Spaghetti for the AETA 4!!!
Eat Spaghetti and Offer Solidarity- Legal Support Fundraiser!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Come the The Wingnut on Saturday February 20th a 6pm to eat some awesome vegan spaghetti dinner and donate money to the legal defense fund for the AETA 4, who were arrested last year at this time. Please bring some money to donate to the AETA 4 legal defense fund, and then enjoy a delicious dinner with friends and new friends. Maybe musical entertainment too? (contact me musicians!)
Who are the AETA 4?- On February 19-20, 2009, Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope, and Adriana Stumpo, were arrested by the FBI and charged with violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. They are now facing a maximum of ten years in prison for their alleged crimes, which include attending demonstrations and other First-Amendment protected activity. They will need your support as they face a long trial process to prove their innocence.
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 embarrassingly 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.
How We Can Help:
Donations are still needed to help cover the legal fees.
If you’d like to donate to the AETA 4 Defense Fund, you can send check or money order to:
The AETA Defense Fund
PO Box 99162
Emeryville, CA 94662
Or through PayPal by sending donation to firstname.lastname@example.org
All funds go towards the costly legal battle of the AETA4 defendants.
From Will Potter’s blog, Green is the New Red
Four animal rights activists are facing charges under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for chanting, demonstrating with masks covering their faces, and chalking defamatory slogans on the sidewalk. If convicted, the “AETA 4,”—Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope, and Adriana Stumpo—could be sentenced to 5-10 years in prison.
The AETA 4 case is a startling example of how federal terrorism laws are being used to create new crimes targeting political activists, and astronomically increase sentences for existing crimes. For instance, Marie Mason was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison for setting fire to empty buildings and taking precautions to not harm anyone.
Meanwhile, during a Congressional hearing on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the Justice Department proclaimed “we are apolitical in this.” But this is anything but apolitical. Animal rights activists could receive 5-10 years in prison, as terrorists, for not harming anyone or attempting to harm anyone. Meanwhile, take a look at what some others are facing for much more serious crimes:
* Burning at a cross at the home of an African-American man, close to his home, while his family is inside: 3.5 years.
* Threatening president-elect Obama with statements including, “I’m going to assassinate the new president of the United States of America. PS you have 48 hours to stop it from happening”: four years probation.
* Setting fire to a hotel with people inside: 1 year.
* Police officer rapes a girl in juvenile custody: 8 months.
* Assaulting black men on election night because Obama was elected president: about 5 years.
* Enron exec guilty of $7 million in wire fraud and securities fraud: 16 months.
* Possessing child pornography: 4 years.
* Tying up a black student and taunting him with racial epithets as part of a high school graduation party: six months.
* Mailing anthrax threats to the IRS: one year.
* “Using the Internet to threaten to destroy buildings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by fire or explosives”: one year.
* Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth kills a construction worker while driving drunk: 30 days.
* Threatening to bomb an Air Force base: one year.
* Drunken man drives over his brother during an argument: 1.5 years.
* Scheming to defraud an insurance company through arson: 2 years.
* Mailing anthrax threats to an assistant U.S. attorney: up to 5 years.
* Manufacturing and selling home-made explosive devices: 5 years probation
* Sending 65 anthrax hoax letters: four years.
* Dumping nearly 13 million gallons of untreated liquid waste: 15 months.
* Threatening to bomb the Oklahoma city federal building: up to 5 years.
* Setting a dog on fire and burning 50 percent of his body: 45 days.
According to the government, high sentences for animal rights activists are intended as a deterrent, they are intended to send a message.
What kind of message do you think this sends?
Note: Funds are needed for the AETA 4 legal defense. Please make a contribution. You can go to Paypal.com and send a donation to email@example.com.