JUST A NAME - "Press release" not meant for press?

An announcement by the Maine Global Action Network (MeGAN), went statewide last night, marked "urgent," and saying "please broadcast."

So we hope you'll forgive us for being surprised at the tone of this morning's retraction, which also went to the group's entire e-mail list, including media outlets like the Phoenix, which called the previous announcement a "press release," but then went on to say, "Unfortunately, the press has gotten ahold of it and that is very embarrassing."

The subject of the announcement is LD 1789, the anti-environmental-terrorism bill gutted by lawmakers and then passed into law. The group claimed that the law was part of a series of actions by state government "that deter the basic constitutional rights of free speech and political dissent." So it's not at all surprising that even those on the e-mail list who are not themselves affiliated with media outlets might have passed them on right away to any contacts they had.

The error is embarrassing, but the fact that the press has "gotten ahold of" a widely distributed e-mail some consider a "press release," is hardly the problem.

The retraction, and then the release, follow:

Sent: Tue 6/6/2006 10:23 AM
Subject: [Megan] press release error

Please note that the press release that includes comments on LD 1789
was released in error - it was a draft, for discussion purposes only,
and should not have been posted to this list.  Nor has it been adopted
by the Maine Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.   It contained
incorrect information and is being rewritten.  Please do not distribute
any further.  Unfortunately, the press has gotten ahold of it and that
is very embarrassing.
Lynne Williams


Sent: Monday, June 05, 2006 8:26 PM
Subject: [Megan] Urgent - please read attack on activists

Please broadcast; more info from the NLG will be sent out in the coming days


Inviting Organizations to Support Maine NLG's Statement Against Recent

Laws and Police Actions that Hinder and Discourage Free Speech


 The Maine chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild will issue a statement on Thursday, June 8, 2006 to the Maine State Attorney General and Governor

Baldacci condemning a recent pattern of laws and police actions in the State that deter the basic consitutional rights of free speech and

political dissent.

We are concerned, specifically, about the following State actions:

1. Police investigations targeting and attempting to intimidate environmental activists.

2. Recent passage of LD 1789, "An Act to Deter Environmental Terrorism in the State."

3. Jail time requested for action against a bill allowing more toxic waste to enter Maine.

 We are asking organizations across the state of Maine to sign on in support of this statement and, if possible, to join us at the June 8th

Press Conference where the statement will be publicly released.

Though recent repressive actions have been framed in environmental terms, we believe that all people and organizations concerned about social

change and the freedom of speech should be united in concern over these patterns.

We cannot separate actions in Maine against "ecoterrorism" from the larger patterns of repression and political silencing that are sweeping

the nation under the Bush regime. We see this as part of the larger "war against terrorism" that targets communities of color, immigrants and peace

activists (shown in the recent FBI investigation of Maine peace groups), and the "green scare," akin to the "red scare" of the 1950's, targeting

environmental activists across the country with Grand Jury investigations.

Please join us in protecting Maine people's right to dissent!

Further Details:

We are deeply alarmed by a pattern of governmental actions in the state that are having a "chilling effect" on constitutionally-protected free

speech. These include:

1. Police investigations targeting and attempting to intimidate environmental activists.

A recent intensive police investigation of alleged vandalism of property owned by the Plum Creek Corporation in Maine. Detectives and officers with

the Maine State Police have questioned, or attempted to question, numerous environmental activists throughout the state, linking them to the alleged

crime solely because of their opposition to Plum Creek's massive sub-division & resort development plan along wild portions of Moosehead lake.

This investigation, for a crime allegedly committed more than 8 months ago, begun in full force after Plum Creek's recent release of the second

draft of their development proposal to the Land Use Regulation Committee.

While we have no verified evidence of a connection, the overlap of circumstances is very suspicious. We believe that environmental activists

are being targeted by the investigation as a way to spread fear and silence among those who would oppose Plum Creek's disastrous plan.

2. Recent passage of LD 1789, "An Act to Deter Environmental Terrorism in the State."

This bill, signed by Governor Baldacci on May 30th, 2006, established crime of "environmental terrorism" as a Class C felony offense with a

maximum 5-year prison term and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.00. The bill reads:

"A person is guilty of environmental terrorizing if that person commits a crime of violence dangerous to human life or a crime of violence

destructive to property or business practices for the primary purpose of protesting the practices of a person or business with respect to an

environmental or natural resource issue and the result is: A. To cause injury in fact to persons or damage to property or business; or B. To

purposefully cause a significant interruption in business or loss of products that results in loss of revenues or in compensable damages."

This law is a direct assault on the ability of citizens to dissent and take ethical action against practices of environmental destruction that

endanger the health and safety of Maine citizens and future generations, and further degrade the ecosystems and biological health of our state and

world. It is the equivalent, in environmental terms, of laws passed by the Mississippi legislature in he early 1960's that increased the penalities

for people protesting the barbaric system of racial segregation.

Once again, we see the government-corporate alliance working to place profit over people and environment.

3. Jail time requested for action against a bill allowing more toxic wasteto enter Maine.

In an unprecedented move, the State of Maine is requesting jail time for Maine activist Hilary Lister's civil disobedience action in the Maine

Statehouse in March. Hilary refused to move from the balcony of the House of Representatives as part of an attempt to protest the secretive

railroading of LD 1441, a bill that increases the amount of toxic construction and demolition debris allowed into the state. Jail time has

not been sought in the past for similar actions. We see this as one more part of a trend of repression aimed at silencing vocal citizens.



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