When Terrorism Is a Stretch

It comes as little surprise that the very same government that stretched and distorted the threat posed by a distant sovereign nation in order to justify the harshest of actions against it would similarly stretch and distort the definition of [domestic] terrorism in order to justify the harshest of sanctions against certain criminal defendants. Consider the case of Jonathan Paul, as described by his sister in the following op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times:

My brother, the ‘terrorist’

MY BROTHER IS considered one of the biggest domestic terrorists in the country. You probably haven’t heard of him, and I think that’s odd. After all, he’s dangerous. He’s trying to overthrow our country. He “doesn’t like our freedoms,” or so President Bush has said of terrorists in general, so I suppose that applies to my brother too.

Let me tell you a little bit about him. He likes the History Channel. He’s a Trekkie. He cried (in secret) at the corny 1980s movie “Turtle Diary.” He’s good at fixing things. And, most important, he has devoted his life to stopping animals’ suffering. To this end, he has broken the law. He crept into animal laboratories to free dogs. He dismantled corrals to release wild mustangs. He impersonated a fur buyer to film the treatment of minks. He put himself between whales and whalers despite warnings that his boat would be impounded and that he would be jailed. And nearly 10 years ago, he burned down a horse slaughterhouse in Redmond, Ore. It is for this final act that the U.S. government considers him among the ranks of Osama bin Laden, Eric Rudolph and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef.

“This is a classic case of terrorism,” the federal prosecutor said earnestly to the judge during a hearing last week in my brother’s case.

My brother, Jonathan Paul, has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., to burning the Cavel West Slaughterhouse. He will find out on June 5 whether the judge considers his actions deserving of the “terrorism enhancement” to his sentence sought by the government. (Nine other members of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, who pleaded guilty to different charges, are being sentenced as well. The first, sentenced Wednesday, was deemed a terrorist.) If a terrorism enhancement is imposed, my brother’s recommended sentence could go from less than three years to more than 14 years.

Don’t let me give you the impression that I think arson is something to be taken lightly. I do not. The irony is rich in this case: I was a San Francisco firefighter for 13 years. I was angry and dismayed that my brother chose arson as a route to stop animal suffering. But “a classic case of terrorism”? [full text]

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One thought on “When Terrorism Is a Stretch

  1. This is in response to your post “When terrorism is a stretch” on Ecoterrorism.

    Who is the real Terrorist? – Environmentalists or Industrial Society?

    The human race has been destroying/ killing animals, trees, air, water, land and people from the very beginning of civilization. Science and Technology has increased this destructive capacity millions of times.

    Every man is a serial-killer. The per-capita destruction of Environment – per-capita destruction of Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land in Industrial Society is thousands of times greater than what it was 1000 years ago – 500 years ago – 200 years ago.

    Before Industrialization humans killed Environment primarily for Food.After Industrialization humans are killing environment for Food and unnecessary Consumer Goods.

    The Military Industrial Complex has killed millions of people in War/ Violence. It has decimated all plant and animal species. It has destroyed all ecosystems. It has polluted and poisioned the Sky, Land and Oceans. It has raped and plundered “Mother Earth” in the name of Progress and Development.
    The crimes of “Military Industrial Complex” are millions of times greater than the crimes of Environmentalists.

    Comparing the crimes of Environmentalists with the crimes of “Military Industrial Complex” is like comparing the Lamp with the Sun.

    In this context I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Speed, Overstimulation, Consumerism and Industrialization on our Minds and environment. Please read.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
    Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
    Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
    Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

    Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

    If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

    Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

    When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

    There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

    People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

    Emotion ends.

    Man becomes machine.

    A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

    Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

    Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

    A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

    A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

    To read the complete article please follow any of these links :
    PlanetSave
    FreeInfoSociety
    ePhilosopher
    Corrupt

    sushil_yadav

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