Charges: Ex-animal rights activist caught with machine gun

[It takes all kinds. The things done to animals for product testing could make anyone crazy. Still, If they want to find arsenals, they'd should check the homes of poachers and other hunters.]

By Levi Pulkkinen, staff   Apr 23, 2014

SEATTLE – A onetime radical animal rights activist now faces federal gun charges after investigators claim he was caught bragging to an informant about his “baby” – a machine gun.

Previously caught hacking a phone line to harass a pharmaceutical company executive, Nathan Brasfield is alleged to have shown a fully automatic rifle to an FBI informant while offering to sell the man pistols. Brasfield, 35, was arrested Tuesday after the FBI searched his Lake Forest Park home and seized the suspected machine gun.

Investigators contend Brasfield, a nine-time felon, was caught on tape expounding on his right to possess the modified weapon, which he kept loaded in a hallway closet at his home.

“I still have the legal right to possess and bear firearms, guaranteed to me by the Constitution no matter what the (expletive) government says about it,” Brasfield was caught on tape telling the informant, according to charging papers.

First convicted of property crimes at age 20, Brasfield was dubbed a political prisoner in radical animal rights circles in 2003 after he was caught sending “black faxes” opposed to a former executive of a firm that tested drugs on animals.

The faxes, sent from a Tukwila phone line Brasfield had broken into, targeted a Kirkland man who previously directed the pharmaceutical testing firm. At the time, the man was drawing fire from the Animal Liberation Front, an animal rights group opposed to testing on animals and meat production whose members engaged in burglaries, arson and sabotage.

Sentenced to a year in state prison for breaking into the phone line, Brasfield was caught with stolen checks, computers and construction equipment in 2011.

A Seattle police detective searching the Lake City home described an “enormous” number of tools scattered around the home; Brasfield claimed he was working as a computer consultant and electrical contractor. Most of the items appeared to have been taken in burglaries in and around Bellevue.

Brasfield ultimately pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property and was sentenced to three months on work release.

As currently charged, Brasfield faces up to a decade in prison if convicted. He could face even more prison time, though, if investigators’ suspicions that his short-barreled rifle was fully automatic prove true following tests by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Writing the court, an FBI special agent said an informant first claimed to have seen Brasfield with the automatic rifle in July 2012.

According to the informant’s account, Brasfield said he wanted to show the informant “something cool” and pulled a rifle from the trunk of his Mercedes sedan. The informant said Brasfield explained he’d modified the weapon to allow for automatic fire.

Federal law heavily restricts access to automatic weapons. Though they look nearly identical on the outside, essentially all AR-15-style or AK-47-style rifles sold to civilians are semi-automatic. As a convicted felon, of course, Brasfield wasn’t allowed to possess even a musket.

During that early interaction with the informant, Brasfield explained he believed the Second Amendment meant the government couldn’t keep him away from firearms, the Seattle-based special agent said in court papers. Brasfield is alleged to have discussed shooting the machine gun on properties in Kitsap and Snohomish counties.

In February 2013, the informant met Brasfield at a Kenmore home where he was then living. Brasfield had apparently forgotten he’d shown the rifle to the informant previously, the FBI agent said, and did so again.

“Did I ever show you my, my, my baby?” Brasfield is alleged to have told the wire-wearing informant as he pulled a Vector Arms .223 cal. rifle from a closet.

“That’s my home defense weapon,” he continued, according to charging papers. “If somebody’s gonna break in here, out in the middle of nowhere … they’re not gonna find the body.”

Brasfield is alleged to have gone on to regale the informant with a host of other firearms crimes he claimed to have committed.

According to the FBI agent’s statement, Brasfield claimed to have made silencers and shortened the machine gun’s barrel so he could carry it under a coat. Investigators contend Brasfield had a pistol and rifle modified to accept silencers.

Brasfield is also alleged to have explained he was able to buy “door-breaching” shotgun ammunition and armor-piercing rifle rounds online despite his criminal history. Apparently, his seller didn’t bother with background checks.

Early this month, Lake Forest Park police received a report that Brasfield was growing marijuana in the basement of his home there. FBI agents searched the home on Tuesday and arrested Brasfield.

Agents recovered the Vector Arms rifle as well as two handguns, including a Fabrique Nationale Herstal pistol designed to penetrate body armor, according to charging papers. Also seized were a rifle scope and several flash suppressors, as well as boxes of ammunition.

On initial inspection, the rifle appeared to be shorter than allowed under federal law, the agent said in court papers. The ATF will now examine the weapon to determine whether it is in fact a machine gun.

Brasfield appeared Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court at Seattle. He is expected to return to court next Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.

Quebec hunters prevented from harvesting Labrador caribou

by Derek Montague
Published on April 22, 2014

Hunters were going after threatened Mealy Mountains herd: source

A group of Innu hunters from the Quebec North Shore were recently prevented from illegally hunting the threatened Mealy Mountains caribou herd in Labrador, according to a source.

A Labrador woodland caribou is shown. Some herds are considered threatened, such as the Mealy Mountains herd. — Photo courtesy of the provincial wildlife division

The 10 or so hunters were headed to the Birchy Lakes area, about 150 kilometres away from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, when wildlife officers stopped them.

The incident happened earlier this month.

Considered threatened

According to a 2009 publication from the Department of Environment and Conservation, the Mealy Mountains herd was estimated at just 2,500 animals and considered threatened under the provincial Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.

Quebec hunters crossing the Labrador border to hunt caribou illegally is a problem that stretches back several years.

Back in 2007, two Quebec men from Pakua Shipi Innu were fined $18,000 each for killing caribou from the Mealy Mountains herd.

Serious problem

Former Labrador wildlife officer Hollis Yetman recalls how serious the problem was in the early 2000s, when caribou poaching near the Quebec-Labrador border was common.

“(The hunting) was significant. In 2003, there was endangered species legislation enacted and that was the catalyst for wildlife officers to have some strength and some backbone … that they could officially charge aboriginals for hunting these threatened caribou herds,” said Yetman.

Protected by wildlife officers

“If it wasn’t for a small, core group of wildlife officers that have had continuity protecting these herds for the past 10-15 years, I would say that the population would be far less than what they are now.”

Yetman is worried a few undetected hunts will be all that’s needed to decimate the Mealy Mountains herd and other woodland caribou.

“Basically, the Department of Justice keeps its eyes over these woodland caribou herds. Right now they’re doing a good job with their limited surveillance. (But) it only takes one or two undetected hunts by anyone and you will cause serious population problems with these herds,” said Yetman.

“The numbers are that sensitive.”

Yetman also feels that conservation efforts are also held up too much by the notion of aboriginal hunting rights.

“I think that the aboriginal right overshadows the need to protect these caribou a lot of the time,” said Yetman.

“The only thing keeping some of these caribou alive is the dedication of two or three of the wildlife officers who keep an eye on them.”

TC Media requested an interview with Justice Minister Darin King, but there was no response by press time, as government offices were closed Monday.

TC media was also been unsuccessful at reaching Pakua Shipi Chief Dennis Mestenapeo.

Earth Day: Now With 95 Percent More People!

by Stephanie Feldstein Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological Diversity


Forty-four years ago, students, activists and political leaders looked at the impact human population was having on the world around them and decided something needed to be done. Earth Day was born, and the modern environmental movement wasn’t far behind.

Since then, there have been a lot more births. Billions more. In the 44 years since the first Earth Day, our population has increased by nearly 95 percent (and we still add 227,000 people to the planet each day).

That’s more people using more land and water, eating more meat, paving more wild places, demanding more energy and producing more climate-changing emissions. More cars and more consumerism; more trash and more pollution.

The one thing we don’t have more of: Earth

We still only have one planet. Though you wouldn’t know it by the way we live our lives, especially here in the U.S. In fact, if everyone in the world lived like Americans, it would take 4.4 Earths to sustain the planet. Unfortunately, among all those Earth Day sales for yard accessories, eco-friendly t-shirts and other mass-produced “green” products, you won’t find a single spare Earth on clearance.

There are a few things this Earth Day has less of than the first celebration 44 years ago. Most notably absent are the conversations about our runaway population growth and overconsumption, what it’s doing to wildlife and the environment, and what we need to do about it if we’re really going to save the planet… and ourselves.

It’s time to go retro on Earth Day. There were 3.7 billion people on the planet for the first Earth Day in 1970, and one of the biggest concerns then was that our growing population was destroying the planet and driving other species to extinction. Now that we have 7.2 billion people on the planet, the one thing we need more of is concern about human population and the extinction crisis.

The Center for Biological Diversity is bringing population back to Earth Day this year by giving away 44,000 Endangered Species Condoms in honor of the 44th anniversary of the celebration. More than 500 volunteers across all 50 states will be bringing the condoms to Earth Day festivals, parties and other community events to get more people talking about the issue that inspired the original Earth Day.

Doing your part is even easier than remembering to bring your reusable tote bag to the grocery store. Start by having the conversation. Share this blog post and the video below. Join us on Facebook. Sign up to be an Endangered Species Condoms volunteer. Check out our Earth Day Event Toolkit for information and downloadable fact sheets. Write a letter to the editor. Next time your friends and family are talking about organic food, climate change or their other favorite environmental issue, add population growth to mix.

We can’t create more Earth by the next Earth Day, but we can raise more awareness about population growth and commit to leaving more room for wildlife.

Self-entitlement—on steroids

Talk about a bad case of self-entitlement—when it comes to wildlife, Idaho hunters give new meaning to the words. Ever since wolves were removed from the endangered species list, hunters in Idaho have been making a federal case of the fact that their “game” is feeding wild predators (as nature intended).

Meanwhile, you hear next to nothing about poachers, who take a bigger bite of the “resource” than wolves ever could. Their reaction to poaching seems to be: “Why get excited about that? At least they’re humans like us.”

To challenge poaching is to challenge all human entitlement to prey species who here long before humans even set foot on this continent.

It’s another case of the “it’s all here for us” mentality—on steroids.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

Carrboro police looking for people illegally hunting squirrels

Apr 09, 2014 9:49 AM PDT <em class=”wnDate”>Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:49 PM EDT</em>Updated: Apr 09, 2014 9:49 AM PDT <em class=”wnDate”>Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:49 PM EDT</em>

 [This is just killing for killing's sake--no two ways about it.]

CARRBORO, N.C. – Carrboro police are asking for help in located people who are reportedly hunting squirrels from within their car in town limits.

Police say the people are described as males and one is reported to be armed with rifle. It is not known if the rifle is a firearm or an air rifle.

Hunting and the discharging of firearms or air guns are not permitted within the Town of Carrboro.

Police say incidents have been reported in the North Greensboro Street area and the Westbrook Drive area.

Police have provided descriptions of two vehicles that may be involved. The first vehicle is described as a green Honda sedan and the second vehicle is described as a silver Acura RSX.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Action Alert: Support Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014

Originally posted on Howling For Justice:

Speak For Wolves Brett Haverstick

April 21, 2014

Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 will take place on June 28-29 at Arch Park in Gardiner, Montana. It’s an opportunity for the American people to unite and demand wildlife management reform and take an important step towards restoring our national heritage. Approximately, 3,000 gray wolves have been killed in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes region in the short time they were wrongfully stripped of protections under the Endangered Species Act.
Please consider supporting this national event by making a donation through the website (live link it to
Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 is a 2-day festival-type event with prominent speakers, live music, food vendors, wildlife photography, children’s activities and more. The event aims to be educational, inspirational and non-confrontational. Arch Park is a public space just outside the gates of the northwest entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Hope you can join us!

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Poll: Religion Trumps Belief in Big Bang Theory for Most Americans

This type of willful ignorance does not bode well for the animals or the Earth. If most people don’t “believe in” evolution or climate change, how long will it take to convince them that we are animals and we must curb greenhouse gasses?


Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they express bigger doubts as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time, an Associated Press-GfK poll found.

Americans have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago.

Rather than quizzing scientific knowledge, the survey asked people to rate their confidence in several statements about science and medicine.

On some, there’s broad acceptance. Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there’s a genetic code inside our cells. More — 15 percent — have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines.

About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory.

Those results depress and upset some of America’s top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts.

“Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts,” said 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine winner Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley.

The poll highlights “the iron triangle of science, religion and politics,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

And scientists know they’ve got the shakiest leg in the triangle.

To the public “most often values and beliefs trump science” when they conflict, said Alan Leshner, chief executive of the world’s largest scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts.”

Political values were closely tied to views on science in the poll, with Democrats more apt than Republicans to express confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change.

Religious values are similarly important.

Confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change decline sharply as faith in a supreme being rises, according to the poll. Likewise, those who regularly attend religious services or are evangelical Christians express much greater doubts about scientific concepts they may see as contradictory to their faith.

“When you are putting up facts against faith, facts can’t argue against faith,” said 2012 Nobel Prize winning biochemistry professor Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University. “It makes sense now that science would have made no headway because faith is untestable.”

But evolution, the age of the Earth and the Big Bang are all compatible with God, except to Bible literalists, said Francisco Ayala, a former priest and professor of biology, philosophy and logic at the University of California, Irvine. And Darrel Falk, a biology professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and an evangelical Christian, agreed, adding: “The story of the cosmos and the Big Bang of creation is not inconsistent with the message of Genesis 1, and there is much profound biblical scholarship to demonstrate this.”

Beyond religious belief, views on science may be tied to what we see with our own eyes. The closer an issue is to our bodies and the less complicated, the easier it is for people to believe, said John Staudenmaier, a Jesuit priest and historian of technology at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Marsha Brooks, a 59-year-old nanny who lives in Washington, D.C., said she’s certain smoking causes cancer because she saw her mother, aunts and uncles, all smokers, die of cancer. But when it comes to the universe beginning with a Big Bang or the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, she has doubts. She explained: “It could be a lack of knowledge. It seems so far” away.

Jorge Delarosa, a 39-year-old architect from Bridgewater, N.J., pointed to a warm 2012 without a winter and said, “I feel the change. There must be a reason.” But when it came to Earth’s beginnings 4.5 billion years ago, he has doubts simply because “I wasn’t there.”

Experience and faith aren’t the only things affecting people’s views on science. Duke University’s Lefkowitz sees “the force of concerted campaigns to discredit scientific fact” as a more striking factor, citing significant interest groups — political, business and religious — campaigning against scientific truths on vaccines, climate change and evolution.

Yale’s Leiserowitz agreed but noted sometimes science wins out even against well-financed and loud opposition, as with smoking.

Widespread belief that smoking causes cancer “has come about because of very public, very focused public health campaigns,” AAAS’s Leshner said. A former acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Leshner said he was encouraged by the public’s acceptance that mental illness is a brain disease, something few believed 25 years ago, before just such a campaign.

That gives Leiserowitz hope for a greater public acceptance of climate change. But he fears it may be too late to do anything about it.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted March 20-24, 2014, using KnowledgePanel, GfK’s probability-based online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. It involved online interviews with 1,012 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and were later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.

— Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Agiesta, The Associated Press

A (trophy animal) picture is worth a thousand (angry, violent) words

Exposing the Big Game:

I understand and agree with much of what this article is saying, but as hunters are fond of reminding us, don’t judge us all because of the acts (or words) of a few “bad eggs.” I too am disgusted by some of the comments from a few passionate folks who are reacting to acts of animal cruelty. Apparently some of them haven’t heard of setting examples. At the same time, though, I’m continually amazed by some of the intelligent, spot on points that people make. The vile comments just diminish the impact of profound comments, making us all sound like a bunch of hypocritical wackos by association.

Originally posted on Animal Blawg:


From Huffington Post; click image for article & original photo credit

Kathleen Stachowski    Other Nations

One woman (sporting a Safari Club International cap), one gun, one dead giraffe. One pump-my-ego photo posted and then shared hundreds of times on animal rights Facebook pages, generating thousands of sad or angry comments.

Many–distressingly many–of the responses to these vile, celebratory trophy photos are vile and violent themselves. When the killer is a woman, the comments can also be terribly misogynistic: “Stupid brainless b*tch!” “This fat ugly b*tch should be shot!” “Shoot this b*tch!” 

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