Marie’s lawyer sues FBI for refusal to release FOIA records

From http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/02/27/55235.htm

Attorney Claims USA Chills Rights of Environmentalists
By RYAN ABBOTT

WASHINGTON (CN) – An attorney whose client is serving 22 years for destroying private property claims the FBI denied her FOIA request, to cover up the government’s “Green Scare” program, meant to chill the speech rights of environmental activists.

New York City attorney Susan Tipograph sued the Department of Justice in Federal Court, seeking records on her client, imprisoned activist Marie Mason.

“The draconian sentencing of Marie Mason to nearly 22 years in federal prison has undoubtedly chilled the free speech practices of other animal rights and environmental activists,” Tipograph says in the complaint.

She claims Mason accepted a plea bargain in 2008 to avoid facing a life sentence for the role she played in “two acts of property destruction, which involved damage to a Michigan State University office conducting GMO (genetically modified organism) research and a piece of logging equipment.”

Tipograph claims Mason has been placed in a “control-management”-type prison unit because of her status as a political prisoner.

“Ms. Mason is one of the hundreds of activists targeted by the government in its attempt to quell First Amendment protected activity related to animal rights and the environment, which has become known as the ‘Green Scare,'” the complaint states.

Tipograph says she sent the FBI a FOIA request for records on Mason in 2011, but was denied under exemption 7a of FOIA, which allows the government to withhold records or information that if released would interfere with law enforcement.

“The Green Scare and the disproportionate sentencing of Ms. Mason for a crime that resulted in no injuries to human life are illustrative of the profound influence of private business on government operations,” the complaint states. “Corporate America has played a key role in lobbying the government to create laws and enhanced sentencing that punish political speech and direct action with the potential for disrupting a corporation’s bottom line. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is just one example of the government’s overreaching, overbroad and unconstitutional legislation designed to privilege the desires of corporations over the rights of citizens to dissent.”

Tipograph claims: “Mason is one of many activists who have been labeled a domestic terrorist for engaging in activities with the potential to disrupt corporate profits and, as a result, received an unduly harsh sentence for crimes that are routinely punished with much less severe consequences.”

Since 2000, the government has prosecuted and imprisoned several environmental activists, including Mason, on felony charges spanning from arson to conspiracy to damage telephone towers.

Tipograph wants the court to declare the FBI in violation of FOIA, and order the agency to release the records immediately.

She is represented by Jeffrey Light.

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Marius Mason is being held in a highly restricted prison unit for his political beliefs. Join the movement to get him moved out of Carswell and stop the political targeting of him. For more info see the Move Marius page.

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Listen to the radio documentary on Marius Mason and Eric McDavid here.

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Write to Marius Mason

We encourage everyone to write to Marius Mason in prison:

Marie Mason #04672-061

FMC Carswell

Federal Medical Center

P.O. Box 27137

Fort Worth, TX 76127

Under no circumstances mention any illegal acts. Letters that mention other Green Scare prisoners may be rejected. Mason has a list of 100 pre-approved people he can write to; if you are not on that list, he will be able to receive your letter but not write back.

Everyone must use their first and last name when writing. All letters must be entirely in English. Be sure to include your return address on the envelope. You should also write his name and prisoner number on each piece of correspondence, as the prison tends to discard the envelope and then may "lose" track of who the letter is going to.

Last, do not send anything that is "affixed" to the letter or card - such as glitter and glue. Pen, pencil, crayon and paint are fine.

About Marius Mason

Marius Mason is a long-time activist in the environmental and labor movements. In March 2008, he was arrested by federal authorities for charges related to two acts of property destruction that occurred in 1999 and 2000; no one was injured in either of them. He accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced on February 5, 2009 to just under 22 years. He is now serving the longest sentence of any "Green Scare" prisoner.

The “Green Scare” is the name given to the recent arrests of animal rights and environmental activists who have been charged with acts of economic sabotage. Federal authorities have sought outrageous sentences (often Life in prison) and have publicly and legally labeled the activists as “terrorists” – despite the fact that no one has been killed or injured in any of the acts.

Supporting Marius Mason does not mean agreeing with the actions that he took -- but it does mean opposing the fear-mongering tactics of the federal government and the outrageous sentences they have imposed.

Background on the Green Scare

For more information on the Green Scare see here

Contact

supportmariemason@gmail.com

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