All posts by Slingshot collective

The Feds can’t imprison our spirits

Federal agents carried out raids in Oregon, Arizona, Virginia and New York Dec. 7 during which they arrested six activists on charges that they were involved in a number of arson attacks blamed on the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Daniel McGowan, Sarah Harvey, Chelsea Gerlach, Kevin Tubbs, Stanislas Meyerhoff and William Rodgers were arrested. The Catalyst Infoshop in Prescott, Arizona where Rodgers lived was thoroughly searched. The arrests were apparently part of a nine year federal investigation and it is possible that more arrests will be made. Most of those arrested are being charged with multiple felonies and could face life in prison if convicted.

Support groups for those arrested have asked the alternative media to be very careful about what we write regarding these cases. In an Orwellian twist on “innocent until proven guilty,” the government has been using media reports about the arrests to smear those arrested. We have every reason to assume that all those arrested are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, and that they will eventually be found innocent and released.

We also have every reason to believe that people everywhere will continue to resist industries and institutions that destroy the earth. Finally, we have every reason to believe that the government will do everything it can to frighten the environmental movement by infiltrating our circles, recording our conversations, and framing-up innocent activists. We won’t be scared and we won’t stop our activism. Many of us know some of the folks who have been arrested and our hearts reach out to them through the prison bars. Stay strong.

Events have moved quickly since the arrests. On December 21, Rodgers, 40, allegedly committed suicide in his jail cell with a plastic bag. (See obituary, page 6.) His supposed suicide came on the heels of the release of an affidavit from a federal agent in mid-December. The affidavit revealed that a cooperating government witness (snitch), believed to be Jacob “jake the snake” Ferguson, had worked closely with the government. Ferguson allegedly taped numerous conversations with a number of the arrestees. Also in mid-December, arrestee Meyerhoff was reported to be cooperating with the police by accusing his co-defendants of involvement in some of the alleged crimes in order to save himself. There are unconfirmed reports that another one of the arrestees may also be cooperating with the police.

Currently McGowan, 31, Gerlach, 28, and Tubbs, 36, are being held in Oregon and are seeking support.

Court papers filed in connection with bail hearings included a 25 page affidavit from FBI special agent John L. Ferreira who has apparently worked on the investigation for years. The text of the affidavit is available and makes very interesting reading for those interested in FBI investigative practices.

The document describes a detailed, 3 day long debriefing by an un-named cooperating witness (CW), believed to be Ferguson, describing the CW’s involvement in a number of arsons claimed by the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front. The document also describes how the CW wore a body recording device to secretly tape conversations with McGowan, Tubbs, Meyerhoff and Rodgers during numerous encounters over a one year period.

Gerlach’s public Defense attorney Craig Weinerman has attacked the credibility of the cooperating witness (Ferguson) since by his own admission he was involved in a number of the arsons, actually setting the fires in a number of instances. Photographs of a tattooed and pierced Ferguson show how he could pass easily through activist circles. The affidavit names a number of other individuals implicated by Ferguson who have not yet been arrested. Ferguson was reported addicted to heroin over the past several years. The arrestees are charged with involvement in a number of ALF/ELF actions (not all arrestees are charged in all of the following) : • A June 21, 1998, arson at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Services facility in Olympia, Washington. • An attack on a Bonneville Power Administration transmission tower near Bend, Oregon on December 31, 1999. • A January 2, 2001 fire at the Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale, Oregon • A May 21, 2001 fire at the Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie, Oregon. • A Dec. 27, 1998, fire at U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Oregon. • A May 9, 1999 fire at the Childers Meat Co. plant in Eugene, Oregon. • A March 30, 2001, arson at Romania Chevrolet in Eugene which destroyed 35 vehicles.

In addition, media reports and court papers have indicated that the government seeks to charge some of the arrestees with involvement in an October, 1998 arson attack which did a reported $12 million in damage to a ski-resort in Vail, Colorado that threatened lynx habitat — one of the most destructive ALF/ELF actions.

Daniel, Chelsea and Kevin deny any involvement in any of these actions and so far it appears that there is no physical evidence connecting any of them to any crime. The arrests — and especially revelations about FBI informants and secretly recorded conversations — have spread fear in some activist communities, which may be precisely what the government wants. For many, the arrests underline the gravity of what we are struggling for and the lengths the government will go to protect corporate destruction of the earth. Any ALF/ELF actions against corporate property pale in comparison to the daily massive corporate attacks on the planet, its plants and animals, and ultimately its human inhabitants.

In the post 9-11 climate, it may be difficult for the arrestees to get a fair trial given sensational media coverage and government attempts to paint ALF/ELF actions as “terrorism.” In fact, no one was injured in any of the actions listed above. Despite the “property destruction only” nature of ALF/ELF tactics, John Lewis, the FBI’s deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, told a Senate committee in 2004 that environmental and animal-rights activists are the nation’s top domestic-terrorism threat.

Support information:

Daniel, Chelsea and Kevin need our support! You can send them letters of encouragement and/or contact their support groups. If you send a letter, keep in mind that all mail is read by prison officials. Do not use any nicknames or include any incriminating information. (See more tips, below.)

• Kevin Tubbs: Kevin Tubbs #1213751, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401; Write to PO BOX 3025, Eugene, OR 97403, supportkevintubbs.org, supportkevintubbs@gmail.com.

• Daniel McGowan, # 1407167, Lane County Jail, 101 West 5th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401, FriendsOfDanielMcG@yahoo.com.

• Chelsea Gerlach #1308678, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401, freechelseagerlach@hotmail.com

Tips for writing to prisoners:

* Use only black/blue ink or type on plain white paper

* Use a white envelope. Avoid: tape, stickers, or markings beyond addresses

* DON’T USE NICKNAMES

* Don’t discuss people’s pending cases.

* Even if you are a lawyer, don’t discuss legal information or offer legal advice.

Slingshot Issue #89

Slingshot is an independent, radical, quarterly newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.

Welcome to issue #89, still running! We apologize to all our readers for our delayed publication.We planned to have an issue in December but after the deadline, the collective felt that we did not have enough good articles to spend the time, money and energy required to create the paper. Sooo, thanks for waiting! Here we are with more information about the crazy world out there, spending a rainy weekend using our hands and brains to lay out this paper.

In agonizing about the poor selection of articles a month ago, it became clear that the context surrounding radical publishing is changing in an internet dominated world. Ten years ago, if a non-mainstream voice wanted to be heard, they had to make a zine and then make as many copies as money or copy-scams would allow. Or, one could mail it to Fifth Estate, the Earth First! Journal or Slingshot. Nowadays, anyone with an opinion can make a blog or post to a website in a few minutes. Thus, when the Slingshot collective asks around to get some articles, a lot less people are willing to put in the energy because they’ve already satisfied their need to write.

We think the development of the internet and the way it democratizes information is great. BUT, publishing stuff on paper is still important. The collective process and editing — less common with the internet — often improve ideas and information. Plus, a publication on paper permits distribution to people who might not otherwise be looking at radical blogs or websites. In an internet dominated world, strongly opinionated people increasingly spend time talking to themselves and other people who already agree, rather than reaching out to new communities and individuals. We hope talented writers with smart politics and good organization skills will save a little bit of their writing energy for us and other paper-based media. Nuf said.

What else to write? Ohhhh yeahhhh!!! Guess whattt!!! Slingshot is having its 18th B-day on March 9 . . . that meannnnnnnsss . . . we are old enough to have sex and watch tons of porn and smoke millions of cigarettes but instead, we ain’t doing that ‘cuz we are here making the paper.

Slingshot is always looking to promote growth, change, and dialogue out in this big world and we are always on the lookout for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors and independent thinkers to help us make this paper. If you send something written, please be open to editorial changes. We hope to resume translating some articles into Spanish next issue.

Editorial decisions are made by the Slingshot collective, but not all the articles reflect the opinions of all collective members. We welcome debate, constructive criticism and discussion.

Thanks to the people who worked on this: Artnoose, Heafty Lefty, Cara, Eggplant, Gregg, Glenn, Maneli, MisTakE, Molly and PB.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on February 19th at 5 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below).

Article Deadline and Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 90 by March 25, 2006 at 3 p.m. We expect the next issue out in April 9th .

Volume 1, Number 89, Circulation 14,000

Printed January 19th, 2006

Slingshot Newspaper

Sponsored by Long Haul

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705

Phone: (510) 540-0751

slingshot@tao.ca • www.slingshot.tao.ca

Back issue Project

We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues for the cost of postage: send us $2 for 2 lbs or $3 for 4 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library. Or drop by our office. Send cash or check to Slingshot to: Slingshot 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705.

Circulation Information

Slingshot is free in the Bay Area and is available at Long Haul and Bound Together Books (SF), plus lots of other places. Contact us or come by if you want to distribute Slingshot for free in the Bay Area.

Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income and anyone in the USA who owns a Slingshot organizer, or cost $1 per issue. International is $2.50 per issue. Back issues are also available for the cost of postage. National free distribution program: Outside of the Bay Area, we’ll mail a stack of free copies of Slingshot to distributors, infoshops, bookstores and random friendly individuals for FREE in the US if they give ‘em out for free.

Organizer update

Thanks to everyone who bought a 2006 Slingshot organizer — selling the organizer pays for us to publish this paper. We still have some organizers available — see the end of this for information on purchasing one. Please note: we are currently out of the spiral bound size but we may get some returns. If you are a bookstore and you have extra spiral size, please return them now so we can re-distribute them to the many people who have been asking for one.

Folks with a spiral bound organizer may have noticed a minor binding problem – 16 pages at the end of the book (starting with “Heroin overdose prevention” and ending with “Apocalypse Now”) are out of order! You can fix the problem Do It Yourself style in about 2 minutes, and at the same time laminate your cover so the whole thing doesn’t fall apart so easily.

Use a small pair of pliers (needle nose work great) to unbend the crimped end of the spiral wire, then spiral the wire out of the book. Then, reorganize the pages that are out of order so they make sense. The correct order of the pages on the right side of the book should be: (1) Booklist (2) Herbs and natural healing (3) Foot reflexology (4) How to tell if you are ovulating (5) Heroin/downer overdose prevention (6) page 2 of the police feature (starts with small text “to tell them anything other than your name and address”) (7) Radical contact list (8) Midwest USA (9) continuation of Canada section (starts with “The sprout (Veg restaurant)”.

While you have the whole thing apart, you can protect your cover by laminating it at a copy store or by covering it with clear packing tape or clear contact paper. Use a sharpened pencil or nail to poke holes through the plastic. Then, spiral the wire back into the book and re-crimp the wire.

We also recommend covering the covers on the small pocket organizers with clear packing tape or contact paper to protect them.

We’ll be working on the 2007 Organizer starting in June and going to print in August – let us know if you want to work on it with us. Send us your suggestions, contacts for the contact lists, and art. Please note: we now have about 10-20 historical dates per day, so not all dates can go in each year’s organizer — we try to print different dates each year.

Ordering Information:

Contact us if you want to order 20 or more copies (10 small plus 10 spiral equals 20). 20 pocket organizer is just $60 with fee shipping: Slingshot Collective: 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705 • 510 540-0751 ex. 3, http://slingshot.tao.ca, slingshot@tao.ca.

If you want to order less than 20 copies, please visit your local infoshop or independent bookstore or try one of the following mail order distros:

•Whoop! Distro PO Box 3885, Berkeley, CA 94703 www.whoopdistro.org

•Microcosm 5307 N. Minnesota Ave, Portland, OR 97217 503 249-3826 www.microcosmpublishing.com

•AK Press 674 A 23rd Street Oakland, CA 94612, 510 208 -1700 www.akpress.org

•Last Gasp 777 Florida, San Francisco, CA 94110 800 848-4277 www.lastgasp.com

Calendar

February

February 9-12 • noon

United Students Against Sweatshops annual conference. San Francisco Pre-register. (202) 667-9328 www.studentsagainstsweatshops.org

February 15-20

Earth First! Organizers’ Conference/Winter Rendezvous. Palm Beach County, South Florida, Everglades Youth Camp at the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. See pg. 7.

February 19 • 5 p.m.

Slingshot new volunteer meeting – help brainstorm for issue #90 – 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley

February 26 • 7:30 p.m.

Dinner / benefit for The Match, long-running anarchist zine. Donation. 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley

February 28

Mardi Gras in New Orleans and in Berkeley. In Berkeley, link up with the parade at People’s Park at 2 p.m.

March

March 5 • Sunday • 7:30 p.m.

Dinner / benefit for Anarchy: a Journal of Desire Armed Donation. 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley

March 10 • 8 p.m.

Celebrate Slingshot Collective’s 18th birthday. Party, dancing, vegan chocolate cake after East Bay Critical Mass bike ride. Free. 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley

March 18 • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

11th Annual San Francisco Anarchist Bookfaire! County Fair Building, 9th and Lincoln in Golden Gate Park. Speakers, tables, kid space, valet bike parking. Free.

March 18

Global protests to Stop the War in Iraq on the anniversary of the invasion scheduled in numerous cities. In SF, gather at 11 a.m. at Civic Center. Sponsored by ANSWER. www.answercoalition.org

March 19 • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Bay Area Anarchist Conference sponsored by Bay Area Students Toward Anarchist Research and Development (BASTARD). www.sfbay-anarchists.org

March 20

Youth & student day of resistance to imperialism – walk out, sit-in, conduct an event – www.answercoalition.org

March 25 • 3 p.m.

Deadline for Slingshot #90. 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley

April

April 13-15

International Anarchist Academics and Activists Conference – culture jamming, music, film, art, discussions and demonstrations. Pitzer College, Claremont, Calif (near LA).

April 20 • 4:20 p.m.

Light one up! In Berkeley @ People’s Park.

April 23 • 11 – 5 p.m.

Celebrate the 37th anniversary of People’s Park in Berkeley – music & fun!

May

May 1

May Day – celebration and protests around the globe.

June

June 2-4

Midwest Anarchist Conference – Kansas City Tentative. More info TBA.

June 23-25

8th annual Allied Media Conference – Bowling Green, Ohio – alliedmediaconference.com.

June 23-27

Anarchist Librarians events at the annual meeting of the American Library Association – New Orleans