Oral Arguments Presented on Motion to Overturn the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)

The AETA is being used for the first time since its passage by Congress in 2006 to do exactly what civil rights advocates feared it would do – criminalize activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S.

On July 13th, defense attorneys for Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo (the AETA 4) presented oral arguments on their motion to strike down the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The AETA 4 are being represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), and other well-respected civil rights attorneys, including Tony Serra. The defense demanded that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) be struck down as unconstitutional before Judge Ronald Whyte of the United States District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose.

The AETA is being used for the first time since its passage by Congress in 2006 to do exactly what civil rights advocates feared it would do – criminalize activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The oral arguments presented on July 13th were not about the allegations as directly applied to the AETA 4, but rather that the whole case should be dismissed now because AETA itself is unconstitutional.

Photo of the AETA 4 courtesy of the AETA 4 Support Committee. From left to right: Nathan Pope, Adriana Stumpo, Maryam Khajavi and Joseph Buddenberg.

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Police Raid House on Riverside Avenue in Santa Cruz, Again

Details are quite sketchy, but on August 7th, police raided a home on the 700 block of Riverside Avenue in Santa Cruz. It is the same home that was raided on February 24, 2008. In the February raid, police assert that the home, or the people who were inside of it, were somehow connected to what they proclaim are animal rights activists that held a protest that allegedly ended with a scuffle at a UC Santa Cruz researcher’s house. The raid on August 7th was apparently carried out by at least the Department of Justice, FBI, and UCSC police.

While police removed belongings from the front house on the property, other people were loading their items into trucks parked in front of the house. The people in the back house happened to be moving out at the same time that the police decided to raid the house in the front. Apparently nobody was home at the front house during the raid. The following photos were taken at about 7pm.

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Faculty Rally at UC Santa Cruz in Support of Firebombed Colleagues

On August 4th, at the main entrance to UC Santa Cruz, faculty members held a demonstration in support of their colleagues who were targeted with firebombs on August 2nd in what authorities are calling attacks by animal liberationists. Corporate news reporters, and their flock of more than ten white vans, were all over the scene to quickly sensationalize the story.

I spoke with numerous people to listen to their feelings, document why they chose to attend the demonstration, and in some cases to inquire about potential consequences to student privacy when organizing future events. The people I spoke with included researchers, a lecturer, professors, UCSC students, a Santa Cruz High School student that lives in faculty housing, UCSC’s Executive Communications Coordinator, Guy Lasnier, and finally with UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal.

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Police Raid Activist House in Santa Cruz

On February 24th, police broke through the front door of a home on the 700 block of Riverside Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz at about 10pm. The Santa Cruz Police Department, UCPD, Santa Cruz County Sheriffs, and a Park Ranger all participated in the raid which took place after police officers spent the day monitoring the house and looking inside windows, including while a young women was taking a shower. Police refused to produce the warrant until they were leaving the house with their hands full of computers and other items that could be used to induce other other people to be compassionate.

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Peter Young Speaks at SHAC 7 Benefit in Santa Cruz

In early 2008, Peter got off probation and moved back to Santa Cruz where he had been living underground before being captured.

On February 23rd, Peter Young, an animal liberation activist and former Green Scare prisoner, spoke at the Louden Nelson Center in Santa Cruz before a screening of “Behind the Mask” at a benefit for the SHAC 7.

Peter grew up in Los Gatos and moved to the state of Washington at the age of nine. He went to college at the University of Washington where he became involved in animal rights activism. In 1997, Peter and a friend liberated over 8,000 mink and foxes from various fur farms in a two-week road trip across three midwestern states. In 1998, indictments were handed down for his arrest and accomplice Justin Samuel. After nearly 7 years on the run, Peter was captured in San Jose in 2005 and served almost two years in prison until his release in early 2007.

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