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News Briefs February 2013

  •  Sergey Turzhanskiy, a Portland anarchist better known as Kiki, has been released from custody after their charges were moved to federal court. A number of conditions were set for their release, most notably that they are to have no contact with anarchists while they await trial, specifically those working to resist the federal grand jury in Seattle targeting Pacific Northwest anarchists.
  • Kiki will live with their partner under house arrest while they await their trial. They are accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a parked police cruiser at the precinct on Northeast Emerson Street. They stand accused of attempted arson and possession of a destructive device. Previously they were held in state custody with bail set at $1 million. Their trial is set to begin on March 5.
  • The clandestine hacker group Anonymous, in an act of solidarity, has released personal details of the judge and prosecutor involved in the grand jury investigating anarchists in the Pacific Northwest. The practice, known as “d0xing,” involved publishing a cache of data, including home addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for numerous government employees working in agencies such as the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons and federal courts. Details can be found on the web at anonpaste.me.
  •             In related news, Anonymous announced it had hacked the servers of the Justice Department in retaliation for the death of hacker and RSS creator Aaron Swartz. Anonymous has threatened to release sensitive information regarding the agency after Swartz took his own life in January. Swartz was facing a possible sentence of 35 years for hacking the academic database JSTOR, using a concealed computer on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Swartz planned on making the papers freely available online.
  • A Portland resident has been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in California, ostensibly relating to animal rights actions carried out in Santa Cruz, in 2008. Priyesh Patel, of Portland, joins two other Californians in being called before the secretive prosecutorial body convened in San Francisco.
  • The US attorney leading this grand jury, Elise Becker, prosecuted the 2010 case against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act 4, four activists tried and acquitted as terrorists for chalking slogans on a sidewalk and distributing fliers in support of actions against the abuse of laboratory animals by the University of California.
  • Anarchists emerged in militant protests in Egypt, marking the second anniversary of the revolution which ousted former dictator Hosni Mubarak. On January 24, the night before the anniversary of the beginning of the revolt, black-clad militants set fire to an office of the website of the unpopular ruling party, the Muslim Brotherhood, destroyed protests barricades near Tahrir Square and fought with police. The next day, in Suez, protesters at the Interior Ministry building lobbed stones and Molotov cocktails over security barriers at police, who returned volleys of tear gas canisters. The provincial capital building in Suez was set on fire and protesters in Cairo and Alexandria also blocked subway trains. In Cairo, protesters in black fought police and were joined by the Ultras, Cairo’s militant football fans.
  •   The black-clad protesters have referred to themselves as “the black bloc,” apparently inspired by the use of that tactic, in which protesters conceal their identities with black clothing and masks to evade identification by authorities. Many press observers struggled to make sense of the anarchist affiliations of these groups. However, street fighting against government security forces and attacks on government property by the Ultras were an integral part of the beginning of Egypt’s revolution. Another important faction during the 2011 revolt, the April 6 Youth League, emerged in an act of solidarity with striking factory workers in 2008. Both have members who have stated an affinity for anarchist politics.
  • Dozens have been killed in riots and protests since January 25. On January 28, President Muhammed Morsi declared a state of emergency in Suez, Port Said and Ismalia. The head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has stated that the state my collapse.
  • Anarchists in Greece are battling authorities in an attempt to resist coordinated efforts by Greek police to attack anarchist social spaces and communities. Greek police forcibly evicted Villa Amalias, a squatted social center, and ASOEE, another anarchist space on December 20 of last year. However, Greek anarchists successfully combated police presence and regained the squat on January 9. The police sent heavy reinforcements and some 100 anarchists were arrested at the scene. Anarchists conducted occupations of the headquarters of DIMAR, a center-left party in Greek’s coalition government, where 40 more people were arrested. That day, police also conducted a raid on the Skarmanga squat in Athens and made an incursion into the Exarchia neighborhood, an anarchist stronghold and semi-autonomous neighborhood. Another raid evicted the oldest squat in Athens, Lelas Karigianni on January 15, when 14 more people were arrested. All told, the arrests following the evictions of the decades-old squats on January 9 netted nearly 150 arrests, the most anarchists detained in a single day in Greece in 15 years. A police document leaked to the Greek media announced that police would attempt to strike 40 anarchist centers in total, making this the most concerted effort on behalf of Greek authorities against anarchists since the 1990’s. Greek anarchists have vowed to re-take autonomous spaces seized by authorities and defend the rest. An estimated 10,000 anarchists in Athens marched in solidarity with their arrested comrades on January 12 and solidarity actions have been carried out in Germany, the UK, the US, and Australia
  • The Tinley Park 5, a group of Indiana and Illinois anti-facists have been sentenced after taking a non-cooperating plea agreement on January 4 for three felony counts of armed violence, each. They were accused of violently disrupting a white supremacist gathering at a restaurant in a Chicago suburb on May 19, last year. Jason Sutherlin was sentenced to six years in prison. Cody Lee Sutherlin and Dylan Sutherlin were sentenced to five years. Alex Stuck and John Tucker were sentenced to three and a half years. Their sentencing includes credit for seven months time served and “day-for-day” reduction for behavior, which could cut their sentences in half.
  • On January 8, US climate scientists declared 2012 as the hottest year on record for the US, with temperatures averaging 55.3F, a full degree hotter than the previous record year, 1998. The year saw the catastrophic forest fires in the west and persistent drought in the midwest. In October, the East Coast was hit with the largest tropical storm to ever hit New York and New Jersey. While grassroots efforts to combat climate change, such as efforts to block the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas, or respond to its symptoms with critical mutual aid, such as Occupy Sandy Relief are inspiring, there is currently no concerted international response to combat climate change. Scientific consensus supports conclusions that weather events such as those seen in the US this year will increase and become more severe.
  •   Rebecca Rubin, who is accused of numerous acts of property destruction attributed to the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, has been transferred to Portland. Rubin, who after a decade underground surrendered to federal authorities at the Canadian border in Washington on November 29, is accused of taking part in ELF and ALF actions in Oregon, Colorado and California, from 1997 until 2001. Her lawyer indicated that she is not cooperating with authorities to implicate others still at large. Rubin has been jailed in Seattle and Eugene, while making court appearances. She will be tried in Oregon.
  •  The Portland police have chosen not to place a police officer disciplined for on-the-job sexual harassment in charge of their division overseeing sex crimes and human trafficking.  Lt. Todd Wyatt was demoted by police Chief Mike Reese last year from the rank of captain on December 31, after the city’s Independent Police Review Board voted 5-1 to recommend firing him. He was found to have sexually harassed several female co-workers in 2011 and brandished his gun in a road rage incident in Idaho that year. After mounting criticism, Reese released a statement on January 28 saying he would not place Wyatt in those assignments, where he would have contact with one person he was found to have harassed.

    

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