Secretive US prisons hold "terrorists" including animal rights activists and people who gave to the wrong charity

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181 Responses to “Secretive US prisons hold "terrorists" including animal rights activists and people who gave to the wrong charity”

  1. Akezys says:

    Mokey, if you did not note – over 100 firefighters to put out the blaze. Over 100 people needlessly endangered.

  2. Takuan says:

    the bottom end crack dealer and drug debt collector that terrorizes the poorest and most powerless doesn’t get special jail. Face it, these people are political prisoners. They made the wealthy afraid and the wealthy told the government to toss them into a dungeon. Who is really terrified of environmental activists that actually act? Big resource exploiters.

  3. Tdawwg says:

    Plus, think of the psychological pain and suffering such domestic terrorism inflicts on its targets.

    I once hung out with some radical animal-rights types, two of which admitted to having been tried for this kind of thing. I was surprised at how blank they were when recalling the judge’s words to them — “He, like, said we were terrorists, dude” — and how callous they were about having trashed, and almost burned (they got busted in the act), the home of a CEO of some eeeeviiilll cosmetics company. They really couldn’t get their heads around the idea that this guy was a human being, for all his supposed “crimes”: for them he was a thing, a simple set of “bad” actions, and undeserving of their empathy. A fascinating moral calculus, perhaps, but not one for most of us: we need fewer Captain John Browns in our small world, not more.

  4. dainel says:

    Rafil A. Dhafir is not in jail because he donated to the wrong charity. He actually started the charity. But 22 years in prison for trying to help starving people? Where’s your compassion? If anyone deserves a pardon, this is your guy.

    Those sanctions were not working and were hurting the wrong people. Bush practically admitted as much when he was forced to invade to dislodge Saddam. The sanctions were not going to do it. Now that you have a new president, maybe (hopefully) he’s a better human being. Give him a pardon and let him out.

  5. mdh says:

    actually samsam, your comment trivializes (justifies, apologizes for, approves of, etc…) the abuse far more than Cory’s choice of title does.

    How about you turn that there rifle towards the enemy, son?

  6. Takuan says:

    when is force moral?

  7. ab5tract says:

    @Ceronomus

    “The guy who started shooting up the church? I don’t know if his act of mass murder qualifies as an act of terrorism. Terrorism implies trying to change a mindset and I haven’t really seen evidence that his plan was thought out any further than killing liberals.”

    I never implied you support killing people. I am just confused why everyone is making this about re-labelling the ELF/ALF when I am simply pointing out that Really Killing People isn’t being labelled terrorism (when it obviously is, unless you want to argue your above statement again) while destroying Corporate Property is loudly denounced as terrorism. Where in there am I saying that destroying property isn’t terrorism?
    However I am very frightened of a future where property damage is legally equated to terrorism, and I think you should be too.

    My point is about the values, or lack thereof, of the capitalist mind.

  8. Tdawwg says:

    @Ceronomus @110, I was thinking the same thing, but, to be fair, we have, at least legally (in the sense of filling out a form and clicking “I accept,” or whatever) assented to those laws: so the contract is mutual. Our not being party to the making of those rules (unless you count the lovely Moderation Policy thread, a thing of beauty!), and the sometimes inconsistent application of the rules by moderators (or our feelings about the same), are secondary issues. This is a super rockin’ place, all faults (ours too) considered.

    @Antinous @113

    There’s no moral imperative to obey bad laws, just conventional convenience in doing so.

    Well, there’s the simple human law of self-preservation, and the calculations of whether the consequences of disobeying said bad law would be more detrimental to one than the consequences of obeying the same. There’s a strong moral good in not impairing one’s wellbeing that can sometimes salve one’s chafed moral sensibilities. Thoreau puts it wonderfully in “Civil Disobedience”:

    If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

    Hellz yeah! Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  9. Ceronomus says:

    These people don’t get a special jail either Takuan. They are in a wing of a MEDIUM security prison. They can still receive mail, they still see their attorneys.

    Now, if you want to talk about the people locked up in US funded “Black Sites” around the world? I’ll agree with you. However…again from an ALF website…

    ALF discusses the “Revolutionary Cells.” One of their examples?

    “an animal liberationist shooting a vivisector dead on his doorstep”

    Sure, these are just law-abiding people.

    Now, getting to your other point, that of drug offenders? I think that the majority of our drug laws are unjust. Of course, I’m not going to shoot someone on their doorstep over it.

  10. Ceronomus says:

    Rafil A. Dhafir was convicted of (among other things) using his charities funds for his own gain.

    Let’s stop painting this guy as a saint.

    That said, there has been no evidence that he was aiding terrorists, so we can stop calling him THAT too.

  11. Ceronomus says:

    ab5tract – Killing someone is an act of murder. Not all murder is terrorism. They are separate things. SOME murders are tools of terrorism, but these are not wholly intertwined concepts.

    Antinous – You’ve been incredibly biased through all of this but enough is enough man. NOWHERE did I compare comment moderation to imprisonment.

    “Unilateral contracts are non-binding, just like those signed under duress.”

    is kind of ironic coming from a person here to enforce rules placed over everyone that uses the Boing Boing comment system.

    That is what I said. I was commenting on YOUR words…and I really do find humor there. Terribly sorry that you can’t see it but I CHALLENGE you to show me where that compares comment moderation to imprisonment.

    Go ahead man, I’ll wait.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Go ahead man, I’ll wait.

      Given the context of the discussion, it certainly appears to me that you’re comparing the misfortune of being disemvoweled or unpublished (which you haven’t been) with the misfortune (deserved or not) of the subjects of this post. If I’m wrong, you have my apologies: if I’m right, you’ve trivialized your own arguments.

      My question to you is: Is there a reason that you’re particularly heated up about this subject?

  12. Euryale says:

    MDH, if there were abuse here, that’d be a useful comment. But people in federal prisons for committing federal crimes? Not so much an abuse.

  13. Irene Delse says:

    Some of the ELF bozos *are* terrorists. But secretive prisons, in a democracy? Not a good thing.

  14. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    @samsum

    There actually is not a purpose to restricting someone’s communication when that person has not proven in any way over the last 8 years to be of any sort of threat or danger to society. Daniel McGowan had been serving his time at a LOW security level federal prison in Minnesota before being moved to the CMU at Marion. He had no violations or problems there, and they already had access to all of his communications. There was NO evidence that he was passing along any messages that were in any way illegal or hinted at promoting “terrorist activities.” He has a website and a lot of friends and supporters. He had been writing publicly about his experiences in prison, he wrote about supporting legitimate above-ground non-profits that do GOOD. Prior to incarceration, he had also been employed by one of those organizations – one that helps women dealing with domestic abuse.

    Just like you say the murderer isn’t writing letters to other men telling them to murder their wives, why make the assumption that the person convicted of arson would be doing something like that – especially given their conviction dealt with actions many years before?

    From my own experience, the people I know doing time have no interest in getting in trouble. They just want to get out and have a happy, normal life with the people they love.

    Another thing – when one is told by a judge that your support website (one that does not promote any sort of illegal activity in ANY way) should be taken offline and that you are being punished (by having to report to prison earlier than needed) because you went on Democracy Now to talk about your case, that’s political.

    @ ceronomus

    “They are in a wing of a MEDIUM security prison. They can still receive mail, they still see their attorneys.”

    You really don’t get it. They are NOT in a MEDIUM level unit. The level of the prison has NOTHING to do with the actual unit. It is a completely separate entity with its own rules that are not part of the medium prison AT ALL. It’s not just a “wing” – the people in this unit do not leave the unit. They do not interact with anyone other than the people in the unit. Food is brought to them, they do not go to the food hall with the rest of the prisoners in the medium security prison.

    Yes, they can see their attorneys, but you better believe the visit is being illegally monitored.

    Did you even read my previous post about the restrictions???

  15. Takuan says:

    if prisons like this exist, inmates must be found to fill them. When islam falls out of fashion, who is next?

  16. Ceronomus says:

    If they are being illegally monitored? THAT is an issue. However that is NOT an issue raised by the inflammatory article that started all this.

    He’s in jail. He SHOULD be in jail. He should not have his communications with his attorney monitored.

    Oddly enough, I’m betting that we can only agree on that last part.

  17. ab5tract says:

    ” I never said that “killing people for their political disposition is not terrorism” ”

    “ab5tract – Killing someone is an act of murder. Not all murder is terrorism. They are separate things. SOME murders are tools of terrorism, but these are not wholly intertwined concepts.”

    Can you please explain what needs to be added such that the politically motivated murder of Unitarians is terrorism and not mass murder?

  18. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    Also, I can’t speak for all of the prisoners in the CMU but Daniel McGowan does NOT identify as part of the ELF or ALF, what the government considers terrorist groups. So, it’s not fair, or accurate, to pull out every quote from ALF/ELF statements and make the assumption that that is how he, or anyone else, feels or thinks.

  19. Ceronomus says:

    Here is the thing, the use of the term “Secretive” seems to make some people think that these are SECRET prisons. They aren’t. The entire use of the term is misleading and inflammatory.

    They restrict communication with the inmates.

    Takuan, considering that these are existing prisons with special units, that argument falls flat. That argument really just looks to be intentionally inflammatory.

    So I’ll turn one of your statements around. How do you know that this is an action taken because Islam is the “fashionable” issue?

  20. Ceronomus says:

    Your comment was in response to Social contracts. My response was in reference to YOUR comment about social contracts. I still do not see how you made the mistake, but I’ll accept the apology.

    As for my being heated? There are people in this thread actively trying to pick fights. If you wonder why ANYONE gets heated in this thread, you should perhaps look to that as the reason.

  21. DefMech says:

    MDH, would you mind explaining how samsam’s comments justify, apologize for and approve of the “abuse”? Can you clear up exactly what kind of abuse is occuring? Like the others, I’m not seeing much to get upset over here.

  22. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    No one is saying he should not be in prison. But the CMU? There’s NO reason for it.
    Yes it is an issue that attorney communications are monitored. That is something that, unfortunately, may not be unique to the CMU but I’m sure a lot more prevalent there. But what is anyone going to do about it? The BOP can obviously get away with anything.

  23. MossWatson says:

    I said: “Could someone please give me an example of how one might use any sort of violence against, let’s say, Weyerhaeuser owned property and NOT be defined as a terrorist?”

    Samsam said: “Sure. A disgruntled employee who was fired burning the place down. A co-worker going postal. The jealous lover of the CEO ramming her jeep through the lobby.”

    so person A destroys some weyerhaeuser equipment because they hate the company for firing them.

    Person B destroys the equipment because they want to stop an old growth forest from being destroyed.

    Person A gets 6 months for destruction of property, and person B gets 20 years and is labeled a terrorist?
    are you really going to claim that person B not being punished for his/her politics?

  24. mdh says:

    euyale,

    That the charity guy is in jail, yet the man who funded, backed, and sold weapons to Saddam throughout the 80′s and 90′s (Bush Sr.) is not, is the greater abuse I’m referring to.

    We have to keep our eyes on the ball.

  25. Marja says:

    Well, if someone attacks me, I’d rather disarm them, and I’d rather *not* hurt them. And yes, this has happened.

    So, for me, the distinction between hurting people and destroying property is as basic as any other moral principle.

    The government erodes this distinction to uphold the property of the ruling class, at the expense of the lives and the possessions of the subject classes.

  26. Tdawwg says:

    Antinous@117

    Obedience to law without any moral or ethical evaluation of the law’s validity is a cornerstone of fascist ideology. I’m not making that up.

    No, that’s quite wrong. Obedience to laws is a cornerstone of all civilized political life in the West and the East. Quoth Aristotle, “All men need the polis, save beasts and gods.” Part of the polis is having laws and obeying them; when in default of the law, penalties are exacted and other legal processes are enacted. This is a basic organizational fact of all settled literate civilizations everywhere throughout history. Our first texts are law codes.

    Fascism shares obedience to the law with other forms of civilization: indeed, Fascist ideology priortizes, fetishizes (as I do not) obedience–to the State, the Leader, the People, and the Law. But there are critical differences between Fascist and other societies that your extreme logic quite elides: to use your words, “Treating [Fascism] in such a trifling way undermines all your arguments.” Or at least this one.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Tdawwg,

      I hold that there is no moral imperative to ‘obey the law’, simply to refrain from doing evil. Laws are as likely to be tools of oppression as means of liberation. They have no intrinsic positive or negative value and should not be regarded as sacred.

      Once again, a large chunk of the world has laws calling for women to be flogged for consorting with unrelated men. Or the death penalty for being gay. Or for belonging to the wrong religion. Or for insulting the royal family. Or for blogging anything negative about the government.

  27. AnjaFlower says:

    Just one question: how is “animal rights activist” a gentle or pandering terminology? It’s simply accurate – it describes someone who believe that animals have “rights,” and engages in activism to promote that viewpoint. In my opinion, that alone makes them rather radical. There’s no need to go around mislabeling them “terrorists” in order to show how extreme these people are.

  28. Ceronomus says:

    Ah see…when PEOPLE do it, it is a crime. When the government does it, it is “failed foreign policy.”

    I see your point MDH, but it doesn’t mitigate what these folks did…

    I can work up outrage about past US foreign policy, but I still can’t work up outrage over an arsonist having his mail checked.

  29. ab5tract says:

    @Ceronomus

    Are you planning to address a single question I ask you?

    If not please say so now and I will stop trying.

    This is what I want to hear more of:

    “But if I find a note that one of the Unitarian shooter’s friends wrote that threatens someone if they don’t “stop being liberal”, does that redefine his actions as terrorism? (You seem to imply that such a thing, even with a connection as tenuous as friendship or ‘association’ is necessary for it to be so classified.) If not, then why would some questionable acts in the ALF/ELF redefine less questionable ones? (Burning houses versus burning clearcutters.)”

  30. Ceronomus says:

    Terrorism is about more than just murdering someone. Even its very name implies that, the UN definition that I provided earlier lays it out pretty clearly.

    If someone kills a person for being Liberal/Conservative/Gay/Straight/etc that is murder. Using that murder to try to frighten people into not being Liberal/Conservative/Gay/Straight/etc *also* makes it an act of terrorism.

    Killing a person that you disagree with is not terrorism, killing someone who you disagree with to make other people AGREE with you. That is terrorism.

    Now, that said, perhaps the case you are referencing would qualify. I admit, it has been a bit since I read all the facts on that one. Though, if I recall, the person was lashing out at THOSE liberals because he couldn’t get to the people on a list of the most dangerous people put forth by a conservative talking head.

    So, I suppose if we were to take that right there, without going any further, we could compare that to the whole “Lone Wolf” tactic used by so many extremist groups. I suppose in that light I could see calling those murders acts of terrorism since the conservative could well have been hoping for just such an occurrence to swing people to his mindset.

  31. Takuan says:

    well Ceronomos, most of the inmates by far ARE muslims. If prisons with extra restrictions of prisoner’s rights (and YES, prisoners DO have rights, we are not savages) exist they will always be used for the currently politically inconvenient.
    Fifty years ago in the Deep South, such a place would be stuffed with civil rights marchers.

  32. Ceronomus says:

    I don’t think protesting for ethical treatment of animals is radical. I think blowing up buildings to promote peace is hypocritical no matter WHAT rationale you use.

    AB5TRACT – I hope my last post answered at least one of your questions?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hey everyone. Thanks very much to Cory for posting my article. I read BoingBoing daily, especially Cory’s civil liberties/privacy news, and it’s really a honor that folks here are taking the time to read my work.

    I wanted to chime in to clear up two things that seem to be unclear in some of the comments.

    *There are two CMUs. Yep, there’s one at Terre Haute, listed on its Wiki page and in the 2007 Washington Post story (which I link to in my piece). To my knowledge, there’s been nothing about the expansion of the program to Marion, and about how the program is actually being used (against Stepanian and McGowan for instance).

    *These units are much, much more than “delaying mail.” ALL federal prisoners have mail subjected to scrutiny– that’s nothing new. The Justice Department created the CMUs in order to go far above and beyond that for certain inmates. Further–perhaps I should have elaborated on this more in the article–removing inmates from contact with family, friends and the outside world is no slap on the wrist. It is psychologically destructive, and it is intended to make the inmates feel like the world has forgotten about them (which makes them more susceptible to government “deals” and helps keep these cases from the public spotlight).

    If folks have specific questions, I’m happy to help. You can either leave a comment here, on my website, or email me directly at will–at–willpotter–dot–com.

    Again, thanks very much to the BoingBoing community for taking the time to learn about the CMUs and discuss it.

    -Will

  34. Ceronomus says:

    So…your OPINION. Most are Muslims so it must be because they ARE Muslims…not because of their crimes.

    Got it.

  35. DefMech says:

    Hey, if the DHS is correct, they’ll be filled with right-wing extremists for the next 8 years so it ain’t all bad.

  36. ab5tract says:

    @Ceronomus

    According to you, murdering people specifically for their beliefs/values is not always terrorism because they might not have been trying to “change minds” ? Does that really make sense to you? What force is greater than murder in promoting a worldview? And what is promoting a worldview if not trying to change minds?

  37. AnjaFlower says:

    CERONOMUS – You’re right, protesting for -more ethical- treatment of animals is not radical. Asserting, however, that animals have or should be granted “rights” goes far beyond that. Animal liberation ideology of the type promoted by PETA, Earth First! and ALF/ELF generally posits that animals ought to be treated as equals to humans. Hence:
    -no farming of animals
    -no eating of animals
    -no keeping of animals as pets
    -no herding, restraining or fencing off animals in any way
    et cetera.

    That is indeed a very radical stance to take.

  38. Ceronomus says:

    Glenn Beck is right…they ARE coming for him! ;)

  39. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    @anjaflower

    It’s actually not radical at all to not want to hurt, kill or eat animals. WWJD?

  40. ab5tract says:

    And beyond that, nonviolent protest can easily be classified as criminal under the new anti-terror statutes that specifically equates economic loss to terrorism. Blocking that road nonviolently? You are obstructing commerce. Your nonviolent protest is now terrorism, since you were trying to change minds and committed a criminal act.

  41. Ceronomus says:

    AB5TRACT – I don’t really understand that point you are trying to make. Did you read the UN definition of terrorism? If we can’t get on the same page there, we aren’t going to find common ground.

    You seem to think that an act of murder NOT being an act of terrorism somehow diminishes the evil of the act of murder. I am in 100% disagreement with that.

    Please, read the UN definition that I posted. That’s where I’m coming from and if we can both grasp where the other is coming from, we might actually get somewhere.

    But terrorism is about more than just trying to change a worldview. It is about using FEAR to enforce a worldview.

    As for “What force is greater than murder in promoting a worldview?”

    Peace and prosperity perhaps. Certainly the US’s failed foreign policies of the past 8 years certainly weren’t effective in spreading a political worldview.

    AnjaFlower – I think Penn & Teller summed up PETA pretty nicely.

  42. Ceronomus says:

    Right…he lined his pockets with the charity’s money and defrauded medicare. Got it. That means that he is locked up because he is a Muslim.

    Your OPINION Takuan, not fact. You have no facts on this, and thus are falling back on inflammatory comments. Yet if someone ELSE puts forth an opinion you get indignant about it.

  43. Ceronomus says:

    Hence why I’m pointing you towards the definition of Terrorism that I’m working from AB5TRACT. There are literally HUNDRED of definitions out there. I find that the UN’s sums up my feelings on it quite well and hence, that is where I am coming from.

    You still have not told me exactly how YOU define terrorism. For all I know we are arguing semantics.

  44. Takuan says:

    heh! oh the “meaning” you wring from a few words!

    Putting aside the fact that a prison full of muslims just MIGHT reflect a kind of profiling – to put it mildly – I find Rafil Dhafir’s case as explained in the wiki entry highly suspect. As suspect as anything produced by the justice system during the Cheney Imperium

  45. Ceronomus says:

    @Just the facts, Ma’am

    Well, Jesus ate fish….

  46. Takuan says:

    yes, yes, upon re-reading it it certainly looks like he was framed.

  47. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    @ceronomus

    Yes, so they say. But what about pigs, cows, etc?
    I was actually sort of joking with the WWJD. Just pointing out that it’s OK to care about and value beings and things other than oneself. Seems almost like the right thing to do!

  48. AnjaFlower says:

    @Just the facts, Ma’am – I’d prefer if Jesus was not invoked as the universal moral arbiter, thank you.

    Aside from that, though, how is the idea that animals shouldn’t be kept as pets not radical? Never mind that the blanket objection to eating animals reveals a pretty huge misunderstanding of how ecosystems work, but a blanket objection to manipulating or controlling animals at all, in any way, goes far beyond any reasoning I can find.

  49. BookGuy says:

    Of COURSE you would put animal rights people in a secret prison. You need somebody to look after the dogs they use to menace the other prisoners.

    Sheesh.

  50. Ceronomus says:

    MIGHT. Again, your opinion and nothing more than your opinion. If you refuse to accept the opinions of others as possibly valid, why should you expect to be treated differently?

  51. ab5tract says:

    “As for “What force is greater than murder in promoting a worldview?”

    Peace and prosperity perhaps. Certainly the US’s failed foreign policies of the past 8 years certainly weren’t effective in spreading a political worldview.”

    You are right, I have been neglecting the fear element of the UN definition. But if you honestly think murdering people over religion/morals/values is not an attempt to control the worldview of others like them through fear, then we have a much bigger issue than semantics between us.

    What I am saying is that Matthew Shephard’s murder was more a terrorist act than the entire catalog of ALF/ELF actions combined.

    And yes I think not calling a politically motivated mass murder perpetrated by a Religious Fundamentalist terrorism is inexcusable if you are going to go around calling vandalism of corporate property terrorism. Again back to my point: America values property more than life, period.

  52. MrWeeble says:

    Not sure what the perceived problem is here.

    If someone thinks that it is right and proper to set light to people with matches, then after conviction for that crime, the prison should restrict his access to matches and other flame producing material.

    If someone thinks that it is right and proper to stab people with forks, then after conviction for that crime, the prison should restrict his access to cutlery.

    If someone thinks that it is right and proper to make people kill with hateful speeches or conspiracy, then after conviction for that crime, the prison should restrict his access to communication.

    Same difference.

    Well not completely as conspiracy can be hidden using stenography (not the high-tech embedded type, but the tiny pin pricks under the letters of the real message type) so in actual fact there is a somewhat greater argument for doing this for that category.

    As I understand it (and I have not looked into these cases, but this is just the impression I get from reading the article and comments), these people have been convicted of a crime. They have had their due process and it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that they did what their accusers say that they did. They are not political prisoners, or mere activists; they are convicted criminals. If they have shown no remorse, and thus indicate that they would re-offend, then the justice system is right to ensure that they do not have the opportunity to do so while they are in custody.

  53. Tdawwg says:

    Antinous, right, except, again, my previously cited law re: not impairing one’s own wellbeing. You have a strong moral imperative to not be in jail, court, or otherwise under the state’s thumb: obeying the law thus lets you be good to yourself and others. We can quibble on words like moral etc., but obeying laws is a transhistorical constant throughout all cultures, and, in part, makes complex societies possible. I call that generally a good thing, but whatever, I’m not going to use for-me-loaded words like sacred etc.

    I’m a bit leery of your examples from “a large chunk of the world”: am I wrong in thinking these are all from the Muslim world? They strike me as a bit Orientalist, a bit xenophobic, and I long ago swore off making Western-centric arguments about the East, its laws and customs, etc. And, anyway, you’re talking about the cultural relativism of particular laws, which isn’t the point: the point is that ALL societies have laws as organizing forces, whether or not one can insult the royal family with impunity.

  54. airship says:

    Why do you all hate America?

  55. Ceronomus says:

    Valuing things beyond yourself is a good thing, however some groups take things too far. When the second in command at PETA’s survival relies on a drug that she says that nobody should have access to…but it is okay for HER to take it because the animals need her to fight for them? I roll my eyes.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t roll my eyes at vegans or vegetarians. They’ve made a life choice for themselves and that is just fine. I think that the extremists go too far.

    I’ll admit it, I do not value the life of a chicken as much as I value the life of my wife. As a creature who is built as an omnivore, I have no problem with eating a steak. Now, vat-grown meat, if it becomes a commercial reality, seems a perfect compromise. PETA doesn’t want someone to kill a cow for me to eat a steak. If they can provide me with a replacement, I’ve got no problem with that.

    But yes, it is okay to care about things and value things other than yourself. You will get no argument from myself, my wife, or our cats on that.

  56. Ceronomus says:

    Bookguy, it isn’t a Secret Prison.

    Takuan, you get a very different read from that than I do. I see a slimeball who lined his own pockets with charity funds that he was collecting illegally to begin with.

    Everyone thought Bernie Madoff was a nice guy too.

  57. Marja says:

    Ceronomous #80,

    “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”

    Ah, so the difference is state approval.

    The rest is part of the definition of the state. With state approval, it is called “war,” “law enforcement,” etc. Without state approval, it is called “criminal” and “terrorist.”

  58. ab5tract says:

    Whoa y’all.

    I am just trying to frame an interesting juxtaposition:

    Loss of corporate money? – Terrorism.
    Loss of Unitarian life? – Not so much.

    I haven’t justified blowing up buildings, or I would have done it already. All I am saying is that property is more valuable than life in American culture. Some of your comments reflect this tendency clearly.

    Also, the ELF/ALF is a name. Like any name, it can be attached to things. Just because someone claims ELF when they do something destructive does not mean they are not operating out of ulterior motives. The acts you cite could, for all I know, have been perpetrated by government agents in order to defame ELF/ALF/environmental activism. If you think this is a weird/irrational supposition, you are naive to social movements and government response in America.

  59. Takuan says:

    well, how does everyone else read:

    “NY Civil Liberties Union claims that U.S. made “inappropriate” allegations of terrorism before sentencing doctor Rafil Dhafir to prison.

    Barrie Gewanter, Executive Director of the Central New York Chapter of the [New York Civil Liberties Union], who has closely monitored the case and has publicly questioned whether Dr. Dhafir received a fair trial said:

    “Dr. Dhafir created a charity called Help the Needy, whose stated intent was to provide food and medicine and other supports to people suffering from the sanctions. The government’s main core charge against him was that he violated a law called IEEPA, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which is how a president imposes economic sanctions against a sanctioned country. That law says that you cannot send money to a sanctioned country, and in order to send humanitarian aid, you have to be an approved charity and have approved shipments. The testimony in the trial suggested that Dr. Dhafir did not go through those channels, because he was concerned that any material that was sent into Iraq for the Oil for Food program would end up in Saddam’s pockets. And he wanted the aid to get to people who were truly needy, because he was very concerned about the suffering”.

    “Each one of the five defendants was forced to testify against him, including his wife, in exchange for getting probation or a reduced – a recommendation for a reduced sentence”

    Medicare fraud charge

    “There were charges of money laundering, tax evasion, mail and wire fraud, but also Medicare fraud. His wife was the billing manager in his medical office. And in the course of the investigation, they found that he went overseas and started looking at his Medicare billing. And there is about a 15% difference in the Medicare billing that is very confusing, but when the doctor is out of the office, and he is an oncologist, his office provides chemotherapy. They charged 15% less if a nurse practitioner administers the chemotherapy when the doctor is not in the office and 15% more when he is in the office. And his wife was charged with conspiring with him to violate those Medicare rules”.

    Selective enforcement

    “We have some people from the Syracuse area that went with Voices in the Wilderness to Iraq. Those individuals and the organization Voices in the Wilderness never got criminal charges filed against them. Instead, the government imposed only fines. Our perception is that the only people that get criminal charges filed against them tend to be Muslims and Arabs. That raises questions about selective enforcement”.

    Denis Halliday, former United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq (1997-1998), said in regards of Dr. Dhafir’s case:

    “I’m absolutely stunned by this information. I mean, it is an outrageous situation, particularly as we have just discussed the State Department breaching its own or the United Nations’ sanctions to the tune of $10 billion, allowing Saddam Hussein to export oil and import at the same time, and now we’re prosecuting an American Iraqi? It’s unbelievable”[1].”

    ?

  60. magpiekilljoy says:

    A few points for the peanut gallery here in the comments section:

    • the ELF has never harmed humans or animals during any of their arsons
    • to the person who suggested that snitching is a good policy: those who became cooperating witnesses didn’t get off any easier, in the end.
    • Daniel McGowan is an activist… his involvement with the ELF was a decade ago now, and he’s spent most of the time since in traditional activist organizing.
    • the ELF doesn’t have leaders. And as for de-facto leaders, well, the government claims it was William Rodgers (Avalon), who’s dead now anyhow.
    • are we all so unimaginative that we can’t recognize that there are times when radical, illegal action can be called for?
    • These prisons, as an example of their restrictiveness, don’t let people write letters in anything other than English, regardless of what languages they speak. Strange, considering the USA doesn’t have an official national language.

    look, no one is claiming that these places are as bad as guantanamo. But they are pretty bad.

  61. Ceronomus says:

    AB5STRACT – We have differing views of what terrorism is. I can accept that and I can see where you are coming from by YOUR view of terrorism.

    That said, I still disagree that property is more valued than life within the United States. I think that your belief is based on your personal definition of terrorism, and that not all events that YOU view as terrorism being labeled as such.

    Again, I don’t have to label something as terrorism to know that it is horrific.

  62. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    Well I could spend all night battling about PETA, vegetarianism, and animal rights but I’d rather keep to discussion about CMU related issues, since, to me, it’s a much more important discussion to be had.

  63. Ceronomus says:

    Marja – I disagree that the function of law enforcement is to provoke a state of terror.

    I would AGREE that “Shock and Awe” could qualify as terrorism. I would agree that mass use of torture is terrorism.

    The definition is about causing terror for political purposes. Some actions of the US Government in the past eight years certainly *DO* qualify within the UN definition.

  64. Ceronomus says:

    Oh yes, he CERTAINLY was locked up for being Muslim. How could I have EVER missed that?

    Conjecture, and inflammatory conjecture at that.

    Even *IF* he were wrongfully imprisoned, which he doesn’t appear to be, your reasoning is still nothing more than conjecture.

    Deal with it. Your opinion isn’t any more valid than any one else’s, no matter how much you think it should be.

  65. MossWatson says:

    let’s not kid ourselves with “definitions” of terrorism.

    Could someone please give me an example of how one might use any sort of violence against, let’s say, Weyerhaeuser owned property and NOT be defined as a terrorist?

    the term terrorism is a tool used by those in power whenever they feel the need to punish those who threaten their power.

  66. SednaBoo says:

    Dangit, you had to post this right when i make my vegan cucumber lance of death!

  67. Ceronomus says:

    Good point JTFM.

    I’ll sum up my stance.

    I’m not bothered by prisoners having their communications legally monitored. I am bothered if the allegations of meetings with their lawyers being illegally monitored. Though all that has been put forth there has been conjecture, I certainly do not support such an action.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Takuan.
    Those are arguments for why he shouldn’t have been convicted in the first place – not why we shouldn’t restrict some prisoner’s communication.

    The justice system occasionally convicts people wrongly, I still think it’s a good idea to have prisons.

  69. SamSam says:

    I don’t know whether Dhafir was guilty or not, and I certainly don’t know if he is a “slimeball.” But I don’t know if Mumia was guilty either. Is this post supposed about deciding whether the jury in Dhafir’s case was correct? If not, then the question is simply whether someone convicted of aiding terrorists (or whatever his exact charges were) may be put in jail (answer: yes), and whether it’s a heinous violation of liberties to read and/or censor letters to and from people convicted of terrorism (answer: no).

    Dhafir’s innocence is not part of the issue here. As far as the law is concerned, he was convicted, so he is treated as guilty. The question is then simply “is this system fair towards guilty people?” I don’t see any acts of barbarism towards inmates in what is presented here.

    And again, the prisons are in no where near “secret” or “secretive,” and no one went to jail for being an “animal rights activist” or for “giving to the wrong charity.”

  70. Takuan says:

    whoever has the superior power gets to define “terrorism”. Terror is open to any who wish to use it. It is merely one manifestation of coercive force and can’t be value judged by itself. Say using fear struck into the heart of many by harm to few is “bad” and how then do you value judge a vast industrial power dropping aerial bombs on a stone-age opponent?

  71. Tdawwg says:

    # are we all so unimaginative that we can’t recognize that there are times when radical, illegal action can be called for?

    So it’s OK for radical Christians to bomb abortion clinics, then? They, too, believe that the “times” are horrible, and might applaud such “radical, illegal” action…. Examples could be adduced ad infinitum. Whyn’t stick to the law?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Whyn’t stick to the law?

      Because the law is a random and capricious pupu platter of social constructs and morals ranging from millennially outdated ones to just slightly outdated ones. Shari’a is the law in many parts of the world. Should Sa’udi women stick to that law?

      The law has no intrinsic moral or ethical value. It just exists as a record of popular opinions about how people should act in society. I’m not suggesting that we try to do without it; simply that defending the law just because it’s the law is the stepping stone to the Nuremberg defense.

  72. Ceronomus says:

    Agreed.

    Of course, mail coming and going from prisons is routinely monitored in the first place.

  73. Ceronomus says:

    Mosswatson – I can think of MANY examples depending on what your intention is. Maybe I have a better imagination than you?

  74. Takuan says:

    is it in fact Rule of Law if the law is unevenly applied?

  75. ab5tract says:

    You are mistaken if you think I take comfort in the designation of horrible acts as ‘terrorism.’ I am pointing at the glaring discrepency in declaring vandalism terrorism and politically motivated mass murder (against liberals) to not be. That discrepancy is a manifestation of US/capitalism’s reification of property, which accords it higher precedence than life. This labeling is an example that I am showing you that you choose not to see, not a cause of discomfort as you claim.

    Just ask the buffalo who died so white men could own ranches what side the US and its culture comes down on.

  76. Thebes says:

    I remember when terrorism meant kidnapping or killing innocent civilians. Like terrorists hijacking an airplane and shooting the passengers until some government released other terrorists from prison.

    Property crimes are not terrorism. The US Federal Govt and its media hacks have redefined the term, most recently supporting Ron Paul and defending the US Constitution have been called signs of terrorism. Its “mission creep” and it is leading us goose-step towards a police state.

    If someone gets caught at arson, he’s an arsonist and lock him up with the other arsonists. BTW, that would normally be a state crime, not Federal… once again with the “mission creep”.

  77. Ceronomus says:

    Takuan? Much of what defines terrorism is intent. That said, how I value judge a vast industrial power dropping aerial bombs on a stone-age opponent?

    I judge it as wrong.

    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

    Do you get it NOW? Do you understand NOW why I quoted that?

  78. Ceronomus says:

    What I’m getting from you is that you think that Terrorism is, in all cases, worse than murder. Again, I disagree. The label does not indicate property taking a higher precedence than life unless YOU yourself are putting a higher value on that label.

  79. Ceronomus says:

    Wait, just a thought. Are we talking HUMAN life or are we talking property rights versus say, the life of a plant. If THAT is your point, I’ll wholly agree with you.

  80. Takuan says:

    I have a problem with convictions if they are unfair, illegal convictions. The prisons are full of innocent people, mostly poor and frequently for serious crimes they didn’t commit. Look at the recent exonerations by DNA of some who have spent many years behind bars for no reason beyond a “conviction”. Holding people incommunicado prevents them from mounting a proper program to escape a wrongful conviction. That is likely the idea.

  81. SamSam says:

    Anjaflower:

    Just one question: how is “animal rights activist” a gentle or pandering terminology? It’s simply accurate … There’s no need to go around mislabeling them “terrorists” in order to show how extreme these people are.

    Calling someone who firebombs an organization in order to promote their beliefs a “terrorist” isn’t mislabeling, it’s accurate.

    I says above that using the term “animal rights activists” in the title was misleading because it gives the shock-horror connotation that we’re locking up hippy protesters, rather than people accused of terrorism.

    @Mosswatson:

    let’s not kid ourselves with “definitions” of terrorism. Could someone please give me an example of how one might use any sort of violence against, let’s say, Weyerhaeuser owned property and NOT be defined as a terrorist?

    Sure. A disgruntled employee who was fired burning the place down. A co-worker going postal. The jealous lover of the CEO ramming her jeep through the lobby.

    There are plenty of reasons one might destroy property or kill people that have nothing to do with terrorism. You seem to think that terrorism has something to do with the magnitude of the crime, or the fact that it is about property.It isn’t, and the citations to the definitions have been given many times.

  82. Ceronomus says:

    For those still arguing whether or not ELF/ALF are terrorists, the UN has a pretty good definition.

    The General Assembly resolution 49/60,[17], titled “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism,” adopted on December 9, 1994, contains a provision describing terrorism:

    “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.[18]”

    This is EXACTLY what groups like ELF are doing when they burn down a housing complex and then threaten to do it again. They are attempting to coerce through fear. They aren’t using logic, they aren’t standing on principle, they are trying to scare people into believing what they believe.

    So yes, they are terrorists.

    @Ab5tract – Acts of mass murder are not always acts of terrorism. It makes the acts no less despicable, and certainly the act of murdering a dozen people is one which I find more repugnant than the torching of a dozen SUVs.

    However it isn’t a case of either or. I can denounce both acts as aberrant behavior by people who should be locked away.

    @magpiekilljoy – Certainly, there are times when all sorts of action (up to and including revolution) have certainly been justified in our nation’s history as well as that of the world. TERRORISM though? That is something that I do no feel is ever justified. If you are trying to rule me by fear, don’t expect me to respect you in the morning.

    Thast sort of justification, as TDAWWG has pointed out, has been used on a regular basis to justify any number of things.

    To someone who believes that racial mixing will be the downfall of society, lynching a black man for marrying a white woman is justified…

    Simply stating that “drastic times call for drastic measures” is not reason enough. Just because nobody has died, that doesn’t make something acceptable.

    Now Daniel McGowan specifically? He’s not just an activist. He’s also an arsonist (we can leave out the discussion of whether or not he’s a terrorist – we’ll disagree on that point).

    So he is a criminal and, when the system works correctly, criminals go to jail. HE hasn’t DENIED being an arsonist mind you, he just held out to not name names of other folks.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I wouldn’t argue that they’re not terrorists (except maybe case by case). I just think that terrorism is a normal, everyday, accepted tool of statecraft as practiced by governments, NGOs, groups and individuals. The question for me is whether, in a given case, the motive is one that I consider good and the method likely to be effective. More of them fail the efficacy test than the motive test.

  83. ADavies says:

    So have we come to a definition of “terrorism” here?

    Can I commit terrorism without doing (or threatening) any physical harm (or pain) to people or property?

    Not that I’m planing to or anything.
    [Note for benefit of our CIA/FBI/MI5 readers.]

  84. Tdawwg says:

    Sure, Takuan: we live in an imperfect world. Unevenly applied law is far better than no laws at all, or laws that are made up day to day, etc. There are always opportunities to remedy bad laws and to make sure that good laws are applied evenly for all….

    Dunno, whyn’t you advance a solution? Your epigrammatic questions leave a bit to be desired, argument-wise….

  85. ab5tract says:

    “The label does not indicate property taking a higher precedence than life unless YOU yourself are putting a higher value on that label.”

    WRONG! I am not attaching these labels. The media (instructed by their handlers) are. The discrepancy in their labeling highlights a serious internal deficiency within the culture when it is absorbed without question. You immediately recognize the destruction of clearcutters as terrorism but refuse to admit that mass murder based on politics/religion is inherently more “fear-engendering” than the destruction of some rich soul-less ass’ Old Growth mowers. Fear, remember, is the hinge of the UN definition you’ve used, clearly meant to be the marker by which an act becomes terrorism (minus the illegality of the murders and the arson, relatively). You do not see the distinction? It is the act of not labeling mass murder over religion terrorism (which we surely would anywhere else) while forcefully talking down those who only destroy property (thus the only ones truly in fear are the ones with money involved, and can only fear for their money, as their lives are never in danger) as ‘terrorists’ that is cause for concern. It is a direct expression of the national agenda, where America (federal gov’t) places its priorities and values, and its quick digestion without sizable protest by the public implies that they, like you, see no disconnect. They value property more than life. They value the property of the mowers over the life of the ecosystem destroyed and they expect angrier and more forceful reactions to destruction of property than they do to loss of life.

  86. ab5tract says:

    The label represents national priority and represents national perception. I do not define the value of the label in the country’s consciousness, it is already set. Terrorism trumps everything, even the Constitution.

  87. Ceronomus says:

    Except that they are NOT held incommunicado. You’ll note that there are no restrictions on their meetings with their attorneys, who can easily get information out for them.

    You can assume that any group that will paint itself as “activists” while perpetrating acts of terrorism would certainly call foul if he was refused access to his attorney.

    Daniel McGowan’s website points out some interesting information like the fact that he is working on finishing his Master’s degree in Prison. This isn’t somebody dropped into a black hole somewhere.

    You are just using this thread to rail against injustice as a whole, which doesn’t really contribute to the dialog on THIS ISSUE.

    I’m horrified that innocent people in the US have been executed.

    I’m completely unperturbed that people convicted of federal crimes have their mail read.

  88. Ceronomus says:

    We seem to get back to you thinking that I think all acts of terrorism are worse than acts of murder and thus since I do not call an act of murder terrorism than thus property must be more valuable.

    Frankly, I cannot reach you. I’ve tried being fairly reasonable and open in this conversation but you seem to insist to cling to your belief. Terrorism is a specific type of act…. Let me try this…

    Not all “Hate Crimes” are murders. Not all murders are “Hate Crimes,” despite the fact that it could be argued that you probably have to hate someone to kill them.

    You are separating intent from action and you are failing to grasp that basic disconnect.

    You are completely failing to grasp how these crimes are defined and are thus declaring that because something defined one way is called one thing and something else that doesn’t fall within that definition is not, that property must be more valuable than human life.

    Let me quote something here that is REALLY important…

    “It is the act of not labeling mass murder over religion terrorism (which we surely would anywhere else) while forcefully talking down those who only destroy property”

    You again seem to be claiming that by not calling something murder, it is treated as less reprehensible.

    Frankly, you don’t get it and I doubt you ever will grasp it.

    Let’s just agree that we don’t agree and call it quits because I’m now seeing why you haven’t grasped a single one of my points and I’d rather not spend another day going round and round.

  89. SamSam says:

    ab5tract: I see your point re this country’s view of terrorism. Yes, over the past eight years terrorism has trumped the constitution in a way that a mass murder wouldn’t.

    But Ceronomus is simply arguing about the definition of the word. Not about what shouldn’t be considered worse, or what is considered worse, or whatever. I think you’ve been talking past each other — he’s talking about semantics, you’re talking about, well, a lot of things.

    On semantics: I don’t know the specific case of the person who killed the unitarians, but the specifics of the case do matter as to whether it should be defined “terrorism.” If I kill a Jew because I hate Jews, that’s not terrorism. If I kill 2 Jews because I hate Jews, that’s still not terrorism. But if I’m killing Jews to spread hate, or to send a message, or to make people to scared to go to the synagogue, then that should be considered terrorism — and degrees of evil shouldn’t come in to it, semantically.

  90. ab5tract says:

    Sorry, I mean the word ‘terrorism’. Not terrorist acts. Traditional terrorist acts involve loss of civilian life. That is what set the tactic apart from previous types of warfare. I hope it is obvious that I too think murder and death are wrong. I however am much more angry at my own country’s terrorist actions against citizen rebellions in every country that’s tried to have one, and the fact I am no doubt calling attention to myself in what could be considered a pointless way, but contributing anyway because my morality means more to me than silence can bear.

    ‘Terrorism’ trumps everything, even the Constitution.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Traditional terrorist acts involve loss of civilian life. That is what set the tactic apart from previous types of warfare.

      I’d be hard put to name a war where terrorism wasn’t used. Even the US (and, yes, I believe that we were the good guys) fire-bombed Dresden and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the purpose of creating widespread terror. Terrorism only came to public attention in the 1970s when it began to be practiced by national liberation groups (and their supporters) like the WUO, the PLO and the FALN. Nothing that those groups did can compare with the atrocities committed by the US military in Vietnam. Thus the idea of state-sponsored terrorism, which continues today throughout the world under the guise of ‘collateral damage’.

  91. Takuan says:

    Shoe Boy was just making sure there would be work tomorrow. You use up all your turrurists in one go and where are you in a few years?

  92. Ceronomus says:

    We have a winner!

  93. Ceronomus says:

    Hey Antinous? At least I’ve tried to stay on topic other than responding to Takuan’s hyperbole. I’ve also repeatedly pointed out that these aren’t SECRET prisons where people are held incommunicado. So I guess propaganda is ok but pointing out the flaws with it isn’t?

    Comparing George Washington and Nelson Mandela to an arsonist is more than a little stretch…and THAT isn’t inflammatory? Claiming that all the people in that unit are there because of a war on Islam isn’t inflammatory?

    It looks to me like the person who goes off topic the most, and does so in an inflammatory fashion is the more popular person…so I get smacked.

    Can’t wait to see what this looks like without any vowels.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Ceronomus,

      You’re screeching and you don’t even realize it. It happens to all of us occasionally. Just take an hour off to compose yourself.

  94. Ceronomus says:

    If it makes you feel better, according to Wiki

    A 2003 study by Jeffrey Record for the US Army quoted a source (Schmid and Jongman 1988) that counted 109 definitions of terrorism that covered a total of 22 different definitional elements.[

  95. Ceronomus says:

    If he *IS* a member of ELF? I find myself not really carrying. John Walker Lindh was preparing to attack members of the military, ELF and ALF terrorize everyday people.

    Not to mention all the toxic fumes that they pollute the air with every time they burn a home or SUV. Hypocrites.

    So yes, putting the potential LEADER of a terrorist organization someplace where he cannot tell people to commit terrorist acts makes a bit of sense. Hell, it actually makes perfect sense.

    Hell, often enough in the US people wave the word “Terrorist” around in hopes of frightening folks. Well, this guy *IS* a terrorist and Cory is using the fact that access is limited to this guy to try to frighten us?!

    Fail.

    Find a deeper hole for this guy to serve out his sentence.

  96. EH says:

    I think many of you are looking at this through the wrong end of the telescope. The probability of someone being held incommunicado is proportional to their ability to communicate, that’s why their dumb codefendants aren’t held there.

  97. ab5tract says:

    @Samsam

    Your semantics suggest that the marker for terrorism is not intent but rather the inclusion of politics. Thank you for perfectly exampling what makes me so scared of the label ‘terrorism’, exquisitely highlighted by the ‘ecoterrorist’

    Also, what the fck you thinking that even you killing a single Jew for being Jewish doesn’t spread hate or send a message or make people scared to go to synagogue? I’m not Jewish but even for me if a small community that would be totally horrifying!

    Your semantics also suggest that my point needs to be considered in light of events that haven’t happened yet. Since it is not a “phenomenon,” it is not terrorism. Except these people are listening to most wanted lists on a daily basis. If I am right and the liberals continue to die, the media will not label it terrorism. I hope I am proved wrong. Time will tell.

  98. dculberson says:

    Takuan, I was not intending to comment on the morality of the sanctions themselves. They sucked and were a terrible idea. Merely saying that the “gave to the wrong charity” wording was outright wrong.

  99. Takuan says:

    are you here for an argument?

    “There are always opportunities to remedy bad laws”
    Then perhaps this post is an opportunity to remedy the bad laws that create special classes of prisons that are open to abuse by irresponsible government.
    First by drawing attention to them.

  100. jaytkay says:

    It’s not very “secretive” if I’m reading about it on boingboing.

  101. dculberson says:

    Ceronomus, I think you’re confusing a discussion of expert’s opinions with Takuan’s opinion. I certainly think that the ACLU’s opinion carries a lot more weight than A. Random Joe’s opinion.

    The issue of race and prison inequality is pretty clear in the US. We have a problem with it, obviously. I can’t possibly know the details of this specific case, but I do spot two of Dr. Dhafir’s convictions that are contradictory:

    “-not recording the $400,000 of his own money that he contributed to the fund
    -using a portion of the funds he collected to aid needy for his own benefit”

    So, which is it? Did he give too much to the charity or take too much from it? It seems that a record keeping error would not justify prison time. If I wish, I can loan money to my corporation and then later take it back out. If I fail to properly document it, but the numbers add up to an auditor, do you really think they would jail me? Almost certainly not. I’m a WASP and can afford a decent lawyer.

  102. Ceronomus says:

    True, it is a fairly short step from “following the law” to “Following orders.”

    However, for the purposes of the article, we’re dealing with US law.

    That said, as one could define moral as “Conformed to accepted rules of right; acting in conformity with such rules” one can make an argument for the morality of laws. After all, morals themselves have no constant guideline from culture to culture.

    However, in the words of a man far wiser than I,

    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

    It doesn’t matter what the justification for an action is, what matters is the action itself.

  103. Ceronomus says:

    I’m screeching?

    I point out that the prisons aren’t secret, that people aren’t held incommunicado, and that prisoners routinely have their mail reviewed and I’m screeching?

    I’d hate to see what you’d moderate as howling.

  104. mokey says:

    So Daniel torched some buildings. So what? Anyone who equates attacking the property of evil terracidal fucks with hurting everyday people is being disingenuous at best. Also, and ELF leader? Seriously? Cops and judges cannot get it through their skulls that people can organize independently and without hierarchy. It really speaks to the depth that this top-down paradigm is ingrained into their consciousness that to even comprehend anything different is impossible.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Compose yourselves, one and all. I have complete faith in your ability to have a polite, well-informed discussion on a controversial topic. Please don’t betray that faith.

  105. Ceronomus says:

    Well, let’s ask then. Takuan, *IS* that your intent? Or are YOU here for an argument?

  106. mortis says:

    call me when they start rounding up actual domestic terrorists…like the Bloods, the Crips, MS-13 members, Aryan Nation, etc.

    ^m^

  107. ab5tract says:

    Oops, lost a trailed thought there:

    Thank you for perfectly exampling what makes me so scared of the label ‘terrorism’, exquisitely highlighted by the ‘ecoterrorist’ label which will only serve to reduce the likelihood of anyone being willing to even be seen as associating with ‘animal rights activism’ (not all the precepts that Marja mentioned do you have to agree with to engage in, btw) lest they be seen as ‘terrorists’.

    However it is fine to buy ammo and listen to raging Rush all day because those politics haven’t been associated with the ‘fear-inducing’ crimes that have been so clearly committed in their name.

    @Cerenomus

    “We have a winner!”

    In light of the discussion you have successfully made me paranoid :8

  108. Ceronomus says:

    AB5TRACT – You have once again made the argument that murder equals terrorism. This is a fallacy. You simply are not grasping what terrorism is in reference to other crimes.

    INTENT to cause fear is a major factor. If I kill someone, I have murdered them. If I kill someone because they are “X”, that is a hate crime. If I kill someone because they are “X” and then spread the word so that I can terrify the “X” community, that is terrorism.

    People fear a lot of things. The mere presence of fear doesn’t mean that something is an act of terrorism, otherwise the entire LA freeway system would’ve been shipped off to Guantanamo Bay.

    Now, I understand your concern. You keep talking about the killing of liberals and you seem greatly concerned that Right Wing nutjobs in the US are going to keep killing Liberals in the US at the suggestion of the commentators at FOX news.

    Oddly enough, these days I can understand that fear. I’ve heard more “Lone Wolf” rhetoric from FOX news in the past few months than I’ve ever heard of anyplace else…and I had the misfortune of attending college with Matt Hale.

  109. Takuan says:

    so should the government be using the terrorist tactic of silencing dissent by having special prisons lying around to toss examples into?

  110. Takuan says:

    so when they split Gandhi’s head open it was done under British law so it was OK? Gandhi’s refusal to obey the law in the furtherance of liberty for the Indian people was wrong? Why do you quote him then?

  111. ab5tract says:

    Okay, first of all, the ELF/ALF are classified as ‘terrorists’ because they Destroy Property. Not people. Property. They are considered the #1 domestic terror threat by the FBI. Because of Property. Not your property, or my property. Corporate property. Weyerhouser property. Insured property. So rather than worry about the Army of God which Actually Kills People, they are pursuing people who destroy machines in response to the destruction of nature.

    http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/green-scare/

    Was the man who burst into the Unitarian church and blasted all those last month called a ‘terrorist’ by the media? Not in any reporting I saw (which was admittedly little :/ ). Killing people in churches is of course one of the mainstays of “traditional” terrorism. But in America we already know that Property ranks higher than People, right? So I guess it only makes sense that ALF/ELF are ‘terrorists’ and abortion bombers and Christian fasco-fundamentalists are not.

  112. Takuan says:

    no no Mortis, those belong to the PrisonComplex Industry. The Warofterror Industry needs its own supply of raw materials.

    Oh, and Jay? Where else did you hear about this then?

  113. trimeta says:

    I’m going to see if I can untangle the divide that AB5TRACT and Ceronomus have on terrorism. AB5TRACT believes that terrorism is by our culture defined the worst possible crime, and that by labeling destruction of property as terrorism minimizes non-”terrorist” crimes. He’s not listening to arguments about what terrorism is defined as, because the chilling effects of labeling someone a “terrorist” outweigh any such definitions. Ceronomus believes that terrorism is strictly defined as “actions taken to incite fear,” and is a mere label to describe a certain type of action which bears no cultural or emotional significance. Until you guys recognize that you’re talking about different things, this argument isn’t going to end.

  114. Ceronomus says:

    Wow, you TOTALLY missed my point Takuan. But I’ll pass on the bait.

  115. ab5tract says:

    @Antinous

    The definition of ‘state sponsored terrorism’ happened as a result of the definition of ‘terrorism’. Yes, it was happening before but ‘terrorism’ was something new when it “first appeared,” when underground actors started bombing civilians in civilian settings that provided no strategic asset.

    I hope you know I stand in solidarity against the actions of basically the entirety of our foreign policy since its inception. Civilian deaths have been commonplace in war since time immemorial, and greatly accelerated in post-WWII period.

  116. Takuan says:

    (shhh! they were getting there!)

  117. Baldhead says:

    groups that engage in serial arson are definitely terrorist groups, since they don’t do that sort of thing because nobody taught them how to hug. Street gangs… certainly some of their behaviour could be considred terrorist but the ideas behind their actions never get to the “ubending ideology” state that seems to be a major requirement of true terrorism (where money, etc. doesn’t matter- only the cause)

  118. SamSam says:

    @Antinous:

    Because the law is a random and capricious pupu platter of social constructs and morals ranging from millennially outdated ones to just slightly outdated ones.

    What law, or laws, do you think were wrong, in these specific cases here?

    Do you think the law that says that firebombing property is illegal is wrong?

    Do you think the law that says that laundering money for terrorists is wrong?

    Whether or not the jury made the right decisions in these cases, or the prosecutors had personal biases, has nothing to do with whether the law is right or wrong.

    If we agree that the law is right, then we should also agree that people who are convicted of breaking the law should, if the act is egregious enough, be given a sentence that is fair for their crime. This is the essence of the social contract.

    And, naturally, the people accused of these crimes should have every access to lawyers and every legal recourse to appeal the decisions. Fortunately, it seems there is no problem with that in this situation.

    All these people arguing about whether Dhafir is guilty or whether ELF activists really are terrorists seem to be arguing in the wrong place. What we do with prisoners once they are convicted has nothing to do with the process of conviction. Yes, there are many problems with the process of conviction. But Cory’s post was about what we do with people after they have been convicted, and I and several people have said that his outrage is needless.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Do you think the law that says that firebombing property is illegal is wrong?

      Does that include wedding parties in Afghanistan or only US citizens’ property, not to mention lives? If the law is selectively applied to protect a single class, then yes, it is wrong.

      Do you think the law that says that laundering money for terrorists is wrong?

      When ‘terrorists’ is largely defined as ‘people who stand between mega-corporations and oil’, then yes, it is wrong.

      This is the essence of the social contract.

      Unilateral contracts are non-binding, just like those signed under duress.

  119. Ceronomus says:

    Gasp! Prisons that limit communication with the outside world? Say it isn’t so!

    So long as they do not limit communication with the prisoner’s attorney, what exactly is the problem again?

    As for the real problem members of groups like the Aryan Nation? They slowly make their way to Supermax….

    Now Takuan, I’ll make no argument that the privatized prison industry has done harm to our society on numerous levels…but to me this isn’t a problem.

    These aren’t political prisoners. Hell, for once they actually ARE terrorists and we aren’t reading about them being beaten or tortured. They merely have people checking their mail.

  120. Ceronomus says:

    For the motive test I’ll point back up to Gandhi. It doesn’t matter WHY you do something, it matters WHAT you do.

  121. ab5tract says:

    @Ceronomus

    Wow, you “refuted” me without addressing the juxtaposition that was the entirety of my point. Good work, I guess?

    The man who killed the Unitarians did it because he hated liberals. The media fail to call it terrorism, though the similarities to religous/cultural terrorism (you know, where people die?) are very strong.

    The man who burns down logging equipment did it because he loves nature. The media immiediately calls it terrorism (you know, where property is damaged) because why?

    Because property is more valuable than life in this culture, period. Whoever said “I consider burning down the equipment that destroys the forest is as bad as cutting down the forest” provides a nice example. That is, forests (Life, if nothing else) are worth less than the equipment it takes to destroy them.

    “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.[18]”

    Only in the capitalist mind can “ecoterrorism” refer to the people who are fighting to protect the ecosystem, and not to the people destroying it. Criminality is a slippery point, its boundaries malleable (for the ruling class). The fantasy of sniping Hitler before the Holocaust happens still involves “illegal murder.”

  122. Ceronomus says:

    I made that point a bit ago while trying over and over to find the common starting point.

    Takuan though, STILL doesn’t get it. ;)

  123. Takuan says:

    how do you know they aren’t political prisoners?

  124. Takuan says:

    best I not assault you then by pushing you out the way of that oncoming bus.

  125. Ceronomus says:

    As for where else we can read about these units other than Boing Boing?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Correctional_Complex,_Terre_Haute

    http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=200810&RIN=1120-AB48

    This doesn’t include all the “activist” pages that have the same message on them.

  126. dculberson says:

    Weyerhaeuser’s insured property being torched is something that costs us all money, and thus some portion of our life. Destroying property then hiding behind it being “insured corporate property” masks the fact that it is all human property and destroying it is destroying the life and effort that went into creating it. It’s no better than clear cutting a forest. It’s denying others the fruit of their labors and the sweat of their brow. It being insured merely means the loss has been spread over more humans.

    I would equate it to murdering a person months before they were going to die anyway. Does their impending death make it okay to kill them? No.

    As for the artificial divide that makes “everyday people,” that also speaks to the depth that an “us vs. them” mentality has pervaded your belief system.

  127. Tdawwg says:

    ntns, cngrtltns n hvng bn t cllg. lk Ntzsch t!

    Nice straw-men arguments. Allow me to point out that laws have immense practical value: we needn’t try to ground them in transcendental values (which I didn’t do: nice try, though), especially when so many laws work so well so much of the time. The law is far much more than “a record of popular opinions about how people should act in society” (which sort of contradicts your point re: the law not having a moral or ethical basis, BTW: inconsistent!): rather, it’s a record of infinitely subtle heuristics and rules-of-thumb on how to make good decisions that will beneficially effect the largest number of people. The multiple perversions and wranglings of laws does not, cannot, obviate this simple fact: laws are tools that we use to make our lives better, more livable.

    And what’s your alternative? Kindly tell me how you’d solve, say, anthropogenic climate change working outside a legal framework. What extralegal masterstroke would work to solve the various problems and phenomena posed by ACC? How would juggling the numerous demands of extra- and illegality benefit your cause, let alone your sanity? And, finally, when other lawbreakers began to prey on you, where would you turn?

    Your argument reminds me of funny Will Roper from Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons. Will fancies himself a bit of a “new man,” and gets into an argument with his prospective father-in-law, Thomas More, about the necessity of laws when dealing with bad people. More’s rejoinder is devastating: “What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? … And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

    PWND, in a word. I side with More and the law.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      laws are tools that we use to make our lives better, more livable.

      Many laws fit that description. Many others serve as tools of government repression. Laws come about in a number of different ways for a number of different reasons. Many laws exist to protect citizens from their government. Others to protect corporate interests from the citizenry, at the expense of human rights and civil liberties. FISA? Jim Crow laws?

      And please work harder at being polite.

  128. Anonymous says:

    If an ELF activist torches some construction equipment it is most likely not to invoke fear, (ie: the definition of terrorism) but simply to destroy the equipment in order to prevent (or at least delay)whatever destructive activity it was intended for.
    Sure, it might evoke some fear, but so do the actions of cops and armies.
    This is not to say that purely symbolic acts (meant only to make a point, rather than to achieve a specific result) don’t take place, but it’s also important to remember, as has been noted above, that there are no official members of the ALF/ELF, anyone can claim any action as ALF/ELF.

    Was Daniel McGowan’s intent to invoke fear, or simply to remove the buildings he burned?

    Was it George Bush’s intent to simply overthrow Saddam, or did he intend to invoke fear (shock, awe..)as he did it?

    Also, what type of sentence does a non-activist arsonist get? is the jealous wife who sets her husband’s car on fire going to get locked up in a CMU? No. Make no mistake about it, these are political prisoners. They might not be innocent, but they are most certainly being punished for their politics.

  129. ab5tract says:

    Thank you Trimeta for illuminating things. I had a feeling our differences were not so great Ceronomus. I for one have not considered this arguing but simply trying to express myself more clearly. Thanks for engaging.

    OT, I’d like to complain that I can’t represent the proper casing of my name. The comment interface has it perfect, but when it posts I am left with something ugly. ‘ab5tract’ looks better than ‘AB5TRACT’, right? Well that’s what I intend, though I fault none of you for not knowing (obviously).

  130. Ceronomus says:

    Wow Takuan, amazing that you can take the words of Gandhi to mean that the action of preserving life is wrong.

    You do make it fairly obvious that you ARE here for a fight.

    Ab5tract – I wasn’t trying to “refute” you, though I think that the concept that property is more valuable than life is hyperbole.

    The guy who started shooting up the church? I don’t know if his act of mass murder qualifies as an act of terrorism. Terrorism implies trying to change a mindset and I haven’t really seen evidence that his plan was thought out any further than killing liberals.

    However, since you want to use that example, look at the news stories from that town. Look at how many people were upset about the killings versus how many people were upset about the damage to the church. Life was certainly MUCH more valuable, and the reaction to those killings was far stronger than the responses to ANY act by ELF/ALF.

    Again, it isn’t a case of choosing one or the other. BOTH actions are wrong, we simply disagree on where we feel society judges those wrongs.

  131. ab5tract says:

    I mean, I would still like to hear why Cerenomus feels that terrorism is “a certain type of action which bears no cultural or emotional significance” (Trimeta’s uncontested paraphrase). But I can live without it too.

  132. Tdawwg says:

    @Takuan, “argument” as in “discussion, debate,” not so much as in “fight,” though those are ok too. I tend to find arguments more interesting when they’re more than one seraphic sentence long.

  133. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    I’m a little late in the discussion but nonetheless wanted to chime in and address a few things. These units are indeed “secretive” and the Bureau of Prisons would like to make sure it stays that way. Go on the BOP website (bop dot gov) and try to find anything on them. Look up John Walker Lindh or Daniel McGowan in the inmate locator. It only states that they are in the prison institutions, nothing about the CMU. Hell, give the BOP a call and ask them about the units. Good luck with getting ANY sort of response.

    In terms of restrictions, it seems some people are unable to fathom what this really means. Those in the CMU do not get any contact visits with loved ones, unlike the rest of the prisoners in the system. They can only visit behind glass for 4 hours a month. This is a HUGE difference. They get ZERO physical contact with wives, children, friends. Not even a hug. It cannot be disputed that this is very damaging to someone’s emotional well being (for both the person inside, and those on the outside too). They can only also make one 15 minute call a month. This compares to the 300 minutes a month all others are afforded.

    Those who have raped and killed don’t have these restrictions.

    The attorney calls have been known to be monitored and attorney mail has “mistakenly” been opened. This is illegal, yet what can be done?

    It’s also important to note a few things about Daniel McGowan’s case. The govt has agreed with the definition of ELF as leaderless, yet they decide to throw in that he is a “leader.” Not only did these crimes take place YEARS ago, but the person who was the most active and did the most damage is out free, no prison time, because he became an informant. If everyone else is so dangerous to society, why is the person who has admitted to taking part in the most crimes, living life as a free man? (If you look at all the legal docs you’ll see he actually was convicted of participating in 2 actions out of a dozen or so.)

    Also, Daniel is no longer doing his masters since moving to Marion. He was not allowed the books he would need to do so. Some parts of the website haven’t been updated as supporters are focusing their efforts on helping him fight this horrible designation to the CMU.

  134. Ceronomus says:

    By the way, people fighting to “protect” the environment by burning lots of treated lumber and releasing poisonous chemicals directly into the air and surrounding water table? They are part of the problem, not the solution.

    But again, to the main point this is all neither here nor there. I was pretty certain that the post above was about “Communication Management Units.”

  135. Ceronomus says:

    Let me correct that. At least SOME of these folks aren’t political prisoners. Daniel McGowan, for example, is an arsonist. Calling himself a political prisoner is merely an attempt to aggrandize and legitimize his actions. You’ll note that his site even goes so far to complain that the statute of limitations on his crimes were about to expire.

    Essentially, he has the gall to complain that he almost got away with it.

    Now, might some of these people be political prisoners? You’re right, I can’t make the blanket statement that they are not.

    HOWEVER, they are NOT prevented from speaking to their attorneys. They are having their mail read and they have limited visitation privileges.

    I’ll protest all day about the horrors that the US has visited upon prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and so-called “Black Sites.”

    This though?

    I cannot work up any outrage for an arsonist who calls himself a political prisoner because he fails to even recognize that breaking the law makes him a common criminal.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      breaking the law makes him a common criminal.

      Yep. George Washington and Nelson Mandela were both common criminals.

      Ceronomus,

      You keep saying the same things over and over and you keep saying them in a rather inflammatory fashion. If you have something new and civil to contribute, we’re all ears. Otherwise, give it a rest.

  136. Akezys says:

    Okay, first of all, the ELF/ALF are classified as ‘terrorists’ because they Destroy Property. Not people. Property. They are considered the #1 domestic terror threat by the FBI. Because of Property. Not your property, or my property. Corporate property.
    So Daniel torched some buildings. So what? Anyone who equates attacking the property of evil terracidal fucks with hurting everyday people is being disingenuous at best.

    “On August 1, a 206-unit condominium in San Diego was destroyed, with a banner left at the scene saying “If you build it, we will burn it”, signed “The E.L.F.s are mad”. The damages totaled $50 million dollars after flames reached an estimated 200 feet (61 m) in the air, as over a hundred fire fighters attempted to put out the fire. The destruction was the movements most financially damaging action against a target, with a local preservation group calling the action pointless, noting that “You can go and burn something down, but it’s just going to get built again.” Exactly three weeks later, 125 SUVs and hummers were torched, costing a total of $3.5 million, with “I love pollution” spray-painted at the scene, and a month later homes being built in San Diego were targeted again, this time costing an estimated $450,000 in damages.” Sourced from the wiki article on the ELF.

    That is one incident. Saying that the ELF doesn’t destroy ‘everyday people’s’ property is ‘disingenuous at best’.

    Also: “On November 21, ELF member Ian Wallace planted incendiary devices outside of two buildings on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan during the early morning hours.”

    Also pipebombing homes. A group setting fire to University buildings, peoples’ cars and homes… That sounds like ‘everyday people’ property to me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Earth_Liberation_Front_actions

  137. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    sorry, correction – 15 minutes a week for a call. My fingers were typing faster than my brain was working.

  138. Ceronomus says:

    Really….

    The US Government had people tortured to death and I’m supposed to be upset that a criminal has delays in getting his mail?

  139. Akezys says:

    Sorry, above quotes weren’t attributed to the authors as I messed up the tags. The first two paragraphs are quoted from above.

    Also, the ALF:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Animal_Liberation_Front_actions,_2005-Present

    I’d say throwing a molotov cocktail on an old woman’s porch and firebombing citizen’s cars would, indeed, be harming everyday people.

  140. ab5tract says:

    “Terrorism implies trying to change a mindset and I haven’t really seen evidence that his plan was thought out any further than killing liberals.”

    And burning down clearcutters is about changing minds rather than saving trees?

  141. Takuan says:

    if a common criminal, why uncommon treatment?

  142. Just the facts, Ma'am says:

    Ah, another correction, sorry!
    (If you look at all the legal docs you’ll see he actually was convicted of participating in 2 actions out of a dozen or so.)

    This was referring to Daniel McGowan, not the informant.

  143. Ceronomus says:

    “Does that include wedding parties in Afghanistan or only US citizens’ property, not to mention lives? If the law is selectively applied to protect a single class, then yes, it is wrong.”

    Can’t we all just agree that firebombing people, no matter the reason, really isn’t a good thing? It is really easy for anyone to JUSTIFY anything…

  144. Ceronomus says:

    Burning down buildings and making threats that you will do it again if they rebuild? THAT is about trying to change minds. That is about the threat as much as the action.

    For example, from an ALF website…

    “UCLA Vivisectors Get Special Packages in the Mail Mar 26: We [The Justice Department] sent three ‘greeting cards’ to three nasty primate vivisectors, one to Edythe London at xxxx Edgely Place Los Angeles California 90024, one to Joaquin Fuster at xxxx Pesquera Drive Los Angeles California 90049 and one to Peter A. Anton at xxxx Hollywood Boulevard Apartment xxx Los Angeles California 90046. In each we sent four needles dipped in rat poison strategically placed so when they opened the letter one of the needles would puncture them. The irony is that we got these needles from a primate laboratory at ucla.”

    So, sending needles tipped in rat poison, with the intent of people pricking themselves with them…that isn’t a repugnant act? Doing this is okay because you disagree with what someone else is doing?

    Are these the people you are trying to defend?

    How about the sending of bomb threats?

    “‘We will burn down the Judicial MP, soon the fire will be for you’ ‘Vengeance for the animals murdered on the 23rd’”

    This is ALF. These are the actions of terrorists.

  145. Takuan says:

    (sidebar: apparently it is now forbidden to use “war of terror” at the White House)

  146. Ceronomus says:

    “Common Criminal” as in, not a political prisoner. Of course, you knew that but decided to try to take it a step further. REally, stretching idiom? HAve we hit THAT point in the discussion already?

    Why should we even care? I mean, boo-hoo, his mail gets delayed. THIS is what we are supposed to work up our outrage for? That this guy is being prevented from organizing MORE acts of arson?

    He’s one of the leaders of a domestic terrorist group. Leaders generally lead, even from prison. The growth of the Aryan Nation taught us that.

    So again…we’re supposed to get worked up about this how? He’s not a grand political prisoner. He really *IS* the sort of person that prisons are supposed to be holding.

  147. Takuan says:

    ah thank you Juat, that is useful information.
    So it is clear that these prisons are indeed deliberately intended to violate the rights of the imprisoned at the pleasure of the government that might be embarrassed by them. Gitmo-Lite as it were.
    Understandable during Bushy tyranny, but is this a condition that Americans wish to have continue? If them, perhaps one day you.

  148. Ceronomus says:

    Well, “War on Terror” was a pretty stupid phrase anyhow. It was merely meant to inflame passions…much like acts of terrorism do.

    I wonder if the US Government keeps declaring war on concepts to draw attention away from the fact that they are dropping bombs on PEOPLE.

  149. dculberson says:

    Rafil Dhafir didn’t “give to the wrong charity.” He founded a charity that sent funds into Iraq while the US sanctions were in place. I think it’s important to debate the facts not a whitewashed version. The details are important.

  150. mokey says:

    So where’s the link to the action when any sentient being was injured? Attacking housing developments and vivisectors’ property is pretty much the point. Keep trollin.

  151. DWittSF says:

    Ah, yes, the eeeeevil terrorist mastermind John Walker Lindh–20 years old, and on his way to being #2 to OBL….my ass. He’s in prison because teh Bush cabal couldn’t find any other ‘merkans who were participating, much less OBL ‘dead or alive,’ and needed a head to put on the wall.

  152. Darren Garrison says:

    His wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_G._McGowan

    The lesson? If you commit crimes, get caught, and the government offers you a deal if you rat on your fellow criminals, take the deal.

  153. Takuan says:

    are those the sanctions that killed a half million Iraqi children through medical neglect?

  154. dculberson says:

    Mokey, you’re ignoring my point, which was a valid one. Accusations of trolling are not valid points. Especially when one is evincing troll-like behavior.

    ELF and ALF are both terrorist organizations in the classic sense. They achieve no positive gains at the expense of much suffering. Defending their actions is madness.

  155. SamSam says:

    @Antinous:

    This is the essence of the social contract.

    Unilateral contracts are non-binding, just like those signed under duress.

    You are perfectly free to not keep up your end of the contract, simply by moving to a place where the state does not keep up it’s end of the contract. When you move to a state that ignores its people, the rule of law, or the desire to keep order — i.e. a non-state — then you’ll find that there is no social contract for you to be bound to.

    If you want to enjoy the benefits of the state’s end of the contract, however, then you need to keep up your end of the contract, because the state cannot perform its function if it has no means to enforce the contract.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      You are perfectly free to not keep up your end of the contract, simply by moving to a place where the state does not keep up it’s end of the contract.

      Or you could change the state, as has been done by various persons from Washington to Mao to Mandela. If the law is unjust and you can’t change it via legal means, then you resort to extra-legal means. Not that I’m suggesting that the subjects of this post came anywhere near exhausting (or even attempting) legal remedies. Just that, although having laws is a good thing, any given law is neither intrinsically good nor bad just because it’s a law. There’s no moral imperative to obey bad laws, just conventional convenience in doing so.

  156. Ceronomus says:

    John Walker Lindh wasn’t a terrorist. He actually committed an act of treason against the United States. He got off pretty lightly with his conviction of conspiracy to commit murder.

    The media painted him as more of a terrorist than the US Government.

  157. ab5tract says:

    I am not defending anyone. I am pointing out a disgusting juxtaposition in American life, property over life; this is everywhere, every Republican that pushes for war machines over healthcare, education, or god forbid, welfare proves it. It is endemic and it is not hyperbole. And even if individuals or communities may be found to react differently, the ruling class will side with property over life every single time. And that is “America” much more than anyone’s pitiful opinion.

    And I am also pointing out the flaw in your reasoning that killing people for their political disposition is not terrorism while burning something down so that it cannot be used is. I don’t know what all the ALF or ELF has done, just as I will never know how much of the actions attributed to them were actually the result of covert defamation operations. But if I find a note that one of the Unitarian shooter’s friends wrote that threatens someone if they don’t “stop being liberal”, does that redefine his actions as terrorism? (You seem to imply that such a thing is necessary for it to be so classified.) If not, then why would some questionable acts in the ALF/ELF redefine less questionable ones? (Burning houses versus burning clearcutters.)

  158. Ceronomus says:

    I was just thinking that the statement

    “Unilateral contracts are non-binding, just like those signed under duress.”

    is kind of ironic coming from a person here to enforce rules placed over everyone that uses the Boing Boing comment system.

    There is a sort of sick humor to that.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Ceronomus,

      Did you really mean to compare comment moderation to imprisonment? Treating imprisonment in such a trifling way undermines all your arguments.

      Tdawwg,

      Obedience to law without any moral or ethical evaluation of the law’s validity is a cornerstone of fascist ideology. I’m not making that up.

  159. ab5tract says:

    A functional defintion:

    ‘Terrorism’ is that which lies within the boundaries of its signifier. The boundaries are set by what actions are labeled it.

    You have committed terrorism if and only if ‘they’ say you have, or if your actions have been established in precedence.. Note: the boundaries can and do move.

    A semantic defintion:

    Terrorism is the taking of innocent life in crowded non-combat settings for the furtherance of an ideology, where the murder is the leveraging force of political engagement. Cowardly and disgusting.

    I found this piece of media theory very in interesting when I first found it:

    Who Carries Out Spectacular Acts of Terrorism and Why? [ctheory]

  160. SamSam says:

    I agree that these aren’t very “secretive.” Shure, I’ve never heard of “Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute,” but I’ve never heard of “United States Penitentiary, Victorville,” either.

    The information about the CMU facility has been on the Wikipedia page for two years. How is it “secretive?”

    And what do you mean by “…and people who gave to the wrong charity?” I see nothing about that in the link. I assume that you’re referring to Rafil Dhafir, who was accused of starting an illegal charity to launder money to give to terrorist organizations in Iraq. Yes, people have said that the charges were bogus and racially motivated, and they’re probably right. But to try an provoke outrage by saying that they send people there who “give to the wrong charity” is just wrong.

    Not to mention calling ELF leaders by the nice, neutral term “animal rights activists.”

    Cory, you keep having posts where the outrage in your titles just isn’t matched by what you present. It trivializes the real abuses that go on, the torture and illegal extraditions. As people above said: I’m supposed to be outraged because an admitted arsonist gets his mail read?

  161. SamSam says:

    The argument about whether ELF bombers are “terrorists,” or why their communications are restricted when those of rapists aren’t, isn’t about the heinousness of the crime.

    No one is saying that an ELF bomber who only destroys property is worse than someone who kills or rapes dozens of people. That’s a strawman argument.

    Never-the-less, an ELF bomber can be considered a “terrorist” if his aim is to terrorize, while someone who murders his wife is hardly a terrorist in any conventional sense of the word. That still doesn’t mean the bombing property is worse than murder. It’s not. It just gets a different label, because there is a different motive.

    Likewise, what would be the purpose of cutting off the means of communication from someone who murdered his wide (besides punishment, and they already have solitary confinement for that). The murder isn’t trying to incite violence. He’s not writing letters to other men telling them to murder their wives. The ELF bomber or the abortion clinic bomber, on the other hand, may be.

    This isn’t about whether they are “political prisoners,” but the fact that they are “activists,” if you like, is not immaterial: activists are trying to accomplish something, and if they are trying are convicted of trying to accomplish that with bombs, and if they are inciting others to do so as well, then there is a purpose to monitoring their communication. We can argue whether the purpose is just or not, but there is a purpose.

  162. jaytkay says:

    …Oh, and Jay? Where else did you hear about this then?…

    Washington Post, a couple of years ago.

  163. Ceronomus says:

    I never said that “killing people for their political disposition is not terrorism”

    Indeed, I’ve gone so far as to quote Gandhi

    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

    What part of that makes you think I support killing ANYONE?

  164. adamnvillani says:

    For those unclear on the concept, when property gets torched, it’s not property that comes along to put out the fires, it’s human beings who are very much in danger of being injured or killed in the process.

    Also, yes, it’s less bad that they’re “only” torching property and not blowing up people. But if you don’t think throwing a bomb onto somebody’s porch terrorizes people, I don’t know how to respond to that.

  165. Tdawwg says:

    Antinous, while we’re on the subject of politeness, your slippery-slope straw man re: Nuremberg struck ME as a tad impolite: but then the overall illogicality (I trust I’m not being rude) of your statement made this a secondary issue. Is is polite to suggest that someone arguing for the law’s necessity is an embryonic Nazi war criminal? (It’s certainly not accurate, but that’s another matter….)

    I totally agree, though, with the rest of your ideas: nice to find common ground! But wasn’t FISA originally written as a hedge AGAINST government power, i.e., it required a judge’s oversight for wiretapping requests, etc.?

    It seems a question, then, of how best and most fairly to obtain more laws that benefit the greatest number of people, and how best and most fairly to reduce and revoke laws that benefit the smallest number of people. So let’s have more and better laws, then, like Lily Ledbetter (take that “corporate interests”!) etc.

  166. adamnvillani says:

    Also, burning up houses and cars? Not exactly good for the environment there.

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