Eco-saboteur Daniel McGowan, the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary film If a Tree Falls, will be released from the secretive prison where he has been held for the past several years on Dec. 11. The Civil Liberties Defense Center, which has worked to expose and oppose the Communications Management Units where McGowan was held, is sponsoring a fundraising event at Cozmic Friday, Nov. 23, support to help McGowan after he is released.
McGowan was charged in federal court with arson, property destruction and conspiracy for his participation in ecologically motivated arsons in 2001 with the Earth Liberation Front in Oregon. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, and Judge Ann Aiken applied a “terrorism enhancement” to his sentence. Many of McGowan’s years in prison were spent in CMUs in Terre Haute, Ind., and Marion, Ill., where his communications were restricted and monitored and he was not allowed to physically come in contact with his visitors.
McGowan’s wife Jenny Synan says that since entering prison in July 2007, McGowan has lost around 40 pounds, none of his pre-prison clothes will fit him and he will need professional attire for when he starts work in New York City. She says, “We hope that money and gift cards raised at this time will help ease him back into the outside world, with the least amount of stress possible.”
The Cozmic event will feature a screening of If a Tree Falls. The film focuses on McGowan and features many local Eugene activists, including videographer Tim Lewis and attorney Lauren Regan of the CLDC. The event, which starts at 7 pm, costs $7 and will also feature the bands the Alder Street All Stars and Closely Watched Trains.
Also in civil liberties news, at 6 pm Tuesday, Nov. 27, the CLDC, the Survival Center and the Cascadia Forest Defenders are hosting a “resist the grand juries teach-in” at the Bascom- Tykeson Room, Eugene Public Library. The “know your rights training” will be followed by a panel and Q&A with previous grand jury resisters.