New York, New York
December 9, 2007

Around two-dozen members of Friends and Family of Daniel McGowan and others braved the cold and held a demonstration on Herald Square, at West 34th Street and 6th Ave., marking the two year anniversary of Operation Backfire and the Green Scare. The protest started at 1 pm and lasted till about 2:30 pm, and was held in the middle of a shopping mayhem atmosphere, with hundreds pouring into Macy’s.

“It’s an emotional date because December 7 commemorates two years since Daniel’s arrest,” said Jenny Synan, the wife of Daniel McGowan. “We wanted to connect with the general public about the possible prosecution for thought crime, and there could come a time when people are arrested for not agreeing with the government”.

Synan hopes in the future to “build on this, and to connect to people outside who already know about this. We also hope to link up with other environmental, animal welfare, human rights and other mainstream organizations”.

National Lawyers Guild members stood and observed the demonstration, which was being watched by about 7 members of the NYPD. On November 27, 2007 the NLG released a statement about the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007,” saying “the National Lawyers Guild and the Society of American Law Teachers strongly oppose this legislation because it will likely lead to the criminalization of beliefs, dissent and protest, and invite more draconian surveillance of Internet communications”.

The National Lawyers Guild has been at the forefront of legal challenges to the Green Scare, releasing a statement that said “the National Lawyers Guild condemns the FBI’s Operation Backfire “green scare” tactics as an unconstitutional abuse of authority. The FBI has engaged in an orchestrated campaign of issuing subpoenas to environmental activists, conducting large scale roundups of activists, levying unprecedented penalties for property crimes, and using threats of severe sanctions to leverage fear of conviction and force individuals to turn state’s evidence.”

Activists held signs saying “Are You A Terrorist? Congress Thinks So” and “Stop the Homegrown Terrorism Act”. Members of Friends and Family of Daniel McGowan connected the Green Scare (and Daniel’s arrest) with the legislation recently passed in the House and is pending in the Senate, which is the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”.

The fliers passed out stated that the “vague terms used in the bill…leaves the bill open to broad interpretation and abuse that would allow, for example, protestors who block an intersection to be prosecuted as terrorists…”

Andrew from Friends and Family of Daniel McGowan said that the bill’s “language is vague and it opens with information about ‘extremist belief systems’, and it is a very vague definition”. There’s a lot of similarity with the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, like overly vague language and using ‘terrorist’ language. It misdirects people from a real or perceived threat of terrorism to instead focus on dissent and thought that otherwise would be considered non-criminal and non-terrorist acts or actions”.