Taken from The Huffington Post
Marineland — the captive animal park in Niagara Falls, Ont. — has faced opposition for decades. However, the statements delivered to the Toronto Star this summer by 15 ex-employees has exploded this issue. News coverage has been global, all levels of government have been brought in and the park has seen record demonstrations — culminating in a 800+ person protest on the park’s closing day (Oct. 7), which included hundreds of advocates jumping the turnstiles and shutting down the last dolphin show of the season.
Marineland has tried to counter this growing public concern by taking to the courts and filing what I believe is a SLAPP suit — a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation — a common tactic to try to shut down public debate. The park has launched a $1.5-million suit, as well as injuctions, against me. They have tried to use to the press to their advantage, releasing a statement that groundlessly accused activists of a “campaign of intimidation and harassment.”
The timing of Marineland’s lawsuit is a great indication of their motivations and intentions. A day before Marineland ﬁled their suit, news broke that the Ministry of the Environment was going to begin aninvestigation and possible excavation of Marineland’s four mass graves — two of which are allegedly full of over 1,000 of animals who have been buried during the park’s 50-year history without the knowledge of the Ministry of the Environment. Advocates have made the graves a focus for decades, and this announced investigation sent the news viral — exposing yet another aspect of apparent callousness at the captive animal park.
The next day, Marineland ﬁled their suit in St. Catharines Court. Interestingly, before the suit was even filed, I was contacted by Sun Media paper the Niagara Falls Review for a comment. That left me wondering, did Marineland leak the story to the Review in an attempt to wash the mass graves story out of local press?
Marineland has been cautioned by its own industry lobby group, the Canadian Association for Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) — to which it pays membership dues — to conduct an independent assessment of the park’s water system to determine what if any update may be needed. Months later, no assessment has been conducted, according to news reports.
Despite this, Marineland has attempted some jaw dropping PR spin, rolling out social media sites in an apparent attempt to quell public outrage. Evidently, for the park, protecting proﬁts comes ﬁrst, and animals are a distant second.
In 2011, Marineland Animal Defense launched as a campaign, marking Marineland’s 50th anniversary. Ahead of launch, John Holer — Founder, Owner and President of Marineland — had been successful in his move to evict 47 families from a trailer park he had recently purchased, which sat near his Marineland property. Those families fought the evictions — many of them low income, marginalized families with homes that were “ﬁxed” and could not be moved off site. Many of them lost thousands. Nearly two years later the park still sits untouched.
The last resident in the park — Paula Millard – threatened that she would kill herself before she would leaver her home. On the night of March 31, 2011, that is what she did. For months, she had complained to other park members about what she felt was harassment by John Holer. Apparently, she saw suicide as her ﬁnal act of resistance. I have been told by Paula’s cousin and best friend Teresa that before Paula took her life, she wrote on the walls of her trailer: “John you will get it back ten fold.”
From the beginning, Marineland Animal Defense organized with the residents that fought their eviction through the GoHomeless.ca campaign. This summer I got the opportunity to meet Teresa. As we hugged and cried I promised her that I will see this through and that I will make sure that Paula’s struggle, as well as the struggle of the animals captive at Marineland, doesn’t fade away. John Holer has money, inﬂuence and lawyers. I’ve got the promise I made to Teresa.
As I move forward with my defense, I am calling for support. Marineland will be attempting to “spend me into the ground.” We will be organizing to use what resources we have to neutralize them. I am calling for statements of support and solidarity from animal advocacy and social justice organizations, and will be setting up speaking events throughout Ontario and Western New York.
An effective response to a SLAPP suit depends on a refusal to trade in fear and intimidation — and also a broad base of support. That’s why I need you. I’ve got some promises I need you to help me keep.
A while ago, I got word that a new straight edge related project was in the works. Being straight edge myself, I was really curious to hear what kind of project this was, and what the project intended to accomplish. When I heard that the main theme of the project was discussing straight edge beyond punk rock, I was instantly hooked and have been patiently waiting since. We are extremely excited for this project to launch, we hope you are too!
“Counter Conduct is an effort to best document anti-authoritarian aspirations and critiques coming from those who have been influenced and shaped by straightedge and to examine how embodied practices make antiauthoritarian politics more viable. Many of our peers do incredible work somewhat invisibly anchored to this commitment and we aim to make that intersection more visible and reflect on its various iterations. Counter Conduct is a project that not only wishes to add to the critical discourse of resistance, but to also dismantle conceptions and realities of an often rigid subculture. Counter Conduct will launch in early 2013″
In case you didn’t know, our good friends at Food Empowerment Project have an awesome page focusing on slavery in the chocolate industry. They have also been so kind to publish a company list containing companies they can recommend (companies using slavery free chocolate), and those they cannot (companies using questionable chocolate or chocolate sourced from child slavery). We would like to thank F.E.P for keeping the pressure on the company Clif bar about the origin of their chocolate, but this time they are asking for our help! Please check out their petition against Clif Bar, sign it, and pass it along to friends and family.
“Isn’t it disappointing when a “socially responsible” company refuses to be transparent?
We at Food Empowerment Project have long enjoyed the products from Clif Bar & Company, including energy bars that contain chocolate. But when we asked Clif last year, “From which countries do you get cocoa beans?” they refused to tell us.
Many chocolate companies – including Newman’s Own – disclosed to us where their cocoa beans come from, so what does Clif Bar have to hide? We are not asking for full supply chain information or grower names – simply the cocoa beans’ country of origin.
Plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast together supply 70 percent of the world’s cocoa. For years, these farms have used child slaves, who work 12 hours a day. They cut cocoa pods from trees with heavy machetes, slice the pods open, scoop out the beans, and put them in the sun to dry. Then they stuff the beans into bags and load them onto trucks bound for the United States and Europe. Children are not paid, they are cut off from their families, and when they don’t work fast enough, they are beaten.
Clif Bar acknowledges on their website “that food matters to our families, our communities, and our planet – as our food choices affect the physical, social, and environmental fabric of our lives.” They even pledge a commitment to communities worldwide. Yet this now all seems to be empty rhetoric.
Recently, Clif Bar announced that they intend to use the Rainforest Alliance certification, a system that imposes the least amount of requirements on the companies that plan to use its seal and does not guarantee the cocoa is free of child labor or slavery. While we appreciate Clif Bar’s effort, our question remains the same: Where do you source your cocoa from?
How could a company that prides itself on social responsibility choose to not be transparent about an issue as important as child slavery?
Please join us in asking them.”
My name is Brittany Kenville. I have been subpoenaed as a witness to the grand jury convened in San Francisco in relation to events that took place in Santa Cruz, California in 2008. Grand juries exist to determine whether there is enough evidence for a person or persons to be indicted. Subpoenas are used to force the appearance at grand juries by anyone the prosecution feels may provide evidence in support of their case.
Grand juries operate in secrecy, and witnesses who choose to testify are not allowed to have a lawyer present when doing so. In cases like this, grand juries are used as a tool to strike fear in and intimidate activists, and also to neutralize them from action. They spread seeds of mistrust throughout activist movements, and they operate under the assumption that people in activist communities are inherently guilty by association. I am adamantly opposed to these proceedings. I believe that they are unjust and an appalling misuse of prosecutorial power. Using grand juries to harass activist communities does not serve justice, it is simply a means of political repression.
I have been working with an attorney, and I plan on exercising every right that I have in response to my subpoena. I have the complete, unfaltering support of my family, my friends and my fellow activists. I encourage anyone else who is subpoenaed to reach out, seek counsel, do research, and learn your rights in these proceedings. I hope everyone reading this will learn more about the grand jury system and join me in standing up against its use as a tool of harassment.
In solidarity, Brittany Kenville
Check out Green Is The New Red for more info
Snitch David Agranoff has been released and spotted back home in Portland, OR. If you see David, feel free to verbally make him feel unwelcome by telling him that he isn’t welcome, and that he should leave, but please do not engage with him, there is a good chance he still may be working for the FBI. It looks like Marie Mason’s case isn’t the only one that David has cooperated with. For more info, please check out the Green Is The New Red article about David (Scroll to the bottom of the article to see the update from November 29th 2012.)