Environmental and Animal Rights Activist Returned to Prison for Facebooking

posted by scott parkin

When friends are outlawed, only outlaws will have friends.
–Mike Roselle

Ummm, yeah. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t watching. We knew it would happen sooner or later. The surveillance state is not only watching social media sites, the social media sites are the surveillance state.

Long time environmental and animal rights activist Rod Coronado is being sent back to prison for four months for “friending” Earth First!, RAN and Ruckus Society co-founder and anti-mountaintop removal organizer Mike Roselle on Facebook and for accessing an unauthorized compter. See Coronado’s lawyer’s statement here.

Coronado known for “Operation Bite Back,” a series of animal liberation actions and arson in the 1990’s for which he served a stint in federal prison, has been an outspoken opponent to cruelty to animals and environmental destruction since the 1980’s. After serving that prison term, he continued to advocate direct action and spoke often on animal rights and environmental issues. In 2003, the federal government targeted him for a mountain lion hunt sabotage and speaking publicly about tactics he used in the 1990’s.

And they went after him HARD. The way that Christian Bale went after Johnny Depp last summer in “Public Enemies.” He served 8 months for the hunt sabotage and struck a bargain after a jury returned deadlocked on the public speaking charges and a mistrial was declared. Part of the plea agreement was a year in prison and federal probation. They’ve gagged him. He’s on monitored computers, he can’t associate with radical environmentalists and he can’t speak out on animal and environmental issues.

In August 2006, Mr. Coronado wrote a Statement from Prison renouncing property damage as a tactic and advocating social change through other means. He wrote, in part: “What our world needs now is a whole lot more love and a lot less violence. Nothing in this world will change overnight. But if we live peace and teach our children well, they might still inherit a world better than ours.

Probation Officer Rhonda Wallock stated in her report: “In monitoring Mr. Coronado’s Facebook account, this officer found Michael Roselle to be a ‘friend’ of Mr. Coronado. According to FBI intelligence and a criminal history investigation of Michael Roselle, he is a well-known environmental activist who has a history of condoning direct action and violence as a means of protest or demonstration.

On a final note, the statement about Roselle condoning violence has no basis in fact. I’ve worked with him the past few years and he is a strong advocate of non-violence direct action as practiced by Gandhi and King. It’s interesting that the people who work for a government that has been regularly bomb Iraq and Afghanistan and have created one of the most militarized societies in history levy charges of violence against environmentalists.