Saturday, June 30, 2007

Time to Kick Out the Corporate Bastards

June 29, 2007

Toward a New Environmental Movement

The environmental movement is on life support. Some would say it is already dead. Even though climate change and Al Gore are fast becoming the conversation du jour around the American dinner table, it also happens to be the rallying cry for do-gooder conservationists and corporations alike.
Call it the eco-economy. Virtually all major corporations now claim they are going "green". Toyota dealerships cannot keep the hybrid Prius in stock. Apple, after heavy lobbying from Greenpeace and others, declares they are going to make their computers environmentally friendly. Genetically modified corn, which produces ethanol fuel, is being hawked by Monsanto as an alternative to petroleum based gasoline. Ethanol advocates are calling their program "Fuels for Profit", while they sip McDonald's organic coffee. The environmental movement has been corporatized.
Big green groups are not helping the situation. Their hands are tied by both the large foundations that pay their rent and the Democratic Party to which they are attached at the hip. They long ago gave up on challenging the system. Most groups today are little more than direct mailing outfits who have embraced a sordid neoliberal approach to saving the natural world. The true causes of planetary destruction are never mentioned. Industrial capitalism is not the problem, individuals are. Not the government's inability to enforce its weak regulations. Not big oil companies, or coal fired plants. These neoliberal groups argue ordinary people are to blame for the impending environmental catastrophe, not those who profit from the Earth's destruction.
Meanwhile, on the ground, grassroots environmentalists engaging in arson as a response to unfettered sprawl and our car addicted culture are dubbed terrorists by the Federal government. Despite their extreme and counter-productive methods, the cases are quite informative. In our post-9/11 world young eco-radicals are viewed by the FBI and corporations as if they are as dangerous as bin Laden. All activists, no matter their cause, should take heed. It is the first step in cracking down on radical activism.
Torching SUVs in the middle of the night, unfortunately, will not bring about any massive radical change, except, perhaps, in our "anti-terrorism" legislation. There are militant direct actions that are prevailing, however, from Paul Watson's crusade to protect the wild creatures of the sea, to the environmentalists who stake out in trees for weeks at a time, to the grandmothers who chain themselves to logging trucks, despite the dangers.
Such actions, coupled with the organization of the working class, could help steer the environmental movement in the right direction. The philosophy of the great wilderness advocate Bob Marshall may prove to be quite prescient in the age of foundation driven conservationism. Marshall believed wilderness was for the regular folks. He believed wilderness was a "minority right" and argued that elitism inside the movement would be inherently corrupt. He's right. The burdens of a coporatized society are great, not only for our forests and rivers, but to the workers who are consistently exploited and poisoned for profit.
Marshall believed the radical trade unions and socialized forestry was one answer to countering the destruction of the wild places he loved so much. Now is the time to once again embrace such an environmental ethic. Wilderness, that living symbol of freedom, exists for all to enjoy. It is not ours to exploit. The salmon and grizzly bears deserve better.
Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book is End Times: the Death of the Fourth Estate, co-written with Alexander Cockburn.
Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State Rebels, to be published by AK Press in March 2008.
They can be reached at:

Extreme Confusion: Why Do Civil Rights Watchdog Groups Care About the Earth Liberation Front?

Earth First! Journal • PO Box 3023, Tucson, AZ 85702-3023
(520) 620-6900 • •
Extreme Confusion
Why Do Civil Rights Watchdog Groups Care About the Earth Liberation Front?

artwork by Brian Bowes (
When federal prosecutors recently likened the Operation Backfire defendants to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), lawyers for the defense were quick to register their shock and disgust. Daniel McGowan’s attorney, Amanda Lee, appropriately condemned the comparison as “appalling,” “historically inaccurate” and “an insult to African-Americans.”

Although many animal rights and environmental activists seem startled by the prosecution’s analogy, it is merely the most visible and recent example of a growing tendency to conflate the Earth and animal liberation movements with racist hate groups. What’s most disturbing is that among the parties responsible for this trend are two of the nation’s largest and most prominent civil rights watchdog groups: the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

How did these organizations—which were founded with the express purpose of combating anti-Semitism and white supremacy, and which have enjoyed the strong support of liberals and progressives for decades—develop such a keen interest in the Earth and animal liberation movements? The answer lies in a disappointing, disturbing and largely unknown history of neoconservative political agendas, adherence to a centrist/extremist model of society, unethical and illegal intelligence-gathering activities, cooperation with law enforcement, poor journalism and fear-mongering.

The Anti-Defamation League

Founded in 1913, the ADL’s original mission of combating anti-Semitic slander and libel quickly expanded to include civil rights advocacy. During the 1930s, the ADL initiated the practice for which it has become best known: the monitoring of racist and fascist groups through research and covert intelligence gathering.

Previously a somewhat liberal organization, the ADL began to undergo a marked shift toward a neoconservative political orientation during the 1970s, which resulted in new alliances with the religious and political right, as well as increased cooperation with law enforcement. Additionally, the ADL adopted centrist/extremist theory, a neoconservative social model that clumps together all dissidents from the political right and left—regardless of their diverse and often conflicting agendas—and dismisses them as psychologically unstable people deserving of marginalization and imprisonment.

The disturbing results of the ADL’s blind commitment to centrist/extremist theory came to light in 1993, when a police investigation revealed that the ADL had assembled (perhaps illegally) files on thousands of Arab-American, anti-war, anti-apartheid, civil rights, environmental, labor and social justice groups, including ACT UP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Indian Movement, Food Not Bombs, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Greenpeace and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Although criminal charges were (miraculously) never filed, the scandal harmed the ADL’s reputation and drew attention to its increasingly reactionary and paranoid suspicion of progressives and radicals.

Given this troubling history, it is not at all surprising that the “Extremism in America” section of the ADL’s website currently lists “ecoterrorism” alongside racist and fascist groups like the KKK, the National Socialist Movement and the World Church of the Creator. Moreover, the ADL’s profiles of Earth First!, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) are littered with unqualified references to “terrorism” and “extremism,” as well as assurances that these nonviolent movements will inevitably (and intentionally) begin taking lives.

The examples that the ADL offers to confirm this charge are problematic at best and deliberately misleading at worst. For instance, the ADL states that in 1999, “a British reporter who had infiltrated the ALF the year before with a hidden camera… was abducted by a number of men. They branded the letters ‘ALF’ on his back.”

What the ADL doesn’t say is that, according to the British magazine Green Anarchist, this reporter had made similar claims before, like when he said that he’d been kidnapped and shot in the leg by EF!ers. The idea that two separate movements employed new, unprecedented and never-repeated tactics of kidnapping and torture against the same person is simply too far-fetched to be true. Apparently, the police found Hall’s story unconvincing and promptly abandoned their criminal investigation. In treating this highly suspicious incident as proven fact, the ADL has failed to uphold its mission of assembling “accurate, detailed, unassailable information” and disseminating its findings through responsible and ethical journalism.

The Southern Poverty Law Center

The SPLC has followed a similar path from legitimate anti-racist work to the demonization of radical dissent. The SPLC was founded by Morris Dees and Joe Levin in 1971, as a small law firm focusing on civil rights cases. During the 1980s, the SPLC was catapulted into the national spotlight by a series of legal victories that bankrupted KKK and neo-Nazi groups. It quickly became one of the most visible and best funded anti-racist watchdog groups in the US.

Like the ADL, the SPLC has attracted significant controversy. In 2000, Harper’s Magazine published an article by Ken Silverstein—the magazine’s award-winning Washington Editor—alleging that the SPLC greatly overstates the threat posed by hate groups in order to raise more money.

“In 1986,” Silverstein wrote, “the SPLC’s entire legal staff quit in protest of Dees’ refusal to address issues—such as homelessness, voter registration and affirmative action—that they considered far more pertinent to poor minorities, if far less marketable to affluent benefactors, than fighting the KKK.”

Another similarity to the ADL is the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which gathers information on a variety of “extremist” groups and publishes its findings in the quarterly Intelligence Report. While typically focused on white supremacists, the Report began covering the anti-globalization, animal rights and radical environmental movements following the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle, Washington. Although the Report has generally avoided the “ecoterrorism” label in favor of “ecoradicalism,” it has undermined this sober restraint through a campaign of innuendo, conjecture, misinformation and fear-mongering that makes the ADL look amateurish by comparison.

In the Winter 2000 edition of the Report, for example, the SPLC concluded that the WTO protests signaled a coming alliance between right-wing and left-wing
opponents of globalization, including neo-Nazis, the Nation of Islam and Earth First!. This charge was repeated in the Summer 2001 Report, which flung numerous outlandish accusations at the ELF in the hope that one might stick. The SPLC charged that “the ELF’s use of underground violence strongly resembles ex-Klansman Louis Beam’s concept of ‘leaderless resistance,’” as if this shared organizational structure is proof of a common racist ideology. Never mind the fact that leaderless resistance was actually developed by a US intelligence officer as a strategy for combating communist “extremists.”

The same Report also stated that “the ELF recently set this year’s ‘International Day of Action’ for April 19—a mythic date for the anti-government right. It was that day in 1993, when about 80 Branch Davidian cult members died in a fire in Waco, Texas…. It is also the day that Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168.” The Report ignored that the ELF chose the date for its proximity to Earth Day (April 22, 2001), and it did not even consider the possibility that the relation to Waco and Oklahoma City was a coincidence. Maybe the ELF picked April 19 because it’s the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising—a significant event in the history of Jewish liberation and the fight against fascism. This explanation is as likely as any other.

Dozens of similar articles in the Intelligence Report make it clear that the SPLC advances conjecture as fact and coincidence as conspiracy, while excluding any information that might undermine its desired conclusion that the ELF is on the verge of allying itself with violent racists.

Disturbing Implications

If the ADL and the SPLC were small organizations on the margins of popular discourse and public policy, there would be little need for concern. However, both groups are large, particularly the ADL, which has 30 regional and three international offices. The ADL and the SPLC are also incredibly well-funded, with total annual revenues of more than $50 million and $30 million, respectively. Finally, and perhaps most disturbingly, both organizations enjoy significant influence with politicians, law enforcement and the public at large.

In 2002, a US congressional questionnaire sent to former ELF spokesperson Craig Rosebraugh quoted the SPLC’s charges of a growing alliance between the ELF and the racist, fascist right. It then asked, “How do you feel about the ELF being compared to the KKK? Is this an accurate comparison? Do you feel a kinship of cause with ‘racists and fascists,’ as the SPLC contends?” (For the record, Rosebraugh brusquely answered, “A) That is ridiculous and insulting. I would expect the SPLC to have more intelligence than that. B) No. C) No.”) These and other absurd allegations are frequently adopted as fact by lawmakers and law enforcement, resulting in policies and investigations based on ADL and SPLC propaganda. It is entirely possible—even likely—that the federal prosecution’s recent comparison of the ELF to the KKK was inspired by these organizations’ reports.

Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that both the ADL and the SPLC have a history of conducting covert investigations using surveillance and infiltration tactics that law enforcement is generally barred from employing without a warrant. The organizations then provide this information to the police and the FBI, effectively circumventing constitutional rights of privacy and assembly. The result is that these private watchdog groups are increasingly complicit in classically fascist systems of government surveillance and control. Apparently, the ADL and the SPLC oppose fascism when it is promoted by private individuals but condone it when practiced by the state, which is precisely when it is most dangerous.

The general public is also susceptible to the assertions of the ADL and the SPLC. Media reports on the Earth and animal liberation movements frequently quote these esteemed watchdog groups, whose statements are uncritically presented as expert commentary. To a populace that knows very little about the radical environmental and animal rights movements, the fact that the ADL and the SPLC are being quoted would seem to imply that there is an anti-Semitic, racist or fascist component to these movements.

By advancing this kind of innuendo, the ADL and the SPLC cheapen oppression and transform it into a kind of rhetorical capital that can be wielded for political gain. By painting the radical environmental and animal rights movements as a bunch of Nordic youths waiting to be Nazified, these organizations effectively marginalize and delegitimize the radical Jews and people of color who are actively working for the liberation of animals and the Earth. Perhaps more than anything, this shows how low the ADL and the SPLC have sunk.


Obviously, the ADL’s and the SPLC’s focus on the Earth and animal liberation movements needs to be challenged, but this must be done carefully. Speaking and writing against the ADL and the SPLC is a delicate undertaking, especially since both organizations are generally perceived as unassailable warriors in the fight against oppression. We must always be clear that our problem is not with combating anti-Semitism, racism and fascism, but with doing so in a manipulative and unethical fashion in order to advance a repressive, neoconservative agenda.

Additionally, we must be careful not to accidentally align ourselves with white supremacists. When researching the dark side of these organizations, pay close attention to what your sources are. Many websites “exposing” the ADL and the SPLC are operated by KKK and neo-Nazi groups. If your source refers to “the Jew Morris Dees” or cites the ADL as part of the “worldwide Jewish conspiracy,” you should look elsewhere for

As a final word of caution, it is my strong belief that direct action must be avoided. Home demonstrations and property damage will not work against the ADL or the SPLC. These organizations’ employees have endured death threats and physical violence from neo-Nazis and the KKK. They won’t be swayed by animal rights and environmental activists. Besides, this kind of approach would prove suicidal from both a law enforcement and public relations perspective. If action is to be taken, it should be restricted to peaceful demonstrations at relevant public events.

Effective opposition to unethical practices of the ADL and the SPLC must necessarily focus on the general public. Both organizations depend upon direct mail fundraising campaigns that tend to target liberals and progressives, who are largely unaware of these organizations’ dirty dealings. Mainstream animal rights and environmental activists, as well as sympathetic liberals and progressives, are likely to respond positively to a reasonable critique of these organizations.

Finally, Jewish animal rights and environmental activists—like myself—who are deeply disturbed by the ADL’s activities should discuss this with family, friends and members of our community. The involvement of a vocal contingent of anti-racist organizers, Jewish activists and activist people of color would go a long way toward legitimizing a challenge of the ADL and the SPLC, and it would help assure that these efforts retain the nuanced and cautious tone that they will require to be successful. Ultimately, exposing the reactionary and repressive nature of the ADL and the SPLC is not just about defending the Earth and animal liberation movements. It is about creating legitimate methods of challenging institutionalized oppression wherever it appears.

Josh is really hoping that someone out there knows how to make a good vegan matzoh brei.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Eric McDavid Update - Fundraising, Website Updated, and More


Dear friends and supporters,

Thanks to everyone who took advantage of the matching
funds! We have already reached the $600 mark, which
means that matching funds are no longer available.
However, please do not let that keep you from donating!
We still have quite a way to go before we reach our goal
of $15,000, which is the minimum we need to cover Eric's
current remaining legal expenses.

We would also like to remind everyone to keep checking the website for
updates and info about Eric's case. We recently added some new items to
the "Background" section on the site - a radio interview with Mark, Eric's
lawyer, as well as a link to a story that ran last year in a local
Sacramento paper (which has some really good information). Most
importantly, we added a poem that Eric recently wrote in the "Updates"
section. Make sure you check it out.

And please remember that these next few months will be particularly
difficult for Eric as his trial date approaches. You all play an
important role in Eric's struggle as his connection with the outside
world. Please keep him in your thoughts - send letters, pictures, poetry.
Send anything to remind him that people out here are thinking about him
and supporting him. It makes a huge difference to him and helps keep him
sane in an insane situation.

Thanks again for your continued support.

For any of you New Yorkers out there, Christian Parenti will be speaking
at a fundraiser for Eric on July 5. Please check the website soon for
> more details!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Daniel McGowan's motion denied. He goes to prison on July 2nd

Family + Friends of Daniel McG
June 27, 2007

Bad news...

Daniel's motion to stay out on bond until the Bureau of Prison designates him to a permanent facility was denied today by Judge Aiken. He will be self-reporting to federal prison Monday, July 2nd. We hope he will be able to report to the Metropolitan Detention Complex (MDC) in Brooklyn. In the government's brief opposing Daniel's motion, the prosecutors cited Daniel's interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now a few days after he was sentenced as well as the fact that the website we run for him,, is still operational as arguments for why he should self report on July 2nd.

For clarity's sake, will be "operational" for the full term of Daniel's imprisonment and beyond. It is a support site set up by the McGowan family and his close friends and run by myself, Daniel's wife. We see nothing wrong in our advocacy for Daniel and believe he has a constituional right to free speech.

As soon as we know Daniel's address, we will send it out to the support Daniel announcement list and it will be posted on

This has been a truly horrendous time for all of us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the amazing support and solidarity we have recieved from you in the past 19 months.

Jenny Synan, Daniel's wife
Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan

Notice of Electronic Filing

The following transaction was entered on 6/27/2007 at 4:30 PM PDT and filed on 6/27/2007
Case Name: USA v. McGowan
Case Number:6:06-cr-60124
Document Number:28(No document attached)
Docket Text:
ORDER: Denying Defendant's Motion to Amend Judgment [26] as to Daniel Gerard McGowan. Counsel is free to draft language for a letter from the court recommending that defendant be directed to surrender at the MDC in Brooklyn, NY. by Judge Ann L. Aiken

Daniel McGowan is an environmental and social justice activist. He was charged in federal court on many counts of arson, property destruction and conspiracy, all relating to two incidents in Oregon in 2001. Until recently, Daniel was offered two choices by the government: cooperate by informing on other people, or go to trial and face life in prison. His only real option was to plead not guilty until he could reach a resolution of the case that permitted him to honor his principles. As a result of months of litigation and negotiation, Daniel was able to admit to his role in these two incidents, while not implicating or identifying any other people who might have been involved. Judge Aiken sentenced Daniel to 7 years in prison on June 4, 2007.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Complete text of B.C. Court decision re. John Graham extradition

United States of America v. Graham,

2007 BCCA 345
Date: 20070626

Docket: CA032715

The Attorney General of Canada on behalf of
The United States of America
(Applicant/Requesting State)

John Graham
also known as John Boy Patton
(Respondent/Person Sought)

The Honourable Mr. Justice Donald
The Honourable Mr. Justice Hall
The Honourable Madam Justice Levine

T. E. La Liberté, Q.C., G. P. DelBigio and L. M. Sturgess
Counsel for the Appellant
D. J. Strachan and J. G. Johnston
Counsel for the Respondent
Place and Date of Hearing:
Vancouver, British Columbia
17 May 2007
Place and Date of Judgment:
Vancouver, British Columbia
26 June 2007

Written Reasons by:
The Honourable Mr. Justice Donald
Concurring Reasons by:
The Honourable Mr. Justice Hall (P. 18, para. 40)
Concurring Reasons by:
The Honourable Madam Justice Levine (P. 19, para. 43)
Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Mr. Justice Donald:

[1] John Graham was committed for extradition to the United States of America, to be tried for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash in South Dakota. After the committal order was made, 2005 BCSC 559, the Supreme Court of Canada concurrently released decisions in United States of America v. Ferras; United States of America v. Latty, [2006] 2 S.C.R. 77, 2006 SCC 33, and United Mexican States v. Ortega; United States of America v. Fiessel, [2006] 2 S.C.R. 120, 2006 SCC 34.

[2] Graham requests a new committal hearing on the ground that, deprived of the benefit of Ferras, the extradition judge did not assess the sufficiency of the prosecution case in the manner and to the extent mandated by Ferras, and therefore he is entitled to a reassessment according to the new approach.

[3] Having scrutinized the evidence according to my understanding of what Ferras decided, I am satisfied that it is sufficient for committal and accordingly I would dismiss the appeal.

[4] As the extradition judge noted, there were deficiencies in the "Record of the Case", but on the crucial issue of whether the person known as John Graham, also known as John Boy Patton, was the same person who committed the murder, the judge found that the evidence of John Trudell established identification. With respect, I think that finding was correct and it is not affected by the application of Ferras.

[5] The other elements of the offence are uncontroversial. Anna Mae Aquash was executed by a single gunshot to the back of her head on orders from the American Indian Movement because they believed her to be an informant for the F.B.I. This occurred in late 1975 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. As a planned and deliberate killing, it constitutes murder in Canadian law.

[6] Two persons were indicted for first degree murder, the appellant and Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud. Looking Cloud was tried separately before a Federal Court judge and jury in South Dakota and convicted in 2004. His appeal was dismissed on 19 August 2005 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit: 419 F.3d 781, 2005 U.S. App. LEXUS 17578. The evidence summarized in the appeal decision at 784-785 mirrors the narrative which emerges from the Record of the Case and provides a useful overview:

Aquash's badly decomposed body was discovered in 1976, and police began to suspect foul play after identifying her as having been involved with the American Indian Movement. Due to lack of cooperation, the investigation made little headway until agents began talking to Looking Cloud in the mid-90s. Looking Cloud and almost every other witness in the case were members of, and were actively involved in, the American Indian Movement at the time of Aquash's death. The government's theory at trial was that Looking Cloud and other American Indian Movement members killed Aquash, who was also a member, because they suspected she was a federal informant, working with the government.

When the rumor began to spread around the American Indian Movement that Aquash was an informant, she fled Pierre to Denver. A few weeks later, Looking Cloud, Theda Clark and John Graham (also called John Boy Patton) received orders from the American Indian Movement to bring Aquash back to South Dakota. They tied her up and drove her to Rapid City to question her about being an informant. Aquash was constantly guarded and her requests to be let free were refused. At some point, Aquash realized that she was about to be killed. Looking Cloud, Clark, and Graham met with other American Indian Movement members in Rapid City and eventually the three drove Aquash to an area near Wanblee. Aquash begged to go free, prayed, and cried. Looking Cloud and Graham marched Aquash up a hill and Graham shot her at the top of a cliff. Her body was either thrown or it tumbled to the bottom of that cliff.

[Footnotes omitted.]

[7] Referring to the evidence of Trudell, considered by the extradition judge to be the key witness, the Appeals Court said, at 790:

Trudell testified that Looking Cloud told him that when Graham and Clark returned to the car for the last time, Aquash cried and begged them not to kill her. They drove to an area near Wanblee and parked the car. Yellow Wood testified that Looking Cloud told him that Aquash continued to cry, pray, and beg for her life as they forced her out of the car and marched her up the hill to a cliff. Two Elk testified that Looking Cloud told him he handed a gun to Graham and nodded at him. Aquash knelt to the ground, possibly to pray, and Graham held the gun to the back of her head and pulled the trigger. Afterwards, the three buried the gun under a bridge nearby.

[8] The appellant's position on appeal is encapsulated in the concluding paragraph of its factum, which reads:

103. The fact that almost 30 years had passed since the investigation of Ms. Aquash’s murder began gives rise to particular concerns of availability and reliability that an extradition judge must assess and consider. The ROC [Record of the Case] is silent with respect to whether the summarized evidence is based upon a recent interview, grand jury testimony and, if so, date and subject of the grand jury, or from a statement given 30 years ago. The extradition judge repeatedly expressed concern about this feature of the ROC (T. vol. IV, p.680, ll.24-37; p. 681, ll. 20-33; p. 686, ll. 3-13, 36-39; Reasons for Judgment (on committal), paras. 22, 35-36 @ AB, pp. 220, 224), yet committed the Appellant for extradition in any event because she accepted the current jurisprudence bound her to do so. In the circumstances, the ROC was so bereft of detail as to the circumstances in which the evidence was collected from the anticipated witnesses that the extradition judge was deprived of the information necessary to properly exercise her discretion to evaluate the sufficiency of the Requesting State’s evidence, as required by Ferras. In the circumstances, there were live issues with respect to identification, reliability, availability, and the justice or rightness of a committal. The extradition judge did not have the benefit of the changes in the law and, as a result, no meaningful judicial assessment was conducted in respect of these issues. In the result, there must be a new extradition hearing.

[9] The Record of the Case attracted valid criticism. There are discrepancies between the height, weight and racial "identifiers" in two parts of the evidence. The requesting state allowed (unwittingly, as the judge found) one witness's evidence to go forward as available testimony after he passed away. His evidence was withdrawn when that came to light. The appellant argues that assertions in the Record of the Case of Looking Cloud and another witness, Frank Dillon, to whom it is alleged the appellant admitted his role in the killing, were demonstrated to be unreliable. Looking Cloud's lawyer deposed in an affidavit that Looking Cloud has no intention of testifying in a trial against the appellant. In testimony before a Grand Jury, Frank Dillon resiled from a police statement that the appellant told him he "off'ed" the deceased. As the judge observed in her reasons at paragraph 22, the source of some of the evidence was not identified and she noted that no witness identifies the appellant as the same person in a series of photos, some taken in the 1970's and others more recently.

[10] Nevertheless, it was necessary for the judge to determine whether there was a sufficient case aside from these deficiencies.

[11] Her analysis of what she considered to be the dispositive evidence in the case was as follows:

[71] John Trudell’s evidence is the most significant evidence found in the Record of the Case. Without his evidence there would not be sufficient evidence to commit Mr. Graham for extradition.

[72] I set out Mr. Trudell’s evidence from the Record of the Case in its entirety:

John Trudell was an AIM [American Indian Movement] member at the time of this incident. He is expected to testify that Arlo Looking Cloud told him that he, GRAHAM, and Theda Clarke took Aquash from Troy Lynn Irving’s house in Denver. Looking Cloud stated to Trudell that Aquash was then taken to a house by the old Indian hospital in Rosebud. He further stated that Theda and John Boy then went to the house for a short time. Looking Cloud stated that afterwards they drove to the location where Aquash was shot. He stated to Trudell that he and John Boy marched Aquash up to a ravine and that she was crying and praying for her kids and begging them not to do this. Looking Cloud told Trudell that they made Aquash kneel down in front of them and that John Boy shot her in the back of the head. He is able to identify Graham in Exhibits 3 and 4, [Photograph 3 and 4], Exhibit 3 being a photograph taken in 1983 and Exhibit 4 being a photograph taken on or about the time of Graham’s arrest in Canada in the instant case in December, 2003.

[73] Given that hearsay evidence is admissible, Mr. Trudell’s evidence alone is sufficient to establish identification.

[74] When Mr. Trudell’s evidence is considered along with that of Angela Janis, Troy Lynn Irving and George Palfy, there is clearly sufficient evidence identifying John Boy Patton as John Graham, who is before me, and identifying him as the person who shot Anna Mae Aquash.

[75] Ms. Janis was at Troy Lynn Irving’s house when John Boy Patton took Ms. Aquash away and she has identified the earlier Photographs. Troy Lynn Irving was present for the conversation that Mr. Trudell reiterated from Arlo Looking Cloud.

[76] Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud’s evidence is also summarized in the record of the case, and I will repeat it below:

Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud is a co-defendant and his case will be tried separately from GRAHAM. He is expected to testify that in late November or early December of 1975 Aquash, was taken from Troy Lynn Irving’s residence in Denver, Colorado, in a Ford Pinto station wagon by John GRAHAM a.k.a. John Boy PATTON, Theda Clarke a.k.a. Theda Nelson, and himself, and that Aquash was placed in the back of the station wagon. He is further expected to testify that they drove all night from Denver, Colorado, to Rapid City, South Dakota, and that Aquash was kept at a house in Rapid City until the next evening when she was placed back in the vehicle and the same individuals then drove down to Pine Ridge. He recalled going to a house and staying outside with Aquash while Clarke and GRAHAM went inside the house. After that, when they were heading toward Kadoka, South Dakota, (just north of Wanblee, South Dakota), they stopped by the side of the road. Looking Cloud recalled that Aquash was praying and then was shot in the back of her head by GRAHAM. The gun used was a small silver .32 revolver. Looking Cloud then took the gun from GRAHAM and fired the rest of the rounds in it into the ground.

[77] Mr. Looking Cloud’s evidence is also sufficient to commit Mr. Graham for extradition when considered with Mr. Trudell’s and Ms. Janis’ evidence. However, even without Mr. Looking Cloud’s evidence, there is sufficient evidence of identification to commit Mr. Graham for extradition.

[78] Therefore, I conclude that there is sufficient evidence in the Record of the Case to commit John Graham for extradition to the United States to face the charge of murdering Anna Mae Aquash.

[12] As mentioned, the appellant filed an affidavit from Looking Cloud's lawyer saying that Looking Cloud would not testify. The judge held, correctly in my view, that that did not necessarily make his evidence unavailable:

[51] The only direct evidence of the killing is that of Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud. Mr. Looking Cloud was also charged with the murder of Anna Mae Aquash and, as noted, was convicted of that murder in 2004. As noted above, the defence in this case has tendered the affidavit of Terry Gilbert, Mr. Looking Cloud’s lawyer, which states that Mr. Looking Cloud will not testify in any proceeding against Mr. Graham.

[52] Without an examination of foreign law, which I am not encouraged to undertake in extradition proceedings, I cannot say that Mr. Looking Cloud’s evidence is not available for trial. I appreciate that the Record of the Case says he is expected to testify. However, I do not see how his refusal to testify would necessarily affect whether his testimony is available. Even if Mr. Looking Cloud refused to testify, it does not mean that his evidence is not available. Certainly, under Canadian law there is an argument that the evidence would be admissible even without his testimony. However, until he actually is called upon to testify, it cannot be said, with certainty, that he will not.

[13] Trudell's evidence is hearsay originating with Looking Cloud. Hearsay is admissible under the Extradition Act, S.C. 1999, c. 18. In Ferras, Chief Justice McLachlin, writing for the court, said:

[28] The Act provides that evidence is admissible if it is either properly certified pursuant to s. 33(3) in the case of proceedings on the record of the case or in accordance with the treaty in proceedings under the treaty method of submitting evidence. The evidence may be hearsay, and under the treaties at issue in the Ortega appeals, the evidence need not include certification that it is available for trial.

[Emphasis added.]

[14] While it is true that the judge did not have the benefit of Ferras when she decided this case, she did cast a critical eye over the evidence under the guidance of United States of America v. Yang (2001), 203 D.L.R. (4th) 337, 56 O.R. (3d) 52 (C.A.), and R. v. Arcuri, [2001] 2 S.C.R. 828, 2001 SCC 54, which to some extent anticipated Ferras. See, for instance, Yang at para. 63, quoted at paragraph 16 of the judge's reasons:

If the material presented in the record of the case is so bereft of detail, such as the witness' means of knowledge, that the judge cannot determine its sufficiency, the judge will have to discharge the person sought for prosecution.

and the passage from Arcuri at para. 29, quoted at paragraph 21 of the judge's reasons (dealing with circumstantial evidence at a preliminary inquiry):

However, where the Crown's evidence consists of, or includes, circumstantial evidence, the judge must engage in a limited weighing of the whole of the evidence (i.e. including any defence evidence) to determine whether a reasonable jury properly instructed could return a verdict of guilty.

[15] I propose to deal with two questions:

(1) What did Ferras decide?

(2) Assuming that this Court can undertake the analysis, does the case for extradition satisfy the Ferras test?
1. What Did Ferras Decide?

[16] The appellant seeks a new committal hearing on the basis that Ferras so altered the law, in the scope of the inquiry and the range of evidence and arguments now available to the person requested, that he should be able to take advantage of the new approach as a matter of fundamental justice.

[17] The respondent, citing decisions from the Ontario Court of Appeal: United States of America v. Thomlison, 216 C.C.C. (3d) 97, 2007 ONCA 42; and United States of America v. Anderson, 219 O.A.C. 369, 2007 ONCA 84, submits that Ferras took only an incremental step beyond the landmark case of United States of America v. Shephard (1976), [1977] 2 S.C.R. 1067, 30 C.C.C. (2d) 424, and that, save in one respect – the ability of the extradition judge to disregard "manifestly unreliable" evidence – Shephard remains the controlling authority.

[18] The question "What did Ferras decide?" is important to this case and to extradition practice in this jurisdiction as it has arisen in several other cases presently before the Court. At least one judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has taken the limited view expressed in the Ontario cases just mentioned: United States of America v. Graziani, 2007 BCSC 178.

[19] With respect, I do not think the respondent's interpretation of Ferras fully embraces the extent of the change envisioned in that case. My chief criticism is in the concentration on the phrase "manifestly unreliable", to the exclusion of other powerful and expressive language in Ferras.

[20] In Ferras, the Supreme Court of Canada addressed the problem created by two developments since Shephard was decided: the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly s. 7, and the amendments to the Extradition Act, S.C. 1999, c. 18, that brought in the "record of the case" modality which was intended to ease the burden on the requesting state and which admitted evidence not admissible under Canadian law: s. 32(1)(a) and (b).

[21] The court decided that the Shephard approach did not bring a close enough scrutiny to the case for extradition, that it led to a rubber stamp process, and that in order for the Act to conform to the fundamental justice requirements of s. 7, the law had to move on from Shephard. Those requirements meant that the extradition judge must act only on reliable and available evidence and assess the evidence as a whole to determine the sufficiency of the case for committal. It is in relation to sufficiency that the controversy arises over the meaning of Ferras.

[22] As I understand the respondent's argument and the cases on which it relies, the extradition judge can now reject manifestly unreliable or unavailable evidence (which Shephard did not allow), but if there remains reliable and available evidence on each element of the offence in question, then the judge must commit on the presumption of sufficiency arising from the certification by the requesting state. That is, in my respectful opinion, a reductionist interpretation of Ferras and does not give full scope to the reasoning in that case.

[23] As I will soon develop, the Ferras approach demands more; it demands a judicial appraisal of the case to ensure that there is a "plausible case" and that the subject is not committed on a case where "it would be dangerous or unsafe to convict, [and] the case should not go to a jury" (para. 54).

[24] I return to my criticism of the undue concentration on the phrase "manifestly unreliable". The phrase came up in Ferras during the discussion of the majority reasons of Ritchie J. in Shephard. The context, at para. 39 of Ferras, is this:

On current jurisprudence, both inquiries appear to leave little or no room for the judge to evaluate the evidence from the foreign state and decline to extradite if the judge finds it unreliable or otherwise inadequate. This was the view taken by the majority of this Court in Shephard. At issue was whether an extradition judge could refuse to order committal for extradition where there was some evidence on every element of the offence, but the judge was nevertheless of the view that the evidence was so weak that reasonable grounds for extradition had not been made out and that it would be dangerous to commit for extradition. Ritchie J., for a five to four majority, stated that whether evidence is "manifestly unreliable" is not the test for removing evidence from a jury (p. 1087). Rejecting the test of the extradition judge and the dissenting minority, the majority in Shephard held that an extradition judge has no discretion to reject evidence on the ground that it is so dubious as to be dangerous and must commit if there is any evidence on all the necessary elements of the offence. Shephard was decided before the Charter. It has never been overruled or altered, except to permit a judge to engage in limited weighing of circumstantial evidence to ensure that inferences from the evidence are reasonably supportable to establish some evidence on all the required elements of the offence (see R. v. Arcuri, [2001] 2 S.C.R. 828, 2001 SCC 54).

[Emphasis added.]

[25] The phrase does not appear in the description of the new approach. Rejecting unreliable or unavailable evidence is part of the picture but not the whole picture. The more important aspect of Ferras is in the discretion not to commit on an insufficient case. The "manifestly unreliable" component is just one example of what could lead to a finding of insufficiency. I fear that the respondent's argument uses an example to swallow the larger rule.

[26] That there is more to Ferras than just rejecting "manifestly unreliable" evidence is apparent from the following passages suggesting reliability is part, not the whole, of the new approach:

[41] ... For a person sought to receive a fair extradition hearing, the extradition judge must be able to evaluate the evidence, including its reliability, to determine whether the evidence establishes a sufficient case to commit.

* * *

[43] As discussed above, admissible evidence alone cannot be sufficient to justify committal in the extradition context. Admissibility is only one part of determining whether evidence exists upon which a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could return a verdict of guilty. Justifying a committal depends on a combination of admissibility, double criminality, basic fairness and constitutional guarantees that, together, inform an extradition judge about whether to order committal. Most fundamentally, it depends on a judicial process conducted by a judge who has the discretion to refuse to commit the subject for extradition on insufficient evidence.

[Emphasis added.]

[27] The focus is on sufficiency, where unreliability is offered as an illustration of what might lead to a discretionary refusal to commit:

[50] I conclude that s. 32(1)(a) and (b) and s. 33 of the 1999 Act do not violate the right of a person sought under s. 7 of the Charter, because the requirements for committal of s. 29(1), properly construed, grant the extradition judge discretion to refuse to extradite on insufficient evidence such as where the reliability of the evidence certified is successfully impeached or where there is no evidence, by certification or otherwise, that the evidence is available for trial.

[Emphasis added.]

[28] Contrary to what the respondent argues, a sufficient case is not made out by relevant and available evidence on each element of the offence. Sufficiency is presumed in the certification by the requesting state. However, this is the minimum requirement (Ferras at para. 38) to meet the test of double criminality. Ferras demands a judicial assessment beyond this:

[46] Section 29(1)'s direction to an extradition judge to determine whether there is admissible evidence that would "justify committal" requires a judge to assess whether admissible evidence shows the justice or rightness in committing a person for extradition. It is not enough for evidence to merely exist on each element of the crime. The evidence must be demonstrably able to be used by a reasonable, properly instructed jury to reach a verdict of guilty. If the evidence is incapable of demonstrating this sufficiency for committal, then it cannot "justify committal". The evidence need not convince an extradition judge that a person sought is guilty of the alleged crimes. That assessment remains for the trial court in the foreign state. However, it must establish a case that could go to trial in Canada. This may require the extradition judge to engage in limited weighing of the evidence to determine, not ultimate guilt, but sufficiency of evidence for committal to trial.

[Underlining added.]

[29] The assessment of sufficiency involves a holistic appraisal of the case:

[54] Challenging the justification for committal may involve adducing evidence or making arguments on whether the evidence could be believed by a reasonable jury. Where such evidence is adduced or such arguments are raised, an extradition judge may engage in a limited weighing of evidence to determine whether there is a plausible case. The ultimate assessment of reliability is still left for the trial where guilt and innocence are at issue. However, the extradition judge looks at the whole of the evidence presented at the extradition hearing and determines whether it discloses a case on which a jury could convict. If the evidence is so defective or appears so unreliable that the judge concludes it would be dangerous or unsafe to convict, then the case should not go to a jury and is therefore not sufficient to meet the test for committal.

[Emphasis added.]

[30] I find myself in respectful disagreement with the statement in Anderson where Doherty J.A. said for the Ontario Court of Appeal, at para. 28:

. U.S.A. v. Ferras, supra, does not envision weighing competing inferences that may arise from the evidence. It does not contemplate that the extradition judge will decide whether a witness is credible or his or her evidence is reliable. Nor does it call upon the extradition judge to evaluate the relative strength of the case put forward by the requesting state. There is no power to deny extradition in cases that appear to the extradition judge to be weak or unlikely to succeed at trial.

[Emphasis added.]

[31] My difficulty with that way of putting the limit of discretion is that there are degrees of weakness and extradition judges should not be put off their task of assessing for sufficiency by a dictum that mere weakness is not enough. I agree that it is not enough. It may be more helpful to speak in terms of the test for reviewing verdicts for unreasonableness on appeal or for directed verdicts. The language used in paragraph 54 of Ferras, "plausible case" and "dangerous or unsafe to convict", and in paragraph 46, "[t]he evidence must be demonstrably able to be used by a reasonable, properly instructed jury to reach a verdict of guilty" suggests the kind of analysis described in R. v. Biniaris, [2000] 1 S.C.R. 381 at paras. 36 and 40:

The test for an appellate court determining whether the verdict of a jury or the judgment of a trial judge is unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence has been unequivocally expressed in Yebes as follows:

[C]urial review is invited whenever a jury goes beyond a reasonable standard.... [T]he test is 'whether the verdict is one that a properly instructed jury acting judicially, could reasonably have rendered'.

(Yebes, [ [1987] 2 S.C.R. 168] at p. 185 (quoting Corbett v. The Queen, [1975] 2 S.C.R. 275, at p. 282, per Pigeon J.).)

That formulation of the test imports both an objective assessment and, to some extent, a subjective one. It requires the appeal court to determine what verdict a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could judicially have arrived at, and, in doing so, to review, analyse and, within the limits of appellate disadvantage, weigh the evidence.

* * *

When an appellate court arrives at that conclusion, it does not act as a "thirteenth juror", nor is it "usurping the function of the jury". In concluding that no properly instructed jury acting judicially could have convicted, the reviewing court inevitably is concluding that these particular jurors who convicted must not have been acting judicially. In that context, acting judicially means not only acting dispassionately, applying the law and adjudicating on the basis of the record and nothing else. It means, in addition, arriving at a conclusion that does not conflict with the bulk of judicial experience. This, in my view, is the assessment that must be made by the reviewing court. It requires not merely asking whether twelve properly instructed jurors, acting judicially, could reasonably have come to the same result, but doing so through the lens of judicial experience which serves as an additional protection against an unwarranted conviction.

[Emphasis added.]

[32] In summary, Ferras stands for the proposition that extradition judges now have the discretion to disregard evidence shown to be unreliable or unavailable and in respect of the evidence that remains, to determine by an assessment of the evidence, including a limited weighing of the evidence, whether it is sufficient for a properly instructed jury acting reasonably to reach a verdict of guilty in Canada.

[33] I have considered the reasons of Newbury J.A. in United States of America v. Lorenz; United States of America v. Narayan, 2007 BCCA 342, at paras. 31-41, on the proper reading of Ferras, and I am in respectful agreement with those reasons.
2. Does the Case for Extradition Satisfy the Ferras Test?

[34] It must first be decided whether in fairness or as a matter of practicality there must be a new hearing. The argument for a new hearing is that the judge was not aware of the discretion available to her and that there are now avenues of defence, such as the impeachment of evidence, and an expanded range of argument, opened up by Ferras that were not explored in the hearing below. I regard those opportunities in this case to be merely theoretical. If there was more that the appellant could have done to impeach the evidence in some effective way or if he left an argument unsaid, it was not brought to our attention.

[35] I prefer to follow the lead in Ferras where the court revised the rules and then went on to apply them.

[36] In my opinion, a properly instructed jury acting reasonably could convict on the evidence that the appellant brought the deceased from Denver to South Dakota and there carried out her execution with the assistance of Looking Cloud.

[37] On identification, I think the evidence that the appellant is the person sought was proved on the balance of probabilities by his acknowledgment to a police officer that he was the person U.S. authorities were looking for in the Aquash matter: see the judge's reasons at paragraph 41.

[38] As to the question whether the person known as John Graham is the same as John Boy Patton, Trudell's evidence is sufficient and it is supported by other witnesses connected with the American Indian Movement who knew him at the material time.

[39] For the foregoing reasons, I would dismiss the appeal.
“The Honourable Mr. Justice Donald”
Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Mr. Justice Hall:

[40] I have had the privilege of reading in draft the reasons of my colleague, Donald J.A. I generally agree with his reasons and with his conclusion that the evidence in this case was sufficient to support the committal order made by Bennett J.

[41] I wish, however, to note that I would consider it an extremely rare situation when an extradition judge could properly enter upon a consideration of the credibility of proposed witnesses. Credibility is pre eminently a jury question to be left to be considered by the trier of fact. Unreliability of evidence could arise for instance from serious deficiencies in a body of circumstantial evidence or from the opportunity for a witness to know or observe factual matters. But the mere fact that a witness might be thought by an extradition judge to be of less than stellar credibility would not normally suffice as a ground to refuse a committal order. That sort of issue, in my opinion, is best left to be decided by a trial court.

[42] Subject to this caveat, I am in respectful agreement with the reasons of Donald J.A.
“The Honourable Mr. Justice Hall”
Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Madam Justice Levine:

[43] I have had the privilege of reading in draft form the reasons for judgment of both of my colleagues, Donald and Hall, JJ.A. I agree with them that this appeal should be dismissed, and with the reasons of both of my colleagues.

John Graham loses extradition appeal for 1975 Pine Ridge slaying

Former AIM activist charged in 1975 death of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash

By The Associated Press
June 26, 2007

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- A Yukon native has been taken into custody after a British Columbia court denied his appeal of an order that he be extradited to the United States to stand trial for a 1975 slaying in South Dakota.

The ruling against John Graham came Tuesday morning in Vancouver and his bail was immediately revoked, so he was taken to jail.

Graham had been under house arrest since he was charged in December 2003 with first-degree murder in the killing Anna Mae Pictou Aquash on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in late 1975. Her body was found Feb. 24, 1976. The Nova Scotia native had been shot in the head.

Aquash's murder came amid a series of bloody clashes in the mid-1970s between federal agents and members of the American Indian Movement. Aquash, a member of Mi'kmaq Tribe of Canada, was among Indian militants who occupied Wounded Knee, S.D., for 71 days in 1973.

Prosecutors have said AIM leaders ordered Aquash's killing because they suspected she was a government informant. AIM leaders have denied that assertion.

The other man charged with killing Aquash, Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud, received a mandatory life sentence in 2004 after a federal jury in Rapid City, S.D., convicted him of first-degree murder committed in the perpetration of a kidnapping. A federal appeals court upheld the conviction.

Graham has said he's innocent, but a Canadian judge who issued a written ruling Tuesday disagreed.

"In my opinion, a properly instructed jury acting reasonably, could convict on the evidence that the appellant brought the deceased from Denver to South Dakota and there carried out her execution with the assistance of Looking Cloud," the judge wrote.

Witnesses at Looking Cloud's trial testified that Graham shot Aquash, whose family exhumed her body in 2004 from an Oglala, S.D., grave and reburied it in Nova Scotia.

A Canadian judge ruled in 2005 that Graham should be extradited and the Canadian minister of justice affirmed that decision last year.

Make a Call, Fax and Email Today for Peter Gelderloos!!!


Tuesday, June 26: Phone and Fax Blitz of Embassy of Spain
***Demand All Charges Against D.C. Area Activist Peter Gelderloos be Dropped Immediately***

Oppose Political Repression of the Squatter’s Movement in Spain

CALL, FAX, and EMAIL the Embassy of Spain on 6/26:
Demand All Charges be Dropped!
Telephone: (202) 452-0100
Fax: (202) 833-5670


Peter Gelderloos Held in Spain Awaiting Trial on Trumped Up Charges:

On April 23rd, VA activist and author Peter Gelderloos was arrested by
Spanish police at a demonstration at La Rambla. Peter was acting as a
witness for the arrest of Javier Mazas, when he was detained by police
under suspicion of setting off a petardo - a device used to scatter flyers
into the air. Police accused Peter of being a "terrorist" and the two are
being charged with illegal demonstration and public disorder, the latter
carrying a prison sentence of between six and three years because it was
allegedly committed with explosives. On April 25th, Javier was released
pending trial, and Peter was given a 30,000 euro bail and sent to Modelo
prison. Local community activists raised the bail in only two days and
Peter was released. However, Peter must remain in Spain, checking in at
court every two weeks until his court date which could take up to two

Peter’s lawyers believe that with even minimal pressure from activists in
the U.S. through political pressure and media attention that we can have a
very real effect in getting the charges dropped. Please take a few minutes
out of your day on June 26 to make a call, email and/or fax on Peter’s
behalf. The point of this action will be to let the Spanish Emabassy know
that Peter has a large base of support in the U.S. who will not sit silent
while the Government of Spain attempts to push these charges against

Support is needed from U.S. based activists to pressure the Spanish
Embassy to let them know this injustice will not be tolerated.

Please spread the word and encourage others to call, email and fax!


Sample of what to say when you call:

I am calling regarding the case of Peter Gelderloos, a U.S. citizen who is
unjustly facing charges in Barcelona. I urge you to drop the charges
immediately so that Peter may return to his life in the United States. It
is appalling to see Peter's case as an example of Spain treats tourists,
and that Spain allows visitors to be treated this way. The details of this
case are being relayed to media outlets and numerous human rights
organizations in the US and if proper action is not taken - if charges are
not dropped and arresting officers go uninvestigated then further actions
to alert the media and public to this horrible situation will be taken.

Points to stress:

1) Drop the unjust charges against Peter Gelderloos and his co-defendants
2) Allow Peter to return to the United States immediately.
3) If the Spanish Government does not remedy this situation immedidately,
public pressure will only increase.


Peter Gelderloos is an activist and author from Virginia. Whenever he is
allowed to be in the good ole US, he is active supporting prisoners and
participating in the movement for prison abolition. He works with groups
such as Copwatch, Anarchist Black Cross, Food Not Bombs, and the local
infoshop. He has written a number of articles and pamphlets, and two
books, How Nonviolence Protects the State, and Consensus: A New Handbook
for Political, Environmental, and Social Groups. He is currently stuck in
Spain awaiting trial.


For more information on this case:
An article by Peter about his arrest:

Peter’s Support Email:

Support Peter Page on MYSPACE:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Break the Chains Blog turns one year old!

Hey everyone, the Break the Chains blog is a year old. We have over 700 stories visited over 23,000 times. The blog has become a good place to go to get information about political prisoners and resistance to state repression. The content can now be translated into 9 different languages.

This might be a good time to reflect about what you all might like or dislike about the blog and share ideas to make it more informational and useful.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

ProLibertad Activist Digest

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign and
ProLibertad Hotline: 718-601-4751

ProLibertad Activist Digest:

1. July 21st ProLibertad Cookout 2007.
2. Donate to Isabel Rosado, she needs our support...
3. Message from OScar Lopez Rivera: Check oput the ProLibertad Blog:

Check out the following reviews of the ProLibertad Freedom Cookout
from leading activists/revolutionaries:

"The ProLibertad Freedom Cookout is an amazing event. Fun, sun and great
camaraderie. It is the only reason I will ever enter the belly of the
beast"-President Fidel Castro, The Republic Of Cuba

"The ProLibertad Cookout is a great way to network, build solidarity and
engage in political discourse. I credit my current political development to
this cookout."-President Hugo Chavez, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

"It is historically inevitable that you will have a good time at the
ProLibertad cookout."-Karl Marx

"Get yourself to the ProLIbertad Cookout this summer, by any means
necessary."-Malcolm X

Join ProLibertad on our annual Freedom Cook out to HighLands Pool in
Ringwood, New Jersey!!

Enjoy the sun, fun and relaxation of HighLands Pool!! Bring your swimming
trunks for the cool and refreshing Chemical-free mountain stream-fed pool!!


Saturday July 21st, 2007 at 9am!! Get on the Bus!!

Meet at the corner of w179th St. and Broadway at 9am to catch one of our
Freedom Vans to HighLand Pools!!

Transportation from NYC ($10), Entrance to HighLand Pools ($5) and Food
($5); all together $20 (Adults) $15 for (Children)

Contact ProLibertad to reserve a seat on our Freedom Bus by calling the
ProLibertad hotline: 718-601-4751 or email us at :

Together we can move mountains, alone we can't move at all.

Dona Isabelita is living in a home for the elderly!! At 99 she is
will and still active. The expenses for her care are close to $1000.
a month. Her community here and in Puerto Rico is committed in
providing for he!! Please join in this effort.

Things you can do:

Send a cheek in her name
Organize an activity/ educational
Talk to 10 people to give you $25, $50,
$100 and send it in their names.
Organize a Celebration
Be part of this Organizing Outreach Network

Write to Dona Isabelita at:
Hogar Divina Misericordia, c/o IsabelRosado Morales,
PO BOX 1557,
Ceiba, PR 00735

If you have any other Ideas get in touch with Melissa Montero or at (718) 404-7174


Comite Pro Derechos Humanos
Apartado 9088
San Juan , PR 00908-9088

Message from Oscar López Rivera to the 20th Annual Vigil for Dignity
in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

Warm and patriotic greetings to all those present:

Why is there so much chaos in the world? Why does the world appear to be
upside down? Who is behind this chaos and who benefits from it? Why is there
such exaltation for the use of violence and for war?…

Want to read the rest? Then go to the ProLibertad Freedom Blog and post a
comment or two...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

News from Greece

Greece: Anarchist Solidarity Demo for Timo Behrendt
Date Wed, 20 Jun 2007 a-infos

On Sunday 17-6-2007 more than 150 anarchists, following a demo waving black flags through the streets of Salonica with cars, buses and motorbikes, arrived at Diavata Prison at exactly the time that the prisoners were in the yard to hold a solidarity demo to Timo Behrendt from Germany. Timo was arrested on the 20th February 2007 after a solidarity concert which was organised by students in the "University of Thessaloniki" to those accused for taking part into student riots
against a proposed education bill that shook Greek for almost a year.
After the end of the concert, there was a quarrel with the police
because they wanted to clear the place. Timo from Berlin that had
helped with the concert, was brutally arrested by the police in the
late evening. Allegedly he had taken part in the protest against the
police interference. There is no evidence for this accusation and
merely police witnesses claim to have seen him. Even at the date of
the habeas corpus - in front of an enormous, supporting audience - no
further evidence could be brought forward. Since 24th February the
non-previously convicted person has been imprisoned and awaits trial
that may take place up to 18 months after his imprisonment. He can
only be visited by his family.

The anarchist solidarity demo, which was guarded by riot police
almost caused a prison riot since those gathered and the prisoners
for almost an hour were shouting along political slogans with just a
wall separating them. The prison guards that could not handle the
situation locked themselves up waiting for the anarchist demo to end.


Greece: Anarchist Solidarity Demo for Timo Behrendt outside the
prison that he is held

Photos from the demo can be found at

Video from the demo outside Diavata prison can be found at

The video can be downloaded from

Letter by two imprisoned anarchists in Greece

Thursday, June 21 2007 Infoshop News

Greek anarchists Tsourapas and Kontorevithakis were arrested earlier this month (see here) and were badly beaten by the police (more).

Following is a letter they released on the morning of the 21st of June, only a few hours before their 20 year old female friend was forced out of the hospital were she was treated and into Korydallos prison, thanks to an order by the attorney general and without completing her treatment.

There's a war going on, whether we like it or not. At this war everyone takes a stance, a position. The so-called "neutral", i.e. those who chose the silence of neutrality, do no other than contributing to the strengthening of sovereignty.

We no longer tolerate the crimes initiated in the school cells, mental health institutions and prisons and which continue via waged slavery, or in other words, the institutionalised robbing of thousands of labourers. We no longer tolerate a society sinking into the mire of consumption frenzy and indifference: A society doing no more than bowing to sovereignty, allowing the imperialist wars of the new Rome, of the Pax Americana and its obedient allies, which leave countless dead behind them (Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Palestine) in the name of the enforcement of a democratic totalitarianism.

It is for these reasons that we chose to take part in this war as anarchists on the side of the revolution, knowing from the beginning the repercussions of our decision. A revolution that, in the words of Rosa Luxembourg, "knows how to say I was, I am and I will be". A revolution that knows no other than attack.

We express our solidarity to political prisoners who, whether accepting the charges against them or not, are currently in prison.

Finally, we do not wish to talk about our case neither to comment on our beatings, the information leaks of the police concerning supposed gathered information nor do we wish to demand anything for us. We do, however, want to denounce the unjust pre-trial detention of the 20-year old female student of the Economic University of Athens who had absolutely nothing to do with our attempted action.

It is provocative to imprison a 20-year old human with the only "incriminating" evidence against her being a friendship, while at the same time defrauders like Tsitouridis and Papamarkakis* are on the loose, despite stealing 800 million Euros from the greek people, and continue their robbing activity unharmed.





M. Tsourapas
Fourth Wing, Korydallos Prison, Athens

Ch. Kontorevithakis
Aulona Prison

*Ex-Minister of Labour Savvas Tsitouridis was forced to resign in late April this year after it was revealed that he and his associates were involved in a scandalous sale of government bonds to state pension funds.

Portland, OR: Benefit for eco-scare defendant Briana Waters 6/28

Folk the Man!
A benefit show for eco-scare defendant Briana Waters
Featuring folk musicians:
Hanz Araki (more information:
Timothy Hull (more information:
and other surprise guests...
Thursday, June 28th
Speakers at 7pm
Music at 8pm
Liberty Hall (311 N. Ivy St.)
Who is Briana Waters?
Briana Waters is a devoted, loving mother and partner, a dedicated musician and violin teacher, and a caring friend to many. It has come as quite a shock to everyone who knows her that she has been wrongly accused of participating in a politically motivated arson at the University of Washington. These charges carry a draconian mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in prison should she be convicted. Briana pled not guilty to the charges, first brought on March 15, 2006, and was released pending trial. This trial is currently scheduled to begin September 17, 2007.
For more info: visit
Event flyer – print and distribute!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Come to Court for SF Bail Hearing Wednesday - 10 am 850 Bryant St

Come to Court - SF 8 Bail Hearing - Wednesday at 10 am 850 Bryant St

Today in Court - Tuesday June 19

Lawyers for the SF 8 argued to seal or suppress documents and statements filed by the prosecutors in opposition to bail reduction. The defense argued that the government wants to use statements made under torture and duress as well as criminal histories filled with factual inaccuracies dating back over 36 years to give the impression that these Black elders are a threat to public safety or are flight risks. The government wants to introduce documents that will not only prejudice bail arguments but continues to criminalize these men to the media and public. Instead the defense lawyers raised strong challenges to statements made after people suffered electrocution, asphyxiation, sensory deprivation and beatings. Lawyers will attempt to clarify which documents are at issue during a closed session this afternoon.

Attorney Daro Inouye was officially appointed to represent Jalil Muntaqim stating that he and Jalil joined in the defense motions regarding prejudicial documents, stating that some of the materials and old statements violate Jalil's constitutional rights if introduced.

Court will re-convene Wednesday at 10 am and is expected to include Judge Moscone's decision on sealing documents as well as the beginning of bail reduction arguments for Ray Boudreaux and Richard O'Neal. Further Discovery motions are scheduled for Thursday at 10 am.

Eric McDavid Update

Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007


A brief update
Things here seemed as if they were slowly coming to a head. After almost
a year and a half, Eric finally had a trial date set for early July. It's
easy to write that sentence, but when we think about the meaning of it,
and the struggle and pain that has colored the days during that time, it's
completely overwhelming. Then we found out that the trial was going to be
pushed back, yet again, to late August. Then this week it was pushed back
yet again, to September 10. This was devastating news, as it means Eric
will have to suffer through two more months of solitary confinement at
Sacramento County Main Jail. This, after a year and a half of waiting...

A year and a half of Eric suffering through health problems and poor
nutrition with no proper medical care and a complete lack of care and
concern from the people responsible for his well-being. A year and a half
of total separation - a category of custody at the jail that means Eric
has been confined to his cell almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
with no contact with the outside world - not even other prisoners. He
rarely even gets to step foot outside, and when he does it's on the 4th
floor of a building, with nothing but concrete under his feet. A year and
a half of threats about Eric spending 20 years in jail.

And then we think about Eric and his courage and strength and we're
completely amazed. He has remained true to his principles - compassion
and love and integrity - in the most dire of situations. A grueling two
week hunger strike to gain access to vegan food. His stories about his
interactions (very limited) with the other prisoners - sharing books and
stories and helping each other in the small ways that must seem so huge in
that cold, dead place. The letters he writes - which are somehow still
full of joy and beauty and compassion. He has chosen life.

With only a few months left until trial, we still have to raise $6000 for
Eric's legal defense. His family has been paying his legal fees, but
finally had to ask for help. We couldn't let the government continue
imposing this huge financial drain on Eric's family, and so have been
trying to fundraise the remaining $15,000 for them.

We're right at $9000, but with only a few months left, we are in dire need
of everyone's help and support. The response from around the world has
been truly amazing and inspiring. People from across the globe have been
writing Eric, sending him books, and donating money. But this final push
is proving to be quite difficult.

PLEASE, send whatever you can. We need to ensure that Eric gets the best
representation possible, and unfortunately we can't do that without money.
If you don't have time to organize a fundraiser (vegan bbq? art auction?
bake sale? movie screening? show?), just send whatever you can. Every
penny helps.

Please keep in mind - this is about our civil rights being snatched from
us. This is about government surveillance and cointelpro and the
targeting of political dissidents. (If you haven't read the criminal
complaint against Eric, we urge to you do so. It's very...insightful.)
And this is about Eric - a beautiful, amazing, inspiring individual. Eric
is a non-cooperating defendant, which means he has chosen the difficult
path. He knew this would not be easy - very few people take their cases
all the way to trial. But Eric felt that this was the only principled
decision - to fight these outrageous charges against him and the
government repression from which they stem.

You can make checks out to "Sacramento Defense Fund" and send them to:

PO Box 163126
Sacramento, CA 95816

or you can visit (which you should do anyway) and
donate through paypal.

We know some of you have already donated, and for that we are forever
grateful. The outpouring of support from everyone has been amazing and
inspiring, and has helped all of us through the last year and a half.

Please keep Eric in your thoughts these next few months. And please check
the website for updates.

Matching Funds
Thanks to some amazing supporters in New York, any donations sent in right
now (up to $600) will be matched. This means that you can double the
impact of every dollar you donate to Eric's legal defense. Please take
advantage of this fantastic opportunity. And our most sincere thanks to
our friends in New York!

Trial set for September
After a month of gearing up for a July trial date, we recently found out
that trial will be moved back to September 10. This was very difficult
emotionally for everyone, but now we have to refocus on the new dates. If
any of you are going to be in the area in September, please consider
coming to the trial. We're trying to get the courtroom packed with
supporters for Eric. The court has slated two and half weeks for trial.
If you are planning on coming, please make sure you come dressed
appropriately for court. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Eric says...
Eric has been receiving your letters and sends everyone his love. Please
keep them coming! However, he wanted us to let you know that the next few
months are going to be a bit crazy for him and he more than likely will be
unable to respond to everyone's mail. Please don't let this discourage
you. He loves getting mail and needs to hear from you - just don't take
it personally if you don't hear back from him.

Chile, 34 Years Later Torture's Long Reach June 19, 2007
A summons from a Chilean attorney that arrived a couple of weeks ago opened a dam and painful memories from 34 years ago flooded in: "We are looking for Mr. Shepherd Bliss in order for him to travel to Chile to testify in the case of Frank Teruggi."
The attorney is gathering testimony in a slow-moving court case against those who kidnapped, tortured and executed my young, idealistic friend Frank and another American, Charles Horman, whom I did not know. He represents survivors of the Teruggi and Horman families and wants me to testify before a judge about what Frank was doing in Chile.
As someone who was raised in the prominent military family that gave its name to Fort Bliss, Texas, and served as a U.S. Army officer myself, I could be a credible witness to counter the generals being tried who seek to justify their atrocities and murders.
Soon after graduating from divinity school and being ordained a United Methodist minister I worked in Chile during 1971-72 on a church-funded mission. Dr. Salvador Allende had recently been democratically elected president. On Sept. 11, 1973, Gen. Augusto Pinochet toppled his government, with the well-documented support of the U. S.
Frank and Horman were among thousands slaughtered during the coup's brutal aftermath, which continued for years and still haunts the surviving families and friends of those touched by that state terrorism. Horman's shocking story was graphically revealed in the award-winning l982 film "Missing" by Costa-Garvas.
I have thought often of returning to Chile since that bloody event, but my traumatized body and soul have not yet followed those travel directives from my mind.
Unfinished business awaits me in Chile. Returning to the scene of that terrible crime and the massive trauma that it caused could support justice and promote my own healing. So I will probably go, but I have doubts and fears. My goal would be to help uncover what has been concealed these many years and report it widely.
Pres. Allende's Chile had become a gathering place for those--especially young people-- wanting to participate in a non-violent, democratic process of a progressive government that was not dominated by the U.S. Our innocence was shattered by Pinochet's unrelenting violence. As Welsh poet Dylan Thomas writes, "After the first death, there is no other."
I worked in Chile on religious, educational, artistic and journalistic projects and Frank was one of my closest associates. A common interest in spirituality, especially during times of change, connected us. Substantial change was occurring in the U.S. with a growing peace movement, and in Chile with the election of Dr. Allende.
The summons to come to Chile surprised me. I had given up hope of justice in Frank's case. My patience these 34 years of waiting had ebbed. The legal, political, and social obstacles standing in the way of justice have been substantial.
Pinochet died Dec. 10, 2006, at the age of 91. Though he finally confessed to his crimes, he was never brought to justice. His power and wealth protected this U.S.-supported dictator and enabled him to escape the justice that would have benefited many survivors and set a precedent for other vicious dictators.
Courts in Chile, Europe, and the U.S-into which Pinochet's long killing arm reached-have failed the families and friends of those hurt by this assassin and his accomplices. Justice for Pinochet was delayed and denied, which has been happening also in the cases of Frank and Horman.
I remember Frank and think often of him--a playful and creative artist. At times memories overwhelm me. The request to return to Chile now brings tears to my eyes. Then I freeze, suppress the feelings. I shiver and shudder, though it is not cold outside on this California summer day.
I remember walking toward my office at Harvard University when I first heard of the military coup in 1973. Crushed, I fell to my knees on the sidewalk, knowing that some of my friends were probably hurt and possibly killed. Sept. 11 has been a Memorial Day for me since.
When I learned of Frank's death, much of my life came to a halt. His family invited me to be a pallbearer at his funeral in Chicago, but initially I did not respond. When a plane ticket from his girlfriend Annie arrived, I realized that I had to go and carry Frank's body. It had been so butchered that the casket was closed. What was I doing, at twenty-something, carrying the tortured-to-death body of my good friend?
One might expect that I would appreciate the summons to return to Chile to contribute to a long-denied act of justice. But rather than respond immediately from the heart or mind, my initial response was in my traumatized body-a body that partly had shut down. A familiar numbness returned.
Even my tongue had lost its fluency in Spanish, a language that I had begun hearing as a child living in the Panama Canal Zone with my military family. My mind no longer thought clearly in Spanish.
Psychologists call such a defense mechanism "psychic numbing"--a protection of the psyche from feelings too powerful to endure. My memories of Frank and others were in Spanish, so by losing Spanish I was being protected from that terrible loss and enabled to continue living at least a partial life. Only decades later, when giving a paper at a psychology conference in Spain, did my Spanish begin to return. In Chile I will need to speak Spanish and deal with whatever memories return.
I write about this personal experience to honor my dear friend and to dilute the continuing hold that the horror of his death has had on me. Perhaps speaking my truth may help educate and remind others about that tragic Sept. 11, l973.
You may not have consciously met anyone who was literally tortured by a professional. You can read about torture by the U.S. military going on right now, but that is different from feeling it in your body. The multiple effects of torture reach far beyond the immediate victims to their families and friends, even to the torturer and his (or her) family members and to the nation itself that sponsors or condones torture.
Today's Chile differs from that of the Pinochet regime. Its current president, Michelle Bachelet, was imprisoned and tortured by the Pinochet junta. Her father was a general who did not support the coup, so Pincohet killed him.
Chile no longer kidnaps, imprisons in secret jails, or tortures people. However, the U.S. can no longer make such a moral claim. Pinochet's Chile parallels what has been happening today in Guantanamo Bay, at Abu Ghraib, and in numerous secrets prisons maintained by Washington in many countries.
It is now the U.S. that sequesters people--many of them innocent of any crimes--in secret places and detains them for years without charging them or giving them access to attorneys. Their families do not even know where they are. Can you imagine how you would feel if this happened to a member of your family?
The cases of Frank and Chile are hence instructive to us here in the U.S., especially since Henry Kissinger and the Nixon administration helped orchestrate Pinochet's coup. Justice for Frank and Horman could have meaning for others currently held by the U.S. and help strengthen an international legal precedent.
By writing my story I seek to expose and speak out against the long-term traumatic effects of torture on its multiple survivors. Washington's current torture of people from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere is not new. The U.S. has trained torturers from around the world for decades at the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Some of Pinochet's worst torturers were trained there. HR 1701 is a bill to close that torture school, introduced to the U.S. Congress by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.).
The Chile summons came a couple of days before our Veterans' Writing Group met again. We've gathered regularly for nearly 15 years, told our stories to each other, wrote the award-winning book Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston, and recently spent an hour on Bill Moyers' PBS-TV program. The veterans supported me to go to Chile, though I still feel some internal resistance.
I lost more than Frank in Chile; part of my soul perished, which I seek to recover. As I listen to stories of veterans returning to Vietnam and finding healing there, I am inclined to go to Chile. It is time to release and express more of my feelings and speak more of my truth, especially as Washington admittedly engages in torture, thus staining our nation and weakening our relationship with other countries and hence our national security. I have business to complete, both for myself and for society.
I would carry Frank with me to Chile, since he remains always with me. Frank's life was stolen, because of his love of liberty, freedom, and authentic democracy. I want resolution about his death so I can more fully remember his life-youthful, playful, imaginative, and idealistic.
Frank Teruggi, Presente!
Dr. Shepherd Bliss owns Kokopelli Farm in Northern California and teaches college. The website of the Veterans' Writing Group is He can be reached at: