Support Political Prisoner Marie Mason

Steven Katsineris with a piece on a US political prisoner. Steven Katsineris is an Australian free-lance writer of articles on Palestine, Cyprus and the rest of the Middle East region, political prisoners and human rights, environmental and social issues. He has been actively involved in the Palestine solidarity movement for over forty years. Steven lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia. The article initially featured earlier this year in Green Left Weekly, on 3 June 2013.

I care deeply about my fellow human being and the other living creatures with whom we share this planet. I felt responsible to take extreme action in the hope that it would save lives and halt deadly practices that directly threatened living beings and contributed to the degradation of the environment. I thought that what I was doing would shine a light on these dangerous policies so that an informed public dialogue would ensure and policies would be changed - Marie Mason’s sentencing statement to the court, February, 5, 2009

Marie Mason (52) is a loving mother of two children, a long time activist in environmental and labour movements in the USA, an artist, gardener, musician, writer, poet, an Earth First! Organiser, a volunteer for a free healthcare collective, a worker for numerous charitable groups and a political prisoner in the USA. 

In 1999 and 2000 several acts of property damage and arson claimed by the Earth Liberation Front were carried out by Marie Mason and her then husband, Frank Ambrose. No one was injured in any of these protest actions. Afterwards Frank Ambrose was arrested by federal authorities and agreed to become a government informant.  He gave them information that then led to the arrest of Marie on March 10, 2008 by FBI agents. Marie was charged with involvement in two attacks, one on an office at Michigan State University where research into GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops was being conducted by Monsanto and the other was damage to commercial logging equipment.

After being threatened with the prospect of Life (this means life in the USA) in prison, Marie accepted a plea bargain. She was sentenced on February 5, 2009 to just less than 22 years in prison. This is the longest sentence of any environmentalist, “Green Scare” political prisoner in the US. Green Scare is the name given to the recent arrests of environmentalist and animal liberation rights activists who have been charged with acts of economic sabotage against the property of unethical companies. Federal authorities have frequently sought excessive sentences, often Life in prison and labelled these environmental radicals as terrorists, despite the glaring facts that no one has been killed or injured in any of these acts. An appeal for a reduction in sentence by Marie was denied in 2010.

Marie Mason’s supporters say the case represents a political persecution, with overtly long sentences given to individuals who commit actions against the property of big companies and is part of a “Green Scare” campaign by the government authorities and large corporations to encourage fear and unleash increasing repression against dissidents. These laws are being used disproportionately against anarchists, socialists, radical environmentalists and animal liberationists. The acts of sabotage by militant activists have been redefined as “terrorism”, despite the fact people are not terrorised or injured. Yet domestic terrorism charges are rarely used against those who assassinate abortion doctors, or commit racist or homophobic crimes. These cases are also being used to attack and erode basic civil rights in the USA.

So, while Marie Mason languishes in jail for 22 years for property damage, vile companies like Monsanto still continue their horrid business. Monsanto has a sordid history of profiting from making poisonous and deadly chemical products, such as Agent Orange, PCB’s and other Dioxins.  

Agent Orange is a toxic chemical herbicide, which was sprayed over 10% of forests and fields of southern Vietnam by the US Military for ten years. Over 20 million gallons was sprayed from 1961 to 1971. AO was more than 50 times more concentrated than the normal agricultural herbicides and this extreme intensity had a devastating effect on the affected areas, destroying all plants, as well as having adverse health effects on people and animals.  The Vietnamese Red Cross and other organisations have recorded that over 4.8 million were exposed to AO and this led to over 400,000 deaths, 500,000 birth defects, as well as miscarriages, cancers, mental illness and other disabilities as a result of its use. Even today, unfortunately, the legacy of the Vietnam War is still a horrific reality for millions of suffering Vietnamese people, other victims and their children, as the damaging effects of AO continue generation after generation. The use of AO was later declared to be in violation of the Geneva Contract. And Vietnamese victims have received no compensation. 

PCB’s are toxic, chemical pollutants that cause cancer in animals and also raised grave concerns about human health effects, due to it being found in chickens, eggs, fish, shellfish, and other food stuffs, as well as being discovered in seabirds and contaminating soil and water. PCB production was banned by the US Congress in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001. 

So, while people like Marie suffer long terms in jail for minor acts of resistance (in which no one was hurt) against GM Company Monsanto, it and other despicable corporations like it continue to churn out chemical poisons, polluting the earth and producing engineered GM foods. And yet these real criminals go unpunished.

Marie has been getting support from various individuals and political organisations, including Earth First! Anarchist Black Cross and the Industrial Workers of the World. Also, political activist and indie singer/songwriter David Rovics, has been conducting with other artists benefit concerts to raise funds to meet Marie’s needs in prison and to publicise her situation. Let’s make sure we don’t forget Marie and the other political prisoners, they deserve our support and solidarity. 

For those who would like to support Marie, by writing cards or letters, her address is- Marie Mason, #04672-061, FMC Caswell, Federal Medical Center, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX. USA. 76127.
Because of the conditions of these political prisoners imprisonment, being held in isolated cells, mail from supporters is often the only form of communication with other human beings. All letters must be in English and you must use a first and last name on letters and cards when writing. Please also include a return address on the envelope. It is also a good idea that you put Marie’s name and prisoner number on each piece of correspondence as well, as the prison tends to discard the envelope and then may “lose” track of who the letter or card is going to. Letters that mention other eco-political prisoners may be rejected. Just be aware that mail is being read by prison officials and so be sensitive what you write about. Her birthday is January 26 (born 1962). Further information on Marie’s case and situation can be found at –

“It’s been too many years away from the world now for me. I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half that I’ve been living in this tiny little isolated unit here at Caswell. But nothing’s changed for me; my heart’s still wild and free and full of so much love and strength, when I feel connected to all of you still out there fighting for the Earth. Thank you. Until All Are Free. Marie.” Marie Mason in a letter to Earth First! Journal, 10 April, 2012.

Free Marie Mason and all US Political Prisoners!

Steven Katsineris May, 2013.

1 comment:

  1. irish Americans will never criticise their militaries genocides and cover up's. They have always ignored them.