Helen Woodson Will Say Anything to Excuse Her Violence

Someone on AR-News recently pointed to an article by convicted environmental/anti-globalist activist Helen Woodson that was originally published in the Earth First! Journal.

The person who re-posted Woodson’s article on the Guerilla News Network web site provides this bit of introductory comment,

Some interesting insights about current efforts to associate EF!, ELF, and ALF with the popular notion of “terrorism” and also with more ‘mainstream’ and pacifist collectives espousing ‘direct action’. From the Plowshares, anti-nuke, activist Helen Woodson, who was arrested in 1984 and sentenced to 18 years in prison for a non-violent protest at a nuclear missile silo. Also, current contact information to support Helen; since she was recently re-arrested and is now facing several more years of confinement.

It is fascinating how extremists like this just outright lie. If you didn’t know anything about Helen Woodson, you’d think she is some sort of pacifist.

For some reason, the GNN poster didn’t think it was relevant to point out that in addition to her sentence for using a jackhammer on a Minuteman II missile silo, Woodson is also currently in jail after being convicted of armed robbery and for threatening communication. In typical non-violent, pacifist style Woodson mailed threatening letters accompanied by .38 bullets to Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the Federal Reserve Board chair, and a number of other government officials. Also, it is worth noting that she only served 7 years in the silo case — she’s spent far more time in jail for her violent crimes than she did for the Minute Man case.

Like other violent extremists, Woodson doesn’t consider anything she did to have been violent. As she writes,

The real terrorism is the destruction wreaked by US government, military, corporate and economic power. It is what the writer Arundhati Roy calls “the arrogance of the human race toward other living things, which will probably be the ultimate undoing of the human species.”

What’s a little death threat or armed robbery, after all?

Anyway, Woodson’s article is as confused as she is. On the one hand, she complains that the government has unfairly linked her actions with the Animal/Earth Liberation Front and Earth First!, but then says that she’s happy to be linked to such groups and likely won’t dispute the government’s claims,

Recently, I received my Presentence Investigation Report (PSI). A section of the PSI devoted to my “group and associate affiliations” says that I am considered an “imprisoned terrorist.” Three of my alleged affiliations are grouped together—Earth First!, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF)—all believed to be dangerous. The ELF is singled out as “one of the nation’s most prolific domestic terrorist organizations.”

Until recently, both state and federal courts could use such information as an “aggravating factor” warranting “upward departure” in sentencing. However, in June, the US Supreme Court ruled in Blakely v. Washington (124 S. Ct. 2531) that only factors proved in court can be considered. Allegations of “terrorist group affiliation” or “federal crime of terrorism” will have to be made in the indictment or plea agreement, as will the many other factors previously introduced at the last minute in a variety of cases.

. . .

I am expected to appeal the PSI “terrorist group affiliation.” If it goes unchallenged, I am considered to have acceded to it, and it could be used against me in the future. Even more, I am expected to want it off of my record because my actions have a religious foundation, and this association could “tarnish my image.” I suggest that the best response is to do just the opposite, not with a meaningless display of unanimity, but with a respectful acknowledgement and acceptance of differences in orientation and approach.

. . .

It is those opposing that arrogant power who are acting responsibly and with integrity. It is a richly varied community of conscience, and for my part, affiliation with EF!, the ALF and the ELF is one that I am happy to embrace, clearly and publicly.


Terrorism, the Law and Guilt by Association. (50mb PDF) Helen Woodson, Earth First! Journal March 2005, p. 56.

Update 12/7/2020: Woodson was sentenced to 51 months in prison, and was released in September 2011.