[Ppnews] Solidarity with the AETA 4

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jul 17 16:38:53 EDT 2010


Solidarity with the AETA 4
from Scott and Carrie Support

We write in solidarity with the AETA 4 on their victory in a San Jose 
federal court on July 12, 2010. The Judge dismissed the case because 
the state failed to explain exactly what the defendants allegedly did 
and how it amounted to a violation of law.

Adriana Stumpo, Maryam Khjavi, Nathan Pope, and Joseph Buddenberg 
were charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) for 
mobilizing support of animal rights and for expressing their 
opposition to animal experimentation through sidewalk chalking, 
chanting, distributing flyers, attending public protests, and the 
alleged use of "the Internet to find information on bio-medical 
researchers." In other words, they were charged under a terrorism law 
for activities that are protected under the U.S. Constitution. Judge 
Ronald Whyte's dismissal of the case was the only legally sensible 
decision. And while this is certainly a moment to celebrate, Judge 
Whyte made it clear that the state could still re-file charges at a 
later date, so we move forward with cautious optimism.

Meanwhile, the only other AETA case still in formal litigation 
concerns Scott DeMuth, a Minneapolis-based anarchist, graduate 
student, and Dakota language student charged with conspiracy under 
that law. The state claims DeMuth is linked to Animal Liberation 
Front (ALF) actions in Iowa and Minnesota in 2004 and 2006. Thus far, 
the "evidence" offered up against DeMuth amounts to the prosecution's 
view that his "writings, literature, and conduct suggest that he is 
an anarchist and associated with the ALF movement. Therefore, he is a 
domestic terrorist." That's right: Scott's ideas, his 
constitutionally protected political activities (such as volunteering 
with an eco-political prisoner support group in the Twin Cities), and 
his alleged affiliations are enough to brand him a "terrorist."

Both the AETA 4 and DeMuth cases demonstrate that, all too often, the 
government seeks to criminalize and persecute activists whether they 
work above or below ground, and regardless of evidence of any illegal 
activity. Therefore, these cases are about much more than animal 
rights and animal enterprises. In fact, the message from the Animal 
Enterprise Terrorism Act and its supporters is for every one of us: 
if you express opposition to any powerful institution in this 
country, you may become a target of government repression and be 
labeled a terrorist. Since around half of all USAmericans object to 
animal experimentation and since the public's trust in government is 
presently at an historic low, it would seem that we have an 
opportunity to build massive popular support for abolishing the AETA 
and for strengthening freedom movements everywhere. Let's get to work.

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