Solidarity Statement with the AETA 4

Another solid statement from fellow activists feeling the wrath of the government.  Now that the AETA 4’s charges are dropped, Scott DeMuth remains the only person being charged under this bogus act.  Read the full statement for more details.

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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