have a pride in their culture's potential future--I know that my concept of indigenous sovereignty has been shaped for the better by what AIM has accomplished, and with out their work, I'm not so sure that my current reality would have been conceptualized.

Same for "eco-envelope pushers": the risks they are willing to take, and the note publicly INSPIRE people to at least do more for the earth than join a greenpeace mailing list.

definition 22.Dec.2006 15:49

j

snitch

noun
1. someone acting as an informer or decoy for the police

--are you denying that this is not what happened?

Response #1 and #2 22.Dec.2006 16:11

James

#1: I got nothing but love and respect for AIM and BPP. For the record, no, I do not believe that eco-radicals "pushing the envelope" with arson is morally or practically equivalent to the armed struggle that was forced on the aforementioned movements. I think that the arsons carried out by the ELF cell in question were foolhardy. I don't want to argue this point, because we will not convince one another. I can only refer you to the fallout from the arrests, which makes my point more than sufficiently.

#2: No, I do not deny that there are those who have acted as an informer or decoy for the police. Duh.

Next?

snitching is the opposite of solidarity 22.Dec.2006 16:59

quit playing

the difference between cooperating and non-cooperating (snitch or non-snitch) is that the former betrays the lives of individuals and the solidarity of movements and the latter does not. Snitches should be happy with whatever peanuts the state has tossed them in exchange for their betrayals and snitch supporters should stop trying to scavenge support from communities with integrity. Lacey has her friend the state. She doesn't need support from me, the environmental movement, the political prisoner support community, or anyone else she turned her back on.

This is unfair 22.Dec.2006 17:28

woodswoman

You state that "the name-calling is pathetic." So why are you doing that yourself? Slamming the four people who most definitely are not cooperating is unfair.

You wrote that "the 'non-cooperators' deal is only good if they give the feds everything they want, just like the 'cooperators.'" You misunderstand the plea agreement. For the four who did not cooperate, they cannot at any time in the future be brought back in to provide the government with any further information. Now that they did their debriefs with the government after signing the agreement, it's over. And their debriefs included only talking about themselves, the big difference between their agreements and the other defendants' plea agreements. But for those who cooperated, they have signed away their entire life to the whims of the government, who can come back for more any time.

I don't minimize that defendants who named names will not be received well in prison. But it's an enormous and preposterous leap to say that somehow other activists are to blame for that and somehow they will be murdered because of a bunch of people had a conversation about it. The people who are responsible are those who named names. This is a fact, not some rumor drummed up by others in the movement.

What can be said 22.Dec.2006 17:31

Al

Why does anyone feel a need to mess about in bs- look - I do not care if you stick by Jake- perhaps he supplies you at good prices. Who knows. Understand those with integrity or decent bones in their bodies warrant, need support. Those with thorough lack of ethics who would sooner shoot their own mother than even attempt to be halfway decent human beings likely do not even notice when you are in their corner. Give us and all of the UPSTANDING defendants a break. Yeah, perhaps Jake was decent years ago- more likely he was just a very good actor who hid his inner vile self for several years. I too was contaminated at one point by his disease and hope that karma will, as it often does, come in spades.

Phishing? 22.Dec.2006 19:07

!Heckno!

Excuse me. Could we please refrain from using this thread to argue the legitimacy of various movements. Battling eachother for suppremacy is about as capitalist, and shortsighted as it gets. Dissing eachothers successes is the moral equivalant of dissing eachothers failures.

Which activist had the more legitimit drug problem? Which activist had more legitimit sexism, or zenophobia? The result is the same... Movements with common enemies fighting each other while the feds laugh.

People within the radical enviromental movement activly support other struggles. Is every aspect of every movement as legit as others? Within movements, and across movements it's the answer is no. One thing is clear. We have similar problems. Drugs, Snitches, Rape, Betrayal, Petty egrandizement, and shortsighted secterianism...

We're trained so well by the capitalist butchers.

"This" is an unsafe thread to hash that shit out.

"This" seems to me, to be a phishing expedition by a friend of a known snitch. It seems to me that the feds, and the people that work with and support feds are interested in profiling people that might attack snitches. This hypotheticly could lead to other "cells," that might come back with a vengence. Two paranoia's with one stone so to speak. This also fits thier tactic of tracing rings of association.

VIVA ELF!

may snitches find ditches,
=HECK=

p.s. feds too!

Where do the plea agreements read 22.Dec.2006 23:11

when non-cooperators are done with their testimony?

An above commentor stated something to the effect that these four only give the feds one interview and then are no longer bound to any disclosure sessions. I was so stunned I went back and read the pdf files of the latest plea agreements. I read that defendants may be required to testify at trials, court proceedings and grand jury investigations- I presume this includes those that might take place in the not-immediate future. I also read that this is a global agreement, meaning one defendant's breach of plea agreement or refusal to cooperate to the government's satisfaction could void the agreement for all four defendants, sending them to a trial when they may have thought this was a settled matter. I was actually even more stunned to contemplate how vulnerable these four may become should any one of them decide to take a principled stand against some aspect of their interregation.

Is there something I don't know? A reference to some statute that limits these defendants' time periods where they are subject to disclosing to the feds? If this is true, then this is a very sweet deal for these four. Somehow I don't think so. I fear that this agreement may someday exploit the good intentions that brought it into existence. At best it seems like a gamble, a wager that the government won't think that any of these four has enough information to make playing hardball worth it. At worst, these defendants may wind up with as much prison time as if they went for the no-compromise jury trial route from the get-go.

James is an asshole, but he's no fool. Sometimes that's what it takes to get beyond the rah-rah spin and think objectively. Sometimes that's what it takes to expose people who are putting their agenda above other people's well-being. It's not pretty and it gets personal.

Thank you for your post James 23.Dec.2006 18:28

an observer

I agree with you. And I appreciate your rational and thoughtful response to all of this.