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by Todd Swindell
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2001 at 8:31 AM
firstname.lastname@example.org (415) 864-6686 1884 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94102
Even if you hate ACT UP San Francisco, this should scare the hell out of you. The FBI and the all too powerful and profitable AID$ industry are going after activists. If you don't think this creates precedent to silence all direct-action civil liberties activists, we are all doomed.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 9, 2001
Contact: Todd Swindell (415) 637-HOMO
Michael Bellefountaine (415) 864-6686
UCSF Calls in FBI to Stop ACT UP
UCSF HIV Researchers, San Francisco City Officials Met with FBI, File
Domestic Terrorist Charges
San Francisco - Local Gay leaders and staff of the University of California
at San Francisco (UCSF) met with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
officials and urged the agency to take action against AIDS activists Michael
Petrelis and David Pasquarelli, according to evidence recently secured by
their attorneys. Petrelis and Pasquarelli are being held on an outrageously
high bail of 0,000 each, stemming from a series of phone calls allegedly
made by the two.
Papers obtained from prosecutors by defense attorneys Mark Vermeulen and
Stuart Blumstein show a meeting was held with officials from UCSF, the
Mayor's AIDS Office and the FBI on November 19, 2001 to discuss ACT UP San
Francisco. A week earlier, on November 13, an official complaint of domestic
terrorism was filed with the FBI by meeting attendee and UCSF AIDS researcher
Stephen Morin, former aide to Minority Whip Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca). Memos
from Morin outline a plan to apply the domestic terrorism clause of the
Anti-Terrorism Act to ACT UP SF as early as October 25, 2001, before it was
even signed into law.
A number of people attended the meeting including gay gadfly and UCSF media
representative Jeff Sheehy and the Mayor's AIDS Policy Advisor, Michael
Shriver, a former member of ACT UP San Francisco. Shriver was a member of
the group in the late eighties and was involved in a number of controversial
protests including shutting down the Golden Gate Bridge and the storming of
San Francisco's Opera House on opening night.
"What is more outrageous?" asked ACT UP member Karl Goldman, "That people who
shut down the Golden Gate Bridge and attacked people at the Opera would now
be calling other activists terrorists, or that the San Francisco gay
community and UCSF are actively working as informants for the FBI? This is a
dangerous precedent that will be used to stop all activists."
Activists are quick to point out that though there are records of meetings
and phone calls to the FBI, there was no evidence turned over to corroborate
allegations of stalking, harassing or threatening people, including children,
violating a restraining order, or most importantly, that there was a bomb
threat called into the San Francisco Chronicle. The activists maintain they
are innocent of all charges and look forward to proving their case in court.
ACT UP San Francisco members have long been targets of UCSF, and a few
prominent gay leaders, because of their stance that HIV cannot be the sole
cause of AIDS and that AIDS drugs are toxic. Petrelis, who believes HIV is
the cause of AIDS and is on AIDS medication, has been a sharp and vocal
critic of local AIDS agencies' lack of financial accountability to the gay
community they profess to serve. Petrelis' health has deteriorated since his
incarceration, including an alarming incident where he was rushed to the jail
medical ward for an AIDS related illness.
"It's frightening that the recent tragedy on September 11th is being
exploited by UCSF," stated ACT UP member Michael Bellefountaine. "Its
outrageous that UCSF experiments on the gay community, and then when gay
activists criticize those experiments, they have them arrested, call them
terrorists, and investigated by the FBI."
ACT UP San Francisco
1884 Market Street * San Francisco, California 94102
Phone: (415) 864-6686 * Fax: (415) 864-6687 * www.actupsf.com
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