Penokee Defender to Stand Trial, Struggle Against Wisconsin Open-Pit Mine Continues

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from Earth First! Newswire

Iron County Judge Patrick Madden ordered activist Katie (Krow) Kloth to stand trial for robbery and theft charges connected to a June 11 action in which a group of activists occupied the Gogebic-Taconite (G-Tac) test drilling site.

The planned G-Tac mine is a 22-mile open-pit taconite mine in the headwaters of the Bad River and Kakagon Sloughs, also known as Wisconsin’s Everglades.

Amidst an unusually full court, Judge Madden heard the testimony of Stacy Saari, a G-Tac employee. Describing Krow as “the lead protester” at the action, Saari gave her account of the June protest that included around 20 activists and successfully delayed drilling.

 

Saari testified that Krow (who was wearing a mask at the time) shouted obscenities and yelled ceaselessly for hours. At one point, Saari testified, Krow declared her wish that the mining employees would burn in Hell or kill themselves.

Both the protestors and Saari began to video-tape the scene, according to Saari, and in an altercation Krow took Saari’s video camera. Saari stated that she received scratches on her wrist, but did not require medical attention. She further testified (falsely) that protestors climbed on the $1 million-plus drill rig wielding pick axes and throwing pop cans and large jugs of water.

The defense attorney’s cross-examination revealed that Krow had climbed onto a water tank, there were no weapons, and that Saari eventually got her camera back.

After the protest, mine spokespeople rushed to label the protest “Al-Qaeda eco-terrorism.”

In the G-Tac-fueled hysteria that ensued, armed paramilitary guards brandishing assault rifles and camo fatigues were posted in the woods to defend the hugely unpopular mine.

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A June statement issued by Krow declares, “Those who fight against the destruction of the water, land, plants, and human and non-human animals of the Penokee Hills and Bad River Watershed are not ‘terrorists.’ The only terrorists are those who plot to blow up the hills with ammonium nitrate and use the power of the state’s policing apparatus to repress and send fear and division through the communities that oppose them.”

“Earth is our home and we must act to defend it. Regardless of the diversity of tactics that will be used, we need to show solidarity with all who strive to stop the Penokee mine, and focus on just that, stopping the Penokee mine.”

The Penokee Defenders have set up a support fund for Krow (click here). On their site, they explain, “We must support all those that suffer from state repression for protecting the water! ‘No mine’ means supporting those that defend the land!”

The Department of Natural Resources is currently taking comments about the Republican-fueled mining law revisions that would allow G-Tac to blow the largest open-pit mine in the US in Wisconsin.

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