On February 19th and 20th, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Adriana Stumpo, 23; Nathan Pope, 26; Joseph Buddenberg, 25; and Maryam Khajavi, 20 - 4 people it described as "terrorists". Their "terrorism" apparently consisted of writing with chalk on a sidewalk, wearing bandanas while protesting, and distributing flyers about animal research at UCSC. No, seriously.
The background of this farce includes years of expansion of police power under the rhetoric of combating a "terrorism" which has come to focus, not on Al-Qaeda or abortion clinic bombers, but on scapegoats connected to protests against war, the destruction of the earth and animal life, and other affects of modern capitalist civilization. In particular there has also been a heated campaign over the past few years against experimentation on live animals in the University of California system which has seen sabotage as well as demonstrations against vivisectors. (The state response has already seen federal, local and UC police raid the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley as well as a private residence in Santa Cruz to steal computers and literature, and the FBI forcibly acquiring DNA samples. And if you think these kinds of powers will be used only against anti-vivisection activists, think again.)
But Nathan, Adriana, Maryam and Joseph are not charged with any destructive acts. They are the first people to be charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2007, which basically makes bothering anyone who does anything with animals an act of "terrorism". The lengths to which the U.S government has gone to construct this spectacle are, indeed, spectacular - setting up surveillance cameras in a coffee shop, tracking the legal use of public internet terminals, even DNA testing bandanas while the same government says it doesn't have the money to help states use DNA testing in death penalty cases, possibly exonerating innocent people on death row! But there is money for DNA testing of activists' bandanas?!
Green Is The New Red has made several excellent posts lately on the subject of this latest manifestation of the witch hunts.
And here is an UPDATE from indybay.org on support and solidarity with the accused.
Joseph and Maryam's next court date is this Thursday at 9:30am in San Jose. If you are in the area please show your support. http://sticksandstonesscz.blogspot.com