Tag Archives: Activism

Palomar Pipeline, Fish Creek Crossing

Last week I went hiking with two friends out along Fish Creek in the Mt. Hood National Forest. I went to go take pictures of the areas that are going to be clearcut for the Palomar Pipeline LNG project. The super-short version of this is: they want to build more fossil fuel infrastructure in Oregon, including hundreds of miles of clearcutting to run pipelines of Liquefied Natural Gas. Well, technically the pipelines are for normal natural gas, but the idea is that it is shipped from overseas in its supercooled state. There are a lot of things wrong with this.

  • Building new fossil fuel infrastructure is ridiculous and generally backwards-thinking.
  • LNG tankers are ungodly explosive.
  • Clearcutting hundreds of miles through sensitive areas sucks, a lot. A long line of clearcut is actually significantly more invasive than the same acreage felled in a square, because it divides wildlife, creates new false edges to the forest, etc. etc.
  • No one actually wants this but gas companies. These terminals were successfully driven out of California, and now Oregon has to deal with it.

Anyhow, Fish Creek is an area that the Forest Service admitted it needed to protect better, and they actually pulled out all the roads in the area so as to let the forest heal. And now? A damned pipeline looms. The bridges you see in these pictures are remants of the old roads… you have to hike miles to get to them. Personally, I’m a sucker for ruins, for abandoned elements of civilization. I actually think they’re prettier than regular, untouched nature. I guess that’s why I’m post-civ, not primitivist.
Continue reading Palomar Pipeline, Fish Creek Crossing

Andrew Joseph Stack

I don’t know everything about this yet. But this morning, a 53 year old white software developer crashed his own plane into the IRS building in a suicidal direct action against the government. What is fascinating is that he wasn’t a libertarian, pro-business type, he was concerned with the greed and destruction of the capitalist system. The news I’ve read implies that two people were hospitalized and one person is missing, though I don’t know if this list includes Andrew Stack.

Before the attack, he uploaded a six-page rant about why he did it. The really short version is that he has been screwed by tax law again and again in his life, in particularly gross ways. I’ve pulled some excerpts below.

Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. … the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

and he ends with this:

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

In a six page impassioned letter, the corporate media (Fox and the BBC (what, you didn’t know the BBC was bullshit too?) sum him up by quoting “violence … is the only answer.”

note: I’m not convinced that violence is the only answer (but notice how easily the government and the public get all in an uproar about violence coming from anyone but police and the government? Yet police and soldiers act with a weird ethical impunity?). I’m actually not convinced that it’s useful at all: the government is really, really good at violence.

france considers some misogynist racism

So France is set to ban the burka. So… in the name of protecting women, they are going to harass and fine women. Yay. First of all, where does a country get off thinking they can ban various forms of dress? And how can anyone, remotely attached to ideas of liberalism or whatever, support this? I mean, I know how liberals can (and do, apparently) support this: they think that they can, by force of law, require women to abandon something that they think is oppressing them.

Now, I’m no fan of Islamic law. Or monotheism in general. But seriously. wtf.

Jeff Luers is out of prison!

From infoshop news:

PORTLAND – Dec 16, 2009 – Jeff “Free” Luers, political prisoner and environmental activist, was released from the Columbia River Correctional Institution this morning after serving nine and half years. Luers was originally sentenced in 2001 to twenty two years and eight months for the politically motivated arson of three SUV’s at a car dealership in Eugene, OR. This sentence was deemed grossly disproportionate to the damage sustained by the car dealership and was condemned by legal professionals, human rights groups and activists worldwide. At an appeal hearing in 2007 it was ruled that Luers’ original sentence was illegal, and was consequently reduced to ten years.

Luers’ release today comes after what Oregon Department of Corrections described as a ‘mistake’ when they released him early on October 20th this year. After a few short hours of freedom, Luers was taken back into custody in Eugene after the State agency reversed its decision and determined that he did not qualify under the new House Bill 3508 for an additional 10% reduction in sentence. DOC’s gross incompetence in this situation, and the emotional toll borne by his family and loved ones, is just one of many examples of the distressing levels of bureaucratic impropriety that Luers has endured during his years behind bars.

Upon his release this morning, Mr. Luers stated:

“The last 9½ years have been difficult at best. I have witnessed things in prison that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have endured hardship and loss. Without a doubt, this experience has changed me. What hasn’t changed is my commitment to environmental and social justice.”

“I would like to thank all the people who have supported me through the years; especially the dedicated few who worked tirelessly to get me out of prison. I look forward to spending time with my loved ones and continuing my education, as well as continuing my activism.”

During his time in prison, seven of which were served in maximum security, Luers has maintained his activism by writing about environmental and social justice issues. In particular, he has continued to bring attention to the specter of human-induced climate change, the cause that motivated Luers to set fire to three SUV’s in 2000. Since his original sentencing, awareness of climate change has become omnipresent. It seems ironic that Luers has been released during the Copenhagen Climate Summit where world leaders are converging around the need for extreme action to be taken on global carbon emissions.

http://www.freejeffluers.org

It’s actually kind of strange to imagine Jeff out of prison. I got involved in anarchism right after he was sentenced. It’s almost like he’s been in prison my entire life or something. As strange as if Leonard Peltier or Mumia Abu-Jamal were suddenly released. But this is an excellent day.

Come Hell or High Water

My friends over at AK Press are now taking pre-orders for a book that’s coming out in January, Come Hell or High Water: A Handbook for Collective Process Gone Awry, which I’ve had the pleasure to read because I designed it (and Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness provided the illustrations, including the cover).

This book is really pertinent to pretty much anyone I know in the activist world. It’s short and sweet but somehow horrifyingly comprehensive, covering pretty much every way in which people, knowingly or unknowingly, attempt to subvert the collective process of decision making. I’m guilty of at least a few of the things brought up in this book, and can see how people, guilty of others, have disempowered me in the past. Crazy, crazy stuff.

There’re some parts in the book I’m not as into, mostly when, near the end, they stray from the topic at hand to get into various injustices that can happen in activist circles. But the authors clearly know their shit, and this book is definitely useful. And small and cheap. I’m pretty stoked that AK Press is going for making cheaper books now, and really relevant ones as well. AK Press has posted their introduction over on their blog as well, if you want to read more about it.

Insult to injury: a judge offends those arrested at the G-20

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an article that covers the repulsive, infuriating behavior of some condescending douchebag of a judge. Over 100 “protesters,” mostly students, went before District Judge Kevin E. Cooper to be scolded and treated like kids are treated by crap parents.

“Nicholas, you appear to be a timid guy. You couldn’t get out of there,” he told Mr. Brooks, 18, who said he had been trying to return to his dorm when police arrested him. “I’m letting you off.”

The whole thing really has to be read to be believed. It’s victim-blaming taken to a grisly and absurd level.

Updates on Professor Calamity and Tortuga House

Friends of Tortuga has a blog now, so you can keep up with what’s happening on the “arrested and raided for twittering” front. Here’s the latest (emphasis mine):

Oh, how the days have flown. Oh, what the days have shown? It is now over two weeks since the raid on Tortuga House, and we are mostly left holding conjecture as to what is going on—the proceedings against us are secretive.

After the injunction (to legally prevent the State from fishing through our belongings) was granted on October 2nd, the court required the government to show probable cause for the search. We anticipated this document and hoped to learn why FBI and NYPD thugs had descended on our house. Instead, we received a document that listed items confiscated from our home during the raid to support the validity of the search warrant that authorized the raid—which included photos taken by the FBI of anarchist stickers, posters, and emergency preparedness items (modeled by a housemate in this YouTube video) we had in the house. The reasoning for such illogic? That the raid is not connected to the arrest of our two housemates in Pittsburgh during the G-20 protests, but rather was spurred by an ongoing federal grand jury investigation—and questions as to the validity of the search can be addressed after any indictments are handed out! Furthermore, the document maintains that the supporting affidavits actually used to authorize the search should remain sealed because “the affidavits here concern an ongoing investigation, and unsealing them would compromise that investigation…[which is] complex and multi-state.”

Our court date on Friday, October 16th, did little to illuminate the matter. Expecting a decision by the judge in regards to the injunction and what was to become of our property, we were instead treated to the comparison of our books (in this case, Anarchy in the Age of Dinosaurs) to baking soda and a chef’s knife. How are these disparate items related, you may ask? As the judge explained, the issue is not the item in itself (baking soda, a knife, a book), but how it’s used—to make crack-cocaine, stab someone, or violate federal rioting laws apparently! The judge also made reference to the pending federal grand jury, ruled that the sealed supporting documents will remain sealed (even though this evidence will be used by the judge in making her decision), and after listening to about two hours of oral arguments, deferred judgment on the injunction until October 26th (but possibly sooner).

So, what we know: There is a pending federal grand jury in the Eastern District Federal Court of New York investigating something—what? We don’t know. We do not know how long it has been going on or if it directly involves us. We do not know what is in the sealed affidavits that are the basis for the search warrants that authorized the raid on our house. We do not know if we will be indicted by this federal grand jury or when. We do not know (although we can guess the answer) if the government will be allowed to search through our things. And so, we give you the condition of the citizen-subject experiencing the thrill of justice under Democracy! We know that we don’t know anything!

Please visit our blog, friendsoftortuga.wordpress.com, for more information and updates. Thank you to everyone who has sent us kind words, financial assistance, and other means of solidarity—it means the world to us.

SteamPunk’s Professor Calamity faces multiple felonies for twittering

Update: Professor Calamity on Democracy Now

SteamPunk Magazine author (and, honestly, the inspiration for SteamPunk Magazine) Professor Calamity is facing two felonies for allegedly running a twitter account. He has been accused of running a twitter feed of police movements during the Pittsburgh G-20 protests, protests for which the police are already being sued.

To add insult to felony charges, they raided his house in NYC for 16 hours, confiscating everything from hammers to computers to SteamPunk Magazine. Their lawyer has already convinced a judge to put a stop on the police searching of their personal possessions, because the raid is absolutely insane.

Okay, Steampunk, here’s your chance to prove you’re a community. Professor Calamity is one of our founding thinkers. Even if he wasn’t, he’s one of us, and he’s facing absolutely batshit bullshit charges and ought to be supported. I’m asking that we make this news, because it ought to be news. This is insane. Below is a report from one of the people who was present during the house raid in Queens:

On October 1st, 2009, at 6:00am, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (a union of local police departments and the FBI), kicked out the front door to our home—an anarchist collective house in Queens, NY, affectionately known as Tortuga. The first crashes of the battering ram were quickly followed by more upstairs, as the police broke in on 3 sleeping people, destroying bedroom doors that were unlocked.

Three more people, awoken by the most unpleasant means of bounding footsteps, splintering wood, and shouting voices, waited in the basement—their turn at drawn guns and blinding lights came quickly.

We put our hands out where they could see them. They ordered us out of bed. They wouldn’t let us dress, but they did put a random assortment of clothes on some people. We were handcuffed, and although the upstairs and downstairs groups were kept separate initially, we were soon all together, sitting in the living room, positioned like dolls on the couches and chairs. We were in handcuffs for several hours, and we were helpless as our little bird, a Finch we had rescued and were rehabilitating, flew out the open door to certain death, after his cage had been battered by the cops in their zeal to open the upstairs bedroom doors by force. We shouted at them, but they stood there and watched.

And they stood and watched us for hours and hours and hours. 16 hours to be precise, 16 hours of the NYPD and FBI traipsing through our house, confiscating our lives in a fishing expedition related to the G20 protests of September 24th and 25th. The search warrant, when we were finally allowed to read it, mentioned violation of federal rioting laws and was vague enough to allow the entire house to be searched. They kept repeating that we were not arrested, that we were free to go. But being free meant being watched by the FBI, monitored while using the bathroom, not allowed to make phone calls for hours or to observe them ransacking our rooms. Being free meant they took two of us away on bullshit summonses, and even though this was our house, where we lived, if we left, we could not re-enter.

Three of us stayed to the bitter end. Three of us stayed to watch the hazmat team come in to investigate a child’s chemistry set, to see them search the garage on an additional warrant, to sign vouchers for all the things they confiscated as “evidence”—Curious George plush toys, artwork, correspondence with political prisoner Daniel McGowan, birth certificates, passports, the entire video archive of a local media collective, tax records, books, computers, storage devices, cell phones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs, flags, banners, posters, photographs and more than can be recounted here.

The apparent impetus for this raid came over a week ago, when two members of our household were arrested, once again at gunpoint, in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. They are accused of being devious masterminds, of “directing” the rollicking G-20 protests, of using technology such as Twitter to “hinder apprehension” of protesters. The two were held on bail, one fetching the ridiculous amount of $30,000 cash, and released 36 hours later after the bond was posted. As of this moment, no additional charges have been levied against the two, nor against any other housemates in the aftermath of the raid.

As anarchists, we are under no illusions about what the State is capable of. We are not the first anarchists to have our house raided, and unfortunately as long as the State remains, we will not be the last. We are, along with other targeted individuals like David Japenga, the outlets for the impotent rage the authorities feel when they lose control, as they did during the G-20 in Pittsburgh. We, that beautiful we, that include Tortuga House and all who find affinity with us, refuse the rigid forms the authorities try and cram a world bursting with infinite possibilities into—He is not a leader, she did not act alone, they are not being directed. Repression is a strategy that the state uses to put us on the defensive, to divert our energies from being a proactive force and instead deal with the terms it has set. We will not lie and say this has not left us reeling, but as time and our dizziness pass, we know that friends surround us. Our resolve is strengthened by this solidarity, and we will not be deterred by this state aggression.

We wish to thank all of our friends and comrades who have stood by us in these difficult few days. Our lawyer filed an injunction on the raid the next morning (October 2nd) that was surprisingly granted- it forbids the authorities from fishing through our belongings until we head back to court on the 16th. In the weeks and months to come we will do our best to share developments as they occur. If you want to keep in touch or find out how you can help please email us at: tortugadefense@gmail.com.

Police State in Pittsburgh

Last night was… was something. Nobody rioted but the police, but they had a field day, with thousands of officers firing all sorts of weapons and setting up concentric rings of riot police, ordering dispersal but, by and by, not allowing it. All on a college campus, where thousands of students live… there was no attempt made to distinguish protesters from non-protesters, either. The irony? The whole thing happened at an anti-police-brutality rally that some students had organized. Note that some of the footage in the video above is actually from the day before yesterday, including the military-fatigued fellows throwing a person into an unmarked car.
In answer to the question posed by the video, “Does this look like America to you?” I have gotta say “yes.” This isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed this sort of crap, and it certainly isn’t the first time it’s happened in America. Cops are people too… that’s the problem. When you empower a group of people with absolute power (as police have in America), they will get emotional. In this case, they got, well… I think they were seeking revenge, or a reassertion of power, after how successful the protests of the past few days had been.