Friday, April 16, 2010


They're on the road in Florida to fight modern day slavery. Marchers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) are demanding that Publix join a growing partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and retail food giants aimed at ending decades of farm labor abuse in Florida. The march which began today will end on Sunday with a public concert and rally at Munn Park in Lakeland, near the corporate headquarters of Publix Supermarkets, Inc.

"Publix has turned its back on human rights for far too long," said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. "But if Publix won't face the reality of farmworker exploitation, then we will bring that reality to Publix ourselves." Reyes continued, "Forced labor, poverty, and abuse are all too real for Florida farmworkers, and we are marching to tell Publix that the days of buying tomatoes no questions asked are over."

The following is from Upside down World. 

Where Shopping is Oppression: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers take on Publix

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a grassroots, Florida-based farmworker group, largely comprised of Mexican, Guatemalan and Haitian immigrants. In recent years, by way of high-profile consumer campaigns, the CIW has compelled the world's four largest fast food companies, among others, to concede to demands for better pay and unprecedented labor rights. This time, beloved Sunshine State darling Publix Supermarkets is in the tomato pickers' sights.

Why? Here are 5 secrets Publix does not want you to know:


Despite its sterling rep as your charming neighborhood grocer, Publix is massive, ruthless and powerful.  Forbes Magazine, capitalism's trusted scorekeeper, weighs Publix in as the 9th largest private corporation in the United States.  Publix exudes family-friendliness exquisitely. But when presented with the opportunity to more fairly compensate desperately impoverished farmworker families at minimal cost to its profit line, they reacted like any other modern for-profit pulling in $24 billion a year would...


The CIW is demanding that Publix join Whole Foods, Burger King, McDonald's, Taco Bell and other major retailers in paying a penny more per pound for its tomatoes to directly increase farmworker wages.

Tomato picker wages in Florida have remained stagnant since 1978 -- more than 3 decades of an essentially unchanged pay rate: 40 to 50 cents per 32-lb bucket of tomatoes.  To make just the equivalent of minimum wage in a typical 10-hour day, a worker must harvest 2.5 tons of tomatoes, one by one.

Say Publix is selling a pound of tomatoes for $2.49; not even 2 cents for that full pound goes to the laborer who actually harvested and hauled it.  The extra penny for workers won't break Publix's bank: indeed, the roots of opposition aren't economic but ideological. Publix fears organized labor, it shrinks from the prospect of future accountability for the cheap cost of the products they sell.


When facing heat from the CIW about the need to sign an accord for better wages and working conditions for tomato pickers, Burger King hired a spy to infiltrate teleconferences of the Student/Farmworker Alliance, a key ally group to the CIW.  Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser outed the espionage on the pages of the New York Times, and BK was forced to immediately fire a complicit vice president and give in to all of the CIW's demands. A lesson to others, perhaps?

Apparently not everyone. An unknown man with camera in tow attended the CIW's first Publix picket -- Oct. 17th in Naples, FL -- and told several present that he was "an old hippie" making a documentary about social movements. Asked multiple times by multiple people (including a Lutheran minister), he insisted he did not work for Publix.

In Naples, and other SW Florida towns playing host to CIW pickets that weekend, he closely filmed protesting farmworkers without saying a word to them. He did, however, periodically chat with Publix management posted in front of the grocery entrances. These well-dressed men -- a PR team dispatched from corporate headquarters to nearly all Publix pickets to date -- communicated directly to picketers that no one could film on Publix's premises. The "old hippie" nonetheless always did, unperturbed by the suits.

Sketchy? You bet, thought Andrea Ortiz, a New College student. Andrea asked the cameraman for his and his film company's name, as well as his phone number. "Tom" he answered, scrawling out his digits and "Southeast Productions."

A senior reporter for the Ft. Myers News-Press investigated further: no film company is registered under that name. The number belongs to Thomas McGuigan of Tampa -- none other than an employee of Publix's video division. The reporter called McGuigan who affirmed that he filmed the protests. From the News-Press article:

Asked why he didn't tell the coalition he works for Publix and if he was filming at the company's behest, the call was disconnected. Repeated calls weren't returned.

After months of absence following the front-page expose, Tom the hippie returned to a picket in St. Pete – this time sporting an "I (heart) Publix" button on his chest.


The CIW has helped to successfully prosecute 6 separate slavery cases in Florida agriculture in the last dozen years.  The most recent case involved tomato pickers in Immokalee who were locked in a cargo truck by night and taken to work in tomato fields by day. For punishment, crewleaders slit the belly of one worker with a knife and chained others to a pole. In Dec 2008, the crewleaders pled guilty on slavery charges in federal court.

The fields where the enslaved workers harvested tomatoes belong to two large tomato growers: Six L's and Pacific. Both are major suppliers to Publix.

Publix competitor Whole Foods also bought tomatoes from Six L's and Pacific. Upon learning of the slavery conviction, Whole Foods was obligated to honor the code of conduct jointly drafted with CIW which outlines zero-tolerance for slavery-tainted growers in its tomato supply chain.  Accordingly, Whole Foods cut their purchases.

Publix, however, refuses -- apparently seeing no cause for concern with buying from growers corrupted by proven slave labor in their fields.



The CIW has announced a major march -- three days, 22-miles -- between Tampa and Lakeland, home of Publix Headquarters, under the banner: Freedom from Forced Labor, Freedom from Abuse, Freedom from Poverty and Degradation.

(For a sense of some of the political climate near where Publix decision makers live, consider Lakeland's neighbor 30 miles southeast, Lake Wales. In 2008, John Paul Rogers -- longtime grand dragon of the United Klans of Florida, a KKK faction -- was elected to its city council.)


To show precisely the nature of growers' operations where Publix unblinkingly buys its tomatoes, the CIW has developed a museum focused on the evolving history of slavery in Florida agriculture: its roots, the reason it persists and its solutions. The museum aims to relay the following: Slavery does not occur in a vacuum; it flourishes in industries where workers are dramatically poor and powerless, and farmworkers have always been among the poorest, least powerful laborers in Florida.

The museum consists of a cargo truck outfitted as a replica of the one in which tomato pickers in Immokalee were enslaved during the most recent case. The truck's design is based on the expertise of the men actually locked inside it, whom are now CIW members and active participants in Publix actions. Educational displays supplement the recreation of the crime scene that served as the men's quarters, the combined scholarship of  leading academics in the study of slavery and Florida's farm labor history.

For the six weeks preceding the Farmworker Freedom March, the CIW will have toured the museum across the state.

The museum will accompany the Farmworker Freedom March until its arrival at Munn Park in downtown Lakeland. There Publix executives, along with their family, friends and neighbors, will have the chance to see firsthand the living conditions of those forced to work  in their tomato suppliers' fields.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


In response to rampant mistreatment by food service contractor Sodexo, school cafeteria workers in Pittsgrove Township went on strike today. Since August, when school cafeteria workers began forming a union, they have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by Sodexo management. Earlier this week, the workers voted to strike. Workers are striking at Schlalick High School, Olivet Elementary School, and Deerfield Elementary.

Another strike is growing at George Mason University against Sodexo. Workers there marched through the George Mason University's North Plaza today, continuing a recent push for their right to join a union. Beginning at 6 a.m. today, the on-campus Sodexo workers went on strike, as part of a 'national week of action' against food giant Sodexo, according to Bianca Agustin, a representative for the Service Employees International Union.


A 50-person march of students, workers, and community members at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, this morning resulted in three arrests when participants blocked traffic in an intersection near
campus. "I am a little scared, but they can't intimidate me," said a Sodexo prep cook at Clark who spoke at a rally there. "We should not be intimidated at our jobs. We have a right to stand up and fight for our

Sodexo workers at Northwestern University yesterday constructed a "shantytown" in front of the school's administration building in order to protest poverty wages paid to the workers, as well as alleged civil rights and
federal labor law violations committed against workers by the company.

Do I notice a trend here?

The following is from The SEIU.

300 Students and State Union Delegates Hold Massive Sit-In at University of Pittsburgh
In an unprecedented show of support for campus food service workers, University of Pittsburgh students, labor leaders and elected officials held a massive sit-in at the school's Market Central dining hall Wednesday to protest contractor Sodexo's unlawful attacks on employees' rights. There, more than 150 Sodexo food service workers are trying to form a union, but the company has met their efforts with threats and interrogation.
  "I really think the union is now the only way we can get a fair wage, affordable healthcare and a guaranteed 40 hour work week," said Sodexo worker David Brown. "But management is trying to stop us from getting the pay and benefits our families need."

In Pittsburgh, workers have filed charges with National Labor Relations Board because Sodexo management threatened and interrogated them for trying to organize. The labor board has launched an investigation into workers' claims.

The action temporarily shut down the dining hall, and occurred after students, Sodexo workers and AFL-CIO delegates met at Schenley Plaza for a rally. Holding signs and chanting, students led the charge into the cafeteria, and were followed by hundreds of protesters.

"We went into the cafeteria to tell Sodexo management that workers on our campus should be able to improve their jobs and improve their lives without fear of being fired or intimidated," said University of Pittsburgh student Gabriel McMorland.

Sodexo workers without a union at University of Pittsburgh earn poverty wages--as little as $8.75 an hour--and most can't afford health care coverage. The 150 union Sodexo workers on campus can make nearly 50 percent more an hour and have 90 percent employer paid insurance.
Follow our coverage of Clean Up Sodexo news and actions happening across the country this week on via hashtag #springcleaning.


Apparently some in Oklahoma believe their state is threatened with the United States.  Didn't we do this way back in the 1860s?  

Actually in a pretty natural extension of the whole Tea Party movement some baggers in the Sooner state want to create a state authorized militia to protect their state's sovereignty.

Some one needs to tell them there aren't hordes of people with a desperate desire to seize the state of Oklahoma.  I mean I'm sure it's swell singing Boomer Sooner and all that, and the Thunder are going to the NBA Play Offs, but still...

Anyway, once more I turn to my old friend Bill for some tid bits about what the heck is going on out there.

The following is from BuzzFlash.

Sedition: Oklahoma Tea Party Leaders Ask State to Create Armed Voluntary Militia to Combat Federal Government


"Is it scary? It sure is": Oklahoma Tea Party leaders want an  armed militia to combat the federal government
Oklahoma Tea Party leaders are talking about creating a new volunteer militia to defend the state against encroaching federal government

Coming on the heels of the arrests and indictments of the Hutaree militia group in Southern Michigan and given the fact that April 19 is the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing – the day that Tim McVeigh exploded a truckbomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killing 168 people -- at first glance I thought the story I was reading had emanated from the fevered minds of the writers at The Onion -- one of the nation’s premier humor/satire publications where no issue is off limits.

But I soon realized that this in fact was a serious news dispatch from two Associated Press writers, Sean Murphy and Tim Talley.

According to Murphy and Talley, Oklahoma Tea Party leaders are so “frustrated by recent political setbacks” that they have been talking with state legislators about the possibility of creating “a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.”

The AP report pointed out that “Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.”

"Is it scary? It sure is," said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party – which held its first open meeting for the general public in October of last year  – and the head of an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. "But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?"

Gerhart, a carpenter by trade, was a recent guest on Oklahoma Forum, “your source for meaningful discussion that informs, engages and connects each Oklahoman.” On November 8, 2009, at the Sooner Tea Party Blog – “limited government; individual freedom; personal responsibility” – Gerhart posted a piece titled “The Battle for the Republic Begins,” in which he maintained that “the power to stop Obama in his tracks” resides with the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.   

While Gerhart has a “Page” at the Freedom Works website, it appears that he hasn’t posted anything since September 30, 2009.

"Have they heard of the Oklahoma City bombing?" said Joseph Thai, a constitutional law professor at the University of Oklahoma. Such actions could "throw fuel in the fire of radicals," he said.

“State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, a Republican candidate for governor who has appealed for tea party support, said supporters of a state militia have talked to him, and that he believes the citizen unit would be authorized under the Second Amendment to the Constitution,” AP reported. The founding fathers "were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren't even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other," Brogdon said. "The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government."

Another Tea Party leader, J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea, helped initiatite the discussion through his newsletter under the subject "Buy more guns, more bullets."

"It's not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that," Berry said. "This would be done with the full cooperation of the state Legislature."

Think Progress reported that Berry “has posted rants against President Obama: the ‘Muslim President’ — a ‘reincarnation of Pol Pot’ who is trying imprison Americans for resisting health reform. One ominous posting from Berry says that his militia should ‘launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country.’”

In addition, Think Progress pointed out, “Berry frequently cites conservative news outlets like CNS [formerly the Media Research Center’s Conservative News Service which now calls itself the Cybercasat News Service] and notes that he draws inspiration from the white supremacist thriller “The Turner Diaries” [the William Pierce-authored novel that inspired Tim McVeigh].  Despite his extremism, Berry has met with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and other members of the Oklahoma Republican delegation, and counts them as ‘rock solid.’”

Not everyone thinks the state militia is such a great idea: “This is yet another example of the inability of national tea party leadership to control a large portion its core base,” Eric Ward of the Chicago, Illinois-based Center for New Community, told BuzzFlash. “The push by Oklahoma Republican Party elected officials and its tea party cohorts to form its own private army is short of outright sedition against the United States. The fact that national tea party leadership has failed to speak out immediately on this should send chills through the hearts of every American committed to civil rights, the Constitution, and civil rights.”

"If the intent is to create a militia for disaster relief, we have the National Guard," said Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. "Anything beyond that purpose should be viewed with great concern and caution."

AP reported that Democratic Gov. Brad Henry's communications director Paul Sund “also discounted the militia discussion, saying the National Guard handles state emergencies and security. Federal authorities say that radical militia groups have not emerged in Oklahoma, unlike many other states, in part because of the legacy of the Oklahoma City bombing.”

Eric Ward, a longtime anti-racist activist whose organization monitors right wing organizations, suggested that “What we are seeing is a naked power grab by those who lost the presidential elections. In any other country this would be seen as the start of an attempted coup against a democratically elected national leader. A coup steeped in fantasies of old white supremacy and racialized vigilantism.”

It is unclear whether the Oklahoma legislature will take action on the Tea Partiers suggestion that a volunteer militia be created to protect Oklahomans from the federal government. For now, State Sen. Randy Brogdon and Tea Party leaders Al Gerhart and J. W. Berry are making the folks Merle Haggard sang about in "Okie from Muskogee" seem like downright liberals.

 Since 2000, BuzzFlash has been warning of the danger from a well-armed seditious right. Yesterday, in the editor's blog, we took note again of the grave threat that those who would commit treason pose to the government of the United States in a commentary, "Sedition is Coming to a Town Near You: The Potential Domestic White 'Christian' Terrorists in Our Midst are Locked and Loaded."  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Ecological Internet (EI) has issued a global emergency. The group says the Earth has past the tipping point and revolutionary actions of all kinds are needed now to stop abrupt global environmental collapse. The group mentions leaderless resistance, sabotage, and targeted insurgency as possible responses to the emergency.

Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet's President, explains "I don't want to be doing any of this myself, and I am most assuredly not trying to incite any imminent illegal activities. As an academic 'Political Ecologist' I study and write about revolutionary strategies to achieve global ecological sustainability. We seek to discuss what revolutionary tactics could possibly be used to sustain Earth's biosphere and constituent ecosystems required to maintain habitability. This is free speech, and given the importance of the topic of Earth System global change, surely is appropriate."

(By the way let it be known far and wide that I am certainly not advocating any illegal activities or violence myself. What I am doing is passing along a statement from a group which believes an emergency situation faces us all).

Ecological Internet's mission is to empower the global movement for environmental sustainability by providing information retrieval tools, portal services, expert analysis and action opportunities that aid in the protection of climate, forest, ocean and water ecosystems; and to commence the age of ecological sustainability and restoration.

The following is from EcoEarth Earth Blog.
RELEASE: Planetary Ecological Emergency Declared

Human pressures on Earth System's nine life-support systems have reached a scale where people power revolutionary action may be necessary and warranted to stop abrupt global environmental collapse

From Earth's Newsdesk and New Earth Rising, projects of Ecological Internet (EI)
Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, President, Ecological Internet

Earth passing tipping point as life-support systems failing

Ecological Internet (EI) today declares a planetary ecological emergency [search]. On the basis of overwhelming new ecological science indicating Earth is past the tipping point and key global ecosystems and life-support systems are failing – EI calls for an immediate and escalating people's power Earth Revolution on behalf of Earth, all her life, and the human family. A recent highly significant scientific paper entitled "Planetary Boundaries: A Safe Operating Space for Humanity"[1] highlights the numerous means by which the Earth System's life-support systems are failing. The natural right of all species to take all necessary actions to protect themselves, their habitat and do what is necessary to avoid ecocide is thus activated. This is not a drill.

The human family faces the imminent collapse of the biosphere – the thin layer of life organized into ecosystems, upon an otherwise lifeless planet – that makes Earth habitable. Marshes and rivers and forests and fish are far more than resources – they and all natural ecosystems provide for humanity's habitat and existence upon Earth. A few centuries of unprecedented explosion in human numbers and surging inequitable consumption are needlessly destroying being for all living things. Environmental movement accommodation and compromise have not brought required policies necessary to avert widespread ecosystem collapse, or to lay the basis for achieving global ecological sustainability.

Ecological Internet believes biocentric, deep ecologists must carefully, quickly and thoroughly consider possibly using widespread leaderless resistance, sabotage and carefully targeted insurgency on behalf of our ecosystem habitats and shared survival. Revolutionary actions such as ending coal use, reforming industrial agriculture, and protecting and restoring old forests and other natural ecosystems, are a requirement for living within the biosphere and life-support systems' carrying capacities. This declaration establishes "New Earth Rising" [2] as a political wing of an Earth Revolution to freely discuss and debate, though not directly incite or partake, in these matters.

There exist ways to live well within Earth's carrying capacity as we equitably and justly further human advancement with all Earth's plants and creatures at our side. Solutions exist: powering down, ecosystem protection, ecological restoration, reducing population, ending old forest logging and coal, and working for global equity, justice and peace. Earth and humanity's survival depend upon getting these items implemented quickly using protest, civil disobedience, and if rebuffed yet again; considering carefully targeted sabotage and insurgency of the growth machine which is eating our ecosystem habitats.

Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet's President, explains "I don't want to be doing any of this myself, and I am most assuredly not trying to incite any imminent illegal activities. As an academic 'Political Ecologist' I study and write about revolutionary strategies to achieve global ecological sustainability. We seek to discuss what revolutionary tactics could possibly be used to sustain Earth's biosphere and constituent ecosystems required to maintain habitability. This is free speech, and given the importance of the topic of Earth System global change, surely is appropriate."

### ENDS ###

[1] In "Planetary Boundaries: A Safe Operating Space for Humanity," published this past fall in the journal Ecology and Society, and presented also in Scientific American magazine's April issue, twenty-eight luminaries from environmental and earth-systems science identified nine "planetary life-support systems" that are vital for human survival. It was found humanity had already overstepped three of nine planetary boundaries –biodiversity loss, climate change and nitrogen cycle – and is approaching boundaries for the use of fresh water and land, and ocean acidification.

*Journal Article: Planetary Boundaries: A Safe Operating Space for Humanity
* Popular Media: Easy to Understand New Scientist article:
* Graphic:
* YouTube Video: Big Question: Is Earth past the tipping point?

[2] New Earth Rising – -- Ecological Internet's biocentric e-zine dedicated to knowing Earth's crises, and to pursuing social change and personal transformation sufficient to achieve global ecological sustainability. The next issue will begin serializing book of the same name by Dr. Barry considering the need and justification for Earth Revolution, as well as possible people power strategies and tactics.



 Yesterday the prosecutor in charge of the indictment of Scott DeMuth asked the court for a continuance so he could have more time to answer dismissal motions. Today he re-indicted him. What the f*ck? Scott DeMuth

The following is from Support Carrie and Scott. 

Scott re-indicted AGAIN!
In this update:

1. Scott re-indicted AGAIN!
2. April 16: "The Green Scare: Targeting Environmental and Animal Rights Activism" at CUNY
3. April 22: "A Talk on Resistance and Repression: A Benefit for Legal Defense" in Chicago
4. April 24: Art auction in Minneapolis


1. Scott's re-indicted AGAIN!

Today, we found out that Scott has been re-indicted for a second time. This time, Scott is being charged for conspiracy for the ALF raid at the University in Iowa in 2004, Lakeside Ferrets in Minnesota, "and other animal enterprises elsewhere" with "persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury." The alleged conspiracy is now supposed to have run from September 2004 until the beginning of May 2006.

The second superseding indictment was submitted yesterday, one day after Scott appeared in the federal courthouse in Davenport and the prosecutor, Cliff Cronk, successfully argued for a continuance for the trial because he needed more time to prepare. In response, Scott's lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss this indictment due to Cronk's prosecutorial misconduct. In the motion to dismiss, the defense team argues that Cronk "intentionally misled defense counsel, and possibly the Court, falsely claiming that he needed more time to respond to dismissal motions that he had every intention of attempting to obviate by obtaining yet another indictment."

Yep, Cronk's actions are just as crazy and reckless as they seem. We're hoping that the motion to dismiss this new indictment will be successful and will keep you posted as we learn more. In the mean time, Scott will continue to need our support and solidarity. Help spread the word!

All the court documents from Scott's case are available at
2. April 16: "The Green Scare: Targeting Environmental and Animal Rights Activism" at CUNY

* When: Friday, April 16th, 4:15pm
* Where: The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 9204/9205
* Free and open to the public (with state issued ID for building access).

This event will explore the emerging use of the category of "eco-terrorism" to criminalize the work of environmental justice and animal rights activists, as well as its significance for academic research. Panelists will discuss the impacts of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) on civil rights and liberties; how the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and other laws have been used to quell animal rights litigation; and the case of Scott DeMuth, a University of Minnesota graduate student currently facing conspiracy charges under AETA for his research on the animal rights movement.

The event is part of the Third Annual Conference on "Rightist" Movements, this year focused on the production of "new enemies" in the name of security and the national interest in the post-September 11 context. A reception will follow.

Panelists include:
-Will Potter, Independent Journalist,
-Raphi Rechitsky and Meghan Krausch, University of Minnesota, Scholars for
Academic Justice,
-Odette Wilkens, Executive Director, Equal Justice Alliance,
-Delcianna Winders, Animal Rights Attorney and Law Instructor

Moderated by Professor Michael Blim,
Ph.D. Program in Anthropology, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Co-sponsored by:
The Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY;
The Center for Place, Culture & Politics, The Graduate Center, CUNY;
Ph.D. Program in Anthropology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
3. April 22: "A Talk on Resistance and Repression: A Benefit for Legal Defense" in Chicago

* When: Thursday, April 22, 6-9pm
* Where: Biblioteca Popular, 1921 South Blue Island Ave, Chicago

With special guests:
- Luce Guillen-Givins, Rob Czernik and Garrett Fitzgerald of the RNC 8
- Recently released grand jury resister Carrie Feldman
- Paul Muller, former Marine and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who went AWOL in order to avoid deployment

The evening will feature a discussion on governmental attempts to criminalize protest, organizing and dissent, and the communities that are resisting it. The talk will focus on three current cases against organizers and activists:

* The RNC 8 are 8 anarchists who organized against the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2008. As a result of this organizing, they were arrested prior to the protests and charged with Conspiracy to Riot and Conspiracy to Commit Property Damage. They will be tried together in a trial scheduled for October 2010.

* Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Iowa investigating an animal rights action. As a result of their political convictions, they refused to testify, which resulted in Carrie being jailed for four months and Scott being charged with "Conspiracy to Commit Animal Enterprise Terrorism," which is set to go to trial in May.

* Marc Hall is an Army Specialist who expressed opposition to being redeployed to Iraq and wrote a political hip-hop song protesting the Army's Stop-Loss policy, which the military deemed a "threat." As a result, he was arrested and is currently being held awaiting a US Court Martial in Iraq.

Suggested donations $5-20, with all funds raised split between Friends of the RNC 8, the Scott & Carrie Support Committee and Friends and Family of Marc Hall.

For more information on the legal cases, visit:

4. April 24: "Supporting Earth Warriors through Art" in Minneapolis

* When: Saturday, April 24th, 2010, 6PM to 10PM (auction starts at 6 PM and ends at 9 PM)
* Where: Purity Bakery Building Art Gallery, 36th Ave and 5th St, Minneapolis

We will be having an Art Exhibition and Auction to help support our comrades Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth, two Minneapolis activists who were unjustly taken hostage by the state in November 2009, and Eric McDavid, who has been imprisoned since 2006 and is currently facing almost 20 years in prison for a crime that never happened.

For more information on Eric's case and ways to support him, please visit:

Help be part of the creative resistance against state repression and send questions and/or the following details to

-Contact information
-Starting bid on the auction item
-A description of the piece you are donating
-When the item can be picked up or dropped off

*Any items being dropped off or mailed can be sent to this address:
Explosive Expressions Mpls. c/o Leigh
1909 Elliot Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55405 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

TODAY'S NEWS: FBI CITES PICTURE OF WHITE RAT ON CARRIE FELDMAN'S SHOULDER AS EVIDENCE...COW JUMPS OVER THE MOON...SKY IS BLUE...,224,223,220_SY120_SH20_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_OU01_.jpgThis is the sort of flimsy evidence you never see in those TV police stories. I'm talking now about an FBI evidence presented in regards to a 2004 animal rights action and the case against Scott DeMuth and the four month incarceration of Carrie Feldman.

The following is from Green is the New Red.



FBI Bases Iowa ALF Case on Facebook, Speaking Event, YouTube

by Will Potter
university of iowa alf affidavit

An FBI affidavit has just been released in the investigation of the 2004 Animal Liberation Front break-in at the University of Iowa. It shows the stream-of-consciousness approach the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force took to the investigation, including surfing MySpace and Facebook and using an informant to identify activists on YouTube.

The affidavit from October, 2009, also shows the shaky pretext used to justify charging Scott DeMuth with Animal Enterprise Terrorism, jailing Carrie Feldman in a grand jury witch hunt, and raiding the home of Peter Young.
For example:
  • A confidential informant was used to identify individuals in a YouTube spoof video created prior to the Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities. The video, like many others that have been made for mass protests, shows faux “Black Bloc” activists getting ready for the RNC. (The joke is that they are sipping coffee and reading the newspaper while wearing black masks.) The informant reportedly identified Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth as cast members in the skit. When the video came out, I posted about it on this site, and jokingly called it a “Homegrown Terrorist” training video. Months later, the government is calling it exactly that.
  • The government says Scott DeMuth wrote in his diary about the ongoing political crackdown on environmental activists. For example, one alleged entry includes, “Fuck the Feds” and “Turns out the Feds have shit on P” (who the government claims is Peter Young). DeMuth also allegedly wrote “It’s almost been a year since Iowa,” which the FBI agents typed in bold font, implying that DeMuth must have been involved in the ALF raid. DeMuth allegedly wrote, “And the ABC [Anarchist Black Cross, a group that supports political prisoners] has gotten a fair amount of attention from the FBI. I don’t think I am at too much risk.”
  • DeMuth’s Facebook, Livejournal and Myspace all “identify him with his interests of animal rights, anarchy and ecological extremist groups,” the FBI says.
  • An FBI agent reviewed a MySpace photo of Carrie Feldman, posing with a white rat on her shoulder. Rats were removed during the Animal Liberation Front raid at the University of Iowa.
  • Activists organized a Dangerous Media Tour, also known as “The Steal This Film Fest.” This public event, open to everyone (including the FBI, who were there taking photos) included information on making free phone calls and other hacks to resist “corporate rule.” The affidavit paints this is a covert terrorist gathering, but to anyone familiar with CrimethInc., Evasion, and the like, there is an entire punk subculture built up around similar petty scams.
I spoke with Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center to help me put this affidavit in context. “This is just an incredible example of how extremely flimsy the actual fact evidence is in these cases,” she said. “If they had stronger evidence against this kid [DeMuth], they would have used it.”

It doesn’t seem that the government has anything else to go on. When prosecutors filed an emergency motion to keep DeMuth locked up, they based it on labeling him an anarchist.

This is an important point to underscore. The date of this affidavit, October, 2009, places it before the Utah raid of Peter Young’s home, and before the grand jury. In other words, it is very likely that the entire case for the indictment of Scott DeMuth was based on this flimsy string of information, including lawful speaking events, Facebook, and YouTube.


Egyptians are growing ever more angry about the oppressive government which the U.S. counts as a friend. Years of emergency powers, police violence, political repression and arbitrary rule have grown old.

Today dozens of Egyptians demonstrated against police brutality and called for constitutional reform near the high court in downtown Cairo. The protesters chanted slogans against President Hosni Mubarak and
shoved to get past riot police who surrounded the demonstration.Policemen severely beat and arrested a protester after he plucked a hat off an officer's head and threw it on the ground. Another suffered a bloodied
nose when he tried to help.

Ahmed Maher, a leader with the April 6 youth movement and one of those out on the street, quoted in Political News says his group wanted an end to police violence which demonstrators routinely
experience, citing last week's protest in particular.

"We're sending a message that we're not afraid of the police force and we'll keep coming out to call for change," said Maher.

( Below-Egyptian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Cairo)

The following is from  Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Another protest met with violence
Lina Attalah

Protests erupted on Tuesday outside the Supreme Judicial Court in downtown Cairo, with demonstrators demanding constitutional amendments and an end to Egypt's longstanding state of emergency. Organized by different political opposition groups, Tuesday's protests followed larger demonstrations on 6 April, during which more than 100 activists were arrested by police.

"Today's protest exploits the momentum gained by the establishment of the National Association for Change (NAC), which served to stir up the stagnant water," George Ishaq, spokesperson for the pro-democracy Kifaya movement, told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The NAC was recently founded by Mohamed ElBaradei, former International Atomic Energy Agency director and would-be presidential candidate, who, since returning to Cairo in February, has embarked on a political campaign for constitutional change.

"Down with the emergency law!" leftist activist Kamal Khalil shouted to the crowd. "Down with military tribunals!"

According to Mohamed Waked, an activist at the Cairo-based Center for Socialist Studies, the overall number of demonstrators fluctuated throughout the duration of the protest. "We began with about 50 people," he said. "When the demonstration reached its peak, we were about 300."

Witnesses said on Twitter that they saw police using unwarranted violence against protesters. According to the Front for the Defense of Egypt's Protesters (FDEP), police beat up some demonstrators and detained one activist.

Nevertheless, the protest continued into the afternoon for a full three hours. "I saw a lot of persistence," said Waked. "At one point, protesters attempted to break the police cordon and begin the march, but they were immediately stopped."

"I saw two cases of people fainting after being beaten up by police," Mohammed Fattah of the liberal Ghad Party told Al-Masry Al-Youm. "One of them was punched in the nose. I also saw an asthmatic man from the 6 April movement being strangled by policemen."

According to an FDEP press release, 6 April activist Bahaa Saber was beaten, put in a taxi and taken to an unknown location by police. Fattah says that that he saw the son of Ghad Party leader Ayman Nour being pulled down to the ground and beaten.

"The Egyptian government acts as a role model to the rest of the region," said Ishaq. "If police hadn't cracked down on protesters as they did, the Kuwaiti government would not have deported ElBaradei supporters."

Earlier this week, the Kuwaiti government arrested and deported 21 Egyptian pro-ElBaradei activists on charges of illegal assembly.

Yet despite the heavy-handed police response, Waked was encouraged by the fact that Tuesday's protest attracted a number of passers by. "It was one of the rare protests in which bystanders constantly gathered next to the demonstration," he said. "In some cases, police had to dismantle these informal gatherings."

Commenting on the "momentum" referred to by Ishaq, Waked expressed the belief that much of the public was readier than ever to take to the streets. "People no longer want to hear words," he said. "They want action."


The news from Baton Rouge resembles closely the news from New Orleans. More cops coming forth charging other cops with brutality in the handling of citizens during Katrina days. This time it is state troopers from New Mexico and Michigan who were called in to help out who are reporting Baton Rouge officers of discrimi...nation, illegal searches and using unnecessary force towards Blacks in the days following Katrina.

Unfortunately, the mayor who is an African American defends his police.

The following is from The Final Call.

Baton Rouge mayor, police chief defends targeting of Katrina 'thugs'
By Jesse Muhammad -Contributing Writer-
Updated Apr 9, 2010 - 3:07:44 PM

( - Amid the ongoing federal investigation into the actions of the New Orleans Police Department during Hurricane Katrina, Baton Rouge, La., is now on the radar for alleged harassment of Blacks seeking to escape the flood waters.

In reports released by the Baton Rouge Police Department, statements made by state troopers from New Mexico and Michigan accuse Baton Rouge officers of discrimination, illegal searches and using unnecessary force towards Blacks in the days following Katrina.

The out-of-state troopers were called in to assist with patrolling in September 2005 and after being pulled from duty wrote letters complaining that Baton Rouge officers were under direct orders to "make life rough" for New Orleanians seeking refuge in the city.

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, who is Black, is publicly defending the actions of the officers.

"I was not going to let Baton Rouge be overrun by some people from New Orleans who were hell-bent on committing crimes," Mayor Holden said according to The Advocate.

"If there's a blame to be placed on aggressive enforcement, blame it on me," he insisted.

The mayor further declared that his overall plan for those he labeled as "thugs" was for them to have shelter in "a jail and not at the Red Cross."

According to incident reports first obtained by the Baton Rouge-based Advocate newspaper, New Mexico troopers complained of unnecessary harsh treatment of prisoners, the use of inappropriate language, including calling Blacks "animals who needed to be beaten down." One Baton Rouge officer is quoted as stating, "I don't agree with it, but as long as my Captain tells us to harass these people—I'll do my job."

Nation of Islam student Minister Willie Muhammad of New Orleans and his family lived in Baton Rouge for nearly a year after Katrina and he heard the complaints of members of the Black community.

"This so-called aggressive policing was the mayor's way of making sure he protected the interests and eased the fears of his White constituency who voted him in. Since he is willing to take the blame, I hope he does not run when the lawsuits start coming in as well," said Mr. Muhammad to The Final Call.

BatonRougePolice Chief Jeff LeDuff denies giving orders to run evacuees out of town but is defending the actions.

"We had a charge to hold the line and balance this city and keep it from being overrun and looted and fired upon," said Chief LeDuff to The Advocate.

"This is a shame that two Black officials are pretty much justifying these corrupted orders given to harass us during Katrina," said Linda Washington, who evacuated from New Orleans during Katrina and now resides in Houston.

"I heard many people complaining about the aggressiveness of the police. But it was the same when I got here to Houston. It was almost as if there was a nationwide mandate to treat us like animals," said Ms. Washington.

Despite investigating these accusations, the Baton Rouge Police Dept. boldly refused to release the documents linked to a probe by Internal Affairs Dept. The Advocate sued for the documents in the summer of 2006 and in May 2009 the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. The documents were released in February and include multiple pages of reports from New Mexico and Michigan troopers about their experiences while on-duty with Baton Rouge officers.

In a September 2005 letter to Baton Rouge police officials, New Mexico state police Major Daniel Lopez outlined concerns from 12 troopers from his state and Michigan. Those concerns included illegal searches, unnecessary tazing, and racially motivated tactics.

In a correspondence, New Mexico trooper Gregory Hall reported that each time Baton Rouge officer Chad King would make contact with a Caucasian person "he would be friendly and pleasant but when he spoke to a Black person he was very loud, rude and demeaning."

New Mexico state police agent Nathan Lucero wrote that Baton Rouge officers began to tell him how they had gone into Black neighborhoods and had "beaten them down since the Hurricane had happened."

"I was told that I could go ahead and beat someone down or b—tch slap them … I was told this was my gift from them for helping with the hurricane relief efforts," reported one Michigan officer.

Months later in January 2006 theBatonRougepolice department reprimanded one officer, suspended another officer without pay for three days and recommended three others take counseling.

"When you are dealing with a situation of that magnitude you have to try to use your best judgment," said Mayor Holden. "Maybe in some of the cases the best judgment was an error."

"The sad thing is that even the exposure of this misconduct by other members of the law enforcement family will not silence the deceptive intelligence of the mayor and the chief as theyattempt to justify these criminal actions of those under their charge," said Mr. Muhammad.