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3 Forest Activists have been charged with felonies in Sac and need your help

<img src=" http://portland.indymedia.org/icon/2003/06/267010.jpg
" align="right" class="imageright">Sacramento Anti-GE protests: 3 Forest Activists have been charged with felonies and need your help after a Lockdown at UC-Davis Life Sciences building to bring attention to Genetically Engineered Tree Research!!

During the Sacramento Ministerial protests on June 24, 2003, three comrades locked down inside the Life Sciences Building on the University of California-Davis campus where research on genetically engineered trees takes place. They have been taken into custody and are being charged with Felony Conspiracy, Failure to Disperse, Resisting Arrest, and Disturbing the Peace. All 3 have refused to give their names and are being held on $10,000 bail each at the Yolo County Jail. They are desperately in need of financial assistance and moral support.

For more information, please contact: Cascadia Forest Defenders 541-684-8977;  forestdefenders@tao.ca
Donation checks/money orders can be made out to: Cascadia Forest Defenders; earmarked for Sacramento Legal Defense (please be sure to specify this!!)

and mailed to Cascadia Forest Defenders; PO Box 11122; Eugene, OR 97440

The details of their arrest are as follows:

A large group of forest activists gathered in Sacramento to protest the Sacramento Ministerial on Biotechnology and Agriculture to focus their attention on the Genetically Engineered Tree research at University of California-Davis - the belly of the beast on genetic engineering research.

At about 2:30pm on Tuesday June 24th the forest activists stormed the Life Sciences building at UC Davis where research is conducted on GE trees, in order to bring attention to the Genetically Engineered tree programs taking place at the campus.

The lockdown occurred in the 4-story stairwell of the atrium where a large 48' long sculpture of DNA hangs through the middle of the stairwell. Two activists repelled with climbing equipment from the top of the stairwell and hung next to the sculpture, then u-locked themselves to each other and attached themselves to the sculpture. Another activist u-locked himself to the railing next to them.

Twenty supporters were inside the building holding banners, offering words of encouragement, and monitoring police activity, as well as reading the demands (below) several times.

About 50 others rallied outside in tree costumes and waving banners calling for an end to corporate dominance over ecosystems.

After about an hour the police gave an order to disperse, threatened to use chemical/less-lethal weapons, then pulled their sticks out and began pushing everyone out. At least one activist was assaulted by the police.

A medic and a representative from the National Lawyers Guild were allowed to remain in the building, but then a screen was put up so that they couldn't see what was happening anyway. We were told by the medic via cell phone that the lock-down activists asked if they would be allowed to disperse without charges if they agreed to come down on their own. The cops denied this request.

Outside, riot cops blocked access to the building and activists rallied on the steps.

After about an hour a scout at the back door reported that the person u-locked to the railing was being brought out. Everyone ran around back and gave cheers of support to him as the cop car pulled away.

After another 20 minutes or so, the other 2 were cut down by the fire department and brought out back to a cop van. They were also given cheers of support.

All 3 were brought to Yolo County Jail and have been charged with Conspiracy (felony), failure to disperse, resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace.

The names they are using are Pacific Yew, Port Orford Cedar, and Douglas Fir - and they need your support!

The five demands read to professors, administrators and students inside the building were: 1. End to research on GE trees at UC Davis. 2. Full disclosure and acknowledgment of hazards of GE trees. 3. End of Corporate funded Bio-research at University of California 4. Cancel plans to build new Bio-Weapons lab at UC Davis. 5. Full public discussion and full public involvement in all discussions about potentially hazardous research.

For a semi-decent corporate news article on the lock-downs go to  http://www.davisenterprise.com/display/inn_news/189NEW0.TXT

homepage: homepage: http://www.forestdefenders.org
phone: phone: (541) 684-8977


Lol 27.Jun.2003 17:32

American Public

It's going to suck real bad when these guys get into the real world and learn that a felony on your record only helps you land jobs as ditch diggers.

Not really AP 27.Jun.2003 17:45

Reader

Left leaning business owners like myself would have no problem hiring people who have committed the felony of free speech and political activism. The downside is that they face less opportunity of working for some jerk.

it's sad 27.Jun.2003 18:01

concerned

Some people really believe that the "real world" is nothing but wage slavery, competition, and obedience... I'm just glad that's not my vision of the real world. As if once you've done something as meaningful as forest defense you would ever spend the rest of your life living and working in artificial boxes breathing recycled air and worrying about money. Well, I guess we all have choices...

Good Call Reader 27.Jun.2003 18:11

American Public

Good call. But how would there be a downside to not working for some jerk?

The nice thing is that these guys are going to have to search for someone like you to work for a little harder than someone just normally looking for a job. Because when they apply to most places, where they can earn enough money to actually buy a home, their answer of "Yes" to "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?", will immediately place their application in that little file marked 'T".

They won't have to search much longer 27.Jun.2003 19:37

Reader

If you want to work for some jerk, go for it. There are plenty out there.

Missing out on a job at Wallmart or Nordstrom's, where you are just a commodity, is not a bad thing. It's educational for about a year, any longer and you are wasting your life. If it takes a little longer to get a better job, in the long run you are far ahead. Finding liberal friendly jobs is simple, you just have to network. An even better move is to become self employed.

Nothing says I can't hire a convicted protester. I'd hire someone who was arrested for protesting against destroying the environment over someone who got a medal for killing people in Iraq in a heartbeat. One person's medal is another person's crime.

I just don't think any less of a person because they would choose a hike in the forest over killing people.

Something is wrong 27.Jun.2003 22:47

Decay

The police are overcharging these protesters. Their crime is trying to protect the Earth and humans. They deserve our support. I know that I've been a dick in some of these posts and some of them have been for good reason, but when the heads of ENRON and Worldcom haven't even been charged yet for stealing millions of dollars from people retirement funds and the like, and a simple trespass turns into multiple felonies, something is wrong.

Way to Go 28.Jun.2003 07:03

The Dogg

I'm so proud of these three guys. They would not want to work for some jerk anyways. The first ammendment should work but as we see here it doesn't. Everyone is entiltled to their freedoms and these men just exercised theirs!!!!:)

I was there 28.Jun.2003 15:31

Free! Delila420@lycos.com

Something just doesn't seem right about their charges... They were completely willing to disperse. They were quit and that was definently the most peaceful protest I was at that week! I guess that's what we have to deal with though... Another thing... The police ordered dispersal and let us leave the building and everybody was calm outside and then they decided to send a line of cops that rushed into us WITHOUT WARNING w/their batons. It seems like they did that alot while I was down there.

To the radest goddam hippie tree hugger I know: 28.Jun.2003 18:25

The kid on your fridge

You are beautiful! Doing what you did was an awsome thing and you rock so hardcore it blows me away. Not just for this of course, but for everything.
This is the only way I could really write somthing for you to see, so even if it's not until you're out, I wanted you to know that were thinking of you and hopping for the best. stay strong and please be safe, we love you, kisses, the wanted crew.

only felony: conspiracy to commit misdemeanor 28.Jun.2003 19:02

one member of Sac legal collective

The only actual *substantive* crimes that these guys allegedly did were ordinary civil disobedience misdemeanor stuff like "failure to disperse," etc.

The only felony with which they've been charged is "conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor."

I know that sounds completely ludicrous, but read it again: it's true. Felony conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor.

i need a job! 29.Jun.2003 17:29

yElp

I would like a new job, reader and i have a large po file.

What business do you own?

email me -  rafmustard@hotmail.com

What do they contribute? 29.Jun.2003 21:03

Capitalist Pig

What, exactly, do these guys contribute? I come to this website mostly to laugh, and these guys have a high entertainment value! They are ineffective for their "cause", and frankly they are not very bright.

What do they contribute? 30.Jun.2003 10:16

a pig hater danwang@mindspring.com

I really hate to say this, but I sort of agree with Capitalist Pig, or least the question that he asks, and which I'll restate as: what did these guys do to further the cause? In his follow-up report Port Orford himself admits that the desired media coverage was either totally lame or non-existent...but then also says corporate media coverage wasn't really the point. Okay, the media sucks and we all know that--so what was the point of this particular action? It seems to have had the design of a made-for-media action, what with all the highly symbolic and camera friendly focus on the sculpture, etc. And it most certainly did NOT have the ring of a direct action targeting a specific practice in the sense of disrupting that practice (at least for a short while). Apart from having caused the building entrance to be inaccessible for a couple hours, business went on as usual. Is such minor disruption worth a possible felony conviction, especially when you consider the fact that a similarly minor disruption could have been achieved with a couple of glued locks and a communique? And if true disruption was not the point, then the only political goal that remains is media coverage, again, the front on which the activists themselves admit this particular action was a failure.

We need to clarify our goals here, people. It's a real waste when the action isn't well theorized before hand, especially when people are willing to take genuine risks for the cause (as these three most definitely were).

What do they Contribute? 30.Jun.2003 13:04

Tired Of It All

I was in Sac for most of the protests, but bailed out on the UC Davis trip after seeing how ineffective and silly the rest of the gathering was. It's very difficult for the average citizen to look past the people in the protest and hear their message. As long as the protestors continue to cultivate their "fringe" image, no one will take the message seriously. Also, the organizers of these events seem so eager to have a good turnout, that they will accept those with completely pointless ideologies, such as the thoroughly ridiculous "anarchists." Just because anarchists don't like the government, doesn't mean they have anything worthwhile to contribute. Activists have to have the courage to exclude "losers" in order to protect their message. If this is the future of grass roots movements, we're all doomed to corporate control over every aspect of our lives.