Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Daniel McGowan documentary IF A TREE FALLS showing for another week in NYC
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 12:25:17 -0700 From: Jenny Malone

IF A TREE FALLS showing for another week in NYC!

In case you missed If a Tree Falls last week, don't worry! The IFC
Center has extended its run for another week, and you still have time
to see it. Check out some of last week's fantastic reviews, in which
the film was hailed as "an exemplary piece of reporting" in the NY
Times, "fascinating and remarkably fair" at, and then
praised by the folks at Entertainment Weekly who really seemed to
enjoy the ride: "the film sweeps us up like a thriller!" In case you
don't trust reviewers either, you should know that Michael Moore saw
it at the IFC last week, and he really liked it, too. Just sayin! SO GO SEE IT!

Get tickets here:

Nationwide dates and locations: Most of these are one week runs,
but check with the theater for details. New theaters will be added,
but if you don't see your local indie cinema on the list, go ahead
and give them a call to request they show the film!

Dates updated here:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Voices from Solitary: On Solitary Confinement and Finding Humanity

June 28, 2011 Solitary Watch
by Jean Casella and James Ridgeway

Susan Crane is part of Plowshares movement, which protests nuclear weapons through nonviolent civil disobedience at military bases and other nuclear facilities. She is a member of the “Disarm Now Plowshares Five,” who were arrested in November 2009 after they clandestinely entered the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Seattle, the largest nuclear weapons storage facility in the country, in order to “call attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the first strike Trident weapons system,” according to a statement from the group. In March 2011, Crane was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. She was initially incarcerated in FDC SeaTac, a federal detention center in Seattle, and later moved to FCI Berlin, a women’s prison east of San Francisco.

The following appeared as a post on the Disarm Now Plowshares website. The text comes from two letters written by Susan Crane on May 10 and 12, 2011, in which Crane–who had herself served stints in isolation after earlier arrests–observes and reflects upon the lives of women in solitary confinement.

While at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) SeaTac, Sr. Anne [Montgomery] and I were in cell 11 in one of the women’s units. Cells 2 – 10 are filled with women wearing orange, held in solitary (Special Handling Unit as it is officially named). These sisters eat all their meals alone in their cells. They get out of their cell for a 15-minute shower three times a week (M, W & F). They are offered no exercise or outside time. They not allowed to communicate with other prisoners, and we were not allowed to motion or talk to them. There is no yelling between cells. They can’t participate in group prayer, or any group activity. No one offers them Eucharist.

The best we could offer was a smile as we walked by the line that is ten feet out from their doors; Sr. Anne and I would walk around the SeaTac women’s unit (21 laps = 1 mile).

Some of the women in solitary are pre-trial, some have been sentenced. They are probably here for some sort of write-up for an infraction of a prison rule: some have had a hearing with a BOP [Bureau of Prisons] officer and have been found guilty, and so continue to sit in the solitary cells. The write-ups might be, for example, for fighting, making a three-way call, or the result of mental illness.

One woman who was eating meals with us had just been abruptly taken off anti-anxiety medication. She was understandably having a hard time. The “counselor” came over during lunch and was excoriating us for keeping items on the shelf and desk in our cells. Our friend quietly walked up to the “counselor” and is reported to have said, “Why don’t you let the women eat in peace?” (or something to that effect). She is now in orange, in solitary.

According to Bill Quigley, one of our lawyers at the Disarm Now Plowshares trial, and the legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, medical testimony presented in the case of Syed Fahad Hashmi in New York “concluded that after 60 days in solitary people’s mental state begins to break down. That means a person will start to experience panic, anxiety, confusion, headaches, heart palpitations, sleep problems, withdrawal, anger, depression, despair and over-sensitivity. Over time this can lead to severe psychiatric trauma and harms like psychosis, distortion of reality, hallucinations, mass anxiety and acute confusion. Essentially, the mind disintegrates” (Not Just Guantanamo: US Torturing Muslim Pre-Trial Detainee in NYC, Huffington Post, by Bill Quigley).

Of course the 9 solitary cells holding women at FDC SeaTac are a small part of the entire solitary population at SeaTac, or in the Federal prison system, or in the US. The US has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners! The US now has 25,000 prisoners in supermax prisons, and an additional 50-80 thousand in restrictive segregation units (Hell Hole, by Atul Gawande, in the New Yorker). Although the argument for solitary confinement is that it prevents violence and rule breaking, studies have shown that there is no correlation between the use of solitary confinement and a decrease in prison violence. In June 2006 the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons released its study and called for ending long-term isolation of prisoners. The report concluded that “after 10 days, no benefits of solitary confinement were found, and the harms are clear.”

Sr. Anne was recently released from FDC SeaTac after serving her sentence. I am now at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Dublin. Things here are the way prisons are.

Yesterday there was a group of people who were given a tour of the prison. I was on the rec. field walking on the track. I try to see the facility through their eyes. Women walking, running, talking, laughing; all dressed in khaki; no one rowdy; no one crying. They see buildings, well cared for, floors clean and waxed, organized, no garbage or litter; sort of looks like a clean college campus.

But there is a lot that they don’t see. They don’t see the pain of toothaches. They don’t see the pain of mothers who can’t raise their children, or the pain of the children who want their moms. They don’t see the pain that comes when a close relative or friend dies and you can’t celebrate their life or mourn with family. They don’t see the pain of women who grew up in the US and face deportation to a country in which they have never lived. They don’t see the day-by-day humiliations dealt out by some of the guards who are just doing their jobs. They don’t hear the stories of an unjust legal system that grinds up so many women and spits them out into FCI Dublin.

I want to walk up and speak to these visitors, but I’m not ready to be rebuffed, yelled at, or see some sort of fear in their eyes if I come near them.

At FCI Dublin, walking on the track on the recreation field (3 laps = 1 mile), I pass the building holding the women in solitary. Here, the windows have a metal shield around them, so we have no contact with them. Is this acceptable punishment in the United States? Does it serve any purpose? Are there better solutions?

Talking to some of the women at FDC SeaTac, I heard that they thought short times (3 – 10 days) in the SHU gave them time to refocus, to think, to re-evaluate what they were doing. My own experiences in isolation, first for 3 days and later for 30 days, were the beginning of a spiritual quest that I’ve been on for many years now.

I saw that many of the guards made a point of talking through the doors to the women in the SHU, using their unique humor, being human, showing compassion. And I was thankful to see that!

But what about the structure, the actual rules that put women in solitary confinement? Our willingness to allow this sort of punishment lets us imagine that it’s OK to hold prisoners and torture them at Bagram or Guantanamo.

Jesus once said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Is that not the measure of our humanity? Is any other human being less than us? How is it possible that the US has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners?

Does our disregard for the humanity of our brothers and sisters held in solitary make it easier to imagine killing millions in nuclear war? Are not the warehoused, marginalized, throw-away people in prisons a symptom of devalued life, and a symptom of the kind of thinking that allows us to invade other countries, and spend trillions of dollars on nuclear weapons and consider their use?

Where in all this do we find our humanity?

Susan Crane, 87783-011, FCI Dublin, 5701 8th St. – Camp Parks, Dublin, CA 94568

Former ELF member gets 5 years in heroin case

A convicted arsonist who avoided federal prison five years ago by helping officials lock up fellow Earth Liberation Front activists is headed to state prison for selling heroin.

Jacob Jere­miah “Jake” Ferguson, 38, was sentenced Monday to nearly five years in prison after pleading guilty to manufacturing, possessing and selling heroin; possessing cocaine; and neglecting and endangering his 4-year-old daughter in the process.

County prosecutor JoAnn Miller told Lane County Circuit Judge Charles Zennaché that the latter charges reflect Ferguson’s allowing the girl to stay in his south Eugene residence while drugs were being manufactured and dealt there.

Miller said police found within the child’s “easy access” a toolbox with pull-out drawers “loaded with syringes.”

Ferguson’s attorney, Robert Hutchings, told Zennaché that a long-standing drug addiction is his client’s downfall.

“At one point he was very cooperative with the federal government in bringing down a number of very serious arsonists,” Hutchings said.

Hutchings said that Ferguson did well for a time on a methadone program, but he returned to heroin after losing his job and insurance to pay for the methadone, an alternative drug that staves off withdrawal without delivering a high.

Detectives found nearly 2 ounces of heroin in the home, Miller said.

Ferguson faces possible federal prison time arising from the drug charges, as well. Avoiding criminal conduct was a condition of his probation under a 2007 plea deal that spared him prison time for his role in a politically motivated series of arsons by a local ELF band known as “The Family.” Their targets included a meat-packing company and a car dealership in Eugene; a U.S. Forest Service ranger station in Oakridge; and Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale.

Ferguson is depicted as a leader of the group in a documentary about the group, “If a Tree Falls,” that opened across the country last weekend.

He was scheduled to go back before U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken this week, but a probation revocation has been postponed until July 14.

In his court appearance Monday, Ferguson appeared heavier than the wiry activist depicted in documentary footage from a decade ago. A cherry-sized growth protruded from the top right side of his head, above one of the points of a large pentagram tattoo encircling his head.

He declined comment when Zen­naché asked if he had anything to say.

CLEVELAND ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS STATEMENT ON Hunger Strike at Pelican Bay and Corcoran JULY 1/2011 THE collage! THE Montage!

SMASH PRISONS clevelandabc [at] po box 606235 cleveland ohio 44106


Interview with Michael Novick on Anti-Racism and Decolonializing

Saturday Jun 25th, 2011

recorded at Free Radio Olympia by dj questionmark June 20, 2011

Download at: (7.9
mb 34 minutes)

Michael Novick of Anti-Racist Action LA and People Against Racist Terror
(ARA-LA/PART) talks about anti-racist work and dismantling colonialism.
Novick connects different social justice issues and how everyone has a
stake in the struggle for human liberation. He also lays out the
historical progression of settler colonialism in the western United States
and how important it is today for people to be self-critical of an
internal colonization that misleads people into identifying with their own
oppressor. Novick’s approach to community organizing recognizes a common
humanity that includes building alliances, self-determination and
developing a “total politics” that include all oppressed people and

Visit for more info about Anti-Racist Action

Leonard Peltier 'Take your place in the struggle'

Today: Oglala Commemoration, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

June 26, 2011 Censored News

By Leonard Peltier

Hello my friends and relations,

I always try to come to you full of good spirit and vigor. But I cannot
lie. There are days when the ugliness of my situation weighs me down. I
swear I never thought this could happen. I never believed law enforcement
and the government of this country would go so far for so long to keep
their dirty laundry hidden away

Over the years, you my dedicated friends and believers have kept a vision
of justice alive. That really is something special. Because of you, we
have learned of hidden evidence, coerced testimony, and outright lies by
the FBI and prosecutors. Because of you we have been able to uncover
thousands of documents the government wanted to stay secret. And yet they
have been able to squirrel away thousands more pages of their biggest
secrets about me, about the theft of Indian land, their motives behind
murder, and their operations to silence people like me. I am living proof
that my case is about squashing Indian rights and Indian sovereignty,
otherwise why would I be serving a sentence so much longer than what is
normal for my so-called conviction?

Those that believe in law and order should be the loudest voices calling
for my release! The fact is the day I walk free is the day they are forced
to deal with my innocence, and they are so very afraid of doing just that!
No matter what they say, the dirty little secret underneath all of this is
America’s fear and loathing of Indian people. In over five hundred years,
they have not yet learned how to deal honorably with us.

The burden is great sometimes, but the encouragement I get from you helps
me to keep my faith that freedom will one day come my way. No matter what
happens, on the day I draw my last breath I will be proud to have taken my
place alongside my ancestors, knowing I did all I could do, and gave all I
could for my people. For those FBI agents and prosecutors in my case,
their last moments will include shame.

So remember all of you my friends and relations, this case is about much
more than me. If you believe in truth, justice, honor, freedom, all of
what is supposed to make America great, then help me open the door to my
release. If you believe in Indian sovereignty, join my cause and in doing
so help yourself. Take your place in the struggle and do all you can to
eradicate injustice.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for your consideration. Thank you for
your work. Thank you for your love.

Aho! Mitakuye Oyasin!
Leonard Peltier

US threatens activists with incarceration if they sail to Gaza

Six Senators urge safe passage for US citizens to Gaza

Update: The Free Palestine Movement announced that Jimbo Simmons of the
American Indian Movement West (AIM West) will be a member of the Gaza
Freedom Flotilla Delegation.

By Brenda Norrell
June 24, 2011 Censored News

The United States warned activists on Friday against plans to send a new
aid flotilla to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying it
could result in fines or incarceration.
Author and poet Alice Walker, and Tucson border activist Gabriel Schivone,
27, a member of the humanitarian border group No More Deaths, are among
those who will be on the Audacity of Hope. Schivone, a University of
Arizona student, has protested U.S. border-enforcement policies that fuel
migrant deaths in Arizona.
Former U.S. Ambassador Col. Ann Wright, who resigned from the State
Department in 2003 to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and became a
voice against US torture in Iraq, will be onboard. Wright was on the
flotilla one year ago.
Hedy Epstein, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, and Medea Benjamin of
Code Pink, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence,
and Richard Levy, New York labor attorney in the law firm Levy Ratner, are
among the passengers.
Walker, 67, remembered both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., as she
gave her reasons for sailing.
"Our boat, The Audacity of Hope, will be carrying letters to the people of
Gaza. Letters expressing solidarity and love. That is all its cargo will
consist of. If the Israeli military attacks us, it will be as if they
attacked the mailman. This should go down hilariously in the annals of
history. But if they insist on attacking us, wounding us, even murdering
us, as they did some of the activists in the last flotilla, Freedom
Flotilla I, what is to be done?"
It is this type of courage, sincerity and world vision, that really
irritates the US State Department.
"Groups that seek to break Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza are taking
irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their
passengers," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
"We urge all those seeking to provide such assistance to the people of
Gaza to use these mechanisms, and not to participate in actions like the
planned flotilla," Nuland said.
Israel said it has warned the United Nations that a new aid flotilla --
which activists say could depart from European ports in coming days --
could result in "dangerous consequences." Israel has made clear it will
prevent any new flotilla from reaching Gaza. One year ago, nine Turkish
activists, including one with dual U.S.-Turkish nationality, were killed
in an Israeli raid on a similar convoy.
Nuland said that recent weapons seizures and periodic rocket and mortar
attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians illustrated the ongoing
necessity for Israel to screen Gaza-bound cargo.
"We underscore that delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver
material support or other resources to or for the benefit of a designated
foreign terrorist organization, such as Hamas, could violate U.S. civil
and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration," Nuland
The passengers wrote President Obama on June 14 requesting safe passage.
"We are writing to inform you that 50 unarmed Americans will soon be
sailing in a U.S. flagged ship called The Audacity of Hope as part of an
international flotilla to Gaza.
"Our peaceful demonstration will challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza,
which has effectively imprisoned 1.6 million civilians, almost half of
whom are under the age of 16. The blockade has impoverished the people of
Gaza, deprived them of needed materials and supplies to rebuild their
lives after the Israeli attack of late 2008 - early 2009, impeded those
who are ill or infirm from seeking outside medical aid, and prevented
students from seeking education outside of Gaza. 45 percent of the working
age population is unemployed.
"In addition to 36 passengers, 4 crew, and 10 members of the press, our
boat will carry thousands of letters of support and friendship from people
throughout the U.S. to the women, children and men of Gaza. There will be
no weapons of any sort on board. We will carry no goods of any kind for
delivery in Gaza. Our mission is from American civil society to the civil
society of Gaza. We do not serve the agenda of any political leadership,
government or group. We are engaged solely in non-violent action in
support of the Palestinian people and their human rights.
"In our country’s great tradition of citizen activists taking nonviolent
action to stand up to injustice, we sail in the hope that our voyage will
show the people in Gaza that they are not alone, and that it will call
attention to the morally and legally indefensible collective punishment of
a population of civilians.
"Mr. President, you have noted the unsustainability of the Gaza blockade.
And your administration has spoken boldly in support of peaceful
demonstrations throughout this “Arab Spring.”
"As U.S. citizens we expect our country and its leaders to help ensure the
Flotilla’s safe passage to Gaza - as our country should support our
humanitarian demand that the Gaza blockade be lifted. This should begin by
notifying the Israeli government in clear and certain terms that it may
not physically interfere with the upcoming Flotilla of which the U.S. boat
— The Audacity of Hope — is part. We-authors, builders, firefighters,
lawyers, social workers, retirees, Holocaust survivors, former government
employees and more-expect no less from our President and your
"Our boat will sail from the eastern Mediterranean in the last week of
June. We shall be grateful to you for acting promptly and decisively to
uphold the rights of civilians to safe passage on the seas," the
passengers wrote to Obama.
The passengers of The Audacity of Hope are: Nic Abramson, Johnny Barber,
Medea Benjamin, Greta Berlin, Hagit Borer, Regina Carey, Gale Courey
Toensing, Erin DeRamus, Linda Durham, Debra Ellis, Hedy Epstein, Steve
Fake, Ridgely Fuller, Megan Horan,Kathy Kelly, Kit Kittredge, Libor
Koznar, Melissa Lane, G. Kaleo Larson, Richard Levy, Richard Lopez, Ken
Mayers, Ray McGovern, Gail Miller, Carol Murry, Robert Naiman, Henry Norr,
Ann Petter, Gabe Schivone, Kathy Sheetz, Max Suchan, Brad Taylor, Len
Tsou, Alice Walker, Paki Wieland and Ann Wright.

Six Members of Congress Call on Clinton to help ensure safety of the U.S.
citizens on boat to Gaza

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton,
We write to express our concern for the safety of American passengers on
the U.S. ship The Audacity of Hope, which will set sail for Gaza in the
next few days. We request that you do everything in your power to work
with the Israeli government to ensure the safety of the U.S. citizens on
A year ago, Israel took military action against the "Gaza flotilla" in
international waters, which resulted in the deaths of nine civilians,
including one American citizen. In addition, ten Israeli commandos and
more than 20 passengers were injured in this tragic incident. In order to
avoid another confrontation this year, we urge all parties to practice
maximum restraint and avoid violence.
We wholeheartedly support Israel's right, and indeed its duty, to protect
its citizens from security threats. The measures it uses to do so, as in
the case with any other nation, must conform to international humanitarian
and human rights law. We are encouraged that The Audacity of Hope
organizers have stated that their cargo "is open to international
inspection" and that they "are fully committed to nonviolence and the the
tenets of international law".
We look forward to working with you in any way we can and encourage you to
ensure the safety of all American citizens on board The Audacity of Hope.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
Representative William Lacy Clay (MO-1)
Representative Sam Farr (CA-17)
Representative Bob Filner (CA-51)
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
Representative Barbara Lee (CA-9)

Police used excessive force on San Francisco Peaks defenders

Protest Halts Snowbowl Waste water Pipeline Construction End Destruction
and Desecration of Holy San Francisco Peaks

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News June 19, 2011

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Navajos and others defending sacred San Francisco
Peaks said police used excessive force on those taking action to defend
the Peaks from the use of sewage water for snowmaking on the mountain.
Native American medicine men conduct ceremonies on the mountain, and
gather herbs for healing ceremonies, on the Peaks, long sacred to 13 area
American Indian Nations.

"Those who cut us out endangered our well being ignoring the screams to
stop. They treated our bodies the way they’re treating this holy mountain.
If they had their way, we wouldn’t even exist. There is more danger in
doing nothing. To idly stand by and allow this destruction and desecration
is to allow cultural genocide," said one of the young woman who locked

At sunrise on Thursday, June 16, 2011, more than a dozen people stopped
ski area construction on the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Six individuals
used various devices to lock themselves to heavy machinery and to each
other inside the waste water pipeline trench, the six arrested said in a
statement released Sunday, June 19.

Kristopher Barney, Dine’ (Navajo) and one of the six who locked himself to
an excavator stated, “This is a continuation of years of prayers and
resistance. It is our hope that all Indigenous Peoples, and all others,
throughout the North, East, South and West come together to offer support
to the San Francisco Peaks and help put a stop to Snowbowl's plan to
further destroy and desecrate such a sacred, beautiful and pristine

“What part of sacred don’t they understand? Through our actions today, we
say enough! The destruction and desecration has to end!” said Marlena
Teresa Garcia, 16, a young Diné woman and one of the six who chose to lock
down. “The Holy San Francisco Peaks is home, tradition, culture, and a
sanctuary to me, and all this is being desecrated by the Arizona Snowbowl
Ski Resort. So now I, as a young Diné woman, stand by Dook’o’osliid’s side
taking action to stop cultural genocide. I encourage all indigenous youth
to stand against the desecration that is happening on the Holy San
Francisco Peaks and all other sacred sites," said Garcia after being
arrested and released.

Those arrested decribed the action and excessive police force in their
statement released Sunday:

A banner was hung on the side of the trench that read “Defend the Sacred!”
where two protesters were locked together. Over the half mile of open
construction, the group chanted, “Protect Sacred Sites, Defend Human
Rights!”, “No desecration for recreation!” “Stop the cultural genocide!
Protect the Peaks!” and “Human health over corporate wealth."

“This waste water pipeline will poison the environment and to children who
may eat snow made from it. Snowbowl plans to spray millions of gallons of
waste water snow, which is filled with cancer causing and other harmful
contaminants, as well as clear-cut over 30,000 trees. The Peaks are a
pristine and beautiful place, a fragile ecosystem, and home to rare and
endangered species of plants and animals,” said Evan Hawbaker, one of the
protesters who locked themselves to the excavator.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service, the City of
Flagstaff Mayor and Council, and the Arizona Department of Environmental
Quality are all responsible for permitting Snowbowl to endanger public
health, destroy the environment, and desecrate the Holy Peaks,” said Nadia
del Callejo, one of the protesters who locked themselves in the trench.

“Throughout history, acts of resistance and civil disobedience have been
taken by young and old against injustices such as this. This action is not
isolated but part of a. continued resistance to human rights violations,
to colonialism, to corporate greed, and destruction of Mother Earth,”
added Del Callejo.

A separate group of supporters, some wearing hazmat suits, “quarantined”
the entrance to Snowbowl Road. Banners were stretched across the road that
read “Protect Sacred Sites” and “Danger! Health Hazard - Snowbowl."

Shortly after initiating the action, a Snowbowl security guard spotted two
people locked to an excavator. By 6:00 a.m. more than 15 armed agents,
including the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department, City of Flagstaff
Police, and the FBI stormed the mountain.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., the Flagstaff Fire Department, assisted by
County Sheriffs, started aggressively cutting two people from the

“We took every possible measure to ensure our safety. Our actions were
taken to safeguard Indigenous Peoples’ cultural survival, our community’s
health and this sensitive mountain ecosystem. Those who cut us out
endangered our well being ignoring the screams to stop. They treated our
bodies the way they’re treating this holy mountain. If they had their way,
we wouldn’t even exist. There is more danger in doing nothing. To idly
stand by and allow this destruction and desecration is to allow cultural
genocide," said one of the young woman who locked down.

“The police's use of excessive force was in complete disregard for my
safety. They pulled at my arms and forced my body and head further into
the machine, all the while using heavy duty power saws within inches of my
hand,” said Hawbaker.

After being cut out, the two were treated by paramedics and arrested for
trespassing. The police, firefighters, and paramedics then proceeded to
cut two people locked in a nearby trench.

Extraction took about forty minutes and the two were immediately seen by
paramedics after being unlocked. One of the individuals sustained injuries
to their arm from abusive force. Both were charged with trespassing, with
an added charge of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor," for one
of the individuals. Police proceeded to unlock the last group who was also
inside the trench nearby.

"Our only offense was resistance; resistance of the implications that's
Snowbowl's development exudes. The police's defense was to implement
tactics of fear to reach a goal, essentially to continue construction as
soon as possible. Our safety was prioritized second to Snowbowl's demands.
I was one of the demonstrators in the trench, locked at the neck with a
partner. I was not aggressive. My lock was sawed through, inches away from
both of our heads, secured solely and recklessly by the hands of a deputy.
During the process, we were repeatedly asked to chant to reaffirm our
consciousness. The police's response was hasty, taking about ten minutes
in total--it was dehumanizing," said Haley Sherwood, one of the last
protester to be cut out.

Both women were also seen by paramedics. One was sent to the hospital for
heat exhaustion although she denied feeling dehydrated. She started to
faint during the extraction when police, EMTs, and firefighters attempted
to force the pair to stand and move them from their location. Both women
repeatedly expressed that they were being hurt and choked by law
enforcement officers and firefighters. Both of the protesters were
arrested for trespassing, with additional charges to one of them for
“contributing to the delinquency of a minor” and “endangerment."

Four of the protesters were taken to County Jail. The two young people
were taken to Coconino County Juvenile Detention Center. FBI agents
attempted to question four of those arrested.

As word spread about the demonstration to protect the Peaks, overwhelming
support and solidarity poured in from throughout the community and

Bail was raised shortly after the arrests. All demonstrators were released
by 3:30 p.m. Three of the protesters, including Marlena Teresa Garcia,
immediately filed a report for excessive use of force after being

“How can we be trespassers on our Holy Site?” questioned Barney. “I do not
agree with these and the other charges, we will continue our resistance.”

Press contact for those defending San Francisco Peaks:
Contact: Beth Lavely Tel: 928.254.1064

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Letter from Prison by Norberto González Claudio


Carta desde la prisión de Norberto González Claudio

Una visita en el día de los Padres:

“Y abuelo, ¿Por qué no puedo estar ahí contigo?”

La visita que me hicieron parte de mis hijos,
nietos y esposa debió ser una del compartir
bonito, del compartir familiar bonito. Y así fue a medias...

Mi novia, esposa, amante y compañera (mi
jovencita preferida) y algo más de mis hijas e
hijos llegaron de la Nación Borincana, a visitar
al esposo, padre, y abuelo a una prisión
imperial: Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility. Y,
¿saben que pasó? Que ya el abuelo, padre, esposo,
compañero, Prisionero Político ha sido condenado
sin juicio, sin proceso de ley y sin cometer
faltas en esa prisión — de hecho llegué derechito
al hoyo y es tratado como todo un "criminal"
que tiene que estar encerrado, aislado, durante
las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana en
una celda en solitario. ¡En soledad absoluta! ¡En
absoluta soledad! Pero estoy fuerte y combativo
aun bajo estas condiciones. ¡Arriba el amor!
¡Arriba la vida! ¡Arriba la lucha clasista y
libertaria de nuestra clase trabajadora Boricua!

En una celda en solitario solito y combativo.
Platiquemos sobre el día de los padres. Entre las
9:30 y las 10:00 de la mañana llegan los
trabajadores de la vigilancia para informar que
tenía visita — de hecho me felicitaron por ser
papá — me esposaron las manos y bajamos para ir a
otra celda donde me quitan las esposas de las
manos y me ponen la de los pies. Me siento en una
silla, tomo el teléfono y aparecen, en la
pantalla chica de una computadora mi familia que
se tienen que turnar para poder verme y yo poder verlos y hablar con ellos.

“Y abuelo, ¿Por qué no puedo estar ahí contigo?”
Es la pregunta que me hace, en su inocencia pura
e infantil, mi nietecito. Es posible que esa
pregunta refleja lo deshumanizado y cruel en que
se encuentra el sistema vigente en los E.U.A. Una
visita que debería ser para subir el ánimo de la
prisionera(o) que no he sido juzgado ni
condenado, se podría convertir en otra forma de
tortura. Y así es, otra forma más de tortura,
crueldad e insensibilidad cuando uno informa o
dice que el imperio U.S.A. es cruel, feroz,
sanguinario y deshumanizado es a este tipo de
conducta a lo que nos referimos, claro está, sin
olvidar las invasiones y bombardeos mortíferos a
otras naciones y el robo y el saqueo a éstas.

“Y abuelo, ¿Por qué no puedo estar ahí contigo?”
Señala claramente la insensibilidad y lo
insensible que son estos invasores y abusadores imperialistas.

Cuando yo informe a "mi consejera" Devonis que el
fin de semana vendría mi familia que si podía
hacer algo para poder ver a mi familia de cerca,
la contestación — tajante y clara — fue que no se podía hacer nada.

Así se vive y se muere en la nación de la
supuesta gran democracia y libertades de los
derechos civiles y humanos de primera. O quien
sabe si de segunda, o de tercera... ¿Democracia o
falsedad de democracia? ¿Derechos civiles y
humanos o falsedad de derechos civiles y humanos?

Un ser humano acusado, no condenado está en
solitaria como decimos por ahí, en el hoyo. Sin
ser condenado, por simplemente ser acusado. ¡SÍ,


Así se vive y se muere en un imperio
deshumanizado por todos sus costados. Un imperio
del terror, de la mentira y el engaño. Un imperio
que sus días ya están llegando a su fin, para
bien de los seres humanos y para bien de la
humanidad, para bien del planeta Tierra, ¡NUESTRA CASA GRANDE!

¡Que la paz, el amor y la sabiduría nos acompañen siempre! ¡SIEMPRE!

Norberto González Claudio, 09864-000

Esposo, papá, abuelo, compañero de muchos
trabajadores y trabajadoras y PRISIONERO POLÍTICO.


Letter from prison by Norberto González Claudio

A Fathers' Day Visit:

"And grandfather, why can't I be there with you?"

The visit by some of my children, grandchildren
and my wife should have been one of beautiful
sharing, of beautiful family sharing. And it was
that way, to some extent . . .

My girlfriend, wife, lover and comrade (my
favorite young person) and more to my daughters
and sons, arrived from the Puerto Rican Nation,
to visit a husband, father and grandfather to an
imperialist prison: Donald W. Wyatt Detention
Facility. And, do you know what happened? That
already the grandfather, father, husband,
comrade, Political Prisoner, has been condemned
without trial, without due legal process and
without committing any infractions in that prison
in fact I arrived to go directly to solitary
confinement and treated like a complete
"criminal" that has to be shut away and isolated
for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a solitary
jail cell. In absolute solitude! In absolute
solitude! But I am strong and combative even
under these conditions. Long live love! Long
live life! Long live the class and freedom
struggle of our Puerto Rican working class!

In a solitary cell, in solitude and
combative. We talked about Fathers'
Day. Between 9:30 and 10:00 in the morning, the
prison guards came to tell me that I had visitors
in fact, they congratulated me for being a
father they handcuffed me and we went to
another cell where they removed my handcuffs and
shackled my feet. I sit in a chair, pick up the
telephone and in a small computer monitor my
family appears. They have to take turns to be
able to see me and for me to be able to see them and speak with them.

"And grandfather, why can't I be there with
you?" This is the question that my small
grandson asks me in his pure and childlike
innocence. It is likely that this question
reflects the dehumanizing and cruel nature that
characterizes the current system in the United
Sates. A visit that should have been one to
raise the spirits of a prisoner that hasn't
been tried or condemned can become another form
of torture. And that's the way it is, yet
another form of torture, cruelty and
insensitivity. It is this type of behavior that
one is referring to when you explain or say that
the U.S. Empire is cruel, brutal, bloody and
dehumanizing. It is clear that we do so without
forgetting the invasions, deadly bombings against
other nations and the looting and ransacking of these.

"And grandfather, why can't I be there with
you?" This points out clearly the insensibility
and cruelty of these invaders and abusive imperialists.

When I informed my "counselor" Devonis that on
the weekend my family would come to visit and
asked if something could be done for me to be
able to see my family more closely, the response
cutting and clear was that nothing could be done.

That it how you live and die in the nation of
supposed great democracy and civil and human
rights of the first order. Or, who knows, if
it's second or third order . . . Democracy or the
falsehood of democracy? Civil and human rights
or the falsehood of civil and human rights?

A human being that is accused but not convicted
is in solitary or as we say out there, in the
hole. Without being convicted but being simply


That is how you live and die in a dehumanizing
empire at its hands and at all costs. An empire
of terror, of lies and deceit. An empire whose
days are already numbered to the benefit of all
human beings and for the benefit of humanity and
the good of the Planet Earth, OUR LARGER HOME.

May peace, love and wisdom always accompany us! ALWAYS!

Norberto González Claudio, 09864-000

Husband, father, grandfather, comrade to many men
and women workers and POLITICAL PRISONER.


English Translation by Frank Velgara, ProLibertad
Freedom Campaign, Socialist Front of Puerto Rico.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Update on Spanish and Italian news

Urgent ELP! Bulletin (25th June 2011) Dear friends It has been confirmed that at
least one of the Spanish people who have been arrested has been remanded into
custody. Here is a mailing from her supporters: Olaia Freiría Mato, Equanimal
activist has been sent to prison for an
unspecified period of time (the judge said it could be a month).
She is on indefinite hunger strike.

Please write to the accused in jail!

They need your support, they will appreciate it.

Olaia Freíra Mato:
Centro Penitenciario de Teixero - A Coruña
Ctra. de Paradela, s / n, módulo 10
15310 - Teixeiro - Curtis


When writing to the prisoners need to have in mind that all
correspondence could be read due to security reasons. Avoid writing any
type of content engaging internal events done by their organization,
investigations, open rescues, etc..

Simply reflect your support in a warm and supportive way.
Anything that is not within the law could cause them problems. It is
important that the sender is complete (name and address).


•About the other 4 activists released, they have to visit the court
every 15 days until the day of the trial.

•For internal motives, and in communication with the lawyer, we urge you
to refrain from publishing anything about the detained activists on the
facebook walls of Animal Equality and Equanimal, as well as on the
support blog.

The situation will stay the same until all the hearings have taken
place. We would like to ask you to be patient.
++++++ Moving to Italian news. We've just received this from some Italian
Mattia, one of the two italian anarchists arrested, was moved to another jail
yesterday. Their updated addresses where to write for solidarity are:

Mattia Petit
c/o CC Vigevano
Via Gravellona, 240
27029 Vigevano (PV)

Federico Buono
c/o CC San Vittore
Piazza Filangieri, 2
20123 Milano

++++++++ Earth Liberation Rprisoners Support NetworkBM Box 2407 LondonWC1N 3XXEngland

Friday, June 24, 2011

URGENT REQUEST FOR SOLIDARITY ACTIONS: July 1 Prisoner Hunger Strike @ Pelican Bay in CA

June 23, 2011 Puget Sound Anarchists

Dear Friends and Comrades,

On July 1st, 50-100 prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern
California will begin an indefinite hunger strike to protest the tortuous
and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment. Pelican Bay is notorious
for it's repressive methods of solitary confinement (like the SHU, i.e.
Security Housing Unit). The CA Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation prides itself on Pelican Bay being "the end of the line,"
and is part of a continuation since the 1960's of prisons using solitary
confinement as a main tactic to crush rebellion and resistance.

As anti-authoritarians and anarchists, this is a crucial moment to show
our solidarity with those on the inside who are ready to die in their
fight for dignity and the most basic necessities of life that the state
continues to deny. This will be the third major hunger strike in a US
prison in the past year and those of us fighting on the outside need to
make a visible show of support for this wave of prisoner-led organizing.

"The passion for freedom is stronger than any prison"

This is a call out for any and all courageous and creative actions to
build our solidarity and confront the prison-industrial complex!

• creative! inspiring! strategic! banner drops, billboard liberation,
propaganda distro, flash mobs etc.
• please make sure your action is well documented.
• the prisoners organizing the strike initiated contact with a number of
grassroots and anti-prison organizations in the Bay Area to support their
action. This led to the formation of Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
which will be providing some infrastructural support during the strike
such as legal and medical monitoring and visits. We want to be able to
communicate to the prisoners while doing weekly visits during the strike
that people outside are supporting them. We want to be able to tell them
about the creative ways people are showing their support and amplifying
the prisoner's voices. Please send photos, statements, and descriptions
(with your strategic discretion) to the coalition through email: The coalition will also be
updating a page on demo's and actions on the coalition blog so info can go
on their too (
• If it's an action other people can participate in, please let us know a
head of time so we can help spread the word through our blog and facebook.
• amplify the voices of the prisoners-- this is a struggle initiated by
the prisoners themselves, calling for comrades and allies to make sure
their voices are heard outside prison, so solidarity will be stronger when
keeping this in mind.

so that would be a great day for an action, as well as one or two days
before it. The strike could last for quite a while so it'd be a good idea
to stay tuned to the blog for updates on how the strike is developing.
There will be rallies internationally on July 9th in San Francisco, Arcata
(or outside Pelican Bay), Montreal, Ontario and Vancouver. It'd be great
if there are more rallies and demos on that Saturday, and other
actions/demos leading up to that day.

If you have any questions or info to share, hit up Prisoner Hunger Strike

Noise Demo in Solidarity with Pelican Bay Prisoners
Fri, 06/24/2011 - 12:21pm — Anonymous

Noise demo at:

King County Juvenile Detention Center
1211 East Alder Ave
(12th Ave & Alder)in the CD

Meet on 12th at the corner of 12th and Alder.
Saturday July 2nd.

Bring signs/banners, leaflets, noise makers, etc.

Solidarity with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers!
Solidarity with all prisoners: youth and adult!

On July 1, 2011 prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican
Bay State Prison in California will begin an indefinite hunger strike to
protest the conditions of their imprisonment. The hunger strike is being
organized by prisoners in an unusual show of racial unity, their five key
demands are:

1. Eliminate group punishments.
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status
3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and
Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement.
4. Provide adequate food.
5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite
SHU inmates.

This noise demonstration will be to express solidarity with the Pelican
Bay Prisoners as well as the youth imprisoned at King County Juvi to break
the isolation that is both a requirement and a function of prisons.

We want both, the youth and the hunger strikers, to know that they are not
alone that there are those of us in the outer walls who are saying fuck
prisons, down with every prison wall.

This prison society we live in, with every one of its laws, courts, cops,
prisons and networks of surveillance, has made it very clear that the
'life' we're supposed to accept is nothing more than a life sentence in an
open air prison and upon violation a 'life' of extreme alienation,
isolation, and degradation. The hunger strikers recognize this as they
continue to refuse the meek existence that the state and capital tries to
impose on them.

Prison has a long history within capitalism and governments, as being one
of the most archaic forms of prolonged torture and punishment. It has been
used to kill some slowly and torture those “undesirables” to the reigning
social order - who have do not fit within the predetermined mold of civil

Youth, the most anti-establishment social group, are often used as the
definition of undesirable. Those in charge are correct in their assumption
that the youth are the last to submit, the last to be controlled. In
response, they build institutions like, the King County Juvenile Detention
Center. The same people that build these prisons are the ones that create
poverty and discrimination. They create the conditions of crime and then
build the prisons to contain their “criminals”. There is no solving the
prison problem because prisons are exactly what this repressive society
needs to function: social control and fear. This is why we are not only
against prisons but against the whole system that relies on them.

Solidarity with every youth who fights for freedom, and all prisoners,
around the world, who refuse to accept forced confinement, isolation and
abuse, who dream of the day that we together destroy these walls.

More information:

Books, Banks & Pigs: videos & report on Anticut 2 in Oakland

Last Friday, we marched on downtown banks behind a bloc of book shields in an anti-capitalist defense of the Oakland libraries. Tensions were high throughout the afternoon and the action quickly escalated into a showdown with police that took many off guard.

Below are two videos that give a good sense of the action and the progression of events. They are followed by a longer report plus more images and audio recordings that elaborate on that complicated afternoon.

We started assembling at Broadway and Telegraph in downtown Oakland at 3pm last Friday. There were about 60 of us. It was immediately clear that OPD had been monitoring the Bay of Rage website and was out in full force to crush the march. (This is the second in a series of anti-austerity actions we have planned for the summer).A pack of bicycle cops backed by squad cars, police wagons, sheriff's vehicles and private security began issuing tickets and confiscated a shopping cart sound system before the march had even started. One officer happily displayed the BoR website on his smart phone and explained to us that "intel sent this over."

With book shields flanking the second sound system which began blasting Ol' Dirty Bastard, the dancing crowd managed to move into the street and we were on our way. Taking inspiration from recent anti-austerity demonstrations in Italy and the UK, we chose to experiment with the colorful and confrontational tactic of the book bloc. The 14 (out of 18) Oakland libraries which are currently being threatened with closure represent a visceral example of the economic violence being imposed on poor and working people during this wave of capitalist crisis. We felt the books made a lot of sense as a tool for defense and disruption in this context.

Despite the repression, Anticut 2 was greeted in downtown Oakland with curious smiles, raised fists and cheers as the crowd temporally blockaded Citibank. This was one of those rare actions where everyone on the street wanted a copy of our flyer. (The flyer –available here and here – explains the connections between bailed out banks, library closures and brutal policing). The vast majority of people didn't hesitate to openly demonstrate their support as well as their hatred of the OPD. After disrupting Wells Fargo, which currently makes a nice profit off the interest from Oakland Unified School District's $100 million debt that the bank bought with federal bailout money, we moved on to our next target.

"White people are getting crazy! Fuck the Banks!" yelled one excited Oaklander. Another ran up to us and exclaimed, "Oh you hate the pigs? I'm getting in there!"

Suddenly the cops made their move. We stood our ground when the bike police charged the crowd, trying to break us up and end the action right there on 12th street. Four were arrested in the ensuing clash. We were eventually forced onto the sidewalk where we beat a cautious and frustrating retreat in the direction of the main library branch.

The afternoon ended as we regrouped on the steps of the library. It felt like a much needed refuge as we stood behind our book shields eating Food not Bombs and looking out over the small army of cops that filled 14th street below. The police were clearly unnerved by the previous two hours and seemed very uncomfortable in their apparent standoff with the public library building. The librarians on the other hand were delighted and welcomed us with open arms. One even laughed and quietly said, "We need some more of this anarchy stuff!"

As the library closed for the day, three librarians joined us on the steps to speak publicly in support of the action and the struggle for the future of the libraries. Two corporate news helicopters hovered overhead and camera teams moved in to capture their statements.

"Safety is not necessarily police," explained children's librarian Helen Block. We all cheered. "Public safety means providing a place for children to learn, for children to form community, and for the community to come together. Oakland is too divided this way. Libraries are one of the few places remaining in this city where people can go and form community. Oakland Unified School District budget has been decimated, lots and lots of kids do not have access to books. Oakland Public Library is the only way that they will get books to read, and we need to recognize it and we need to prioritize it. Thank you so much for your support, and we really appreciate it."

Below is the full audio recording of the statements of support made by the three librarians:

The remark by the librarians about public safety was, in part, meant to chide the squadron of police keeping watch on us outside the library. In recent weeks, the Chief of Police and leaders of the police union have gone before the City Council several times in order to argue for their essential work, their importance, and to threaten an apocalypse if the council reduces funding for them. Oakland, as many will know, spends over half of its budget on the police. And although some have suggested we focus on the high salaries and pensions paid to police – as well as their unwillingness to make concessions on these – we think this is misguided. Pay and pensions for cops is not what has brought ruin to Oakland’s budgets. The problems originate with the economic crisis in general, and high unemployment and plummeting property values in particular. If we endorse this view for police, then we’ll find we have endorsed it for other public employees as well – teachers, social workers, librarians—when nitwit politicians tell us that public workers’ unwillingness to make concessions is the problem. No, the blame for the Oakland budget lies squarely with capitalism, with the way that capitalism allows corporations and owners of wealth to determine the priorities of the city. The problem with cops, therefore, is not how much they’re paid, it’s that they exist. The problem with cops is what they do, what they’re for. The problem with cops is that the rulers of Oakland would rather fill our streets with these hired thugs than spend money on health care, libraries and schools. Salaries and pensions are just a small part of this. If cops were paid half as much, we’d still want them gone.

The cops, therefore, stand in stark opposition to everything we value about a place like Oakland. You need only listen to the words of one officer as he processed one of our arrested comrades: "Fuck Libraries...Who gives a fuck about libraries?!"

Anticut 2 was very successful at drawing these contradictions out into the open and building connections with many different kinds of people who happily sided with us against the banks and cops. The books worked great both on a symbolic level and as a tactical defense for the crowd. Yet there are also lots of lessons we need to learn, as the action exposed some of our serious tactical weaknesses. We were taken off guard by the street fight the police initiated, but it's still too early to tell how those few hours altered the course of this summer anti-capitalist initiative.

One thing we can safely conclude is that it probably opened up more opportunities for future action in this period of crisis than it closed. As such, it was another important step forward.

Please join us for Anticut 3 on Friday, July 8! And on July 4, we are hosting an anti-Amerikan BBQ where can can all relax and socialize. Stay tuned to for updates and details about these upcoming events.


Six book shields backed by small team wearing matching baseball caps made up this initial North American book bloc. We chose to march behind the following books:

-The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
-Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici
-The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
-Assata by Assata Shakur
-The Unseen by Nanni Ballestrini
-Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord

The following video was released by Italian comrades that details their construction of a massive book bloc last fall.

We hope to see this tactic used by many others in the coming fights against austerity!


Indybay detailed photo essay:
PART 1: Demo Kicks Off – Police Attack
PART 2: Police Attack – Rally at Oakland Library

Corporate Media Coverage:

Oakland: Anticut 2 - Book Bloc vs OPD

from Bay of Rage

full analysis & reportback coming soon…

LEGAL UPDATE: Of the four comrades arrested in yesterday’s anticut, one
has been released, one will hopefully be released shortly, and two are
still in custody with arraignments scheduled for tuesday. All have been
arrested on multiple misdemeanors. more info will be posted as it is


Indybay has posted a complete photo reportback of the action including the
book bloc, disruption of downtown banks and police attack. Check it out:
PART 1: Demo Kicks Off – Police Attack
PART 2: Police Attack – Rally at Oakland Library

Anticut 2 disrupted downtown Oakland Friday afternoon in an anticapitalist
defense of the libraries. 75 people took the streets of downtown in the
face of an ominous police presence that began issuing tickets and
confiscating sound equipment before the demo had even started. Crowds
walking by and waiting for buses cheered on the action as banks locked
down in fear of the disruption. After shutting down a Citibank and Wells
Fargo, police attacked the crowd and arrested multiple people but failed
to halt the movement of the action. The mobile disruption ended at the
downtown Oakland Library Branch where it was greeted by local librarians
who addressed the crowd as cops and bystanders watched from the street. 14
out 18 libraries in Oakland are facing closure due to the proposed city

Here are links to the texts handed out at the action today, but stay tuned
for a more detailed analysis.

Libraries vs. Banks: the old world is in our way

WE ARE FED UP! let’s block everything

Anarchy in the Library

also, here are some corporate news stories about the action:

Spanish and Italian news

ELP Information Bulletin (24th June 2011) Dear friends News is coming in of a number
of arrests in Spain. We've heard that some people may have been released but others
are still in custody and one person may be sent to prison. Here is an offical
statement from a support campaign set up to support those arrested:

Twelve animal rights activists were arrested this morning by the Spanish
police, in a series of raids sanctioned by the judge from the
Magistrate's court, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. Arrests and
house searches of activists from the organisations Igualdad
Animal/Animal Equality and Equanimal took place in the regions of
Madrid, Asturias, Vizcaya and Galicia. The detained activists were then
taken to Santiago de Compostela court, where they were accused of
offences against the environment, public disorder, and criminal

The origin of the investigations appears to be centred on the seemingly
intentional release of 20,000 minks from the farm Visones Bermúdez,
located in Santiago de Compostela, in November 2007, which would
indicate the supposed damage to the environment.

Both organisations have publicly condemned the deprivation of freedom,
torture and massacre of more than 300,000 minks every year by the
Spanish fur trade. These arrests therefore represent a clear attack by
the fur industry against animal activists for highlighting the horrors
of a practice in which the gassings, mutilations and captivity-induced
suffering of mink on fur farms are inherent and widespread.

These two organisations, which define their activism as being
non-violent, dedicate their efforts to raising public awareness of
animal rights, by informing society of the consequences of the
consumption of animal products and the promotion of alternatives. On the
other hand, even though the organisations were not involved in the mink
liberations, neither condemns these types of actions, to the extent that
they defend the interests of all animals regardless of species, as none
of the minks exploited by the fur industry deserves to live and die on a
Spanish fur farm.

Due to the fact that the authorities have no-one to hold responsible for
the mink liberations, the various members of Equanimal and Igualdad
Animal / Animal Equality have been arrested in an attempt to criminalise
the animal rights movement in Spain, as has already happened in other
European countries. The animal exploitation lobbies and powerful
multinationals wish to put the brakes on the animal rights movement in
Spain, and now we are seeing the arrival of repression.

Equanimal and Igualdad Animal/Animal Equality are holding two
simultaneous press conferences today 22/06/11 in order to read a
statement in response to the unjust arrests of these twelve activists
from both organisations, at 8pm in Madrid and Barcelona.

Tomorrow, Thursday 23 June, peaceful protests will also be held in
Madrid and Barcelona, in order for everyone who is against these arrests
to show their rejection of the events and display their support and
solidarity for the detained activists.

On Friday 24 June, we want to call for an Internationl day of solidarity
for the Spanish Activists.

Please consider to organize a demonstration in support to these
activists in front of Spanish embassies or in city centres on Friday,
the 24th of June!


Please send your demo reports and photos to
to spread it on our website. International support is extremely
important for victims of repression so show your solidarity,
take it to the streets! ELP will bring you more news on this story as we get it.
Moving on from Spanish to Italian news. ELP has been informed about the arrests of
two people in Italy. We've not got that much news on the arrests yet, but this is
what we have been told:

Two italian anarchists, Mattia, 26, and
Federico, 35, were arrested in the night between the 14th
and 15th of june in Milano (italy). The charge against
them is the carrying of explosive devices. They were stopped by a
police car as they were riding their bikes, their bags were searched
and the police found in one of them a device made of firelighter,
matches and a cigarette, that could be used for starting a fire. They
were arrested and after that Mattia's house was also searched: the
police took away a balaclava, a wig, some fireworks and an oil can.
Their arrest was confirmed by the
judge, so they could be held in prison until the date of the trial.
They are both anarchists and vegan, since long time involved in the
struggles for the earth and prisoners support, and against State,
capitalism and jail.

To write them:

Mattia Petit, Piazza
Filangieri, 2 - 20123 Milano, Italy

Federico Buono, Piazza
Filangieri, 2 - 20123 Milano, Italy ++++++ Earth Liberation Prisoners Support
NetworkBM Box 2407LondonWC1N 3XXEnglandNEW WEBSITE COMING SOON!

In Cherán “we got fed up with keeping our heads down”

Friday, June 24 2011 Infoshop News

Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, La Jornada
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Spanish original:
Translated by Scott Campbell

Cherán, Michoacán, May 27. In the face of government indifference and/or
complicity, close to 20,000 community members have organized themselves
for the past 42 days against illegal loggers who are supported by gangs
linked to organized crime. Patrols, barricades of sandbags, trunks and
stones at all the points of entry and 179 permanent bonfires in the four
neighborhoods, have been in place since April 15.

Since then, the population has armed itself with sticks, rocks, machetes,
pickaxes, shovels and anything they could, in order to confront those who
“for the past three years have devastated the community’s forests, with
the protection of armed groups and even the government, which has done
nothing to stop them,” said one of the thousands of community members who
guard the barricade which covers the path to Paracho.

Far removed from their everyday life, the women, men, children and elders
of this town on the Purépecha plateau live in a permanent tension around
the barricades, guarding the entryways so that no unknown person passes
through. Dawn yesterday brought the news that armed men in tens of SUVs
were getting ready in Paracho. It was a false alarm, but the patrols were
reinforced, “just in case.”

At two in the morning, one of the guards assures that: “although we don’t
sleep, we don’t lose strength. The government must attend to our demands:
security and justice, an end to the devastation and punishment for those
responsible so that we may live in peace.”
The government’s response hasn’t arrived, while the harassment and the
threats have intensified. On May 22, “community member Miguel Ángel Gembe
was kidnapped in Paracho.” Three days later he was able to escape “by a
miracle” and returned to the community visibly beaten. It was confirmed
then that which was suspected, that his kidnapping was due to his
participation in the current mobilizations, as he shared that his captors
interrogated him about the names of those who head the movement, warning
him that “they’re all on the list.” As a result, the community members
hold the state and federal governments responsible for whatever may happen
to Miguel Ángel and the rest of the population.

It all began on April 15, when an event stretched their patience to the
limit: “The illegal loggers entered La Cofradía spring, which supplies the
entire community. A group of community members confronted them and kicked
them out and since then we’ve been demanding justice,” says another of the
indigenous from Cherán. Not one gives their name or shows their face, as a
security measure against the permanent threats.

In this town, says another of the interviewees, “it comes together - all
the injustices, the impunity, the complicity of organized crime with the
governments, the indifference and evasion of the authorities, the ambition
of the powerful…And also the organization of the people, who are angry,
the defense of territory, the uniting of the women, the men, the children
and the elders, all together to stop the logging of our hills, the
kidnappings, the murders and the disappearances. Here, we are also fed up
and we’ve gone into action alone to defend ourselves and to do what the
government doesn’t want to do.”

A group of women from the neighboring community of Cheranastico approach
one of the bonfires in the lower neighborhood (ketzikua). In Purépecha
they communicate with the women on guard and prepare enormous pots of
coffee, beans and potatoes with eggs. They talk amongst themselves and
later one translates: “She says that they are suffering in their town
also, that they are cutting down the forests, that they are very afraid.
She says – the translator continues – that in their community they can’t
go out to plant or let their animals out because they are stolen. She says
that they are not free.”

The women, as in all popular struggles, take a leading role. They are
strong and although they admit to being tired, they stand guard and make
the food; they organize the cleaning, the supplies and the daily chores.
With white hair, a blue scarf and weatherbeaten hands, one of them replies
to her anguished neighbors that they shouldn’t be afraid, that they should
organize themselves as they’ve done in Cherán, that only then can they put
an end to the injustice.

“Here you are united,” responds the elderly woman from Cheranastico, “but
my town hasn’t had the courage because it’s small and they, the bad ones,
are many and they’re armed.”

“Here,” says another woman at one of the bonfires in the Paricutín
neighborhood, “what we want is peace and freedom. If we don’t defend our
forests, there won’t even be one piece of firewood to leave for our
children; there will be nothing left for them.”

Resistance against the clandestine logging, although scattered, began in
2008 when devastation in the Pacuacaracua hill increased. As of now, they
report, more than 80 percent of the forest (more than 15,000 hectares) has
been completed destroyed through acts accompanied by the “sowing of fear,”
as the illegal loggers, from the towns of Capacuaro, Tanaco, Rancho
Casimiro, San Lorenzo, Huecato, Rancho Morelos and Rancho Seco, savage the
community with high caliber weapons.

Before rising up, they state, they knocked on all the institutional doors:
“We went to PROFEPA, to SEMARNAT, to everywhere and no one paid us any
mind. We also filed reports of the kidnappings, extortions and threats,
and similarly they didn’t investigate anything. As a result they stretched
our patience to the limit. We got fed up with keeping our heads down, as
we saw nothing but hundreds of trucks filled with our trees and we didn’t
say anything out of pure fear. But not anymore.”

Cherán has 27,000 hectares of communal territory, of which 20,000 are
wooded; of these, 80 percent have been burned and logged (totally
destroyed), and the other 20 percent has also been logged, but still
hasn’t been burned.

A trip through the San Miguel hill allows one to see the devastated area.
Hundreds of trunks lie in the paths. “It’s that the loggers only take the
thick, lower parts, the rest they leave strewn around here,” explains one
of the members of the traditional patrols, who is now in charge of

The roads into the forests are also under guard. Trunks and sandbags
impede the path of the trucks, although, they say, “they still enter
through other areas, because they’re not going to give up this business
from which they get so much money.” How much? “Well, just do an
accounting. Organized crime charges each truck 1,000 pesos for protection.
Around 180 trucks left daily loaded with wood, which generated 180,000
pesos just for protection.

The big business, they explain, “is headed by a man known as El Güero.
It’s a double business, as he sends workers to cut the trees and then they
take them to his sawmills. But when other illegal loggers want to enter,
he sells them protection so that they can remove the wood. As for us,
well, we just watched, cowering, while all this happened.”

In these six weeks, the life of the community has completely changed: Now
the municipal president doesn’t operate out of the government palace and
the installations are practically in the hands of the community members.
There are no classes in the elementary school or middle school, nor in the
high school or in the Pedagogical University. A “dry law” is in place and
they can’t ingest or sell alcoholic beverages; vehicular traffic ends at
eight at night and 24 hour security is maintained throughout the municipal

At the same time, the youth have taken charge of the cleaning and have
organized a “good image” commission, which during these days is cleaning
the streets with paint donated by businesses. They have also organized
general cleaning brigades in which the whole populous participates, and in
the streets, patios or under tarps the teachers in the community have
organized classes.

In one of the improvised classrooms, Arly, a seven-year-old, says, “The
bonfires are so that the bad guys who are taking our trees don’t get in.
Without trees we are not going to have water and because of that there are
bonfires, so that they don’t take away the forest.” And also, adds Karen,
11 years old, “we organized ourselves so that they don’t come to kill us.
Now they are upset because they don’t come in; so they are angrier and
because of that we have to be careful.”

As of now, in each neighborhood they have organized commissions for
security, cleaning, good image, health, education, supplies, agricultural
production and media. With all this, explains one community member,
“through action, the traditional organization of the people is being

Meanwhile, the government’s response doesn’t arrive. They’ve gone to the
state and federal governments. At the Interior Ministry, they say, “they
ask that first we demobilize, that we deactivate our organization. And
they don’t give answers. We think that they don’t have the ability to
confront truly organized crime. We have given them names and places where
they can be found, but as of now they don’t do anything.”

Originally published:

Mad in the Middle East' by Mumia Abu-Jamal

[col. writ. 6/12/11]  (c) '11 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Americans may've voted in the last presidential election for an end to war, but
wars have multiplied with the advent of the Obama administration.

As I wrote several years ago, the awesome powers granted to the Bush
administration now lie in new hands, and presidents aggregate power; they don't
willingly give it up.
Perhaps first among these powers, is the power to wage wars.

As of this writing, the United States is engaged in at least 4 (and maybe 5)
armed actions: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen - and as drones slam bombs into
homes and villages in Pakistan - it too must be added to the mix.

To be realistic, there is no peace on the horizon, and perhaps more and broader
wars await us.

Despite the many justifications raised by politicians - The Taliban, Al Qaeda,
terrorism, etc.-- these seem more pretexts than reasons, for without the CIA,
MI-6 and Pakistan's Intelligence agency, ISI, these bodies wouldn't exist, for
they were assemble, trained, armed and activated under their auspices.


(If you doubt this, read: Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of
American Empire, by Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald (San Fran., CA: City
Lights Bs/Open Media, 2011.)

But war does far more than excite public passions.

It confuses people. It demands their unthinking allegiance. It feeds on the
very lives of young men and women. And those it doesn't kill, it poisons with the
virus of violence, which, unleashed abroad, often returns home, to shatter homes,
families, futures and communities.

It would be challenging to count the wives or children who were beaten or abused
by returning soldiers. Indeed, the levels of suicide among armed forces shows
that war attacks the self.

The clearest explanation for these wars was articulated several years ago by
Pres. Carter's former national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski -- and the
prime architect of the Afghan war against the Soviets by the mujahideen.

In a 1997 article in Foreign Affairs magazine, Brzezinski gave the following take
on the importance of Eurasia:

Eurasia is home to most of the world's politically assertive and dynamic
All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The
most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in
as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American
After the United States, the next six largest economies and military
are there, as are all but one of the world's overt nuclear powers. Eurasia
accounts for 75% of the world's population, 60 percent of it's GNP, and
75% of
its energy resources. *

That's it. "Energy resources." 011.

That's what it's all about.

That's all it's ever been about.

--(c) '11 maj

{*Source: Brzezinski, Z., "A Geostrategy for Eurasia," Foreighn Affairs, 76:5,
Sept/Oct. 1997; cited in Gould and Fitzgerald, p. 121.}

Killing More and Imprisoning Less: Obama and Rendition

By V. NOAH GIMBLE Counterpunch June 24, 2011

The day after Barack Obama took office, he signed a series of executive orders mandating the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as the global network of secret, CIA-run "black site" prisons. In addition, he committed the United States to observe the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. The Bush administration had exempted U.S. interrogators from these two treaties, arguing that the Global War on Terror presented unprecedented intelligence-gathering challenges that had to be overcome by all means necessary.

Obama's stated commitment to ban torture also extended to the outsourcing of interrogations to countries where torture could be employed without the legal barriers that exist within the U.S. military and civilian justice systems. He vowed to end the "extraordinary rendition" program whereby terror suspects were disappeared by U.S. agents, transferred into the custody of third-party intelligence services and tortured by foreign agents asking questions provided by the CIA. The European Parliament estimated that the CIA flew at least 1,245 rendition flights between 2001 and 2007, but all information on those flights, including who the passengers were and how many people were abducted, remains shrouded in secrecy. Such a policy contrasts with "rendition to justice," a transfer that takes place at least nominally within the legal system. This kind of rendition requires that the detainee be arraigned and tried in court on arrival in the United States — without having been tortured during the capturing process.

More than two years later, the Obama administration has not followed through on most of these promises, even reversing several commitments. For one, the administration confirmed that Guantanamo not only remains open, but that it will even take in new "high-value" detainees in the event of their capture. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, at least 20 secret prisons are still actively torturing "short-term transfer" detainees. The only change Obama has brought to these classified prisons is granting access to the facilities by the International Committee of the Red Cross (their reports, issued to the executive branch of the detaining power, are seldom released to the public or even to Congress). Instead of operating directly under CIA control, they are run by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Nevertheless, CIA personnel still participate in the interrogations held within their anonymous concrete walls.

This evidence alone is enough to raise serious questions about the Obama administration's willingness and ability to reverse the Bush era's use of kidnapping, extrajudicial detention and torture in the fight against terrorism. Granted, the administration has faced vocal and vehement opposition from congressional Republicans on many issues, including the closure of Guantanamo, and it is no secret that the military and intelligence services of the United States are slow to accept changes, to say the least. But Obama's political about-face raises questions about the sincerity of the administration's professed desire to wield American power in a more principled manner that conforms to international law. In order to find out more about the current administration's re-branding of the so-called war on terror, it is necessary to delve deeper into what Dick Cheney famously called the "dark side." The culture of secrecy and impunity that has come to characterize the executive branch, which the Obama administration has continued to cultivate, poses a serious threat to democracy, pitting the state's definition of security against the security of individuals.

Torture and Rendition

Before becoming president, Obama was a professor of constitutional law. Before that, he was president of the Harvard Law Review. He knew that the United States under Ronald Reagan had signed the UN Convention Against Torture. He had read the Geneva Conventions and knew the obligations warring powers face regarding the treatment of detainees.

Because of this background, the president had to know that the United States was violating international law with its policy of extraordinary rendition, more than ever under the Bush administration. Under the Convention Against Torture, a country may not knowingly pass a detainee into the custody of a country where the detainee will "more likely than not" face torture. If there is any doubt about the recipient country's record on torture, the detaining country must receive assurance that the detainee will not be tortured. According to human rights attorney Scott Horton, the Bush administration "turned [the Convention's provisions] into a complete joke: people were being turned over to countries where they would be tortured, [constituting] a violation of both domestic and international law."

The agents who turned detainees over to foreign interrogators did obtain assurances from recipient countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Poland, Macedonia, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and even Libya, that detainees would not be abused. But in practice, these assurances were as empty and dishonest as George W. Bush's repeated claims that the U.S. "government does not torture people." One rendition victim, Canadian-Syrian engineer Maher Arar, was rendered to Syria and imprisoned there for nearly a year where he was tortured regularly. After he was freed and cleared of all charges, the Canadian government lodged an official complaint against the United States for transferring a Canadian citizen into the custody of a country with a record of torture. Arar filed suit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft only to have the case thrown out due to the executive invocation of the "state secrets privilege," claiming that evidentiary information on the rendition program would endanger U.S. national security.

When the Obama administration came to power, it could have disclosed evidence necessary to bring justice for Maher Arar and other victims of the federal government's rendition program. Instead Attorney General Eric Holder followed his predecessor's lead, blocking Arar's case all the way to the Supreme Court. And indeed it wasn't long into the new administration's term before the continued practice of rendition came to light.

In April 2009, a 45-year old Lebanese businessman named Raymond Azar went to Afghanistan on behalf of his employer, Lebanese-based defense contractor Sima Salazar Group. Previously, his underling Dinorah Cobos had made arrangements to give $100,000 to an FBI agent posing as a contracts officer in order to secure contracts for Sima. The FBI was thus luring the pair to Afghanistan as part of a sting operation. In Kabul, eight FBI agents seized the two contractors, stripping Azar naked, subjecting him to a cavity search and blindfolding and shackling him. He was first transported to Bagram air base in Afghanistan, and later taken to Virginia where he was arrested and charged with fraud.

U.S. agents inside Afghanistan are only authorized to detain and transfer suspects out of the country if the suspect is deemed to pose an imminent threat, which Azar most certainly did not. Officials from the Departments of Justice and State claim that they received the consent of the Afghan government to conduct the rendition, but Afghan officials deny having ever been informed of the operation.

Azar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, but his maximum five-year sentence was reduced to only six months due to the abusive treatment he received in U.S. custody. More than anything, the rendition of Raymond Azar was an embarrassment for the Obama administration. According to Scott Horton, the unwanted controversy surrounding the Azar will push the administration to proceed with caution with the kind of renditions that the Bush administration pursued. "I can't find any evidence of extraordinary renditions under Obama," Horton told me, "but there's really no problem with normal extradition."

Rendition — particularly extraordinary rendition — turned out to be a public relations nightmare for the Bush administration, and despite the media's lack of attention to the Azar case, it doesn't seem to be gaining any fans during the Obama administration either. Thus to avoid negative publicity, the Obama administration has pursued a different strategy toward suspected terrorists (and whoever else happens to be in their vicinity): killing them.

Kill More, Imprison Less

Despite the rhetorical shift that Obama heralded, and the promises made by executive order, the president chose not to dismantle some of the most legally questionable tactics that the Bush administration employed in the conduct of the so-called War on Terror. Perhaps most importantly, Obama has maintained the government's right to kill foreign nationals and American citizens alike, anywhere in the world, whom the president deems "a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests," evidence of guilt and constitutional rights notwithstanding.

The government's claim was recently challenged on behalf of one of the targets on the executive hit list, Anwar al-Awlaki. The Yemeni-American Muslim cleric has for some time been a celebrity lecturer amongst extremists and has a large online following. Allegedly, he inspired the Fort Hood shooter, as well as the failed Times Square and "underwear" bombers. His father, with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), filed a lawsuit against the government arguing that he did not pose an imminent threat. The judge threw out the case at the request of the executive. According to his lawyer, Maria Lahood, Judge John Bates called the issue of extrajudicial targeted killing "a political question which could not be adjudicated by the court. It was essentially up to the executive to decide if someone they'd identified as a terrorist should be killed and the court didn't have any place to review that." The judge also denied that al-Awlaki's father had legal standing to argue the case on behalf of his son.

More recently, the government and media alike have revived the policy of targeted killing to justify the murder of an unarmed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by U.S. Special Forces. But even bin Laden's supposed guilt does not confer any legal legitimacy on his assassination.

Where the use of Special Forces is deemed impracticable, the CIA has a large fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — drones — to rain down Hellfire missiles on targeted suspects in various countries — by remote control from fortified bases thousands of miles away. Indeed, just days after bin Laden's death, a drone strike targeting al-Awlaki missed its mark, killing two bystanders instead.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times last month, the Obama administration has killed more alleged terrorists than it has imprisoned. Indeed, the Obama administration launched more drone strikes in two years than the Bush administration did during its entire eight years. In 2010 Agence France Presse reported a total of more than 100 drone strikes that killed over 670 people. With a rate of civilian casualties estimated to be as high as 90 percent, drone strikes have fueled anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Africa: Exporting Torture

The practice of extraordinary rendition has not disappeared completely. When the practice of kidnapping people and sending them to unknown locations to be tortured struck a sour note with the American voting public, the White House stepped away from the policy. But, like lead paint, DDT and asbestos, domestic regulations haven't stopped the export of extraordinary rendition to poorer countries.

Washington has been fighting the war on terror in East Africa since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings and it believes a significant network of al-Qaeda militants have been in league with local jihadist groups. The CIA presence in the region has ballooned, and much-needed humanitarian aid became linked to military cooperation with the Pentagon. And U.S. allies practiced what Washington preached in terms of fighting terrorism.

In 2007, U.S.-backed Kenyan security forces abducted more than 150 men, women, and children, mostly Somali Muslims, near the border between Somalia and Kenya. Racial profiling such as this has become all too common under regimes that oppress ethnic minorities to maintain power, and it has received the seal of approval from the United States and its allies under the auspices of counter-terrorism.

The arbitrariness of the 2007 mass arrests is evident. Only one detainee was charged in Kenya, and the rest were either deported back to their home countries or illegally rendered to Ethiopia via Somalia. Ethiopian forces subjected detainees to numerous human rights abuses, torturing several of them. FBI and British agents also interrogated the suspects, looking for terrorist connections, but just one more detainee was charged in Ethiopia, bringing the grand total to two out of hundreds. About half of the rendition victims were later released without charge, dumped at the Somali border untreated for medical issues resulting from torture. But some were held for years with no access to lawyers or their families — disappeared indefinitely. Many have been released thanks to the tireless efforts of human rights advocates in Kenya, but 22 are not accounted for according to the most recent Human Rights Watch report on the issue.

Last year, Kenyan authorities rendered several Kenyan Muslims to Uganda in connection with a suicide bombing in Kampala. In Uganda, the notorious Rapid Response Unit tortured the suspects in between interrogations by U.S. and British agents. One of the initial rendition victims, Omar Awadh Omar, is a prominent Kenyan human rights activist and an outspoken critic of the clampdown of repression in East Africa. Later, the U.S.-backed Ugandan dictatorship targeted Al-Amin Kimanthi, the leader of Kenya's Muslim Human Rights Forum and the loudest voice in the East African struggle against illegal rendition and torture. Even his colleague Clara Gutteridge, a British human rights lawyer with whom I communicated in researching this article, was detained and deported from Kenya for attempting to investigate matters further.

Increased U.S. military involvement in East Africa and the export of extraordinary rendition to that region have clear strategic motivations. The U.S. military has long kept a major base in Djibouti, where naval cruisers can monitor and secure oil shipments through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Moreover, the Horn of Africa is home to untapped oil reserves.

What's Next in the Search for Justice?

The Obama administration's approach to torture and rendition has been challenged, though the most meaningful dissenting voices come from outside the country. The U.S. Congress has failed to challenge the state secrets doctrine and the concomitant executive impunity it implies, and has actively sought to keep Guantanamo active. Despite the efforts of Congresspersons like Ed Markey (D-MA) to ban renditions, the legislative branch is not likely to effectively challenge the Obama administration. The Judiciary has similarly recused itself from checking the executive. Last month, in rejecting a case brought by five innocent torture victims against the CIA contractor that flew them to black-site prisons, the Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling affirming the president's right to kill any case he pleased if he felt that evidence would reveal state secrets.

However, in Britain, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, and Australia, investigations into the global kidnapping ring known as extraordinary rendition have been set in motion. The Italian case is perhaps the most notable, as Italian prosecutors were able to overcome intense pressure from both the U.S. and Italian governments in their pursuit of 26 conspirators involved in the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Abu Omar in Milan, who was tortured by the notorious Egyptian Mukhabarat. The Italian case blew the covers of 21 CIA agents, who were each sentenced in absentia to five years in prison. Robert Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, received an eight-year prison sentence. Although the judge granted diplomatic immunity to other defendants, including the ringleader of the operation, Rome station chief Jeff Castelli, prosecutors plan to challenge the merits of the designation. Meanwhile, the United States has refused to cooperate with the prosecutors of the case, and the Italian government, under U.S. pressure, is not seeking to extradite those convicted. But the European Union issued arrest warrants for the conspirators, which translates into an effective travel ban to Europe.

Elsewhere, as documented by WikiLeaks, the U.S. diplomatic corps under both the Bush and Obama administrations has worked hard to kill foreign investigations into CIA renditions. In Germany, U.S. arm-twisting succeeded in stifling the prosecution of 13 CIA agents involved in the rendition of German citizen Khaled al-Masri from Macedonia to Afghanistan, where he was tortured. In Spain, U.S. diplomats threatened Spanish politicians and political appointees with Uncle Sam's cold shoulder if they failed to prevent prosecutors from investigating allegations of illegal rendition and torture of Spanish citizens, but those cases remain open. Even the family of drone victims in Pakistan have filed suit against the United States for the wrongful deaths of two loved ones. The odds of success may seem nil, but the desire for justice is enormous.

The WikiLeaks revelations may empower foreign governments and judiciaries, with broad popular support, to continue to challenge Washington on its illicit record of kidnapping and torturing foreign nationals. But the United States won't give up the fight easily, whether the continued expansion of the renditions program in the Horn of Africa or the heavy-handed meddling in European jurisprudence.

V. Noah Gimbel is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.