Thursday, January 17, 2008

Will The Real Eco-Terrorists Please Stand Up?

2nd Prison Dispatch from Jonathan Paul

When I was arrested in early 2006 for the destruction
of the Cavel West horse slaughterhouse, the media went
into a frenzy with headlines describing me as an
“eco-terrorist” or “eco-terror suspect”. The local
newspaper in my area had a heyday putting out stories
fed to them by the federal government. The news media
in my area surely enjoyed being the mouthpiece for the
corporations and the government. For me it was not
the fact that they reported the story of my arrest,
but how they reported it.

The government’s use of the term “eco-terrorist” works
well for their fear-mongering and paranoia inducing
plans to terrify the general public into complacency,
inaction and silence. After the September 11th
attacks, the government proclaimed that anyone who
opposed the policies of our government would now be
dubbed a “terrorist”. This was the perfect
opportunity to begin to shred the Constitution and to
reign in our civil liberties protected under the
Constitution by using fear. By instilling fear in the
American public, our government and the corporations
that rule the government, began to criminalize the
people’s right to oppose their practices, therefore
ensuring their bottom line – maximum profits for 1% of
the population, the super-rich and elite.

This is all disturbing to me not only because our
rights are being trampled, but more importantly,
because they are destroying our natural world with
impunity. The war on nature is directly related to
the war on the Constitution. Don’t get me wrong – I
am not a patriot of our current government. I am a
patriot for the planet and the natural world as a
whole. In our country people have rights – or we
used to. But what happened to the will of the
people, or the “public interest?” It is the special
interests and corporations that call the shots, not
the “will of the people”. Our government does not
govern based on what is best for the public interest,
as our values and voices are slowly being silenced by
the fear instilled by the powers-that-be. We are
becoming zombies with no voice because we are being
lulled into a state of hopelessness and apathy. But
this is not an incurable disease; we have the power to
make change.

So how does this fit in with the “eco-terrorist”
issue? It is all part of the bigger plan. “Natural
resource extraction” is a necessity in the bottom-line
of corporate industry. By painting those who are
concerned with the natural world with the broad
“fanatic-bunny hugging – tree hugging - terrorist”
brush, the corporations and government can continue to
justify their “resource-extraction” (or earth rape as
I prefer to call it) and deter future activists from
trying to address the dire environmental issues facing
the world that our government refuses to acknowledge
because it will not increase profit for their
corporate friends (Halliburton, Chevron, Blackwater,
to name a few) .

In the 1980’s a man by the name of Ron Arnold created
the term “eco-terrorist”. He defined this term as any
crime committed to save nature. As a leading figure of
the “wise use movement” this new term was a great tool
for Arnold. The wise use movement consists of
resource extraction corporations such as the timber,
mining, oil, fishing and cattle farming industries.
The same industries that will sacrifice the health of
the planet and its inhabitants for their bottom line.
The term “wise use” is intended to delude the public –
that these industries are “concerned about the
environment and use the land wisely”. This couldn’t
be further from the truth and is a classic example of
early spin doctoring by industry hacks. The dire
impact that these industries produce is the major
reason why our planet is in calamitous trouble. This
is also why these industries need to create the public
perception that they are “earth friendly” or “green”.
Here are some examples of greenwashing that come to
mind: “Eco-Imagination” by General Electric, a
corporation responsible for nuclear proliferation; and
“Clean Coal” by the coal industry as it continues to
excavate whole mountains from the earth and spew
toxins into the air.

By advertising themselves as “green”, these industries
hope to convince the public that their #1 concern is
the environment and they are doing everything in their
power to make things “green”. Unfortunately, many
will watch the commercials that these industries
produce and say, “Oh, that’s nice, it’s good to see
they are changing.”

I question who are the REAL eco-terrorists. Is it the
activist who breaks into a lab after the government
refuses to take action against blatant illegalities
and frees hundreds of dogs, cats, monkeys, rabbits and
other unfortunate animals from horrendous pain and
torture? Is it those who choose to sabotage the
machines that cut down the forests, dig the land into
open pit mines that pollute the water and air after
the government refuses to enforce even the meager
environmental regulations that exist? Is it even
those who choose to burn an empty building that is
slaughtering up to 500 horses a week with the blood of
those horses running out of the sewers after even
local government and communities wanted them shut down
for breaking the law?

Or is it the timber companies that clear-cut hundreds
of square miles of old-growth forest until less than
3% is left in the US alone while the federal agencies
charged with protecting our public resources turn a
blind eye? Is it the energy companies that spew out
tens of thousands of pounds of greenhouse gasses into
the air? Is it the oil and gas industry that moves
into the pristine wilderness, drilling millions of
acres of untouched offshore habitat, endangering the
lives of countless species and the lives of the
indigenous people who rely on that environment to
survive? Is it the industry that dumps toxic waste in
our water and land and pollutes the air we breathe?
Could it be our government, run by, and complicit with
the earth-raping corporations who believe we the
people are too stupid to stop them?

Who are the real eco-terrorists? I suggest that the
industries of the world stand up and be counted.
They, in fact, are the real eco-terrorists. How many
thousands of people have died because of their callous
disregard for the health and safety of people and the
planet? How many species of plants and animals have
gone extinct because of their destructive, illegal
practices and outright greed? Those in the present
administration and law enforcement who protect the
bottom line of industry may also stand up and be
counted. They too are responsible for not only
encouraging the industries to continue their
exploitation, but also enable them to expand their
ways under the protection of the police state.

I would also like to give Exxon-Mobil a special
commendation of top general in the eco-terrorist
movement, or “family,” as the feds like to say. By
spending millions in the last 20 years to muddy the
waters on the issue of green house gasses and climate
change, they have prevented us from changing to clean
energy and brought us to the tipping point if we are
not already past it.

And to the last CEO of Exxon-Mobil, Lee Raymond, with
his severance of 400 million dollars, HE should be
looking at life plus a thousand years in prison, not
my codefendants. He should be forced to pay
restitution to all the people he has sickened or
killed, and all the land, air and water he has
irreparably poisoned. He is guilty of eco-terrorism.
His corporation has terrorized the planet and
detrimentally changed its delicate balance of life

I have been known to be a pessimist. Those who know
me know my famous quote – “we’re doomed”. The
question is – are we really doomed? We very well may
be in many respects. But does this still justify our
dirty deeds? No. Does this mean the Captains of
Industry can continue destroying our planet? No.
Even with the dire predictions of the future we must
take action. The people of the world must stand up
and demand clean alternative energy, the
rehabilitation of forests around the world, curb
species extinction, reduce our own population, and
most of all – make a change in our own consciousness
that we pass down to the next seven generations. If
we can begin to attain this goal then radical
effective change may be possible.

When all the animals are free from exploitation and
the earth is treated like our true mother, then those
who choose to fight at night can take off their masks
and retire for good.

The Captains of Industry, the government, and the
media they control can call me a terrorist and lock me
in their prisons. They can try to break my spirit and
make me one of them. They can enable and support the
ones who attempted to take my life. They can even try
to convince the public that I am a “danger to society”
and make me out to be the devil. But I have a light
you can never extinguish because I am a true patriot.
I may not be a patriot to the death culture, but I am
a patriot for the earth. I, along with many others,
stand for the culture of justice and life. I stand
for the earth and all her creatures.

As I sit here in prison I see red-tailed hawks flying
overhead. I see rabbits running through the fences
and razor wire like it isn’t there. I see ducks and
songbirds fly over me. I see true freedom. I hate
being here. I know why I am here. Although I chose
many years ago not to use fire as a tactic because of
the inherent dangers involved, I know somewhere out in
the world a wild foal is born and a herd of horses run
free because the Cavel West horse slaughterhouse no
longer exists.

In solidarity for the animals and the earth,

Jonathan Paul
FCI Phoenix
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 45th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Friends and Family of Jonathan Paul
PMB# 267
2305 Ashland St., Ste. C
Ashland, OR 97520

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