FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Persecution of Rod Coronado

Long-time earth and animal liberation activist Rod Coronado has plenty of street cred, but apparently he wasn’t hip to the perils of Facebook. In early August, the seasoned activist was sentenced to four months in prison for violating the terms of his probation. The charge: “friending” a figure the FBI describes as, “a well-known environmental activist who has a history of condoning direct action and violence as a means of protest or demonstration.” That activist is Mike Roselle, the author of Tree Spiker, a confrontational and outspoken opponent of destructive environmental practices, from mountaintop removal to deforestation, who claims to have been arrested at least 50 times.

According to the Missoula Independent, Coronado’s probation officer, Rhonda J. Wallock, reported that the activist violated the terms of his supervision by becoming Roselle’s “friend” and for using an unauthorized computer. “In monitoring Mr. Coronado’s Facebook account,” the court document reads, “this officer found Michael Roselle to be a “friend” of Mr. Coronado.”

Well, yes. But apparently it was Roselle who asked Coronado to be his friend and not Coronado who approached Roselle. Moreover, they had been friends for some time, just not Facebook friends. As Roselle explained, “I sent him a friend request because someone had suggested that I friend him and given that I’ve known Rod for quite a while, I did. I guess he hit the accept button.”

The irony is that a couple of monkeywrenchers, each with a long list of arrests and convictions, have now been nabbed as friends. For Coronado, it is without a doubt the most prosaic charge he has ever faced.

For years, Coronado was the unofficial bad boy of the radical environmental movement. As a teenager he cut his teeth with the now well known Sea Shepherd Society and, in 1986, participated in a risky act of eco-sabotage: taking aim at Iceland’s refusal to conform to an international ban on whaling, Coronado and a partner destroyed the Hvalfjordur whaling station and sank two of the country’s whaling vessels, causing some $2 million in damage. Coronado went on to wage an underground war against the fur industry, targeting research facilities and fur farms across North America. (His story, and the story of the modern American environmental movement, is told in Dean Kuipers recent book, Operation Bite Back: Rod Coronado’s War to Save American Wilderness).

Coronado was a divisive figure: his use of arson and increasingly radical stance alienated even those who sympathized with his views. In 1995, Coronado was arrested for his role in an arson attack on research facilities at Michigan State University. Since then he has moved back and forth between prison and some form of house arrest or parole. He has done time for allegedly demonstrating the use of an incendiary device, dismantling mountain lion traps, and destruction of government property. In 2006 he distanced himself from the direct action tactics of his youth and said, in an open letter that, “no longer do I personally choose to represent the cause of peace and compassion in that way.”

If Facebook “friending” seems too tame for such a serious list of protest-related arrests, Roselle has an edgier way of looking at it: “When friends are outlawed, only outlaws will have friends.”

ADAM FEDERMAN is a contributing writer to Earth Island Journal. His last article for the magazine was on illegal logging in Siberia. He can be reached at: adamfederman@gmail.com

More articles by:

Adam Federman is a contributing editor at Earth Island Journal.He is the recipient of a Polk Grant for Investigative Reporting, a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, and a Russia Fulbright Fellowship. You can find more of his work at adamfederman.com.

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail