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An Issue for ALL ARA's--Of Resistance and Fig hting for the First Amendment: latest by Jaso n Miller‏

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  • Brennan Browne
    Please cross-publish my latest essay on your blogs, link to it on your social networking sites, disseminate this email widely, join our Facebook group (see the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 18, 2010
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      Please cross-publish my latest essay on your
      blogs, link to it on your social networking sites, disseminate this email
      widely, join our Facebook group (see the end of the essay), and/or make
      a donation to this battle for the First Amendment (again see the end of the




      Resistance and Fighting for the First Amendment

      By Jason Miller


      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
      of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
      of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
      and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances……

      Contemplating the words of the First Amendment to the US
      Constitution, that imperfect yet powerful piece of parchment that ostensibly
      bestows all humans in the US with a set of basic rights enshrined and protected
      by the legal system, demands that we ask ourselves if we are going to continue
      apathetically allowing corporations and plutocrats to wrest those rights from
      us. Will we continue to stand idly by as C. Wright Mills’ “Power
      Elite” reduces us to over-consumptive, indentured automatons, with no
      voice and little choice but to devote our lives to the hollow, meaningless
      pursuits of materialism, the bread and circuses they provide, and narcissistic
      “fulfillment” via the wage and debt slavery that enables the perpetuation
      of their obscene gluttony and condemns our souls to pecuniary bondage?

      Green IS the New Red

      No group has seen its First Amendment rights erode more
      quickly and dramatically than those of us who are vegan and agitate for Animal
      Rights and the Earth. In 2005 John Lewis, deputy assistant director of the FBI,
      declared that, “The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism,
      animal-rights movement.” It has been a down-hill slide for us ever since,
      with ever-increasing degrees of harassment, surveillance, persecution, arrest,
      and imprisonment for the “crime” of defending the Earth and other
      sentient beings and attempting to stop a holocaust that kills billions upon
      billions of nonhuman animals annually.

      Here are the stories of but a handful of our movement’s
      political prisoners:









      Aside from the gross injustice of those who’ve lost
      their freedom fighting for nonhuman animals and the Earth, consider the fact
      that there is a strong component of spirituality to veganism which receives no
      recognition or protection. The atheists and agnostics who practice vegan ethics
      notwithstanding (and with no disrespect to them), many vegans revere and
      respect other animals and Mother Earth to an extent that there is a high degree
      of awe and even worship, indications that veganism is spiritual. Vegans also
      make significant sacrifices in striving to eliminate animal-derived products
      and sources of entertainment from their lives and face a high degree of
      marginalization and hostility for their extension of compassion and basic
      rights to nonhuman animals. Sacrifice is yet another component of spirituality.
      Alternatively, being a mainstream Christian in the US requires nearly no
      sacrifice and hollow lip service to the principles of their faith is the order
      of the day for many who “practice” Christianity. Yet there is
      nearly no end to the rights afforded “Christians” in the US.

      As a relatively small group facing a great deal of hostility
      and numerous structural barriers to practicing our spiritual beliefs, vegans
      need (and are entitled to) the same Constitutional protections granted other
      spiritual and religious groups in the US. Yet vegans aren’t even
      guaranteed something as basic as a vegan diet if they become political
      prisoners of a penal system that is allegedly premised on the Constitution.
      Public schools are not required to provide vegan alternatives in their
      cafeterias or curricula. Vegans are not protected from discrimination or hate
      crimes. Why does one have to check one’s rights at the door when one
      chooses to hold a reverence for nonhuman animals?

      With the advent of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, even
      those Animal Rights activists who engage in legal, above-ground activism face
      the chilling possibility of federal “terrorism” charges if they are
      found to have done $10,000.00 or more worth of damage to a business engaged in
      an “animal enterprise.” Vaguely written by the animal exploitation
      industry itself and rubber-stamped by a Congress that is complicit in the
      murder of billions of nonhuman animals for human pleasure and convenience, the
      AETA has yet to gain traction as law enforcement officials search for the
      opportunity to apply it in such a way that they attain a conviction, thus
      opening the flood-gates for widespread implementation of this grossly
      Unconstitutional abomination. Targeting one group (AR activists) and affording
      special protection to one industry (animal exploiters—who under the AETA
      could technically claim $10,000.00 worth of economic damage was caused by
      protesting, petitions, counter-propaganda campaigns, and other forms of
      Constitutionally- protected activity) are clearly an obscene violations of the
      Constitution and are further evidence of America’s downward spiral into
      corporate fascism.

      The Green Scare Has Camped out on my Doorstep

      While I’ve written about certain aspects of it before,
      sharing my own experience enables me to speak with some authority on the
      impending eradication of the First Amendment rights of Animal Rights activists,
      a circumstance that should alarm social justice activists of all stripes,
      whether they agree with our position on Animal Rights or not.

      As I’ve waged two consecutive intense campaigns against
      nonhuman animal exploiters, one a county government (Johnson County, Kansas)
      hell-bent on slaughtering a herd of deer when economically viable nonlethal population
      management alternatives existed, and the other a public university (the
      University of Kansas Medical Center) bilking taxpayers of hundreds of millions
      of dollars to conduct barbaric, unnecessary experiments on primates, law
      enforcement and government officials have trampled my Constitutional rights in
      an effort to silence my allies and me, to intimidate us, and to prevent us from
      employing legal means to impede the torture and slaughter of innocents.

      Our corporatist government has taken a keen interest in my
      activism, presumably because I write prolifically and am widely read; publish a
      well-known anti-capitalist, Animal Rights blog (Thomas Paine’s Corner);
      am a press officer for NAALPO (an entity which acts as an aboveground media
      outlet for the underground in the AR Movement but has no connection with, nor
      means of identifying members of, the underground); have written that I
      philosophically support the ALF’s destruction of the tools of
      exploitation and freeing of the oppressed; and because I have written that I
      philosophically support Jerry Vlasak’s position that counter-violence
      from the Animal Rights Movement is probably inevitable and could be an
      effective tactic–as no social justice movement has been successful
      without it.

      Employing Cointelpro-like tactics, the J Edgar Hoover crowd
      has paid visits to numerous people in my life, including friends, co-workers,
      activist allies, an ex wife, ex girlfriends, my sixteen year old son, and my
      son’s girlfriend’s parents. They have branded me as a potential
      terrorist via an alert that comes up when law enforcement runs me in their
      system and, in that same alert, have informed law enforcement officers to USE
      CAUTION when dealing with me, a person with no history of violence or felony

      While doing a home demonstration (which is a form of peaceful
      residential picketing that amounts to a public shaming of an animal exploiter
      by exposing their animal abuse to their neighbors) my allies and I were
      interrupted and shut down by three law enforcement officers, despite the fact
      that the city in which we were picketing had no ordinance against residential
      picketing and no requirement for a permit. Upon threat of arrest for
      challenging law enforcement’s claim that we had to “leave
      Westwood,” my ally and I elected to leave peaceably as the rest of our
      group had already left and the demonstration was clearly over. Litigation is on
      the horizon.


      While distributing fliers on the University of Kansas Medical
      Center’s campus (they are the perpetrators of primate torture and the
      ones who were cited by the USDA for the violation of 160 animal welfare laws)
      one evening, I was stopped, searched and detained by four uniformed campus
      police officers for twenty minutes and issued a criminal trespass warning,
      meaning that if I set foot on KU Med’s campus again, I can be arrested
      and charged with a misdemeanor carrying a potentially healthy fine and/or jail
      time. Admittedly, the fliers were provocative, but they were a form of
      expression protected by the First Amendment.


      During the campaign to save the deer in Shawnee Mission Park
      (aka Death Park), the director of the parks department sought and attained a
      TRO (temporary restraining order) against me as a means of crippling my
      relentless activism. This tactic is commonly employed by exploiters around the
      country, as TRO’s (also known as orders of protection or stalking orders)
      are easy to obtain and carry criminal penalties if one violates them. I wound
      up on a year’s probation as a result of this TRO and an unintended violation
      of the TRO on my part. Probation may not sound like much, but it puts an
      activist with family and financial responsibilities in a bit of a precarious
      position, as additional arrests can result in revocation of the probation and
      twelve months in county.

      A number of activists whom I know around the country have been
      hit with TRO’s in this disturbing abuse of a law that was intended to
      protect innocent individuals from potentially dangerous stalkers, not animal
      exploiters from Animal Rights activists merely exercising their First Amendment
      rights. As a result of these TRO’s, some of my activist allies have been
      arrested and some have been jailed. Nearly all of them were restricted from
      engaging in Constitutionally-protected forms of activism.

      I’m currently fighting three TRO’s from
      vivisectors (animal researchers) at the University of Kansas Medical Center who
      attained the temporary orders of protection based on allegations that either
      don’t rise to the level of stalking or are false. Both sides have procured
      counsel and Judge Phelan of the Johnson County District Court has set aside an
      entire day on November 30th for the hearing during which he’ll determine
      whether or not to establish the orders as “permanent” (generally
      meaning for one year). Most cases of this nature involve domestic abuse and are
      over within about 5 minutes, but the complex and unusual nature of this
      situation has necessitated an extensive hearing.

      Tim Keck, the vivisectors’ attorney will be presenting
      witnesses who will allegedly substantiate the claims of stalking that the three
      animal exploiting vivisectors have leveled against me.

      My attorney, David Bell of Wyrsch, Hobbs, and Mirakian, has
      prepared a thorough and compelling legal brief, which asserts and substantiates
      our argument that shackling activists with TRO’s is clearly a violation
      of the First Amendment.

      For more on this First Amendment battle and to read Bell’s brief in its
      entirety, click on this link:


      In a recent discussion with my former mentor, Dr. Steve Best,
      he reminded me that while our Animal Rights philosophies are revolutionary in
      nature and our ultimate goal is to forge a vegan society, our nascent movement
      is in a pre-revolutionary stage. Therefore, our actions for the animals are a
      means of resistance to the system rather than an effort to shatter the
      prevailing paradigm and replace it. Given this reality, we need to fight tooth
      and nail to protect and utilize the rights we are guaranteed under the
      Constitution, the legal foundation of the extant system. As proxies for the
      animals, who have no recognized rights in our legal system, our rights are
      their rights. We need to fight for them!

      As many of you know, I’ve put up a great deal resistance
      over the last 16 months in myriad above-ground, grass roots, and creative ways.
      However, this First Amendment challenge against the use of a TRO to silence a
      social justice activist is one of my most significant acts of resistance. I
      could easily consent to the TRO’s without admitting to the allegations of
      stalking (which is what often happens in domestic abuse cases). Or I could have
      put up a “plain vanilla” defense (either pro se or through my
      attorney), but I suggested to David Bell that we mount a defense on First
      Amendment grounds as a means of creating a blue-print (or setting a precedent)
      for other activists so that we could stop the misuse of TRO’s to cripple
      or halt our work on behalf of other sentients. David, a very fine attorney with
      one of the most reputable criminal defense firms in Kansas City, was both
      excited and intrigued and has readily accepted the challenge.

      Going this route has been, and will continue to be, both
      emotionally and financially demanding. However, the potential gain for other
      activists and nonhuman animals is well worth it.

      A question….

      United States District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. issued a
      ruling yesterday that declared Missouri’s 2006 law against protesting at
      funerals to be unconstitutional because it violates constitutional rights to
      free speech. (excerpted from the Pitch online 8/17/10)

      How long are we progressives and radicals going to watch our
      Constitutional rights vanish whilst federal, state, and local courts shield the
      hateful, inflammatory, threatening, and sometimes violent activism of Fred Phelps
      and his fellow far right anti-abortionists, KKK, Aryan Nation, and Tea

      Note: I am accepting monetary donations to my First Amendment
      legal challenge against TRO’s, as it is a very expensive proposition.
      Please consider making one via my PayPal account or by mail:

      PayPal Donations

      1. Log into PayPal; it defaults to “My Account”

      2. At the top select: Send Money

      3. In the box where it indicates “To (Email or mobile phone)”
      enter: animaliberationist@...

      4. Enter amount

      5. Under “Purchase/Personal” select what you feel is appropriate
      (such as Personal/Other, but this is primarily for your financial records so
      you can just leave as-is if you want)

      6. Select “Send Money”; you may also enter a personal note for
      Jason at the bottom “Email to recipient (optional)”

      To contribute via mail, please send to the following address:

      Jason Miller

      PO Box 19569

      Lenexa, Kansas 66285

      You can also join our Facebook group, FIRST AMENDMENT DEFENSE
      AGAINST TRO’S FUND at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=160915580589690

      To receive periodic updates from Thomas Paine’s
      Corner (TPC) and Bite Club of KC (TPC’s “on the street”
      sister blog), send a request to willpowerful@...


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