An article from Do or Die Issue 5. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 111-112.
Long-term anti-M11ers Jim Chambers (PV 2504) and Stuart Edwards (PB 1864) have both been convicted of £50,000 of Criminal Damage to machinery on the London North Circular road. They have both been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Jim has been in prison on remand for nearly 6 months, he is due out sometime this Autumn. Stuart however has been on bail, so he faces 8 months behind bars. A movement should be judged by how it supports its prisoners. They were not expecting to get so long and they really need our support. They are both at: HMP Pentonville, Caledonian road, London, N7 8TT.
The first mate of the Whales Forever last summer was a Norwegian Naval Officer. Bjorn Ursford, 27, deserted from the Norwegian navy because he refused to protect Norwegian pirate whalers. He requested political asylum in Australia and from there he wrote to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to volunteer for their crew.
Bjorn joined Sea Shepherd in the Netherlands on June 1st, 1994. He soon proved invaluable, drilling the crew on fire-fighting and lifeboat safety, and utilising his knowledge of Norwegian Naval vessels to Sea Shepherd’s advantage, as well as monitoring Norwegian radio transmissions and giving interviews to the Norwegian media, who were fascinated by his story.
Bjorn graduated from the Befal school for the Navy (Befalskolen) in 1987, and afterwards served for one year on one of the Navy’s ships. “That education the military gave me is very useful in the fight against whaling. My expertise in naval warfare came from what I learned in the Norwegian Navy.” said Bjorn. The spokesperson for the Norwegian defence department chiefs, Brigadier-General Erik Janke, admitted that they knew he was aboard the Sea Shepherd boat Whales Forever, and furthermore they found it “very disappointing when a person uses their military education against the authorities”.
Bjorn also played a large part in seeing that the Whales Forever returned to the Shetlands. This, the other vital contributions he made to Sea Shepherd’s summer 1994 campaign, and the acute embarrassment he caused the Norwegian government, doubtless explains why, only four days after Sea Shepherd arrived at Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, Special Branch flew two officers from Edinburgh to arrest Bjorn at the request of the British government.
No charges were read and no explanations were given. The arrest was surprising considering that Norway is not a part of the European Economic Union. (Although it should be noted, Norway is currently deliberating over whether to join - which may explain our wonderful government’s actions - Norway must be kept sweet.) Bjorn was flown directly back to Edinburgh and jailed for a month to await an extradition hearing request by the Norwegian government. The hearing, held on August 17th, ordered Bjorn’s extradition to Norway.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is keeping track of Bjorn’s treatment in Norway and in providing him with assistance for his needs. Letters of support for Bjorn may be addressed to the offices of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Write to: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, 3107A Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA. 90292, USA
Telephone: (310) 301-7325
Fax: (310) 574-3161
After nearly two years of chasing their tails, federal agents captured Earth First! and Animal Liberation Front activist Rod Coronado on Wednesday September 28, on the Pascua Yaqui Indian reservation in southern Arizona. Press reports state that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) agents traced him to his ancestral homeland through an anonymous tip. But even though an ongoing series of federal Grand Juries around the country have been used to search for him, his capture does not mean that subpoenaed activists or others who might be subpoenaed are safe. The purpose of the Grand Juries continues to be harassing and jailing activists, even if their ostensible reason until now was looking for Rod. Rod was being held in a federal prison in Tucson on five felony counts stemming from a Grand Jury investigation of a fire at a Michigan State University mink research facility. The fire caused $200,000 in damages and wiped out the research of scientists who were feeding deadly dioxins to the captive minks.
Rod was denied bail twice, first in early October and again at an appeal on October 20, finally he was granted bail but he is electronically tagged so the state knows his whereabouts. The Michigan Grand Jury indicted Rod on charges of arson of property affecting interstate commerce, travelling interstate to commit an act of violence, extortion, use of fire to commit a felony and possession of stolen property. If convicted of all the charges, he could have faced 50 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. Rod accepted a plea bargain where he admitted aiding and abetting a number of arsons, in exchange the authorities agreed not to question him on any other ALF activities others he knew might have been involved in. He faces between 41-51 months in prison.
“The publicity here in Tucson has all the other inmates oohing and ahhing at this skinny Indian, and all the big tough tattooed guys give me cigarettes and coffee,” Rod says. “They say I should have just killed someone and I wouldn’t be in so much trouble.”
What’s the best way to get an animal liberationist out of the house when you don’t have a search warrant? Rod was called to the tribe’s fire department to help an injured hawk. Once he walked into the building, four BATF agents tackled him.
“So ended my life as Martin Rubio, Youth Coordinator, Yoeme Nation Youth Junta,” he said in a prepared statement released through his attorneys. He spent the last year as a volunteer at the reservation in ‘Apartheid Arizona’ organizing youth retreats under the tutelage of Yaqui spiritual leader Enselmo Valencia and acting as mentor to at-risk young people on the reservation, showing them alternatives to alcoholism and gangs.
During his time on the reservation, Rod rediscovered his roots, joining the tribe’s warrior society, Wikoi Yau ura, the Bow Leaders, and pledging himself to protect the Yaqui people, land, and culture.
“I want to personally thank the FBI and ATF for helping me find my way home”, he said in his statement. “Without their guidance I might never have come home.” Rod disappeared two years ago because he feared for his life, according to a statement he released in December, 1992.
“It is my understanding that if I was to continue my defense of Native American wildlife and lands, that I would be murdered by the FBI or people within the fur industry,” the statement read. “The FBI, while questioning David Howitt in June 1992, acknowledged a threat against my life. In May 1992, when the FBI and BATF raided my mountain home in southern Oregon, the presence of automatic weaponry is a testament of the US government’s willingness to use deadly force to squash my representation of Native American wildlife, and those who defend them.” [ed. - See DoD 2 for a full article from Rod Coronado written whilst on the run.]
Send letters c/o Rodney Coronado Support Committee, 2350 Barryessa Rd, #820, Sin Jose, CA 95132, USA
In July of 1992, Chicago activist Lise Olsen hung 21 home-made lanterns near a railroad trestle to illuminate a 30-foot red, white and blue “Freedom” banner that she had hung over a pro-fur billboard. Four months later, she was arrested for attempted arson, and released on a $20,000 bond. Despite a military explosives consultant’s testimony that the lanterns were candles, not incendiaries, Lise was convicted of five charges relating to “possession of incendiary devices” in July 1994; in August she was sentenced to four years imprisonment and a $1000 fine. Lise was transferred from Cook County Jail to Dwight after her sentencing. Despite court orders in her favour, Lise has been denied a vegetarian diet and her health is deteriorating. She is now classified as minimum security and as eligible for work release. The prison authorities however are refusing to let her out. Write to Lise Olsen B48426, POB 5001, Dwight, IL, 60420, USA
DoD covers only a fraction of those imprisoned for their involvement in our movements. Sadly to list them all would take this whole magazine. Due to the constant changes in those imprisoned for Animal Liberation we have not listed those in the UK. A full ALF prisoner list, as well as a more extensive list of imprisoned eco-defenders is available from Earth Liberation Prisoners, c/o Mid Somerset EF! - their address is at the back of this issue. Many others are rotting in prison and we owe them our support. The most comprehensive list is available from the Anarchist Black Cross, c/o 121 Railton Road, Brixton, London. It is also worth contacting Justice? Legal Defence for info on CJA prisoners. Their address is at the back.