Andy Stepanian, a convicted felon who served 3 years in federal prison after being convicted on domestic terrorism charges, writes for AOL and the Huffington Post–and hasn’t stopped threatening opponents with violence.
Stepanian’s HuffPo biography notes that “Andy and 5 others were charged and convicted as terrorists for their activism,” but casts him as the hero of a “landmark free speech case” and a survivor of “Guantanamo North.”
Here is how the often left-of-center Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described Stepanian’s involvement in animal rights terrorism against a research firm called Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), as part of a group called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC):
May 2004: Federal agents in New York, New Jersey, California and Washington arrested seven people at their homes in connection with their SHAC activities. Spokesperson Kevin Kjonaas was apprehended in Pinole, California, as were Lauren Gazzola, whom the indictment identified as SHAC’s campaign coordinator, and Jacob Conroy. Darius Fullmer and John McGee were arrested in New Jersey. Andrew Stepanian, a member of the Animal Defense League, an animal rights group that works with SHAC, was arrested at his Long Island, New York, home. In Seattle, Joshua Harper, a self-described anarchist and SHAC activist, was arrested as well. The indictment against the so-called “SHAC 7” alleges that the defendants encouraged harassment and intimidation of HLS employees and tried to force the company out of business through acts of vandalism, stalking and computer hacking as well as e-mail blitzes, telephone calls and faxes. The indictment further charged that SHAC targeted employees and shareholders, as well as companies that provided services to HLS, by posting personal information on its Web sites and encouraging followers to “operate outside the confines of the legal system.”
Stepanian now claims to have been a “political prisoner,” and has joined the Scott Crows and Lisa Fithians of the world to defend radical tactics in political organizing. He has been involved in organizing the communist and anarchist groups that came together in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and his Sparrow Media organization is currently promoting a book entitled The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.
Unsurprisingly, Stepanian seems to hold a grudge against the men and women of the FBI–and others, like myself, who work with law enforcement to hold his leftist and anarchist comrades to the same laws and standards the rest of us have to obey in our democratic society.
In a recent Twitter exchange, Stepanian let his opinions fly–and issued violent threats in the process.
Stepanian began tweeting from his organization’s Twitter account, @SparrowMedia, about the new Citizens United film, Occupy Unmasked, whose announcement and trailer were featured at CPAC 2012 last week.
I re-tweeted, and Stepanian reacted angrily and profanely–with an implied threat:
Stepanian escalated his threat, explicitly saying that he would use violence:
When I responded, Stepanian tried to walk his threat back, claiming that he wouldn’t use violence because I am a parent–implying that he would use violence against someone who is not:
He repeated that claim later in the day–admitting to the desire to use violence, and purporting to care about my family:
Stepanian later apologized to his Twitter followers, claiming he had lost his temper because he had been a “political prisoner”:
I understand why Stepanian might not like the FBI. I understand why AOL/HuffPo would host a blog written by a convicted domestic terrorist–all sins are forgiven on the left. But Stepanian was not a “political prisoner,” and his threats are a reminder of why he went to prison in the first place.