Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Politics of Food (not what you think)

The politics of food are taking an interesting twist. A man was arrested by the FB I for burning some SUVs. One suspect, who was mistakingly arrested was eventually released. It turns out the the basis for the arrest, as Newsweek is reporting, seems quite dubious:

In their wrongful-arrest lawsuit, Connole's lawyers demanded to know why the FBI looked at Connole in the first place. Court documents show agents were initially tipped off by a neighbor to "suspicious" activity at the commune the night of the attacks. (In fact, says Connole, members were simply helping one of the residents move out.) Agents placed the commune under surveillance and developed a political profile of the residents, discovering the owner of the house and his father "have posted statements on websites opposing the use of fossil fuels," one doc reads. Another says the owner had ties to a local chapter of Food Not Bombs, an "anarcho-vegan food distribution group." Among activities flagged in bureau docs: the father of the owner had conducted a "one man' daily protest" outside a Toyota office, was interviewed for an article called "Dude, Where's my Electric Car!?" and posted info on a Web site announcing "Stop Norway Whaling!" Critics say such info has been increasingly collected by agents since the then Attorney General John Ashcroft relaxed FBI guidelines in 2002. "How does advocacy of electric cars become the basis for suspicion?" asks Bill Paparian, Connole's lawyer. Bureau officials say they collect such info only when there might be ties to violence or terrorism. A spokesman declined to comment on Connole's case, saying that because no settlement has been entered into the court record, it remains "a pending legal matter."
Opposing fossil fuels, being a member of a co-op (a "anarcho-vegan food distribution group"), and advocating electric vehicles is becoming a dangerous business! Very strange.