Charges could bring 60-year sentences.
By Leighton Akio Woodhouse, Pedro Armando Aparicio & David Zlutnick
IN THE FALL of 2017, Glenn Greenwald reported on a nationwide FBI manhunt for two pigs named Lily and Lizzie. The pigs had been removed from a factory farm in Utah by animal rights activists from a group called Direct Action Everywhere. From the perspective of the activists, the pigs were rescued. From the perspective of Smithfield Farms, the Chinese-owned multinational corporation that owns the factory farm, they were stolen.
An alarming example of the power of the animal agriculture industry, the confluence of interests between industry and law enforcement, and the appalling treatment of animals in industrial agricultural production.
Direct Action Everywhere, also known as DxE, engages in a practice called “open rescue.” Open rescue involves entering, without authorization, the facilities of animal-based industries, such as farms, slaughterhouses, and puppy mills, documenting the conditions within them, and removing as many animals as possible, usually from among the sick and injured. The activists don’t wear masks and make no effort to conceal their identities; they post the videos on social media for the world to see. By practically inviting prosecution, the activists aim to make a point: that the laws that regard these animals as mere property are wrong and that violating those laws is a moral imperative.
Since Greenwald’s story was published, prosecutors in Utah have charged six DxE activists with multiple felonies, both for the Smithfield action and for a separate open rescue of turkeys at a Utah factory farm owned by Norbest. In Utah, stealing property worth less than $1,500 is generally a misdemeanor. But lawmakers have carved out an exception specifically for the benefit of the animal agriculture industry. If the property in question is an animal “raised for commercial purposes,” then no matter how little economic value that animal may have, the crime is a felony. Because of this exception, DxE activists are potentially facing decades in prison.
Our new documentary tells the rest of the story to date. It’s an alarming example of the power of the animal agriculture industry, the confluence of interests between industry and law enforcement, and the appalling treatment of animals in industrial agricultural production.
Meanwhile, feds & states encourage right wing terrorism…
U.S Law Enforcement Coddling Of Far Right Fascist Gangs & Nazis Places Nation At Risk
[Editor’s Note: This is a stunning piece of reporting on not just the ignoring of fascist organizing and violence but a deadly fostering through neglect. As Timothy Snyder notes in his book “Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century”, when the police and military begin to align with the fascist paramilitaries the game is over. — Mark L. Taylor]
By Janet Reitman
The New York Times (11/3/18)
The first indication to Lt. Dan Stout that law enforcement’s handling of white supremacy was broken came in September 2017, as he was sitting in an emergency-operations center in Gainesville, Fla., preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Irma and watching what felt like his thousandth YouTube video of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va. Jesus Christ, he thought, studying the footage in which crowds of angry men, who had gathered to attend or protest the Unite the Right rally, set upon one another with sticks and flagpole spears and flame throwers and God knows what else. A black man held an aerosol can, igniting the spray, and in retaliation, a white man picked up his gun, pointed it toward the black man and fired it at the ground. The Virginia state troopers, inexplicably, stood by and watched. Stout fixated on this image, wondering what kind of organizational failure had led to the debacle. He had one month to ensure that the same thing didn’t happen in Gainesville.
For two decades, domestic counterterrorism strategy has ignored the rising danger of far-right extremism. In the atmosphere of willful indifference, a virulent movement has grown and metastasized.
Before that August, Stout, a 24-year veteran of the Gainesville police force, had never heard of Richard Spencer and knew next to nothing about his self-declared alt-right movement, or of their “anti-fascist” archnemesis known as Antifa. Then, on the Monday after deadly violence in Charlottesville, in which a protester was killed when a driver plowed his car into the crowd, Stout learned to his horror that Spencer was planning a speech at the University of Florida. He spent weeks frantically trying to get up to speed, scouring far-right and anti-fascist websites and videos, each click driving him further into despair. Aside from the few white nationalists who had been identified by the media or on Twitter, Stout had no clue who most of these people were, and neither, it seemed, did anyone else in law enforcement. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )