Convicted 'Eco-Terrorist' Released From Prison After Discovery Of 'Thousands Of Pages' Evidence Withheld By The FBI

from the Build-your-own-terrorist!-Instructions-not-included! dept

Ladies and gentlemen: your Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Eric McDavid was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for alleged eco-terrorism, becoming the first person ever indicted for ELF (Earth Liberation Front)-related charges. WAS. He’s now free to continue his interrupted life, thanks to the FBI’s dishonesty.

Then, the government changed its mind, conceding that thousands of pages of evidence that should have been given to McDavid’s defense attorney years ago – including love notes to a young woman who turned out to be an FBI plant – had instead been secretly held in an FBI file in Sacramento until recently. The best course of action, the government ultimately decided, was to set McDavid free.

“I’ve never heard or seen of anything like this,” said U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr., who originally sentenced McDavid. The judge ordered him released in accord with an unusual agreement between prosecutors and his appellate attorneys.

The judge demanded answers from the prosecution as to how this could have happened. From what’s reported by the Sacramento Bee, it appears those answers — like the previously-missing evidence — were nowhere to be found.

“I sat through the 10-day trial of Mr. McDavid,” a clearly exasperated England said, sometimes stopping to hold his head in his left hand.

“I know he’s not necessarily a choirboy, but he doesn’t deserve to go through this, either. It’s not fair.”

Officials from the US Attorney’s office joined Assistant US Attorney Andre Espinosa, but the brain trust came up with nothing.

Espinosa and John Vincent, chief of the U.S. attorney’s criminal division, said the documents had remained in the FBI’s possession in a file in Sacramento.

“We don’t know exactly why they weren’t turned over,” Vincent told the judge.

Great answer. Even better, the government contends that even if it had managed to turn over the evidence in a timely fashion, it still probably could have secured a conviction. But actions speak louder than this attempt to wedge an undeserved last word in sideways. McDavid is a free man after pleading guilty to a single conspiracy charge. And even that’s questionable. From what’s been turned over, it appears McDavid was another one of the FBI’s “homegrown terrorists.”

Despite Thursday’s guilty plea, his supporters say McDavid was never guilty of anything more serious than falling for a comely 18-year-old woman he met at an Iowa meeting in 2004, a woman who later prodded him to take violent action against government targets with promises that they would later consummate a romantic relationship.

The woman, named in court documents and at the trial only as “Anna,” turned out to be an FBI informant and played a critical role in McDavid’s arrest, as well as his release Thursday… Court documents spell out in detail how “Anna” provided money, transportation, housing and food to McDavid and his two co-defendants over an 18-month period, evidence his lawyers say shows the entire case was about entrapment rather than stopping terrorist attacks.

McDavid’s lawyer got in his own last word, a bit more deserved than the US Attorney General’s office.

“I hope she’s not ruining someone else’s innocent life.”

Keep hope alive. This is has been the main component of the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts: plots designed, built and put into motion by FBI informants and undercover agents, utilizing whatever weak-willed or weak-minded individuals they happen to talk into participating. Feeling any safer, America? Self-motivated terrorists roam free while the FBI plays dress-up with the easily-flattered and easily-duped.

The three targeted in this investigation were urged on by “Anna.” None of them had previous convictions. The arrests followed the purchase of household chemicals, supposedly for bomb-making. This was the culmination of a two-year “investigation” during which “Anna” repeatedly pushed the three men towards bombing targets in the area. Much of what was presented to the jurors was personal testimony by Anna that could not be corroborated by video or audio recordings (Anna frequently wore a wire and many of the meetings took place in her cabin, which had surveillance cameras installed). So, the FBI presented plenty of hearsay while withholding thousands of pages of evidence. Our words against yours.

In the end, “our word” wasn’t enough. McDavid — more lovestruck fool than eco-terrorist — is free and the world is no more dangerous than it would have been if he was incarcerated. Any bets that the FBI will be more forthcoming in the future? I’m guessing it won’t. Why should it? All it lost here was someone it had groomed for arrest. It didn’t lose a threat, or a public enemy. Win a few, lose a few. It will continue to play terrorist charades because it pays as much as real investigative work, but has a much higher chance of success.

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Comments on “Convicted 'Eco-Terrorist' Released From Prison After Discovery Of 'Thousands Of Pages' Evidence Withheld By The FBI”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Believe it’s been a few years, but a good while back there was a case where one agency or another was trying to rile up some muslims in a mosque so they could ‘catch’ some ‘terrorists’. The guy they used was so obvious the people at the mosque did the natural thing: they reported him as a potential threat.

Guess what happened next. No really, have at it, you’ll never guess correctly.

The ones who reported the agent ended up being investigated, and had the agency they reported the ‘potential terrorist’ to attempt to blackmail them into becoming informants.

So no, they probably wouldn’t have left her out to dry, more likely they would have attempted to use the man’s interactions with him in an attempt to blackmail him into doing something.

Cal (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Patrick Henry: “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

And he also said: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”

Funny how educated and thoughtful our forefathers were compared to us today that today their words are still true.

It is always up to us, “We the people of the United States of America. Always.

Thomas Jefferson: “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

Thomas Jefferson: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”

“The people or sovereign are not bound by general word in statutes, restrictive of prerogative right, title or interest, unless expressly named. Acts of limitation do not bind the King or the people. The people have been ceded all the rights of the King, the former sovereign,…..It is a maxim of the common law, that when an act is made for the common good and to prevent injury, the King shall be bound, though not named, but when a statute is general and prerogative right would be divested or taken from the King (or the people) he shall not be bound.” People v Herkimer, 4 Cowen (NY) 345, 348 (1825)

Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837: “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.”

Keroberos (profile) says:

What really worries me about this crap is…What happens when these supposed terrorists finally get out of prison? Their mild dislike of the government will have most likely have turned into a burning hatred–and they’re gonna start looking for an outlet.

The US government is turning into the best terrorist recruitment program ever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Begs the question, how many OTHER terror plots might they planning, making reality, right now, where none might have happened, purposefully risking lives of the public
Are these the “terror plots” they suposedly claim to have stopped, the ones they dont make public, the ones they enable?
How many have they manipulated…….how many might have succeded
………this is’nt the first time ive heard them do this

How anyone can claim these people good guys is baffeling…….oh im sure there are good people there , maybe one or two with moral honest ideals and an enlightened instead of a shallow understanding of freedom, probably just enough to justify these “good” guys……..which unfortunatly makes their worth, worthless, unless they point their efforts specifically at the real problems, themselves

Otherwise…….without leaders

Anonymous Coward says:

How did all this withheld evidence ever come to light? Did McDavid’s attorney file a freedom of information act or something?

The most surprising part of this story to me, is that this evidence ever saw the light of day and wasn’t destroyed before, during, or after the trial.

The fact the FBI withheld evidence in the first place doesn’t surprise me. We all know about parallel construction being used to block discovery. What shocks me is how sloppy the FBI was in failing to destroy evidence during the discovery phase.

Anonymous Coward says:

We have heard over and over across the years of one domestic terrorist after another, set up, given plans on how to do it, give a fake network of encouragement to commit a deed such as bombing, given the fake bomb, and pretty much hand guided right up to the last the hour. Now a bit of the cover that has been so jealously guarded has shown through.

There seems to be a very good reason why all these national agencies are worried about their private secret methods being revealed to the public. It’s not because the terrorists would learn how they do but rather they would wind up with their victims walking off as this one did.

Just yesterday, the UK agency GCHQ was claiming more are about and we need more privacy busting laws. The NSA, the FBI, and the CIA seem to be working from the same ‘how to’ books.

As with this case, when the real facts get revealed, it doesn’t look so pretty as the claims does it?

Then there is the matter of the plea bargain. A justice system so set up that the easy way out is years behind jail, confessing to a lessor charge, just so you don’t get decades instead of years for something that many didn’t do. No damn wonder or jails are over crowded and we are the global leader in prisoner population. We’ve found the real Gulag and it is us, over just such a warped system.

Anonymous Coward says:

With liberty and justice for all? Meanwhile Edward Snowden is still holed up over in Russia, what is wrong with this picture? The enemy within, sounds like J Edgar rose from the dead and is back in charge over at the Bureau. Be careful U.S government, you may awaken the sleeping tiger, that tiger being We The People…

Anonymous Coward says:

These kind of FBI sting operatons are typically run on prominent political dissidents that the FBI has determined need to be sent to prison, often for the “crime” of refusing to become FBI informants themselves.

It’s a safe bet to conclude that Eric McDavid’s group, Earth Liberation Front, was so thoroughly infiltrated by government agents and informants that the FBI literally ran the shop floor. That’s been the case for most US-based dissident groups at least since infamous FBI director J. Edgar Hoover ordered his agency to focus the agency’s resources on infiltrating Negro civil-rights groups and anti-Vietnam-war protest organizations.

GEMont says:

How to manufacture enemies and frighten friends.

I notice that once again there is no mention of how many millions of tax payer dollars this new fake terrorist scam actually cost to run.

How much does the government pay these professional terrorist creation and entrapment experts annually, for example?

Do they get danger pay when actually in the field with a recruited and manufactured terrorist felon-to-be?

I would love to see an accounting of any one of these fake Terrorist PR scams, although I think this one would very likely be a truly eye-opening example of exactly how the public’s tax money is being wasted in an attempt to keep the US public’s fear of the Terrorist Bogeyman alive and well and in the news.

It is precisely this kind of sleight-of-hand deception that proves the Muslim (this year) Terrorist Menace is nothing more than a manufactured psi-ops scare tactic, designed to facilitate the legal theft of US tax dollars and the elimination of US citizen rights, for fun and profit.

You are being managed.
And you are paying the tab as well.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: There, but for the grace of God, go I.

“So, nobody. QED.”

Well, nobody corporeal certainly.

Assuming such a non-corporeal being exists and actually does give a shit, its been around 2000 years since God did his last big “intervention”… apparently attempting to erase all life on earth to prevent sodomy, as I recall.

Let us hope that He does not attempt to “intervene” on our behalf again, by wacking the pee-pees of these obviously out-of-control sinners-in-power, as His aim is somewhat less than divinely accurate, according to the half million or so innocents the Book Of God’s Deeds on Earth lists as being slaughtered during His various attempts at instructional education of humanity.

Assuming that no such creature exists, or that if it does, He/She/It could care less about the semi-sentient bugs inhabiting this warm wet rock in space, as would seem to be the case, in that case, then the only authority supervising the people destroying the planet earth and the human race for fun and profit, would be the people destroying the planet earth and the human race for fun and profit.

And I hear tell that these billionaires and millionaires are particularly bad at self control, when it comes to limiting their accumulation of money, yachts, cocaine, bimbos and personal power.

Rumor has it that they do however think of themselves as Gods among men.

So, yeah, nobody.

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