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Phoenix-area political dissident arrested

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    The following very disturbing article appeared on page B3 of the wednesday, 5 March 2003 edition of the Arizona Republic. It is credited to reporter Carlos
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2003
      The following very disturbing article appeared on page B3 of the wednesday,
      5 March 2003 edition of the Arizona Republic. It is credited to reporter
      Carlos Miller of the Republic. I do not wish to create a panic, but the
      anti-war community in Arizona may soon become the target of a government
      campaign of repression, and we must all be vigilant.

      --Kevin Walsh

      ANTI-POLICE ACTIVIST ARRESTED ON EXPLOSIVES CHARGES

      Tempe resident Laro Nicol, a member of an anti-police brutality group and
      frequent critic of the U.S. government, was arrested Tuesday on federal
      explosives charges.

      Nicol is suspected of building "an improvised grenade," said Tom Mangan,
      spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

      "It's basically like a pipe bomb," Mangan said.

      His friends believe it was a set-up.

      "I am convinced that this is an attempt to intimidate people who are
      anti-war and anti-police activists," said Joel Olson, who like Nicol is
      a member of Phoenix Copwatch, a Valley groups that videotapes police
      officers as they make arrests in order to prevent police brutality.

      Armed with a search warrant and assisted by Tempe police, federal agents
      arrived at Nicol's house in the 2100 block of East Palmcroft Drive
      at about 2:10 p.m.

      Nicol, who was not home at the time, had been notified of the incident
      and turned himself in to Tempe police a few hours later, Mangan said.

      He is being held at Madison Street Jail on one count of posession and
      manufacturing of destructive devices. He could not be reached Tuesday
      for comment. The U.S. Attorney's Office said it would release a report
      today that would offer more details on the investigation.

      Nicol, 40, an air-traffic controller at Goodyear Airport, was editor of the
      now-defunct Valley alternative newspaper, the Current.

      The former military man also spoke to Arizona State University students
      last October on "Justice in an Unjust World," according to a university
      newsletter.

      "He has been actively involved in peace and justice groups in the Phoenix
      area for years," said Olson, who described Nicol's political ideology as
      "left to center."

      Pat Schwind, a former member of Phoenix Copwatch who has been friends with
      Nicol for years, believes the charges "are totally bogus."

      He describes his friend as a man who "speaks out against oppression and
      the abuses of government power" and has a tendency "to express views that
      may not sit well with the authorities."

      But he also describes Nicol as "squeaky-clean."

      "He just feels differently about political things than the average guy,"
      Schwind said.
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