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News :: Education : Globalization : Human Rights : Media : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
February 6th is coming! Support free speech? Then support the SHAC 7!
01 Jan 2006
Wednesday, May 26th of 2004 marked a quiet turning point in the history of free speech in this country. While most people were still comfortably asleep and the first rays of sunlight were streaming over the horizon, Federal Agents were preparing to arrest people for crimes of terror. All across the country members of Joint Terrorism Task Forces crept across lawns and approached front doors with guns drawn. Before long they had captured their quarry: seven animal rights activists.
These activists were not accused of making bombs, burning down buildings, killing people, or even lesser crimes such as trespass. In fact, not one of them is accused of a single physical act. Their charges stem from one thing; speech.

The SHAC 7 (Named after the group they are accused of joining, "Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty."), as they have become known, are accused of conspiring to incite others to commit illegal actions by allegedly running a website, writing a newsletter, speaking at events, and publicizing protests. Those following this case call those accusations absurd. The SHAC website did show support for non-violent acts of sabotage in the same manner that children's text books show support for the Boston Tea Party or the Underground Railroad. Speeches made by SHAC 7 defendants did mention acts of electronic civil disobedience, like sending black sheets of paper through fax machines, but never encouraged audience members to use those tactics against specific entities, and even if they had, is that terrorism?

Civil libertarians, attorneys, and activists of all stripes see the SHAC 7 case as an assault on the freedom to speak loudly about controversial topics. It's not hard to come to that conclusion when the prosecutor in the case, Charles McKenna, has said in numerous papers that he is hoping to set the limits of the First Amendment post September 11th.

We can not allow our rights to slip away from us silently and without a fight! After a mistrial in June six of the accused (And the incorporated entity Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) must stand trial again starting on February 6th. THEY WILL NOT STAND ALONE!

From all across the country people will gather outside the Federal Courthouse in Trenton New Jersey to support the SHAC 7 and to reject the notion that legal activism and free speech can be equated with terrorism. Please join us! More information will be available shortly on along with rideshare info, directions to the courthouse, etc. Start making your plans to attend now. Together we can save free speech!

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