Activism Discussion: Flames Of Dissent #3

Flames Of Dissent #3
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Dan Clore
2006-11-24 14:36:55 EST
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

*****

Eugene Weekly
http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/11/22/coverstory.html
Flames of Dissent
The local spark that ignited an eco-sabotage boom -- and bust
STORY BY KERA ABRAHAM

This is the third piece in a five-part series providing
local context for a surge of environmentally motivated
sabotage crimes that flared across the West from 1996 to
2001. Since December 2005 the federal government has
indicted 18 people for the crimes, mainly arsons, in a sweep
known as Operation Backfire. Of those indicted, 12 have now
pleaded guilty, four are fugitives and one committed suicide
in jail. One has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

None of those indicted have agreed to speak with EW as they
await sentencing, but most were connected to Eugene's
eco-activist scene in its peak years. Except in cases where
they have left a record, we minimize their mention here.

In an effort to include more voices in this part of the
story, EW has agreed to protect some sources' identities by
using their activist names, or in one case, changing a name
altogether.

Finally, we use terms such as "eco-radicals," "Eugene
anarchists" and "anarcho-feminists" loosely throughout this
text. While generally referring to the shifting community of
people who concentrated in the Whiteaker neighborhood,
resisted authority and fought for environmental and social
causes, the terms are imprecise. Anarchy by definition is
autonomous and unorganized; statements about the community
in general do not necessarily apply to every individual
associated with it.

Part. III: Eco-Anarchy Imploding

Kari Johnson surveyed the chaos through a pair of swim
goggles, a bandana over her nose and mouth to filter the
tear gas, and steered her partner, Randy Shadowalker,
through the teeming streets of downtown Seattle. He peered
through the lens of a small hand-held video camera,
recording the Nov. 30, 1999 protests against the World Trade
Organization.

An estimated 50,000 people had descended on the city to
resist a global economy that, from their perspective,
treated workers, nature and consumers as mere cogs in a
money-making machine. A small group of those protesters,
mostly darkly clad young anarchists known as "the black
bloc," destroyed the property of corporations that they felt
represented the evils of globalized capitalism.

What Johnson witnessed remains etched in her memory seven
years later: A mainstream news van with its tires slashed,
its metal body covered with graffiti. The smashed-in window
of a jewelry store, its alarm blaring, its diamonds exposed.
A man splayed spider-like on the wall of a corporate shoe
store, bear-hugging the letters one at a time -- N, I, K, E
-- then ripping them off and tossing them down to a cheering
crowd.

Johnson periodically shuttled Shadowalker's tapes to Tim
Lewis and Tim Ream, charismatic activists who'd been
stirring up the anarchist scene in Eugene. The two Tims
spent the night of Nov. 30 in a Seattle editing studio,
jacked up on adrenaline as they cobbled together a 35-minute
video called RIP WTO N30. By 2 pm the next day they were
selling the film, a choppy but intense sampling of the
heaviest day of WTO protests -- most of it recorded by Lewis
himself -- at five bucks each in the streets. From there, it
would make its way to news outlets throughout the world.

Maybe media took their cue from Seattle Police Chief Norm
Stamper, who publicly blamed the property destruction on
Eugene anarchists just days before resigning, or from Eugene
Mayor Jim Torrey, who lamented to reporters that Eugene was
"the anarchist capital of the United States."

Whatever the reason, it seemed that national media had made
their collective decision: Eugene anarchists were
responsible for vandalizing downtown Seattle, provoking
police to assault nonviolent protesters and paralyzing the
WTO convention. Reporters for 60 Minutes, Harper's and
Rolling Stone swooped on this small city, inviting the
notorious anarchists to explain their behavior at the Battle
of Seattle.

And while a few loud-mouthed, hard-talking men stepped up to
the task -- most dominantly Tim Lewis, Tim Ream, John
Zerzan, Robin Terranova and Marshall Kirkpatrick -- many
others within the local eco-radical community rolled their
eyes. Hundreds of WTO protesters from Eugene were peaceful,
they noted, and people from all over the country had joined
the black bloc. Of the 570 protesters arrested at the WTO
protests, Seattle police identified only four from Eugene.

"I don't think five or six Eugene hoodies went up there and
shut down the city of Seattle," Shadowalker said. "Media
attention after the WTO gave birth to what I call the
Anarchy Rock Star, and all these other people got tuned out."

Those other people were the feeders and the feminists of the
movement, the planters of gardens, the militant vegans, the
artists and techno-geeks, animal lovers, labor advocates and
zine-writers.

They had come together in the late '90s to oppose the
government, corporations and cops -- all the institutions
they saw destroying free spirits and wild places. And after
the WTO protests, they were finally getting international
attention for it. "Then it came down to what we wanted to do
with that," eco-radical Chris Calef later reflected by
email, "but it turned out we had very little agreement
amongst ourselves on the specifics."

That discord manifested in internal debates about gender
roles within the movement, violence versus nonviolence,
anarchists versus green hippies and the typical dramas of a
cliquish community. "All the while we're dealing with police
informants and infiltrators and state oppression that served
to exacerbate the distrust," Calef added, "and basically
just pour gas on the fire."

From the end of the Warner Creek forest blockade in 1996 to
the sentencing of Jeff "Free" Luers in June 2001, Heather
Coburn saw eco-radical women doing the work that was most
critical to the movement but drew the least media attention:
housing, feeding, educating and entertaining the growing
masses of activists. "During the heyday of anarchism, even
though it was the camo-clad men doing most of the talking,
almost all of those projects were being bottom-lined
logistically by women," she said.

Coburn was among those unsung heroines. In 1998 she and two
others took on the lease for Ant Farm, one of several
communal pads where hundreds of scrappy activists crashed
over the next three years. She ran an all-women's show
called "Vaginal Discharge" on the pirate radio station Radio
Free Cascadia and co-organized the "Free Skool" classes that
spread activism skills throughout Whiteaker. As a volunteer
with Food Not Bombs, she scavenged surplus food from local
businesses and served it to hungry people in neighborhood
parks. In 1999 she and a friend dug a garden into Scobert
Park and launched an urban gardening movement called Food
Not Lawns.

Another caretaker of the movement was Shelley Cater, a
friendly single mother then in her 30s who managed Out of
the Fog, an organic coffee house by the Amtrak station.
Cater invited Fall Creek forest defenders to hold meetings
in the café, opened her 5th Ave. home as a campaign
headquarters, shuttled donated food and supplies to the
aerial village and relieved tree-sitters between rotations.
The Fall Creek activists, mostly males under 25, started
calling her "Mom."

A few stalwart women also hung up in the trees -- including
a woman called Warcry, a smart and fiery activist who'd come
to Oregon after sitting in the redwoods of California's
Headwaters Forest. She relished the Fall Creek activists'
fuck-y'all, flag-burning attitude, so different from the
peacenik vibe at Headwaters. "In Northern California you
couldn't burn an American flag," she said with a laugh.
"Right up the road in Eugene, it was kind of expected of you."

But not all Fall Creek women felt safe in the forest.
According to an article in Earth First! Journal
("Confronting Oppression, Aug.-Sept. 2001), men were doing
most of the cool engineering work -- hoisting platforms into
the trees, stringing rope bridges between the tree-sits,
teaching one another to use the climbing gear -- without
passing that knowledge onto their female counterparts.
Worse, some creepy dudes were allegedly harassing and
sexually assaulting women, but male activists weren't
willing to kick out offenders who had valuable skills. "We
became pessimistic and depressed with the situation," wrote
the article's anonymous authors.

In early 2001 the women took a stand and asked four men to
leave Fall Creek, two of them for good. During a
"gender-bender" month, only women occupied the tree village,
teaching each other forest survival skills while men in town
organized funds, gathered donations and brought them food --
albeit reluctantly. "The men were totally against that,"
Cater said.

In Eugene, the gender divide was only getting worse. One
woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of
retaliation -- we'll call her "S." -- became alarmed around
2000 when an eco-anarchist allegedly commented that he would
rape a woman for the revolution. S. launched what she called
an anarcho-feminist counter-movement, criticizing and
publicly shunning the activists who she felt were fostering
abuse -- a list that started small, but widened to include
even well-known feminists such as Heather Coburn and Kari
Johnson. "There was a lack of analysis of white, male,
able-bodied, hetero privilege," S. said. "There's no way a
movement can sustain itself if it's not built from the
bottom up and if all of us haven't addressed our cultural
oppression."

The anarcho-feminists' work did prompt some people within
the movement to make changes. Most media and activist groups
adopted anti-oppression policies, and the question of
privilege became one that every activist confronted. But not
everyone appreciated it -- least of all Tim Lewis, who was
perhaps the biggest target of the anti-patriarchy movement.
"There was a major attack on men by women who felt like men
had too much power in the community," he said. "Some men
left town because they were literally threatened with murder
or having their balls cut off."

The turmoil fueled debates that blazed across a growing
number of home-grown independent media forums: on the
public-access TV show Cascadia Alive!, which aired weekly
from 1996 to 2004; on anarchist philosopher John Zerzan's
show, Radio Anarchy, which began on Radio Free Cascadia and
continues today on KWVA; in the pages of Earth First!
Journal, which was based in Eugene from 1993 to 2001, as
well as in Green Anarchy magazine; and in the films and
reports produced by Cascadia Media Collective, which Randy
Shadowalker launched in summer 2000.

The media surge stoked more discontent from
behind-the-scenes activists who felt that the movement's
largely hard-edged spokespeople didn't accurately represent
them. Shadowalker saw a cliquish, badder-than-thou attitude
begin to dominate the eco-anarchist scene, alienating its
natural allies on the left -- people who sympathized with
the movement but lived within the mainstream. "When that
[alliance] was gone, the spell was broken," he said. "It
almost went poof."

Other eco-anarchists saw liberals as unnecessary allies,
hopelessly trying to reform a political system whose very
existence they opposed. "People were tired of being told
what to do or how to act by these PC motherfuckers," Lewis said.

Compounding the internal strife, federal investigations made
Eugene anarchists edgy, paranoid and suspicious of
infiltrators. An ongoing string of incendiary crimes in the
Pacific Northwest brought the FBI magnifying glass
ever-closer to Eugene, directing a hot beam of surveillance
onto the scene.

On Dec. 25, 1999, arsonists placed gift-wrapped buckets of
fuel rigged with kitchen timers around the Monmouth, Ore.
offices of lumber company Boise Cascade, burning the place
to ashes. Days later the arsonists explained why in a
communiqué sent to ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh: "Boise
Cascade has been very naughty. After ravaging the forests of
the Pacific Northwest, Boise Cascade now looks toward the
virgin forests of Chile. Early Christmas morning, elves left
coal in Boise Cascade's stocking."

Five days after the Boise arson, saboteurs toppled a BPA
tower near Bend.

Activists report that police closed in on the scene --
tailing them after demonstrations, snooping outside their
punk parties, snapping photos of them in the streets. Tim
Ream, convinced that the feds were preparing to raid his
house, nailed legal statutes pertaining to searches on his
front door. "What does it mean to hang out with your lover
in your house when you feel like you're being bugged?" he
asked. "It's a weird space to live in."

Lacey Phillabaum sat somberly in front of a bed of poppies
in Whiteaker, her face darkened by night shadows, and
justified the black bloc's behavior at the Battle of
Seattle. "There's nothing in the world like running with a
group of 200 people all wearing black," she said, blue eyes
fixed on a point beyond Tim Lewis' camera, "and realizing
each of you is anonymous, each of you can liberate your
desires, each of you can make a difference right there."

It was mid-June 2000, just days before the premiere of
Lewis' documentary about the combustible trinity: Eugene,
anarchy and the WTO -- then called Smash!; now titled
Breaking the Spell. Anarcho-feminists had been calling Lewis
an attention-hogging sexist for months, and now he figured
he better get a woman to host his film. Phillabaum, an
articulate and bold activist who had been an EF!J editor
from 1996-1999, was an obvious choice. She would later
regret agreeing to it.

It had been a heavy couple of months. Phillabaum and others,
under the banner Eugene Active Existence, had organized the
Seven Weeks Revolt!, a roster of community education, street
theater and resistance rallies that actually spanned about
eight weeks. It kicked off around April 24, when more than
100 people gathered in front of the Lane County Jail to hold
a candlelight vigil for jailed Philadephia journalist and
convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Police alleged that
protesters blocked traffic, ignored orders to disperse and,
in one instance, kicked a burning can at them. Protesters,
in turn, accused the cops of showing up in excessive
"robo-gear," intimidating and assaulting them. Police fired
rubber bullets at one demonstrator and arrested eight.

Eugene anarchists became the boogeymen of the Northwest,
repeatedly blamed for police overreactions at protests. When
a group of Eugene radicals joined more than 300
demonstrators in Portland during a May Day march, some 100
cops fired beanbag shots and slammed horses and ATVs into
the mass, injuring at least 20 people. Portland's police
chief blamed Eugene anarchists for the excessive police
presence, just as cops in Tacoma, Wash., cited rumors of
Eugene anarchist mischief when explaining why 350 cops
showed up at a canceled steelworkers' union protest in March.

In the wee hours of June 16, 2000, activists Jeff "Free"
Luers and Craig "Critter" Marshall drove from a northwest
Eugene warehouse to the Joe Romania Chevrolet dealership on
Franklin Boulevard, where they set fire to three pickup
trucks in protest of gas-guzzling culture. After they drove
away, Springfield police pulled them over for a busted
headlight at the request of undercover Eugene police who had
been following the pair. That day, Eugene police raided the
warehouse where Luers lived and Chris Calef was leaseholder.

The next night, after Lewis' documentary Smash! premiered on
the UO campus, masked activists in black marched toward the
Lane County jail to rally for Luers and Marshall. Police
again showed up in riot gear, arresting about 40 protesters
who linked arms in resistance. Police broke them up with
pain holds and pepper spray; one officer allegedly hit a
professional videographer in the head with a flashlight.

The following day marked the one-year anniversary of the
June 18, 1999 protest, and activists held another protest
rally downtown. Police arrested 37 demonstrators, and an
officer struck a KLCC reporter with a baton on the head, the
blow landing on her headphone band.

In August 2000, the Eugene police released a report
absolving themselves of all wrongdoing during the
Seven-Weeks Revolt! protests.

A spate of federal laws stiffened the penalties for
eco-sabotage during those volatile years. As the FBI's
counter-terrorism budget grew, Joint Terrorism Task Forces
increasingly looped local cops into the surveillance of
radical environmentalists. The May 1999 Juvenile Justice
Bill made it a federal crime to share information on
bomb-making and created a central database called the
"Animal Terrorism and Ecoterrorism Incident Clearinghouse."
In March 2001 the Oregon House passed two bills expanding
the definition of organized crime to include sabotage
against animal enterprises and the timber industry,
punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Warcry noted these
developments in an article in the Earth First! Journal ("The
Criminalization of Ecology," Aug.-Sept. 2001).

Still, eco-sabotage burned hotter across the Pacific
Northwest. In September 2000 arsonists singed the EPD's West
University Public Safety Station, and four months later the
Superior Lumber offices in Glendale, Ore., burned to the
ground. On March 30, just as Luers was about to go to trial
-- "Critter" Marshall had already pleaded guilty and
received five and a half years -- eco-anarchists attacked
Joe Romania Chevrolet a second time, damaging more than 30
SUVs. ELF claimed responsibility in a March 31 communiqué,
noting that although Luers and Marshall had been charged
with torching the same lot a year earlier, "The
techno-industrial state . . . cannot jail the spirit of
those who know another world is possible."

Less than two months later came the double whammy, the
biggest arson the anarchists had seen since the 1998 blaze
at the Vail Mountain ski resort. On May 21, 2001 activists
burned an office and 13 trucks at Jefferson Poplar Farm in
Clatskanie, Ore. On the same day, they torched the office of
a biochemist who was doing research on genetically
engineered poplar trees at the University of Washington. ELF
claimed responsibility in a June 1 communiqué, linking the
two arsons and denouncing GE tree research.

On June 11, 2001, Judge Lyle Velure sentenced Luers to 22
years and eight months in Oregon State Penitentiary for
arson at the Romania dealership and attempted arson at Tyree
Oil Inc. in Whiteaker -- a penalty stiffer than that handed
to some rapists and murderers. More than a slap on the wrist
or even a rap on the knuckles, it was as if Velure had
chopped off the hand of Eugene's eco-anarchist community.

More blows followed in quick succession: In July 2001,
Italian military police shot and killed a masked protester
at the G8 trade summit in Genoa. Then came the Sept. 11
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, followed
by the free-speech-chilling PATRIOT Act. Eugene anarchists
would help light one more arson in mid-October, burning down
a hay barn and releasing 200 horses and burros from the BLM
Wild Horse Facility in northeast California.

Eugene's eco-radicals may have been aware of the arsons, and
some even impressed, but few say they suspected that the
saboteurs were members of their own community. "Half of the
arsonists were good friends of mine at one point or another
while the actions were going on," Heather Coburn said, "and
I had no idea."

She still has a hard time accepting that that one of her own
housemates was involved in just about all of the sabotage.

It wasn't just the sabotage crimes and their consequences
that squelched eco-anarchy in Eugene. Most involved
activists agree that by mid-2001, Eugene's eco-anarchist
scene had imploded on its own.

One exception was the Fall Creek activists, who hung tough
in the trees even after an environmentalist lawsuit forced
the Forest Service to dramatically reduce the size of the
planned logging in order to protect the red tree vole. They
hung on until Zip-O-Log Mills finally gave up its plans to
log the remaining 24 acres. In 2003 they finally came down
from the tree village, having spared 96 acres of forest from
chainsaws since "Free" Luers made the first tree-sit in 1998.

Meanwhile, Eugene's eco-radicals moved on to other
endeavors. Some moved away and kept up their activism
elsewhere. Some stayed and pushed forward with above-ground
environmental projects based out of Eugene. A few ended up
in prison; still others moved on to college, families,
mortgages, 9-to-5s. And although the movement's dissipation
saddened some activists, it also sparked new endeavors. "For
me, the most radical things we did were in the process of
falling apart and then getting back together as
individuals," Coburn said.

But four years after the movement deflated, it would return
to haunt everyone involved -- dragging 10 activists who
thought they'd moved on with their lives before federal
courts in Eugene. The feds hadn't closed the books on the
eco-anarchists yet.

Check back on Dec. 7 for Part IV: The Bust.

*****

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/11/22/letters.html

HISTORICAL REALITY

I am a bit surprised to be called a vigilante in EW ("Flames
of Dissent II," 11/9), and would like to make a comment.

Just a few years prior to the history told in Kera Abraham's
article, I had been nearly killed twice during street
rioting in Kathmandu while covering the revolution as a
photojournalist for a European news agency. That revolution
brought down one of the world's last monarchs, and was
bloody and dangerous. People standing next to me on the
street were shot dead, bone and brains disgorged. To be
confronted in my own neighborhood in Eugene not long after
by radical politicos shouting intimidating bullshit slogans,
who were not honest and who were targeting the innocent for
brutality, was for me like being heckled by bantams. What
most surprised me was that many of my neighbors were afraid
and confused, yet of good heart and right intent.

Kera got the timeline slightly confused, understandably so
for a story so complex. It was first the Scobert Park
incident, in which the citizenry went through an intense and
proper public debate about how to end the debauch taking
place there, that showed the community that the newly
arrived rads were bent on hijacking public process, not on
joining and participating. It was, for them, about
cop-baiting, and Whiteaker was their chosen bait.

For Whiteaker residents, many of whom intentionally live
here because of our diversity, radical ideologies are
welcome and the choir wishes to be preached to. But as with
other radical movements we've seen, the Charlie Mansonoids
eventually arrive, the poison Kool-Aid is served and the
choir sings off-key. Sadly, the beautiful green tones of the
movement morphed into jagged black dissonance. When one of
the black-shirts fired a rifle through the front door of the
Red Barn one night as his way of counting coup against
life's cruel injustices, my gloves flew off.

There was significant injury done to the community by both
the anarchists and the heroin/meth epidemic during this
time. Whiteaker, like the Balkans, has been a crossroads and
a dumping ground for other jurisdictions' social problems
and political failures. A very high percentage of all social
services for the region are located in Whiteaker, as are the
cheapest high-density apartments, the state's parolees and
the 400-bed Mission just next to the railyard. People get
tired of a stacked deck, and eventually there is a social
disaster and a public reaction. Complicate this scenario
with an unresponsive city government and a new influx of
angry outsiders with their own agenda, and a lot of
hostility can be generated.

In our case the citizens eventually won but paid a high
price, and I suppose I shouldn't mind being called names
over it even at this late date, as long as there is some
appreciation for the historical reality that if no one ever
has the courage to stand up and shout bullshit to fascist
posturing, even while the choir sings a different tune,
mayhem and malevolence in the guise of liberty and justice
will again take the stage. We deserve a happier script.

Dennis Ramsey, Eugene

POLITICAL CONTEXT

Kudos to Kera Abraham for her brave attempt to cover the
eco-radical movement in Eugene! It's a tough issue to write
about, and she's giving it a heck of a good shot.

I do feel the need to clarify my quote in the second article
("Flames of Dissent II," 11/9): "If it's violence and mayhem
[that bring attention to the issues], then fuck it". The
context of that was that the mainstream media seem unable to
report on anything but violence and mayhem. To penetrate the
wall of corporate propaganda, people who have something to
say often have to go to the streets in order to say it.

Something else that could have been stressed more in the
article is the political context in which these protests
occurred. In 1999 we didn't have the Bushes to blame for the
state of the world, and we did not have the hope of electing
a Democrat who would make things better. We had a Democrat
in power, and what did we get from it? We got the Salvage
Rider, outlawing any form of legal challenge to many old
growth timber sales. We had the president's unmitigated
support for neoliberal trade policies that were effectively
enslaving and even killing farmers and workers, from Nigeria
to Korea to the maquiladoras in Mexico. Even with a Democrat
in power, our country still refused to sign the Kyoto
Protocol or take active steps toward nuclear disarmament.

These are not abstract issues that a rational, responsible
person can simply ignore or timidly debate. They were, and
still are, life and death issues that must be confronted and
resolved, by whatever means possible.

Chris Calef, Eugene

FIGHT THE POWER

Michael "Ike" Terrance (11/16) is "extremely appalled" by
Kera Abraham's "history of eco-terrorism in Eugene." His
letter is patronizing, self-righteous and all too typical.
So many know-nothing know-it-all liberals feel the need to
denounce ELF at every opportunity, declaring their loyalty
to "law and order" and the status quo instead of the
community and the natural world.

Memo to Ike: Social change is made by people willing to get
their hands dirty. Power concedes nothing without a fight,
never has, never will. No amount of tofu eating and ass
kissing by the likes of you will change this historical
fact. Expecting big business and government to do anything
other than carry on trashing the planet, invading countries,
looting resources and exploiting people is fatally naïve.

That does not make the ELF beyond criticism. Their tactics
are often flawed, and illegal clandestine groups are no
substitute for a social/environmental mass movement. But
comparing these people to al-Qaeda and giving their captives
harsher punishment than right-wing vigilantes who target
minorities or sexual predators who target children is
inexcusable.

I applaud Kera Abraham for her background series on
anarchism and environmentalism in Eugene. Contrary to what
Ike says, many people are interested in this piece of our
history. There are many lessons to be drawn from the experience.

*****

--
Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/1587154838/ref=nosim/thedanclorenecro
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/clorebeast/
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

"It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
*anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
-- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
_Detective Comics_ #608















Patrick
2006-11-26 09:12:04 EST
Dan,

--
... Something else that could have been stressed more in the
article is the political context in which these protests
occurred. In 1999 we didn't have the Bushes to blame for the
state of the world, ...
--

I was a National Weather Service (NWS) career hydrologist from
1976-2005. In January of 2000 I began my efforts to learn about
climate and hydrologic change in the Upper Midwest and global warming.


Although I was removed from federal service by NWS on July 15, 2005 due
to my efforts in climate change and hydrology in the Upper Midwest,
suspensions issued to me by NWS in year 2000, also due to my efforts in
climate change and hydrology - during the final year of Clinton/Gore -
were used by NWS as evidence for their need to remove me in 2005.
Additional information can be found in my Google and Yahoo profiles.

Pat





Dan Clore wrote:
> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
>
> *****
>
> Eugene Weekly
> http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/11/22/coverstory.html
> Flames of Dissent
> The local spark that ignited an eco-sabotage boom -- and bust
> STORY BY KERA ABRAHAM
>
> This is the third piece in a five-part series providing
> local context for a surge of environmentally motivated
> sabotage crimes that flared across the West from 1996 to
> 2001. Since December 2005 the federal government has
> indicted 18 people for the crimes, mainly arsons, in a sweep
> known as Operation Backfire. Of those indicted, 12 have now
> pleaded guilty, four are fugitives and one committed suicide
> in jail. One has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
>
> None of those indicted have agreed to speak with EW as they
> await sentencing, but most were connected to Eugene's
> eco-activist scene in its peak years. Except in cases where
> they have left a record, we minimize their mention here.
>
> In an effort to include more voices in this part of the
> story, EW has agreed to protect some sources' identities by
> using their activist names, or in one case, changing a name
> altogether.
>
> Finally, we use terms such as "eco-radicals," "Eugene
> anarchists" and "anarcho-feminists" loosely throughout this
> text. While generally referring to the shifting community of
> people who concentrated in the Whiteaker neighborhood,
> resisted authority and fought for environmental and social
> causes, the terms are imprecise. Anarchy by definition is
> autonomous and unorganized; statements about the community
> in general do not necessarily apply to every individual
> associated with it.
>
> Part. III: Eco-Anarchy Imploding
>
> Kari Johnson surveyed the chaos through a pair of swim
> goggles, a bandana over her nose and mouth to filter the
> tear gas, and steered her partner, Randy Shadowalker,
> through the teeming streets of downtown Seattle. He peered
> through the lens of a small hand-held video camera,
> recording the Nov. 30, 1999 protests against the World Trade
> Organization.
>
> An estimated 50,000 people had descended on the city to
> resist a global economy that, from their perspective,
> treated workers, nature and consumers as mere cogs in a
> money-making machine. A small group of those protesters,
> mostly darkly clad young anarchists known as "the black
> bloc," destroyed the property of corporations that they felt
> represented the evils of globalized capitalism.
>
> What Johnson witnessed remains etched in her memory seven
> years later: A mainstream news van with its tires slashed,
> its metal body covered with graffiti. The smashed-in window
> of a jewelry store, its alarm blaring, its diamonds exposed.
> A man splayed spider-like on the wall of a corporate shoe
> store, bear-hugging the letters one at a time -- N, I, K, E
> -- then ripping them off and tossing them down to a cheering
> crowd.
>
> Johnson periodically shuttled Shadowalker's tapes to Tim
> Lewis and Tim Ream, charismatic activists who'd been
> stirring up the anarchist scene in Eugene. The two Tims
> spent the night of Nov. 30 in a Seattle editing studio,
> jacked up on adrenaline as they cobbled together a 35-minute
> video called RIP WTO N30. By 2 pm the next day they were
> selling the film, a choppy but intense sampling of the
> heaviest day of WTO protests -- most of it recorded by Lewis
> himself -- at five bucks each in the streets. From there, it
> would make its way to news outlets throughout the world.
>
> Maybe media took their cue from Seattle Police Chief Norm
> Stamper, who publicly blamed the property destruction on
> Eugene anarchists just days before resigning, or from Eugene
> Mayor Jim Torrey, who lamented to reporters that Eugene was
> "the anarchist capital of the United States."
>
> Whatever the reason, it seemed that national media had made
> their collective decision: Eugene anarchists were
> responsible for vandalizing downtown Seattle, provoking
> police to assault nonviolent protesters and paralyzing the
> WTO convention. Reporters for 60 Minutes, Harper's and
> Rolling Stone swooped on this small city, inviting the
> notorious anarchists to explain their behavior at the Battle
> of Seattle.
>
> And while a few loud-mouthed, hard-talking men stepped up to
> the task -- most dominantly Tim Lewis, Tim Ream, John
> Zerzan, Robin Terranova and Marshall Kirkpatrick -- many
> others within the local eco-radical community rolled their
> eyes. Hundreds of WTO protesters from Eugene were peaceful,
> they noted, and people from all over the country had joined
> the black bloc. Of the 570 protesters arrested at the WTO
> protests, Seattle police identified only four from Eugene.
>
> "I don't think five or six Eugene hoodies went up there and
> shut down the city of Seattle," Shadowalker said. "Media
> attention after the WTO gave birth to what I call the
> Anarchy Rock Star, and all these other people got tuned out."
>
> Those other people were the feeders and the feminists of the
> movement, the planters of gardens, the militant vegans, the
> artists and techno-geeks, animal lovers, labor advocates and
> zine-writers.
>
> They had come together in the late '90s to oppose the
> government, corporations and cops -- all the institutions
> they saw destroying free spirits and wild places. And after
> the WTO protests, they were finally getting international
> attention for it. "Then it came down to what we wanted to do
> with that," eco-radical Chris Calef later reflected by
> email, "but it turned out we had very little agreement
> amongst ourselves on the specifics."
>
> That discord manifested in internal debates about gender
> roles within the movement, violence versus nonviolence,
> anarchists versus green hippies and the typical dramas of a
> cliquish community. "All the while we're dealing with police
> informants and infiltrators and state oppression that served
> to exacerbate the distrust," Calef added, "and basically
> just pour gas on the fire."
>
> From the end of the Warner Creek forest blockade in 1996 to
> the sentencing of Jeff "Free" Luers in June 2001, Heather
> Coburn saw eco-radical women doing the work that was most
> critical to the movement but drew the least media attention:
> housing, feeding, educating and entertaining the growing
> masses of activists. "During the heyday of anarchism, even
> though it was the camo-clad men doing most of the talking,
> almost all of those projects were being bottom-lined
> logistically by women," she said.
>
> Coburn was among those unsung heroines. In 1998 she and two
> others took on the lease for Ant Farm, one of several
> communal pads where hundreds of scrappy activists crashed
> over the next three years. She ran an all-women's show
> called "Vaginal Discharge" on the pirate radio station Radio
> Free Cascadia and co-organized the "Free Skool" classes that
> spread activism skills throughout Whiteaker. As a volunteer
> with Food Not Bombs, she scavenged surplus food from local
> businesses and served it to hungry people in neighborhood
> parks. In 1999 she and a friend dug a garden into Scobert
> Park and launched an urban gardening movement called Food
> Not Lawns.
>
> Another caretaker of the movement was Shelley Cater, a
> friendly single mother then in her 30s who managed Out of
> the Fog, an organic coffee house by the Amtrak station.
> Cater invited Fall Creek forest defenders to hold meetings
> in the café, opened her 5th Ave. home as a campaign
> headquarters, shuttled donated food and supplies to the
> aerial village and relieved tree-sitters between rotations.
> The Fall Creek activists, mostly males under 25, started
> calling her "Mom."
>
> A few stalwart women also hung up in the trees -- including
> a woman called Warcry, a smart and fiery activist who'd come
> to Oregon after sitting in the redwoods of California's
> Headwaters Forest. She relished the Fall Creek activists'
> fuck-y'all, flag-burning attitude, so different from the
> peacenik vibe at Headwaters. "In Northern California you
> couldn't burn an American flag," she said with a laugh.
> "Right up the road in Eugene, it was kind of expected of you."
>
> But not all Fall Creek women felt safe in the forest.
> According to an article in Earth First! Journal
> ("Confronting Oppression, Aug.-Sept. 2001), men were doing
> most of the cool engineering work -- hoisting platforms into
> the trees, stringing rope bridges between the tree-sits,
> teaching one another to use the climbing gear -- without
> passing that knowledge onto their female counterparts.
> Worse, some creepy dudes were allegedly harassing and
> sexually assaulting women, but male activists weren't
> willing to kick out offenders who had valuable skills. "We
> became pessimistic and depressed with the situation," wrote
> the article's anonymous authors.
>
> In early 2001 the women took a stand and asked four men to
> leave Fall Creek, two of them for good. During a
> "gender-bender" month, only women occupied the tree village,
> teaching each other forest survival skills while men in town
> organized funds, gathered donations and brought them food --
> albeit reluctantly. "The men were totally against that,"
> Cater said.
>
> In Eugene, the gender divide was only getting worse. One
> woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of
> retaliation -- we'll call her "S." -- became alarmed around
> 2000 when an eco-anarchist allegedly commented that he would
> rape a woman for the revolution. S. launched what she called
> an anarcho-feminist counter-movement, criticizing and
> publicly shunning the activists who she felt were fostering
> abuse -- a list that started small, but widened to include
> even well-known feminists such as Heather Coburn and Kari
> Johnson. "There was a lack of analysis of white, male,
> able-bodied, hetero privilege," S. said. "There's no way a
> movement can sustain itself if it's not built from the
> bottom up and if all of us haven't addressed our cultural
> oppression."
>
> The anarcho-feminists' work did prompt some people within
> the movement to make changes. Most media and activist groups
> adopted anti-oppression policies, and the question of
> privilege became one that every activist confronted. But not
> everyone appreciated it -- least of all Tim Lewis, who was
> perhaps the biggest target of the anti-patriarchy movement.
> "There was a major attack on men by women who felt like men
> had too much power in the community," he said. "Some men
> left town because they were literally threatened with murder
> or having their balls cut off."
>
> The turmoil fueled debates that blazed across a growing
> number of home-grown independent media forums: on the
> public-access TV show Cascadia Alive!, which aired weekly
> from 1996 to 2004; on anarchist philosopher John Zerzan's
> show, Radio Anarchy, which began on Radio Free Cascadia and
> continues today on KWVA; in the pages of Earth First!
> Journal, which was based in Eugene from 1993 to 2001, as
> well as in Green Anarchy magazine; and in the films and
> reports produced by Cascadia Media Collective, which Randy
> Shadowalker launched in summer 2000.
>
> The media surge stoked more discontent from
> behind-the-scenes activists who felt that the movement's
> largely hard-edged spokespeople didn't accurately represent
> them. Shadowalker saw a cliquish, badder-than-thou attitude
> begin to dominate the eco-anarchist scene, alienating its
> natural allies on the left -- people who sympathized with
> the movement but lived within the mainstream. "When that
> [alliance] was gone, the spell was broken," he said. "It
> almost went poof."
>
> Other eco-anarchists saw liberals as unnecessary allies,
> hopelessly trying to reform a political system whose very
> existence they opposed. "People were tired of being told
> what to do or how to act by these PC motherfuckers," Lewis said.
>
> Compounding the internal strife, federal investigations made
> Eugene anarchists edgy, paranoid and suspicious of
> infiltrators. An ongoing string of incendiary crimes in the
> Pacific Northwest brought the FBI magnifying glass
> ever-closer to Eugene, directing a hot beam of surveillance
> onto the scene.
>
> On Dec. 25, 1999, arsonists placed gift-wrapped buckets of
> fuel rigged with kitchen timers around the Monmouth, Ore.
> offices of lumber company Boise Cascade, burning the place
> to ashes. Days later the arsonists explained why in a
> communiqué sent to ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh: "Boise
> Cascade has been very naughty. After ravaging the forests of
> the Pacific Northwest, Boise Cascade now looks toward the
> virgin forests of Chile. Early Christmas morning, elves left
> coal in Boise Cascade's stocking."
>
> Five days after the Boise arson, saboteurs toppled a BPA
> tower near Bend.
>
> Activists report that police closed in on the scene --
> tailing them after demonstrations, snooping outside their
> punk parties, snapping photos of them in the streets. Tim
> Ream, convinced that the feds were preparing to raid his
> house, nailed legal statutes pertaining to searches on his
> front door. "What does it mean to hang out with your lover
> in your house when you feel like you're being bugged?" he
> asked. "It's a weird space to live in."
>
> Lacey Phillabaum sat somberly in front of a bed of poppies
> in Whiteaker, her face darkened by night shadows, and
> justified the black bloc's behavior at the Battle of
> Seattle. "There's nothing in the world like running with a
> group of 200 people all wearing black," she said, blue eyes
> fixed on a point beyond Tim Lewis' camera, "and realizing
> each of you is anonymous, each of you can liberate your
> desires, each of you can make a difference right there."
>
> It was mid-June 2000, just days before the premiere of
> Lewis' documentary about the combustible trinity: Eugene,
> anarchy and the WTO -- then called Smash!; now titled
> Breaking the Spell. Anarcho-feminists had been calling Lewis
> an attention-hogging sexist for months, and now he figured
> he better get a woman to host his film. Phillabaum, an
> articulate and bold activist who had been an EF!J editor
> from 1996-1999, was an obvious choice. She would later
> regret agreeing to it.
>
> It had been a heavy couple of months. Phillabaum and others,
> under the banner Eugene Active Existence, had organized the
> Seven Weeks Revolt!, a roster of community education, street
> theater and resistance rallies that actually spanned about
> eight weeks. It kicked off around April 24, when more than
> 100 people gathered in front of the Lane County Jail to hold
> a candlelight vigil for jailed Philadephia journalist and
> convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Police alleged that
> protesters blocked traffic, ignored orders to disperse and,
> in one instance, kicked a burning can at them. Protesters,
> in turn, accused the cops of showing up in excessive
> "robo-gear," intimidating and assaulting them. Police fired
> rubber bullets at one demonstrator and arrested eight.
>
> Eugene anarchists became the boogeymen of the Northwest,
> repeatedly blamed for police overreactions at protests. When
> a group of Eugene radicals joined more than 300
> demonstrators in Portland during a May Day march, some 100
> cops fired beanbag shots and slammed horses and ATVs into
> the mass, injuring at least 20 people. Portland's police
> chief blamed Eugene anarchists for the excessive police
> presence, just as cops in Tacoma, Wash., cited rumors of
> Eugene anarchist mischief when explaining why 350 cops
> showed up at a canceled steelworkers' union protest in March.
>
> In the wee hours of June 16, 2000, activists Jeff "Free"
> Luers and Craig "Critter" Marshall drove from a northwest
> Eugene warehouse to the Joe Romania Chevrolet dealership on
> Franklin Boulevard, where they set fire to three pickup
> trucks in protest of gas-guzzling culture. After they drove
> away, Springfield police pulled them over for a busted
> headlight at the request of undercover Eugene police who had
> been following the pair. That day, Eugene police raided the
> warehouse where Luers lived and Chris Calef was leaseholder.
>
> The next night, after Lewis' documentary Smash! premiered on
> the UO campus, masked activists in black marched toward the
> Lane County jail to rally for Luers and Marshall. Police
> again showed up in riot gear, arresting about 40 protesters
> who linked arms in resistance. Police broke them up with
> pain holds and pepper spray; one officer allegedly hit a
> professional videographer in the head with a flashlight.
>
> The following day marked the one-year anniversary of the
> June 18, 1999 protest, and activists held another protest
> rally downtown. Police arrested 37 demonstrators, and an
> officer struck a KLCC reporter with a baton on the head, the
> blow landing on her headphone band.
>
> In August 2000, the Eugene police released a report
> absolving themselves of all wrongdoing during the
> Seven-Weeks Revolt! protests.
>
> A spate of federal laws stiffened the penalties for
> eco-sabotage during those volatile years. As the FBI's
> counter-terrorism budget grew, Joint Terrorism Task Forces
> increasingly looped local cops into the surveillance of
> radical environmentalists. The May 1999 Juvenile Justice
> Bill made it a federal crime to share information on
> bomb-making and created a central database called the
> "Animal Terrorism and Ecoterrorism Incident Clearinghouse."
> In March 2001 the Oregon House passed two bills expanding
> the definition of organized crime to include sabotage
> against animal enterprises and the timber industry,
> punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Warcry noted these
> developments in an article in the Earth First! Journal ("The
> Criminalization of Ecology," Aug.-Sept. 2001).
>
> Still, eco-sabotage burned hotter across the Pacific
> Northwest. In September 2000 arsonists singed the EPD's West
> University Public Safety Station, and four months later the
> Superior Lumber offices in Glendale, Ore., burned to the
> ground. On March 30, just as Luers was about to go to trial
> -- "Critter" Marshall had already pleaded guilty and
> received five and a half years -- eco-anarchists attacked
> Joe Romania Chevrolet a second time, damaging more than 30
> SUVs. ELF claimed responsibility in a March 31 communiqué,
> noting that although Luers and Marshall had been charged
> with torching the same lot a year earlier, "The
> techno-industrial state . . . cannot jail the spirit of
> those who know another world is possible."
>
> Less than two months later came the double whammy, the
> biggest arson the anarchists had seen since the 1998 blaze
> at the Vail Mountain ski resort. On May 21, 2001 activists
> burned an office and 13 trucks at Jefferson Poplar Farm in
> Clatskanie, Ore. On the same day, they torched the office of
> a biochemist who was doing research on genetically
> engineered poplar trees at the University of Washington. ELF
> claimed responsibility in a June 1 communiqué, linking the
> two arsons and denouncing GE tree research.
>
> On June 11, 2001, Judge Lyle Velure sentenced Luers to 22
> years and eight months in Oregon State Penitentiary for
> arson at the Romania dealership and attempted arson at Tyree
> Oil Inc. in Whiteaker -- a penalty stiffer than that handed
> to some rapists and murderers. More than a slap on the wrist
> or even a rap on the knuckles, it was as if Velure had
> chopped off the hand of Eugene's eco-anarchist community.
>
> More blows followed in quick succession: In July 2001,
> Italian military police shot and killed a masked protester
> at the G8 trade summit in Genoa. Then came the Sept. 11
> attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, followed
> by the free-speech-chilling PATRIOT Act. Eugene anarchists
> would help light one more arson in mid-October, burning down
> a hay barn and releasing 200 horses and burros from the BLM
> Wild Horse Facility in northeast California.
>
> Eugene's eco-radicals may have been aware of the arsons, and
> some even impressed, but few say they suspected that the
> saboteurs were members of their own community. "Half of the
> arsonists were good friends of mine at one point or another
> while the actions were going on," Heather Coburn said, "and
> I had no idea."
>
> She still has a hard time accepting that that one of her own
> housemates was involved in just about all of the sabotage.
>
> It wasn't just the sabotage crimes and their consequences
> that squelched eco-anarchy in Eugene. Most involved
> activists agree that by mid-2001, Eugene's eco-anarchist
> scene had imploded on its own.
>
> One exception was the Fall Creek activists, who hung tough
> in the trees even after an environmentalist lawsuit forced
> the Forest Service to dramatically reduce the size of the
> planned logging in order to protect the red tree vole. They
> hung on until Zip-O-Log Mills finally gave up its plans to
> log the remaining 24 acres. In 2003 they finally came down
> from the tree village, having spared 96 acres of forest from
> chainsaws since "Free" Luers made the first tree-sit in 1998.
>
> Meanwhile, Eugene's eco-radicals moved on to other
> endeavors. Some moved away and kept up their activism
> elsewhere. Some stayed and pushed forward with above-ground
> environmental projects based out of Eugene. A few ended up
> in prison; still others moved on to college, families,
> mortgages, 9-to-5s. And although the movement's dissipation
> saddened some activists, it also sparked new endeavors. "For
> me, the most radical things we did were in the process of
> falling apart and then getting back together as
> individuals," Coburn said.
>
> But four years after the movement deflated, it would return
> to haunt everyone involved -- dragging 10 activists who
> thought they'd moved on with their lives before federal
> courts in Eugene. The feds hadn't closed the books on the
> eco-anarchists yet.
>
> Check back on Dec. 7 for Part IV: The Bust.
>
> *****
>
> http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/11/22/letters.html
>
> HISTORICAL REALITY
>
> I am a bit surprised to be called a vigilante in EW ("Flames
> of Dissent II," 11/9), and would like to make a comment.
>
> Just a few years prior to the history told in Kera Abraham's
> article, I had been nearly killed twice during street
> rioting in Kathmandu while covering the revolution as a
> photojournalist for a European news agency. That revolution
> brought down one of the world's last monarchs, and was
> bloody and dangerous. People standing next to me on the
> street were shot dead, bone and brains disgorged. To be
> confronted in my own neighborhood in Eugene not long after
> by radical politicos shouting intimidating bullshit slogans,
> who were not honest and who were targeting the innocent for
> brutality, was for me like being heckled by bantams. What
> most surprised me was that many of my neighbors were afraid
> and confused, yet of good heart and right intent.
>
> Kera got the timeline slightly confused, understandably so
> for a story so complex. It was first the Scobert Park
> incident, in which the citizenry went through an intense and
> proper public debate about how to end the debauch taking
> place there, that showed the community that the newly
> arrived rads were bent on hijacking public process, not on
> joining and participating. It was, for them, about
> cop-baiting, and Whiteaker was their chosen bait.
>
> For Whiteaker residents, many of whom intentionally live
> here because of our diversity, radical ideologies are
> welcome and the choir wishes to be preached to. But as with
> other radical movements we've seen, the Charlie Mansonoids
> eventually arrive, the poison Kool-Aid is served and the
> choir sings off-key. Sadly, the beautiful green tones of the
> movement morphed into jagged black dissonance. When one of
> the black-shirts fired a rifle through the front door of the
> Red Barn one night as his way of counting coup against
> life's cruel injustices, my gloves flew off.
>
> There was significant injury done to the community by both
> the anarchists and the heroin/meth epidemic during this
> time. Whiteaker, like the Balkans, has been a crossroads and
> a dumping ground for other jurisdictions' social problems
> and political failures. A very high percentage of all social
> services for the region are located in Whiteaker, as are the
> cheapest high-density apartments, the state's parolees and
> the 400-bed Mission just next to the railyard. People get
> tired of a stacked deck, and eventually there is a social
> disaster and a public reaction. Complicate this scenario
> with an unresponsive city government and a new influx of
> angry outsiders with their own agenda, and a lot of
> hostility can be generated.
>
> In our case the citizens eventually won but paid a high
> price, and I suppose I shouldn't mind being called names
> over it even at this late date, as long as there is some
> appreciation for the historical reality that if no one ever
> has the courage to stand up and shout bullshit to fascist
> posturing, even while the choir sings a different tune,
> mayhem and malevolence in the guise of liberty and justice
> will again take the stage. We deserve a happier script.
>
> Dennis Ramsey, Eugene
>
> POLITICAL CONTEXT
>
> Kudos to Kera Abraham for her brave attempt to cover the
> eco-radical movement in Eugene! It's a tough issue to write
> about, and she's giving it a heck of a good shot.
>
> I do feel the need to clarify my quote in the second article
> ("Flames of Dissent II," 11/9): "If it's violence and mayhem
> [that bring attention to the issues], then fuck it". The
> context of that was that the mainstream media seem unable to
> report on anything but violence and mayhem. To penetrate the
> wall of corporate propaganda, people who have something to
> say often have to go to the streets in order to say it.
>
> Something else that could have been stressed more in the
> article is the political context in which these protests
> occurred. In 1999 we didn't have the Bushes to blame for the
> state of the world, and we did not have the hope of electing
> a Democrat who would make things better. We had a Democrat
> in power, and what did we get from it? We got the Salvage
> Rider, outlawing any form of legal challenge to many old
> growth timber sales. We had the president's unmitigated
> support for neoliberal trade policies that were effectively
> enslaving and even killing farmers and workers, from Nigeria
> to Korea to the maquiladoras in Mexico. Even with a Democrat
> in power, our country still refused to sign the Kyoto
> Protocol or take active steps toward nuclear disarmament.
>
> These are not abstract issues that a rational, responsible
> person can simply ignore or timidly debate. They were, and
> still are, life and death issues that must be confronted and
> resolved, by whatever means possible.
>
> Chris Calef, Eugene
>
> FIGHT THE POWER
>
> Michael "Ike" Terrance (11/16) is "extremely appalled" by
> Kera Abraham's "history of eco-terrorism in Eugene." His
> letter is patronizing, self-righteous and all too typical.
> So many know-nothing know-it-all liberals feel the need to
> denounce ELF at every opportunity, declaring their loyalty
> to "law and order" and the status quo instead of the
> community and the natural world.
>
> Memo to Ike: Social change is made by people willing to get
> their hands dirty. Power concedes nothing without a fight,
> never has, never will. No amount of tofu eating and ass
> kissing by the likes of you will change this historical
> fact. Expecting big business and government to do anything
> other than carry on trashing the planet, invading countries,
> looting resources and exploiting people is fatally naïve.
>
> That does not make the ELF beyond criticism. Their tactics
> are often flawed, and illegal clandestine groups are no
> substitute for a social/environmental mass movement. But
> comparing these people to al-Qaeda and giving their captives
> harsher punishment than right-wing vigilantes who target
> minorities or sexual predators who target children is
> inexcusable.
>
> I applaud Kera Abraham for her background series on
> anarchism and environmentalism in Eugene. Contrary to what
> Ike says, many people are interested in this piece of our
> history. There are many lessons to be drawn from the experience.
>
> *****
>
> --
> Dan Clore
>
> Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
> http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/1587154838/ref=nosim/thedanclorenecro
> Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
> http://www.geocities.com/clorebeast/
> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
>
> "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
> *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
> -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
> _Detective Comics_ #608


C*@gmail.com
2006-11-27 05:29:28 EST
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZthe_suicidalsQQhtZ-1

PLease check out my online store, is plain now, but more gears will be
added! thanks so much, sorry for bothering!


Dan Clore
2006-12-12 12:45:42 EST
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

*****

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/12/07/news1.html
[photos omitted]
Flames of Dissent
The local spark that ignited an eco-sabotage boom -- and bust
BY KERA ABRAHAM
PT. IV: THE BUST

The dog's barking punctuated a steady bang bang bang on the
front door. It was 7 am, and Heather Coburn was not in the
mood for this. She swung open the door to encounter
dark-suited federal agents, who stoically informed her that
they wanted to talk to her about her housemate, Jake
Ferguson. When she refused, they flashed a search warrant
and said they were going to tow her truck.

It was spring 2001, a peak time in Eugene's eco-radical
scene. The vandalism at the fall 1999 WTO protests,
summarily blamed on "Eugene anarchists," and the rowdy
anti-establishment protests that followed -- confrontations
between black-clad anarchists and cops, broadcast by a pulse
of locally based radical green media -- had catapulted this
damp little city to international infamy. Some of the more
extreme activists were calling for revolution against
"Earth-raping" corporations and the government by any means
necessary, and a surge of arsons claimed by the Earth and
Animal Liberation Fronts told the world that they were serious.

The obsessively secretive eco-saboteurs had eluded federal
agents for years, but the mystery of Coburn's truck
presented a crack in the case. Over the next five years,
through grand jury subpoenas, informants and the threat of
life sentences, federal agents would wrestle that crack
ever-wider. Eventually 12 environmentalists would plead
guilty to conspiracy and arson, their faces, for so long
masked, exposed to the world in the unforgiving grays of
newspaper ink.

About a week before her FBI wake-up call, Coburn had
discovered that her truck was missing from its usual spot
outside her North Grand Street house. She'd had a nasty
fight with Ferguson the night before, accusing him of
pitting his multiple lovers against one another. "He was
hostile and belligerent and trashed my house and moved out,"
she said. "I woke up the next morning and my car was gone."

Assuming Ferguson had ganked her truck, Coburn called the
police and reported the truck stolen. By the time an EPD
officer arrived, she had found her truck parked a block away
and told him to forget about it. That same day, upon advice
from her friends, she filed a restraining order against
Ferguson. What she didn't realize was that on the night
before, eco-radicals had torched more than 30 SUVs at
Romania Chevrolet, the same dealership that Jeff "Free"
Luers and Craig "Critter" Marshall had burned the year
before. That morning also happened to mark the start of
Luers' trial.

Some of Coburn's friends were furious with her for going to
the cops, suspicious that she'd told them too much. One
woman, an activist called Sparrow, went to the police
station and asked for both the report and the restraining
order. According to statements made by retired EPD Chief
Thad Buchanan to Rolling Stone, Sparrow's inquiry helped
police connect Coburn's truck to Ferguson, and Ferguson to
the arsons. Buchanan did not return EW's calls.

When Coburn and her boyfriend, Tobias Policha, went to pick
up the truck in the Gateway Mall area, FBI agents handed
them both grand jury subpoenas. Coburn didn't like the idea
of grand juries, which force people to testify in secret
proceedings without a lawyer in order to indict a suspect.
But she had just gotten a big grant from the city to do
permaculture projects in Whiteaker, and she knew that if she
refused to testify she could end up incarcerated for
contempt. She wasn't willing to make that sacrifice.

The grand jury testimony wasn't so bad, or even so
revealing, Coburn said. But many of her friends -- who hated
nothing so much as law enforcement -- would never forgive
her for it. "I felt really persecuted by the community," she
said. "People I don't even know labeled me a snitch because
I wouldn't go to jail rather than go to the grand jury."

In an effort to be open, Coburn went to the Shamrock House
Infoshop and offered Tim Lewis, an eco-anarchist filmmaker,
a "play-by-play" of her grand jury experience. She told him
that there had been questions about Ferguson, SUVs and
"relationships with certain people." But she really didn't
think anything would come of it. Sure, her friends were
radicals, and they could act stupid at times -- but not so
stupid as to commit arson, she figured.

She was wrong.

More subpoenas followed Coburn and Policha's. Ferguson was
ordered to appear before the grand jury, but he consulted
with a court-appointed lawyer and skipped out to New Orleans
for a few months. Another activist, Carla Martinez, was
served a subpoena in fall 2001 and announced that she would
not testify. About three years later, the grand jury
re-subpoenaed Martinez -- and this time she complied.

Around May 2004, FBI Special Agent John Ferreira showed up
at the home of eco-activist Jennifer Woodruff, who has a son
with Ferguson, and served her a grand jury subpoena.
"'Arson's wrong and we think you can help us,'" she
remembers him saying. Woodruff, then 31 years old, with
tattoos on her hands and long, dark hair, told Ferreira that
she wouldn't testify.

But internally she was scared of jail, of being taken away
from her son. When the feds offered to interview her and two
other activist women with their lawyers present, rather than
alone before the grand jury, Woodruff initially agreed.
Still, a sense of impending betrayal kept her awake at
night, and on the day she was scheduled to testify she told
her lawyer she'd changed her mind. I can't give in to those
bastards, she thought.

She remembers federal prosecutor Kirk Engdall getting upset
and threatening to have her jailed for contempt. "I never
heard from them again," she said.

But her son's dad, Jake Ferguson, did. By 2003 he was strung
out on heroin, playing heavy metal guitar (his bands: Eat
Shit Fuckface and Caricature of Hate) and living in Saginaw
with his girlfriend, also an addict. The feds were on to him.

Ferguson wouldn't speak with EW, but his court-appointed
lawyer, Ed Spinney, offered this version of events: The
arsonists who torched the Romania lot in 2001 used
Ferguson's truck without his permission, implicating him in
a crime he didn't commit. "He was subpoenaed to testify
before a grand jury but instead spoke voluntarily to the
government and told them that he had nothing to do with it,"
Spinney wrote by email. "For the next couple of years he was
almost constantly under the surveillance of the government."

In 2003, feds contacted Ferguson again and told him that
people within the community had linked him to the Romania
fire and other arsons. And that, ostensibly, is when
Ferguson agreed to cooperate. Court records indicate that by
spring 2004, Ferguson was wearing a hidden recording device
in an effort to bait other saboteurs, his friends, into
incriminating themselves.

The terms of the government's deal with Ferguson are
confidential, Spinney said. Federal prosecutors have
declined to comment, and Eugene police involved in the
investigation have been barred from discussing it with the
press. Although the Rolling Stone article suggests that
Ferguson may receive $50,000 and a get-out-of-jail-free card
for his cooperation, Spinney denies that Ferguson has
received either financial compensation or total immunity
from the government (yet). But the fact remains that
Ferguson, who has admitted to at least 15 acts of sabotage
-- more than any of the defendants now before the courts --
has not been indicted.

According to the Rolling Stone article, Ferguson wore the
hidden recorder to an annual Earth First! gathering, to the
Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the UO, and
to meetings with six of his partners in crime, by then
scattered across the country. In December 2005 the feds
swooped in for the bust, arresting William Rodgers, Kevin
Tubbs, Stanislas Meyerhoff, Chelsea Gerlach, Kendall
Tankersley and Daniel McGowan. They also jailed Gerlach's
Canadian boyfriend, Darren Thurston, on immigration charges;
he would later be indicted for arson.

In January 2006 they arrested southern Oregon residents
Suzanne Savoie and Jonathan Paul; in February and March,
Joyanna Zacher, Nathan Block and Briana Waters, all from
Olympia, Wash. By April they had also indicted Josephine
Sunshine Overaker, Rebecca Rubin, Joseph Dibee and Justin
Solondz, who are still at large. At some point during the
sweep Spokane natives Jennifer Kolar and Lacey Phillabaum
came forward to cooperate, according to the FBI.

Federal prosecutors minced no words, calling the defendants
"eco-terrorists" and threatening them with staggering,
post-9/11-style sentences. Faced with that terrible decision
-- rat out your friends or sit in jail until you die -- each
defendant, it seems, reacted differently. Meyerhoff
reportedly started cooperating immediately; Tubbs, Savoie,
Gerlach, Thurston and Tankersley had made the same decision
by the time they pleaded guilty in July. So did Kolar and
Phillabaum, who pleaded guilty in October. While "snitch"
provisions have not been made public, virtually all such
deals require cooperating defendants to name names,
according to Civil Liberties Defense Center attorney Lauren
Regan, who lived with Phillabaum for a year.

Four defendants before the federal court in Oregon --
McGowan, Paul, Block and Zacher -- pleaded not guilty. On
behalf of all four, the team of defense attorneys filed
discovery motions asking the feds to hand over any
information that had been obtained through National Security
Administration surveillance or warrantless wiretaps, which a
judge had recently ruled illegal.

The federal prosecutors stalled, pushing back their
court-ordered deadline three times while maintaining that no
illegal surveillance had occurred. But eventually they
struck a plea deal with the defendants: In exchange for
withdrawing the discovery motion and confessing to their own
crimes, all four defendants would get dramatically reduced
sentences and would not have to implicate anyone else. They
took the deal, pleading guilty in November.

Only one defendant, Briana Waters, continues to plead not
guilty before the federal court in Washington. Her attorney
is pursuing a discovery motion similar to that filed by the
Oregon defense team.

Hanging like a pall over the community is the knowledge that
Rodgers had made an entirely different decision. Alone in
his jail cell in Flagstaff, Ariz., in December 2005, he had
scrawled two notes, one bemoaning his betrayal, and the
other addressed to his friends and family. "I chose to fight
on the side of the bears, mountain lions, skunks, bats,
saguaros, cliff roses and all things wild," he wrote. "I am
just the most recent casualty in this war. But tonight I
have made a jailbreak -- I am returning home, to the Earth,
the place of my origins." With that, he placed a plastic bag
over his head and suffocated. Reportedly, he died with his
right fist clenched in the Earth First! gesture of defiance.

It may have signaled a call to action -- or the death of a
movement.

Check back on Dec. 21 for Part V: The Aftermath.

GRAND STAND

In March 2006, an FBI agent and Eugene policeman surprised
nursing student Jeff Hogg by his car in the parking lot of
LCC. "'You're not in trouble or anything; we just want you
to testify against the arsonists,'" he remembers them
saying. "I was pretty freaked out, but I wasn't surprised
they wanted to talk to me."

Hogg, an Earth First!er who had been active with the local
scene from the 1995 Warner Creek blockade to the 1999 WTO
protests in Seattle, speculated that his grand jury subpoena
may have had something to do with his alleged participation
in "Book Club" meetings, which prosecutors describe as
secret, conspiratorial eco-radical gatherings that took
place in four cities, including Eugene, around 2000-2001.
And, of course, his ex-girlfriend was former Earth First!
Journal co-editor Lacey Phillabaum, who was in a
relationship with hard-talking radical Stan Meyerhoff. Both
Phillabaum and Meyerhoff, by then, had been fingered in the
arsons and were apparently cooperating with the feds.

But Hogg wouldn't testify, and in May 2006 he was
incarcerated for contempt, leaving his studies on hold and
his partner, Cecilia Story, to pay the mortgage on their
home. "It would be different if I'd been somebody who stole
a car or something and knew my charges," he told EW through
the Plexiglas at Josephine County Jail. "For me, it's a
bunch of unknowns."

He would remain in jail without charge, refusing to
cooperate with the grand jury, until November. During those
six months on the inside his life had been thrown off-track,
his studies put on hold, his parents upset with him for
missing his grandfather's funeral. But in eco-radical
circles, media-shy Hogg became a hero.

The Actions

Oct. 28, 1996: Attempted arson of USFS's Detroit Ranger
District station in Willamette National Forest; arson of
USFS vehicle in parking lot. "Earth Liberation Front" (ELF)
spray-painted on the side of the building. LINKED TO:
Ferguson, Overaker

October 30, 1996: Arson of USFS's Oakridge Ranger District
station in WNF, Ore. LINKED TO: Ferguson, Overaker, Tubbs

July 21, 1997: Arson at Cavel West horse slaughterhouse in
Redmond, Ore. Communiqué attributed arson to Animal
Liberation Front (ALF) and "Equine and Zebra Liberation
Front." LINKED TO: Ferguson, Tubbs, Dibee, Paul, Kolar

Nov. 30, 1997: Arson at BLM Wild Horse and Burro Facility in
Burns, Ore.; about 400 horses and burros freed. ELF/ALF
claimed arson via communiqué. LINKED TO: Ferguson, Overaker,
Tubbs, Rubin, Rodgers

June 21, 1998: Arson at the USDA's Animal, Plant and Health
Inspection Service in Olympia, Wash. Claimed by ELF/ALF via
communiqué. LINKED TO: Ferguson, Overaker*, Tubbs, Rodgers,
Dibee.

September 1998: Preparations for arson at BLM Wild Horse
facility in Rock Springs, Wyo. Suspects heard on scanner
that police were coming and buried materials. LINKED TO:
Ferguson, Tubbs, Rubin, Rodgers

Oct. 4, 1998: Attempted arson at Wray Gun Club, Wray, Colo.
LINKED TO: Kolar

Oct. 11, 1998: Attempted arson at BLM Wild Horse Holding
Facility in Rock Springs, Wyo; 40-100 wild horses freed. ALF
claimed responsibility via communiqué. LINKED TO: Ferguson,
Overaker, Tubbs, Rubin, Rodgers, Meyerhoff, Gerlach

Oct. 19, 1998: Arson at the Vail Mountain ski resort in
Vail, Colo. ELF claimed responsibility via communiqué.
LINKED TO: Ferguson, Overaker, Tubbs, Meyerhoff, Rubin,
Gerlach, Rodgers

Dec. 22, 1998: Attempted arson at U.S. Forest Industries
headquarters in Medford. LINKED TO: Ferguson, Tankersley,
Tubbs, Rubin

Dec. 27, 1998: Arson at U.S. Forest Industries headquarters
in Medford. ELF claimed responsibility via communiqué.
LINKED TO: Ferguson, Tankersley

May 9, 1999: Arson at Childers Meat Company in Eugene. ALF
claimed responsibility via communiqué. LINKED TO: Ferguson,
Overaker, Tubbs, Meyerhoff, Gerlach and "others"

Dec. 25, 1999: Arson at Boise Cascade logging company
regional headquarters in Monmouth, Ore. ELF claimed
responsibility via communiqué. LINKED TO: Ferguson,
Overaker, Meyerhoff, Gerlach

Dec. 30, 1999: BPA high-tension line toppled near Bend.
LINKED TO: Ferguson, Overaker, Meyerhoff, Gerlach

Sept. 6, 2000: Arson at EPD West University Public Safety
Station in Eugene. LINKED TO: Meyerhoff, Gerlach, Tubbs

Jan. 2, 2001: Arson at Superior Lumber offices in Glendale,
Ore. ELF claimed responsibility via communiqué. LINKED TO:
Ferguson, Meyerhoff, Tubbs, McGowan, Savoie

March 30, 2001: Arson at Joe Romania Chevrolet dealership in
Eugene. Communiqué sent to ELF press office did not
explicitly attribute the action to ELF or ALF. LINKED TO:
Meyerhoff, Tubbs, Block, Zacher, Rodgers

May 21, 2001: Arson at Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie,
Ore. ELF claimed responsibility via communiqué. LINKED TO:
Meyerhoff, McGowan, Savoie, Block, Zacher, Ferguson*,
Gerlach*, Tubbs*, Rodgers*

May 21, 2001: Arson at the University of Washington's Urban
Horticulture Center in Seattle. ELF claimed responsibility
via communiqué. LINKED TO: Meyerhoff, Gerlach, Rodgers,
Waters, Kolar, Phillabaum, Solondz

Oct. 15, 2001: Arson at BLM wild horse and burro corrals in
Litchfield, Calif.; 200 horses and burros freed. ELF claimed
responsibility via communiqué. LINKED TO: Dibee, Rubin,
Thurston, Solondz, Meyerhoff, Tubbs, Gerlach, Rodgers

*Implicated in preparations for arson, not arson itself

Source: Federal prosecutors' indictments and information.
Actions that have been confessed to in court but have not
resulted in indictments are not included here.

The Accused

Jake Ferguson Age: 34

Bio: Came to Eugene around 1994 with then-girlfriend; son
born in 1995. Core activist at Warner Creek blockade. Lived
in Eugene area on an off into the present. Dated* defendant
Overaker around 1996 and Tankersley around late 1998.
Recently studied diesel mechanics at LCC.

Legal status: Unindicted informant; implicated in 15 actions

* Note: The term "dated" is used loosely throughout this
piece and indicates a spectrum of relationships: friends
with benefits, polyamorous affairs, long-term monogamous
partnerships. We note only known relationships among the
accused and subpoenaed.

Stanislas Meyerhoff aka "Country Boy" Age: 29

Bio: Graduated from South Eugene High School in 1995. Dated
defendant Gerlach from 1994–2000, and Phillabaum from 2001
until recently. Around 2001 moved to Bend, and about four
years later moved to Charlottesville, Va. FBI agents
arrested him in December 2005 at Piedmont Community College,
where he studied engineering.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to eight actions, spanning
1998-2001, in July and September 2006. Recommended sentence:
15 years

Chelsea Gerlach aka "Country Girl" Age: 29

Bio: Eco-activist from age 15; graduated from South Eugene
High School in 1995. Dated defendant Meyerhoff from
1994-2000, and later Thurston. Did outreach for the Warner
Creek campaign. Studied environmental issues at Evergreen
State College and LCC. At time of arrest in late 2005, was a
house DJ living in Portland.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to six actions, spanning
1998-2001, in July and September 2006. Recommended sentence:
10 years

Sarah Kendall Tankersley Harvey Age: 29

Bio: Moved to Eugene from Ohio in fall 1995 to study history
at the UO. Around 1997, became involved with the campus
Survival Center. That spring, with Cascadia Forest
Defenders, perched atop a metal tripod on the road into
Hull-Oakes Lumber mill; peacefully confronted police at June
1 protest against tree cutting in downtown Eugene. In 1998
volunteered with Food Not Bombs; briefly dated informant
Ferguson. Left Eugene around 1999, attended Humboldt State
and graduated with molecular biology degree in 2004.
Arrested in Flagstaff, Ariz., where she was working in
support of families with disabled children, in December 2005.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to two 1998 arsons in July
2006. Recommended sentence: more than four years

Darren Thurston aka "Goat" Age: 36

Bio: Canadian animal rights activist with two prior
eco-sabotage convictions; served almost two years in prison
in the early 1990s. Arrested with then-girlfriend Gerlach in
Tacoma, Wash., on Dec. 7, 2005, on immigration charges;
later indicted for arson.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to participation in one 2001
arson on July 20, 2006. Recommended sentence: more than
three years

Suzanne Savoie aka "India" Age: 29

Bio: Southern Oregon-based eco-activist formerly involved in
forest defense campaigns in the Siskiyou Mountains and
Applegate watershed. Briefly dated defendant McGowan. Later
worked in a home for the developmentally disabled; turned
self in to FBI agents in mid-January 2006.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to two 2001 arsons on July 21,
2006. Recommended sentence: More than five years

Kevin Tubbs aka "The Dog" Age: 37

Eugene connection: Animal rights activist from age 22;
studied fine arts and philosophy at the University of
Nebraska. Moved to Eugene with then-girlfriend around 1995.
Volunteered at Earth First! Journal; briefly lived in a
trailer behind the journal's Glenwood-area office. Core
activist at the Warner Creek blockade. Arrested on Dec. 7,
2005 at his Springfield home, where he lived with his
fiancé, dogs and cats.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to eight actions, spanning
1996-2001, in July 2006. Recommended sentence: more than 14
years

Briana Waters Age: 31

Bio: Grew up in Lansdale, Penn., and Berkeley, Calif; later
lived in Olympia, Wash. Produced and directed Watch, a
documentary on a 1999 forest defense campaign in southwest
Washington. Graduated from Evergreen State College in 1999.
At the time of arrest in March 2006, was working as a violin
teacher, married, and had a baby daughter.

Legal status: Pleaded not guilty to UW arson; trial
scheduled for May 2007

Joseph Dibee Age: 39

Bio: Lived in Seattle; worked at family sewing company, and
later as a technician for Microsoft. Dated defendant Kolar.
Reportedly "communications" specialist during Warner Creek
blockade and banner-maker for other environmental actions.
Indicted in January 2006 for alleged participation in one
2001 arson and one 1998 arson.

Legal status: Fugitive

Jonathan Paul Age: 40

Eugene connection: Grew up in the Eastern U.S.; animal
rights activist. In early 1990s, jailed for almost six
months for refusing to testify to federal grand jury. Dated
defendant Kolar; later engaged in legal skirmish with
indictee Dibee over rights to anti-whaling nonprofit, Sea
Defense Alliance. In 1998 spoke at the National Animal
Rights Conference at the UO, suggesting that the ALF and ELF
movements be united. Arrested in southern Oregon, where he
worked as a hotel employee and volunteer firefighter, in
mid-January 2006.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to one 1997 arson on Nov. 9,
2006. Recommended sentence: five years

Nathan Block aka "Exile" Age: 25

Bio: Worked as a carpenter and lived with defendant Zacher
outside Olympia, Wash. Arrested in February 2006; detectives
allegedly seized 44 pounds of pot from his and Zacher's
rented house.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to two 2001 arsons on Nov. 9,
2006. Recommended sentence: eight years

Lacey Phillabaum Age: 31

Bio: Grew up in Spokane, Wash.; high school debater. Came to
Eugene to study art history at the UO around 1993. Worked at
campus Survival Center and radical student newspaper The
Insurgent. Supported the Warner Creek blockade; co-editor of
Earth First! Journal from 1996-1999. Spoke at spring 2001
environmental law conference panel: "Does Property Damage
Have a Place in Mass Protest?" Appeared in Tim Lewis films
Pickaxe, Breaking the Spell and others. Dated subpoenaed
activist Jeff Hogg from about 1996-2000 and defendant
Meyerhoff from about 2001 until recently. Beginning around
2001, worked as editor of In Good Tilth newsletter,
freelanced for Bend altweekly The Source. In 2005 moved to
Charlottesville, Va., to take reporting position at C-Ville
Weekly. Turned herself in to federal agents sometime around
early 2006.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to one 2001 arson on Oct. 4,
2006. Recommended sentence: three to five years

Daniel McGowan aka "Sorrell" Age: 32

Bio: Grew up in Queens, NY; earned degree in business
administration and Asian studies from University of Buffalo
in 1996. Participated in 1999 WTO protests in Seattle. Lived
in Eugene from March 2000-January 2002; was short-term
editor for Earth First! Journal, contributor to Green
Anarchy magazine, volunteer for Shamrock House Infoshop and
campaigner to support Jeff "Free" Luers. Briefly dated
defendant Savoie; washed dishes at Morning Glory restaurant.
Returned to New York in 2002, studied acupuncture, organized
protests against the Republican National Convention and
worked for WomensLaw.org. Arrested in New York City in
December 2005; married in May 2006.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to two 2001 arsons on Nov. 9,
2006. Recommended sentence: eight years

Joyanna Zacher aka "Sheba" Age: 28

Bio: Involved in 1999 protests against the WTO in Seattle.
Worked as a nanny and lived with defendant Block outside
Olympia, Wash. Arrested in February 2006.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to two 2001 arsons on Nov. 9,
2006. Recommended sentence: eight years

Jennifer Kolar aka "Diver" Age: 33

Bio: Grew up in Spokane, Wash.; raced sailboats. Dated
defendant Jonathan Paul, and later fugitive Joseph Dibee.
Pursued doctorate degree at the University of Colorado.
Turned self in to federal agents in Washington sometime
around early 2006.

Legal status: Pleaded guilty to a 1998 arson and a 2001
arson on Oct. 4, 2006. Recommendedsentence: five to seven years

Rebecca Rubin Age: 33

Bio: Canadian scientist; studied cranes. Indicted in January
2006 for alleged participation in six actions, 1997-2001.

Legal status: Fugitive

Josephine Sunshine Overaker aka "Maria" Age: Uncertain;
likely 32-35

Bio: May have lived in Eugene in mid-1990s. Dated informant
Ferguson around fall 1996. Reportedly participated in a
number of forest defense actions. Indicted in January 2006
for alleged participation in nine actions, 1996-1999.

Legal status: Fugitive

Justin Solondz Age: 27

Bio: Born in New Jersey; part-time carpentry worker.
Indicted in spring 2006 for alleged participation in two
2001 arsons.

Legal status: Fugitive

William Rodgers aka "Avalon" Age: 40 at death

Bio: Arizona-based eco-activist. In 1996, briefly joined the
Warner Creek blockade. Allegedly co-authored a 2001 paper
with Meyerhoff on how to build time-delayed incendiary
devices. Before his arrest in December 2005, was living in
Prescott, Ariz., with his then-girlfriend and running an
activist bookstore, The Catalyst Infoshop. A member of the
Arizona Indymedia collective, he apparently committed
suicide by pulling a plastic bag over his head in a
Flagstaff, Ariz., jail cell on Dec. 22, 2005, while awaiting
extradition to Washington state.

Legal status: Deceased; never indicted

*****

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/12/07/letters.html

THE GOOD FIGHT

I've never been so excited to read the Weekly. Don't get me
wrong, I always peruse it, but it's not my biggest priority.
However, this "Flames of Dissent" piece has me pumped -- so
much so that here I am writing a letter to EW for the first
time though I've certainly got other things that need to get
done.

Kera Abraham is indeed a brave woman, taking on a very
difficult topic and writing it very well. I'm not concerned
if she got all the facts straight (every piece of reporting
is ultimately hearsay and usually ends up being a little
misconstrued anyway), but it does seem like she did do her
research and tried her damn best. Furthermore, it comes as
no surprise to me that this same woman wrote the
well-balanced piece on Critical Mass in EW ("Spokes People,"
8/10/06). I think you got a keeper, EW.

Today, after a wonderful Thanksgiving playing in the snowy
forests that we are so blessed with (often with thanks due
to said so-called "eco-terrorists"), I came back to town and
settled down to the latest installment. Looking at the
letters and the strong convictions expressed by Dennis
Ramsey, Chris Calef and Steven Glider shows that we really
have something to be thankful for regarding this whole
situation. It was clearly an important part of Eugene (and
Pacific Northwest) history and one which has left an
indelible mark.

One thing that has made me love Eugene of all places is the
fact that many of these and other important, relevant, "life
and death issues" are so actively discussed by the community
at large. Even the status quo here are better informed,
free(er) thinkers than where I'm from, back on the other
side of the Mississippi. We need to continue pushing and
fighting for whatever we believe in, experimenting and
learning as we go how to push and fight better.

Keep on fighting the good fight and be thankful for it.

Walter Lapchynski, Eugene

BE THE ONE

Thanks to Kera Abraham for her historical perspective,
"Flames of Dissent." "What is said by great employers of
labor against agitators is unquestionably true. Agitators
are a set of interfering, meddling people who come down to
some perfectly contented class of the community and sow the
seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why
agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our
incomplete state, there would be no advance towards
civilisation" (Oscar Wilde, 1891).

Lacey Phillabaum's defense of "the black bloc" seems
reasonable to me. PC liberals complain about the mainstream
media's focus on these radical groups, but being PC, they
fall in line with government actions that disallow anything
that isn't PC dissent. We don't all agree on the methods
used, but most of us agree that our corporate- and
military-controlled government needs to be abolished. Be the
one you are. There's room at the table for everyone (with
the exception of genderized dictators) as we witness our
government's continuing grip on fascism.

There should be reserved seating for OSU's Jean Moule and
Jerry V. Diller. Thanks to EW and Bryan Andersen for
profiling their book Cultural Competence: A Primer for
Educators. This book is about the methods we can all agree
on -- helping to put us in touch with each other.

Robert Simms, Corvallis

MORAL CHOICES

After reading "Ike" Terrance's letter "Radical Loonies"
(11/16), it is clear to me that he has missed something that
my experience has taught me. While I applaud his interest in
the quality of local entertainment and his concern for the
environment, his analysis of the situations touched on in
"Flames of Dissent" seem shallow. Might that be because a
deeper look would threaten his moral standing?

In my brief time on this earth, 26 years, I have experienced
numerous lifestyles, one of which came while I was enlisted
in a branch of this nation's armed services. I had a new car
and nice clothes, and I used cologne. However, I gradually
began to wake up to the responsibility I had in the death of
life. I started making changes in my lifestyle, and became
what "Ike" would probably refer to as a "Radical Loony."

Example: I abhor unnecessary violence and murder. From what
I gather from Ike's concern over the potential for harm to
life during acts of eco-sabotage, it sounds like Ike does
too. While in the service I adopted a vegan diet, no easy
feat. I wonder what Ike's dietary choices are. Some dismiss
using non-human animal products as "nature's food chain."
The facts are out: Industrial agriculture is not a natural
process, and it's inefficient. So how long then till it's me
who serves as your commodity?

All the "Ikes" out there can dismiss the passionate
reactions of peoples as "lunacy" or terrorism, but to them I
pose these queries: What is the difference between white
power and black power? What is the difference between
Israeli aggression and Palestinian aggression? What is the
difference between machines that destroy our natural
environment and destroying those machines? One is the
function of an oppressor, the other the defense of the
oppressed.

Jake Dutton, Eugene

*****

--
Dan Clore

My collected fiction, _The Unspeakable and Others_:
http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/1587154838/ref=nosim/thedanclorenecro
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/clorebeast/
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

Strange pleasures are known to him who flaunts the
immarcescible purple of poetry before the color-blind.
-- Clark Ashton Smith, "Epigrams and Apothegms"

Dan Clore
2006-12-23 05:33:08 EST

News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

*****

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/12/21/news1.html
FLAMES OF DISSENT:
The local spark that ignited an eco-sabotage boom -- and bust
BY KERA ABRAHAM
Part V: The Ashes

More than a decade ago, a 21-year-old Lacey Phillabaum
danced barefoot in a blue sundress on the downtown Federal
Building lawn. A recent UO graduate, eco-radical writer and
defender of the old-growth trees at Warner Creek, she jumped
with other activists to the live lyrics of Casey Neil's
"Dancing on the Ruins of Multinational Corporations."

Nine and a half years ago, an emboldened Phillabaum watched
a truck roll within arm's length of a fellow activist during
a forest defense protest on a highway near Detroit, Ore.
Less than a month later, she and other Earth First! Journal
editors defiantly perched in doomed downtown Eugene trees
until police pepper-sprayed them down.

Seven years ago, after quitting the journal, Phillabaum
joined the protests against the WTO in Seattle. As the host
of Tim Lewis' documentary Breaking the Spell, she later
defended the actions of the black-clad anarchists who looted
and vandalized corporations they'd viewed as destroyers of
the Earth.

Five and a half years ago, Phillabaum acted as the lookout
during the arson of a University of Washington horticulture
center -- a crime she committed in concert with her new
boyfriend, Stan Meyerhoff, and other activists. On the same
night in Clatskanie, Ore., eco-radicals torched the offices
and trucks of Jefferson Poplar Farm. The coordinated arsons,
executed in the name of the Earth Liberation Front, were
intended as a statement against genetic engineering.

But by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a
combination of mounting paranoia and infighting had
shattered Eugene's eco-radical scene like glass in
storefront windows at the Battle of Seattle. Phillabaum and
Meyerhoff moved first to Bend and later to Charlottesville,
Va., where she wrote for an alternative newsweekly and he
studied engineering. They appeared to be on a straight path,
their criminal past left in ashes.

Until December of last year, when the FBI busted Meyerhoff
for participating in nearly a dozen of 20 environmentally
motivated sabotage acts across the West between 1996 and
2001. Phillabaum turned herself in soon after and began
working as an unnamed cooperator with the feds. (The bust
may explain why she called off a freelance assignment for EW
on "sustainable" beef production last winter. "I am having
some heavy family problems," she wrote in a Feb. 24 email,
"and I thought they were clearing up but they are not." As
recently as Autumn 2006, Phillabaum was listed as a copy
editor for Eugene Magazine.)

Today, Phillabaum is facing three to five years in jail --
or 25, if federal prosecutors can nail her as a terrorist --
because she'd slipped, even briefly, from the Earth Day of
above-ground activism into the Earth Night of underground
sabotage.

Phillabaum is one of 12 defendants who have pleaded guilty
to a flare of environmentally motivated arsons in the
federal sting known as Operation Backfire. One targeted
activist has pleaded not guilty, another committed suicide
in jail, and four are fugitives. One more, the government's
first informant, lives in Eugene and has not been indicted.
The cooperators face recommended sentences of three to about
16 years (for Phillabaum and Meyerhoff, respectively), but
federal prosecutors have said they will try to tack 20-year
"terrorism enhancements" onto each sentence.

The 10 defendants before the Oregon courts are scheduled for
sentencing in April. Washington defendant Briana Waters will
face trial in May, and Phillabaum and Jennifer Kolar --
whose plea deals may hinge on their testimonies against
Waters -- are to be sentenced in July.

The domino effect of the arrests and cooperation agreements
have been surreal for local eco-radicals who knew the
defendants. Generally speaking, second only to the
community's disdain for the authorities is its
disappointment with the cooperators. Most loathed is Jake
Ferguson, the apparent ringleader of the eco-saboteurs and
the feds' primary informant, who still walks free; U.S.
Attorney Karin Immergut has said that prosecutors haven't
yet decided "what to do with him."

Nearly as resented is Meyerhoff, apparently the feds'
secondary informant, followed by Phillabaum and Kolar, who
likely began working with authorities around spring 2006.
Many local eco-radicals are likewise upset with Chelsea
Gerlach, Kevin Tubbs, Kendall Tanksersley, Darren Thurston
and Suzanne Savoie, who had begun cooperating by July.

Most of the community insiders who spoke with EW maintain
their support for Daniel McGowan, Jonathan Paul, Nathan
Block and Joyanna Zacher, who struck an unusual deal with
prosecutors allowing them to confess to their own crimes
without incriminating others, and Olympia resident Briana
Waters, who maintains her innocence.

"What's upsetting is how quickly people are folding and how
namby-pamby and weak Earth First! looks when you compare it
to the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement,
where people have held out for decades without talking,"
said former Earth First! Journal co-editor Jim Flynn. "It
just makes our movement look weak and soft and middle-class.
For people like me, who have spent years in the movement,
it's embarrassing. How will we recruit new people?"

But another movement veteran, former Earth First!er James
Johnston, attacks not the cooperators but the people who
criticize them. "It's a bunch of dimwits who talk a big talk
about arson and anarchism and a bunch of other crap," he
wrote by email. "Now they don't seem to have anything better
to do than make up bunch of lies about the people who
actually did the arsons and ARE taking responsibility for it."

Johnston, an ex-boyfriend of Phillabaum's, sat next to her
at the Dec. 11 sentencing hearing in Eugene. Other activists
in the courtroom avoided them both.

Eugene's eco-radical era was a fire that blazed through town
for half a decade, bringing together Earth First!ers,
anarchists, artists, feminists and animal advocates who
rejected authority and envisioned a freer, greener world.
Their flame manifested in art projects, housing
cooperatives, forest defense campaigns, anti-globalization
rallies, independent media and, notoriously, the flare of
environmentally motivated arsons.

By mid-2001 that eco-radical fire had consumed itself,
sputtering out as activists split over dogmatic differences
and personality clashes. In subsequent years federal
surveillance pressed down like a fog, nearly extinguishing
the remnant embers.

How did this fire, and Operation Backfire, change the local
activist landscape? What grew from the ashes?

It may no longer be so radical, but Eugene's
environmentalist community continues to nurture seeds sown
at the peak of the movement in the late '90s. Volunteers
with the Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team (NEST), a group
formed out of the Fall Creek forest defense campaign, still
scout for red tree vole nests in an effort to battle timber
sales on public lands. Cascadia Wildlands Project, a forest
advocacy group founded in 1997 by James Johnston, regularly
brings legal challenges to federal logging projects; Jim
Flynn is CWP board president, and another former EF!J
co-editor, Josh Laughlin, is director.

The eco-anarchist TV show Cascadia Alive! ended in 2004, but
Tim Lewis is currently working to archive the shows for the
UO library, and his documentaries of the Warner Creek
blockade and the WTO riots are now available on DVD. Green
Anarchy magazine, launched around 2001 by Robin Terranova
and other local radicals, still publishes out of Eugene,
while Earth First! Journal, which was headquartered locally
from 1993 to 2001, has moved to Tuscon, Ariz. The journal
struggles to stay afloat, with about one-third the
subscribers it had in 1997.

In the Whiteaker neighborhood, eco-anarchist hangout Icky's
Teahouse is gone, but Tiny Tavern carries on. The Ant Farm,
an activist crash-pad, has folded, but the Shamrock House
remains, with its "Free Wall" covered in anarchist art. The
Jawbreaker gallery, founded by Warner Creek activist Stella
Lee Anderson, still hosts alternative art shows, and the
daffodil bulbs Kari Johnson planted in the shape of an
anarchy symbol on a 4th Avenue lawn more than a decade ago
still appear every spring. Food Not Lawns, the urban
gardening movement founded by local activists Heather Coburn
and Tobias Policha in 1999, has now gone national; Coburn
recently published a book about it under the name H.C. Flores.

And though the arsonists who set fire to Willamette National
Forest in 1991 have yet to be caught, the trees of Warner
Creek still stand. Tim Ingalsbee, the "godfather" of the
mid-1990s campaign against salvage logging, perseveres in
his effort to get the site permanently protected as a
research area.

Much like the Warner Creek salvage controversy, Operation
Backfire illuminated two very different ways of viewing a
burnt landscape: as a disaster to be cleaned up and
salvaged, or as a natural cleansing, providing nutrients and
light for rebirth. The bust seems to have dampened local
eco-radicalism, stalled ELF actions, weakened Earth First!,
and possibly even chilled progressive activism of all kinds.
But Eugene remains a hub of eco-activity, and as sure as
wildfires will continue to blaze through forests, stoking
controversies in their wake, environmentalists will keep
battling the forces of planetary destruction, their tactics
evolving with the shifting political landscape.

*****

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/12/21/webextra1.html
Is eco-sabotage terrorism?

On April 10, federal prosecutors will try to convince Judge
Ann Aiken that it's appropriate for them to try to tack
20-year "terrorism enhancements" onto the sentences of the
10 Operation Backfire defendants who have pleaded guilty
before the federal court in Oregon. Prosecutors have
indicated that, if Aiken gives them the green light, they'll
try to pin each of the defendants as a terrorist during
their individual sentencing hearings. They'll likely do the
same before the court in western Washington, where two more
have pleaded guilty and a third awaits trial.

If prosecutors succeed, Lacey Phillabaum's recommended
sentence of three to five years, the shortest proposed jail
term for an Operation Backfire defendant, could become 25
years. Her boyfriend Stan Meyerhoff's sentence of almost 16
years, the longest proposed term, could become 36.

James Jarboe, chief of the domestic terrorism section of the
FBI, told a House subcommittee in 2002 that "The FBI defines
eco-terrorism as the use or threatened use of violence of a
criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an
environmentally-oriented, subnational group for
environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience
beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature."

The key word in that definition is "violence." The 20 acts
of eco-sabotage in the Operation Backfire case did not
physically harm anyone, and evidence suggests that the
saboteurs took extreme precautions to that end. "Not hurting
people is such a part of every one of those people's
philosophies," said Eugene activist Stella Lee Anderson, a
former girlfriend of defendant Kevin Tubbs.

Yet few within the movement are willing to assert that local
eco-anarchists in the mid-'90s were nonviolent by principle.
"There's a lot of ways to define the words violence and
nonviolence, and people couldn't get on the same page for
what that meant to them," said Eugene eco-activist Cecilia
Story. "Some people thought filling up a soaker gun with
urine and spraying it at cops was really violent. Other
people didn't. We would talk about things like that for weeks."

Prosecutor Stephen Peifer, however, suggests that the
question of violence is moot in this case. Under a federal
law titled "Acts of terrorism transcending national
boundaries," anyone who "creates a substantial risk of
serious bodily injury to any other person" by damaging
property within the U.S. may be subject to the terrorism
sentencing enhancement. "That's what we're working with,"
Peifer said. "The word violence doesn't come into play."

Still, many people -- including Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon
-- are reluctant to call the eco-saboteurs terrorists. "As
we know terrorism today, mass murder on the scale of the
trade towers and the Pentagon, perhaps it would deserve a
more specific label," DeFazio said, adding that the
eco-arsons were "a destructive, stupid, criminal thing to do."

-- Kera Abraham

Thoughts from the trenches

Eugene eco-radicals weigh in on Operation Backfire.

Did the sabotage actions have their intended effect of
waking up the public to environmental issues?

Jim Flynn sees some actions, like the arson of the Cavel
West horsemeat plant (which was never rebuilt) and the BLM
wild horse releases, as valid. "I think sabotage is a
perfectly good way to grab people's attention," he said.
"Ethical monkeywrenching, if done thoughtfully, can be an
effective tactic." But, he added, the general public might
not make the link between eco-sabotage and its political
motives. "I think sabotage has lost its meaning in this
country and people see it as terrorism," he said. "This
country has a big problem with arson for any reason. I don't
know why that is."

Chris Calef agrees that some actions may have been somewhat
effective, but he cites others as ill-conceived, such as the
arsons of the Oakridge Ranger Station, which incinerated
years of Tim Ingalsbee's research, and the University of
Washington horticulture center. "They destroyed some
endangered seeds next door," he said of the UW arson. "Nice
going."

In the case of the 1998 arson of the Vail ski resort, Stella
Lee Anderson said, "They public's looking at it and
thinking, 'Oh my gosh, that poor ski resort.' They don't see
the forest that was destroyed for the ski run. They public's
just stupid and lazy and ignorant and for the most part,
they just don't care."

But forest defender Shannon Wilson hangs onto the hope that
the actions weren't in vain. "Maybe when people read the
stories and articles about these indicted folks some of them
might stop and think about why these highly educated and
idealistic young people risked their freedoms and life for
such things as wild lynx, wild horses, ancient forests,
wilderness, and our life giving biosphere," he wrote by
email. "Perhaps they will think long enough to question
their 'American dream' of building a 4,000 square foot
McMansion with the 600 square foot redwood deck with two
SUVs in the garage parked next to their 50 foot motor-home
along side their 20 feet speedboat and their two all terrain
vehicles on the edge of a once wild river. I believe that
this is why these folks risked everything. They attempted to
wake the people out of their 'American dream' nightmare that
is destroying all life on this planet."

But Jeff Hogg, who spent nearly six months in jail for
refusing to testify to the federal grand jury, doubts that
the eco-sabotage actions woke anyone up. "They drew the
attention of people who were already paying attention, and
the people who aren't think they're a bunch of crazy
criminals," he said. "I think [Operation Backfire] is gonna
have a pretty chilling effect on a lot of activism."

How do you feel about the primary informant, Jacob Ferguson?

Tim Ream suspects that Ferguson may have been a federal
provacateur all along. "I just don't know how else you can
burn millions of dollars of property and not get indicted,"
he said. "Especially when you're the one link that brings
everything together . . . I just can't understand why the
guy who looks to me like the ringleader smack addict is
driving around in an SUV and living free."

Tim Lewis, who lived across the creek from Ferguson in
Saginaw, saw him as extremely self-determined: "If he needed
heroin, he could get it. If he needed a woman to live with
him and pay rent, he could get it." In Lewis' view, Ferguson
didn't crack out of weakness or spite, but for his kid.
"That's the only thing I ever saw Jake give a shit about,
was his son," he said.

Cecilia Story is still creeped out by thoughts of Ferguson
during the years he was secretly recording conversations for
the FBI. "Wearing a fuckin' wire into my community? That is
so not OK," she said.

But Heather Coburn is willing to cut Ferguson a little
slack. "He's as much a victim of the system as we all are,"
she said. "I still have dreams about Jake where he redeems
himself. He comes back the way he used to look -- he was
into Aikido, he was a vegan, he was really kind and funny.
What a heartbreaker." But now, local activists shun him.
"When he goes walking down the street, he's like a ghoul,"
she said. "Jake is volatile sometimes; he's a Cancer. But
he's not a violent person . . . I've never, ever been afraid
that Jake was gonna hurt me. A lot of people try to paint
him as sinister. He isn't; just maybe stupid."

Is it fair to blame the other Operation Backfire
cooperators, given that they risked their freedom in an
attempt to further their cause?

Shelley Cater feels upset and betrayed by the cooperators,
even as she has some compassion for them. "If you can't
stand by your convictions, then you shouldn't have been
there in the first place," she said.

Although he's "pissed off" at some of the cooperators, Tim
Lewis has a problem calling them snitches; they were the
activists most willing to walk their radical talk. "I can
look back at [the saboteurs] and what they did and say,
'Fuckin' A, man. They were kickin' ass.' These cats were out
there in the middle of the night doing what they did . . . I
think it's noble. I think it's very noble. I have a lot of
respect for them."

James Johnston is not willing to condemn anyone, short of
Ferguson, for cooperating. "I'm withholding judgement
because I don't know anything about it," he said. He also
worries that so-called "snitches" could face violence in
jail. "Inmates don't have anything better to do than learn
all they can about the people they live with," he wrote by
email. "And they do routinely kill and maim other inmates
justly or unjustly labeled as 'rats' and 'snitches.'"

How did the bust affect Eugene's eco-radical community?

Fire ecologist and activist Tim Ingalsbee has mixed
emotions. "At this point I am dangerously ignorant of all
this ELF stuff," he said. "I am aggrieved that good people
are going down . . . I am genuinely saddened, and in deep
denial." But he also feels that the saboteurs did real
damage to the eco-radical movement. "This is kind of a
pattern: These opportunists who think their heart is in the
right place, but their brains certainly aren't," he said.
"That is the danger with libertarian anarchy. It's
completely unaccountable . . . While we [above-ground
activists] are trying to educate the larger community, you
[underground saboteurs] undermine the action, and you make
all of the community activists targets."

Shelley Cater said the shared sense of persecution may have
laid to rest old beefs that now seem petty by comparison.
"Operation Backfire has gelled people in this town in a way
I haven't seen them gel in a long time," she said. "The
evil's so huge now that people are compelled into action . .
. We are a battered community. Everybody's suffering some
kind of grief. But it's made the strong stronger. The people
who are dedicated are still in the fray . . . Our survival
nature is coming to the fore."

Kari Johnson has drawn lessons from the peak and crash of
Eugene's eco-radical scene. "I have learned to not accept
other people's strategies if they aren't working," she wrote
by email. "I won't let an individual jockey for a power
position . . . I've also learned that rallies and marches
and such aren't so effective at changing the minds of the
rulers as they are at changing the minds of the
participants." She complains that media have taken the
eco-sabotage angle and made a "cowboys and [I]ndians story
out of real life," leaving out the less sensational
characters -- the old, the young, "the weirdos and the
moms," -- and the positive, quirky things the local
eco-radical community did, like forging art alliances and
forming a Red Rover line against the riot cops. "It comes
down to young white black-clad folks who destroyed property
worth money," she wrote by email. "How can anyone who wasn't
here make any sense of it?"

How did the bust affect the larger environmental movement?

"There is renewed activism and involvement, not only in EF!,
but also in the National Lawyers Guild, grand jury education
projects, prisoner support networks, indymedia, etc.," Jim
Flynn wrote by email. "The movement cannot be killed simply
because of the fact that the planet is being killed. Time
and time again people will rise up when they realize their
life support is being cut off . . . At the end of the last
decade many enviros became involved in the
anti-globalization movement which continues to this day.
With the election of Bush, many enviros are also now civil
rights activists, even more so after the busts."

Humboldt State sociologist Tony Silvaggio, who lived in
Eugene for years and knows several of the defendants, sees
the bust in the context of a larger neo-conservative attack
on progressive activism. "It's destroying the institutions
and communities in Eugene. The government's
guilt-by-association and divide-and-conquer approach has
really succeeded," he said. "They're out to crush dissent,
period. They've targeted this movement because it's an easy
target; Al Qaeda is fuckin' hard. They need to show results.
They need to show the American people that 'There are
terrorists out there, and we caught them.' . . . Where is
the mainstream environmental movement in any of this? Where
is the labor movement? If we let this go, 10, 20 years down
the road, any traditional protest activity is gonna be
labeled as terrorism."

"It's not hard to imagine environmental radicals coming out
of this about as popular as Al-Qaeda in the mainstream
press," wrote Chris Calef by email. "However, just as the
factors that led up to anti-American sentiment abroad are
rooted in world history and American foreign policy, so is
the background to this case quite complicated and justified
on both sides. The public has a right to be concerned about
people who burn buildings, there's no doubt about that. But
conscientious middle-class kids, like most of these were, do
not just up and decide for no apparent reason to risk their
freedom by engaging in clandestine political sabotage. The
environmental issues that motivated these acts are very
real, and as yet unresolved. If there were tens of thousands
of mainstream liberals out in the streets every day
demanding resolution on global warming, oil dependency,
nuclear proliferation, and so on, then we probably wouldn't
see these kids feeling the need to take desperate steps like
the ones that got them in so much trouble. It's easy to
blame the immediate culprits, but until the problems get
solved, I think it's fair to expect that more and more young
people might make similar choices. Calling them 'terrorists'
and locking them away isn't going to solve anything."

*****

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/12/21/views1.html
Movement Gone Astray
Consequences of a wrong turn
BY SPRUCE HOUSER

As someone who was involved in the early stages of the
Warner Creek campaign (and happened to create the "wild and
free" blockade banner on the opening page of "Flames of
Dissent"), I would like to affirm the wonderful idealism of
many participants. However, an unfortunate potential
consequence of this series is that the exposure given to the
history leading up to sabotage may tend to only increase an
already existing fragmentation of Eugene's activist community.

Activists at Warner Creek were tapping into the strength of
nonviolent resistance -- what Gandhi called satyagraha or
moral power of truth. This philosophy sees our entire
society as trapped within the spirit of violence and those
who implement its policies as simply captured as well.
Nonviolence seeks the liberation of all from this system,
including those currently blinded by it.

I believe the victory at Warner Creek was attributable to
this approach. But I also saw it unravel. Forest Service law
enforcement officers began to become de-humanized as "the
enemy." This led later to an even more complete demonizing
of Eugene police officers by some anarchists in the "wars"
which ensued in the Whiteaker neighborhood. When the
commitment to nonviolence devolved into a hostile dichotomy
of "us versus them," its power was forsaken.

For this reason, describing this period as the "eco-radical
era of Eugene" makes a fundamental error. My dictionary
defines "radical" to mean "going to the root, foundation, or
source." The activism depicted does not address the source
at all, but instead is trapped within the superficial levels
of an old paradigm that can only lead to polarization.

In no way do I defend heavy-handed police actions or
extremely excessive sentences. I only try to make two
points. In tactics involving arson, it is all but inevitable
that people will eventually become either maimed or killed.
As was the case when someone was accidentally killed by a
bomb in Madison, Wis., to protest the Vietnam war, such an
incident would be used to totally discredit whatever cause
with which it is associated.

Secondly, such tactics are counter-productive. If activism
is based on hatred, it is going to invoke those same kinds
of hateful energies in response. Rather than lift all of
humanity to the higher place we all need to go to in order
to avoid a planetary eco-catastrophe, such tactics only
deepen divisions and squander precious energy toward
symptoms rather than causes.

David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World,
recently spoke to a capacity crowd in Eugene to promote his
new groundbreaking book The Great Turning: From Empire to
Earth Community. In his stirring presentation, he described
the stark decision humanity now faces in whether it will
continue to support a worldview/paradigm driven by the
imperatives of empire or choose to non-cooperate with and
disempower that mentality. Many points of this quite
important book are succinctly summarized in an article by
Korten available online (at
www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=1463).The modus operandi
of empire is violence. Only through the infliction of
violence on a mega-scale can the empire be upheld. It has
become the master of such application and will not be
defeated by any strategy attempting to pick up this
self-destructive tool. It can only be overcome by an energy
more powerful, which is what would be embodied in a mass
movement dedicated to the unswerving application of active
nonviolent resistance, non-cooperation and boycott.

Gandhi's movement is the best example of the power of such
resistance in confronting an empire. His thesis that all
power is ultimately held by the people was proven correct.
When enough people of India non-violently refused to
cooperate with the British system, its hold was broken.

Similarly, what power would the mega-corporations have if we
developed a truly eco-sustainable culture which turned its
back on mass consumerism? This is a societal paradigm shift
that will require several generations to accomplish. But is
it not better to model the positive alternatives and take
the first faltering steps of a movement that could actually
succeed than engage in polarizing actions which do not
address the source and are therefore destined to fail?

Rather than looking backward, it is far more important to
learn the lessons being offered and move forward. If we are
ever to break free from the empire mentality that dominates
the planet and gravely threatens its future, it is my hope
that such will be the case.

Spruce Houser has participated in the organizing of several
campaigns based on the principles of Gandhian nonviolence,
addressing such issues as nuclear energy (Trojan), nuclear
weapons, forest protection and corporate power.

*****

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/12/21/letters.html

UNFAIR SENTENCES

After following the saga of "Flames of Disssent" and
reaching what appeared to be the conclusion (12/7), my heart
sank as I read the sentencing.

I was looking at a list of apparently ordinary people --
most of them educated -- getting a "recommended sentence" of
sometimes more than 14 years! As much as I don't like to see
vandalism, especially in the form of arson, I cannot help
realizing that whatever brought these folks to act like they
did was pure despair and very likely not being heard. We
have not even talked enough about the fundamental reason why
they felt compelled to act like this; we just focused on the
destruction of private and federal property. It sounds and
looks better on the news. These very people had only one
message in mind: "This is the only earth we know of; we
don't want it gone!"

The message of Authority is clear: hard cracking down in
order to make examples and discourage others to follow in
the tracks of the "eco-terrorists" -- how convenient a word.
Don't get any ideas, now! Go back to your homes; everything
is going to be all right. Come on! We all know there are so
many worse crimes out there that hardly resulted in two or
maybe three years in the can!

One thing is sure: For the "eco-terrorists," they will find
jail room. Maybe by releasing a dozen sex offenders or
corrupt politicians. (Oh, that's right! The latter get
promoted.)

I send a message to whoever rejoiced at seeing the
sentencing: Don't you like to breathe clean air? Don't you
enjoy walking in our magnificent nature? When was the last
time you (not your landscaper!) planted a tree? What would
be your reaction if someone was threatening the life of your
mother? Look at the big picture and understand. Your Mother
is everything around you: the air you breathe, the water you
drink, everything!

Alby Thoumsin, Springfield

*****

--
Dan Clore

My collected fiction, _The Unspeakable and Others_:
http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/1587154838/ref=nosim/thedanclorenecro
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/clorebeast/
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

Strange pleasures are known to him who flaunts the
immarcescible purple of poetry before the color-blind.
-- Clark Ashton Smith, "Epigrams and Apothegms"

Stan De SD
2006-12-23 11:14:23 EST

"Dan Clore" <clore@columbia-center.org> wrote in message
news:458D05E4.9030105@columbia-center.org...
>
News & Views for Assholes...:

> More than a decade ago, a 21-year-old Lacey Phillabaum
> danced barefoot in a blue sundress on the downtown Federal
> Building lawn. A recent UO graduate, eco-radical writer and
> defender of the old-growth trees at Warner Creek, she jumped
> with other activists to the live lyrics of Casey Neil's
> "Dancing on the Ruins of Multinational Corporations."
>
> Nine and a half years ago, an emboldened Phillabaum watched
> a truck roll within arm's length of a fellow activist during
> a forest defense protest on a highway near Detroit, Ore.
> Less than a month later, she and other Earth First! Journal
> editors defiantly perched in doomed downtown Eugene trees
> until police pepper-sprayed them down.

Glad the cops took care of them.

> Seven years ago, after quitting the journal, Phillabaum
> joined the protests against the WTO in Seattle. As the host
> of Tim Lewis' documentary Breaking the Spell, she later
> defended the actions of the black-clad anarchists who looted
> and vandalized corporations they'd viewed as destroyers of
> the Earth.

What else can you expect from one of the rent-a-mob Marxists that Clore is
in love with?

> Five and a half years ago, Phillabaum acted as the lookout
> during the arson of a University of Washington horticulture
> center -- a crime she committed in concert with her new
> boyfriend, Stan Meyerhoff, and other activists. On the same
> night in Clatskanie, Ore., eco-radicals torched the offices
> and trucks of Jefferson Poplar Farm. The coordinated arsons,
> executed in the name of the Earth Liberation Front, were
> intended as a statement against genetic engineering.

More like a statement on how stupid and scientifically illiterate these
wack-jobs are. So-called "genetic engineering" has gone on for millennia -
but you can't explain that to people who got solid D's in high-school
science classes...

> But by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a
> combination of mounting paranoia and infighting had
> shattered Eugene's eco-radical scene like glass in
> storefront windows at the Battle of Seattle. Phillabaum and
> Meyerhoff moved first to Bend and later to Charlottesville,
> Va., where she wrote for an alternative newsweekly and he
> studied engineering. They appeared to be on a straight path,
> their criminal past left in ashes.
>
> Until December of last year, when the FBI busted Meyerhoff
> for participating in nearly a dozen of 20 environmentally
> motivated sabotage acts across the West between 1996 and
> 2001.

Well, it's about fucking time. Hopefully the more belligerent eco-Nazis had
nightsticks jammed in the proper orificies so they could get a taste of what
to expect from their new roomies at the Graybar Hotel.

> Phillabaum turned herself in soon after and began
> working as an unnamed cooperator with the feds. (The bust
> may explain why she called off a freelance assignment for EW
> on "sustainable" beef production last winter. "I am having
> some heavy family problems," she wrote in a Feb. 24 email,
> "and I thought they were clearing up but they are not."

ROTFLMAO!!!

> As
> recently as Autumn 2006, Phillabaum was listed as a copy
> editor for Eugene Magazine.)
>
> Today, Phillabaum is facing three to five years in jail --
> or 25, if federal prosecutors can nail her as a terrorist --
> because she'd slipped, even briefly, from the Earth Day of
> above-ground activism into the Earth Night of underground
> sabotage.

Some people slip briefly from being mild-mannered wimps to murderers. I
someone suggesting that we're supposed to be lenient because it's only an
OCCASIONAL slip, right?

> Phillabaum is one of 12 defendants who have pleaded guilty
> to a flare of environmentally motivated arsons in the
> federal sting known as Operation Backfire. One targeted
> activist has pleaded not guilty, another committed suicide
> in jail,

Break out the champagne and granola bars. Hopefully they composted him in an
eco-friendly manner - he would have wanted it that way.

> and four are fugitives. One more, the government's
> first informant, lives in Eugene and has not been indicted.
> The cooperators face recommended sentences of three to about
> 16 years (for Phillabaum and Meyerhoff, respectively), but
> federal prosecutors have said they will try to tack 20-year
> "terrorism enhancements" onto each sentence.

Maybe they can lock them in a cell with some sexually frustrated
gang-bangers looking for some white meat.

> The 10 defendants before the Oregon courts are scheduled for
> sentencing in April. Washington defendant Briana Waters will
> face trial in May, and Phillabaum and Jennifer Kolar --
> whose plea deals may hinge on their testimonies against
> Waters -- are to be sentenced in July.
>
> The domino effect of the arrests and cooperation agreements
> have been surreal for local eco-radicals who knew the
> defendants. Generally speaking, second only to the
> community's disdain for the authorities is its
> disappointment with the cooperators. Most loathed is Jake
> Ferguson, the apparent ringleader of the eco-saboteurs and
> the feds' primary informant, who still walks free; U.S.
> Attorney Karin Immergut has said that prosecutors haven't
> yet decided "what to do with him."

At least the Feds got it RIGHT this time: break their morale and make them
squeak. Keep them wondering each time they go squatting in their little
feces-covered hovel named Camp Ruckus whether the fellow freak they
confiding in is wearing a wire.

> Nearly as resented is Meyerhoff, apparently the feds'
> secondary informant, followed by Phillabaum and Kolar, who
> likely began working with authorities around spring 2006.
> Many local eco-radicals are likewise upset with Chelsea
> Gerlach, Kevin Tubbs, Kendall Tanksersley, Darren Thurston
> and Suzanne Savoie, who had begun cooperating by July.

Ohh, the widdle enviwo-fweakies are upset... boo-fucking-hoo...

> Most of the community insiders who spoke with EW maintain
> their support for Daniel McGowan, Jonathan Paul, Nathan
> Block and Joyanna Zacher, who struck an unusual deal with
> prosecutors allowing them to confess to their own crimes
> without incriminating others, and Olympia resident Briana
> Waters, who maintains her innocence.
>
> "What's upsetting is how quickly people are folding and how
> namby-pamby and weak Earth First! looks when you compare it
> to the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement,
> where people have held out for decades without talking,"

ROTFLMAO! Most of them are spoiled little white kids - WTF were you
expecting?

> said former Earth First! Journal co-editor Jim Flynn. "It
> just makes our movement look weak and soft and middle-class.
> For people like me, who have spent years in the movement,
> it's embarrassing. How will we recruit new people?"

Oh, there will always be those who are criminally minded. Maybe they can get
into methamphetamine trafficking like the others that share their dirtbag
demographic?

> But another movement veteran, former Earth First!er James
> Johnston, attacks not the cooperators but the people who
> criticize them. "It's a bunch of dimwits who talk a big talk
> about arson and anarchism and a bunch of other crap," he
> wrote by email. "Now they don't seem to have anything better
> to do than make up bunch of lies about the people who
> actually did the arsons and ARE taking responsibility for it."
>
> Johnston, an ex-boyfriend of Phillabaum's, sat next to her
> at the Dec. 11 sentencing hearing in Eugene. Other activists
> in the courtroom avoided them both.
>
> Eugene's eco-radical era was a fire that blazed through town
> for half a decade, bringing together Earth First!ers,
> anarchists, artists, feminists and animal advocates who
> rejected authority

Pure bullshit. They didn't REJECT authority or the use of force. They merely
wanted to co-opt it for their OWN use. People who decide that they have a
"right" to physically intimidate and destroy the property of others because
they don't share their political/environmental views are no better than the
Nazis who persecuted Jewish people, or the Islamofascists who call for jihad
against the slightest dissent for their so-called "religion of peace". The
FBI and local LE need to treat these people for what they are - fucking
terrorist scum, to be locked up for a long, long time...

<Rest of whimpering for a bunch of filthy losers snipped for brevity...>



Branson Hunter
2006-12-23 14:01:17 EST
Stan de SD wrote:

Harping on communism again? Communism
is dead. Why are you posting all this trash.

Branson


Stan De SD
2006-12-23 14:09:57 EST

"Branson Hunter" <bh2322@netzero.net> wrote in message
news:1166900477.694085.43950@73g2000cwn.googlegroups.com...
> Stan de SD wrote:
>
> Harping on communism again?

No, we were discussing eco-terrorism, you clueless dipstick. How about
taking some reading comprehension courses instead of spending your pocket
change on crack?



Branson Hunter
2006-12-23 15:24:35 EST
Stan de SD wrote:
> "Branson Hunter" <bh2322@netzero.net> wrote in message
> news:1166900477.694085.43950@73g2000cwn.googlegroups.com...
> > Stan de SD wrote:
> >
> > Harping on communism again?
>
> No, we were discussing eco-terrorism, you clueless dipstick. How about
> taking some reading comprehension courses instead of spending your pocket
> change on crack?

Sadly, you'e always harping on communism, a dead issue.
You're not very smart, are you. Twelve years of personal
attacks from you is boring and crass.

Branson


N*@million.years
2006-12-23 15:50:09 EST
On 23 Dec 2006 12:24:35 -0800, "Branson Hunter" <bh2322@netzero.net>
wrote:

>Stan de SD wrote:
>> "Branson Hunter" <bh2322@netzero.net> wrote in message
>> news:1166900477.694085.43950@73g2000cwn.googlegroups.com...
>> > Stan de SD wrote:
>> >
>> > Harping on communism again?
>>
>> No, we were discussing eco-terrorism, you clueless dipstick. How about
>> taking some reading comprehension courses instead of spending your pocket
>> change on crack?
>
>Sadly, you'e always harping on communism, a dead issue.
>You're not very smart, are you. Twelve years of personal
>attacks from you is boring and crass.
>
>Branson

Branson, you're so silly.

DCI
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