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Oregon Eco-saboteurs Admit Responsibility, Remain Resolute in Not Implicating Others

November 11, 2006

from the Civil Rights Outreach Committee
November 8, 2006

Eugene, OR – The four remaining non-cooperating defendants in the Oregon “Green Scare” case today changed their pleas and agreed to drop their request for production of NSA surveillance materials and data. Recent negotiations between federal prosecutors and the defendants resulted in a global resolution non-cooperation plea agreement whereby the four defendants will agree to accept responsibility for their own roles in environmentally motivated crimes, but do not agree to provide information or testify against anyone now or in the future.

Joyanna Zacher, Nathan Block, Daniel McGowan and Jonathan Paul appeared in federal court this morning before U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken to enter pleas related to acts of property destruction and arson. Zacher and Block each plead to one count of conspiracy, attempted arson, and two separate incidents of arson. McGowan plead to conspiracy and to two separate incidents of arson. The government is recommending they be sentenced to 96 months in federal prison. Paul plead to one count of arson and one count of conspiracy. The government is recommending Paul be sentenced to 60 months in prison. All four defendants are free to argue for a lesser sentence. The next status hearing will be on December 14 to determine when sentencing will occur.

Despite the agreement however, federal prosecutors have asked the court to apply a “terrorism enhancement” at sentencing. Should Judge Aiken grant the government’s request, the non-cooperating defendants could face up to 20 years in prison in addition to the terms of the plea agreement. The government is seeking the “terrorism enhancement” despite the fact that the crimes to which they have admitted responsibility only involve the destruction of private property; no government property was damaged in any of the incidents.

After the hearing, Jonathan Paul, through a statement made by his sister Alexandra Paul, indicated that after the Cavel West slaughterhouse fire, “he realized that fire was an unacceptable means to an end, no matter how compelling.” He also stated however, that he “will continue to be a person deeply committed to the betterment of our society and the elimination of animal and human suffering.”

During the hearing, Daniel McGowan made a heartfelt statement to a packed courtroom that “this plea agreement is very important to me because it allows me to accept full responsibility for my actions and at the same time remain true to my strongly held beliefs.” McGowan’s attorney, Amanda Lee, added that Daniel “did not identify or implicate any other individuals.”

Despite the pleas entered today which resolve the Oregon cases in their entirety Jeff Hogg remains imprisoned without having been charged with any crimes for his refusal to testify against others after being subpoenaed to a federal grand jury. After the hearing, Hogg’s partner Cecilia Storey made an emotional plea for his immediate release from custody.

Copies of a press packet with a synopsis of the prosecution, related articles background information, historical examples of sabotage in the U.S., and a history of FBI repression of political activism are available upon request.

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