Harper Warned by Judge

On November 20th I mentioned that animal activist Josh Harper, who was indicted for failing to appear before a grand jury, had sent out a couple e-mail messages to animal rights activists that contained some pretty strong language. According to an Americans for Medical Progress e-mail newsletter, U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis J. Hubel was not pleased with Harper’s e-mail missive and warned Harper that, “I think it comes dangerously close to asking people to
commit violent acts.”

AMP went on to report that,

Although Harper’s attorney argued the activist was within his constitutional free-speech rights, Hubel said that if Harper incited, encouraged or publicized his approval for crimes, it would violate the
conditions of his pretrial release and land him in jail.

Snow Day!

About 12 inches of snow fell overnight here in Kalamazoo, so the university I work at shut down — no school.

When I was a kid that would have been time for rejoicing, but as an adult I really dislike such disruptions. As my wife puts it, for an atheist I’ve got that Protestant work ethic down pat.

The only upside to staying home is hanging out with my daughter for the day inventing new songs and dances — not to mention drawing her further into the cult of Lego.

Polluters of the World: Repent

Ugh. First the Pope was blabbering on about the Earth as if it were a living entity, and now the World Council of Churches have issued a statement saying global warming is not just an environmental problem, but it’s also “a sin against God.”

The WCC thinks the developed world has a “moral responsibility” to the developing world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of course the main reason the developed world emits so much CO2 is precisely because it has, for the most part, recognized the rights of individuals and reaped the rewards therein. The thing that never gets mentioned in all of these “the West produces all of the pollution” stories is that low CO2 emissions are highly correlated with extreme poverty.

The intellectually challenged folks at the WCC haven’t even thought through the broad implications of their own statement. If the burning of fossil fuels is sinful, then doesn’t it logically follow that low gasoline prices are a very bad thing? Maybe. According to a WCC spokeswoman, “I think that would be a matter of discussion.”

Steinem: Nader Was Wrong to Have a Woman on His Ticket

Gloria Steinem was just one of several prominent feminists who went out of their way to criticize Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for daring to run for president. Steinem and others, including the National Organization for Women, argued that the main effect of Nader’s candidacy would be to elect the pro-life George W. Bush who would appoint people in the mould of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court (ignoring, conveniently, that a Democratic Senate voted to confirm Thomas).

Steinem certainly has the right to share her views, but toward the end of the presidential campaign she penned a “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m not Voting for Nader” letter that was widely distributed via e-mail. Among the ten reasons Steinem wasn’t voting for Nader, number four was bizarre,

4) Nader asked Winona LaDuke, an important Native American leader, to support and run with him, despite his likely contribution to the victory of George W. Bush, a man who has stated that “state law is supreme when to comes to Indians.”

This is a bit bizarre. She’s not going to vote for Nader specifically because he was able to convince a woman to run as his vice-president? As Ellen Johnson noted in a reply to Steinem, she appears to be questioning LaDuke’s agency, as if the Native American activist had no choice in the matter.

I think LaDuke was a bad choice because, like Nader, she’s pretty much wrong about everything, but to argue that feminists should vote against Nader because he had the temerity to ask a woman to run as his vice-president is absurd.

Why Josh Harper Won't Testify to Grand Jury

On Friday, November 17, 2000, animal rights activist Josh Harper was scheduled to be indicted in Portland, Oregon, for refusing to testify before a grand jury. Harper has in the past claimed to be an innocent conduit of information from other, anonymous, activists who have carried out terrorist attacks on animal enterprises. Although apparently not a target of any investigations himself, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Harper to testify before a grand jury investigating such attacks. Prosecutors likely believe that Harper has direct knowledge of who is carrying out Animal Liberation Front/Environmental Liberation Front attacks.

Harper’s own behavior makes it seem likely that he has such knowledge. Harper has repeatedly told animal rights-friendly audiences that he has no idea who is behind the ALF attacks, but refuses to appear before a grand jury and say, “I have no idea who is behind the ALF attacks.” Why?

If you believe Harper, its because his way of protesting the oppressive state. If you read between the lines, however, Harper’s got the best reason in the world for not testifying — he almost certainly does know who was behind the attacks and if he testifies otherwise he would open himself up to later perjury charges.

A recent statement by Harper seems to indicate he knows more than he claims. According to Harper,

This is a first in our movement, and will set a precedent that could be very harmful. The government is essentially saying, “Snitch on your friends or go to jail” Failure to cooperate with a grand jury is going to start costing people years of their lives.

If, as Harper claims, he has no knowledge of who committed several prominent ALF attacks, why would he be forced to snitch on friends before the grand jury? It might come as a shock to animal rights activists, but generally “their my friends” is not considered a good reason not to testify about criminal actions of acquaintances.


Don’t Let Harper’s Jailing Go Unnoticed. Frontline Information Service press release, November 15, 2000.

Josh Harper Statement: Increase the Momentum. Frontline Information Service press release, November 11, 2000.

No-show spurs FBI to arrest Eugene activist. Mark Larabee, The Oregonian, September, 29, 2000.

Josh Harper Statement. Frontline Information Service press release, October 2, 2000.

We Want Information… er, DVDs

Excellent news — the late-1960s television show, “The Prisoner,” is being released on DVD. Currently two DVD sets containing the first six episodes have been released in the United States, with the rest of the episodes to be released by October 2001.

What’s the big deal about “The Prisoner”? The Prisoner Appreciation Society has all the details about the series, but to my mind it is easily the best science-fiction/fantasy television series ever and one of the best television series, period.