From: Tony Conrad (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jul 04 2010 - 07:41:35 PDT
Though I have a certain reluctance to taunt the dragon, I will say this.
As a Buffalo artist myself I have been depressed to see how the wheels of
"justice" have turned there. The local FBI office was responsible for uncovering
the "Lackawanna Six", the ONLY "sleeper cell" convicted in the US! Here's my
approximation of what happened: This was a group of boys from the poor Yemeni
enclave south of Buffalo who were enthused, by one among them, to take a trip to
Afghanistan, where they fell into a paramilitary training regimen, and several
decided more or less immediately they wanted to go home. But the FBI office
managed to terrorize all of them with the threat of jail, and everyone PLEA
BARGAINED to ten-year sentences! No trials.
Greatly pumped up by this awesome triumph, the FBI office subsequently stumbled
onto my colleague Steve Kurtz's micro-organisms, and the "Aha! We've got ANOTHER
one!" temptation was irresistible for them. Of course terrorism was the furthest
thing from Steve's project, and the whole premise of terrorist microbe attacks
went down the drain pretty quickly. But the FBI office was not to be found with
egg on its face, so it hammered home a petty and irksome charge of "mail fraud"
against Steve, threatening up to 20 years in prison, which was the best they
could muster. This charge was of course ultimately dismissed (after painful &
costly moves by Steve and his artist-community supporters).
After this nasty skirmish with the artists, the FBI office no doubt has it in for
us. So now Larry -- who's among the most visible, active, and supportive artists
in Buffalo. But didn't Steve's case show that these phony prosecutions are
worthless? Far from it! The Buffalo office head was promoted by the Obama
administration to a hi-profile post in Washington.
Rah for the U.S.-SSR on Independence Day!
On Sun 07/04/10 10:13 AM , Bernard Roddy email suppressed sent:
> I'd love to know more about this case than the defense fund site
> provides but understand that in the interest of the defence it is
> probably not going to be made available. Buffalo's reputation for
> exceptional media art turns on the courage of artists like Brose,
> whose struggle with official ignorance follows closely on the case
> against Steve Kurtz. And it is with such cases in mind that I become
> more and more convinced of the need for serious challenges to the way
> in which higher education approaches art and art history. The
> mention of Brose brings to mind an essay by the experimental film
> critic Laura U. Marks on Brose, Ahwesh, Hoolboom, and Hammer ("Loving
> a Disappearing Image" I think it's called) which will remind us of the
> context in which these charges are being brought. Child pornography
> is to be rejected as completely unacceptable, but what we have here
> is most definitely another lousy understanding of art.
> > His legal defense will be a crucial, precedent-setting case. It is
> very expensive, and a fund has been set up to help pay for it:
> > http://lawrencebroselegaldefensefund.com/
> > Please help!
> > Thank you.
> > David Finkelstein
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