Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Update on the Cleveland 5

June 18, 2012 Anarchist News

After almost two months of imprisonment, repression and an intense
campaign of media demonization, the Cleveland five remain strong and solid
in their refusal to cooperate with the FBI.

They also remain in desperate need of our support. They are getting very
little contact from the outside world and four of the five defendants are
being represented by public defenders. Although right now these four say
they are happy with their lawyers, they also have no access to the funds
necessary to offer them the legal options they so desperately need right
now. We all know that “justice” basically means how much money you have.

Their support crew has been working hard to hustle the funds necessary to
hire a lawyer for Connor, the defendant who was most unhappy with his
legal representation. The lawyer, who is taking on the case at a reduced
cost, also plans to hire an investigative team to work on the case. As of
now, initial legal costs exceed $30,000 and are expected to be much more
than that.

Even though these costs are huge and may seem insurmountable, the future
of the five is riding on the efforts of small autonomous groups of people
contributing to the struggle for their freedom. There will be no knights
in shining armor in this case, just us and the support we are able to

The five also need encouragement, expressions of solidarity with their
refusal to cooperate, and letters of support. So far, responses along
these lines have been disappointing. It’s not news that the five are
mostly inexperienced and are not well known within our networks of
affinity. And it’s possible that this is why they were targeted. But we
cannot let these be the reasons we do not support them. They may not be a
friend of a friend, maybe no one you know can vouch for them, but so far
they have stood up to the State with courage and integrity—one of them,
Connor, has even gone on hunger strike to protest the conditions of his
imprisonment—and it’s time they get some unambiguous expressions of
solidarity in return.

We know the risks of not supporting fringe anarchists in moments of
intense repression—when people feel alone they are more likely to snitch
or to look to reactionary belief systems for solace. While they are
remaining uncooperative with the government at this point, the future is
very uncertain if they do not get more support than they are getting.

Please see the legal update and the individual updates below and take a
minute to send a book or a zine or to drop a line on these comrades.

Legal update:

The five are being charged with “Use or Attempted Use of Explosive
Materials” and “Conspiracy.”

They have been incarcerated since May 1st and four of them are being held
in a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio. The fifth, Doug Wright, is being
held at the county jail in Trumbull County in Warren, Ohio.

On June 15th, a “motion for detention” was signed by the judge in the
case, preventing supporters from bonding them out before trial.

The judge in their case seems to be tough and unsympathetic and is
refusing requests for continuance by the lawyers. Although they have not
had nearly enough time to prepare an adequate defense, the judge continues
to insist that the trial will begin in early September. Although it is
extremely unlikely to happen, it demonstrates the added pressure the five
and their lawyers are under.

As of now, Connor, Brandon, Anthony and Josh are being held at a private
prison in Youngstown, Ohio called the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
http://www.NOCC.com/facility/northeast-ohio-correctional-center/, run by
the Corrections Corporation of America. Doug is currently being held the
Trumbull County Jail http://www.co.trumbull.oh.us/tc_sheriff.html in
Warren, Ohio.

The four being held at NOCC are in solitary confinement (23 hours of lock
down a day with one hour of “recreation” in a small outdoor cage), can
make phone calls only once every fifteen days and are permitted one legal
call per day. Despite these rules, no one has been consistently able to
make calls as their requests are repeatedly ignored. They are allowed two
visits per week, but they are only twenty minutes long and visitors have
to check in by 7am.

Individual updates:

Brandon is incarcerated at NOCC where he is cell mates with his
co-defendant Tony. Because the two are together, they seem to be doing
well emotionally. He is in need of a decent legal dictionary, any criminal
defense books, and would like to be sent news articles that are being
printed about the five. He’s spending time documenting the case and doing
legal research as much as possible given the restrictions. He really wants
letters and visitors.

Tony is doing well emotionally and wants letters and visits. He is
cellmates with Brandon at NOCC. He is working hard doing research to
prepare for his case and has really offered a lot of emotional support to
Brandon and Connor, helping them stay strong.

Josh’s situation is potentially the most urgent. He is having a very hard
time mentally and emotionally and is getting very little support or
outside contact. He is also, for unknown reasons, not allowed to have any
contact whatsoever with the other three comrades at NOCC. He has a history
of mental health issues that have already been made public in the case,
and which are not be effectively addressed by his captors. He is not
getting adequate nutrition, is losing weight and feels constantly hungry.
He usually does not take the hour of rec. available to him because he is
too physically weak. He is in urgent need of support and letters.

Connor is in high spirits and is looking forward to working with the new
lawyer. He continues to be frustrated with the limitations of visitation
and phone use and, sometime in June, went on hunger strike to protest
these conditions. He is clear in his commitment to not cooperating with
the government. He is also incarcerated at NOCC where he can sometimes
have contact with Brandon and Tony.

Doug is being held at Trumbull County Jail in Warren, Ohio where his
lawyer requested he be transferred in hopes of improving his conditions.
Like Josh, he is totally disconnected from any contact with his
co-defendants and feels very isolated. His lawyer has been urging him to
take a plea, but so far he’s remaining strong. He’s getting very little
support or outside contact and has no support from his family. He is
usually out of touch because of the conditions of his incarceration and
lack of support and usually has no idea what’s going on about the case,
when court dates are, etc. He is also suffering from lack of sufficient
food and is also dealing with harassment from guards.

Please write to them at:

Last Name, First Name
2240 Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

Here are their ID numbers:

Stevens, Connor # 57978060
Baxter, Brandon #57972060
Hayne, Anthony #57975060f
Stafford, Joshua #57976060

You can write to Doug at:

Douglas L. Wright**
150 High Street
Warren, OH 44481

*Letters must be in pre-stamped envelopes from the Post Office. No
glitter/sparkles/confetti/stickers/etc. Plain lined or unlined paper is
acceptable. Photos are okay.

**Please be sure to include Doug's middle initial, L., when addressing
letters to him as there are two Douglas Wrights at Trumbull County Jail in

A note on security: As we know, all our letters to these comrades will be
read, photocopied, and maybe even mailed to the FBI field office in our
city. Therefore, we should be aware of what we write, the address we write
from, and the name we use. Please, do not mention the facts of the case,
anything at all illegal, or anything you do not want the FBI to know.
Please write to them simply to show them they are not alone, and that you
are thinking about them. Send them an article you think they might like,
or a poem, picture, drawing, etc. We should know the risks, but not let
them deter us from supporting our friends.

Donations to Legal Fund

If you would like to make donations via check or money order, please make
the check out to
Conveyor Belt Collective, who is handling our donations.

Send checks to:
Cleveland 5 Justice
P.O. Box 602117
Cleveland, OH 44102

Please separate any donations over $3000 into multiple contributions.

Your identity will be kept confidential unless you would prefer otherwise.
Thanks so much, your help is greatly appreciated!

For more info and updates about their case, check out their support
group’s site at http://www.cleveland5justice.org
To read the affidavit in the case check out

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