FBI Bases Iowa ALF Case on Facebook, Speaking
by Will Potter, Green Is the New Red
Sunday Apr 11th, 2010 12:19 PM
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
Scott DeMuth with Animal Enterprise Terrorism, jailing
Carrie Feldman in a grand jury witch hunt, and
raiding the home of Peter Young.
- 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 doesn’t seem that the government has anything else to go on. When
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.