The background of this farce includes years of expansion of police power under the rhetoric of combating a "terrorism" which has come to focus, not on Al-Qaeda or abortion clinic bombers, but on scapegoats connected to protests against war, the destruction of the earth and animal life, and other affects of modern capitalist civilization. In particular there has also been a heated campaign over the past few years against experimentation on live animals in the University of California system which has seen sabotage as well as demonstrations against vivisectors. (The state response has already seen federal, local and UC police raid the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley as well as a private residence in Santa Cruz to steal computers and literature, and the FBI forcibly acquiring DNA samples. And if you think these kinds of powers will be used only against anti-vivisection activists, think again.)
But Nathan, Adriana, Maryam and Joseph are not charged with any destructive acts. They are the first people to be charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2007, which basically makes bothering anyone who does anything with animals an act of "terrorism". The lengths to which the U.S government has gone to construct this spectacle are, indeed, spectacular - setting up surveillance cameras in a coffee shop, tracking the legal use of public internet terminals, even DNA testing bandanas while the same government says it doesn’t have the money to help states use DNA testing in death penalty cases, possibly exonerating innocent people on death row! But there is money for DNA testing of activists’ bandanas?!
On the one hand, it is the construction of a bogeyman or public enemy as the justification for expanding police control over every aspect of life. It also recuperates the prestige of police power which has so far been embarrassingly unable to bring any suspects or evidence in the cases of the sabotage and arson - presumably causing some unease to the scientists and administrators of UC as well as their partners in the pharmaceutical industry. It was just time to arrest someone, no matter who - more visible activists are simply the easiest to strike at, regardless of their activities, much like the Haymarket martyrs. The fact that Kinko's as well as local business Cafe Pergolesi cooperated extensively with the police in this case shows how the business of cops and courts goes hand in hand with the business of business as usual. We can expect that as the economic depression continues to provoke dissatisfaction with the social order, we can see a mounting number of "terrorists", animal lovers or no, facing crushing punishments for daring to step out of line in any way. Of course, the mainstream press has heavily implied, along with the police, that these 4 people are "guilty until proven innocent" of the other recent acts against animal research in California.
As far as the UC and its patrons in Big Pharma, the media has parroted their claims as well that experimentation on non-human animals is beneficial and necessary for human health. Unasked is the question, what is making us sick anyway? Is poisoning and dissecting defenceless captives of whatever species really a rational and helpful response when the sources of disease come from the structures of modern society itself, like our food system and the lousy choices it offers, our sedentary and/or overstressed lifestyles, the excesses of western medicine itself (for instance, antibiotic resistant germs), and the profusion of chemicals, radiation and the like throughout our water, air, soil and food? Isn't it possible that - coming to the "other hand" - the cops, the bureaucrats, the scientists, they all know that this is a shameful, horrific, and crazy business, but can't possibly admit such a thing. So the specter of violence and cruelty must be projected instead onto those standing up to the ones actually responsible, in order to assuage their lying guilt.
In any event, we are for total solidarity with the accused.
Green Is The New Red has made several excellent posts lately on the subject of this latest manifestation of the witch hunts.
And here is an UPDATE from indybay.org on support and solidarity with the accused.
Joseph and Maryam's next court date is this Thursday at 9:30am in San Jose. If you are in the area please show your support.
Address: 280 South 1st Street San Jose, CA 95113