Report: Group claims credit for Madison anti-abortion office attack, warns of more

possible arson at a pro-life building in madison
possible arson at a pro-life building in madison(Marcus Aarsvold)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 11:36 AM CDT|Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 3:03 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A group has reportedly claimed credit for the weekend attack on the office of an anti-abortion organization in Madison. In a series of tweets, Bellingcat’s Robert Evans reported receiving a statement from a group called Jane’s Revenge, in which the organization took credit for the suspected arson.

Jane’s Revenge went on to threaten increasingly violent attacks that extend beyond the Wisconsin capital, if its demands are not met, writing, “Wisconsin is the first flashpoint, but we are all over the US, and we will issue no further warnings.”

Evans writes for Bellingcat, which is based in the Netherlands and describes itself as a collective of researchers and open-source journalists.

NBC15 News has not independently verified the contents of Evans’ tweets and are working to do so. The Madison Police Dept. stated it was aware that a group had claimed responsibility and that it was working with federal investigators to determine if the claim is true. The police department would not confirm if that group was Jane’s Revenge.

In his reporting, Evans explained the name of the group, Jane’s Revenge, is a reference to Jane Collective, which the Chicago-based NPR-affiliate WBEZ recently described as a group of activists in Chicago who helped provide abortion access to thousands of women who did not have legal access in the years leading up to the Roe v. Wade verdict in 1973.

During a news conference Monday, MPD Chief Shon Barnes did not identify any possible suspects or organizations linked to the incident, although investigators have said they believed the attack was targeted.

No arrests have been made in the suspected arson over the weekend at the office of an anti-abortion group, Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes announced

Evans did not say who delivered the statement to him, only that it came through “an anonymous intermediary I trust” and provided a link to the site where it was hosted. NBC15 News pulled the text from the webpage and added it below. He said no members of Jane’s Revenge has been in contact with him but called his source extremely reliable.

In the statement Evans cites, the organization described the attack on the Wisconsin Family Action center as “only a warning” and issued an ultimatum. Images of the statement posted by Evans shows the group demands “all anti-choice establishments, fake clinics, and violent anti-choice groups” disband within thirty days. Warning of increasingly violent acts, the statement justifies its further threatened activity by juxtaposing its threats against previous attacks by anti-abortion groups against abortion clinics and doctors.

“And we will not stop, we will not back down, nor will we hesitate to strike until the inalienable right to manage our own health is returned to us,” the statement read.

While Evans reporting did not indicate why the organization or Madison itself would have been the location for this first attack, Jane’s Revenge claims to be an umbrella over multiple other groups with a reach across many cities.

Evans added that he felt the statement should be reported for multiple reasons, including the repeated claims that the attack may have been a false flag operation, where pro-life activists would have staged the incident to turn public opinion against their political opponents.

“I would be very surprised if this was not a legitimate attack,” he concluded at the end of his thread.

The Investigation Continues

No arrests have been made in the suspected arson over the weekend at the office of an anti-abortion group, Barnes said in Monday’s news conference, during which he was joined by Madison Fire Dept. Asst. Chief Che Stedman, as well as agents with the FBI and ATF.

“I want to start off by saying there is no room for hate or violence in Madison, in fact there’s no room for hate or violence anywhere in our country,” Barnes said. “Hate or violence do not advance any cause and unfortunately we’re investigating the fruits of hate and violence in the form of an arson where a specific nonprofit group was targeted for their beliefs regarding the issue of abortion.”

A passerby first reported seeing flames at the WFA building, in the 2800 block of Industrial Lane, around 6 a.m. When the Madison Fire Department and officers arrived, they noted a ground-level window had been broken. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within five minutes.

Two Molotov cocktails were found at the scene and investigators are working to determine what type of liquid was used in the devices, Barnes continued.

possible arson at Wisconsin Family Action
possible arson at Wisconsin Family Action(Marcus Aarsvold)

Graffiti was also found at the scene, in the 2800 block of International Lane, that included an anarchy logo, the numbers “1312,” and the words “if abortions aren’t same then you aren’t either.” While the numbers 1312 can have other meanings, they are commonly used as substitutes for the letters ACAB, which stands for “All Cops Are Bad.”

Robert Payne with FBI Milwaukee stated that this is an ongoing investigation and his agency is working with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin to discuss potential charges.

Officers recovered multiple pieces of evidence at the scene and have turned them over to federal partners. These agencies will conduct forensic processes on those items, Barnes stated. Law enforcement is also combing the area near the building for any digital evidence, such as surveillance footage.

Barnes said Monday that this suspected arson is not being investigated as a terroristic threat, nor is there any indication that it was an inside job.

MPD stated investigators are taking all information and tips about the cases seriously and they are vetting every one that comes in. Anyone with information is asked to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.

Possible Arson at Pro-Life organization
Possible Arson at Pro-Life organization(Marcus Aarsvold)

Full Jane’s Revenge Statement:

First Communiqué

This is not a declaration of war. War has been upon us for decades. A war which we did not want, and did not provoke. Too long have we been attacked for asking for basic medical care. Too long have we been shot, bombed, and forced into childbirth without consent.

This was only a warning. We demand the disbanding of all anti-choice establishments, fake clinics, and violent anti-choice groups within the next thirty days. This is not a mere "difference of opinion" as some have framed it. We are literally fighting for our lives. We will not sit still while we are killed and forced into servitude. We have run thin on patience and mercy for those who seek to strip us of what little autonomy we have left. As you continue to bomb clinics and assassinate doctors with impunity, so too shall we adopt increasingly extreme tactics to maintain freedom over our own bodies.

We are forced to adopt the minimum military requirement for a political struggle. Again, this was only a warning. Next time the infrastructure of the enslavers will not survive. Medical imperialism will not face a passive enemy. Wisconsin is the first flashpoint, but we are all over the US, and we will issue no further warnings.

And we will not stop, we will not back down, nor will we hesitate to strike until the inalienable right to manage our own health is returned to us.

We are not one group, but many. We are in your city. We are in every city. Your repression only strengthens our accomplice-ship and resolve.

Jane's Revenge statement via link from Robert Evans

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