National Lawyers Guild Condemns Operation Backfire as Unconstitutional
12 Jun 2006 18:38 GMT
The National Lawyer's Guild has issued a press release making official their condemnation of the Green Scare. A hotline has been established to support activists targeted by the FBI and other government agencies.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 12, 2006:
New York. The National Lawyers Guild condemns the FBI's Operation
Backfire "green scare" tactics as an unconstitutional abuse of authority. The FBI has engaged in an orchestrated campaign of issuing subpoenas to environmental activists, conducting large scale roundups of activists, levying unprecedented penalties for property crimes, and using threats of severe sanctions to leverage fear of conviction and force individuals to turn state's evidence.
In 2004, the federal government launched Operation Backfire, a
wide-scale investigation of environmental and animal rights activists. It used paid informants and conducted warrantless spying on a range of
organizations. Since then, numerous individuals around the country have been arrested and charged with arson, destruction of property and conspiracy in the government's attempts to target the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Others were subpoenaed to testify before grand juries. Some were charged with the use of "destructive devices," one count of which carries a mandatory 30-year sentence-two counts call for mandatory life in prison. The government is over-charging people with offenses that carry severe sanctions to force them to accept guilty pleas for a lower sentence or to intimidate them into turning state's evidence. The National Lawyers Guild believes that the government is misusing destructive device charges and engaging in selection prosecution.