The SHAC 7 were convicted on “animal enterprise terrorism” charges for campaigning to shut down a notorious animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Huntingdon Life Sciences has labs in New Jersey and England, and five undercover investigations have shown workers punching beagle puppies in the face, dissecting live monkeys and falsifying scientific data. Activists with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, an international organization, set out to close the lab using tactics similar to the anti-apartheid movement: they pressured business associated with the lab to sever ties, in what the government has called “tertiary targeting.”

The “terrorist” campaign of the SHAC 7 didn’t involve anthrax, pipe bombs, or a plot to hijack an airplane. They ran a website. On that website, they posted news about the campaign — legal actions like protests and illegal actions like stealing animals from labs — and unabashedly supported all of it. Since the federal government has largely been unable catch groups like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, prosecutors went after lawful activists in the spotlight. (For a detailed look at the case: “The World Takes? How corporations and politicians turned animal rights activists into terrorists.”)

The SHAC 7 is a landmark First Amendment case that will test how far the government can push “terrorism” rhetoric in order to pursue a political agenda and silence speech.. The case was heard before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and it is now pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.

The activists were convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The law has since been expanded into the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

Here are some recent articles about the SHAC 7:

What’s At Stake With the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act? (Radio Interview)

I recently interviewed with Dylan Powell about the AETA 4, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, Obama, mainstream media, and DC hardcore. I think it turned out to be one of the most interesting radio discussions I’ve been part of, because Dylan is so well-versed on these issues and we had a great conversation trying to pull […]

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Appellate Court: Encouraging Civil Disobedience is Not Protected Speech

The conviction of the SHAC 7–animal rights activists hit with “terrorism” charges for publishing a website and vocally, unapologetically supporting direct action–has been upheld by a U.S. appellate court. It is a landmark free speech ruling that lowers the threshold of what types of conduct are protected by the First Amendment, and upholds a law […]

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Breaking: SHAC 7 Conviction Upheld

Judgement in the SHAC 7 appeal has just been filed, convictions have been upheld and so has the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Reading it now and will post more soon…

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Animal Rights Activist Jailed at Secretive Prison Gives First Account of Life Inside “CMU”

This morning Andy Stepanian and I were on Democracy Now talking about secretive political prisons called Communications Management Units. Stepanian is believed to be the first inmate ever released from one of the secretive facilities; he is one of the SHAC 7, a group of animal rights activists convicted of “animal enterprise terrorism” for running […]

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“Unravelling the Acronym: Will Potter Exposes the AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act)”

“Animal Voices,” on CIUT 89.5 FM in Toronto, has uploaded their recent show on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. We had a great conversation about the history of the law, recent arrests (the AETA 4), and the implications for animal rights activists, environmental activists, and everyone else. Unravelling the Acronym: Will Potter Exposes the AETA […]

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Secretive U.S. Prison Units Used to House Muslim, Animal Rights and Environmental Activists

Welcome to everyone visiting from Democracy Now, Digg, BoingBoing, Reddit and elsewhere! After you read this article, you can learn more about the Green Scare, and other attacks on civil liberties in the name of fighting “terrorism.” Thank you! The government is using secretive prison facilities on U.S. soil, called Communication Management Units, to house […]

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10 Easy Ways to Be Labeled a “Terrorist” by the Government

I have a guest blog post over at Planetsave, “10 Easy Ways to Be Labeled a ‘Terrorist’ by the Government.” Please check it out, and perhaps leave a comment (and if you like the post, please vote it up on Digg, Reddit or Stumble using the Planetsave links). Thanks very much to Alex Felsinger at […]

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FBI’s 5-Step Process to Criminalize First Amendment Activity as “Terrorism”

The recent FBI arrests of animal rights activists as “terrorists” for chalking sidewalks, protesting and making fliers marks a drastic turning point in the Green Scare, and in the history of this country. The government and corporations are clearly hoping to set a legal precedent for the sweeping power of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. […]

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5 Reasons for Activists to Cover Their Faces at Protests

“If activists have nothing to hide, why are they wearing masks?” I’ve heard that question over and over again. It usually comes in the form of a soundbite from someone affiliated with a corporation, industry or government agency that is attempting to smear lawful activists as “terrorists.” Their reasoning goes something like this: If you […]

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“They are going after the most vocal and public figures, and that’s certainly who the RNC8 were”

I spoke with Tom Elko of the Minnesota Independent about how the government is labeling and prosecuting political activists as terrorists, and some patterns that are emerging between a few of the most well-known cases, including the RNC 8 and the SHAC 7. “They are not going after the people that are doing any alleged […]

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