Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege

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Overview

At a time when everyone is going green, most people are unaware that the FBI is using anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists. Here is a guided tour into an underground world of radical activism and an introduction to the shadowy figures behind the headlines. But here also is the story of how everyday people are prevented from speaking up for what they believe in. Like the Red Scare, this "Green Scare" is about fear and intimidation, and Will Potter outlines the political, legal, and public relations...

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Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege

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Overview

At a time when everyone is going green, most people are unaware that the FBI is using anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists. Here is a guided tour into an underground world of radical activism and an introduction to the shadowy figures behind the headlines. But here also is the story of how everyday people are prevented from speaking up for what they believe in. Like the Red Scare, this "Green Scare" is about fear and intimidation, and Will Potter outlines the political, legal, and public relations strategies that threaten even acts of nonviolent civil disobedience with the label of "eco-terrorism."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his second book on the environment (after The Next Eco-Warriors), Potter warns that the U.S. government is using post-9/11 anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists and animal right activists (in some cases for doing nothing but speaking up). After being threatened with a domestic terrorist label for leafleting, Potter turned to uncovering the "Green Scare" and details here the story of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and controversial protests that resulted in severe jail sentences for participants. Tracing funds from animal-exploiting corporations to Congress and the passing of the big business-friendly Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Potter reports on an increased usage of the terrorism enhancement in court cases. Citing Freedom of Information Act sources, he reveals that the U.S. government has constructed secret prisons, or Communication Management Units (CMUs), to house suspected terrorists in conditions even more extreme than those of Supermax facilities (which house Zacarias Moussaoui and Eric Rudolph, among others). Potter warns of the crumbling of "the legal wall separating 'terrorist' from 'dissident' or 'undesirable,'" and concludes his account with a call to action and a decry of the injustice that results in the "terrorist" label being put on those who threaten American corporate interests. Alarming.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher

"If you’ve ever supported an animal welfare or environmental organization, you too may be a suspected terrorist: That’s the chilling take-away from Green Is the New Red, a thoughtfully alarming examination of the U.S. government’s post-9/11 domestic terror probes, which have inordinately targeted progressive-leaning activist groups. Author Will Potter, a journalist whose own low-level activism ran up against Homeland Security, delves deep into the social, political, legal—and, importantly, ethical—issues raised by this new war on 'ecoterrorism.'" —Utne Reader

"In this hard-hitting debut, journalist Potter likens the Justice Department targeting of environmentalists today to McCarthyism in the 1950s. . . A shocking exposé of judicial overreach." —Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)

"Potter (a contributor to The Next Eco-Warriors) warns that the U.S. government is using post-9/11 anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists and animal right activists (in some cases for doing nothing but speaking up). After being threatened with a domestic terrorist label for leafleting, Potter turned to uncovering the "Green Scare" and details here the story of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and controversial protests that resulted in severe jail sentences for participants. Tracing funds from animal-exploiting corporations to Congress and the passing of the big business-friendly Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Potter reports on an increased usage of the terrorism enhancement in court cases. Citing Freedom of Information Act sources, he reveals that the U.S. government has constructed secret prisons, or Communication Management Units (CMUs), to house suspected terrorists in conditions even more extreme than those of Supermax facilities (which house Zacarias Moussaoui and Eric Rudolph, among others). Potter warns of the crumbling of 'the legal wall separating 'terrorist' from ‘dissident' or ‘undesirable,' and concludes his account with a call to action and a decry of the injustice that results in the 'terrorist' label being put on those who threaten American corporate interests. Alarming." —Publishers Weekly

"While the link between separating recyclables and hijacking planes is far from obvious, the labeling of 'eco-terrorism' has been applied to many aspects of this social movement. Named the 'No. 1 domestic terrorism threat' by FBI deputy assistant director John Lewis six years ago, Potter argues that the fear tactics involved in applying such an evocative term to radical activism is an attempt to intimidate that mirrors the Red Scare of the mid-20th century (which was in fact the second wave of the government's anti-Communist focus)." —Austin Examiner

Indie Street
At times, the reader might mistake this work of nonfiction for a gripping crime novel, only to remember that everything in here is shockingly true. It is in this way that Potter effectively drives his points home and proves his overarching thesis, that the Justice Department’s targeting of environmentalists is near identical to 1950s McCarthyism.
Urchin Movement
An up-to-date crash-course overview of the history of radical environmentalism as well as a study on the scare tactics that the government, the CIA, and several multi-million dollar corporations use against environmental activists, which share certain similarities with tactics used during McCarthyism and the Red Scare. This book is about the Green Scare – this book is at times scary, at times hopeful, and at all times important.
Austin Examiner
While the link between separating recyclables and hijacking planes is far from obvious, the labeling of 'eco-terrorism' has been applied to many aspects of this social movement. Named the 'No. 1 domestic terrorism threat' by FBI deputy assistant director John Lewis six years ago, Potter argues that the fear tactics involved in applying such an evocative term to radical activism is an attempt to intimidate that mirrors the Red Scare of the mid-20th century (which was in fact the second wave of the government's anti-Communist focus).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872865389
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 4/12/2011
  • Pages: 301
  • Sales rank: 152,247
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Will Potter is an award-winning independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., who focuses on “eco-terrorism,” the environmental and animal rights movements, and civil liberties post-9/11. Potter has written for publications including The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News and the Vermont Law Review, and has testified before the U.S. Congress about his reporting. Previously, he worked at the American Civil Liberties Union on policy issues including the Patriot Act.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Post-9/11 Activism

    This thoroughly researched and unsettling investigation should be required reading for every American. Will Potter weaves personal anecdotes with cold truths to produce an even-handed look at the deterioration of civil liberties in the USA after 9/11, particularly the terrorism narrative and hiw we contexualize it today.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011

    Great Book!

    Green is The New Red by Will Potter tells the story of Daniel McGowen, an eco-activist. At first we see Daniel as a passionate young man, born and bred in New York, living in a typical American family. He goes on to graduate college with the normal every day passions of a budding adult. It is one fateful day that he encounters an activist organization in New York City that is advocating for the environment and against corporate pollution. McGowen quickly becomes an instrumental member of the group and from here his passion for the natural world is ignited. Fast forward to present day: Daniel is awaiting trial on eco-terrorist charges which can bring a hefty federal prison sentence and a designation as a domestic terrorist. It is not so much what McGowen and members of The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are accused of, rather it is how the United States Justice system has been politicized by a corporate agenda which finds the destruction of property to be the highest crime designation while murder and the terrorization and violence to human beings are not even listed in its rolls of what constitutes terror on US soil. The reader is shocked to learn that those who advocate for the environment and for the safety of animals are listed as the number one domestic threat to United States citizens. Potter does not sugar coat the crimes that McGowen and his cohorts did commit and the reader is left to wrestle with the moral dilemma of this action against the utter powerlessness that anyone has against big corporate interests. The question is proportionality of punishment to the crime committed. The arson attacks were carefully planned so that no human or animal life would be harmed, so the designation of "terrorist" and all that this entails appears to be heavy handed at best. Daniel is eventually sentenced incurring the full force of the political agenda that has made him an "example." He is designated a "domestic terrorist", sentenced to a special, top-secret prison designed for "threats" such as Daniel. The irony is that others who terrorize and kill human populations under religious and political ideologies are regarded as "lone bad apples under the law" and ignored in this terrorism context, while a young man whose only crime was "chalking" a sidewalk in front of an animal testing laboratory is now sitting in federal prison with the most heinous life changing designation haunting the rest of his life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    An essential guide to understanding green activism in these times

    This is an important and interesting book about how far overboard some politicians have gone to demonize animal rights and other environmental activists. Free speech, such as demonstrations and the reporting of animal abuse, is not terrorism--nor is animal rescue and (in the extreme cases) vandalism. When laws are broken by the greens, it is simply not on the scale of bombings intended to kill people, or the murder of doctors who provide legal reproductive services to women. No one has ever been killed or injured as a result of green activism.

    Comparing the fear of green activism to the "red scare" of several decades ago, Will Potter shows how some in government justify the taking of civil liberties, as their counterparts did then. In the same way, guilt by association is often assumed, and demonized activists essentially becoming political outcasts or prisoners.

    My concern is that muzzling speech, and labeling activists falsely as terrorists, will undermine all rational efforts to save our species (and others) from extinction--in light of worsening environmental crises. It would seem at this time that concern for the environment should be paramount.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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