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Care2 VGT Group Petition Freedom For The Austrian Activists ASAP

World  (tags: AR, Austria, animal_rights, VGT, 'HUMANRIGHTS!', europe, freedoms, government, HumanRights )

- 3639 days ago -
Since the VGT site has been hacked and for safety reasons is offline Hans created the petition. Please sign it and forward the alert. The 10 activists are still in prison, Dr Balluch still on hunger strike, AI doesn't want to help... Your help is needed!!

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Joanna D (216)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 3:34 am
Hackers were able to upload files and perform a fishing attack to the Bank of Scotland from So the provider was phoned by a lawyer of the Bank of Scotland and they have been told to shut down the site or otherwise they will be charged.

Joanna D (216)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 3:37 am
All info & news:
it's an open group

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 3:56 am
Thank you for posting! noted, signed and sent out!!

Alf I (246)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 3:59 am
Have posted the petition around other websites. Thanx.

Hans L (958)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 4:00 am
J has asked me to spread this link on the latest news and information from Austria since the VGT site is down this is the site with allmost all the information, but just like we they also depended on the VGT site hope that it will be online soon!

Pam F (221)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 4:45 am
Petition signed,thank you!

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 5:01 am
If all the great C2NN stars would support this case i am sure we could set the free on monday...
It is presumed that Minister Fekter too now just wants to play for time until next Monday's 2nd hearing of the 10 cases, which have been combined in order to allow the state to sue for the formation of a criminal organization under its newly introduced paragraph 278a of the Austrian penal code.

Though the Chief Public Prosecutor Hofrat Dr. Werner Pleischl already has struck the most serious allegations from the public prosecutor Haendel's sheet, the prosecution stubbornly insists that they deal with a criminal organization without providing any evidence. Well informed circles believe that the mysterious V-file also would contain only hot air, but nothing of substance. One of the Green Party leaders, MP Mr. Peter Pilz, who is a member of the parliamentary committee investigating the scandal, stated that the Chief Public Prosecutor has invented a "criminal organization without criminals".

The blunt refusal by Minister Fekter to answer any of the questions related to these cases, is seen by the Austrian Green Party further as a new affront and the party declared through their legal affairs speaker MP Pilz that the lawyers of the Green Party will now examine, if the conditions of § 278a StGB could not be also used to accuse the public prosecutor, the chief public prosecutor, the special police investigation unit (SOKO FUR ANIMAL) and the Austrian internal intelligence service together for having formed a criminal organization. Peter Pilz is my star...people dont like him in Austria...he is fighting for justice even against the GESTAPO or how should we call them these days? PLEASE PLEASE SIGN AND SPREAD THE NEWS!

Monika V (443)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 5:21 am
Signed and crossposted


Joycey B (750)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 6:19 am
Signed and noted with thanks Joanna.

Alf I (246)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 6:51 am
Johann! How 'new' IS that paragraph?? If it was introduced AFTER they were arrested they cannot use it on them. This was proven in the case of Brian Haw who they tried to remove from parliament square by setting up a new law excluding protests from the area. He is excluded from the law because his protest started BEFORE the new law was drawn up.

Naresh Kadyan (40)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 6:59 am
Full support with force.....keep it up.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 7:03 am
Shame on Austria.....shame..shame.

Dusty K (1339)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 7:48 am
I have signed and passed it along to other sites as well! Free the Activists! Thanks Joanna!!!!

Hans L (958)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 8:56 am
The blunt refusal by Minister Fekter to answer any of the questions related to these cases, is seen by the Austrian Green Party further as a new affront and the party declared through their legal affairs speaker MP Pilz that the lawyers of the Green Party will now examine, if the conditions of § 278a StGB could not be also used to accuse the public prosecutor, the chief public prosecutor, the special police investigation unit (SOKO FUR ANIMAL) and the Austrian internal intelligence service together for having formed a criminal organization....
Its wrong to use this law for innocent people who just speak up and Mr Platter will find out why..
We should try and spread this wide and far and see that we can get thousands of new signatures until monday..if everybody is spreading this like all of you are doing it should be possible to get the signatures and what is more important create the awareness about Austria!
Vienna is realy a new Guantanamo Bay!
Thank you all for your help!

Robert Redmon (128)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 10:52 am
Noted and signed, thanks Joanna.

Trudi Reijnders (242)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 11:24 am
The petition is circulating!!I received it from outside Care2.
This could happen to anybody,in any country.It needs to be signed by people from all over the world.It's not only about the Austrian activists freedom,it's about the freedom of evey animalrights activist.
Today it's them,tomorrow it could be you.

Joanna D (216)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 12:09 pm
From: Legal Support - Antirep2008
Solidarity Instead of Paranoia – We Are Still All §278a!
Press Release: 5th July 2008

Since May 21 2008 ten animal rights activists have been sitting in pre-trial detention spread out over three states (Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland). The reasons for the detention are now as before Danger of Destruction of Evidence and Danger of Committing (Further) Crimes. As Danger of Destruction of Evidence can only justify pre-trial detainment for up to the first two months of detainment, this reasoning will cease to apply on July 21 at the absolute latest. With the reasoning of Danger of Committing a Crime – which is based on the fact that the accused have been active in the animal rights scene for years and stand by their ideals – detention can be extended for up to a year.

At this point we are waiting for the results of the complaint against the pre-trial incarceration, which was pressed by the attorneys several weeks ago. This means that a higher court responsible for the district court of Wiener Neustadt, namely the Appellate Court of Vienna, will decide on the legality of the pre-trial incarceration based on the records. A new hearing for the accused is not however intended; the complaint against the detention is namely a purely written procedure. Should the Appellate Court come to the decision that the pre-trial detention is unjustified, then all ten of the accused are to be released immediately. If, on the other hand, the complaint against the detention is rejected, then the next examination of the detention will take place in two months, which would be the beginning of September. In other words, the next chance they will be released will be in September after more than four months of pre-trial detention.

The decision of the Appellate Court will be interesting. According to the current state of knowledge as regards the record, the evidence continues to be more than lacking. Some of the purported arsons of the “criminal organization”, which were at first massively spread about in the media, are mentioned in the files only as yet another unsolved “attack” without any connection to the accused. The extent of the property damage, which was originally valued in the media at 800,000 €, has been reduced down to 300,000€, and we must expect that the rough estimation of the prosecution will shrink further as there are no clues to be found in the documents as to the exact composition of this sum. Other crimes allegedly perpetrated by the “criminal organization”, for example a dangerous threat involving the distribution of poisoned toothpaste, have completely disappeared. The previous example illustrates yet again the arbitrariness with which unsolved crimes are randomly tossed together in order to construct a criminal organization. The other crimes mentioned in the files are all in all small potatoes, such as the smashing of a window or spray-painting graffiti, which would fall under local district jurisdiction and would probably be settled out of court without jail time.

There is still no statement from the prosecution as to exactly how the alleged criminal organization is structured such that it falls under §278a of the Criminal Code and thereby also justifies the detentions. The suspicion that the investigations were a shot in the dark, that the evaluation of the evidence brought nothing to light and that the fact that the accused have executed their right to remain silent has led to the accusation that they are not willing to cooperate because they continue to refuse to reveal their passwords and codes for encrypted hard drives and e-mails is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental and constitutionally protected rights are being undermined and political activists are being presented as criminals. Legal activism done over years, such as campaign work, participation in protests, the writing of fliers or the public appearance at podium discussions, is being bent into evidence for supposed criminal actions. The fact that the accused had publicly accessible information about animal enterprises, company management, board members or spokespeople lying around at home is now being interpreted against them as highly suspicious. What is thereby overlooked is that every NGO in the course of a campaign does completely legal research about the relevant public figures and organizations in order to figure out where and in what form protest makes sense and can be effective.

Also the accusation that they tried to shield themselves from criminal investigations could be applied against anyone: of course we use PGP encryption, pre-paid cell phones and turn them off during meetings or leave them at home – who wants to carry a tracking device around with them?

By the way, the German Federal Agency for IT-Security encourages exactly that which would fall under the category of “Shielding against a criminal investigation” to prevent corporate espionage. Moreover, the German Interior Ministry has funded the open source alternative to PGP, GNUPG and its further development for years.

We must assume that law enforcement officials are spying on a large scale – independently from animal rights activism and the accused people along with their political groups and social circle as well as parts of the solidarity structures for the accused – by means of wiretapping and other methods that were recently made legal under a new police law (Telephone and Cell phone eavesdropping, Locating people, determining patterns of movement, evaluating public and private surveillance cameras, internet surveillance, e-mail scanning…).
Thus there are explanations and texts from the legal support team as well as print-outs from no-racism. net and at. indymedia. org in the files.

Furthermore we anticipate that people may soon receive summons to go to the police or the prosecution because the authorities (since they have not received any information from the people being detained) hope for further information to support their fantasies of a criminal organization.

Should this happen, get in touch with the legal support team!

Remaining silent is not only a right but also a political tool to protect our structures and work – get informed about it and apply it!

§278a is being used here just as §129a and b in Germany: to criminalize politically active people, to launch massive investigations against them, to spy and to intimidate. We refuse to let ourselves intimidated, but rather the opposite: the many actions all over the world are part of the wave of solidarity with the 10 people in prison and those also targeted by the house searches.

Everyone out of jail immediately!

Not talking to authorities is a weapon!
We are all §278a!

Jennifer Shaw (38)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 1:00 pm
Signed and noted. Thanks for posting this, Joanna.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 6:50 pm

Rhiannon Myst (602)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 6:52 pm
Joanna noted and signed. thanks for posting all the info you have worked so hard on.

Debbie L (180)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 7:16 pm
Noted and signed, thank you

Darlene K (356)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 11:54 pm
Very noted, and petition was signed, thank you.

Laurel W (20)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 1:37 am

Kirsikka A (107)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 3:29 am
Noted and signed, # 25. Thank you Joanna and Hans for all you do!

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 3:38 am
Noted and Signed Thank you Joanna & Trudi

# 469: 2:50 am PDT, Jul 6, Kathy Chadwell, Indiana
These are Animal activists, not Jewish people but In all reality it's the same thing going on here. One would think Austria would remember that Holocaust. This is the same thing, it started the same way.

Jenny Dooley (830)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 4:42 am
I've signed.

Patti R (211)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 5:11 am
Noted & Signed. Thank you for all that you are doing!

Joanna D (216)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 9:03 am

Date: 04. July 2008

Mag. Stefan Traxler


Spitalmühlgasse 16/3

2340 Mödling

Member of Treuhand – Revision

To whom it may concern

In the early hours of May 21st a police raid against over 20 animal protectionists took place throughout Austria. Ten people were arrested. Over twenty homes and offices, including the office of the VGT (Association against Animal Factories) were searched, mostly by special police squads, which in some cases entered premises by breaking down the door and threatening inhabitants at gun point. Computers, complete with donor data bases, papers, including the book keeping and other items of property were seized and apart from a few exceptions, nothing has yet been returned.

All arrested activists, among them one woman, are still incarcerated. Several prisoners started a hunger strike to protest against these measures. One prisoner remains on hunger strike and is being artificially fed on the prison hospital wing.

The accusation is that, the activists are members of a criminal organisation, a felony according to § 278a Code of Criminal Law, which was created to battle the Mafia or drug cartels. It is now being misused to criminalize legal NGO work.

There have been cases of damage to property in previous years, but the authorities have not even claimed that the detainees committed any of these offences. They instead allege, one single 'criminal organization' is responsible for all offences related to animal rights in Austria and that the arrested people are part of this organization. Neither the police nor the prosecution, nor the judge have given any explanation as to why they think this organization exists or why they believe these individuals are members of it.

The justice and human rights spokespersons of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, the Austrian Green Party and Amnesty international have criticised the actions of the authorities. Huge numbers of worldwide protests have taken place.

It has been inferred by the prosecution that because some of the detainees use PGP to protect their data from unauthorised misuse that they belong to a criminal organization. It is as if one should be regarded as suspicious for locking one's door.

Telephone and email surveillance have been carried out without sufficient justification for this infringement on privacy. However, despite all these investigative measures, the prosecution has nothing more than that.

In an effort to justify this massive operation, the prosecution have already used "incorrectly" translated quotes to make accusations, falsified a statement of a crown witness and fabricated a case of arson. As the defence lawyers are still waiting for full access to the prosecution papers, who knows what else will be revealed?

Due to the mass searches and confiscation of property, of which, some have already been declared unlawful by the Chief Prosecutor, there is no reason to assume that the prisoners could obstruct evidence if set free. Therefore, this ground for detention does not apply. There are no reasons given why the prisoners should carry out any crimes or have planned any.

So, it is not only that sufficient suspicion is lacking, there are also no grounds that would justify remand detention.

In conclusion: The accusations are ill-founded, the actions taken disproportionate and there was no reasonable suspicion for arrests and searches, not to mention the higher level of suspicion necessary for remand detention. As result the defence are taking all legal actions available against these measures.

RA Mag. Stefan Traxler, attorney at law

Joanna D (216)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 9:08 am
We have already 562 signatures - it's not bad as for 24 hours
Thank you Firends for notes, signatures and your comments
Your help is fantastic. Please forward the petition.

Joanna D (216)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 10:32 am
The Right News for Americans (?????):
Together, eco-terrorists and animal rights extremists are one of the most serious domestic terrorism threats in the U.S. today…

Eco-Terrorists And Animal Rights Extremists Targeted
June 30, 2008
Putting Intel To Work Against Elf And Alf Terrorists
In early 2006, eco-terrorist Eric McDavid and two associates met in a secluded cabin in Dutch Flat, California to discuss making improvised explosive devices and to choose targets to bomb. Soon after, they began casing the targeted facilities and buying supplies to make bombs. But before they started mixing the ingredients, we swooped in and arrested them.

How did we know what McDavid was up to? How were we able to prevent attacks that could have caused thousands or millions of dollars in property damage and possibly harmed people?

In a word, intelligence.

Our intelligence—which included the use of an FBI source who was actually with McDavid and his associates inside that California cabin—allowed us to piece together the entire plot ahead of time.

Since 9/11, we have greatly strengthened our ability to identify, collect, analyze, and share intelligence across all of our national security and criminal priorities. And that has carried over into our investigations of violence and terror committed in the name of the environment—as well as of animal rights.

Together, eco-terrorists and animal rights extremists are one of the most serious domestic terrorism threats in the U.S. today…for several good reasons:

The sheer volume of their crimes (over 2,000 since 1979);
The huge economic impact (losses of more than $110 million since 1979);
The wide range of victims (from international corporations to lumber companies to animal testing facilities to genetic research firms); and
Their increasingly violent rhetoric and tactics (one recent communiqué sent to a California product testing company said: “You might be able to protect your buildings, but can you protect the homes of every employee?”).

ELF and ALF are probably the names you’re most familiar with. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are loosely-organized movements whose adherents engage in crimes like arson, fire bombings, vandalism, intimidation, assaults, stalking, etc. No membership dues are necessary—the only way to become a “member” is to engage in “direct action”…criminal activity designed to cause economic loss or destroy the victim company’s operations.

So what are we doing to counter the threat? For one, we’ve mapped our environmental and animal rights extremism cases in order to give our investigators around the country and our executive management a big-picture look at what’s happening and where. We’re also analyzing information from financial records, phone records, and mail…and working to increase our human source reporting. And we’re sharing intelligence with our partners through our Joint Terrorism Task Forces and other investigative endeavors. Sharing info with our partners, particularly at the local level, is crucial because many times they’re the first ones at the crime scene.

We’re also taking advantage of the 2006 revision to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which toughened penalties, created additional protections for people (the original law only covered property damage), and included secondary targets (often times companies that do business with primary targets are themselves targeted).

Our efforts have paid off—since 2005, our investigations have resulted in indictments against 30 individuals.

Of course, fully cognizant of the right to free speech, we investigate all animal rights and environmental extremism cases in strict accordance with the law and our guidelines.

So whatever happened to Eric McDavid? In May, he was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison.

Jim Phillips (3257)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 11:23 am
Petition site: 590 have signed:


Hans L (958)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 2:54 pm
112 noters and 630 signatures. in just 2 days....we should have done this sooner but Care2 did not want to make a huge difference with this activist petition we could have 20.000 plus signatures with a care2 petition!
Its great that the caring members want to make a difference!
Maybe if we are loud enough they will start listening to us!
Lets hope that they will be free chances are not 50/50 but more like 80/20
Austria has huge problems and nobody wants to solve this mess....
The government will do nothing ...the oposition cannot do enough...
No new elections if the OEVP does not want that....
If they are in prison after tomorrow we will need plan B!
Economical sanctions..Boycott!

Joanna D (216)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 5:21 pm
VGT site works!! You can send emails to authorities and sign the vgt petition here:

Sharon Ross (216)
Sunday July 6, 2008, 7:16 pm
Noted & signed petition thank you Joanna & thank you Jim for forwarding this to me.
Sharon, thank you for signing "FREEDOM FOR THE AUSTRIAN ACTIVISTS" You signed at 6:51 PM PDT, Jul 6, 2008. # 677. Total signatures now 680.

Hans L (958)
Monday July 7, 2008, 2:27 am
But did you see that Gusenbauer and Fischer are not listed anymore?
I have written them to ask why lets see if its just a mistake or if
just the two ministers are to get this..i think that nobody will object
if we send the petition also to Austrians most mighty Governors who happen to have much influence on the Austrian Politics...
I have also asked the VGT for inforamtion on when they stop and deliver the petition and if we should combine all the lists or send it seperately...
At the whistleblower site you can read that the Internet Service provider could not be reached...

Internet Attacks against Human Rights Defenders

Vienna / Austria - 06. July 2008 - Since the US American Independence Day this year, the 4th of July, the most important website ( ) for the global networks of Human- and Animal-Rights Defenders demanding the immediate release of 10 innocent detainees in Austria, still remains shut down (see prior info below).

But what seems strange is that the Provider, VIM Internetdienstleistungen GmbH, Reiner Hinterberger - who hosts that website, which is important to get the news and the truth directly in Vienna / Austria, is apparently playing "not reachable".

That a website sometimes for a few hours doesn't resolve can happen, but that the providers are not reachable in such cases for extended times is happening now more and more. Even traditionally free ISPs, who participate in campaigns against data-mining and big-brother ideas, have come recently under such strong pressure that they even do not inform their customers openly any longer about any visit from the state services, but rather play the head-in-sand game. It is high time that clients demand from their ISP a declaration of what security - or better insecurity - is actually provided as well as a declaration of loyalty and honesty to their clients.

Similar attacks had been reported from other networks, which stand against the Austrian Atrocities, and also from internet list-serves, which mostly are infiltrated anyway, since informers - who pose as good-willing supporters - are welcomed and subscribed there mostly without scrutiny.

Unfortunately VGT does not have their website mirrored somewhere, where the long arm of the US-, European- and Austrian-State-Spooks could find it hard to shut down or sabotage the servers.

Truth seekers and supporters, however, still can get the information and situation reports here from WikiLeaks as well as from some other websites - see:

Hans L (958)
Monday July 7, 2008, 2:55 am

Target: Chancellor Gusenbauer, President Heinz Fischer, Minister Fekter and Berger

The undersigned express deep concern at what appears to be an attempt to criminalise the animal advocacy movement
and to stifle the political freedom of those involved in it.

Joanna D (216)
Monday July 7, 2008, 3:43 am
I can't believe - but I just got the message:
"Court decision - remand has been extended. More details to follow."

Hans L (958)
Monday July 7, 2008, 3:50 am
WHy cannot you believe that they have big problems in Austria right now and the 10 activists dont seem to be part of it in the eyes of the government...that is gone this week!

Hans L (958)
Monday July 7, 2008, 6:00 am
I am familiar with the Austrian situation and am listening the Austrian Radio but no news about the activists!

Quo vadis Austria! They are not in the news at all thats the real human right scandal is that the people in Austria do not hear about this people...all the fuzz is about the two large parties...and the health care problem that has caused the end!

Joanna D (216)
Monday July 7, 2008, 10:54 am
all detainees will remain for two month more in prison!
This was decided in today's hearing...

Hans L (958)
Monday July 7, 2008, 10:56 am
I have been listening to austrian news since more than 7 hours and not one word about the activists...they have bad luck because of the political situtation in Austria like before in lets spread some great banners about Austria...I like the Banner about human rights in Austria but we can do better than that....
Ideas like on the page of the Group Zensur here in Care2 ....

Julie-Anne T (13)
Wednesday July 9, 2008, 6:52 pm
Having an Austrian background I could not resist and have singed. Cheers!

Joanna D (216)
Friday July 11, 2008, 4:23 pm
Thanks everybody!!

Joanna D (216)
Friday July 11, 2008, 4:24 pm
Overwhelming Support for the Animal Protection Prisoners
We want to send out heart felt thanks to all those supporting our Austrian animal protection prisoners

Not only have protests taken place outside countless Austrian embassies in the world, but people have also been prepared to take up continued contact with embassy officials to press for explanations about the deeply worrying situation in Austria.
We are enormously grateful that people are taking the time along side their own campaigns, jobs and families to support colleagues so far away.
We know that the vast amount of protest letters being written are starting to cause discomfort for Austrian politicians.

International organisations, scientists, academics, writers and artists have also been active; writing statements to show their disgust at this state repression and their support for the prisoners. Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA reminds us of the following quote in her statement:

.......A Lutheran pastor and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp once said: "First they came and took away the communists and I did nothing because I wasn't a communist. Then they took away the Jews and I did nothing because I wasn't Jewish. Then they took away the unionists and again I did nothing because I wasn't in a union. And then, when they came for me, there was no one there to stop it."

Read the statements of other well-known individuals and organisations.

We look forward to our imprisoned colleagues being able to thank you themselves, but until that day we must continue to sound the alarm about this attack against democracy.
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