Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grand Jury Resister Jordan Halliday Accepts Plea

Jordan Halliday Update

For Immediate Release:

Civil Liberties Defense Center
259 East Fifth Avenue, Suite 300A
Eugene, OR 97401

Jordan Halliday Pleaded Guilty to Contempt

Utah animal rights activist Jordan Halliday pleaded guilty today July
27, 2010 to criminal contempt of court for refusing to testify before
a federal grand jury investigating a series of mink releases in Salt
Lake and Davis Counties.

In court Tuesday, before the US District Judge Ted Stewart, Halliday
admitted that he willfully & knowingly violated an order by US
District Judge Tena Campbell. The order demanded that he answer
questions put to him by a federal prosecutor within the confines of a
federal grand jury inquisition.

The Prosecution asserted that Halliday refused to take oath and
responded with "no comment" to essentially every question asked, even
to innocuous questions such as where he lived.

Outside the Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse in Salt Lake City,
approximately one dozen protesters expressed their support for Jordan
as well as their disagreement with the grand jury process. Protesters
displayed signs stating "Resist Grand Juries" and "Support Jordan Halliday."

Halliday was subpoenaed twice in March 2009 to testify before a
federal grand jury investigating the activity of the animal rights
community of Utah. After resisting on March 11, 2009, Jordan was held
in civil contempt of court and jailed for four months. While in jail,
Jordan was re-subpoenaed to the same grand jury. When he was released
from jail, he was indicted with criminal contempt of court for the
same act of recalcitrance. He is one of the first activists in
decades to face criminal contempt for merely asserting his
constitutional rights to not answer questions put to him by a
secretive grand jury witch hunt.

Criminal contempt of court is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor but
rather considered sui generis by the court. Literally meaning in
latin: "of it's own kind". This being the case it carries no maximum
punishment and it is entirely up to the Judge to decide the sentence.
Jordan faces possibly one year in federal prison for this charge.

Jordan is currently out on the same pretrial requirements while he
awaits sentencing on October 19, 2010. Jordan cannot leave the State
of Utah and cannot have contact with known ALF members or members of
the Vegan-Straightedge animal group.
Speech made in Portland, OR in May, 2010

My name is Nadia Winstead. It's good to be here with all of you and
everyone on this panel. I think it is very important that we are
having this conversation and dialog. These issues are very close to
my heart and I am happy to share my story with you tonight.

I've been involved and a supporter of the animal liberation movement
for many years. I took part in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
campaign (AKA: SHAC). During that time I helped organize and
participated in many pubic demonstrations. As people in my movement
started dealing with process servers, law suits, restraining orders,
and ending up in jail or prison for their activity, I began to focus
on prisoner support. I learned how important it is to show strong
solidarity with our comrades who are imprisoned. This gave me the
opportunity to make connections with other political prisoners and
their movements. Everything really came to a head for me when I was
subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in May 2005. I resisted it fully
and with a lot of luck and an amazing legal team didn't go to jail
after a year and a half of continuous court appearances and
harassment. So this is why I have been asked to speak here
tonight. I want talk about what happened to my community, how we got
through it, and the bridges that were built in the face of oppression.

On May 24th 2005 myself and 9 other individuals were served subpoenas
to appear before a federal grand jury in San Francisco. For a few of
us, these subpoenas followed the raids of our homes, which happened a
month earlier.

As soon as we got our subpoenas, we started organizing our legal
team. The subpoenaed made it very clear to each other and to our
lawyers that we would be resisting completely and that probably meant
going to jail. We took the time to develop the frame work of our
support. We knew we weren't going to go down quietly so we got a
media point person, a few folks to work on the press release, had a
friend create a support website & list-serve, came up with slogans
for signs, and got ready to put out a call for a mass resistance
demonstration. This kind of solidarity, knowing my community,
friends, and family were there every step of the way made it possible
to face the potential and likelihood of going to jail.

I would like to talk about how it was very natural for me to
resist. I hope I can inspire some of you here this evening to stand
in solidarity with all grand jury resisters and if the authorities

ever harass and question you, that you will not talk to them, at
all. This means not answering any questions asked by the
authorities- no matter how harmless the question may seem- because
they can twist your words to use them against you and the people you
care about.

Grand juries have been used against radical movements in this country
since the abolitionist period. Anti-slavery activists were called
before grand juries in efforts to intimidate and destroy their
movement. Through out the decades, individuals from just about every
movement fighting for social change have been called on by the State
to give information about their communities. Grand juries have been
used as a tool to silence and intimidate the following struggles;
Women's Liberation, the Puerto Rican Independence movement, Black
Panthers & Black Liberation, anti-imperialist and anti-war activists,
and (AIM) The American Indian Movement. More recently individuals
from indy-media, the radical environmental movement, Anarchists,
Animal Liberationists and again Black Panthers have been called to testify.

Three things shaped my understanding of grand jury resistance:

One: Learning the history of State oppression against all
liberation movements

Two: Knowing that there is a legacy of resistance to grand juries &

Three: Knowing that every person subpoenaed to a grand jury has a
chance to be part of that legacy of active resistance against the
State to protect their movement.

This was not my first experience with the State harassing and
imprisoning my community. Grand juries, home raids, surveillance,
infiltration, and intimidation are not new to animal liberation
supporters. We have been dealing with these forms of harassment for
years. But as our movement continues to grow and persist, the
frequency and severity of these incidents has escalated. (case in
point: The AETA4) It is ingrained in most of us to never compromise
our beliefs and our struggle, especially in court. Having this ethic
as a constant in my political life, made me realize that I had no
other option. I knew that I had to risk my freedom to resist the
grand jury to stay true to my core values and ethics.

I saw our subpoenas as a plot by the government to continue the
intimidation of our movement and not something that was happening to
us as individuals. I understood that we weren't exceptional, that
there was a backdrop to the oppression that was coming down on us. It
helped to know that we were feeling this new pressure because our
movement was becoming more effective and a potential threat (not to
life and limb, but to industry & above all- profit). In a way, I
took it as an affirmation and decided that the best thing to do was
to connect with other radical people who had similar experiences and
try to do some effective community building in the face of harassment
by the State.

Right around the same time we got our subpoenas, 5 former Black
Panthers in their 50s & 60s were subpoenaed to a CA State grand
jury. Without talking to each other before hand, each of them chose
not to cooperate with the grand jury and each of them was jailed. To
this day, it was one of the most important and beautiful things I had
witnessed politically. The fact that each of these men resisted
hands down after the State basically pulled them out of retirement,
to harass and intimidate them about something that happened in the
1970s, - the fact that they still held true to their politics after
more than 30 years- was truly beautiful. It was very clear to me.
They have always been under attack- for being who they are and for
fighting for self-determination. These men & their community will
never cooperate or do business with the State -who has for decades
upon decades done it's best to delegitimize, intimidate, oppress,
torture, and assassinate them. I got to witness their spirit 'Once a
Panther, always a Panther' and I knew that if they could resist at
this stage of their lives, that I as a younger healthy person could
handle the simple task at hand. My friends and I took this as an
opportunity to humbly show our support to these extraordinary people
who came before us in struggle and who inspired us to fight in the first place.

After I was found in civil contempt for not answering questions, the
judge let me stay out of jail pending appeal. On December 22, 2006
we got our response from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They
agreed with our appeal that the government had not met their burden
of proof to whether they had used illegal electronic surveillance
against me. They overturned my contempt order and remanded the case
for further proceedings on our motion. We didn't hear back from the
US attorney's office and the harassment pretty much stopped. No
indictments came from this grand jury and as far as we know it died
at the end of it's second session.

I would like to touch on the AETA4 before I close- These individuals
are facing terrorism charges for allegedly using tactics that used to
be protected under the 1st and 9th amendments. These same tactics
were very popular and effective during the SHAC campaign, now they
are considered acts of terrorism. My community went through the
SHAC7 indictments and trail with our friends who were convicted of
Inter-State stalking by way of a website. Since their conviction, we
have supported them through prison. When the AETA4 were arrested on
these bogus charges we offered our experience and support. Their
struggle has not been easy and they have a long road ahead of them
and the burden of fighting this for all of us.

They will continue to need our support. It is important that the
government is fought every step of the way as they try to set this
unconstitutional precedent which would make certain forms of public
activism acts of terrorism.

Should the State come knocking for you, know that you are not
alone. There are resources and very experienced people to support
you and offer solidarity. We need to set consistent examples of
non-cooperation. We must stand in solidarity with all the resisters
who came before us and use everything in our power to oppose the
State's unjust system. We can send a message that they can try to
lock us up but we will not talk, we will not contribute to their
on-going oppression. Please stay strong and stay safe.

Thank you for having me here this evening and thank you for your
future resistance.

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