About Us
Back Issues
The free weekly direct action newsheet published in Brighton since 1994 - Copyleft - Information for Action


ELF activist released after seven years imprisonment.

Seven years ago Daniel McGowan was arrested in the US for his alleged involvement in two arsons in Oregon in 2001 that were both claimed by the Earth Liberation Front. Prior to the events of  9/11 , the Earth Liberation Front  were publicly considered by the U.S authorities to be the number one domestic  terrorist threat in the United States. The group worked in anonymous separate cells targeting ski resorts, lumber companies, SUV dealerships and Forest Service Ranger stations causing millions of dollars worth of damage in defence of the wilderness.

McGowan was charged in federal court on counts of arson, property destruction and conspiracy. The arsons in question where against two privately owned companies Superior Lumber in Glendale, Oregon and Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie, Oregon. Jefferson Poplar had been selected as an ELF target because it was believed it was involved in genetic research by growing a hybrid variety of poplar-cottonwood trees that would help timber companies replace the region’s old-growth forests with commercial tree farms.

After his arrest Daniel McGowan was given a stark choice - to co-operate with the authorities (rat) or stand trial and possibly spend the reminder of his life imprisoned (he was initially looking at rather stiff  335 years imprisonment). 

He chose the latter.Opting for a non cooperation plea agreement he plead guilty on November 9th 2006. His case was part of Operation Backfire, the code-name for for the operation against 'eco-terrorism'.

He has spent the last four years incarcerated in two experimental prison units, known as Communication Management Units. These units basically restrict communication between prisoners and the outside. Part of the CMU system means inmates are not allowed physical contact with others during visits. They can only talk for mere minutes a month to loved ones. According to the American government CMU’s are for those prisoners with “inspirational significance”. They are meant to ostracise political prisoners like McGowan from the outside world and the movement that supports them. McGowan was released and put in a half way-house on December the 11th, he will stay there for a few months and after that he will be under supervised release for 3 years.

Stories about similar subjects...

Anti-road protestors in Bexhill were ambushed by an early start to the tree-felling on the controversial Bexhill-Hastings link road this week, but they rallied and using direct action have put a spanner in the works.

Restart of fracking after year and half delay set to amp up resistance

Activists gather outside UN talks at Doha, Qatar as negotiators pretend to debate climate change.

Anti-Nuclear activists blockade UK plants to protest the extent of destruction upcoming expansion will cause.

UPDATE: The sh*t's well and truly hit the fan since we published this interview last week... Stay tuned for more SchNEWS from the front...

With the dark clouds of unconventional gas extraction looming over the British Isles, the anti-fracking resistance is responding by cranking it up a gear. Community groups across the country are organising for a day of action on Saturday 1st December...

What is known about the death of a Ghanian man in Harmondsworth IRC on October 30th? And who are GEO Group, the private prison firm desperately trying to shift culpability?

As fifteen intrepid No Dash for Gas activists occupy a West Burton power station for the fourth day...

Twitter: @SchNEWS