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Solidarity with the AETA 4!

reposter | 26.02.2009 00:49 | Animal Liberation | Health | Repression | World

On February 19th and 20th, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Adriana Stumpo, 23; Nathan Pope, 26; Joseph Buddenberg, 25; and Maryam Khajavi, 20 - 4 people it described as "terrorists". Their "terrorism" apparently consisted of writing with chalk on a sidewalk, wearing bandanas while protesting, and distributing flyers about animal research at UCSC. No, seriously.

The background of this farce includes years of expansion of police power under the rhetoric of combating a "terrorism" which has come to focus, not on Al-Qaeda or abortion clinic bombers, but on scapegoats connected to protests against war, the destruction of the earth and animal life, and other affects of modern capitalist civilization. In particular there has also been a heated campaign over the past few years against experimentation on live animals in the University of California system which has seen sabotage as well as demonstrations against vivisectors. (The state response has already seen federal, local and UC police raid the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley as well as a private residence in Santa Cruz to steal computers and literature, and the FBI forcibly acquiring DNA samples. And if you think these kinds of powers will be used only against anti-vivisection activists, think again.)

But Nathan, Adriana, Maryam and Joseph are not charged with any destructive acts. They are the first people to be charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2007, which basically makes bothering anyone who does anything with animals an act of "terrorism". The lengths to which the U.S government has gone to construct this spectacle are, indeed, spectacular - setting up surveillance cameras in a coffee shop, tracking the legal use of public internet terminals, even DNA testing bandanas while the same government says it doesn’t have the money to help states use DNA testing in death penalty cases, possibly exonerating innocent people on death row! But there is money for DNA testing of activists’ bandanas?!

On the one hand, it is the construction of a bogeyman or public enemy as the justification for expanding police control over every aspect of life. It also recuperates the prestige of police power which has so far been embarassingly unable to bring any suspects or evidence in the cases of the sabotage and arson - presumably causing some unease to the scientists and administrators of UC as well as their partners in the pharmaceutical industry. It was just time to arrest someone, no matter who - more visible activists are simply the easiest to strike at, regardless of their activities, much like the Haymarket martyrs. The fact that Kinko's as well as local business Cafe Pergolesi cooperated extensively with the police in this case shows how the business of cops and courts goes hand in hand with the business of business as usual. We can expect that as the economic depression continues to provoke dissatisfaction with the social order, we can see a mounting number of "terrorists", animal lovers or no, facing crushing punishments for daring to step out of line in any way. Of course, the mainstream press has heavily implied, along with the police, that these 4 people are "guilty until proven innocent" of the other recent acts against animal research in California.

As far as the UC and its patrons in Big Pharma, the media has parroted their claims as well that experimentation on non-human animals is beneficial and necessary for human health. Unasked is the question, what is making us sick anyway? Is poisoning and dissecting defenceless captives of whatever species really a rational and helpful response when the sources of disease come from the structures of modern society itself, like our food system and the lousy choices it offers, our sedentary and/or overstressed lifestyles, the excesses of western medicine itself (for instance, antibiotic resistant germs), and the profusion of chemicals, radiation and the like throughout our water, air, soil and food? Isn't it possible that - coming to the "other hand" - the cops, the bureaucrats, the scientists, they all know that this is a shameful, horrific, and crazy business, but can't possibly admit such a thing. So the specter of violence and cruelty must be projected instead onto those standing up to the ones actually responsible, in order to assuage their lying guilt.

In any event, we are for total solidarity with the accused.

Green Is The New Red has made several excellent posts lately on the subject of this latest manifestation of the witch hunts

And here is an UPDATE from on support and solidarity with the accused

Joseph and Maryam's next court date is this Thursday at 9:30am in San Jose. If you are in the area please show your support.

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Hide the following 4 comments

Gross injustice to some very brave people

26.02.2009 12:40

Whether or not you agree with what they did -- they were very brave, and they deserve better than the above posting that pretends alll they did was legal or quasi legal non destructive, non viloent protest. I'll get back later to WHY the authorities list all those other things like chalk on the sisewalk, because is indeed worrying, but not for the reasons given.

Remember -- this was in the US, not Britain. Here, if masked (or without mask) I try to break my way into somebody's house while they are inside MY intentions about what I intend do once inside don't matter. By our laws and customs, it's the householder who gets to make the call "what is this about" and is allowed to resist with whatever force is necessary to keep me out all the way up to deadly force if that proves necessary -- and I, not the householder, am considered the aggressor. In other words, the act of breaking in while somebody is inside IS (by our laws and customs) a violent attack.

They point I am making is that they could have been killed.

OK -- back to the "silly charges". You apparently don't see what is happening here. You have this all backwards. The "silly charges" are going to be associated with the "house invasion". The purpose of this is to be able to go after OTHER people who have not done anything beyond the "silly charges" stuff, threats, etc. arguing that just like these people first threatened and then invaded others who have just threated had the same intent -- were just arrested first. Get it?



26.02.2009 18:31

I don’t care what country you are in entering a house is not terrorism.


You don't understand?

28.02.2009 13:32

Breaking into a house when nobody is home perhaps isn't terrorism.

But over here, breaking into a house when people are home is. The reason is that the intent of those breaking in doesn't matter. Over (in every one of our states) the householder inside gets to make the call "what is this about" and is allowed to resist the breaking in with whatever amount of force turns out to be necessary. Thus by implication, those breaking in are ajudged to be attacking at that level of violence (whatever level the householder chooses).

Remember, over here one has to assume that the householder might have guns and be willing to use them -- and in many parts of the country, not only allowed by law but approved of by the community. There are even parts of the country where that householder would be criticised "What? You didn't have to gun to shoot shoot them with?". That's why I said that these folks were BRAVE.

People really need to be careful with campaigns like this that are taking place in multiple jursidictions.And we really do need to worry about what is happening in THIS case. As I have tried to point out, the worrysome part is the listing of the things like "chalking". See, there's no question about the "house invasion", just if they can prove they did it. For the reasons I have given, here that is an automatic "willingness to engage in violence to persons up to deadly force". It's the link they will be trying to establish to the chalking "we're going to get you", etc. What I'm afraid of is that they will first convict this four, then go after others on "conspiracy to house invade" where these others have not (yet, maybe never planned to) carried out fullfillment of the htreats.



01.03.2009 18:00

Sure the householder had a right to kill them but that doesn’t mean that the activists intended violence, they could have just wanted to stand there and be shot. It’s ridiculous to call this terrorism, is burglary equivalent to terrorism?