[Ppnews] SF Activists Lose Appeal on Grand Jury Testimony

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Aug 29 11:46:28 EDT 2005


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/08/27/BAG0FEECS51.DTL&feed=rss.bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO
8 activists expected to face grand jury in bombings probe
Whereabouts sought of fugitive suspect in animal rights case

- Stacy Finz, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, August 27, 2005

Despite a vigorous court battle, eight animal rights activists are expected
to have to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the whereabouts
of a fugitive suspected in two 2003 East Bay bombings.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston tentatively denied the
activists' motion to quash subpoenas, said Mark Vermeulen, who is
representing one of the eight people called before the grand jury. Illston
is still considering whether the activists should be required to reveal any
documents - - such as e-mails, letters and phone messages -- that they may
have received from the missing defendant, Daniel Andreas San Diego.

Illston said she would issue her official ruling in writing, possibly next
week, Vermeulen said.

The activists challenged the subpoenas in June, accusing the federal
government of being on a witch hunt in the state to stifle the animal rights
movement and intimidate its members.

At least three people have been held in contempt and jailed in San Diego for
refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a 2003 arson
fire and a contentious animal rights speech in that city.

Friday's hearing in San Francisco was closed to the public because of its
connection to the grand jury, whose proceedings are held in secret. But
afterward, outside the courtroom, David Hayden, a 37-year-old Santa Cruz
activist, said that when he is called to testify, he plans to invoke his
Fifth Amendment right to remain silent -- even if it means going to jail.

"It's sad to think we've come to a situation where we can be imprisoned
without any probable cause or any allegations that we committed a crime,"
Hayden said. "Regardless, I think it's important to stand by my
constitutional rights."

For nearly two years, the FBI has been investigating the whereabouts of San
Diego, who is wanted on charges that he set explosives at the Emeryville
biotechnology firm Chiron Corp. on Aug. 28, 2003, and a month later at
Shaklee, a Pleasanton firm that sells health, beauty and household products.
No one was hurt in the predawn blasts.

A group calling itself Revolutionary Cells took responsibility for the
explosions. E-mails sent to followers of the animal rights movement said the
group had singled out the two firms because of their links to Huntingdon
Life Sciences. The New Jersey research company conducted drug and chemical
experiments on animals for clients such as Chiron and Shaklee's then-parent
company.

This spring, 11 people -- most involved in the animal rights movement - -
began receiving subpoenas to appear before the grand jury.

Hayden said that although he was friendly with San Diego, he hadn't heard
from him since the bombing suspect disappeared in October 2003. He thinks
federal investigators are more interested in harassing people in the
movement than in finding San Diego.

"These are all very public, above-board activists," said Ben Rosenfeld,
another lawyer representing the group. "These are not shadowy, underground
figures.

"We're making a stand on principle," he said. "The whole (grand jury)
process is oppressive and chilling of their political expression and
association."

Prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment. But the FBI
has said in the past that militant animal rights activists have caused
millions of dollars in damage in California alone and that snuffing out
domestic terrorism is one of the bureau's top priorities.

They have said it was pure luck that the explosions at Chiron and Shaklee
didn't hurt anyone and that it was just a matter of time before someone is
killed.

"The FBI must play by the rules set forth by the Constitution, the Bill of
Rights and federal laws," said LaRae Quy, a spokeswoman for the bureau in
San Francisco. "All investigations conducted by the FBI are within the rules
of the law."

E-mail Stacy Finz at sfinz at sfgate.com.

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