2011-09-16 / Letters

Not An Eco-Terrorist

Dear Editor,

As a former Wave delivery-boy in the mid-1980s, I was excited to hear that my favorite hometown paper reviewed a documentary about my case (Rockaway’s Environmental Terrorist, July 1, 2011). Sadly, the article is full of factual errors that would give anyone a false impression of why I am currently serving an 84-month sentence in federal prison.

The author states that I was guilty of “torching two Oregon forests.” Wow! That is clearly not the case – I love Smokey the Bear. What I was convicted of was the arson of two buildings belonging to corporations – one, an oldgrowth logging firm, the other, accused of growing genetically-engineered trees. Environmentalists do not burn forests, if that even needs to be said.

As for the terrorism label put on me and my co-defendants, it’s a case of the government misusing that term. Call my actions what they are – vandalism and arson both fit, but terrorism? No one I knew flew planes into buildings or sought to hurt people. As a New Yorker, seeing that term thrown around by prosecutors makes me ill. Unfortunately, in post-Patriot Act federal court, it’s easy to pin that on someone – if they claim that your action was designed to coerce the government, then you’re a terrorist.

I think that Rockaway people – especially those that know me and family – can see B.S. when it’s in front of them. Things are more complicated than prosecutor sound-bites and exaggerated articles.

DANIEL McGOWAN

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Daniel, As for your

Daniel, As for your dismissal of the "Eco-Terrorist" moniker. How do you figure? Do you not think that the owners of those establishments were left white as rain--unaffected? To break the law, taking the world's and the forest's cause into your own hands may be admirable by your estimation, but by those who your act has thrown into disarray--you're a terrorist--simple as that. Your message was; if you attempt to legally harvest lumber, we'll burn your business to the ground. The treat is implicit and real regardless of how you spin it. You've earned your time in prison, too little by my estimation. Perhaps your time in stir will wise you up, but I won't hold my breath. Next time, work within the system to legally attempt to reach your goals. It won't always work out, but then again you won't be putting lives at risk, ruining American's private property and livelihoods.


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