Documenting the surge in government repression against the Animal and Earth Liberation Movements

A roundup of recent FBI visits, subpoenas, and other government assaults on the animal liberation movement in August:

From Voice of the Voiceless

New AETA 4 DNA warrant

This week, Joseph Buddenberg of the AETA 4 was the target of a warrant for his DNA. A quote from the agent who authored the affidavit:

“I believe probable cause exists that Buddenberg was involved in the February 24, 2008 altercation at the L.H./J.R. residence in Santa Cruz…. The samples from the bullhorn found in Khajavi’s vehicle will yield evidence that Buddenberg was involved in force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 43 & 371”

Read the full affidavit here.

Buddenberg submitted himself to FBI agents this week, who took four swabs of DNA.

While the AETA 4 indictment was recently thrown out, this recent government offensive indicates the case is not yet over. The case , if continued, stands to be a precedent-setting Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act case with implications for all activists.
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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.

AETA Prosecution Thrown Out!

A California federal court judge has thrown out the first ever prosecution under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of the AETA 4 (Adriana Stumpo, Maryam Khjavi, Nathan Pope and Joseph Buddenberg).    The AETA 4 were accused of picketing and handing out leaflets regarding animal experimenters–patently constitutionally protected activities.  The court granted defendants’ motions to dismiss on the basis that the indictment fails to allege the facts of the crimes charged with sufficient specificity to meet the requirements of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and Fed. R. Crim.P. 7(c)(1). The court granted the motion “without prejudice,” meaning that the government may re-file the charges again if they so choose.  But, for now, a victory for activists everywhere!

AETA 4 Update

Free the AETA 4The next AETA4 court appearance is scheduled for:

March 22, 2010
9:00 AM
San Jose Federal Courthouse
280 S. 1st. ST
San Jose, CA 95113
Courtroom #6 (4th Floor)

This hearing will be a status hearing to schedule dates for motion hearings, and to possibly schedule a trial date.

The court has recently denied the defense motion to dismiss, which challenged the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

And in recent weeks, the court granted the government’s motion for handwriting exemplars of the defendants. The government’s stated goal is to “further prepare for trial on the current charges as well as possibly bring additional charges.” Cited were two alleged incidents of found “scrapes” of paper possibly relating to research of laboratory animal torture. The government’s motion also states that there is “an ongoing investigation regarding related crimes committed through the use of the United States Postal Service that may have been committed by one or more of these defendants.” All of the defendants have now provided handwriting exemplars to the FBI, and we should know the outcome of the FBI’s “forensic handwriting analysis” in the near future.

AETA 4 Update

AETA4The next AETA4 court appearance is *tentatively* scheduled for:

March 22, 2010
9:00 AM
San Jose Federal Courthouse
280 S. 1st. ST
San Jose, CA 95113
Courtroom #6 (4th Floor)

The court has recently denied the defense motion to dismiss, which challenged the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

And in recent weeks, the court granted the government’s motion for handwriting exemplars of the defendants. The government’s stated goal is to “further prepare for trial on the current charges as well as possibly bring additional charges.” Cited were two alleged incidents of found “scrapes” of paper possibly relating to research of laboratory animal torture. The government’s motion also states that there is “an ongoing investigation regarding related crimes committed through the use of the United States Postal Service that may have been committed by one or more of these defendants.” All of the defendants have now provided handwriting exemplars to the FBI, and we should know the outcome of the FBI’s forensic handwriting analysis in the near future.

As always, please dress conservatively if entering the courtroom, out of respect for the defendants.