Wednesday, March 11, 2015

After Beating FBI Entrapment, Environmental Activist Eric McDavid Looks Forward

Entrapment: The act of government agents or officials that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit - West's Encyclopedia of American Law

After serving nine years in prison, Eric McDavid was freed on January 8, 2015,  when it was revealed - through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)-released court documents pored over by his supporters - that the government withheld documents from him that supported his defense claim that he was entrapped by the FBI.

McDavid, who identifies as an anarchist and an environmental activist, was charged with "conspiracy to use fire or explosives to damage corporate and government property" in May 2008 and sentenced to 19 years and 7 months in prison.

McDavid is a victim of a long history and concerted effort by federal and state entities in the United States to target anarchists and other radicals. An early example of surveillance and harassment against birth control advocates, anarchists and radicals being targeted by the US government dates back to the Comstock Act. Passed in 1873, Comstock Law allowed the US Postal Service to spy on mail and report "suspicious" or "obscene" mail to state entities. The proponent of the law, Anthony Comstock, was appointed as a special agent to the US Postal Service from 1873 to 1915 where he utilized entrapment by writing to doctors and posing as a young pregnant woman.


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