Skip to comments.Radical environmentalist sentenced 1 year, 1 day for speech
Posted on 03/27/2008 2:01:04 PM PDT by SmithL
A radical environmentalist was sentenced Thursday to one year and one day in federal prison for speaking publicly about how to make a homemade Molotov cocktail.
Rodney Coronado apologized for his past use of violent tactics in the name of animal rights and the environment, and said he had cut his ties to groups, including the Earth Liberation Front.
"I have done things in my past that I now regret," Coronado told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller. He said he wanted to serve his sentence and then get on with his life in Tucson, Ariz.
The 41-year-old activist pleaded guilty in December to distributing information on destructive devices during an August 2003 speech about militant environmental activism at a community center in San Diego.
According to an account and photos of the speech posted on the Internet, Coronado demonstrated how to build a crude ignition device using a plastic jug filled with gasoline and oil.
The speech was given just hours after an arson fire destroyed a San Diego condominium project that was under construction a few miles away. A banner at the site indicated that the ELF claimed responsibility for the $50 million blaze, which at the time was the costliest act of eco-terrorism in U.S. history.
Coronado, who once acted as a spokesman for the group, arrived in San Diego after the fire broke out and has never been linked to the blaze.
Prosecutors accused Coronado, a longtime environmental activist renowned for helping sink whaling ships and destroying mink farms and animal research labs, of wanting people to follow in his footsteps.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
He caught a break.
In federal court, a sentence of one year or less must be served in full. So, if you're sentenced to a year, you serve 365 days. Sentences over a year are subject to reduction for good behavior in prison, up to 15% of the sentence. So potentially, on a year-and-a-day sentence, he may serve as little as 10 months and change.
Coronado previously served nearly five years in federal prison for his involvement in a 1992 arson at a Michigan State University mink research facility.
He also served eight months in prison in Arizona
Did he advocate or incite the use of the device?
I wasn't aware you could be convicted for giving instructions on how to make “a destructive device”.
So now knowledge is legal or illegal?
(Of course I don't feel bad for the ecopuss. I just think this is a horrid precedence.)
I believe this turkey is only sorry he was prosecuted and sentenced for this. His past tells me his being in prison didn’t change him and he isn’t about to give up his radicalism.
Rodney Coronado demonstrating how to construct a firebomb
I have a copy of my fathers Coast Guard “blue jackets” manual with instructions on how to make napalm from gasoline and a bar of soap. Is it illegal for me to sell it in a garage sale now?
Is this post illegal because of the above mentioned “instructions”?
Good point. If he added “...and these can be used to burn down developments, which is a good idea”, it gets closer to incitement. If he said, “...so go out and burn stuff down,” that’s a little better. What is the line, anyways?
A year and a day is a felony, though, isn’t it?
None of your examples inlcude an intended target, nor are they part of a speech specifically mentioning militant environmentalism. It’s one thing to say “here’s how to use a gun,” it’s another thing to say “we should destroy all animal researchers, now here’s how to use a gun to do it.” Given the title of the speech and circumstances surrounding it, it’s pretty clear that this terrorist’s little “demonstration” falls under the latter category.
One more thing, I could be wrong but it seems as if the charge against him was for “demonstrating the use” of a destructive device. In the picture we SEE an IED of some sort: it’s probably not armed, but it is assembled. It may be legal to write a cookbook on HOW to build such a thing, but it’s quite another to actually construct a bomb, whether you use it or not. Given his past convictions I highly doubt he could have had a license to build such a thing, let alone demonstrate how to cook it up in a militant version of Emeril Live.
I’m really not against you here.
It’s just from what little the article offers it frightens me on many fronts.
I hope the perp is convicted on every crime he’s ever committed.
Can the military instructor at demo school be indicted for teaching me, in great detail, how to do these things?
I would think a military instructor would be teaching you how to disarm an IED, not how to build one. They’ll probably teach you how one works, but not necessarily how to build one for scratch (not saying you couldn’t figure it out for the most part just knowing how it works). They also have the legal authority to lob hand grenades on training grounds, something your average citizen isn’t allowed to do, so I don’t think it’s a particularly good analogy. According to the picture we’re talking about a hands-on building session here, not just abstract objective-devoid remarks about how you “could” build one.
“I would think a military instructor would be teaching you how to disarm an IED, not how to build one.”
You would be very, very, wrong.
The army also tought me how to manufacture large quantities of explosives, how to modify weapons to fir full auto, and a number of other neat things alont those lines.
Is this special forces training or what? Good to know, but whatever the case, your average civie can’t even own a grenade, let alone practice lobbing them so I really don’t think the analogy works on its premise.
No, just normal infantry training. I was just a dumb grunt, not some Green Beret.
You sure a civilian can’t own a grenade? People are fond of saying (a’la the Heller threads), no one can own a tank or artillery piece -
But, in fact, you can own a tank. Legal just about everywhere. Same with an artillery piece.
Shooting it, now, might violate an ordinance or two...
It’s illegal to describe how to make a molotov cocktail now? Wow. Welcome to Oceania.
I don’t think so. But he CAN be thanked sincerely for the improvement he made in you.
I did thank him, when my ears stopped bleeding.
(Do you know, if you pile up enough explosives, you can make a mushroom cloud? No I don’t care who you are, that is FUN!)
A tank I can believe, even an empty grenade casing I can believe, but live explosive ordinace? As far as I know “destructive devices” in the form of bombs, grenades, and the like are generally not allowed. It would absolutely have to be registered with the Federal government by filing ATF Form 1, and I don’t think they will grant permission for that sort of thing.
“Proper storage is a must, as shelf-life can be adversely affected by extremes of temperature and humidity. “
I don’t know from ATF forms - I am not in the business.
But certainly, companies all over the US possess explosives, from large mining concerns right down to farmers trying to remove a rock or tree stump.
Absolutely, ATF regulations I’ve read said that companies can receive licenses to do so and once authorized require less identification than a civie to do so. My point is just that you can’t willy nilly go on a bomb making hands-on demonstration without having a license to build it (though you probably don’t need a specific license if you’re a military instructor, granted). I highly doubt this criminal had a license.
Ok, his crime was not the speech, but the actual construction of an incindiary device during the speech?
Because, from the article, he seems to have been sentenced for daring to speak.
Which is WAY more frightening that the widdle molotov coctail he constructed (as in the pic).
I read elsewhere that his charge was “demonstrating the use of a destructive device,” which would seem to indicate an action that’s only possible if there’s an actual device of some kind involved, something that would fall under the jurisdiction of the National Firearms Act, and probably other local ordinances too.
Hmmmmm. What if he used water and grape coolaide to demonstrate, and said, “Use gas in place of the water, use...”
How about that term, “Demonstrating the USE of...”
Is that like when the instructor said, “Put the sticky-bomb on THIS part of the tank...”
I am really uncomfortable with this idea of convicting people for talking.
Placing bombs, sure - hang’em high.
But discussing them? I find that scary.
Generally I agree, as long as the discussion doesn’t have a terroristic objective (put tab a into slot b to kill infidels), though I think that given his background, the focus of the talk which was there for a specific terrorist group (the ALF, ELF, or whatever), it warrents wiretapping and a whole slew of other surveillance on those attending. I don’t know how operational his demonstration device was, but even immitation bombs can be quite disruptive if placed in a public area and may not be legal for public display. I don’t know all the details so I can definately see both sides here, and perhaps I’m being too paranoid. I work in a place where even a single itty bitty cocktail in the wrong place would cause rather spectacular secondaries and a nice cloud of toxic gas to kill anyone nearby. No, I don’t think that makes thought crimes ok, but this treads the line between thought and action.
I agree - it is a fine line.