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the strange case of artist Steve Kurtz -- accused of "terrorism"

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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:25 PM
Original message
the strange case of artist Steve Kurtz -- accused of "terrorism"
just got this e-mail over the transom...FYI...

May 25, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FBI ABDUCTS ARTIST, SEIZES ART
Feds Unable to Distinguish Art from Bioterrorism
Grieving Artist Denied Access to Deceased Wife's Body

DEFENSE FUND ESTABLISHED - HELP URGENTLY NEEDED

Steve Kurtz was already suffering from one tragedy when he called 911
early in the morning to tell them his wife had suffered a cardiac
arrest and died in her sleep. The police arrived and, cranked up on the rhetoric of the "War on Terror," decided Kurtz's art supplies were actually bioterrorism weapons.

Thus began an Orwellian stream of events in which FBI agents abducted
Kurtz without charges, sealed off his entire block, and confiscated his computers, manuscripts, art supplies... and even his wife's body.

Like the case of Brandon Mayfield, the Muslim lawyer from Portland
imprisoned for two weeks on the flimsiest of false evidence, Kurtz's
case amply demonstrates the dangers posed by the USA PATRIOT Act coupled with government-nurtured terrorism hysteria.

Kurtz's case is ongoing, and, on top of everything else, Kurtz is
facing a mountain of legal fees. Donations to his legal defense can be made at http://www.rtmark.com/CAEdefense /

FEAR RUN AMOK

Steve Kurtz is Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the
State University of New York's University at Buffalo, and a member of the internationally-acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble.

Kurtz's wife, Hope Kurtz, died in her sleep of cardiac arrest in the
early morning hours of May 11. Police arrived, became suspicious of Kurtz's art supplies and called the FBI.

Within hours, FBI agents had "detained" Kurtz as a suspected
bioterrorist and cordoned off the entire block around his house. (Kurtz walked away the next day on the advice of a lawyer, his "detention" having proved to be illegal.) Over the next few days, dozens of agents in hazmat suits, from a number of law enforcement agencies, sifted through Kurtz's work,
analyzing it on-site and impounding computers, manuscripts, books, equipment, and even his wife's body for further analysis. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Health Department condemned his house as a health risk.

Kurtz, a member of the Critical Art Ensemble, makes art which addresses the politics of biotechnology. "Free Range Grains," CAE's latest project,included a mobile DNA extraction laboratory for testing food products for possible transgenic contamination. It was this equipment which triggered the Kafkaesque chain of events.

FBI field and laboratory tests have shown that Kurtz's equipment was
not used for any illegal purpose. In fact, it is not even _possible_ to use this equipment for the production or weaponization of dangerous germs. Furthermore, any person in the US may legally obtain and possess such equipment.

"Today, there is no legal way to stop huge corporations from putting
genetically altered material in our food," said Defense Fund
spokeswoman Carla Mendes. "Yet owning the equipment required to test for the presence of 'Frankenfood' will get you accused of 'terrorism.' You can be illegally detained by shadowy government agents, lose access to your home, work, and belongings, and find that your recently deceased spouse's body has been taken away for 'analysis.'"

Though Kurtz has finally been able to return to his home and recover
his wife's body, the FBI has still not returned any of his equipment,
computers or manuscripts, nor given any indication of when they will. The case remains open.

HELP URGENTLY NEEDED

A small fortune has already been spent on lawyers for Kurtz and other
Critical Art Ensemble members. A defense fund has been established at
http://www.rtmark.com/CAEdefense / to help defray the legal costs which will continue to mount so long as the investigation continues.
Donations go directly to the legal defense of Kurtz and other Critical Art Ensemble members. Should the funds raised exceed the cost of the legal defense, any remaining money will be used to help other artists in need.

To make a donation, please visit http://www.rtmark.com/CAEdefense /

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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. morning kick...
n/t
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
2. another kick
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. thanks, Truthspeaker!
n/t
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