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On February 17th, while 350.org and the Sierra Club led the largest climate rally in history in Washington, DC, their Bay Area chapters held a West Coast solidarity rally. In San Francisco 5,000 surrounded the US Department of State building at 1 Market street, then marched to a rally at Bradley Manning Plaza.
Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said the Tribe strongly opposes the tentative approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration. “The Winnemem Wintu object to GE production, as it would certainly impact our obligation to salmon and would change the traditional responsibility to salmon and our relationship that exists for thousands of years," Sisk said.
The first-ever lawsuit against an animal research lab under California's cruelty and unfair competition laws was filed in early January in a complaint with the California Superior Court of Santa Cruz County against Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., for violating state animal cruelty and unfair competition laws by failing to properly care for their animals according to numerous Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspections.
Attorney David E. Mastagni of the Sacramento law firm Mastagni, Holstedt, Amick, Miller & Johnsen has demanded that the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay) remove a post by Vallejo Copwatch. It is unclear on whose behalf the overly broad demand was made as it requests that Indybay "remove any and all information pertaining to public safety officers employed by the City of Vallejo." The specific Vallejo Copwatch post listed in the demand letter, though, identifies Vallejo police officer Dustin B. Joseph as the killer of Mario Romero on September 2nd of this year. The Indybay Collective has no intention of removing the post.
"The spectre of state repression has been growing over Bay Area radical milieus. Grand juries in the Pacific Northwest and in Santa Cruz, threats by police of using gang enhancements against activists, the recent string of mass arrests, the profusion of political divisions and threats, abundant conspiracy theories, surveillance of our social spaces, FOIA paperwork that references a confidential informer--The list goes on and on and on.
"Murmurs of imminent repression can be heard everywhere. Even though everything we hear cannot be entirely proven or disproven, recent events underscore the importance of preparing for a possible crackdown. The state seeks to isolate us with repression, as individuals and within our tendencies. Against that, we can prepare together, support each other and continue actively struggling against the oppression and misery of this world.
"Repression always exists and now is the time to take security very seriously. Without knowing the exact form repression will take, there are some likely scenarios to prepare for, as well as some precautions that can be taken to reduce the ability of the feds and police agencies to monitor, divide and prosecute our networks."
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Around 500 peaceful but rowdy protesters came out on September 17th in San Francisco to mark the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. The protest began with several separate actions around the Financial District, which coalesced in a rally in front of the Bank of America building. The protesters then marched to Wells Fargo corporate headquarters, filling more than two blocks with signs and banners, accompanied by the Brass Liberation Orchestra. Separately, similar anniversary events at Wall Street in New York City were met with a heavy police police presence followed by over 200 arrests.
Valerie Leveroni Corral writes:
"10 years ago at the break of dawn, awakened by the stomp of heavy booted agents, WAMM was raided by 30 DEA agents. Mike and I were taken into custody; chainsaw wielding agents cut the entire garden down, WAMM members blocked the gate, locking agents behind, and WAMM members and supporters bargaining for our release. What followed changed the course of medical marijuana, circumventing the government’s strategy to eliminate patient service organizations, legal under California state law. Santa Cruz City and County enjoined WAMM members in a lawsuit that resulted in a settlement, allowing WAMM to continue our service as the only collective sanctioned by the federal government."
The 2012 Republican National Convention was held in Tampa, Florida from August
28th through 30th. The entirety of downtown Tampa was within the RNC security zone. There were demonstrations, rallies, and marches happening throughout the week. Beforehand, hysterical corporate media reports — fed by releases from law enforcement authorities — warned of threats from "outlaws and anarchists." Local officials wrote a new-anti protest law, set up security cameras throughout the city, and set aside 1,700 beds at the local jail to handle "troublemakers", but the largest protest was only 1000 people strong and Tampa itself was largely a police state ghost town. There were just two arrests, both under the new city law. Indybay has reports, photos, and video from throughout, with more still coming in.
On August 16th, six veterans and activists in Oakland, CA, and six more in Portland, OR, were arrested at Obama campaign offices for occupying the spaces in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning. Dozens of veterans and anti-war demonstrators coordinated a West Coast set of actions that also included protests in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Seattle.
On July 25th, multiple homes were raided and grand jury subpoenas issued in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. Three homes were raided in Portland, by approximately 60-80 police, including FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force. Individuals at the homes say police used flash grenades during the raid. Grand jury subpoenas have been served to individuals in all three cities: two in Olympia, one in Seattle, and two in Portland. The grand jury is scheduled to convene on August 2nd at the federal courthouse in Seattle. No arrests have been made. In the Bay Area, solidarity actions have included banner drops and the vandalism of police cars and stations.
On July 20th, George Cadman interviewed Medea Benjamin about her new book "Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control," which is "a comprehensive look at the growing menace of robotic warfare, with an extensive analysis of who is producing the drones, where they are being used, who 'pilots' these unmanned planes, who the victims are and what some of the legal and moral implications are." Benjamin's book also looks at what activists, lawyers and scientists are doing to ground the drones, and ways to move forward. Medea Benjamin spoke at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Monday, July 23th.
Occupy Fresno held a press conference on June 8th to discuss the settlement of its suit against Fresno County. It upholds the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Fresno County will remove restrictive ordinances limiting the circulation of flyers, carrying of signs, and holding small gatherings in Courthouse Park. Those arrested will not face criminal charges. June 9th
is the eight month anniversary at Fresno County Courthouse Park — the only known Occupy in the movement that has maintained a continuous 24-hour presence in its original location.
In a courtroom packed full of supporters at the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland, California, all twelve defendants, known as both the "Davis Dozen" and the "Banker's Dozen", pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on May 10th. They also rejected a plea deal offered by the Assistant District, calling the charges against them "a sham." On Friday, June 1st, the Davis Dozen returned to the Yolo County Courthouse for a pre-trial conference. A June 1st pre-trial conference was brief, and a date was set for another pre-trial conference to file motions on Friday, June 22nd
The Winnemem Wintu Tribe will hold a four-day War Dance (H’up Chonas in Winnemem) May 24-27
at the McCloud River site where they hold their Coming of Age ceremonies. The War Dance signifies the tribe’s spiritual commitment to defend at all costs the ceremony from heckling, flashing, and violating disruptions by recreational boaters that have occurred in previous years. More than 400 volunteers from throughout the country, native and non-native, are expected to converge upon the sacred sites to help the tribe close the river and protect the War Dance from interference by boaters.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a brief as amicus curiae, on May 3rd, in support of Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy’s motion to dismiss, pursuant to Penal Code section 995, pending before the Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Cruz. In the brief, ACLU of Northern California concludes, "The prosecution’s theories of liability for conspiracy to trespass and aiding and abetting trespass seek to punish Allen and Darocy for activity they engaged in that is protected by the First Amendment and the liberty of speech clause of the California Constitution."
Occupy Wall Street in New York called for a nationwide May Day General Strike. Cities and towns across the United States are heeding the call. Workers will be striking, students will be leaving classes, and banks and other large corporations will be forced to close for the day across the nation. May 1st
, 2012, promises to be the largest American May Day since the Immigrant Rights May Day in 2006 and probably the most widespread and furthest reaching in decades.
On April 22nd, Patricia Jackson wrote:
"If you rambled down to Civic Center Sunday, you might have thought the crowd and the booths could just be another average day event. Then you saw a Whiskey Dome Cycle, a seal made out of all that garbage that gets thrown in the ocean, and the Luvevolution Bus. There was Green Peace and Earth Island Institute — and that was your clue. Earth Day San Francisco, 2012."
On April 18th, U.S. Federal authorities removed a server from a colocation facility shared by Riseup Networks and May First/People Link in New York City. The seized server was operated by the European Counter Network (“ECN”), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, who, among many other things, provided an anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, that was the target of an FBI investigation into a series of bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh.
Congress is currently considering HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill that purports to protect the United States from “cyber threats”. This legislation would create a gaping loophole in all existing privacy laws. If CISPA, as the bill is called, passes, companies could vacuum up huge swaths of data on everyday internet users and share it with government agencies without a court order. Internet privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Free Press say that CISPA uses dangerously vague language to define the breadth of data that can be shared with the government.
The Long Haul and East Bay Prisoner Support have settled their lawsuits over an armed, over-broad police raid after the law enforcement agencies agreed to delete improperly seized computer data and pay $100,000 in damages and attorney's fees. Moreover, the University of California-Berkeley Police Department (UCBPD) acknowledged that at the time of the raid one of the groups qualified for federal protections designed to protect journalists, publishers, and other distributors of information from police searches, despite the police's persistent denial of that status throughout the lawsuit.
On April 2nd, law enforcement agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service raided the businesses and home of licensed medical cannabis provider and activist Richard Lee in Oakland. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) put out a call for patients and advocates to go to Oaksterdam University in downtown Oakland to protest the raids and support the victims. At least two people were arrested in the street while the raid continued. Richard Lee called the raid a "senseless act of intimidation."
The legendary poet, essayist and feminist Adrienne Rich died on March 27, 2012, at the age of 82 in her Santa Cruz, California home. Rich was one of the most celebrated poets of the last half-century and a lifelong advocate for women, gay and lesbian rights, peace and racial justice. She was a key figure in the women’s movement and an uncompromising critic of the powerful.
On February 26th, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by self-styled vigilante George Zimmerman in Sandford, Florida. Sanford police did not arrest Zimmerman for killing the unarmed teenager, nor even take physical evidence such as Zimmerman's clothing or the handgun he used that night. Police allowed Zimmerman to walk away without charges under the protection of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Rallies and marches have been held across the country for Trayvon, including at least three thus far in San Francisco and Oakland.
12PM Sunday Jun 23
Kona Half Marathon