[Ppnews] Minn Activist Says He's No Threat

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 3 19:44:03 EST 2009


Dec 3, 2009 5:49 pm US/Central


Minn. Animal Terrorism (sic) Suspect Says He's No Threat

PATRICK CONDON, Associated Press Writer
http://wcco.com/wireapnewsmn/Minnesota.student.charged.2.1348634.html

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Two weeks after the federal 
government charged him with terrorism for an 
alleged attack on a University of Iowa animal 
research lab, Scott DeMuth was back home in 
Minneapolis making plans to return to his 
sociology classes, visit his grandparents and get back to a regular routine.

Under the terms of his release, the 22-year-old 
DeMuth must stay close to home. The man that an 
assistant U.S. attorney dubbed a "domestic 
terrorist" is confined only by an ankle monitoring bracelet.

"It's a little inconvenient," DeMuth told The 
Associated Press Wednesday, in his first interview since being charged.

Last month, the U.S. Attorney's office in Iowa's 
southern district charged DeMuth with one count 
of conspiring to commit animal enterprise 
terrorism. Prosecutors say he played an 
unspecified role in the November 2004 raid on 
Spence Laboratories at the University of Iowa, 
where animal rights activists released more than 
300 animals, dumped chemicals on data, damaged 
about 40 computers and publicized the home addresses of several researchers.

He faces three years in prison or a $250,000 
fine, or both if he is convicted of the charges 
under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act.

One other person, Carrie Feldman, has been 
detained in connection with an investigation into 
the raid, although she has not been charged. 
DeMuth says Feldman used to be his girlfriend.

A self-described anarchist, DeMuth denies he was 
involved in the raid at all and has vowed to 
fight the charges at a trial. He says he has 
never been an animal rights activist and believes 
he has been targeted because he has got to know 
some underground animal rights activists and holds unpopular political views.

"I'm not a threat to the community," DeMuth said, 
adding that his own views on animal rights don't 
prevent him from eating meat or bow-hunting. "I 
was 17 and in high school at the time" of the raid, he said.

Mike Bladel, spokesman for the U.S. attorney in 
Iowa, would not comment on the charges since the 
case is active. Prosecutors moved to keep DeMuth 
in jail, but U.S. District Court Judge John 
Jarvey in Davenport ordered his release pending 
trial, saying the government failed to 
demonstrate he's a public danger or flight risk.

DeMuth is a member of EWOK! ­ "Earth Warriors Are 
OK!" ­ a Minneapolis group whose members describe 
themselves as advocates for animal rights and 
environmental activists facing criminal charges. 
DeMuth says he is motivated by a belief that the 
federal government is using the courts to squash unpopular political dissent.

His supporters believe the break-in warrants 
charges against vandalism, property damage and theft, but not terrorism.

University of Iowa officials disagree.

At a U.S. Senate hearing in 2005, the 
university's then-president, David Skorton, 
declared the raid an act of terrorism.

Damage was estimated at $500,000 for the break-in 
at Spence Laboratories, the research facility for 
the school's Department of Psychology. Several 
professors saw their home addresses, names of 
family members and other personal information 
posted online, which many saw as an incitement 
for other activists to come after them.

A spokesman for the school, Tom Moore, said some 
of the faculty members felt terrorized by the 2004 raid.

"They were very concerned for their own safety, 
their families' safety," Moore said.

DeMuth's interest as a researcher and activist 
has centered around the history and rights of 
Dakota Indians, and underground social movements. 
In 2008, he was living in a home with other 
anarchists that authorities raided just before 
the Republican National Convention. Several 
personal items seized from DeMuth have turned up as evidence against him.

DeMuth believes federal investigators want 
details about underground activists he knows ­ 
information he said is protected by academic freedom.

"I'm more than excited to take this to trial," 
DeMuth said. "As someone who's involved with 
movements for justice, it seems like I have a duty to fight this thing."

(© 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights 
Reserved. This material may not be published, 
broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)




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