Please distribute widely!
It is an open secret that the newly created centers for counteraction of
extremism in Russia often become the tool of repression and work against
civil liberties and initiatives. Doing their work the "fighters against
extremism" don't despise to break the law brutally. In Petrozavodsk 3 young
people became the victims of the police outrage. They were being pressed
and tortured and now the case is being fabricated. Without any significant
evidence they are accused of vandalism made by a group of people by
previous concert, namely throwing the paint bombs and distributing the
leaflets, criticizing the established social and political order.
*The legal assistance and financial support is urgently needed!
* The group of support against the police brutality in Petrozavodsk
The financial support can be transferred by Webmoney:
You may also contribute money through ABC-Moscow, we will pass money to
For instructions how to donate, you may visit
(there you may also find links which explain how to use webmoney to pass money
directly to Petrozhavodsk).
or you may write to us by e-mail to ask for other opportunities except a bank
transfer ( abc-msk(at)riseup(dot(net).
For any money transfers, please notice to us to abc-msk(at)riseup(dot)net so
that we will know that money is for Petrozhavodsk.
Anarchist Black Cross of Moscow
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
February 27, 2010 by denverabc
Two comrades are being held on high bail in the wake of a riot in Berkeley.
Legal & other information from The Daily Californian:
A crowd of more than 200 people swarmed the streets of Southside early Friday morning in a riot involving six law enforcement agencies, runaway dumpsters, flaming trash cans, shattered windows and violent clashes between rioters and police.
Marika Goodrich, 28, a UC Berkeley senior, was arrested at the intersection of Durant and Telegraph avenues and booked for assault on a police officer, inciting a riot and resisting arrest, according to Berkeley police Officer Andrew Frankel. Zachary Miller, 26, a UC Berkeley alumnus and an organizer for the “Rolling University,” was also arrested at the intersection and was booked for inciting a riot, resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer.
Goodrich is being held on $32,500 bail and Miller is being held on $22,500 bail. Both are being held at the Berkeley City Jail and are scheduled to be arraigned March 1, according to Alameda County records.
No arrests were made on campus, according to Bennett.
What began as a dance party on Upper Sproul Plaza led to an occupation of Durant Hall at around 11:15 p.m. Thursday to raise support for the March 4 statewide protest in support of public education.
According to a statement distributed by the occupiers, the building was selected because of its symbolic nature. Durant Hall formerly housed the campus East Asian Library and the campus Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. It is now being renovated to become office space for the College of Letters and Science, which spurred activists to “reclaim” the space for students.
UCPD Captain Margo Bennett said the occupiers “cut a lock to get into the construction area and then cut a lock to get into the building” before vandalizing the area.
“There were windows broken, there was spray painting and graffiti on the interior, there was construction equipment that was tossed around,” she said.
The occupation evolved into a riot as it moved onto streets south of campus, where a protester broke several windows of the Subway at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue at about 1:41 a.m.
Bennett said the occupiers were able to leave Durant Hall without police confrontation because UCPD did not have adequate staffing and the Berkeley Police Department had not responded to the scene per UCPD request before the occupiers left.
She added that UCPD believes many of the occupiers were not UC Berkeley students.
“Because of their manner of dress and their behavior, they did not resemble the students that we have become accustomed to dealing with over the past six months,” she said.
After moving off campus, the group grew and settled at Durant and Telegraph avenues.
Officers from UCPD, Oakland, BART and the California Highway Patrol, in addition to all but four Berkeley Police Department officers on duty that night, responded to the scene, according to Berkeley police Dispatcher Rayna Johnson.
“It’s a little hectic,” Johnson said.
Berkeley and UCPD officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a line on Telegraph Ave. facing the dancing crowd, which had formed around a stereo system blaring music from a shopping cart.
The tone of the gathering changed at about 1:55 a.m. when a dumpster was pushed into the center of the intersection and set on fire by members of the crowd. The Berkeley Fire Department responded as people danced on top of the dumpster and shouted, “Whose street? Our street!”
Employees of the Blakes on Telegraph bar and restaurant brought out buckets of water and fire extinguishers to douse the flames.
Officers physically pushed the crowd back so that Berkeley fire personnel could extinguish the flames. Sporadic fights broke out within the crowd, causing police to advance their line on the growing mob and use batons to push it back.
Members of the crowd hurled glass bottles, plastic buckets, pizza and other objects at the police line. The crowd’s size and intensity fluctuated as the police and protesters clashed and multiple members of the crowd were detained by police.
At about 2:43 a.m., the mob accompanied the shopping cart as it traveled east on Durant.
As the crowd moved, a white Dodge Charger turned onto the street and people ran alongside the car as it advanced, a practice commonly referred to as “ghost riding the whip.”
Around 2:55 a.m., the crowd settled on College Ave. outside the Unit 1 residence halls, where some members propelled a dumpster down Durant Ave. toward police.
About 15 minutes later, after the crowd launched a second dumpster down Durant Avenue, a line of police vehicles charged through the streets, scattering the crowd in all directions.
Police ended the riot at approximately 3:15 a.m.
The Durant Riot: Initial Brief
Berkeley, CA – In Sproul Plaza of UC Berkeley, hundreds gathered for a dance party that began around 10pm on Thursday, February 25. At the peak of the party (around 12am) the 250 people dancing surrounded the loudspeakers as together they moved farther into campus. As we approached Durant Hall, a building currently being renovated, people began handing out communiques. We began to see a yellow light glow from inside the second story windows of the building, and then silhouettes of dozens of occupiers emerged. They rigged a few banners across the front of the building and descended to join the party.
The occupation continued for a little over an hour, as occupiers and outside support began barricading their surroundings. The building, Durant Hall had once been a haven for East Asian Language studies, but is now being remodeled into another administration building. The occupation had the intention to point out this gross contradiction in university spending as well as articulate the need to escalate for March 4th. The point made, the occupiers and the supporters joined together to move the dance party away from an assured arrest action as police numbers slowly increased, in order to reserve their energy for the coming week.
As the crowd reached Telegraph and Bancroft (one entrance to UCB), the disruption of business as usual continued, as a handful of masked individuals grabbed trash cans and newspaper dispensers and knocked them over. The dance party continued to move past Bancroft, down Telegraph as more people joined the march and joined the destruction of capital. Now the windows of fast food chains smashed, the party settled in the intersection of Durant and Telegraph. The Berkeley police soon arrived, wearing helmets, armor and brandishing batons. However, there were 12 police and between two to three hundred dancers. The crowd scattered for a moment, expecting imminent police arrests, but to their surprise, the massive force they represented stopped the police cold in their tracks, thus shattering their feeling of submission. Those that began to burn trash cans and those that continued to stay simply because they felt empowered to do so, showed the strength even a small crowd can have against the brutal forces they faced.
The crowd began to swell in the intersection. Some 500 people were present, a combination of observers and protesters. The dance party continued to rage on as more and more people took the intersection, by now at least three hundred. Then without a clear reason, the police began to descend on the people in the streets. Some ran to the sidewalks to observe from a distance, others stood their ground, refusing to move. The police pushed people with their batons, the protesters pushed back and some were caught in the middle. Then an officer grabbed a woman at random and smashed her head to the ground. The protesters pushing back against the police began to grab for the woman to rescue her from further abuse, while even the observers at this point were surrounding the police, aware of the brutality at hand. The crowd nearly encircled the police, shouting, “Fuck the police!” and “Police brutality!” The police began to remove themselves from the scene, and line up again between the protesters and the campus, some 30 feet away from the crowd.
The atmosphere had changed now, the police had directly assaulted a person and charged at a crowd, most of whom were only there dancing. The crowd started forming a line, dumpsters were set ablaze and in an instant a largely passive group became a group intensely aware of the police presence. They confronted them, standing together, approaching a line of police that had by now grown, yet still outnumbered greatly. Even the observers became more brazen as many of them joined the protesters to face the police line, with cameras and iphones ready to snap a shot of the next assault on the crowd.
What had started as a dance party and occupation quickly turned into a direct confrontation with the police, whom had been following the protesters through out the night. For the next few hours the crowd stood firm; the crowd and the police pushed back and forth. A police car approached the line of cops, stopped and waited; within a few moments the police randomly grabbed a protester, struck him and plowed him into the asphalt with three officers kneeling on top his back. Ten minutes later, another car pulled behind the line of cops, and this time the police grabbed a woman who was rightfully shouting at the police for bloodying her nose earlier. Throughout the course of these arrests, observers and press were pushed back by the police, the police stating that they had to move away. The crowd grew more enraged, as with each police abuse spurring retaliations from behind the line of protesters in the form of thrown empty bottles and empty plastic paint cans.
Eventually, as the crowd collectively realized the painfulness of each interaction with the police, they withdrew from the line and proceeded East down Durant, in the process leaving a trail of burning trash cans and dumpsters. By 3am, the BART police arrived and the marching crowd dissipated.
February 26, 2010
Prisoner organizations at Auburn Correctional Facility in New York
State had approval to hold an event in the auditorium for Black
History Month. Two outside guests had been approved to attend, a
professor from Syracuse and a professor from Cornel University. I was
also approved to make a 20-minute presentation. This presentation was
to be a capsule overview of the civil rights movement, its evolution
into the black power movement, the power politics of the ballot and
the ascent of Barack Obama to the presidency.
However, on February 26, I was called into the media center and
brought to an office to speak with Superintendent Harold Graham.
Superintendent Graham basically told me that, following his approval
of me to make the presentation for Black History Month, the
correctional officers? union (New York State Correctional Officers &
Police Benevolent Association?NYSCOPBA) waged a campaign by
contacting local media and the central office in Albany to prevent me
from making the presentation.
Supt. Graham stated that he had received a phone call from the Albany
central office telling him that I could not make the presentation.
Supt. Graham further stated he felt that they were wrong. He told the
commissioner that I have been here nearly 10 years, except for my
time in California, and that he has not ever had any problems with me.
However, central office in Albany stated that they could not take the
heat from any media scrutiny as a result of the guards? disapproval.
So I have now been denied the opportunity to address the population
for Black History Month. I thanked Supt. Graham for personally
letting me know that I would not be able to make the presentation.
We can see from this level of animosity towards me by the NYSCOPBA
that we need to double and triple the support base for my upcoming
parole hearing in June.
Please sign the petition to Governor Paterson for Clemency/Commution
of Sentence at the following url:
Dictated to Anne Lamb via telephone on 02/26/10
On 5 March UK refusenik Joe Glenton faces court martial and possibly
two years in jail for going AWOL (absent without leave). According to
the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), soldiers have gone on the run from
their posts on more than 17,000 occasions since 2003.
WHY PICK ON JOE GLENTON? Because Joe has spoken publicly about his
refusal to take part in the war and occupation of Afghanistan.
On or around Friday 5 March, we invite you to take action to defend
You can sign petition here:
More about Joe Glenton's situation: https://avtonom.org/en/node/8827
Court moves to make public documents in activist's contempt case
The case involves a Minneapolis woman jailed
since November for refusing to testify to a federal grand jury.
By ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune
Last update: February 25, 2010 - 8:12 PM
A Twin Cities journalist won a partial victory
Thursday in a battle to open the court record
involving a Minneapolis activist jailed in Iowa
for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury.
The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted
a motion on behalf of Sheila Regan of the online
publication Twin Cities Daily Planet to unseal
most records related to a contempt of court case against Carrie Feldman.
However, the appellate court gave federal
prosecutors three weeks to propose which parts of
the record they want redacted. Prosecutors say
some information may need to be withheld to
protect the "secrecy and integrity" of the grand jury process.
Feldman, 20, was jailed in November for refusing
to appear before a grand jury examining a 2004
break-in at a University of Iowa laboratory
targeted by animal rights proponents.
Feldman said she knows nothing about the break-in
and refused to testify because she believes grand
juries are used to abuse power. Under the law,
she could be jailed until October if she maintains her silence.
Her former boyfriend, University of Minnesota
graduate student Scott DeMuth, 22, was charged in
November with conspiracy to commit animal
enterprise terrorism in connection with the
break-in. He was released pending trial.
In Thursday's ruling, Eighth Circuit Judge Kermit
Bye expressed frustration that the government
will get additional time to submit proposed
redactions when Regan's motion to unseal the
record was filed more than a month ago.
"The public's rightful access to the majority of
the records in this appeal has already been delayed by two months," Bye wrote.
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921
Thursday, February 25, 2010
California: Yesterday the dumpsters. Tomorrow the world.
Thursday, February 25 2010 Infoshop News
17 arrests made at UC Irvine; students barricaded police inside building, barricaded road. A curious thing happened yesterday at the University of California Irvine: for several hours, the campus descended into a state of anarchy. “UCI is NOT a state of anarchy!” – UCI Political Science Department Chair Mark Petracca, to Muslim students disrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s talk 2 weeks ago.
Well, Mr. Petracca, we’ve tried it your way, it’s time for ours!
A curious thing happened yesterday at the University of California Irvine:
for several hours, the campus descended into a state of anarchy.
At 9:30am, 14 students and 3 AFSCME 3299 representatives began a sit-in
outside Chancellor Michael Drake’s office. The police were caught
completely flat-footed, and it was only because a police officer saw the
crowd and rushed to the 5th floor to lock Drake’s door that the students
didn’t get inside. A list of demands was issued, and while there has
already been much debate and discussion about the demands, we have no
interest in dissecting the demands–the fact that these issues are even
being talked about is sufficient. In fact, outside supporters seemed to
have their own motivations: support for the Black Student Union at UC San
Diego, workers' rights, ending privatization, student autonomy. Police
seemed unprepared to deal with the sit-in; really, nothing like this has
happened in years on our quiet Stepford-esque campus. After nearly an
hour, police finally made the move to arrest the protesters.
What made this action more than a protest, and took it beyond the spectrum
of most campus sit-ins, was the actions of solidarity by students outside.
To us, solidarity means attack, and attack we did. Students were able to
seize the moment, put their fears and disagreements aside, and quickly
moved dumpsters, tables, and even doors to barricade the doors to Aldrich
Hall. One door was left open–if the police want to take our friends to
jail, they’ll have to get past us!
We found each other in those moments of pushing and flipping dumpsters.
Black and white, teacher and student, none of those distinctions really
mattered. We were acting for our friends inside, and we were acting for
ourselves and each other. New faces appeared behind masks, and we all
found strengths that we never knew we had.
We later found out from our friends inside that as the actions outside
unfolded, police shouted news over the police radio: after the first
dumpster was placed, police rushed downstairs to assess the situation.
Soon, we had about 20 police plus our campus oligarchy (admin) barricaded
inside. It was only a matter of time before police broke the barricades–a
dumpster left on its wheels, a table not secured well enough–not that
that’s important. A few minutes later: “They’ve taken to the streets!”
Students rolled dumpsters into the street passing Aldrich Hall, Pereira, a
main artery on campus. Two dumpsters flipped, workers and students jumping
and dancing on top of them, and a crowd gathered around. All myths about
the agency of workers, AB540 students, students of color, women, queer
students were shattered–anyone can throw down when they believe they can.
For several hours, we ran wild mere feet from police, who watched
As our friends were being released, we left the street to rejoin them and
cheer their return. All were out by 2:45pm. Their charges were
minor–”failure to disperse.” It is easy to speculate: would their charges
have been worse? would they have been taken to county had we not escalated
outside? Our arrest count for the year is 29–a year ago we barely had that
many activists. Many of us are still free without charges, ready to
continue to escalate.
March 4 is right around the corner. Irvine awoke from its slumber
yesterday. We realize that we set the bar high, but we see this as a
challenge: how will we top yesterday’s action? If not dumpsters, will we
push something else? Just a few hours later, we all felt the pain of
coming down from a high, and the only way to restore that euphoria is to
get back in the action. We will never look at dumpsters in the same way.
Yesterday we discovered that we had it in us, that the revolutionary
spirit lives within us all, that it takes only a little provocation for
that spirit to be released. We have to come to terms with our own agency
and learn to love it. We also learned that spontaneity is liberation, and
the more unpredictable, the more ready to explode we are, the further we
can go and the more rewarding it will be.
We offer this account to students around the country and the world. If we
could do it, so can you. As we pass through our 15 minutes of fame, we
want to make it clear that there is nothing unique about our situation.
Two days ago, we never would have anticipated this. We have struggled for
some time to organize students; we just realized that that was the
problem–they didn’t lack organization, they lacked confidence. Go out and
try new things. Show students they can act. Be creative. Be realistic,
attempt the impossible. Sit in. Lock down. Lock in. March 4 is just a few
days away, but it only takes a few moments to turn a boring action into
Yesterday the dumpsters.
Tomorrow the world.
Subversities has additional info about the arrests inside.
Protesters stage sit-in outside Chancellor Drake's Office. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2010
Irvine -- In a sign that civil disobedience at University of California, Irvine has reached a new level of direct action, 17 activists, many associated with the Worker-Student Alliance at the Irvine campus, were arrested shortly before noon today (Wednesday, 24, 2010) after several hours of sustained chanting in a hallway outside UCI Chancellor Michael Drake's 5th floor offices in Aldrich Hall, after being warned by UCI Police that they were participating in an illegal assembly.
The protesters, including AFSCME local 3299 union lead organizer Juan Castillo (previous Subversity interview) and WSA leader Dennis Lopez (earlier Subversity interview), were one by one asked if they wanted to leave or would be arrested and then lifted up from the hallway floor (where they had been seated together) and handcuffed before being escorted by UCI police down the stairs. The arrests were observed by local media and UCI faculty members.
Before the arrests, protesters, in disciplined chants, that continued for several hours, called on UCI and Chancellor Drake to "in-source" service workers currently working for ABM. Drake had appeared moved at a recent forum with students when the spouse of a laid-off service worker asked him to settle the labor dispute.
In literature distributed at the event and at a rally outside Aldrich Hall, the protesters described their sit-in as not an "occupation, nor is it unlawful assembly or trespassing." Instead, "we have expropriated Aldrich Hall" the protesters declare. They continue: "As part of the University of California, this building belongs to the students and workers." They attribute their action to the "increasing privatization of our system": "This action is the result of frustration with conventional avenues of participation. The crisis is too extreme for gradualism and the ideals of public education are slipping away; direct confrontation is needed."
Protesters chant outside Chancellor's Drake Office as UCI Police begin arrests. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2010
The action comes five days after a few dozen other students took over Langson Library the past Friday evening and held teach-ins in the lobby with faculty until they were evicted after 11 pm by UCI Police who occupied the loan desk. (The library had extended opening hours past the normal 5 p.m. to accommodate the protesters.)
The protesters also made 12 demands on the UCI Administration, and three on the UC Regents, including an end to military and private security contracts. The demands appear online at the blog, Democratize Education: Taking Control of Our Education. We list them here as well:
To UCI Admnistration:
1) We demand that UCI administration implement a comprehensive financial aid system by fall 2010 that apportions grant aid (excluding loans from the equation) and on-campus housing based on family wealth rather than income. Financial aid must be designed to counteract the economic effects of structural and systemic racism in our society.
2) We demand the immediate direct hiring of all outsourced ABM workers and fair pay for all campus workers. Students and workers do not support discriminatory hiring practices that victimize immigrant, Latina/o working families.
3) We demand that Chancellor Drake publicly commit to seeking out private donations that will specifically fund financial aid to AB540 students or begin providing financial aid for AB540 students directly from his office’s discretionary funding. We want administration to publicly recognize that AB540 students do not share the same economic freedoms and securities as other populations.
4) We demand that UCI administration immediately disarm all police officers of Tasers. This action is supported by the December 2009 ruling of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Taser has replaced the lash of the whip as a device in the service of state sanctioned anti-blackness, evidenced so blatantly at UCLA this past November, and UCI’s administration should lead in the banning of this device.
5) We demand that UCI immediately equip the campus with gender neutral bathrooms. Students and workers who do not fit the illusion of gender normativity suffer routine violence and intimidation. UC should not privilege heteronormativity over the interests of its LGBT community.
6) We demand the recall of the three groundskeepers that were laidoff in October 2009 and the reinstatement of the 5% time reduction of the entire campus of AFSCME 3299 service unit.
7) We demand that no disciplinary action (academic or legal) be taken against the 11 students arrested at Ambassador Oren’s event. UCI and the surrounding community’s repeated attacks against, and hyper-surveillance of, Muslim and Arab students aids in branding legitimate political criticisms against the apartheid state of Israel as ‘uncivil’ and fosters a segregated cultural, social, and intellectual climate for the university. Deploying rhetoric that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism serves to annihilate rather than engage in dialogue.
8) We demand 100% funding from administration for a recruitment and retention center for underrepresented students. Recruiting and retaining students of color and low-income students should be a campus priority, but UCI has neglected to support these important efforts.
9) We demand that until state-funding has been restored to the UC system in full, that all budget cuts imposed in the fall be redistributed by imposing an equal percentage cut to each of UCI’s schools.
10) We demand that UCI administration immediately reinvest in the ethnic, queer, and women’s studies departments/programs. UCI should foster an environment that is supportive of students who are considered outside of the “mythical norms” of our society. As evidenced so blatantly at UCSD this past week, Black subjects are in an antagonistic position against the institution, this sentiment is reinforced by administration and creates a safe space for anti-blackness. UCI administration should lead in creating a campus that engages in academic, political, and social reeducation which challenges structural and individual racism, sexism, heterosexism, and homophobia.
11) We demand that Chancellor Drake publicly disclose all of UCI’s military and private security contracts. Furthermore, we demand that Chancellor Drake shut down the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs and discontinue all military and Homeland Security contracts that aid in both the mass murder of people around the world by U.S. imperialism (particularly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, and Pakistan) or the violent police repression of students and workers within the U.S. In solidarity with workers and students around the world, we demand an end to genocidal imperialist wars for profit and empire: U.S. imperialism out of Iraq and Afghanistan!
12) We demand that UCI not feed the prison-industrial complex. We demand that UCI end its contract with Motorola by fall 2010. Furthermore, we demand the removal of all Dell, IBM, and Texas Instrument products by fall 2010 as well.
Demands to the UC Regents:
1. We demand amnesty for all previous and current participants in protest on UC campuses. The Regents must restore all penalized students to good academic standing, recall all fired workers, and issue a public statement demanding that any and all criminal charges be dropped.
2. We demand the UC Regents and the Office of the President terminate ALL military and private security contracts currently in place at UC campuses and research facilities. In solidarity with workers and students around the world, we demand an end to genocidal imperialist wars for profit and empire: U.S. imperialism out of Iraq and Afghanistan!
3. We demand that the Regents revisit the November 2009 decision to increase student fees by 32% and address student and faculty objections to this decision. We demand that this public discussion of the 32% fee increase include three agenda items:
(a) A period for public comment;
(b) A vote, in full view of the public, reconsidering the 32% fee increase;
(c) A vote, in full view of the public, to ban all outsourcing of workers.
UPDATED 1:40PM: University Communications (Cathy Lawhon) has just sent out a statement; of course no one was at risk, it was a totally peaceful and disciplined sit-in as a faculty member noted. And the whole sit-in was over by noon. Anyway, here's what the PR folks sent out at 1:30 pm:
A group of students and labor organizers occupied the fifth floor of
Aldrich Hall at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, disrupting business and
presenting a wide-ranging list of demands.
Offices on the fifth floor were locked down and protestors were
informed that they should leave or they would be arrested. By noon,
police arrested 17 protestors inside Aldrich Hall who refused to leave
and cited them with unlawful assembly and refusal to disperse.
Students arrested will also be cited with violations of university
Demonstrators outside the building blocked several exits impeding the
ability of those inside to leave. Police surrounded the perimeter of
the building and exits were cleared.
By afternoon, staff inside Aldrich Hall were evacuated to ensure their
Feb. 28-March 2: Events with Dhoruba Bin-Wahad
February 12, 2010 at 5:49 am (Events)
**Political Repression and State Violence, from Minneapolis to Palestine**
a talk by Dhoruba Bin-Wahad
In November 2009 Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, a former U.S. political prisoner, leader
the Black Panther Party, and member of the Black Liberation Army, was
detained and deported from the West Bank of occupied Palestine by Israeli
authorities. He had been invited to attend a conference on political
detention by the Palestinian Authority.
Dhoruba spent 19 years of a life sentence in jail for a crime he did not
commit. He was a target of the FBI's COINTELPRO, was arrested in 1971 and
had his conviction overturned in 1990.
He will discuss historic and current struggles against social injustice and
state violence in the U.S. and in Palestine, with a specific focus on
political prisoners and institutions that repress social movement
mobilization within communities fighting oppression.
Join a wide array of Twin Cities organizations to hear this powerful
speaker, who challenges conventional wisdom and inspires people to embrace
***Schedule of Events***
Community Dinner with Dhoruba
Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Mpls
$5 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds
Lecture followed by Q&A
5 Blegen Hall, University of Minnesota
Lecture followed by Q&A
Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University
1536 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul
Lecture and refreshments
Historic Pilgrim Baptist Church, 732 Central Ave, St. Paul (corner of
Central and Grotto; enter on west side of building)
Sponsored by the St. Paul NAACP and Graybeard. Questions about event can be
directed to the St. Paul NAACP at 651-649-0520.
Sponsored by the American Studies Dept. (UofM), Black Law Student Assn.
(Hamline), Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Communities United Against
Police Brutality, Criminal Law Student Assn. (Hamline), Critical Legal
Studies group (Hamline), Dept. of African American and African Studies
(UofM), Dept. of Political Science (UofM), EWOK!, Hamline Chapter of the
National Lawyers' Guild, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global
Change, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Latino Law Student
Association (Hamline), Law Democrats (Hamline), MN Global Justice Project,
MN Chapter of the National Lawyers' Guild, RNC 8 Defense Committee, Scholars
for Academic Justice, Scott and Carrie Support Committee, WAMM Mideast
Committee, Women's Student Activist Collective
LP-DOC - PO Box 7488 - Fargo, ND 58106
Phone: 701/235-2206; Fax:701/235-5045
Today we received word that the parole decision has been affirmed by
the U.S. Parole Commission. The Parole Commission made no concessions
except for one -- to finally recognize Leonard's "recent prison
record of good conduct." The Parole Commission went on to say that
Leonard's age, health, and release plan were all considered, but that
these elements "don't warrant his release at this time." All legal
arguments made by the Peltier attorney Eric Seitz were rejected.
Once again, we're told that innocence is no defense. Yet again, the
government has singled out Leonard Peltier as a scapegoat. As has
always been the case, they intend to force Leonard Peltier to pay the
price for the killings of their agents despite the lack of evidence
against him. This is nothing short of politically motivated vengeance.
Leonard won't receive another full parole hearing until he is nearly
80 years old. Already at risk for blindness, kidney failure, stroke,
and certainly premature death given his diet, living conditions, and
health care, this parole decision is also nothing less than a death sentence.
Don't accept the unacceptable. Demand Leonard's freedom. Call the
White House comment line every day to express your outrage. Call:
(202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1112. You also can send an e-mail to the
White House. Go to
Mail or fax a letter to President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500; Fax - (202) 456-2461.
By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Feb. 24, 2010
HAVANA – Cuban President Raul Castro issued an unprecedented statement of
regret on Wednesday over the death of a jailed dissident after a lengthy
hunger strike that has sparked condemnation in Washington and in European
The Cuban leader blamed the United States for the death of Orlando Zapata
Tamayo, but did not explain how Washington was responsible.
"Raul Castro laments the death of Cuban prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo,
who died after conducting a hunger strike," the Foreign Ministry said in a
statement Wednesday, adding that any reports that the man was tortured or
mistreated in jail were false. Zapata Tamayo launched the hunger strike to
protest what he said were poor prison conditions on the island.
"There are no torture victims, there have not been any torture victims nor
have there been any executions," the ministry quoted Castro as saying
during meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that was
closed to media on the island.
"That sort of thing happens at the base at Guantanamo," he added,
referring to the U.S. military base in eastern Cuba used to jail terror
Cuban officials almost never comment on dissident activity, which they
view as illegitimate and a creation of Washington. Castro weighing in
personally was a first.
Zapata Tamayo, jailed since 2003 on charges including disrespecting
authority, died Tuesday at a hospital in the capital following a hunger
strike, becoming the first imprisoned opposition figure to die in such a
protest in nearly four decades.
In life, he was not one of the island's leading dissident voices. In
death, his plight has quickly reverberated far beyond Cuba.
In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the U.S.
government was "deeply saddened" to hear of Zapata Tamayo's death. He said
that U.S. diplomats who were in Havana last week for migration talks had
raised the case with their Cuban counterparts.
"Mr. Orlando Zapata Tamayo's death highlights the injustice of Cuba's
holding more than 200 political prisoners who should now be released
without delay," Crowley said.
In Brussels, European Union spokesman John Clancy called for Cuba to
release all political prisoners and show more respect for human rights.
"The European Commission deeply regrets the death of political prisoner
Orlando Zapata and offer our condolences to his family," Clancy said,
adding that human rights on the island "remain a key priority for the EU."
And in London, Amnesty International called for an investigation into
whether poor conditions played any part in Zapata Tamayo's death. Gerardo
Ducos, Amnesty International's Caribbean researcher, called it "a terrible
illustration of the despair facing prisoners of conscience who see no hope
of being freed from their unfair and prolonged incarceration,"
Spain, whose socialist government has been seeking to improve European
relations with Cuba since it took over the EU presidency in January, said
it was shocked.
"The Spanish government profoundly deplores the death of Orlando; the
death of a human rights defender in Cuba," Deputy Prime Minister Manuel
Chaves said Wednesday. "There is a deficit of human rights in that
Mariano Rajoy, leader of the opposition Popular Party, sent a telegram to
"The death of Orlando Zapata symbolizes the commitment of the Cuban people
to liberty and dignity and is an admirable example of dedication for
democrats throughout the world," he said.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero expressed "dismay" at the
death of Orlando Zapata and said Paris had called on Cuba to release him.
Official reaction was muted in Latin America, whose governments this week
held a "unity summit" that included Raul Castro and that unanimously
denounced the U.S. embargo of the island.
Cuba describes the dissidents as paid stooges and says Washington greatly
exaggerates their numbers and influence as a way of justifying its 48-year
embargo on the island.
In Castro's statement, which the Foreign Ministry released under a
photograph of the Cuban leader, the president said Zapata Tamayo's death
"is a result of the relationship with the United States." It was not clear
what he meant.
When the visiting U.S. diplomats held a reception for about 40 dissidents
last week, Cuba put out an angry statement that the meeting proved that
Washington is out to overthrow the government.
Veteran dissidents were joined by a relatively new voice: the son of
revolutionary hero Juan Almeida Bosque, who fought alongside Fidel Castro
in the guerrilla uprising that brought down dictator Fulgencio Batista in
Juan Juan Almeida Garcia posted an open letter to Raul Castro on his
daughter's Facebook page Wednesday saying the Cuban president should be
embarrassed by the death.
"Must we go to such extremes? ... I beg of you to resign. Get out of this
country. You don't deserve respect," he wrote. The younger Almeida was
briefly jailed in November when after petitioning the government for
permission to travel to the United States for medical care.
The British Embassy in Havana did not mention Zapata Tamayo's case
specifically, but said it was "worried about human rights abuses and due
legal process in Cuba."
Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and
National Reconciliation, told the Associated Press that Zapata Tamayo was
arrested in 2003 and held for months without charge before being sentenced
to three years in prison in his native Holguin province for disrespecting
Tamayo, a 42-year-old builder, was subsequently sentenced to 25 years for
activism behind bars, Sanchez said, and was deemed by Amnesty
International a "prisoner of conscience." He was one of a small number of
Afro-Cubans in the island's tiny dissident community
As of January, Sanchez's commission counted 201 political prisoners in
Cuban jails. Cuba says it holds none.
Sanchez said Zapata Tamayo stopped accepting solid food on Dec. 3,
drinking only water and a few liquids, some of which were forced on him by
authorities. He was transferred to Kilo 8 Prison in Camaguey and placed in
solitary confinement, where he continued to refuse solids, Sanchez said.
As his health deteriorated, Zapata Tamayo was taken to Havana's Combinado
del Este prison earlier this month, where he received some treatment in a
lockup clinic, then was transferred to Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras the
day before his death.
Sanchez said the last Cuban dissident to die in prison was Pedro Luis
Boitel, a Cuban poet who passed away after a 53-day hunger strike in 1972.
Sanchez said family members planned a funeral service later Wednesday in
Zapata Tamayo's hometown of Banes on Cuba's northeast coast.
He said authorities in eastern Cuba had detained dozens of activists,
preventing some from attending funeral services — but that claim could not
be immediately be confirmed with police or the government.
A well-known dissident group, the "Ladies in White," held a small
gathering in Zapata Tamayo's honor at the Havana home of one of their
founders, Laura Pollan.
Associated Press reporters Will Weissert and Andrea Rodriguez in Havana,
Jorge Sainz in Madrid, Jamey Keaten in Paris and Robert Wielaard in
Brussels contributed to this report.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Eric McDavid is a political prisoner, currently serving a 20 year
sentence in federal prison for "thought crime." He was arrested in
January 2006 (as part of the government's ongoing "Green Scare"
campaign against environmental and animal rights activists) after
being targeted by an undercover informant who formulated a crime and
entrapped Eric in it. Eric was targeted by the state for his
political beliefs, and his case is important for everyone who dares
to stand up. He is currently appealing his conviction and his sentencing.
Update February 24, 2010
On Friday, February 19, the government filed their reply brief to
Eric's appeal. The document they filed was 90 pages long - 90 pages
of lies and slander in their continued effort to demonize Eric and
justify their own inhumanity in locking a person in prison for 20
years for "thought crime." The document is full of continued attacks
on Eric's character as well as misrepresentations and lies about the
actual unfolding of events. All of this, combined with outrageous
distortions of the law, make the government's reply a rather
distasteful read. But, for those of you who are interested in such
sour fare, we are posting a copy of the reply brief on Eric's website
in the documents section. We recommend keeping something sweet
nearby. Or perhaps something to settle the stomach.
As painful as this document was to read, we are incredibly relieved
that it has been filed. Eric's lawyer now has 2 weeks to file his
final response. We are hopeful that this will happen on time, as
every delay means that much more time that Eric spends in prison
unnecessarily. This response will be the last document that needs to
be filed for the appeal. Then we begin the wait for the court's
response. Unfortunately, this could be a very long wait.
In the meantime, we want to urge you all to please not forget about
Eric! He still needs your support in his struggle for freedom. One of
the most important ways you can support Eric is to donate to his
support fund. We have some money set aside in case we have expenses
to cover in the event of a new trial, but the money that we use to
keep up the website and help pay for my visits with Eric are quickly
running out. These visits are incredibly important to us and help us
maintain some sanity in this insane situation.
Eric is currently being held in Victorville, CA - which is almost 7
hours from where I live. Renting a car and paying for gas is
incredibly expensive, and it's a cost I just can't carry on my own.
The support Eric has received from all of you over the last four
years has been amazing, and we are more than thankful for all you
have done. Eric has shown a steadfast, unwavering commitment to do
the right thing and fight the outrageous charges against him, despite
facing severe repercussions for that decision. Please consider making
a donation to support him, however small. Every tiny bit helps.
Keeping our connections with each other in situations like this is
absolutely essential. The state has tried to sever Eric's connections
to his family and communities. They know that this is where our
strength lies. Our visits together are a very powerful tool in
fighting the isolation and loneliness that prison can bring and in
keeping each other strong. Please consider donating to help us keep
these connections with each other.
To donate to Eric's support fund, you can visit the "Help" section on
his website and use the PayPal link to donate online. If you would
rather not use PayPal (which we completely understand), please email
us and we will let you know how to send a check or money order.
Thanks to everyone for staying with Eric these last four years.
jenny (Eric's partner)/SPS
Greetings brothers and sisters, and thank you for attending this
event to listen, learn, teach, and organize. I am Leonard Peltier, a
proud Lakota and Anishinabe American Indian activist, organizer, and
patriot. I am likewise, unfortunately, a fellow political prisoner in
this 'land of the free.'
I, along with my family, my supporters, and American Indians
everywhere, know full well what the justice system of the United
States can mean to the brown man, the black man, and any man or woman
who dares to think or talk truth to power.
That we have been made targets in our own country should outrage
every single man and woman everywhere, no matter the color,
background or political leaning. That this country continues the
barbaric practices of executions should be opposed by all people of
Whether or not you approve of capital punishment is irrelevant as
long as minorities are executed with alarming disparities. Whether
you approve or not is of secondary concern when people like Mumia Abu
Jamal, myself and many others are convicted and sentenced to die with
evidence that would exonerate most any white man. As such, every
single progressive organization should oppose the death penalty as we
now know it.
This has not been a case of justice or the law, it has been politics,
racism, and control, and we should confront these issues long before
we decide who to execute. As long as we have these inequities in our
midst, we will continue to convict and execute innocents. Execute -
let's call it what it really is - state sanctioned murder! Why does
America allow this brand of 'justice' to exist?
That is a question that must haunt the soul of every true American
patriot. For as long as it does, America can never be the bastion of
freedom it has claimed to be, the light in the darkness it wants to
be, nor the high ground of morality it hopes to be.
Pay attention to the names this government uses when it is opposed.
The American government has called other countries 'evil empire' and
'axis of evil.' The rest of the world hears this and scoffs!
Why? Because they see this country convicting, imprisoning, and
executing innocent minorities and political liabilities while
claiming to be a free society - because they see corporate personhood
allowing the rape of the Earth and desecration of the sacred -
because they see this country waging illegal war while claiming to
love peace - and because they see this country propping up murderous
dictators while giving lip service to human rights. The rest of the
world sees all of this and wonders, is not America the real evil empire?
I, like Mumia, have been called a terrorist by my own government.
Well, I never knew a terrorist who advocated the rule of law as we
have. Some people need to find a new dictionary!
There may be other parts of the world which are breeding grounds for
terrorism, but this government makes sure they have fertile ground to
harvest. We are not the terrorists! I love my country. Progressive
thinking people love this country. It is thusly our patriotic duty to
respond to such government with righteous indignation! It is only
when we allow a corrupt government to corrupt our very minds that a
patriot becomes a terrorist!
As long as you are willing to work for justice, all political
prisoners can still hope for freedom. Real power starts from the
bottom and goes up, not the other way around. Free Mumia!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Indybay.org Monday Feb 22nd, 2010
The case against POCC Minister of Information JR Valrey was dismissed
this morning in Oakland Superior Court, due to a lack of evidence.
The trumped up case against POCC Minister of Information JR Valrey was
dismissed this morning in Oakland Superior Court, due to a lack of
evidence. This was a major victory for anti-police terrorism activists and
freedom of speech as a whole. However, Holly Works, also of Oakland, is
still facing criminal charges resulting from her trumped up arrest during
the Oscar Grant uprisings in January of 2009. Please help us keep the
momentum going! Holly's trial begins Monday, March 1st. With any luck
we'll be celebrating her victory as well as JR's!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2010
Contact: Jude Ortiz, Scott and Carrie Support committee (SCSC)
AETA Indictee Scott DeMuth demands discovery, Grand jury resister Carrie
Feldman awaits re-hearing on appeal in segregation
This morning, over a dozen supporters joined Scott DeMuth in the Federal
Courthouse in Davenport, IA, for an arraignment and hearing on numerous
discovery-related motions. DeMuth is facing allegations of conspiracy
under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, stemming from an investigation
of an Animal Liberation Front action that occurred in November 2004. This
hearing comes on the heels of the transfer of Carrie Feldman, who has been
in custody on civil contempt since November 17, 2009, for refusing to
testify before a grand jury in relation to this case.
In today's hearing, DeMuth's attorney, Michael Deutsch, argued that the
prosecution has failed to produce the discovery that the defense is
entitled to under the rules. Judge Shields took the arguments under
advisement and is expected to issue a ruling within the next few days.
The defense team had also filed a motion to dismiss the original
indictment, arguing that it failed to meet basic requirements for an
indictment. The indictment gave no indication as to what the prosecution
alleges DeMuth actually did, and provided an overly vague time frame for
the alleged crime. In an apparent affirmation of this defense argument, US
Attorney Cliff Cronk filed a superseding indictment last week. The new
indictment, however, appears to be fatally flawed in itself—it still fails
to provide any indication as to what DeMuth is alleged to have done to
conspire under the AETA. Responding to defense motions, the prosecution
backpedaled on an earlier strategy to prosecute Demuth for his
constitutionally-protected free speech and associations: “This case has
nothing to do with political association ... this conspiracy continues as
long as alf [sic] continues to break into labs and free animals,” Cronk
said in open court. Seeing that the statute of limitations has expired for
the Spence Lab break-in specifically, the prosecution appears to now
justify DeMuth’s charges by arguing that the scope of the crime in
question extends to a conspiracy involving unrelated actions across the
country claimed under the banner of the Animal Liberation Front.
Furthermore, Lisa Williams, speaking on behalf of the “Scott and Carrie
Support Committee,” pointed out that “Cronk continues to juggle competing
theories of his own case in the courtroom. One minute, he claims that he
intends to show that Scott participated in the break-in at Spence labs
himself, and the next he claims that, instead, he intends to show that
Scott conspired with others, from another location, and was never in
Johnson County himself. If he had a legitimate foundation for the charge
he is bringing against Scott, he would be telling one story and sticking
to it. Obviously, there is no basis for these allegations.”
Meanwhile, Carrie Feldman was recently transferred from Washington County
Jail—where she was a model inmate—and is currently being held in
segregation in Dubuque County Jail, where her communication with
supporters has been severely curtailed. Feldman has a pending re-hearing
of her appeal, in which her attorneys argue that the use of secret
evidence by the prosecution—evidence to which her defense team was denied
all access—violates her due process rights. They also maintain that the
statute of limitations has expired on the incident in question, making her
detention punitive. Their argument is supported by the dissenting opinion
in the case, in which Judge Bye describes Feldman's detention as an “abuse
of the grand jury process” and recommends her “immediate release from jail
Court documents from both Feldman and DeMuth's cases are available at:
ATTENTON ALL FEMALES! LGBTQIA ! STATEMENT ON DEFENDING OUR LIVES A DOCUMENTARY WHO WERE BATTERED 2/27/10 7PM BY CLEVELAND ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS
The Cleveland Anarchist Black Cross is dedicated to the abolition of
the prison system and to the struggle for justice for all people and
against oppression of all forms. We support political prisoners, but
also want to understand issues related to prisons and other violent
tools of control in our society. We aim to educate about the flaws of
the prison industrial complex whether it be the mass imprisonment of
blacks and latinos, and youth, or the paramilitary policing of these
communities, the drug war aka chemical warfare by the government done
onto communities of color in the US and abroad in Colombia, Nicaragua
As a group that takes a stand against domination in our society, we
join the calls for the end to the prison system. The system of
prisons in this country as we know them was created as a means of
controlling and criminalizing freed black men and women and co-opting
their labor for the service of wealthy whites. The very roots of
prisons were to normalize poor people and women as workers for
industry. The movement to eliminate this system and to address the
real sources of violence in our society, supported by people ranging
from Christians to anarchists, is widespread and ever growing.
Why talk about domestic violence? To ignore a facet of the violence
and oppression in our society as pervasive and wide-reaching as men's
violence against women and men in the home would be impossible for us.
None of us escape the effects of this violence. Furthermore,
understanding the mentality and drive behind male domination of people
they profess to love provides insight and understanding into the
domination of indigenous and other people of color by white people,
into the violence and devastation of other living creatures and
ecosystems by humans, into the obsession with control and the master
race phenomenon in our society. So domestic violence, while itself a
horrific and critical pattern of atrocities, also gives us a lens to
look at other aspects of our society.
Upon examination, the prison system bears more than superficial
resemblance to the individual prisons men create through domestic
violence. The abuser/abusive system cannot rely on physical force
alone to control their prisoners, so psychological manipulation and
violence is employed as well. The specific techniques of isolation,
monopolizing perception, inducing debility and exhaustion, threats,
demonstrations of power and "omnipotence," making trivial demands, and
degrading prisoners (described in Biderman's Chart of Coercion) are
used extensively in prisons to break down incarcerated people and
enforce compliance. These abhorrent techniques, coupled with the high
incarceration rates of latino and black people, and the jailing of
people for political dissent, reveal another aspect of a system that
is bent on social control by any means.
Further, it's important to recognize how the prison system supports
the violence of abusers. As the film Defending Our Lives portrays,
police trivializing of domestic violence reports often enables abusers
by sending a message that the victims are alone and that the violence
they're experiencing is unimportant. The extensive penalization of
self-defense, where women are convicted for killing their abusers,
sends a clear message that victims of domestic violence must not stand
up for themselves. Many victims, disempowered and psychologically
traumatized from abusive relationships, end up criminalized for drug
crimes, sex work, or other non-violent crimes, and their abuse is
replicated by prisons. Instead of seeking to end cycles and patterns
of abuse, the prison system reinforces this violence.
Looking for solutions to violence from the police or the prison
system, it is essential to recognize the marginalization of the
primary victims of this violence politically, economically and
socially, and to be aware of the way that people experience this
violence differently depending on whether they're male, female or
transgendered; white or of color; straight or gay; rich or poor.
Likewise, marginalization and other forms of oppression must be taken
into account when considering domestic violence. Approaches that
ignore these differences of power have consistently left out or even
negatively impacted poor people, people of color, people who deviate
from gender norms, and so on.
As a group looking for solutions to state violence, we think it's
essential to also focus on the pervasive violence in our communities.
We must understand and address the underlying dynamics of sexism,
racism, economic violence and classism, homophobia, speciesism, and
other forms of domination that create and perpetuate this violence.
These systems cannot be looked at in isolation, as they all influence
and support each other and must be considered as a whole. While
reforms to any of these systems may have some benefits, we must always
keep in sight that these systems are inherently violent.
Monday, February 22, 2010
http://www.freesamialarian.com/Washington, DC -
February 20, 2010 marks the seventh anniversary of the arrest of
Professor Sami Al-Arian by U.S. authorities. On that day, in 2003,
former Attorney General John Ashcroft declared in a nationally
televised news conference, carried on all major media outlets, that Dr.
Al-Arian was one of the most dangerous people in the world.
Based on these assertions, Dr. Al-Arian was held in solitary confinement
for 43 straight months during and after his trial, despite the fact that he
had never waived his right to a speedy trial. Amnesty International
No Guilty Verdicts
In December 2005, a Florida jury acquitted Dr. Al-Arian on eight counts,
and deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal on the remaining nine counts,
leading Time magazine to declare the case "one of
the Justice Department's most embarrassing legal setbacks since 9/11."
Indeed, much of the government's evidence presented to the jury during
the six-month trial were speeches Dr. Al-Arian delivered, lectures he
presented, articles he wrote, magazines he edited, books he owned,
conferences he convened, rallies he attended, interviews he gave, news
he heard, and websites he never even accessed.
In fact, several websites, presented to the jury as evidence, were created
by anonymous individuals, after his arrest, while he was awaiting trial
in solitary confinement in a federal prison. It was therefore no
surprise that, with almost 100 counts between all defendants, the jury
did not return a single guilty verdict on any count. Two other
defendants were totally acquitted on all counts.
A Plea Deal to End Persecution
In April 2006, in an effort to spare his
family another long, financially draining, and excruciating trial, Dr. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to
violating a 1995 presidential executive order, by providing immigration
services in the 1990s to persons associated with the PIJ, a Palestinian
organization listed on the U.S. terrorist list. In return, he agreed to
immediate deportation from the U.S. despite more than three decades
residing in the country.
The details of the plea deal illustrated the true nature of the political
persecution of this case. The services admitted in the plea deal were:
1) hiring a lawyer for his brother-in-law during his immigration battle
in the late 1990s; 2) sponsoring a Palestinian historian in 1994 to
conduct research in the U.S.; and 3) withholding information from a
U.S. journalist during a 1995 interview. There was no evidence or
admission in the plea deal that showed any illegal financial
transactions or material support. Although Dr. Al-Arian
was promised a prompt release in exchange for his plea, the U.S.
government later admitted that, at the time the plea deal was signed in
2006, federal prosecutors were secretly preparing to call Dr. Al-Arian
before a grand jury in Virginia, in a sign of their complete disregard
for the overarching purpose of the plea agreement, which was to end any
and all business between Dr. Al-Arian and the U.S. government.
In what many observers believed was an attempt to seek retribution for the
colossal defeat of the government's case in Florida, Dr. Al-Arian was
called to testify before a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia
three times between the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2008. The call
to the grand jury was a classic prosecutorial trap in which agreeing to
testify would result in a charge of perjury, while a refusal to testify
would result in a charge of contempt of court. When Dr. Al-Arian
refused to testify, invoking his right under the plea deal, he was held
for over a year on civil contempt charges. In June 2008, he was charged
with criminal contempt.
After five and a half years in prison, most of which was served under
deplorable conditions in solitary confinement, and during which Dr.
Al-Arian underwent three hunger-strikes that lasted several months
requiring hospitalization, Dr. Al-Arian was released in September 2008
under house arrest, where he has spent the last 18 months awaiting
trial. During this period, the government made several
admissions regarding the plea deal: namely, they
affirmed its essence of non-cooperation, but still
argued that it should not be taken into account.
However, the judge in the case questioned the
government's assertions, stating that "the integrity
of the department of Justice," was at stake.
A motion to dismiss the case based on the violation
of the 2006 plea agreement has been pending
since April 2009.
The Persecution of Dr. Al-Arian on Film
In 2007, Norwegian filmmakers released a documentary film entitled
USA vs. Al-Arian. The award-winning film chronicles the story of
Dr. Al-Arian and his family during and after his Florida trial, illustrating
the political nature of his prosecution and the state of the U.S. justice
system under the Patriot Act. Since 2003, Dr. Al-Arian's case has attracted
the interest of major civil liberties and human rights organizations in
the U.S. and around the world.
Peter Erlinder, a law professor, and former president of the National
Lawyers Guild, said: "The prosecution of Dr. Al-Arian was a blatant
attempt to silence political speech and dissent in the aftermath of
the 9/11 tragedy. The nature of the political persecution of this case
has been demonstrated throughout all its aspects, not only during the
trial and the never-ending right-wing media onslaught, but also after the stunning
defeat of the government in 2005, and its ill-advised abuse of the grand jury system thereafter."
Striving for Justice
In August 2008, the late Howard Zinn
declared: "I thought that [Dr. Al-Arian's case] was an outrageous
violation of human rights, both from a constitutional point of view and
as a simple test of justice."
Moreover, Dr. Mel Underbakke of Friends of Human Rights,
who has traveled the country screening the documentary and educating
the public about the dangers of the Patriot Act, said: "The unjust
persecution of Dr. Al-Arian should concern all Americans. History has
taught us that when the rights of the minority are violated by the
government for political purposes, then the rights of all Americans
would be eroded. That's why thousands of civil libertarians and human
rights activists in the U.S. and around the world, have been mortified
by the injustice suffered by Dr. Al-Arian and his family and have
rallied in their defense."
asked about how her father was doing during his house arrest, Laila
Al-Arian, a journalist, said: "Our family is very grateful to have been
with him since his release. He's been a guiding influence in our lives.
He is also most appreciative of the tremendous support he's been
receiving nationwide and around the world."
A Voice for Freedom and Dialogue
Dr. Al-Arian reiterated his strong belief in the importance of dialogue and education in the only public speech he has given since his release on home confinement, delivered last summer through Skype to the Global Forum on Freedom of Expression
in Norway. He said: "Despite my imprisonment and experience, my faith
in dialogue and commitment to freedom of expression, will never waver.
It's been my life long passion. This experience taught us that when the
American people are educated and empowered with truth, they respond
positively and display a sense of fairness. I
firmly believe that through education and civil engagement people
change. Little by little they will understand the plight of the
Palestinians and the importance of defending civil liberties and human
rights. Increasingly, people realize that no democracy can survive at
the altar of sacrificing free speech or dissent."
He continued: " Our charge today is to pledge to defend the rights of our
most vulnerable members of our world community: the tens of thousands
of prisoners of conscience around the world, those who are under
occupation or under siege, the millions terrorized by dictators and war
lords, the poor and the sick, the uneducated and the exploited, the
children, the abused women, and the elderly. Each one of these classes
of people needs a voice and an advocate. They need to gain their
freedom to realize a life of dignity and peace. So whether we recognize
it or not, we are at the forefront of this struggle for their freedom.
Let your collective conscience speak on their behalf."
He then concluded: "One cannot achieve peace without realizing justice,
realize justice without seeking out the truth, seek out the truth
without practicing freedom. So living and thinking free is the root of
achieving peace in our world."
Feds say the Minneapolis woman may have information on terrorist acts.
By ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune
Last update: February 21, 2010 - 11:43 PM
Having sat three months now in an Iowa jail,
Carrie Feldman of Minneapolis is a hero to scores
of animal-rights defenders around the world.
But to the U.S. government, the 20-year-old
left-wing political activist is a potential
witness who may know something about a daring
break-in more than five years ago at a University of Iowa laboratory.
When she refused to testify before a grand jury,
a judge ordered her jailed Nov. 17 for contempt
of court. She's been in a cell ever since and
could legally be held 11 months if she continues her silence.
Her attorney and supporters say Feldman's plight
illustrates how the U.S. government runs
roughshod over citizens who resist policies they
believe unjust. But officials of that government
have said she may have ties to domestic terrorist
groups and has a duty to tell what she knows.
In a recent interview, Feldman said she was 15 at
the time of the break-in, didn't participate in it and doesn't know who did.
The Nov. 14, 2004, attack on Spence Laboratories
drew widespread attention when members of the
Animal Liberation Front (ALF) released video of
themselves breaking into the lab, rescuing
hundreds of rats and mice, smashing computers and
dumping chemicals. Damages totaled $450,000.
For five years, police made no arrests. Then, in
November 2009, they arrested Feldman and her
former boyfriend, Scott DeMuth, 22, for refusing
to testify to the grand jury despite offers of
immunity. Shortly thereafter, the grand jury
indicted DeMuth in the break-in. He says he's innocent.
Ironically, DeMuth, still uncooperative but now a
defendant, was allowed to post bail, return to
the Twin Cities and await trial. Feldman, though
not charged in the break-in, sits in jail.
"They're really using her as a pawn in this whole
thing," said her attorney, Jordan Kushner of Minneapolis.
Feldman said she refused to testify because she
opposes the grand jury system and how, in her
belief, it undercuts citizens' rights.
"It's a principle thing for me," she said by
telephone from jail, adding that her case shows
"how easy it is for [the federal government] to
abuse the statutes and the secrecy that surrounds
it all. I haven't seen any evidence of why they
want my testimony or [have] any reason to hold me."
Evidence not shown
Clifford Cronk, U.S. Attorney for that region, declined to discuss the case.
His office presented evidence to judges that
attorneys for the pair have not seen. Those
documents purportedly argue that a conspiracy
surrounding the break-in continued after the
crime, justifying the charge against DeMuth even
though the five-year statute of limitations for the crime had expired.
Prosecutors have said that evidence, if revealed,
could affect testimony or compromise the case against unindicted suspects.
DeMuth, a University of Minnesota graduate
student, is charged with animal enterprise
terrorism. He was 17 at the time of the break-in.
Prosecutors say they can link DeMuth to the 2008
Republican National Convention Welcoming
Committee, which planned to disrupt the RNC in
St. Paul. DeMuth was never arrested or charged
with RNC-related activities. They also say he's
been part of anti-government protests.
"Defendant's writings, literature, and conduct
suggest that he is an anarchist and associated
with the ALF movement," Cronk wrote. "Therefore, he is a domestic terrorist."
DeMuth's attorney, Michael Deutsch of Chicago,
has filed motions for dismissal on several
grounds; a trial is scheduled to get underway in March.
Though Feldman and DeMuth's case files are sealed
by court order, both have provided documents to
supporters who post them online.
Feldman, who studied two years at St. Catherine
University before taking time off, is, like
DeMuth, active in several Minnesota
organizations, including Coldsnap Legal
Collective and Earth Warriors are OK! (EWOK!),
which supports people arrested during environmental or animal rights protests.
She was volunteering with Coldsnap when she was
arrested during the RNC and said Ramsey County
Sheriff Robert Fletcher told her she was
suspected of conspiracy to commit a riot.
Officials released her without charges. She, like
Deutsch, believes the RNC connections could be linked to the current arrest.
"Feldman likely has knowledge about persons
associated with ALF; she does not deny it," Cronk
argued in writing. "The nature of her arguments
which deflect attention from her and attacks the
government suggest that she does."
Jim Feldman, called to the stand during his
daughter's November contempt hearing, says he
answered "yes" when asked if she was an anarchist.
"In retrospect, I should have asked Cronk to
define his term," he said in an e-mail.
"Subsequent statements from him indicate that he
thinks anarchism equates to being a terrorist
intent on using violent means to take down the government."
The government notes that in 2006 Carrie Feldman
owned white rats similar to those sprung from the
laboratory. Her mother, Julia Philips, said the
pets came from a friend and the humane society.
She said the government's insinuation is "kind of wacky."
Kushner, whose appeals for Feldman's release have
twice been denied, continues to try, with a
latest court ruling expected Monday.
Feldman said she's prepared to do the whole 11 months, if necessary. She adds:
I don't think they should have the right to force
me to testify or bully me by holding me in jail
because I'm involved in political activism."
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110