harsh 22 year sentence for "eco-terrorism"

Discussion in 'Law & Justice' started by JoakimFlorence, May 18, 2016.

  1. JoakimFlorence

    JoakimFlorence Banned

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    Marius Mason is a transgender anarchist currently serving a 22 year sentence in federal prison for acts of eco-terrorism.

    After being threatened with a life sentence in 2009 for these acts of sabotage, he pled guilty to arson charges at a Michigan State University lab researching genetically modified organisms for Monsanto, and admitted to 12 other acts of property damage. No one was physically harmed in these actions. At sentencing the judge applied a so-called “terrorism enhancement,” adding almost two years to an already extreme sentence requested by the prosecution. This is the harshest punishment against anyone convicted of environmental sabotage to date.

    Marius is incarcerated in the high security Administration Unit at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, a unit "designed for female inmates with histories of escapes, chronic behavior problems, repeated incidents of assaultive or predatory behavior, or other special management concerns…". Marius did not have a record of violating prison rules. It appears he is being held in this unit because of his political beliefs in an effort to silence him.

    [​IMG]
    (just to clarify, Marius was born female but identifies as a man)

    Marius has a long history of activism going back to his high school years. Born in 1962, his early activism included anti-war and environmental organizing, as well as anti-nuclear activist work. Marius later became more involved in environmental and animal rights campaigns, and helped organize non-violent civil disobedience campaigns, to protect public lands and protest development, as well as anti-fur demonstrations. Marius worked with many organizations, including as Earth First!, Sweetwater Alliance, Food Not Bombs, ADAPTT (Animals Deserve Protection Today and Tomorrow); and through Anarchist Black Cross, also worked on getting books into prisons.

    In the years preceding Marius’s’s arrest, he and his partner at the time, Frank Ambrose, had been questioned multiple times by authorities, summoned to grand juries, and forced to surrender DNA evidence; at one point authorities attempted to affix a GPS tracking unit to Mason’s car.

    Many environmental activists regard the charges against Marius as part of the so-called "Green Scare", a trend by the government of labeling environmental sabotage and civil disobedience as "eco-terrorism", despite these crimes not intending to harm any life. In addition to labeling environmental activists both publicly and legally as “terrorists,” the government also charges activists with inflated sentences. In Marius’s case, because he was threatened with a life sentence, he decided to plea guilty and received a "lesser" sentence (nearly 22 years). It is believed that part of the reason for the harsh sentence may have been that the prosecution was trying to pressure the defendant into revealing any type of incriminating information against other activists. As part of the plea agreement, Marius was required to confirm statements that his partner had already made, but Marius had no further information to give up.

    Marius Mason eventually admitted to committing 14 acts of property destruction together. One of these actions, an attempt to destroy the Nestle-owned Ice Mountain bottled water pumping station, had always been denied by Mason, and activists close to him speculate that he was forced to accept guilt for it in order to accept the plea bargain. (It is a common police tactic to force defendants to accept blame for unsolved crimes in order to close investigations)

    Mason accepted a plea bargain for 15-20 years, but Chief U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced him to 21 years and 10 months and ordered restitution of $4.1 million to the sites damaged by his acts. Part of Mason’s plea agreement stipulated that he had to accept the so-called Terrorism Enhancement designation, which provided for broad discretion in sentencing. For deciding the sentence, the judge was able to consider the 12 other acts Mason admitted to (but was not being charged with) for the purpose of his sentencing.

    https://supportmariusmason.org/about/


    You can see this older picture of Marius with her/his cat, which was taken about a year before the prison sentence:
    https://i2.wp.com/www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/wp-content/Images/marie_mason.jpg


    [​IMG]
    Judging by the pictures, Marius appears to have aged rapidly while in prison.
    (This type of phenomena not that uncommon, probably has to do with low quality food and limited access of physical movement)


    Marius is being housed in a restrictive gymnasium-sized unit, containing up to 20 prisoners. The confinement and isolation result in periodic acts of violence and suicide attempts as women struggle to maintain sanity under these harsh conditions. The prisoners are only allowed to exercise in a small, fenced-in, concrete, outdoor area topped by double-coiled razor wire where there is little room for physical activity. The unit is frequently and unpredictably locked down for hours on end due to violence and suicide attempts resulting from the claustrophobic and oppressive conditions. Prisoners leave the building for medical treatment, but only after a protracted wait and fierce advocacy on the part of the prisoner even though the prison is supposedly a medical facility. Access to mental health counseling, medical care, and educational opportunities are greatly diminished because of the security issues particular to this facility.

    The constant noise inside the prison unit echoes off the walls. Marius says that the echo alone can drive the other prisoners in the unit to lose their sanity and commit violence.

    Between June 18 to August 1 after his arrest, Marius spent nearly two months in the "Special Housing Unit" (solitary confinement for a prison rule violation). This meant that personal belongings were taken away and Marius was not allowed to call his daughter on her birthday. For much of this confinement, Marius’s family, support group, and attorney were unable to obtain the specifics of his offense and communication with him was limited. Following a visit by his lawyer, it was learned that Marius was accused of misusing legal mail by sending a June 11 support statement to his attorney who, after reviewing it, sent it out to the group organizing the day of solidarity with anarchist prisoners. The violation stemmed from a technicality; the statement should have been mailed back to Marius for him to send out.
     
  2. ChoppedLiver

    ChoppedLiver Well-Known Member

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    And the tree-hugging pervert got what it DESERVED!
     
  3. ChoppedLiver

    ChoppedLiver Well-Known Member

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    Prisons for scum like that should be dark, dank, brutal, and have NO hope of ever getting out.
     
  4. JoakimFlorence

    JoakimFlorence Banned

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    Let's be clear: the fact that this woman identifies as transgender has nothing to do with the case here.

    (Or I should hope not. Who knows? Maybe she was discriminated against and being transgender had a part to play in the harsh sentence she received, hard to know)
     
  5. JoakimFlorence

    JoakimFlorence Banned

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    I have an issue with the constant noise echoing off the walls. Doesn't seem humane. All day, continuously.
    Could drive many people to begin to lose their sanity.
    It's not right.

    (I'll make an exception if they are being punished for some extremely heinous act that involved a combination of rape torture and murder though)
     
  6. Deckel

    Deckel Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I have no sympathy for the earth liberation front radicals. In addition to causing a million dollars worth of damage, this person destroyed all the research into developing new potatoes for use in poor areas of Africa which have been having trouble growing food due to a moth/caterpillar outbreak
     
  7. FreshAir

    FreshAir Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    you don't miss with Monsanto....
     
  8. ChoppedLiver

    ChoppedLiver Well-Known Member

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    Are you upset that they run the place like a (*)(*)(*)(*)ing prison?
     
  9. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member

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    Wow, very harsh. If I was the judge I would have had more sympathy for him (or her, or it).
    I'm sure a liberal judge would have had a different perspective on this.
     
  10. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    Well, arson is a violent felony because it puts firemen in jeopardy. It's not a victimless act. In addition, she did over $4 million in damage, also a felony. Mentally ill people need special prison areas. They can't be put in with the general population for their own safety.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  11. flewism

    flewism Active Member

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    I'm not quite sure why a liberal judge didn't put him in a male prison, since that is how he identifies.:roflol::roflol:
     
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  12. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member

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    Well even if you agree with the overall sentence, one kind of concerning element to all this is that it appears the prosecution coerced him into pleading guilty for one of the alleged crimes he did not do.

    That would kind of be like someone stealing $1300, and then the prosecutor tells them if they want a plea bargain they have to agree to plead guilty to having stolen $1400.
    On the one hand, they already stole $1300, so what's the real difference if it had been $100 more? But on the other hand, if they plead guilty to having stole that extra $100, it is likely going to be taken into account by the judge during sentencing. I don't know, it's kind of a minor thing, but it doesn't seem fair at all. Based on the principle of the thing, it's a very egregious tactic of the prosecution. Force people to admit to a slightly worse crime than they actually did so their punishment will be less.

    And then on top of that, he could be punished for crimes he admitted to but was not formally charged with. Some plea bargain that was! Probably has something to do with mandatory minimums or sentencing guidelines. If the prosecutor agrees not to officially charge for certain crimes, then the judge feels under less obligation to have to pass a longer sentence.

    But who knows how many of these acts the defendant actually committed or whether he was just coerced into admitting to some of them to get the plea bargain.

    In other words, the prosecution is charging him with a crime he did not commit, and not charging him with crimes he was blackmailed into admitting to, and the defendant pretty much just has to go along with all this or his sentence would be even longer.

    This is another example of how the prosecutor can effectively wield more power than the judge, in many situations. Because the defendant is already guilty in the eyes of the law and basically doesn't have any rights.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
  13. Doug1943

    Doug1943 Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    A good discussion here about a tough issue: when people who are obviously idealists and motivated by 'principle' -- and maybe a bit eccentric -- break the law, how to deal with them?

    On the one hand, they're not like hardened criminals, nor like the 'idealists' whose 'ideals' include extermination of the infidels or the Jews or the violent dismantling of modern industrial society or armed bank robbery..

    On the other hand, you've got to pay your grazing fees, you can't go around destroying other people's property, or setting department stores on fire because they sell fur coats, etc.

    So how do you deal with such people? All I can think of is: separation in congenial circumstances. So if this Marius person seems determined to carry on destroying things, they [sorry] can't be allowed out -- but surely they can be housed in a very secure, but not unpleasant environment. Something like those rural California hippy communes in the 70s, minus the venereal disease.

    As for the Bundys' pardon. If Trump were smart, he'd have made a statement condemning whatever obviously illegal acts the Bundys did, having first obtained a pledge from them not to commit such acts again, and then said that they had served an appropriate amount of time. If.

    Appropos of nothing, 'eco-terrorism' is not necessarily an exclusively Leftwing cause. One strain of conservatism is uncomfortable with onrushing modernity, turning small farms and small towns into urban hives served by corporate factory farms.

    One of the most fascinating Americans of the 20th Century was Edward Abbey. I highly recommend two of his books, The Brave Cowboy, and The Monkey-Wrench Gang. (Not for their politics, but because they are good reads.) Abbey was one of those people, you might generally call them 'anarchists' but that term is almost as vague and misleading as 'socialist', who lived in that intersection of Left and Right characterized mainly by extreme individualism. So conservatives won't like him because he justified, 'eco-terrorism' and his strong dislike for the modern bureaucratic centralized state would be considered by many conservatives as unpatriotic. On the other hand, liberals and Leftists wouldn't (or shouldn't) like him, because he didn't want any more immigration into the US, and wasn't very politically correct, sometimes, in how he expressed himself about this. (He had a famous dispute with Murray Bookchin, another interesting unorthodox character, about this.)

    Goodness knows what he would have thought about Trump, trying to stop illegal immigration but also destroying our National Parks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  14. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    Nice strawman about supposed beliefs of conservatives. I dislike the modern bureaucratic centralized state as a conservative. That's basically what most of us believe. That the federal government's bureaucrats should have less power, and that most governmental actions should be done at the state and local level.
     
  15. Doug1943

    Doug1943 Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Yes, I didn't put that well. Not so much a 'strawman' as a mis-attribution when stated without qualification or examples.

    Conservatives in the US have had an ambivalent atttitude to the American state, at least modern (post-WWII) conservatives.

    On the one hand, they embrace the traditional conservative suspicion of strong, centralized state power, favoring voluntary exchanges and local control.

    On the other hand, given what they saw as the necessity to fight global Communism, they necessarily had to embrace a strong centralized state: to maintain a world-spanning military required high taxes (or borrowing), and coercion: people were forced to serve in the military, something few conservatives opposed (although Edward Abbey did, despite being a veteran himself -- his The Brave Cowboy, cited above, is explicitly anti-conscription: the hero is trying to persuade a jailed conscientious objector who refused to register for the draft to escape.).

    Conservatives also did not oppose federal government investigation into the political beliefs of those of its citizens deemed pro-Communist, or loyalty oaths for state employees (including teachers and professors).
    They also supported the bill which made membership of the Communist Party illegal. Although there were Republican opponents of McCarthyism, I think it's fair to say that most conservatives gave it their support. When teachers or professors were fired for their (left wing) political beliefs, very few conservatives dissented. These were all actions of the modern bureaucratic centralized state, although many of them were done at state and local level, following national-level actions.

    I'm not arguing that conservatives were wrong to support McCarthyism, the greatly-expanded warfare state, conscription, etc. They saw these things as emergency measures in a dangerous time. But it did put them in opposition to extreme individualists like Edward Abbey, and at least in tension with that side of conservatism which recognizes the dangers of the growth of centralized state power..
     
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  16. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    Yet you felt a need to mention he/she/zir was transgender. Why did you think that was important?

    I'm not sure this sentence is out of line for federal charges of arson. What sentence would have been appropriate to you?
     
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  17. AlphaOmega

    AlphaOmega Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    This thing got a valid sentence. Terrorists should be executed in my opinion.
     
  18. Hoosier8

    Hoosier8 Well-Known Member Donor

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    Arson kills. She was just lucky.
     

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