Environmentalist Receives Higher Prison Sentence than Al-Qaeda Operative

by Will Potter on March 2, 2009

in Terrorism Court Cases

While the FBI targets environmentalists, Osama bin Laden remains free.

While the FBI targets environmentalists, Osama bin Laden remains free.

An Al-Qaeda operative charged with creating a weapon of mass destruction has received a lesser prison sentence than an environmentalist who set fire to an empty building.

Christopher Paul, aka “Abdul Malek,” is an Ohio native who joined Al Qaeda in the early 90s. According to the FBI, he:

  • received training in “the use of assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and small unit tactics,”
  • fought with the mujahedeen in Afghanistan,
  • and returned to Ohio to recruit and establish a terrorist cell.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to use a weapon of mass destruction against Americans at home and abroad. His sentence: 20 years.

By comparison, Marie Mason was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison, as a “terrorist,” for property destruction in the name of defending the environment.

Her sentence, for arson targeting genetic engineering at Michigan State University, was the most severe yet in what many are calling the “Green Scare.” Unfortunately, it is not an isolated incident. Jeffrey “Free” Luers was sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for setting fire to SUVs. And Eric McDavid was sentenced to 20 years for “conspiracy” to sabotage the Nimbus dam, even though an FBI operative provided the group with bomb-making recipes; at times financed their transportation, food and housing; strung along McDavid, who had the hopes of a romantic relationship; and poked and prodded the group into action.

The FBI has labeled the environmental and animal rights movements as the “number one domestic terrorism threat.” Groups like the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, and activists like Marie Mason, have clearly broken the law in the name of defending the environment. But they have never used rocket-propelled grenades, never created weapons of mass destruction, and never harmed a single human being.

This should concern everyone, regardless of how you feel about environmental issues or economic sabotage: Such skewed government priorities are wasting valuable law enforcement resources targeting environmentalists while Al-Qaeda continues to place American lives at risk.

What kind of message do you think this sends, when environmentalists who target property are a greater national security threat than the organization responsible for the most deadly act of terrorism in the history of the United States?

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