On the topic of direct action…

Radical environmentalist Jeffrey “Free” Luers has been released from prison after spending more than nine years behind bars for setting three SUVs on fire at a Eugene dealership.

I went to Green Is The New Red to find out more about that, and came across this instead:

On November 17, 2009, Scott DeMuth was jailed for contempt of court, since he refused to answer questions posed to him by a federal grand jury in Davenport, Iowa. They were interested in questioning him about his knowledge of an unsolved Animal Liberation Front action in 2004 at the University of Iowa. Scott is a University of Minnesota graduate student and Dakota language student. Scott took a principled stand against the grand jury and paid for it with a contempt charge and, two days later, a charge of conspiracy to commit “animal enterprise terrorism.”

All of which reminded me of this, which is a couple of weeks old by now but still of interest:

tiananmen, tiller, and guantanamo

Tiananmen Square was my first CNN moment, the first time I stayed glued to the TV all night long, following events in close to real time. It was a defining moment for the global media regime, but we still haven’t resolved the question of what this new ability means. If all we can do is bear witness to atrocities in ever-greater detail, it doesn’t take us anywhere. We (meaning me and most of my readers) have a combination of information and privelege that no one in the world has ever had before. What do we do with it?

It’s easy to think of the assassination of George Tiller in abstract terms of policy and power, but listen to Surreal Estate, who was a patient of his:

I walked through a metal detector through a double set of privacy doors. A security guard checked me and Brian in- I thought it excessive at the time, but it obviously wasn’t excessive enough. Smack in the middle of Kansas, this clinic has been the recipient of vandalism, gunfire, and bombs. There was an orientation, some doctor visits, packets of information, numbers, and advice, etc. I got to meet several other girls and hear heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story. No one, not a single person there deserves any wrath of any kind. Several stories literally brought me to tears- a woman with a braindead baby growing in her womb, an autistic girl who had been raped, a homeless woman who had been abandoned by her husband, and another very young girl from South America whose stepfather had abused her.

I remember how kind he was. He walked up to our group and asked us what we thought the pro-life movement was about. He said his answer was CONTROL. Other people wanted to control our lives, men wanted to control our decisions, and religion wanted to control our laws.

And after years of isolation, here’s the first (sort of) public protest by prisoners in Guantanamo:

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.


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:

strictly mayhem- pirates and the ELF

I’ve been bemoaning the lack of good pictures from the Somali coast, and the Guardian has listened:
Life with the pirates of Somalia

Hijacked Supertanker Anchors Off Somalia
Saudis label pirates ‘terrorists’ after $100m loss
Hong Kong grain ship hijacked by pirates – Xinhua
Danish oil ship briefly seized off Nigeria

Everyone’s on the pirate bandwagon today. Even Matt Drudge is leading with it. But just remember who’s brought you daily pirate updates since this blog began, and will continue to do so long after you’re sick of this story.

Meanwhile, on to other tales of mayhem and subversion…. Guess who’s back?

Earth Liberation Front Press Office Returns…
North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office

Are they for real, or a bunch of provocateurs? Time will tell, or maybe not. Hopefully the next round of militants will be smarter and stronger than the last:
Restitution tops $4M in Midwest eco-terrorism case

Of course, it doesn’t take arson to be effective. Someone in Oregon used just a felt-tip marker, and may have cost a logging company a bunch of money in lost time and extra security. Remember, they don’t have to cost a company all their proceeds, just enough to squeeze the profit margin.
Police, ELF unsure who’s behind threatening note

“Based on prior training and knowledge, they (ELF) usually act, then take credit. That doesn’t mean it’s not (them), but it would be atypical for them to leave a note with a heart on it,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Vance Lawrence.

metal, drugs, bikes and treehuggers

Nothing else matters: Iraqi heavy metal returns

“I’ll see you die at my feet! Eternally I smash your face! Facial bones collapse as I crack your skull in half!” he roared.

Two years ago, these kinds of threats in Iraq typically came from members of al-Qaeda, or violent sectarian militias. Saturday night, they were directed at 250 Iraqi fans of heavy metal music who fearlessly donned eye shadow, anarchist pendants and black T-shirts and came out of hiding to attend Iraq’s first metal concert in five years.

Traces of hallucinogens found in mummy hair

Portland bike traffic up 28% over last year
Data Confirms Cycling On the Rise in New York City
Urban Cyclists: Stick Together, Don’t Inhale?

Michigan State arsonist sentenced to 9 years
Eau Claire man pleads to reduced federal charge
Eight months after arson, Street of Dreams is a ghost town

Bureau Proposes Opening Up Utah Wilderness to Drilling

One of the areas set to be auctioned off is Upper Desolation Canyon, which was named by explorer John Wesley Powell in 1869 while he traveled down the Green River, which traverses the canyon, to the Grand Canyon.

In a 1999 assessment, bureau officials wrote that Desolation Canyon “is a place where a visitor can experience true solitude — where the forces of nature continue to shape the colorful, rugged landscape,” and heralded the area’s “cultural, scenic, geologic, botanical, and wildlife values.”

“What makes this action by the Interior Department so deplorable is that BLM itself determined these areas to be wilderness-quality lands,” said Stephen Bloch, conservation director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an advocacy group, in a statement. “Nonetheless, BLM is condemning these lands to a future of oil rigs and gas pipelines and almost certain disqualification from future wilderness designation.”

all your favorite news stories in one stylish package

Owners hire armed guards to secure ships against pirates
Kidnap ransoms a ‘toll’ to fund terrorist groups

EU mulling military action to tackle Somalia pirates
Tuna fishing vessels seek refuge in Seychelles after threats of piracy

Review: At the Edge of the World (Documentary)
Propaganda: At The Edge of the World Premieres at the Toronto Film Festival

A nonfiction pirate movie that tickles one’s inner eco-radical, “At the Edge of the World” spends a season in the frozen sea with Paul Watson and his militant-mariner Sea Shepherd crew as they try to save endangered mammals from the restaurant suppliers of the Japanese whaling fleet. Docu-cum-chase film may have limited theatrical appeal, but should make a dent in the specialty market and, certainly, the DVD racks.

Google search finds seafaring solution

RAF radar chief: I saw UFO fleet

Wing Commander Alan Turner, 64, said colleagues sat stunned when 35 super-fast vessels appeared on their screens.

Wing Cmdr Turner said six military radars, plus operators at Heathrow, spotted the UFOs east of Salisbury Plain and filed reports on the unexplained phenomenon in 1971.

Three days later, the Ministry of Defence visited the RAF and instructed staff to “never speak about the incident again”.

Hubble Finds a Mystery Object
China Broadcasts Greetings From The Moon
Japanese Beam-Down Solar Power System To Be Tested in Abu Dhabi

7 countries plan Black Sea naval exercises
U.S. warship enters Black Sea, Turkey rules out Montreux breach
Russia eyes Mediterranean as alternative to Sevastopol naval base

Georgia war sparks political battle in Ukraine

Arctic meeting calls for closer international cooperation

The right to assembly: The American Civil Liberties Union is representing dozens of protestors arrested at the RNC

When you’ve got a police presence that’s as strong and as aggressive as this, and where they use as much chemical irritant as these guys have been using—they have two million dollars’ worth of it; you might as well use it up; doesn’t last forever, you know—you’re going to get news people who will be gassed and, you know, who will be arrested. People are being swept up, including journalists, charged with a felony, thrown in jail, and then, you know, they’re sitting there for a day and a half, and then the prosecutors are looking at it and saying, “Oh, there’s no reason. We’ll let you go.”

Judge blocks Ore. logging project

news about pirates and space

I wish I could bring you news about pirates in space, but that might be a few years off.

Pirates fire rockets at French boat far off Somalia
Iran denies agreement on vessel ransom
Somali pirates wreak havoc with maritime traffic

MESSENGER Ready For Its Second Look At Mercury
Experiment Boosts Hopes for Space Solar Power

A former NASA scientist has used radio waves to transmit solar power a distance of 92 miles (148 km) between two Hawaiian islands, an achievement that he says proves the technology exists to beam solar power from satellites back to Earth.

Report: NASA Chief Warns of Waning U.S. Dominance in Space
White House and NASA: Time to Call in a Therapist

Why is the White House afraid to let Griffin speak publicly? Why is Griffin afraid/unable to do so? Oh yes, Griffin has often been told by the White House to stay out of the Washington Post, NY Times, etc. But wait: leaked memos, “senior NASA officials” speaking under conditions of anonymity? Hmm, that’s the same inside the beltway code language and games that the White House usually uses to float trial balloons and instill a growing sense of dissent – while denying any active participation. Everyone is talking past everyone else. No one takes an open stance any more.

How much more dysfunctional can this whole situation become?

A Q&A on the shuttle’s future
Weldon Says Russian Waiver Means Pink Slips for KSC

Today, Congressman Dave Weldon (FL-15) denounced the efforts by Senator Bill Nelson and others to obtain a waiver of the Iran Nonproliferation Act for NASA. This waiver would allow the U.S. to purchase the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft and force the U.S. to rely on Russia over the next five to seven years to transport American astronauts in space to reach the U.S.-led International Space Station.

Portland band takes on West Coast tour by bike

I posted the other day about Marie Mason, the latest Earth Liberation Front activist to go down. Thanks to Katie Monster, I got  you a little more info. Check it out: she got narked out by her husband.
Non Cooperating Green Scare Defendant Marie Mason Plea details
Marie Mason Plea Agreement
Make sure you check out the comment in the Infoshop article by Lauren Regan from the Civil Liberties Defense Center. She’s been involved in these cases since the grand juries started five or six years ago, so this is basically making it official that even though Mason implicated her former husband, she’s not really giving up any info he didn’t admit himself, and therefore she’s a non-cooperator. Not a lot of these folks can say that.

I state with unequivocal confidence and knowledge that Marie has been absolutely stalwart in her commitment to not cooperate with the government, and to do no act that would damage the larger environmental movement in any way. She is an amazingly strong woman and I wish I had met her before her legal troubles began. Her plea agreement and negotiations do not require her to provide any information at all, other than to admit her own crimes in open court. The feds wanted their boy Ambrose to also be listed in the crimes that Marie is pleading to and to which Ambrose not only admitted, but gave up info on anything and everything he could think of. She has never confirmed or denied his role in any crime, but based upon the feds insistence that he be named in her plea counts, she will agree in court that if the feds say he did it, and Ambrose himself has sung like a canary, then so be it. Ambrose made his own bed long ago (see below). Like the other noncooperating defendants, the government could subpoena her to a grand jury or trial in the future. It would be her choice at that point whether to cooperate or not. Based upon the fact that she was willing to go to trial and face the rest of her life in prison if she was not offered a pure non-cooperation deal, I think we can speculate as to her decision if she was merely facing a contempt charge. Hopefully that will not happen.

Stay alert. Trust no one. Keep your laser handy.

news- bear baiting in the caucasus

There’s long been a dynamic in the Middle East where Arab leaders gain credibility by fighting Israel (and by extension, the US and the West), even though they get clobbered in the process. It’s widely considered, for instance, that Sadat took part in the 1973 war in order to gain the political capital he needed to pursue peace.

(Politics is a strange world, isn’t it? You have to fight a war in order to create peace. Don’t look at me- I didn’t make it that way.)

I wonder if Saakashvili will be inaugurating the same dynamic along the former Soviet periphery. After fighting a disastrous war, one for which he bears full responsibility, he seems to be in a pretty solid position. Georgia has unified behind him, with the opposition falling into line. All mentions of corruption and repression are gone. Countries like Poland and the Baltics are lining up to support him, and a substantial chunk of the US foreign policy establishment is treating him like a hero.

No telling how long this will last- Serbia united behind Milosevic during the Kosovo war, but still turned on him a year or so later. These circumstances are very different, of course, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on things. If taunting the bear and getting smacked down turns out to be a road to influence, we can expect the fringes of the Russian empire to get a whole lot more unstable.

Georgia accuses Russia of breaking ceasefire
Looting reignites Russia-Georgia tensions
NATO says membership pledge to Georgia stands
Iraq veterans jump from frying pan into the fire
US denies troops fighting in Georgia

Macedonia “Name” Talks Resume

Canada’s Harper aims to bolster Arctic sovereignty
US mission to Arctic will lay claim to gas reserves
Chertoff Hits the North Pole; Arctic Showdown Ahead?

Will Growing Russian/American Tension Affect ISS?
John McCain: America’s Space Program

‘Gitmo On The Platte’ Set As Holding Cell For DNC

Air Force Suspends Controversial Cyber Command

But even if everything all was calm at the Air Force, Cyber Command’s path was far from clear. At a June conference , the command’s emerging leaders couldn’t agree on what exactly the new unit would do. Some said the command’s mission would be the  “protection and defense of the Air Force’s command and control abilities.” Others argued that the “mission is to control cyberspace both for attacks and defense.” (The service even changed its mission statement to read, “As Airmen, it is our calling to dominate Air, Space, and Cyberspace.”) Some believed the Cyber Command would only be responsible for computer networks. Others thought it’d be responsbile for every system that had anything to do with the electromagnetic spectrum — up to and including laser weapons.

U.S. Judge in Wyoming Rules Against Ban on Forest Roads