Heal Our Planet Earth
World Tour for Earth

Anthony Marr's CARE-7 tour blog #19 - 28 May 2010

S.E. Louisiana and N.W. Florida

Earlier today, I posted "Tony The Tiger may have saved Anthony Marr from the FBI, the Louisiana sheriff and the New Orleans police" on various sites. Now it is time for the explanation.

Before going into the incident, I'd like to say that as a Canadian visitor I bear no ill will towards American law enforcement agencies and officers in their quest to safeguard Americans from potential foreign terroristic threats, and these include the FBI and the CIA. I recall that in the summer of 2001, months, weeks and days before September 11, CIA's Richard Clarke persistently warned the then President George W. Bush through the PDBs (President's Daily Briefs), and directly the then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, that a catastrophic attack by Al Qaeda on American soil was imminent, likely using airliners as missiles, and likely in the New York area, and likewise the then Attorney General John Ashcroft by FBI's Tom Pickard. Bush, Rice and Ashcroft summarily and repeatedly disregarded the warnings, leaving America wide open to the 9/11 attack. And even afterward, they launched their "War On Terror" against Iraq rather than Al Qaeda. The almost incomprehensible idiocy of the then top American leadership was directly responsible for the loss of more than 3,000 lives. The only thing that was even harder to understand was that Bush and gang was put back into office for a second term. My question about its wisdom, or lack thereof, I have nowhere else to put but to the American people.

Bearing this in mind, I do not take personal offense to the incident on May 26 near New Orleans, which took up 2 unpleasant hours of my time, though I do feel that the 2-hours-X-5 of one New Orleans policeman, two Iberish Parish sheriffs, and two FBI agents could have been better spent.

It was a no-event day, and I took the opportunity to go to Venice southeast of New Orleans to check out the oil spill situation for myself. Being a camera nut, I snapped away at anything and everything that caught my attention, including a cemetery with above-ground graves in the city,

an F-18 jet-fighter mounted outside the Naval Air Reserve,

an elephant statue,

and, along Hwy 23, a Chevron oil refinery and a Conoco oil refinery.

Shortly after the Conoco refinery, just past noon, I saw flashing blue lights behind me, said "uh oh" to myself, and pulled off the road. The police car's loud speaker began blaring away, saying, "DRIVER, GET OUT OF THE CAR WITH ARMS EXTENDED, AND STAND NEXT TO THE REAR OF YOUR VEHICLE!" While I was doing so, the policeman remained in his cruiser behind tinted windshield and windows, and not until I was in place did he emerge. He was civil enough, and asked me to produce my driver's license and vehicle registration. I went back to the car to get the documents, and was watched with eagle eyes.

After I had produced the documents, he said that I was seen taking pictures of the refineries and that I had to delete them on the spot. I did so, with him standing behind me, looking at the LCD screen. I said back to him pointedly, "Do you want me to delete the pictures of the cemetery and the F-18 and the elephant statue as well? Are they too a matter of national security?" He said no, and told me that I could get back into my car to chill. "It's too hot to stand around outside," he said, and went back into his.

Well, chill or not, three quarters of an hour of waiting could cause anyone to lose his cool, though I managed to maintain mine, just. Meanwhile, I called Catherine to brief her on this. Finally, the police car door opened, and the policeman came to my car, this time asking for my middle name and my passport. He said, "Just a check. Shouldn't take more than 10 minutes," then walked back to his car and closed the door. Half an hour past, and I called Catherine again, speculating that the cop was probably waiting for a tow truck to show up to tow the Green Hornet away. Soon, instead of a tow truck, a sheriff car showed up, and pulled alongside the police car. The sheriff got out and entered the passenger side of the police vehicle. Both officers were black. I called Catherine again to let her know about this new development. Minutes later, another sheriff car showed up and parked behind the other two. A white female officer emerged, and the three talked through an open window of the police car. I called Catherine again to update her, and this time, she called Anthony Damiano to ask for his input. I told Catherine to tell Anthony not to call me, since that would show his phone number in my cell phone. Soon, the female sheriff departed, but before long a civilian car pulled up, and a big bald white man looking like a pro-wrestler got out and the policeman and the sheriff got out of the cop car to join him. Moments later, another civilian car arrived, and a younger but equally beefy white man got out to join the three.

I called Catherine again. Finally, the first white man came to my car and asked me to get out to join them, and the half-hour interrogation began, going right back into my work history and educational background. I answered him as plainly as I could, staying just short of using the term "animal rights activist". My having a physics degree and had worked in the mining and environmental industries seemed to impress him. What he showed was skepticism as to whether I was who and what I said I was. I asked him whether it was against the law to take pictures of the oil refineries. He said no, but that my being on the FBI database made the act ominous. I told him that though I was officially retired, my current passion was saving the tiger species from extinction, and that I had been to India three times to work in three tigers reserves to this end, which made me a "wildlife conservationist", a label that even hunters claim for themselves. He showed further skepticism, saying that there was no proof to this claim. True enough, my passport had been renewed, and the old stamps from India were not there. He then said that he would have to look through my car. Nothing I could do to stop him doing that, but it clicked in my mind that in the trunk were all the AR posters from previous funeral motorcades, which were overtly animal rights, which would brand me as an AR activist, thus indeed a "domestic terrorist" in his book, the very label foremost in his mind in relation to my apparent interest in the oil refineries. I began to think about which lawyer to call.

Well, what do your know, among the stuff in my back seat were a few stapled sheets of paper given to me by Cindy Wines of Tucson, Arizona, with a photo of Tony The Tiger on the cover sheet.

The FBI agent looked at them thoughtfully, and said, "Yeah, I just saw the tiger on TV couple of night ago. That joint is not too cool." Then, one of the cops did a double-take on me and said, "Hey, aren't you the guy being interviewed on TV?" "Yes, I was." The FBI man looked at a few other items in the car, then extended his hand and said, "Well, I'm now convinced that you are not what we suspected you might be. Sorry for the inconvenience. You are free to go. Enjoy your drive to Venice." By then, it was past 2 p.m. I pulled the car ahead a hundred feet or so, stopped the car, and took a picture of the four men, none of whom cast a single glance in my direction.

The rest of the drive to the end of hwy #23 was pure enchantment. I looked around, but there seemed no sign of any oil contamination that I could see, at least not in this part of the Louisiana coast. Instead, there was exquisite scenery, stilted architecture and rich bird life, interspersed with remnants of Hurricane Katrina. I'll let the following pictures speak for Venice.

May 27 was a driving day, where I traverse four states within 13 hours - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Long, but thankfully uneventful, and from beginning to end, a feast to the eye, ending in Largo, a seaward burb of Tampa.

Now that Tony The Tiger has rescued me from the clutches of the law, I'll visit Big Cat Rescue in Tampa tomorrow and strategize with the people there about how he could be freed.


Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
[email protected]
www.facebook.com  (search for “Anthony Marr Heal Our Planet Earth”
Touring cell: begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 216-386-7362

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