Cruel and unusual, actually – conditions in Texas prisons mirror Guantanamo bay

Accounts of torture, lack of medical care, deprivation of sleep and food, and unsanitary living conditions at Guantanamo Bay have ignited international demands to close the prison. Organizations like Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union have labeled Guantanamo Bay, “an experiment to see how far a human can be dehumanized before completely losing their sanity”. Reports of violent abuse (e.g. water-boarding, prolonged standing and isolation, no human-to-human contact, exposure to extreme heat and cold temperatures, starvation, physical attacks from prison guards, sexual humiliation, exposure to urine and feces, etc.) abound. Also, it created a sense of unease amongst many American citizens and government officials.

In fact, the Human Rights violations at Guantanamo are so extensive, that this subject became a key issue in the recent U.S. Presidential race. Within hours of taking office, Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay.

Now that the International Human Rights community has succeeded in producing awareness of these Human Rights violations at Guantanamo Bay, and President Obama has shown the willingness to address such individually destructive prisons, I must now ask: What about Texas???

Unlike the prisoners who are eventually freed from Guantanamo, and able to offer their accounts of the physical abuse they suffered there, most Texas prisoners are not as fortunate. Consider the story of Larry Lovis Cox, who was an inmate at a Supermax Control Unit in Huntsville, Texas. Mr. Cox was involved in a physical assault with numerous Texas guards, while in hand restraints, Mr. Cox was slammed to the concrete and tossed into his cell, where he laid for two full days in his own feces and urine, screaming in pain for medical attention. Mr. Cox was eventually taken to a local hospital where it was discovered that Mr. Cox suffered two broken vertebrae. Just 13 days after the assault by prison gaurds, Mr. Cox died on February 6, 2007. Two weeks later, a medical examiner ruled Mr. Cox’s death as a homicide, but over two years later, no one has been prosecuted.

We can even examine the cases of Donald Grizzele and Roger Williams. Both were housed on the Supermax Control Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas. After being confined in sub-standard living conditions that trigger psychosis (e.g. prolonged isolation, insufficient food, exposure to extreme heat and cold temperatures, no human-to-human contact, verbal assaults by gaurds, etc.). Mr. Grizzele and Mr. Williams were denied medical and psychiatric assistance, despite the blatant signs of experiencing mental health problems. Ultimately, their conditions compelled Mr. Grizzele (05-08-07) and Mr. Williams (01-08-08) to commit suicide.

Even before one is ushered to a premature death by the torturous conditions in Texas Prisons, the prison officials obstruct prisoners’ mail to prevent any real public awareness of the torture they are subject to. Currently, at the Lane Murray Unit, a women’s prison in Gatesville, Texas, Dr. Catherine Marston, who is incarcerated there, reported that prison officials are destroying personal mail. Dr. Marston and other prisoners are attempting to inform the general public and their loved ones about an unjust indefinite lockdown that has them confined to their cells 24 hours a day. They are being fed disgusting and inedible sack lunches that lack wholesome and nutritious ingredients. Dr. Marston reports that the prisoners are not being allowed showering opportunities, forcing women to go as long as an entire week without showering. The prison guards are sexually and verbally harassing them at all hours of the night, causing sleep deprivation and countless other psychologically crippling conditions.

The entire prison that I’m currently held in, in Tennessee Colony, Texas, was completely shut down and quarantined for 12 days, due to an unknown airborne virus that sickened a huge number of prisoners. For years, prisoners here have implored the administration to correct the massive unsanitary and deplorable living conditions that have fostered the spread of staph infections, scabies, shingles, flu, stomach viruses and other skin rashes, but it was not until the prison guards fell ill from this recent unknown virus that the prison administration decided to act, and quarantine the unit. The medical department never issued any educational material to make prisoners aware of the nature of this unknown virus or how to prevent them from becoming infected, nor did they inform the prisoners about early symptoms of this virus, making it impossible for prisoners to seek medical assistance, until the virus becomes so evident, and leaves you in a terrible and unhealthy state. The backlog in the medical department causes prisoners to go 6-7 days before being treated for the thriving virus. Prisoners are not issued any cleaning supplies to clean their living areas. Trashcans are being utilized to transport food to serve to prisoners. The kitchen is infested with roaches and rodents. The recreation yards are covered with bird feces. The showers are never sanitized. Mentally ill prisoners are allowed to remain in cells filled with feces and urine.

These Human Rights violations are open and rampant all over Texas prison system. Terrence Hazel, a prisoner at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas, currently has a Civil Rights lawsuit pending in the United States Districts Court for the Eastern District of Texas, challenging many of these inhumane conditions. The prison Grievance Program and the Office of the Ombudsman, are useless in addressing these violations, so we have to call upon the support of the International Human Rights community. The Grievance Program and the Office of the Ombudsman are established to protect Texas prisons and their oppressive policies. Combine these violations, with the Human Rights violations that are carried out on the Texas Death Row with the legalized murders, the International Human Rights community should scoff at Texas prisons, like they scoffed at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, and demand that someone, even President Obama, step in and correct these Human Rights violations, even if it comes at the cost of closing the entire prison system inside the state of Texas. We can no longer sit pat and expect those in charge here in Texas to police themselves, when it’s clear they have little to no regard for humanity.

Like Guantanamo prisoners, inmates in Texas are being tortured on a daily basis, denied medical care, forced to live in unsanitary and deplorable living conditions and ushered into premature and senseless death. For sheer cruelty, the conditions in Texas exceed Guantanamo’s; they could be better identified with the Gulags of North Korea and Russia, perhaps even Hitler’s Oranienberg. Let’s protest these Human Rights violations, through protesting Texas prisons!!!!

You can write to the author of this article:

Isma’il Abdul Rahman


Robertson Unit

12071 FM 3522

Abilene, Texas 79601 (USA)

The severe price of Tweets: communication sensitivity

On September 24th, 2009 Elliott Madison and Michael Wallschlager were arrested in a motel room during the G20 Protests in Pittsburgh. Their crime was allegedly listening to police over radio scanners and sending this information out over Twitter, a popular microblogging site.

Most would think the harassment would end there, but a week later police served a warrant to raid Madison’s house, in NYC, and seized all kinds of items such as mercury and pictures of Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin. Both Madison and Wallschlager’s charges have been dropped from their arrests in Pittsburgh, but Madison is facing a grand jury investigation aided by the raid on his residence.

This current round of police state repression follows a growing use of technology in protest situations. A month before the G20 protests, Iran was seeing its largest uprisings in years, aided by sites like Twitter and Youtube. In regards to the Iranian protests, the US State Department asked Twitter to hold off on updating its site (which would take it offline) so that the people of Iran would be able to use it.

It is very clear that the government and Twitter are willing to work against activists at home but with them when it meets their interest. No surprise there, but the issue of using popular websites for social organizing is a large one. The rise of new media has allowed the anarchist movement in the United States to reach whole new crowds with their message and keep people out of harm’s way. Twitter was also used during the 2008 RNC protests. Sites like Facebook and Twitter offer a good way to connect with fellow radicals at a severe price. We must all remember that these corporations work hand in glove with the state. Using their services gives away our autonomy. This fact needs to be considered when using these sites to organize.

Groups in the anarchist movement have already taken steps to increase security for activists such as and, who seek to create non-corporate tools anarchists can use. In the last few years, the Riseup Collective has launched which is a Facebook-like social networking site for organizing activists. Other groups are working towards a system of “on-the-street” communications that would cut Twitter out of the loop allowing people to pass back messages from their phones or stream live video from the street to be used in cases against the police.

Having new advances in technology allows anti-authoritarians to organize in new ways, but reflections should also be made in regards to new technology. Do we need this sort of organizing? Is it making our movement more effective while factoring risks? Whatever happened to yelling “what’s going on” at a mass action instead of texting it? Often the digital world takes us out of our realities into ones that may seem more fulfilling yet do the opposite. There is a good balance between technology and Ludditeness for the anarchist community to embrace, but we must be safe in doing so or we will see increases in the effectiveness of state oppression.

For more information about Elliot’s Case:

For more resources check out this article:

For more information on how to be safer online check out and

A legal swamp – for Earth Firster & Aligators in the Everglades

Florida Swamp Liberation Update: Stevie Lowe Out on Appellate Bond

Our friend and fellow activist Stevie Lynn Lowe has been given an excessively harsh jail sentence in Martin County, FL after battling the Energy Empire out here in the swamps.

Stevie, along with seventeen other Earth First! activists, was arrested in January of this year for locking herself to a tree within one of Florida’s last remaining old-growth swamps, the Barley Barber. On that day, Stevie Lowe waded through alligator territory, climbed a swamp maple in the heart of the swamp and took her stand to take back the forest from Florida Power & Light (FPL). Now she is wading through the more murky and inhospitable bile of the legal system.

The Barley Barber swamp is composed of thousand year old cypress trees which FPL has “owned” since the 1970’s. The areas they haven’t flooded, drained, or clear-cut are a wild and rich swamp habitat. It is a primordial remnant of what was once a vast cypress forest. The old growth bald cypress trees are comparable to the sequoias of the northwest. Several are over a thousand years old, and one has a circumference of more than 33 feet. It hosts prehistoric ferns, and a large array of animals such as otters, bobcats and bald eagles. Florida Panthers have also been spotted in the area.

With help from the scientific community, Everglades Earth First! found that the 3705 megaWatt Martin Plant (currently the largest fossil fuel power plant in the United States) had withdrawn so much water from the aquifer below the swamp that the soil was being sucked below the root systems of the trees: this is known as soil subsidence and hydro-period disruption. Everglades Earth First! (EEF) tried for over a year to get Florida Power and Light (FPL) to give a guided tour of the swamp and/or to allow us to bring an independent biologist to Barley Barber. This would allow public scrutiny and more transparency in terms of what their power plant is doing to the swamp and to the drinking water sources of the adjacent community of Martin County, FL. The energy corporation (FPL) has had rights to the swamp since the 70’s and the underlying threat is that they are using the swamp and the community’s drinking water sources to cool their power plant equipment.

Stevie and our friends were trying to bring attention to these issues and our urgency is based on the fact that FPL is killing this swamp and polluting this community. She was the only one among those arrested to take this case to trial. Nine arrestees saw their charges dropped. Several pled out, getting less than 20 days for the assumption of guilt for both charges: trespassing and resisting arrest without violence. On July 23rd Stevie was found innocent of trespassing by the jury (the state prosecution failed to prove that this swamp even belongs to FPL a claim which EEF! has always disputed) but was found guilty of resisting arrest without violence. Even though she was found innocent of the charge for which she was originally arrested and even though “resisting arrest without violence” is a petty misdemeanor, the judge made an example of Stevie with an excessive sentence. Considering that some folks got as few as 2 days in jail for pleading out, we consider Stevie’s 90 day sentence also to be a punishment for her having used her constitutional right to hold a trial. We quickly raised and borrowed the ten grand necessary for her release pending her appeal but now must raise funds to pay that back and to fund her legal defense. The struggle towards preservation of wildlife is a difficult task to undertake. Support is always appreciated whether it is chained to the trees or in the courts. To get involved or to donate to our legal support fund visit

Earth Warrior arrested by Danish

An anarchist from the United States, now based in Copenhagen, is facing serious charges following the COP15 Climate Summit. Supporters of Noah “Rockslide” are calling for Solidarity in the face of state repression.

On December 11th, as part of a coordinated campaign of repression and intimidation by Danish police, Noah was arrested while biking down the street by himself, far away from the anti-corporate actions planned for the day. It is clear that Copenhagen police targeted him for arrest due to his alleged involvement in organizing the counter-mobilization against the COP15.

While world powers met inside the Bella Center in Copenhagen to pretend to address the issue of climate change, thousands of international anti-capitalist and radical climate justice activists converged in Copenhagen to challenge the legitimacy of the COP process and show that capitalism will only worsen the climate crisis. The COP15 was a point of pride for the Danish government, and they granted the police sweeping powers to repress anyone who would try to rain on their parade.

After being arrested, Noah was put in jail for 25 days to “prevent recurring alleged crimes and influence of an ongoing investigation”. After four days spent in solitary confinement, he spent twenty-one days isolated in a small jail 40 kilometers outside of Copenhagen, cut off from other political prisoners and the outside world. He was allowed almost no access to incoming or outgoing communication, and was not allowed to make phone calls. The police held letters to him from friends, and his rights to police-supervised visits were ignored.

Of the approximately 1500 people arrested during the two weeks of protest, only fifteen were held longer than twelve hours, but these were held without trial for up to a month. Noah is the only person from the U.S. facing serious charges. He is charged with planning to commit property destruction, violence towards a police officer, disturbance of the public order and wearing a mask. Two of these are the Danish equivalent of felony charges. The nature of his case and the charges against him are remarkably similar to the RNC8 conspiracy charges, in which organizers are charged with actions they never committed but which they allegedly planned logistical support for. Unfortunately, in the Danish legal system, guilt does not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Noah started to cut his chops in the Earth First! movement in the woods of Cascadia around the mid-00’s, and has been involved in anarchist and radical environmental organizing on and off ever since. Most recently, Noah organized against the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008. Noah has also been involved with Denver Food Not Bombs and helped found the High Country Earth First! network in the Rocky Mountains region in 2009. ??In the fall of 2009, Noah said goodbye to his friends in Denver to pursue graduate studies in Copenhagen, just months in advance of the December 2009 Cop15 Climate Summit.

Noah was finally released pending trial on the argument that his residency and studies in Denmark constituted him as a low flight risk, although the investigation is still ongoing by the police. Two individuals without Danish residency remain in custody at this time, facing rioting charges. Noah’s trial, along with co-defendant Natasha Vecro from Australia, will begin March 16, and they face about a year in prison, upwards of $15,000 in fines, and deportation if convicted. Noah is being represented by a lawyer well known for defending radicals and activists in Copenhagen.

Noah lives in one of the only squats still left in Copenhagen from the squatter’s movement of the 1980’s. Since his release from jail, he has been spending his free time working on the house, working the door at punk shows and organizing eco-anarchist resistance to the climate crisis.

Denver Got Yo’ Back is a project to extend solidarity to all Denver anarchists currently facing felony charges or their repercussions. To support Noah’s legal defense, donations can be made via Paypal at Checks and money orders should be made out to Whitney Nichols, clearly marked “Support Noah,” and mailed to: Denver ABC, 2298 Clay St, Denver CO 80211. Questions or to get in touch:

the many languages of place and space – freespace, workship, hangout, bike station, sluber party, free toilet . . .

With the 2010 Organizer circulating around, many people have been contacting us from all over to let us know about their local project and to let us know about mistakes in the radical contact list in the Organizer. So here are a bunch of spaces we just heard about — some of them new and some of them new to us. It is extremely inspiring to be in contact with so many people in so many different places all putting their time and energy into alternative projects that seek to build community and model different ways of living. It isn’t always easy to volunteer and build something for the community while so many other people are just looking out for themselves, trying to get ahead. But when you relate to other people voluntarily working together for a common vision, you’re building deep community that goes beyond the superficial kind you’ll find at work, at a bar, or online. And doing stuff for yourself, for the love of art and music, and for the earth is meaningful and helps us feel less discouraged and confused.

We try to post corrections to the 2010 Organizer at our on-line radical contact list: Check it out and let us know if you see errors.

Night Heron Grassroots Activist Center – Lake Worth, FL

They opened in November ’09 and feature a radical book/zine/video library and anarchist literature distro; activist organizing space and place for meetings, events and workshops (accommodating 25-30 people), storage for art-making supplies and protest props and a kid-friendly play area. It was started by Everglades Earth First!, West Palm Food Not Bombs, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition and some individual activists and artists. They have space available for other groups. They are next to the Farm Worker Coordinating Council office, which provides social services to the local immigrant community and operates a free store. 1307 Central Terrace, Lake Worth, FL 33460, 561-249-2071.

LUNk Collective House – Lincoln, NE

A house with a radical lending library, free store and a micro-powered AM radio station. They host meeting, movies, shows, vegan potlucks, open mics and are linked into Food Not Bombs and a free skool. 1213 N. 12th Street, Lincoln, NE, 68508, 402-817-4791,

Knoxville Birdhouse – Knoxville, TN

A volunteer-run community arts and activist space featuring music, performance, exhibits, workshops and studio rentals. They’re working on opening an infoshop. 800 4th Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917,

Pangea House – Minot, ND

A non-profit community center for music, art and education. They host shows, skillshares and zine events. 109 Central Ave W Minot, ND 58703 Tel: 701-420-0913,

52.5 Records – Charleston, SC

An “underground” record store (“focusing on artists outside of the commercial mainstream”) that hosts shows. 561 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403

Outer Space – Charleston, SC

A volunteer-run community space for creative expression and info exchange with art exhibits and a craft box. Open Sat 10-6. 623 Meeting St., Charleston, SC, 29403

The Train Yard – Las Cruces, NM

A DIY community space in Mesilla Park that hosts shows. They are trying to keep a low profile so the physical address isn’t public – email them for directions. Mail: PO Box 1759, Mesilla Park, NM, 88047.

Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen – Sacramento, CA

A volunteer-run do-it-yourself bike shop with classes. 1915 I Street, Midtown Sacramento, 95811,

Bellingham Alternative Library – Bellingham, WA

A book, graphic novel and music library. The folks who run it also do a Food Not Bombs. 717 North Forest, Bellingham WA 98225, 360-734-2735

The Hub Community Bike Shop Cooperative – Bellingham, WA

A non-profit, volunteer-run bike recycling shop with self-service and regular repairs. They host local bike events and teach biking in schools. 903 1/2 North State Street, Bellingham [mail: P.O. Box 1593, Bellingham, WA 98227], 360-255-2072

Spearfish Bicycle Cooperative – Spearfish, SD

They have a zine library as well as bike stuff. 727 Ames St. Spearfish, SD 57783

The Good Life Community Bicycle Shop – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

They are a non-profit, mostly volunteer-operated bike repair, education and resource center with free repair space and tools, workshops on bike repair, as well as recycled bikes and parts for sale. They have a meeting space for community groups. They aim to “make it as easy and fun as possible to choose biking” and “reduce environmental impact by encouraging cycling over driving and rescuing bikes from the waste stream.” 202-200 Barclay Parade SW Calgary, AB 403-619-2648,

Le Seul Problème – Marseille, France

They are an infoshop with a bookshop, a free store and a lending library. Contact them at: 46 rue Consolat, 13001 Marseille, 04 91 50 86 27, They ordered some Slingshot organizers from us and offered to improve our list of French infoshops. The huge list below is the result. Some of these were already listed in the 2010 Organizer. We’re not sure if we can print this all in the 2011 Organizer and so we might be looking for help to pick a few of the best ones. If you are in France before August 1, please visit these places and let us know which ones you liked best. We will include all of this in our radical contact list on-line!

• CIRA (Centre International de recherche sur l’anarchisme), 3 rue Saint-Dominique, 13001 MARSEILLE,

• CSA Croix Rousse, 18 rue des Tables Claudiennes, 69001 LYON,

• Librairie La Gryffe, 5 rue Sébastien Gryphe, 69007 LYON,

• Librairie La Plume Noire, 19 rue Pierre Blanc, 69001 LYON,

• Le Pavillon Noir, 10 bd Poincaré, 14000 CAEN,

• Le Lokal Autogéré, 7 rue Pierre Dupont, 38100 GRENOBLE,

• Antigone, 22 rue des Violettes, 38100 GRENOBLE,

• Centre Culturel Libertaire, 4, rue de Colmar, 59000 LILLE,

• Le Kiosk info-shop, passage Alexandre Dumas, 75011 PARIS,

• Librairie Publico, 145 rue amelot, 75020 PARIS, 01-48-05-34-08

• Librairie Quilombo, 21 ter rue Voltaire, 75011 PARIS,

• L’Athénée libertaire, 7 rue du Muguet, 33000 BORDEAUX,

• L’Étincelle, 26, rue Maillé, 49100 ANGERS,

• Les Tanneries, 17, boulevard de Chicago, 21000 DIJON,

• Le Local Libertaire, 61, rue Jeanin, 21000 DIJON,

• Le Raymond’s Bar, 77 Av E.Michelin, 63000 CLERMONT-FERRAND,

• B17, 17 rue Paul Bellamy, 44000 NANTES

• Les Pavillons Sauvages, 35, avenue Jean Dagnaux, 31200 TOULOUSE,

• Chat Noir Toulousain, 18 avenue de la Gloire, 31500 TOULOUSE,

• La Cantine Populaire, 244 rue de Nantes, 35000 RENNES,

• Local Anarchiste la Commune, 17 rue de Chateaudun, 35000 RENNES,

• La Mauvaise Réputation, 20 rue Terral, 34000 MONPELLIER,

• Librairie Scrupules, 26, boulevard Figuerolles, 34070 MONPELLIER, Librairiescrupule@wanadoo.f

• Librairie L’Autodidacte, rue Marulaz, 25000 BESANÇON,

• Café Les Epines, 39 rue de Benfeld, 67000 STRASBOURG,

• La Question Sociale, 51 rue Landouzy, 51000 REIMS,

• Bibli
othèque-infokiosque, 152 Grand’rue, 30270 ST-JEAN DU GARD,

• Librairie Infos, 2 rue Théodore Guiter, 66000 PERPIGNAN,

• Bar La Réal, rue Louis Auguste Blanqui, 66000 PERPIGNAN

• Athénée Libertaire, 8 rue de Fouquerolles. 02000 Merlieux.

• Librairie L’Insoumise, 128, rue Saint-Hilaire, 76000 ROUEN,

• Le Laboratoire, 8, place Saint-Jean, 26000 VALENCE,

• Undersounds, 6 rue de Gore, LIMOGES,

Corrections to the 2010 Slingshot organizer

• We printed the wrong phone number for the Iron Rail in New Orleans. The new number is 504-948-0936.

• The OKC Infoshop in Oklahoma City has changed its name and relocated to: Scissortail Social Space, 3012 N Walker, Oklahoma City, OK 73103-1026. Their website is:

• The Taala Hooghan Infoshop moved to a larger location: 11 S. Mikes Pike, Downtown Flagstaff (In the white warehouse near the south side bus transfer station), Check them out at:

• The Elm City Infoshop was mistakenly placed on the “Rest in Peace” section of our website. Actually, they still exist at 810 State St. (inside Never Ending Books) New Haven CT 06511. They don’t have regular open hours but you can visit by appointment. Email them at They put out a newsletter and have a downtown street zine distro.

• Oops – two spots in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada were mistakenly listed as “RIP” — they are both still going strong: Junto Library 91 Albert St, Winnipeg and the Bike Dump at the Red Road Lodge, which is on the corner of Logan and Main, at the back of 631 Main St.

• The No Coast Infoshop in Columbia, MO has ceased to exist. The library is being stored at a private residence for the moment.

• We got envelopes returned from the following places. Does anyone know if they still exist? Please let us know.

— Pitchfork Collective at 2858 California, Denver, CO 80205.

–Greencup Books at 105 Richard Arrinton Jr. Blvd South, Birmingham, AL 35201.

–Centro Cultural de Playancha, Pedro Leon Gallo 4040, Playancha/Valparaiso, Chile

• The Bread & Roses Cultural Center in Denver, CO is no longer at the address listed – let us know if they still exist anywhere.

• The 123 Community Space in Brooklyn was evicted – they still have a contact: A New World in Our Hearts is no longer involved in the project.

• The Hamilton Zine Library still exists at 27 Kingwilliam St. in Ontario.

Liquefied natural gas – PG&E Misdirect: The wrong Bet – Jordan Cover and Our Future In Energy

As non-renewable resources that are already becoming more difficult to exploit, fossil fuels are a doomed technology, and will gradually become more expensive as supplies dwindle until they finally run out. Aside from the supply question, burning fossil fuels adds carbon to the atmosphere, causing potentially devastating climate change. With these fatal defects in mind, it is particularly outrageous that Slingshot’s local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), is moving forward with participation in a $2.2 billion dollar investment for a liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline in Oregon. The proposed Jordan Cove terminal and the Pacific Connector pipeline will divert money that could be used to build renewable energy sources (like wind and solar) and will instead lock us into fossil fuel dependence for decades to come. There’s still time to stop this shortsighted fossil fuel investment and in so doing, attack the thinking that is behind similar projects world-wide. At this moment in history, energy investments should be for alternative technology, not more of the same fossil foolishness.

Think Globally, Struggle Locally

On December 17, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — which has sole jurisdiction over the project and can trump local or state opposition — approved Jordan Cove and the Pacific connector pipeline by a 3 to 1 vote. PG&E are investing in the $1.2 billion pipeline, which will take years to complete. As proposed, the project would be capable of moving a billion cubic feet of natural gas daily from transnational tankers docking in Coos Bay, Oregon, through a 230 mile pipeline through Southern Oregon, and to customers in California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest. Building the pipeline will require disruption of sensitive forest and water ecosystems along the route, leveling a total of 2,000 acres. The governor of Oregon, the SF Board of Supervisors, as well as folks near Coos Bay, all oppose the project. The project would be PG&E’s first use of imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), a technology for moving and trading natural gas worldwide, the way oil is currently traded.

As described in more detail in Slingshot #95, natural gas is widely distributed around the planet. Currently, most natural gas is drilled relatively close to where it is used and then moved by pipeline. Current pipelines can’t easily move gas across oceans. Because the US has used huge amounts of natural gas over the last several decades, and because US gas use continues to increase, the big gas users (like electric utilities, which use about a third of US gas supplies to generate electricity) are worried that local supplies may eventually become scarce and more expensive. In the US, new gas drilling often uses more complex and expensive technology like “fracing”–pumping water under high pressure to the bottom of a well in order to fracture rock formations and release trapped gas supplies.

Meanwhile, there are huge, cheap gas supplies offshore in places like Peru, Russia, Algeria, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago. By super cooling gas to minus 259 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be liquefied so it can be loaded onto specially designed LNG ships and moved around like oil. When the gas is liquefied, it only takes up 1/600th the space it takes in a gaseous form.

Liquefying natural gas is expensive and uses massive amounts of energy, adding about 20 percent to the carbon footprint of LNG vs. traditional natural gas. While natural gas is considered a “green fuel” when compared to coal, burning gas still releases carbon. Burning coal releases 770-830 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour of electricity, vs. 480-560 grams of CO2 per kwh for LNG and 400 grams of CO2 per kwh for regular natural gas.

Each LNG liquefication plants costs $1-3 billion, and each import terminal costs $500 million to $1 billion. This is of course money that could be spent on alternatives to burning gas in the first place, such as windmills or solar powerplants. LNG enables utilities to continue burning gas, rather than developing alternatives, even when local supplies are depleted to the extent that prices begin to rise. In fact, it is just such fossil fuel price increases (associated with depleted supplies) that make more expensive alternative energy sources look economically viable over the long-term. LNG short-circuits this gradual and automatic economic process.

PG&E currently has enough gas to meet demand. Their investment in the $1.2 billion Pacific Connector pipeline is a long-term bet on the future. And it’s the wrong bet — a bet on several more decades of generating most electricity using climate-changing fossil fuels, not zero emissions sources such as solar and wind. Because PG&E is a privately owned utility, its 15 million customers have no direct way to stop this decision — widespread and continuing public protest and pressure from Berkeley to Coos Bay, Oregon is our only hope.


PG&E wants to portray itself as a leader in alternative energy and their advertising is constantly emphasizing their investments in wind and solar technology. And in fact, PG&E is investing in a very promising solar thermal electrical generation project in the Mojave Desert — the Ivanpah project that is to be built by Oakland-based Brightsource Energy.

Unlike rooftop photovoltaic solar panels, which use high-tech materials to turn sun light directly into electricity, solar thermal harnesses heat from the sun to make steam, which turns turbines to generate electricity much like in a fossil-fueled powerplant. Solar thermal is potentially much cheaper and more efficient than photovoltaic panels, which are very expensive per kilowatt hour and which have a very low efficiency rate (i.e. the percent of the sun’s energy falling on the panel that is actually converted into electricity is low.)

In a solar thermal plant, mirrors focus sun on pipes containing liquid (sometimes water, but the liquid can also be a heat transfer chemical that can be heated hotter than water’s boiling point). Heat transfer liquid can potentially be heated to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit. While the Brightsource plant will only produce power when there is light to heat water, solar thermal plants that use a liquid other than water can super heat liquids that can be stored in tanks for use whenever electricity is needed — day or night.

It’s worth explaining how solar thermal works because not all alternative energy technologies are equal — each has its own problems and advantages. It may make sense to argue against some alternative technologies if they are particularly expensive or ecologically toxic. Just like LNG can eat up billions that could otherwise be invested in alternative energy, money put into less efficient alternative energy technologies isn’t available for the better ones. If we’re going to argue against using particular energy technologies like LNG, nuclear power, biofuels, etc, it is helpful if we can argue for alternative ways to generate electricity.

I’m particularly excited about solar thermal technology because it is relatively simple (and potentially cheap) and because there is a lot of sun available in a lot of places. But even solar thermal can be problematic since the mirrors take up space in desert areas that are usually extremely environmentally fragile. If utilities eventually build a lot of solar thermal plants, it’s important they be built on land that’s already been disturbed and in ways that allow for environmental recuperation. Sadly, humans have disturbed and destroyed a lot of land.

At the moment, fossil fuel production and combustion are the biggest threats to the environment. PG&E and other utilities are spending billions on protecting their access to fossil fuels for the long-term. Meanwhile, solar, wind and other alternatives get pennies.

For more information, check out

Overdosing Chimps – Deforesting Habitat – scrap Scripps

The Scripps Research Institute, which has facilities in La Jolla, CA, has recently set up shop in South Florida. Scripps Florida, located at the Jupiter Campus of Florida Atlantic University, is the largest animal research center in the “Sunshine State.” Future plans for Scripps include the destruction of an 800 acre pine flatwoods ecosystem in order to make room for an entire Biotech City and the expansion of vivisection, bio-pharmaceuticals, and corporate ownership of life.

Beginning several years ago (under governor Jeb Bush), the Florida legislature vowed to make Florida an international hub of so-called green, clean corporate biotech. With state and public funds and a ‘who’s who’ of shady corporate investors ? such as Monsanto, Novartis, the Department of Defense, Philip Morris, etc, ? it is clear that a battle is brewing.

Behind the walls of Scripps animals are used in horrible experiments, many of which are hidden from public scrutiny. In 2004 a government inspection of a Scripps research facility in La Jolla, California found that test monkeys injected with the drug “ecstasy” were also malnourished. One of the primates died from overdose and Scripps was forced to temporarily suspend its research. Other experiments have included the deliberate infection of chimpanzees with Hepatitis C.

The proposed site for phase II of Scripps Biotech expansion, known as the Briger Tract, is one of the last remaining pine flatwood habitats in the region. This site also includes wetlands and is home to rare and endangered species, including gopher tortoises, indigo snakes and hand ferns. A pair of Bald Eagles have also been spotted on the land, along with dozens of migrating and wading birds.

The good news is that Scripps has been defeated before. Back in 2004-2005 Scripps layed foundation for its facilities on another chunk of land in Palm Beach County called Mecca Farms. Through protest and legal challenges, Scripps was defeated. It has taken them years to move on another property. The next zoning hearing to approve the rezoning of the forest to biomedical is, no joke, April 1st. Opposition is mounting.

Everglades Earth First! is currently challenging Scripps, not just that it may replace a forest, but that it may exist at all… in La Jolla or in Jupiter.

Lets build a coast to coast movement against Scripps Biotech.

Check our website on Scripps Florida at

Rabble calendar


February 11-15

Earth First! Organizers conference/ Winter Rondezvous.

February 16

Mardi Gras – in Berkeley, join the frog parade at 3 in People’s Park: this year’s Berkeley theme “America Drones On”


March 4

Nationwide Day of Strike Action in Defense of Public Education –

March 8

International Women’s Day

March 12 • 8 pm

Slingshot 22nd Birthday party – after Berkeley Critical Mass bike ride – 3124 Shattuck Ave.

March 13 -14• 10 – 6 pm

SF Anarchist book fair with John Zerzan, Laura Whitehorn, Jessica Mills, Tomas Moniz Free – SF County Fair Building, 9th & Lincoln

March 14 • 10 – 6 pm

11th Annual BASTARD anarchist theory conference UC Berkeley

March 20 • 11 am

March and Rally to demand US out of Afghanistan and Iraq – in SF at Civic Center –protests also in Washington DC & LA

March 21 • 4 pm

Slingshot new volunteer meeting – 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley 510 540-0751

March 26 • 6 pm

SF Critical Mass bike ride Justin Herman Plaza


April 1 • 7 pm

Deadline for entries Chicago Anarchist film fest

April 9 • 6 pm

Berkeley Critical Mass Berkeley BART

April 15

Steal Something from Work Day

April 17 • 11 am – 7 pm

4th annual New York Anarchist book Fair 55 Washington Square South, Manhattan –

April 17 • 3 pm

Article Deadline for Slingshot issue #103

April 30 • 6 pm

SF Critical Mass bike ride Justin Herman Plaza


May 1–2

Protest at the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Talks, New York.

May 7 – 9

10th Chicago Anarchist Film Festival

May 27 – 30

BASH BACK Radical Queer Conference in Denver


Trial of Johannes Mehserle (BART cop who shot unarmed Oscar Grant) begins. 210 W.Temple St. Los Angeles


June 22-26 • 7 pm

US Social Forum – Detroit, MI