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Help us help our friend

April 25, 2006

The benefit gallery show for Daniel McGowan has been moved to July 27-28 at ABC No Rio. We’ve already got Armsrock, Arofish, Borf, GoreB, Peter Kuper, Josh MacPhee, RB827, Nicole Schulman, Chris Stain, Swoon, Seth Tobocman, and lots of other great artists involved, and we’re still seeking donations for the show.
Call for Artwork: Benefit Gallery Show for Daniel McGowan
Thursday, July 27 & Friday, July 28, 2006 at ABC No Rio
Co-sponsored by Visual Resistance and Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan
Deadline: June 20, 2006
On December 7th, my friend was arrested at his workplace by federal marshals. The friend I know as a tireless activist and a funny, generous, caring person was ripped from his friends and family without warning and held without bail in federal prison, facing multiple felony charges and life in prison.
I met Daniel McGowan during the buildup to the protests against the Republican National Convention in New York. The Visual Resistance crew was organizing the No RNC Poster Project and Daniel was our first ally. In the time since, Daniel has been a personal friend to all of us in VR and to many more in the larger New York activist community. His constant smile and good humor belied his selfless devotion to making this world a better place.
And on December 7th, he was disappeared. Daniel was extradited to Oregon and held without bail for two months on charges whose statute of limitations were close to expiring. His arrest came as part of a massive government crackdown on the radical environmentalist movement which many are referring to as the “Green Scare.” His arrest left the community in shock.
Daniel has pled not guilty to all charges. Although he is currently out on bail, he faces a lengthy and extremely expensive trial. His family and friends have been scrambling to raise funds and organize a defense team.
Simply put, he needs our help, and we need yours.
We are planning a two-night gallery show and art auction on July 27-28 at ABC No Rio to help pay for Daniel’s legal defense. We are asking artists who are committed to social justice and political activism to contribute artwork. Some art will also be sold through our website. All proceeds will go to help pay Daniel’s legal costs.
Any artwork you can contribute will be a huge help, and we appreciate your generosity in advance. The work in the show will encompass a myriad of themes, styles, and techniques. Work that deals with the issues involved in the Green Scare are appreciated, but not required.
Please contact us if you are interested in donating artwork! We are more than happy to work with you on your terms and can cover incidental costs such as shipping. We can pick up artwork in the New York City area – email for a mailing address.
Specs: While there is no strict size limit, we prefer smaller artwork (less than 18×24). All work should be ready to hang. Print multiples are very, very welcome.
For more information on Daniel’s case and the Green Scare, see:


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4 comments on “Help us help our friend”

I am curious what are the charges. What did they say he supposedly did? By the way the Green Scare is very fascinating. I have hever heard of it before. I am glad that you wrote about it in your blog posting. Thank you for the information.

From an official statement put out by Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan:
Daniel McGowan is an environmental and social justice activist, unjustly arrested and charged in federal court on multiple counts of arson, property destruction, and conspiracy, relating to two incidents that occurred in Oregon in 2001. Daniel has asserted his innocence by pleading not guilty to all charges. He is facing a minimum of life in prison if convicted.
Daniel is from New York, and has been an active member of the community, working on diverse projects such as military counter-recruitment, demonstrations against the Republican National Convention, Really Really Free Markets, and supporting political prisoners such as Jeff “Free” Luers and others. Daniel was a graduate student earning a Master’s degree in acupuncture and was working at, a nonprofit group that helps women in domestic abuse situations navigate the legal system, which is where he was arrested by federal marshals on December 7, 2005.
Daniel had originally been indicted separately, but his arrest comes in the context of a well-coordinated, multi-state sweep of numerous activists by the federal government, who has charged the individuals with practically every earth and animal liberation case left unsolved in the Northwest. Many of the charges, including Daniel’s, are for cases whose statute of limitations were about to expire.

Hi I have already volunteered to donate one of my pieces, yet I do too feel that we don’t have enough information here. I have been an activist for my whole life and been arrested etc. also but NEVER to face a minimum of life in prison…. the answers are still a little vague for me to whole heartedly be able to fight this cause…

Luc, thanks for your support and sorry for any confusion in my description — anyone who has more questions about Daniel McGowan or the green scare, I urge you to read the articles linked to above, or especially Michael Donnelly’s piece from Counterpunch. Here’s a few excerpts:
Under the code name Operation Backfire, the feds began the largest roundup of eco-activists in American history. On Dec. 7, 2005, seven people were arrested and charged with participating in a wide array of property destruction actions the feds link to the Earth Liberation Front (ALF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ELF).
The very same day, several more folks were subpoenaed to testify before a Grand Jury in Eugene, Oregon. A full-scale dragnet was launched against grassroots activists. On Jan. 20, 2006, Ashcroft’s successor (literally and philosophically) Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced a 65-count indictment against a fictional entity the government calls, ‘The Family.” Four more arrests brought the total to eleven, with conspiracy charges now added.
Ironically, after serving ten years; also on the very same day, Michael Fortier, who was convicted for his part in the Oklahoma City bombing which killed 168 people, was released from jail. In contrast, the government is threatening the environmentalists who injured no one, with extraordinary sentences ranging from 30 years to life plus 335 years.
By March 15th, the feds issued a “superseding” indictment that replaced all existing indictments. The new conspiracy prosecution charged another two individuals; bringing the total to 13 indictees facing 65 counts of arson, destruction of property and conspiracy. March 30th brought two more arrests, rounding the total to 15. It’s now up to 17.
As I noted in an earlier article, the entire government case rests on one informant. No real evidence links anyone to the alleged crimes.
In a separate case, on Feb 22nd, Pasqua Yaqui activist Rod Coronado was arrested for merely speaking about how to make an incendiary device during a talk he gave in San Diego on militant eco-activism. Coronado faces 25 years and/or a $250,000 fine!
What we’re talking about here is property destruction with arson being the preferred method. The US Sentencing Commission reports that in 2003 in 82 cases where arson was the primary offense, the median sentence was 60 months (5 years). The median Murder sentence in the US is 15 years; sex abuse 3.4 years; and assault 1.25.
In these property destruction cases, the government has asked for a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and some defendants are facing Life-plus 335 years for alleged property damage. Already, Eugene’s “justice” system has seen Jeffrey Luers sentenced to a preposterous 22 years, 8 months for torching three SUVs (which were later restored and sold.)
Add in the facts that the FBI has only informants, some paid over $75,000 per year according to court documents, and the agency has used warrantless spying on a wide array of dissenting groups–from Code Pink, Quaker meetings to Earth First!–and, FBI agent provocateurs are involved in every single Operation Backfire case; and we have a repeat of the COINTELPRO havoc the government wreaked on dissent in an earlier era. (Interesting to note: a Backfire is a fire started by fire fighters themselves.)
And, make no mistake; Operation Backfire is a fully orchestrated assault on dissent. In 16 years the FBI has not found the bomber of forest activists Judi Bari and Daryl Cherney. The FBI has also produced nothing on the 2001 Anthrax letters which were sent to prominent Democrats and members of the media. Both cases can easily be defined as acts of violence that are designed to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Yet, where are the task forces defending peaceful activists, top Democrats and members of the media?
What we have here is a concerted campaign to criminalize ALL environmental activism.
How else can one explain Operation Backfire with its reliance on Grand Juries, secret witnesses, paid informants and brutal prison sentences? How else can one explain Rod Coronado’s arrest for mere Free Speech?

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