police state

war on the peace movement

The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of a terrorism investigation Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and terrorist groups in Colombia and the Middle East.

FBI spokesman Steve Warfield told The Associated Press agents served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago.

“These were search warrants only,” Warfield said. “We’re not anticipating any arrests at this time. They’re seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”

Two anti-war activists said Saturday that a 12-hour search of their Chicago home by the FBI was an attempt to intimidate them and silence the peace movement.

Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, said the government targeted them because they’ve been outspoken against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. funding of conflicts abroad. They denied any wrongdoing.

The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East.

In prior cases, particularly regarding “eco-terrorism” and “animal enterprise terrorism,” the FBI has frequently justified using terrorism resources to target political activists because they allegedly have some connection to property crimes. Recently in Pennsylvania, for instance, the Department of Homeland Security used this mantra to justify the monitoring of film screenings and protests.

With the peace groups in question in Minneapolis and Chicago, there is no alleged link to any underground activity. There is no spraypainting, no broken windows. These are above-ground activists, many of whom have been involved in social struggles for decades. The flimsy pretext that has been a fallback excuse for much of the FBI’s “terrorism” crackdowns are simply not relevant. Instead, the FBI is alleging that these groups may have ties to foreign terrorist organizations.

who bombed judi bari?

Twenty years ago today, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, two prominent Earth First!ers, were in Oakland protesting clearcutting. They had been on the road organizing Redwood Summer, a campaign to save old-growth forests inspired by the Freedom Summer of the civil rights movement.

The two were in Bari’s Subaru station wagon when a pipe bomb exploded underneath her, injuring Cherney and nearly killing her. Hours later, while Bari was still in Oakland’s Highland Hospital, local police arrested them and said they had knowingly transported the bomb—that they were responsible for their own bombing. Police dropped those charges weeks later, but this was just the beginning.

I’m too full of plague and pestilence to say very much right now, but I’d like to point out that after 20 years, I don’t believe anyone has found out who bombed Judi Bari, and I don’t think there has ever been a real investigation.

At the 1995 Round River Rendezvous, I heard her give a workshop called “Revolutionary Deep Ecology.” I’m pretty sure it was the basis for this pamphlet which she put out the next year. Again, I’m too full of snot to insert my own opinions here, so read her in her own words:

big brother round-up

This is why we don’t trust the surveillance state. If they can’t resist needling one of their own over his needler, how are they going to treat the rest of us?

Negrin … and his co-workers had been training with new “whole body image” machines–the controversial kind that provide very revealing images of a traveler–when Negrin walked through the scanner. “The X-ray revealed that [Negrin] has a small penis and co-workers made fun of him on a daily basis,” reported cops. Following his arrest, Negrin told police that he “could not take the jokes anymore and lost his mind.”

Americans accused of being involved with terrorist organizations, even if they have never been convicted of a crime, could have their citizenship revoked under a bipartisan bill that has been introduced in Congress.

This by way of Ani:

Made without the knowledge or approval of the NYPD, the tapes—made between June 1, 2008, and October 31, 2009, in the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant  and obtained exclusively by the Voice—provide an unprecedented portrait of what it’s like to work as a cop in this city.

They reveal that precinct bosses threaten street cops if they don’t make their quotas of arrests and stop-and-frisks, but also tell them not to take certain robbery reports in order to manipulate crime statistics. The tapes also refer to command officers calling crime victims directly to intimidate them about their complaints.

Worth reading to the end for this nugget:

Three weeks after his meeting with QAD investigators, on October 31, Schoolcraft felt sick and went home from work. Hours later, a dozen police supervisors came to his house and demanded that he return to work. He declined, on health grounds. Eventually, Deputy Chief Michael Marino, the commander of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, which covers 10 precincts, ordered that Schoolcraft be dragged from his apartment in handcuffs and forcibly placed in a Queens mental ward for six days.

The Voice says they’ll be doing a follow-up on what happened to Schoolcraft. I’ll be keeping an eye out.

And finally, on to the everyday surveillance we’ve come to take for granted:

The Oregonian article has a link to the claim that the cameras reduce accidents, but it turns out to be a statement buried in another article, relying on the Portland police. No idea how the actual study stands up.

random bits of news

Mr. Iqbal’s lawyer, Joshua L. Dratel, had earlier argued that prosecution of his client for providing satellite TV services violated his First Amendment rights, but Judge Berman rejected that view, ruling that the prosecution was based not on the content of speech but on conduct — allegations that he provided material support to a foreign terrorist group.

I’ve read a few articles about this, and I can’t find any claim that his “material support” amounted to anything more than airing the TV station.

Thanks to Katie Monster for this one:

Despite advisories that warn people to avoid contact with river sediments and consuming locally caught fish, thousands are expected to participate this weekend in a Dow Chemical-sponsored walleye festival along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, where the watershed has been contaminated with harmful dioxin and other toxic substances.

And just as the Michigan Department of Community Health is warning that children and pre-menopausal women should mostly avoid eating river fish including walleye because of contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin, organizers of the festival say they plan to donate walleye fillets to a local food bank.

Thanks to KM for this one too (maybe I should just let her post here herself):

“APRIL 24, 2009
HENNINGSVAER, NORWAY

WHALING SHIP SUNK

ON THE EVENING OF THE 23RD OF APRIL WE SNUCK ONTO A NORWEGIAN WHALING SHIP MAKING REPAIRS IN THE LOFOTEN ISLANDS IN PREPARATION FOR THE 2009 WHALING SEASON. TO DELAY THE KILLING SEASON AND TO PROTEST THE CONTINUED ILLEGAL EXPORT OF WHALE MEAT TO JAPAN WE DISASSEMBLED A VALVE AND FLOODED THE ENGINE ROOM. UNFORTUNATELY LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS WERE ABLE TO RESPOND JUST MOMENTS BEFORE THE SHIP SETTLED ON THE BOTTOM BUT NOT BEFORE THE SHIP HAD ALREADY BEEN COMPLETELY FILLED WITH SEA WATER AND THE DAMAGE DONE. FOR BOTH FISHERIES INVESTORS IN TOKYO AND INSURANCE UNDERWRITERS IN OSLO INVESTING IN THE NORWEGIAN WHALING INDUSTRY CAN ONLY LEAD TO SUNKEN PROFITS. AS A DIRECT RESULT OF A GROWING INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES WE CAME TO HENNINGSVAER. WE SAW THE SKARBAKK. WE SANK THE BASTARD. -AGENDA 21″

it’s like a little piece of guantanamo, right here at home

The government is using secretive prison facilities on U.S. soil, called Communication Management Units, to house inmates accused of being tied to “terrorism” groups. They overwhelmingly include Muslim inmates, along with at least two animal rights and environmental activists.

Little information is available about the secretive facilities and the prisoners housed there. However, through interviews with attorneys, family members, and a current prisoner, it is clear that these units have been created not for violent and dangerous “terrorists,” but for political cases that the government would like to keep out of the public spotlight and out of the press.

mayhem

Pirates are having a hard time of it lately:

Still having repercussions, though:

This bunch got away with it because they’re not off of Somalia:

And now on to Animal Liberation Front action. If you don’t know about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, you should check it out.

The critical step in this process is for law enforcement to use what little evidence they have to scare the living hell out of those arrested. They use threats of outlandish prison sentences and terrorism rhetoric in order to create government informants, or snitches. They then continue that pattern of threats and fear-mongering with each subsequent arrestee, until they have enough to move forward with a case. This snitch-based model of police work (as opposed to gathering evidence, witnesses and leads) is notoriously unreliable and often illegal.

Here’s another activist going to jail, this time for driving a nice old lady to her house:

And then there’s this:

And finally, I don’t know why I’m so enamored of these animal attack stories lately. Probably because they’re awesome:

crime and mayhem

Let’s get right to the crime and mayhem:

Buoyed by the widely held belief that cannabis is California’s biggest cash crop, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano contends it is time to reap some state revenue from that harvest while putting a damper on drug use by teens, cutting police costs and even helping Mother Nature.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said Japan’s complaint about the Steve Irwin reached his organisation last week by way of the Japanese embassy in Canberra, and through the Australian embassy in Tokyo.

The official complaint stemmed from the director-general of the Japanese fishing agency.

Police confiscated the ship’s logbook and video footage of dramatic whale-killing scenes.

I’ve posted about the big civil disobedience at the US Capitol’s power plant before, but here’s more about it. All the contact people on their website seems to have Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network emails. It’d be nice if this was the beginning of Greenpeace USA getting serious again. This here is the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

And finally:

Geronimo died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, , in 1909. A longstanding tradition among members of Skull and Bones holds that Prescott Bush — father of President George Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush — broke into the grave with some classmates during World War I and made off with the skull, two bones, a bridle and some stirrups, all of which were put on display at the group’s clubhouse in New Haven, known as the Tomb.

Here’s where he’s supposed to be buried at Fort Sill, OK:

newsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnews

Starting with News of the Stupid:

Junior Brandon Davis said “it all started in good nature, but then people were throwing them as hard as they could at each other.” Junior Matt Lunchick said an officer chased and arrested a student after being hit in the back with a snowball.

“The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat,” Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.

“We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat,” he said.

And on to News of the Grim:

I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again.

And now this:

Nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the ship at 12:43 pm (Beijing time) on Dec 17. The 30 sailors locked themselves in the cabins, using fire hydrants and self-made firebombs to keep the attackers at bay.

The beer bottles worked as real weapons, flying like missiles and exploding on impact. And the shards of broken glass made walking on the deck difficult for the pirates because most of them were barefoot.

A couple of these:

And bad news in space, too:

assorted news

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — “would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,” Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted “a fundamental change in military culture,” he said.

I posted an earlier development of this a couple of months ago. I warned people then not to be stupid- this didn’t mean martial law. The reason for that warning was that the paranoid left was going through one of its occasional panics about martial law, canceled elections, etc. that never seem to pan out. I think these panics are a symptom of ignorance, and more effort needs to be made to educate people on the practical matters of politics.

But this shouldn’t obscure the fact that we have a creeping authoritarianism in this country that has its roots before 9/11, and is unlikely to get turned around if we don’t take action against it.  I’m wary of terms like fascismmartial law and police state, because they have specific meanings that don’t necessarily apply the way people use them, but I’m afraid that by shunning the terms, I lose the ability to talk about what’s happening in a way people understand. I suppose we need new ways to talk about these things that reflect today’s world, much like most of the rest of our political vocabulary.

And now, pirates!

Several of these stories indicate pirates attacking in greater numbers than before, or going after new types of targets. I’d suggest this is a tactical response to the increased presence of foreign navies in the region. It may mean the pirates will be able to respond to changing conditions and will not be suppressed as easily as some people expect.

The rare white lemuroid possum hasn’t been sighted for the past three years. Scientists are concerned it might have the ignominious distinction of being the world’s first mammal sent to extinction by global warming.

This contract is good news, in a sense. It means we’ll be using the Soyuz to send astronauts to the International Space Station, and I certainly wouldn’t argue that we stop going up there. But what’s up with having to rely on the Russians? Once the shuttle is retired, we’ll have no capability to put humans in space. Not until the new system is up and running, and who knows how NASA will fare over the next few years?

sea, space and stupid

Starting of course with the stupid. The one redeeming factor here? At least it wasn’t the Amurricans this time.

Students in ‘Weird Science’ Halloween party arrested under anti-terror laws

OK, on to the srs b. I’ve never posted anything like an ad before, but this is something I want to see. If I find a torrent, I’m going to make all my friends watch it. Unless it sucks. It is TV, after all.

Sea Shepherd Heads for Antarctic Battle With Japanese Whalers
Greenpeace lays off Japan
Greenpeace won’t chase whalers

Guarded shipping corridor limiting Somali piracy
European Union approves anti-piracy patrols off Somali coast


Icy Profile

The Cassini spacecraft looks toward Rhea’s cratered, icy landscape with the dark line of Saturn’s ringplane and the planet’s murky atmosphere as a background.

Chandrayaan-1 Successfully Enters Moon’s Orbit
Astronauts head for extreme home makeover in space
Mars Phoenix Lander completes its mission

According to NASA, the space agency is no longer receiving communications from Phoenix, its Mars lander, after more than five months of operation. The not unexpected event came after the lander moved into an area, NASA said in a release Monday, where “seasonal decline in sunshine at the robot’s arctic landing site is not providing enough sunlight for the solar arrays to collect the power necessary to charge batteries that operate the lander’s instruments.”

RIP, Phoenix. You almost convinced me to take the Twitter pill. Almost.