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Support environmental activists targeted by FBI

Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State. The Great Lakes Basin holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water. But who owns and controls this vital resource?

That issue is at the heart of the FBI harassment and grand jury subpoena of Marie Mason and Frank Ambrose.
According to the Sweet Water Alliance website (www.waterissweet.org), the acti vists were ordered to provide DNA samples and fingerprints to a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids, Mich., by Nov. 4. The deadline was extended after complaints flooded the U.S. attorney's office denouncing the FBI's intimidation tactics. A motion to quash the subpoenas will be heard in Grand Rapids within weeks.

The focus of the federal grand jury is the alleged attempted sabotage of an Ice Mountain pumping station in late September.

Ice Mountain's parent company, Per rier, plans to pump 400 gallons per min ute of spring water that feeds the headwaters of the Little Muskegon River. Perrier is a subsidiary of Nestle.

Local activists have strongly opposed the corporate plan, with both court action and demonstrations at the plant. Those in the forefront of the opposition include three Native groups of the Odawa, Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, as well as the Mich igan Citizens for Water Con servation.

Mason and Ambrose are members of the Sweet Water Alliance and the High land Park Human Rights Coalition. They united the struggle against high water bills and racist water shut-offs with the environmental fight to stop the diversion of Great Lakes water.

This potentially powerful merger threatens to expose and combat a global industry that has sucked wells dry in India to provide water for Coca-Cola bottling plants and privatized water distribution and sewerage treatment facilities originally built for the public good.

Donations for Mason and Ambrose's legal defense can be made out to "Water Defense Committee" and sent to PO Box 44173, Detroit, MI 48244. Email endorsements (name and organization) to  vorps@yahoo.com.

Reprinted from the Dec. 4, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper