Non-violent activist targeted by police and FBI
- Published: 14 August 2010
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He’s committed no crimes save for civil disobedience, yet Jason Miller is the subject of a year-long investigation by the FBI as well as police harassment and legal red tape. His experience is another example of the Green Scare, which is designed to intimidate above-ground animal and environmental activists.
Recently, Bite Club of KC canvassed two heavily trafficked night spots in Kansas City, educating thousands of people about the University of Kansas Medical Center’s fraudulent waste of millions of our taxpayer dollars (which they attain via National Institute of Health grants) on fraudulent research AND about the abject cruelty (as evidence by the 160 violations of animal welfare laws for which the USDA cited them) that KU Med inflicts upon primates.
We distributed over 200 copies of this article by SAEN’s Michael Budkie, which references publicly available summaries of animal abuse, as documented by KU Med’s own employees in federally required logs about their “patients.”
A vast percentage of those members of the public who engaged us were outraged by the primate vivisection program at KU Med and stated they would help us shut them down any way they could.
Our action also served to demonstrate KU Med’s iron-fisted response to our campaign on behalf of the monkeys whom are suffering under their “care.”
Apparently the University of Kansas Medical Center and cooperating law enforcement agencies have determined that the First Amendment does not apply to animal rights activists.
Toward that end, I proceeded with the group through the throngs of people in the shopping and dining districts near 39th and State Line (adjacent to KU Med) and the Plaza (just south of KU Med) hand-cuffed, gagged and blind-folded.
The sign around my neck explained that the cuffs, gag and blind-fold symbolized how KU Med (and animal exploiters in general) blind the public from the truth of the atrocities they commit on the public dole, how they act to silence those who speak, write, or demonstrate the truth, and how they hand-cuff even those who act in legal ways to stop them from abusing the innocent and defenseless.
Though I admire and respect those who take underground and illegal action to free nonhuman animals and to impede their exploitation, and as a member of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office am part of an organization that receives and publishes anonymous communiqués detailing underground illegal actions, I chose to go the route of relentless, creative, above-ground and legal activism as my means of fighting for Animal Rights and animal liberation.
Over the last 14 months, in addition to writing myriad essays and publishing Thomas Paine’s Corner, I (with considerable help from my allies) have organized and participated in hundreds of demonstrations, pioneered tactile activism in the US (the use of the heads or the blood of the victims of nonhuman animal exploitation to create media spectacles to take the murder of animals from the abstract to the real), engaged the media hundreds of times, put up three billboards, did the first home demo in Kansas City, orchestrated and participated in an act of civil disobedience for which the police refused to arrest us (in order to undermine our message).
I have also filed an injunction against a deer cull and acted pro se on behalf of the deer, brought a noted anti-hunting activist to KC from Canada to do a funeral motorcade for the deer in Shawnee Mission Park, preached Christians messages of compassion for animals to rodeo-goers via my bullhorn, caged myself and my dog and dared KU Med to experiment on us instead of the primates, spear-headed an intense internet/phone/fax campaign that was instrumental in stopping the passage of a state law that would have legalized horse slaughter, investigated and reported on a horse killer-buyer’s operation, and engaged in numerous other actions on behalf of other sentients.
What does each of these actions have in common? They are non-violent and legal (excepting the civil disobedience).
And yet, I am out-of-pocket $6,000.00 in legal expenses; was arrested and am on 12 months’ probation; am the subject of a year-long FBI investigation which has included visits to friends, AR allies, co-workers, and relatives; have a TRO against me (which I was too green to fight last year, not realizing that TRO’s obtained against activists are a violation of our First Amendment rights); am fighting three additional TRO’s related to the KU Med campaign; was a victim of serious First Amendment violations by law enforcement during one of our demonstrations; and am banned from the KU Med Center campus under threat of arrest for criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor offense which would be a violation of my probation.
As a father to a teenage boy who needs my presence, as a person who needs to maintain a job outside of my avocation of activism, as a person who makes much of the AR activism in KC happen, and as a person who has a mortgage and two rescue pit bull companion dogs, the political and legal persecution and the threat of extended jail time have consequences that impact many more people and other animals than just me.
While I’ve been fortunate enough to find resources, enlist an excellent attorney, and garner the assistance of the ACLU, my pro-active battles are far from over in the legal arena.
I am going public with at least a general sketch of my situation to illustrate that the Green Scare is a very real phenomenon.
Those of us who are fighting for Animal and Environmental Rights are every bit as persecuted as the Communists were during the First and Second Red Scares.
TRO’s, grand juries, agent provocateurs, FBI harassment, police intimidation, First Amendment violations, and the AETA are but a few of the ways the state is cracking down on those of us who are taking a stand for other sentients and the Earth.
I offer myself as an example of a legal, above-ground activist who has faced serious violations of his civil rights, harassment, utter loss of privacy, intimidation, arrest, financial strain, potential threat to career, and the potential of even more serious consequences.
There are thousands of other above-ground activists facing persecution like me and still thousands more who have gone the route of underground, illegal activism who are suffering even worse fates (the ones whom have been caught anyway).
From what I can discern, my affiliation with the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, my philosophical support of animal liberations and the destruction of the tools of animal/earth exploitation, and my philosophical support (through my writings) of the notion that violence (against human beings) is inevitable in the animal rights movement (because it has been in all social justice movements, save that for the disabled, AND because the state so vigorously protects the “rights” of exploiters to continue torturing and killing nonhuman animals), along with my relentless legal street activism, were the catalysts for the political and legal persecution I now face.
Astoundingly, I recently learned that when law enforcement runs me in their databases, an alert comes up with my “FBI number,” a warning from the Terrorist Screening Center that I could be on a terrorist watch list, and advice to law enforcement to “USE CAUTION when dealing with Miller.”
What elevate the above to the level of absurdity are the facts that:
1. I have never had a felony conviction.
2. I have never been arrested for violent acts and have no history of violent behavior.
3. My activism is non-violent and does not destroy property. I educate and am a voice for the animals through my writing, publishing and peaceful on-the-street activism.
4. I have no ties with the underground or militant activists.
5. I have never threatened any of the subjects of my campaigns or their families nor have I “stalked them.”
6. I am an Animal Rights activist currently engaged in a campaign to stop primate vivisection (which is barbaric, unnecessary, and a waste of federal tax dollars) at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The USDA cited KU Med Center for 160 violations of animal welfare laws, a number which indicates that they need to be shut down.
What is abundantly clear is that those of us who have chosen to respond aggressively (even if we act non-violently and legally) to the call of conscience and act as proxies for the billions of defenseless animals who suffer and die needlessly each year will face harsh consequences doled out by the state and the institutionalized animal exploiters whom they represent.
Hence my statement to the world:
While those with a vested interest in the ongoing torture and slaughter of billions of defenseless nonhumans portray and treat me as a criminal or potential terrorist, I am neither. I am a man who has responded to the call of conscience to become a voice, a writer, a publisher, and an activist for nonhuman animals. And so I shall remain.
Jason Miller is the senior editor of the radical blog Thomas Paine’s Corner which he founded in 2005. He is a tenacious vegan abolitionist and animal rights activist who lives in Kansas. He has a boundless passion for animal liberation and anti-capitalism.
Addicted to reading and learning, he is mostly an autodidact, but he studied liberal arts and philosophy at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Jason is an accomplished, prolific essayist and his writings on social and political issues have appeared on hundreds of alternative media websites over the last few years.