Saturday, March 31, 2007

Prisoner’s death sparks protest

Sunday April 1 2007

CUDDALORE, India: More than 1,000 inmates of the Central Prison here went on a flash protest fast following the death of a 32-year-old remand prisoner in the jail on Saturday.

K Chandrabalan allegedly died after a brief illness in the prison. According to police, Chandrabalan of Radhapuram was arrested on charges of selling illicit arrack. He was detained at the Central Prison since March 19.

Chandrabalan, who was not very strong, became indisposed this week. His condition deteriorated over the past two days and on Friday evening he developed fits, following which he was admitted to the clinic in the prison. As his condition became worse on Saturday morning, he was rushed to the GH where he died nearly an hour later.

According to sources, following his death, more than 1,000 prisoners, including life convicts and remand prisoners, observed protest fast in the prison. They claimed that Chandrabalan died due to severe torture in the prison.

They refused to take breakfast and lunch and demanded that action be taken against those involved in the death. Following the intervention of the top level officials, the agitation was withdrawn in the evening.

However, refuting this, prison sources said ‘‘the death was caused due to illness’’

Friday, March 30, 2007


On May 15 federal Judge Ann Aiken will decide whether the Oregon eco-saboteurs are arsonists or terrorists.
Oral arguments on the application of sentencing guidelines for the "terrorism enhancement" will take place starting at 10 am. This enhancement could add up to 20 years to the sentences for all District of Oregon "Operation Backfire" defendants.
Sentencing of the eco-sabotage defendants will begin on May 22, one week after the decision is made on the enhancement. All hearings will take place in Judge Aiken's courtroom in the Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene.
According to attorney Lauren Regan, whose Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) is involved in the cases, "The enhancement's application will be affected by whether the property damaged or destroyed was government owned or private."
If the judge decides the terrorism enhancement applies to the cases, then each defendant will argue individually against the enhancement. U.S. sentencing guidelines state that for the terrorism enhancement to apply, the defendant or his or conduct must be "calculated to influence or affect the conduct of the government by intimidation or coercion."
The CLDC contends that the government is seeking to label these defendants as terrorists in order to justify the amount of money it has spent pursuing so-called terrorists. And if activists become labeled terrorists, the CLDC expects a chilling effect upon progressive movements.
Sentencing dates for the defendants begin with Stanislaus Meyerhoff on May 22, and continue each day except May 28 until the last defendant, Jonathan Paul, is sentenced June 5. Identification will be required to enter the courtroom, and if the courtroom fills, the hearings will be relayed to another room via closed-circuit TV.
Three Operation Backfire cases will be dealt with in Washington: Briana Waters, Jen Kolar and Lacey Phillabaum. The terrorism enhancement is not being sought in those cases. Waters, the only defendant to continue to plead not guilty, will go to trial on Sept. 17. Kolar and Phillabaum both pled guilty and await sentencing. Phillabaum self-reported to federal prison on Jan. 29.
Camilla Mortensen

Millions Threatened by Climate Change

By Jeff “Free” Luers
Earlier this year the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in their strongest language yet, attributed the earth’s current climate change to human activity. The report, the first of four, has lead to near daily news stories on global warming.
While a few skeptics, including conservative media, continue to deny global warming as cooked-up liberal science, most educated and rational people are increasingly concerned about the steps being taken to halt climate change.
With the US government refusing to take any action, people have cause for concern.
In their second report, soon to be released, the IPCC will warn that hundreds of millions of people will face water shortages in less than 20 years. Half of Europe’s plant species will be vulnerable or extinct by 2050. And by 2080, 100 million people could be flooded by rising seas each year, and a further 200-600 million could be hungry because of the effects of global warming.
The news is not good. An already vast amount of Arctic ice is melting leading to warmer oceans around the world. The high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the highest in 650,000 years, has made oceans more acidic. These changes are altering weather patterns and making oceans an inhospitable environment for many fish species we rely on as a food source.
Despite the hard science and the harmful effects of global warming already showing up, the US is on track to increase its greenhouse has emissions 19% by 2020. An internal draft coordinated by the White House Council on Environmental Quality projected that the current administrations climate policy would result in the emission of 9.2 billion tons of green house gases in 2020, an increase of nearly one-fifth of 2000 levels.
Many scientists have warned that the shape of human history will be defined by the actions we take in the next 10 years to limit green house gases. Most recently the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a statement calling for “rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” warning that any delay “will increase environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs.”
As the American public mobilizes to end the Iraq war, we must also focus our attention on combating climate change. The Iraq war is part of a foreign policy strategy to insure ready access to oil and other resources. The US currently uses more resources and contributes more greenhouse emissions than any other nation.
Our country needs a mass mobilization, not only to end the war, but also to turn government priorities on their head. It is traditional for a society’s principles to evolve quicker than those of its government. That fact is the historical foundation for all social movements.
Our country needs radical change and it needs it now. We do not have the luxury of time. Acting to limit climate change now could prevent future wars because in a few decades time war will not be fought for oil, it will be fought for water.
The science is very clear. We must act now. Which means everyone needs to think 10-20 years ahead to what will happen if we don’t start reducing greenhouse gases. The issue is far too important to leave it to corporations and governments to solve. We must respond like the lives of hundreds of millions of people depend on our actions, because they very likely do.
- Jeff “Free” Luers
Write to: Jeff Luers, #13797671, Oregon State Prison, 2605 State Street, Salem, Oregon 97310


Victims' attorneys blast city report on officer sex scandal
When Roger Magaña worked at the Eugene Police Department (EPD), women complained over and over that he was using his badge to force sex, but Eugene police did nothing. After Magaña was finally caught after six years and sent to prison for abusing a dozen women, substantial evidence emerged that other police officers had failed in the investigation, supervision and hiring of the criminal. But the police again did nothing.
What the police and city did do is select a former cop who wrote a report that agreed with their inaction. That consultant, former McMinnville Police Chief Rod Brown, released a report last week that city officials claimed should restore lost citizen confidence in the EPD.
City Manager Dennis Taylor praised the "incredibly objective" report, which largely concurred with the city position that no other officers should be investigated, disciplined or reprimanded for their handling of the Magaña complaints. The city paid $5 million to settle lawsuits by the victims of Magaña and Juan Lara, another officer convicted of a lesser sex crime spree. "I just hope this will close the chapter," Taylor said of the Brown report.
But Michelle Burrows, the Portland attorney for one of Magaña's most frequent victims, called the Brown report a "whitewash." Burrows emailed that the retired police chief's report "itself manifests why society should not let the police review their own conduct." She continued:
The analysis by the report writer just repeats all the justifications and excuses proffered by the Eugene Police Department as to how the abuse was allowed to spread to 35 women over six years. It isn't just the benefit of hindsight that allows us to see this. The law enforcement community who worked with Magaña and Lara are trained to detect criminal activity, especially sexual misconduct. The officers who knew parts of the entire puzzle are as important a part of how the extensive abuse continued as Magaña or Lara, and in some respects their willful disregard of what was obvious is just as bad as what Lara and Magaña did. We trusted them to do the right thing and even now with this inane report, they still refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.
Elden Rosenthal, a prominent Portland civil rights attorney, represented two of Magaña's other victims. "I disagree strongly with the conclusions of the report," he said.
"This is the reason that you don't have the police investigate the police," Rosenthal said. "This is the reason you need to have independent review."
"The people of the city of Eugene should not countenance police not reporting the misconduct of their fellow officers," Rosenthal said. "Unless the culture of the Eugene Police Department changes, there will be other incidents of misconduct in the future."
In his $25,000 report, Brown argued that "the dynamics of working in law enforcement ... are only comprehended when you have lived that professional life."
But Rosenthal said the judge and jury system doesn't leave it only to cops to judge cops. "That's what the civil rights laws are all about."
Rosenthal noted that federal Judge Thomas Coffin dismissed many of the city's and Brown's arguments in ruling against the city on summary judgement.
Brown argued that the "crux" of the issue was that the seriousness of the complaints against Magaña made it more "reasonable" to ignore them.
"When a complaint is regarding an offense or action by an officer that is so egregious as to be outrageous and inconceivable, the receiving officer looks upon the allegation with incredulity and skepticism."
"It's absurd," said Rosenthal of the argument by Brown and the city.
Greg Veralrud, a Eugene attorney for several victims of Magaña and Lara, said he hadn't had a chance to read the report. He said in some cases, he could understand why officers didn't believe the women when they complained, although "the pattern should have been recognized by someone."
But Veralrud said officers clearly failed in other complaints. He cited an early incident where Magaña sexually abused an underage police cadet who complained to two other officers who believed her but did not report the incident to superiors. "I thought that was egregious," he said. "That should have sent some shivers up the ranks."
Brown laid out his arguments absolving the police in a 33-page report after reviewing depositions, personnel files and documents provided by the city and interviewing a few police officials but not talking to victims.
Burrows, who conducted many of the 40 depositions and read 12,000 pages of discovery documents in the case, said Brown's report is refuted by a heavily footnoted, 133-page motion for summary judgement she filed last year before the city paid to settle the case.
In the document, Burrows alleges Magaña had "nearly 45 victims in over 100 documented acts of sexual abuse." She alleges that officers and police repeatedly failed to respond to complaints. "During the entire five years of Magaña's activities, 23 different officers, one chief of police and the director of human resources had actual knowledge of no less than 15 different complaints involving 15 different women who were being either harassed, raped or sexually abused by Magaña."
Here's a list of some of the key allegations that Burrows makes, citing sworn depositions from Eugene police officers, city officials and city documents:
• City police and human resource officials "knowingly covered up officer Magaña's pre-employment criminal history in order to fulfill minority quotas," Burrows alleged. Det. Scott McKee said that when Magaña was 17 or 18, Magaña was "accused and ... convicted of an offense that involved forcible or compelled sexual acts with a young girl." The next year he was arrested for burglary but not convicted. Documents relating to the criminal history were "lost" but later "mysteriously resurfaced" during the criminal investigation.
The police background investigator recommended against hiring Magaña, but he was "hired anyway at the insistence of Chief [Leonard] Cooke, Captain Roy Brown, [officer] Frank Bone and Helen Towle." Burrows cited police Human Resources Director Towle's deposition in writing that Towle "does not believe that criminal arrests disqualify an applicant for an officer position."
By hiring Magaña, the city was "giving that violent sex offender the means to rape and sexually abuse as many as 45 known victims," Burrows wrote.
• "Officer [Gerald] Webber testified in trial and deposition that a woman told him Magaña was asking for 'blow jobs,' but he thought that she was making it up despite the fact that he knew the woman never lied to him." Webber repeatedly testified under oath that he told acting Lt. Jim Fields about the accusation and Fields told him to drop it. But Fields called that claim a "damn lie."
• After a woman's sexual complaint, "Magaña apparently sent [officer Mel] Thompson and another officer back to the woman to tell her to stop 'making up' information about Magaña. ... The woman apparently believed she had been threatened."
• A woman told officer [William] Reimers that Magaña was fondling another woman. Reimers had sworn under oath in court documents that the woman was an honest or reliable source for criminal investigations, but decided that she "was not credible in a complaint about another officer," Burrows wrote.
• Lax discipline was prevalent in the department, Burrows alleged. Drunk driving "officers were stopped by patrol, taken in to the department for booking, but a lieutenant intervened, turned off the videotaping equipment and arranged for the officer to be taken home with no charges."
• There were unconfirmed "accusations by the wives of some of the RDU [Rapid Deployment Unit] officers that some officers were frequenting prostitutes on duty and as part of the job."
• RDU officers showed their genitalia to prostitutes during sting operations, Burrows alleged. "The RDU officers, seeing nothing wrong in removing their clothing, were complying with the women's request to undress to 'prove' they were not cops."
• Within EPD Magaña "had the reputation as a 'ladies man' and openly bragged to other RDU officers of having sex with over 100 women."
• The complaint by Magaña's final victim was initially dismissed. "Officer [Kathy] Flynn's 'investigation' of the [woman's] complaint that Magaña was fondling her lasted 90 minutes, was never referred to Internal Affairs and was not sent on to a superior officer." The persistent woman pressed her complaint with other officers but initially, "Neither Officer [Randall] Smith nor [Scott] McKee believed the woman, refused to meet with her personally and asked her questions designed to intimidate or discourage her."
• Supervisors failed to supervise, Burrows alleged. Magaña's supervisor "Sgt. [Joseph] Harris was viewed as a 'lax supervisor' who "sometimes misses the point." Supervisors were consumed with bureaucratic duties to the extent that they had less than 15 percent of their time available for direct supervision, another city consultant reported. "The RDU was a secret entity all unto themselves with almost no oversight by management."
• "Sgt. Harris reviewed a complaint made by [a woman] and seemed to conclude that Magaña was not telling the truth, engaged in activity which was not verifiable." A review consultant also told Towle and Chief Thad Buchanan that Magaña lied in the case. But everyone who knew about the case, Harris, Buchanan, Towle, Lt. Fields and Capt. Becky Hanson, did nothing.
• A police recruit complained that Magaña made sexual advances to her in 2003 when she was being trained by him, but there was no evidence the complaint was investigated.
• Officers Rich Bremer, Sgt. Jennifer Bills and Lt. Rick Siel knew that an underage police volunteer complained that Magaña had made inappropriate sexual contact with her that led her to leave the police. Magaña was not investigated and no record was made of the incident.
• The mother of one of Magaña's victims called to complain to an unidentified captain who took no action.
• A victim told officer Ryan Wolgamott that Magaña had raped her. The complaint was in front of officers Kara Bankhardt, Mel Thompson and Sgt. Scott Fellman. They ignored the complaint.
• A woman "made a statement to a municipal court judge, 'How would you like it if a Eugene cop forced you to suck his dick?'" The judge did not investigate or report the incident.
Burrows alleged that Magaña thrived in an EPD atmosphere where sexual impropriety was tolerated. One female sergeant allegedly had sexual relations with an 18-year-old male cadet she was supervising and with four different officers, two of whom were married. Her simultaneous relationships with two officers caused tension and "safety issues at work."
Sgt. Derel Schulz, while married, engaged in a sexual relationship with a female Coburg officer, Burrows alleged. "Apparently, the female cadet broke it off, but Schulz started 'stalking her' and she obtained a stalking complaint. The department 'covered it up and made the complaint go away.'"
A woman who was a secretary on the narcotics team filed sexual harassment complaints against three to four officers including Sgt. Ron Swanson and Thad Buchanan, who later became chief. Chief Hill admitted he received two sexually based complaints which he said were not substantiated.
Officer Jeff Glemser said under oath that the unpunished impropriety by other officers contributed to the scandal, Burrows reported, quoting him. "Other people were getting away with it. Supervisors, people you are supposed to look up to. ... Now if these people were dealt with appropriately, Magaña may still be working here and he may have not done as much as what he was doing."
"Things are covered up because they are afraid of what the public will find out," Burrows quoted Glemser.
Burrows called it "damning" that a "stunning number of officers" supposedly trained to recognize criminal activity received complaints about Magaña and did nothing.
"It is not enough for them to pretend to some level of naivete, or innocence. 'We'll never be the same again.' They had a duty to know and to be mindful of their oath to the very citizens they failed," Burrows wrote.
Brown and the city claim that the police department won't ignore complaints in the future.
But Burrows notes, "The street level officers who were questioned said without hesitation that it was the standard policy and procedure" to not act on the complaints against a fellow officer. "Even to this day they see nothing wrong with discounting the complaints as they did."

a prisoner in mexico named carlos arroyo

from People's Global Action NA
Fri, 30 Mar 2007

the following message concerns a prisoner in mexico named carlos arroyo.
it is just a reminder that funds are greatly needed for his case if anyone
can help out. there was recently a death in his family, which makes it all
the more important that support be directed his way. please be in touch if
you are able to make a donation and please circulate this information.
thank you!

2/07 Update: Carlos Arroyo was arrested in May 2001 in
Mexico City, framed by police for an alleged robbery.
He was beaten and tortured by police at the time of
his arrest and faced an unfair trial that involved an
extensive fabrication of false evidence against him.
His original sentence was 15 years, though it was
subsequently reduced to 12. Prior to his arrest Carlos
was involved in the anarchist community in Mexico
City; he also participated in the university student
strikes. It is likely that he was set-up by the state
as retaliation for his political activities. He was 22
at the time of his arrest. Carlos’ family is extremely
poor and has been unable to shoulder the burden of
legal expenses. They were scammed by two lawyers,
which not only resulted in a loss of money, but also
squandered many of Carlos’ chances for appeals. The
family has depended on the support of friends and are
still greatly in need of financial assistance. Several
benefit compilation tapes/cds have been made on
Carlos’ behalf. For a while, there was a slim
possibility that a new law in Mexico City could result
in a further reduction of his sentence; though the
details remain unclear, we have recently learned that
Carlos may now have a shot at obtaining his freedom
much sooner than expected. However, his chances will
depend on the availability of financial resources. His
family is currently raising funds to this end. In the
meantime, outside resources also enable his family to
continue visiting him, as well as buy food for him in
prison and bribe prison guards to prevent physical
abuse. If you can contribute financially in any way or
would like to write Carlos (in Spanish, please),
contact .

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring update about Daniel McGowan's case

We have been relatively quiet these days and wanted to update you on things going on with Daniel's case.

At a March 2nd court date, sentencing dates were set for all defendants. The sentencing dates for the non-cooperating defendants in the case are as follows:

June 1 - Joyanna Zacher and Nathan Block's sentencing. 9 AM
June 4 - Daniel McGowan's sentencing. 9 AM
June 5 - Jonathan Paul's sentencing. 9 AM

We are encouraging people to attend these dates and support the defendants. Be sure to arrive early (only 42 seats!), dress well for court and please behave during the proceedings. Oregon Federal Court is located at 405 East 8th Avenue. (Be careful crossing Franklin Boulevard). View map.

There is also a very important court date coming up in May. At a May 15th hearing, Judge Aiken will hear arguments on the "terrorism enhancement" the government wants to have applied on all defendants in the case. You can read an update on this aspect of the case in today's Eugene Weekly here.
Letters to the Eugene Weekly regarding this important issue can be sent to (Letters to the Editor (to be published in the paper) should be clearly labeled as such, be no more than 250 words and must include your full name, address and phone number.

We are happy to announce that we are starting a matching grant campaign for Daniel's tuition. We have a donor that will match your donation dollar for dollar up to $12,000. This means we will be able to double your donation i.e. Your $25 donation means we get $50. Thanks to this generosity we are in a position to cover Daniel's masters degree tuition in full. Please consider contributing and help Daniel earn his masters degree while he serves his sentence. You can donate online through the paypal button on or send a check/money order made out to "Lisa McGowan", POB 106, NY, NY 10156.

Finally, we are organizing a massive book sale in New York City on May 5th at the Book Thug Nation book table on Astor Place between 3rd and 4th Avenues at 12 noon. Please save the date and start looking through your shelves now to see what you can donate. When the sale is closer, we will announce a book drop off location. If you don't live in NYC and want to help, you can peruse our book stock and buy books from our shop here.

Thanks for all your support!
Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Rod Coronado released!

Rod was released on March 23, 2007 after finishing an 8 -month sentence in federal prison for disrupting a 2004 mountain lion hunt in Sabino Canyon, Arizona.

As great as it is that Rod is home again, he still needs your support. His trial for "demonstrating the use of a destructive device," relating to a speech he gave in San Diego in 2003, is scheduled to begin in June.

Visit for updates.

ELP Information Bulletin (28th March 2007)

ELP has just received this fantastic bit of new from the British
based Vegan Prisoners Support Group.

Dave would like this circulated as widely as possible.

28th March

Dave Blenkinsop heard today that he has been successful with his
parole and will be moving to a hostel in the new few days.

He has asked us to thank everyone that wrote and or gave him
support during his sentence. He has also requested that his
privacy is respected on his release.

Vegan Prisoners Support Group
Tel/Fax 0208 292 8325

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Free Free Now!

Monday, March 26, 2007 my hartford advocate

In 2001, Jeff “Free” Luers received a 22-year prison sentence for setting fire to three SUV’s at a Eugene, Oregon dealership, in order to make a statement about global warming. He was only five years ahead of Al Gore. No one was harmed by Luers' monkey-wrenching, and the SUVs were later resold. Nonetheless, Jeff Luers is still not “Free.” He languishes in an Oregon prison while murderers, child molesters and armed robbers serve shorter sentences than he has already served. His case finally received a ruling from the Oregon Court of Appeals on Valentine’s Day of this year. The judge ruled that Luers had been improperly sentenced, and that his case be remanded back to the Circuit Court for resentencing. Though this is good news, “Free” still needs help, for legal fees and for expenses once he is released, until he can get himself properly situated back in the world. If you want to help or to learn more about the shameful case of this political prisoner, visit

Or, if you can spare it, send a donation to Free's Legal Defense Fund, POB 3, Eugene, OR 97440
Meanwhile, back in the perfectly sane reality of Bush's America, SUV owners are freaking out over rising gasoline prices (but not global warming!). Unable to make theircar payments, they have begun to do a little monkey wrenching of their own. That is, arson-for-hire rings are being paid to torch their SUVs, in order for the owners to collect their insurance payments.
Good old American ingenuity! Something tells me that the perps of this 'eco terror' scam will not be getting 22-year prison sentences for insurance fraud.

Free Jeff Luers pamphlet in English and Espanol

English and en Espanol
Environmental Activist and Political Prisoner Sentenced to 22 years and 8 months!
File Size: 356 kb
File Type: PDF

Sunday, March 25, 2007

ALF makes its debut in Chile

15th March 2007

The Animal Liberation Front made its debut this week in Temuco, capital of the 9th adminstrative region (north to south) of Chile.

A communiqué posted on a Spanish animal rights website on 14th March stated that 4 meat shops and a shop selling birds were targeted. According to the communiqué, the fronts of all of the shops were damaged and one of the meat shops had its windows damaged. Window and door locks were also glued shut.

The activists called the attacks "completely successful" and their communiqué stated, "We want every fighter to know that the struggle is also taking place at the ends of the earth."

There were no reports of the attacks in the Chilean media and it is unknown how police are treating these new actions.

Chile has several small grassroots and large national animal rights organisations, including Animanaturalis (, which campaigns in many Spanish-speaking countries including Spain, and Derechos Animales (, a group based in Santiago.

While the national groups carry on some of the well-known international campaigns such as vegan outreach, protesting the Canadian seal slaughter, and the Chinese dog and cat fur trade, smaller groups tend to focus on animal abuse at the community level, such as the rampant abuse of dogs that activists say is "common in Latin America." Underground animal rights activism has thus far been rare in Latin American countries.

Repression as State Strategy

from the brand new A Murder of Crows #2
Repression is a topic that is often discussed in the revolutionary milieu, but unfortunately it is a subject that is not well understood. Because of democratic baggage, repression is often understood as simply an anomalous and outrageous violation of rights. What people fail to comprehend is that repression is part of the standard operating procedure of any class society. There are those that rule and those who are ruled, and to maintain this divide, a combination of coercion and accommodation is necessary. To preserve the social structure of our society then, it is necessary to recuperate parts of social movements, and to repress the other parts. Essentially, repression is a strategy for maintaining power by capitalist ruling classes within nation-states. Thus, since it is a long-term strategy, it is always in motion and not some occasional occurrence.
When repression strikes and comrades are arrested, such as in the “green scare,” the reaction of many is to disassociate themselves from those who are being attacked by the state. Liberals, progressives, and most activists draw up official statements denouncing violence, sabotage, and illegality, all in hopes of proving to the government that they are just good citizens who like to follow the rules and who are interested in “positive” social change. This spineless response is standard for the left, and serves to flank the state’s actions. Disassociation is not only a cowardly act, but is also based on faulty logic.
The underlying premise of disassociation is that the state has reacted to a specific occurrence and that those being persecuted are responsible for bringing repression upon themselves and everyone else. Certainly there are specific acts that the state responds to, such as actions of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), but this is not where repression stems from. In actuality, repression is a long-term strategy employed by the state regardless of specific illegal acts and is an attempt to maintain the status quo by any means necessary. Repression, then, is always present in many forms. It is the police, the courts, the prison system, the proliferation of security cameras, the immigrant detention centers and the like. If anyone needs further proof that the state doesn’t merely punish people for breaking its laws, and instead represses in order to destroy its opposition, one need only take a look at recent events.
Some Recent Attacks
A well-known example of state repression within the anarchist milieu is the infiltration of various conferences, protests and even affinity groups by one particular state agent: Anna Davies. Following the arrests of Lauren Weiner, Zachary Jenson and Eric McDavid in January 2006 for conspiracy to commit several acts of sabotage, the government revealed that one of the three’s comrades was in fact in the employ of the state. What’s more is that the government funneled money to Anna to rent a house where planning allegedly took place and to pay for supplies to commit these alleged acts. When this information was revealed, comrades across the country quickly posted photographs of Anna to popular anarchist and activist sites, and within days a picture of Anna’s activity was pieced together.
Rather than simply being involved with the three people arrested in California, Davies had been actively working for the FBI as far back as 2003. She has taken part in major protests such as the Democratic National Convention in 2004, the 2004 anti-G8 Protest in Georgia, the June 2005 Organization of American States protest in Florida, and the Bio-Democracy protest in Philadelphia, also in June of 2005. Along with major convergences, Davies attended anarchist conferences and gatherings in 2005 such as Feral Visions in the Appalachian Mountains and the CrimethInc Convergence in Indiana. On various Indymedia sites she also solicited photographs and video of protests under the guise of publicity, but it should be presumed that any information sent to her was added to the FBI’s intelligence base.
So the intention behind her infiltration was not to help solve a particular case, or to investigate one specific crime. Instead, she was employed as an infiltrator to gather information about the anarchist scene in general. It should also not be surprising that the case that she is currently involved in focuses on alleged acts that were planned to occur in the future, not ones that had already occurred. Based solely on the evidence made available to the public, it is not hard to see that the FBI was facilitating these alleged crimes by renting a house for Davies and the three arrested people and funneling money via Davies for supplies. In effect, the state was justifying their existence through aiding and abetting. In the US government’s latest terror war, arrests and examples need to be made; Weiner, Jenson, and McDavid have served this purpose quite well.
In addition to the case of Anna Davies is the 2003 infiltration of direct action anti-war groups in California. In July 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California released a detailed report in which they documented a variety of instances in which local police departments, along with the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center, placed officers into anti-war groups. First and foremost they infiltrated the groups in order to gather information, but more insidiously, the police hoped to steer the organizations in a direction more useful to the state. When asked why officers had been placed in the San Francisco group Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW), Captain Howard Jordan of the Oakland Police Department stated: “if you put people in there from the beginning, I think we’d be able to gather the information and maybe even direct them to do something that we want them to do.” Clearly the state’s perspective is one of infiltrating in order to undermine.
This strategy manifested itself on multiple occasions. In April of 2003, DASW organized a picket at the Port of Oakland in opposition to the war in Iraq. At least one shipping company at the Port was handling war supplies, and the group organized to shut the port down for the day. Nearly 500 demonstrators took part, splitting into smaller groups to picket the various entrances to the port. The Oakland Police Department, however, was prepared. Through surveillance, police had already gathered information about the protest, and in this instance, they also brutally attacked demonstrators with rubber bullets, tear gas, and wooden dowel shots causing scores of injuries. In response to the police crackdown, DASW organized an anti-police brutality march in May of 2003. What members of the group did not know was that they had elected police infiltrators to plan out the route for their march. No one, not even the police, could fail to see the irony of that situation. While in their report the ACLU decries the actions of the police as evidence of misconduct, these acts should more importantly be viewed as evidence of the state’s attempts to undermine and destroy opposition to it.
As shown by FBI infiltration of anarchist demonstrations and events and local police infiltration of protest groups, it is easy to see that they were not investigating crimes that had taken place, but rather they were investigating possibilities of concrete resistance, which by necessity, generally break the law. This shows that there are plenty of examples, and certainly many that we may never know about, which demonstrate that repression already exists and is underway. It is not intermittent, and does not always respond to particular violations of the law; it is a long-term strategy of the state to destroy opposition. This strategy, however, has wider implications beyond the bounds of the radical milieu and affects the exploited as a whole.
The New Repressive Strategy
Author Kristian Williams, in his book Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, examines fundamental changes in the repressive strategy of the United States government. His main observation, which he thoroughly documents with official papers and statements, is that following the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, the state switched to a strategy of permanent repression, or as he calls it, counter-insurgency. Learning from their past failures, the police developed a preemptive model of repression which sought to prevent insurgency before it happened. Williams outlines two major components functioning hand in hand: militarization and community policing.
Militarization is one of the most obvious changes within police departments in the United States. In city centers across the US, police departments are well armed and equipped for urban warfare. Not only has their weaponry been upgraded in a variety of ways, but also newer and more powerful firearms are available. Armored personnel carriers (APCs), helicopters and even tanks are at their disposal, as are a multitude of so-called non-lethal weapons such as tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray, which are known to kill and permanently injure people. But it is not only the tools, but also the manner of organization and the scope of the mission that define militarization.
Organizationally, many police departments were restructured along military lines into squads and platoons, and paramilitary units were created as well. Special Weapons and Tactics units, better known as SWAT teams, are a manifestation of militarization in terms of organization, armament, and dress. Created in the late 1960s, their first missions involved raids on Black Panther Party headquarters and on the hideout of the Symbionese Liberation Army. SWAT teams were also mobilized dozens of times in relation to the activities of the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee. Now however, SWAT teams aren’t simply used for “extreme” situations or in the case of potential shootouts; they are also used for routine patrolling in the ghettoes of many major cities. In this way, paramilitary units –equipped with machine guns— targeting people for ID checks, loitering, and even traffic violations, has become a normal part of life for the most exploited members of this society. This is but one part of the state’s counter-insurgency campaign.
Community policing is the friendly face, and perhaps the more insidious side, of the new repressive strategy. Community policing developed in response to the state’s inability to predict and control urban uprisings in the 60s and 70s and was designed, “to build a bond between the police and the public in hopes that this would increase police legitimacy, give them better access to information, intensify penetration of community life and expand the police mission.” This is not the same as infiltration because it is an overt attempt to work with civic organizations, churches, homeowners, and the general public in order to transform people into the eyes and ears of the state. Some of the tactics employed include: neighborhood watch groups, public forums, meetings with religious and civic leaders, foot and bike patrols, a focus on minor offenses, citizen volunteer opportunities, and police sponsored community activities such as Night Out Against Crime. This is how the police and the state worm their way into the social networks of various neighborhoods in order to gain legitimacy. Therefore when force is used, it is presented as being validated by “community support.”
Community policing has also expanded the role of the police from simply dealing with violations of the law to an overall focus on “public order” and “quality of life.” This is based on the Broken Windows theory which argues that small issues such as rundown property and juvenile loitering eventually contribute to an ever-growing sense of disorder in the neighborhood and consequently, to greater violations of the law. This means that rather than simply focusing on serious offences, the police also focus on many smaller crimes that supposedly lower the quality of life and eventually snowball into great social disturbances. Quality of life issues include ridding neighborhoods of graffiti, breaking up homeless encampments, and dealing with noise complaints; this focus essentially promotes a zero-tolerance approach to crime. The underlying premise is that any amount of lawbreaking, whether it is jaywalking or kids hanging out on corners, contributes to ever-greater lawlessness.
The confluence of community policing and militarization amounts to nothing less than a consistent campaign of counter-insurgency. Penetrating communities and including common people in the state apparatus, in combination with paramilitary units and a war-based conception of crime, are part of a strategic shift to preempt any major disorder or uprisings. Poor neighborhoods and districts, especially black and Latino ghettoes, which were the source of much insurgency during the 1960s and 1970s, are hit particularly hard by this preemptive strategy. Undoubtedly, since the exploited pose a permanent threat to the social order, there is a direct connection between this daily repression and the repressive activity focused specifically on radicals.
How to Deal
If we begin to understand repression as a strategy of the state that is continually in operation, then we must transform our way of dealing with it. In the US, radicals deal with it in a reactive way: first the state strikes, then we come out with posters, leaflets, statements, and attempts to raise money for our imprisoned comrades. This is of course assuming that repression is even responded to; most choose to look the other way as long as it poses no threat to themselves or their acquaintances. Unfortunately, the mentality of some is that those being targeted by the state are responsible for bringing repression upon themselves. Without simply repeating the usual principles of revolutionary solidarity, we feel the need to reaffirm that it’s important to start using our heads and thinking about what can be done outside of the usual support campaigns. Comrades in Spain, once again, have given us some examples to learn from.
On February 9, 2006, two anarchist comrades, Ruben and Ignasi, were arrested in Barcelona for an arson attack on a prison labor company and for vandalism at a bank. The anarchist response to the arrests was immense. Graffiti and propaganda covered walls in many neighborhoods in Barcelona, and dozens of acts of sabotage were carried out in solidarity with them. Individuals attacked banks and ATMs across Spain, a satellite signal antenna was destroyed in Barcelona, and the offices of real estate companies were targeted. Public demonstrations were held in support of the imprisoned comrades, and on a few occasions in Barcelona, major intersections were shut down during rush hour, as banners flew and flyers were handed out to passersby. The acts of sabotage were not random; they were an extension of pre-existing fights against gentrification and the media’s repeated efforts to label anarchists and autonomists as domestic terrorists. Thus they served to intertwine and deepen the implications of their resistance. And in their resistance, comrades in Spain employed a variety of tools: posters, graffiti, sabotage, protests, and blockades. Perhaps more importantly they demonstrated a refusal to allow the state to kidnap their comrades without repercussions.
Outside of the scope of friends and comrades being taken by the state, there is the daily repression that is ever growing. We need to get in the habit of resisting the daily indignities that are imposed upon us by this regime of repression. They will push us to see how far we will bend, to make us bow and show respect to authority. They hope to police our every move, to make simple things illegal, for the sake of constantly having a reason to interfere with our lives. This is manifesting itself in a variety of ways: the proliferation of video surveillance devices monitoring public spaces, constant harassment for identification, more aggressive policing of demonstrations, random searches, and more importantly, the racist policy of mass incarceration. All of these changes are the result of the convergence of interests between states and businesses with mutually reinforcing agendas. One of the most nefarious aspects of this growing network of control is the way in which it is normalized over time. We get used to being watched, inspected, harassed, beaten and treated like prisoners. The media is complicit in this process by continually promoting a climate of fear –fear of pedophiles, gangs, immigrants, and eco-terrorists—that serves to build democratic support for repression.
There are some precedents for struggle against the slow creep of repressive technologies. In Britain there has been widespread sabotage over the past several years of speed cameras, which seek to catch drivers violating the speed limit. Hundreds of cameras have been destroyed across the country by chainsaws, burning tires, and rifles. The recent implementation of speed cameras in Australia has produced the same reaction. Surveillance cameras, however, are more prolific and more useful to police. In many cities across the world, surveillance cameras are routinely targeted with rocks, paint, and hammers. People generally use brightly colored paints to disable the cameras and draw attention to them. Cameras are only one part of the repressive web that threatens to envelop us, but are certainly a worthy target.
Also, anarchists and other radicals in many countries have initiated projects that focus on immigrant detention. In Australia in 2002, there was a direct attack on the Woomera detention facility by hundreds of people who tore down several layers of security fences. This allowed several detainees to escape. In Greece in December of 2004, anarchists held a solidarity rally with Afghan immigrants who had been tortured by the police. There, the demonstrators attacked the police station where the torture had occurred. In Lecce, Italy, a very determined struggle against the Regina Pacis detention center has been developing over the last three years. Riots have broken out in the facility, and sabotage and arson attacks were undertaken against those who manage and profit from it. As long as capitalism exists, it will ravage large parts of the world, sending people on forced marches across deserts, oceans, and national borders; thus these revolutionary projects of immigrant solidarity are worthy of close study.
If we hope to have any impact upon repression, we need to begin refusing their commands and disobeying their orders, and start thinking about ways we can meet face-to-face with others who are facing state repression. When the state hits us, let’s hit back. After all, like the police argue, a few broken windows eventually lead to full-scale disorder.
by Kellen Kass

1. We are still unsure about whether or not Anna Davies is the informant’s real name, but for the article we will use that name for the sake of simplicity.
2. At this time, both Lauren Weiner and Zachary Jenson have taken plea deals and agreed to cooperate against Eric McDavid. For more information see:
3. State of Surveillance ACLU report, p. 13. Available online:
4. Kristian Williams. Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. p 239
5. Williams p 237
6. Calling this strategy counter-insurgency is not in any way a hyperbole, because occupying armies in situations such as Algeria and Ireland primarily developed these strategies. While there is too much to go into here, William’s Our Enemies in Blue is an excellent resource for gaining a deeper understanding of this phenomenon.
7. For more information about the UK speed camera attacks, see, and for the Australian case, see “Speed Cameras: The War Begins,” available at:
8. Also for information on anarchist activity against immigrant detention centers see “An Example of Struggle Against Deportation and Detention Centers for Immigrants” in the first issue A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows
PO Box 20442
Seattle, WA 98102

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Abu-Jamal Hearing Date Set by Third Circuit Court of Appeals

March 24, 2007

Dave Lindorff, Atlantic Free Press

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelpia journalist and former Black Panther
activist who has been on Pennsylvania's death row since 1982, will finally have his appeal of his conviction heard by a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which set a date of May 17.

At that session, Abu-Jamal will argue that his original trial for the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner was fatally flawed because of racial bias by the prosecutor in jury selection. He will argue that his conviction by that jury was improper because the prosecutor improperly was permitted to lessen jurors' sense of responsibility by assuring them that whatever they decided, the defendant would get "appeal after appeal" and so their decision "would not be final." He will also argue that his effort to appeal his conviction was damaged because his post-conviction relief act hearing was presided over by a judge who was clearly biased in favor of the district attorney.

The hearing will also hear a claim by the district attorney that Abu-Jamal's
death sentence - lifted by a Federal Judge in 2001--should be reinstated.
The federal district court had ruled that Abu-Jamal's sentence had been
arrived at by a jury that was given improper and confusing instructions by
Judge Albert Sabo, and that their sentencing form itself was misleading.

Meanwhile, it has been learned that the Philadelphia District Attorneys
Office earlier this month attempted unsuccessfully to have the entire Third
Circuit Court--one of the more liberal appeals courts in the nation--recused
from hearing Abu-Jamal's appeal on the grounds that Abu-Jamal's claim of
jury selection bias was charging then DA Ed Rendell (now Pennsylvania's
governor), with having deliberately violated the law. Rendel's wife,
Marjorie, is one of the appeals court judges in the Third Circuit.

Abu-Jamal's attorney Robert R. Bryan, objecting to the DA's effort, noted
that there was no claim of illegality on the governor's part, but rather on
the part of the prosecutor in the case, Joseph McGill. It is alleged that a
succession of Philadelphia DA's encouraged their prosecutors to remove as
many blacks as possible from capital juries, and documentary evidence has
been submitted to show that this was done, both by the DA's office over all,
and by assistant DA McGill in his own capital cases. During jury selection
for Abu-Jamal's trial, 11 black potential jurors who had all agreed they
could vote for a death penalty, were removed by McGill using his available
peremptory challenges (meaning he did not have to give a reason for his

In a letter to the DA's office stating that the request to have all the
circuit's judges recused from hearing the case had been rejected, the clerk
of the court said that such a request would have to be made not as a letter,
but in the form of a formal motion. In a scolding tone, the letter notes
that such a motion "must be in proper form, i.e. an original and three
copies and certificate of service."

"It must have been humiliating for the opposition" to receive such a note,
comments attorney Bryan. He notes that to date, the DA has "not had the
guts" to make such a formal motion, adding, "We'll see."


Source : Atlantic Free Press

Jailed Professor's Hunger Strike Over

Saturday March 24, 2007

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court on Friday affirmed a civil contempt ruling against a former university professor hours after he ended a two-month hunger strike to protest a judge's decision to extend his prison term. A judge decided to hold Sami al-Arian an additional 18 months because he refused to testify before a Virginia grand jury investigating Palestinian charities. Al-Arian had been scheduled to be released from prison in April.

Al-Arian, a Palestinian who taught computer science at the University of South Florida, claimed that a plea agreement in Florida exempted him from cooperating with the Alexandria, Va. grand jury.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected al-Arian's argument. The plea agreement "contains no language which would bar the government from compelling appellant's testimony before a grand jury," the appeals court said.

Al-Arian's lawyer, Peter Erlinder, did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

Nahla al-Arian said she was able to convince her husband early Friday to end his water-only fast that began Jan. 22. He is being held at a medical prison in Butner, N.C. She said he lost about 53 pounds - one-quarter of his body weight - and was too weak to walk.

"We're very happy and relieved that he's decided to suspend his hunger strike," she said, adding that family members and supporters had feared permanent damage. "Hopefully he will not need to resume it."

Prosecutors labeled al-Arian a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which the U.S. calls a terrorist organization, but his six-month trial in 2005 ended in an acquittal on some counts and a hung jury on others.

In a plea bargain last April, al-Arian admitted conspiring to aid Palestinian Islamic Jihad and was sentenced to nearly five years in prison, minus credit for the time he had served.

U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. in Florida found al-Arian in civil contempt for refusing to testify and extended al-Arian's prison sentence by 18 months. A judge will also review al-Arian's status every six months and could continue to extend al-Arian's sentence until he cooperates.


Associated Press writer Samuel Spies in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Upcoming green scare hearings


Upcoming Dates (2007):

· May 15 - Oral arguments for Terrorism Enhancement
· May 22 - Cooperating Defendant Stanislas Meyerhoff's sentencing. 9 am
· May 24 - Cooperating Defendant Kevin Tubbs's sentencing. 9 am
· May 25 - Cooperating Defendant Chelsea Gerlach's sentencing. 9 am
· May 29 - Cooperating Defendant Darren Thurston's sentencing. 9 am
· May 31 - Cooperating Defendant Suzanne Savoie's sentencing. 9 am
· May 31 - Cooperating Defendant Kendall Tankersley's sentencing. 1 pm

· June 1 - Joyanna Zacher and Nathan Block's sentencing. 9 am
· June 4 - Daniel McGowan's sentencing. 9 am
· June 5 - Jonathan Paul's sentencing. 9 am

Daniel McGowan's support team can be reached at

Joyanna Zacher and Nathan Block's support team can be reached at

Jonathan Paul's support team can be reached at

Support for Panther veterans, Mumia Abu-Jamal to receive Sacco & Vanzetti award

Supporters pack courtoom for Panther veterans

By Valerie Edwards Workers World
San Francisco
Published Mar 22, 2007 10:08 PM
Ray Boudreaus, Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Richard O’Neal, Harold Taylor and Francisco Torres entered the courtroom on March 13 shackled—despite objections made by their defense attorneys at the Feb. 14 arraignment here before Judge Little. The ages of these prisoners range from 57 to 70.
The courtroom was filled with supporters on March 13 at 9 a.m., the same as it had been on Feb. 14. A determined early morning demonstration of more than 100 people in support of these prisoners began an hour earlier in front of the Hall of Justice building. Numerous drivers passing by honked their car horns and raised their fists in solidarity.
The six men were arrested on Jan. 23 and, along with Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim—who have been in New York prisons for more than 30 years—on charges that supporters maintain were a frame-up, charged with the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer and a sweeping conspiracy involving numerous acts between 1968 and 1973.
These Panther veterans are now known as the San Francisco 8.
The first charges in this case were thrown out in 1975 when a federal court ruled that torture “has been illegally used to extract confessions.”
Now, with funds made available by Homeland Security’s post-911 war against terrorism, the San Francisco Police Department has reopened the investigation of the 1971 murder of Sgt. Young and put Detectives Erdelatz and McCoy—members of the original torture team—in charge.
The reopening of this case extends the efforts of the U.S. government to make torture acceptable, not only in its so-called war against terrorism, but also on the domestic front.
The shackled defendants sat silently for the ten minutes it took the federal prosecutors and defense attorneys to decide on the date and time for the next hearing. The judge laughed several times while this was going on. Whatever caused her laughter, it was hugely offensive.
The issue of the shackling of these men, who have been serving their communities for 30 years, has been postponed again.
The next hearing will be April 27.
The Committee in Defense of Human Rights was formed by Brown, Boudreaus, Taylor and Jones in 2005 after they were jailed for refusing to cooperate with the 2003 grand jury witch hunt.
The Web site states that the SF8 case is a continuation of the Cointelpro attack on the Black movement and community, and that “this case could set an intolerable moral standard and disastrous legal precedent.”
Please go to the Web site for information, updates and downloadable flyers and to make donations.

Mumia Abu-Jamal to receive Sacco & Vanzetti award

Published Mar 22, 2007 10:05 PM
The Community Church of Boston will present the 30th annual Sacco and Vanzetti Social Justice Award to death-row political prisoner and renowned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal on March 25.
The award will honor Abu-Jamal for the work he has accomplished, despite government repression.
The event, co-sponsored by South End Press and Jericho-Boston, will take place from noon to 3 p.m. in the Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston Street in Copley Square. It will celebrate Abu-Jamal, the struggle to free all political prisoners, and the legacy of Sacco and Vanzetti.
Tickets for this event, the Community Church of Boston’s major annual fundraiser, are $20.00—$5.00 for seniors, youth and students. But all are welcome, regardless of ability to pay.
The program features Pam Africa—activist, community organizer and president of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Pam Africa will accept the award on behalf of Abu-Jamal.
Other speakers will include Lynne Stewart, human rights attorney and recipient of the 2005 Sacco and Vanzetti Award; Boston’s popular political hip-hop group “The Foundation Movement”; Kazi Toure, former political prisoner and co-chair of Jericho-National; and youth performers from Voices of Liberation.
— Peter Cook

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chico Grandmother Goes to Jail Today for Protest at Army's School of Assassins

by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Mar 21st, 2007 Indybay
Cathy Webster, a Chico grandmother, was one of six activists who reported to prisons throughout the country on March 21 for trespassing onto the grounds of the U.S. Army's School of the Americas.
640_websterjpg.jpg original image ( 1176x1748)
original image ( 1176x1748)

Chico Grandmother Goes to Prison For Trespassing at U.S. Army’s School of the Americas

After having lunch with family and supporters, Cathy Webster of Chico turned herself in at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility in Elk Grove today to spend 60 days behind bars and high security fences for a simple trespassing charge at last November’s protest at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Webster hugged her daughter, Stephanie Tarrago, and her grandchildren, Alicia and Alejandro, before two Sacramento County Sheriffs Deputies escorted her into the jail. Meanwhile, Chico and Sacramento area supporters, including Grandmothers for Peace and other peace advocates, sang “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Down by the Riverside.”

Webster trespassed on the U.S. Army base to protest the teaching of counter-insurgency techniques and torture to Latin American soldiers that return to their home countries and commit atrocities, including massacres of women and children. In the same spirit as the civil rights movement, she used non-violent civil disobedience to shine a spotlight on the teachings of the school, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2000.

“The soldiers that are trained at the SOA are not defending their country, but are killing civilians for corporate greed and domination,” said Webster. “They go back to their countries to kill and torture their own people. The graduates of this school are among the worst human rights violators in Latin America.”

She participated in the annual protest and vigil along with 22,000 others, including 1000 Grandmothers ? in the annual protest and vigil.

The short-term goal of Cathy Webster's action and of organizations around the country is to educate Americans about the Army school, known as the “School of the Assassins” throughout Latin America. The long-term goal is the pressure Congress to pass legislation to de-fund the school and close it permanently. A vote in Congress is expected in May.

“I stepped onto military property with other protestors and was arrested for unauthorized trespassing,” explained Webster just minutes before turning herself in. “I was fully aware that I what was involved when I walked onto military property."

Webster was going to jail on the day before a Congressional vote on supplemental funding to continue the Iraq war and occupation was expected. "We need to cut the funds so we can stop a war that has been waged without any just cause," she stated. "So many innocent Iraqis and our soldiers have been killed and wounded since Bush began the war 4 years ago. I hope that our Congress Members get brave and speak up against the funding."

The 62-year-old grandmother was one of six activists who reported to prisons throughout the country on March 21. Webster, Melissa Helman, Alice Gerard, Philip Gates, Joshua Harris and Graymon Ward are part of the sixteen who brought the protest against the SOA/WHINSEC and U.S. foreign policy onto Fort Benning this past November at the Vigil to Close Down the SOA. Eight other defendants have received their notices to report to prison on April.

Katherine Whitney Ray, 17 years old, was sentenced to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service and Margaret Bryant-Gainer was released after serving 71 days in Muscogee County Jail after refusing to post bail on November 19, 2006, according to SOA Watch.

Webster said that this is the first time she has ever been to jail, but she was resolute and in good spirits as she checked herself in.

“I feel no anxiety (other than leaving my family behind), nor shame,” said Webster. “I do feel resolute in calling to peoples’ attention what our taxes are paying for, and thus what we as a nation are participating in. As a prisoner of conscience, I am in good company, stretching back centuries.”
Webster said she would also also be participating in and promoting the Close The SOA Fast, April 25-27. This is a juice/water only fast for three days in anticipation of a May vote in Congress to defund the SOA/WHINSEC. Lobbying Congress has been a year round effort for sixteen years.

“The Fast is to create more energy in our cosmos to encourage Congress to do the right thing. I hope and encourage you to participate as well,” she added.

After she was taken way by the deputies, Lorraine Krofchok, director of Grandmothers for Peace, commented, “I find it amazing that Cathy is going to jail for standing up for human rights while our Congressman, Dan Lungren, votes for torture.”

“I feel proud of my mother,” said Stephanie Tarrago, “and I feel no anxiety that she is going to jail for a cause that she believes so strongly in. We will be supporting her at home throughout her jail term.”
Webster said she will be sending letters to be posted on the 1000grandmothers website,, and hopefullycalling into local radio stations during her stay.

The SOA/WHINSEC made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocate torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place.

New research confirms that the school continues to support known war criminals and human rights abusers. Despite having been investigated by the United Nations for ordering the shooting of 16 indigenous peasants in El Salvador, Col. Francisco Del Cid Diaz returned to SOA/WHINSEC in 2003.

Notorious graduates of the school include the “born again butcher” General Rios Montt, who conducted a war of genocide against the Mayan population of Guatemala that resulted in wiping 626 Mayan communities off the map, and Hugo Banzer, the brutal dictator of Bolivia.

“Prison witness has been a core element of the SOA Watch movement since its beginning,” according to a press release from SOA Watch. “In the tradition of Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., Aung San Suu Kyi and countless others, SOA Watch activists have used peaceful, nonviolent resistance to expose the horrors of the SOA/ WHINSEC and to express solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Latin America.”

As a result, 211 SOA Watch human rights defenders have collectively spent over 92 years in prison. Over 50 people have served probation sentences.

“Their sacrifice and steadfastness in the struggle for peace and justice provide an extraordinary example of love in action and have given tremendous momentum to the effort to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy and to close the SOA/ WHINSEC,” according to SOA Watch.

For information about the efforts to close SOA/WHINSEC, go to the School of the Americas Watch website at or the 1000 Grandmothers website

To send Webster letters in prison, mail to:
Catherine M. Webster X-4310736
Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center
12450 Bruceville Road
Elk Grove, CA 95757

Cuban 5 on WBAI

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign and
ProLibertad Hotline: 718-601-4751

Download the MARCH 2007 Edition of the ProLibertad Newsletter El Coqui

Despierta Boricua Segment for Friday March 23rd, 2007 at 6:45am on
WBAI radio 99.5fm or live webstreaming/archived on

This Week's segment features an interview with Cuban 5 activist,
Alicia Jrapko, of the International Committee for the Freedom of the
Cuban 5. We will be discussing the Committee's lastest intiaitive to
support the movement to grant visas for Olga Salanueva and Adriana
Perez, wives of 2 of the Cuban 5. For mroe info. go to

Saturday March 31st, 2007 at 1pm
Gather at 1 Fordham Plaza
(Look for the Puerto Rican Flags)

Directions: Subway D or #4 to Fordham Road, then bus BX12 to Fordham Plaza;
or buses BX9, BX12, BX15, BX17, BX22 to Fordham Plaza; or Metro-North
commuter rail to Fordham; or #60, #61 Westchester Bee Line buses.

Prisoners: Oscar Lopez Rivera, Carlos Alberto Torres, Haydee Beltran Torres,
and Jose Perez Gonzalez!!

Join the ProLibertad Freedom Campaign as we KICK OFF “FREEDOM MONTH” (April
2007) with a community march for the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners in
the Bronx!!

On April 4th, 1980, several Puerto Rican Independentistas were arrested by
the U.S. government for fighting for Puerto Rican independence!! For 108
years, Puerto Rico has been a colony of the U.S. government!!
International law states, that a colony has the right to use whatever means
necessary to end colonialism!!

The Puerto Rican Political Prisoners are freedom fighters, not terrorists!!
They were incarcerated for their political beliefs and actions for Puerto
Rico’s independence!!

The April Freedom Month is dedicated to educating, organizing and mobilizing
to free the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners!!

Political Prisoners are freed by the masses!! It is time to bring this
issue back to the community; it is time to hit the streets!!



The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign has designated April, "Freedom Month!!"
Every April ProLibertad organizing a series of events to commemorate the
arrests of our political prisoners. We use this month as a time to raise
awareness concerning the prisoners and of Puerto Rico's colonial reality.

(An email with updated times and venues will be published shortly)

Saturday March 31st-ProLibertad Community March in the Bronx (See the above

Sunday April 1st- Special mass dedicated to the Puerto Rican Political
Prisoners by La Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas/UCC at 11:30am

Friday April 6th-Militant Labor Forum event for the Puerto Rican Political
Prisoners at 6:30pm

Saturday April 7th- "Hands off Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia" (With the added
demands of "Free Puerto Rico" and "Free the Puerto Rican Political
Prisoners") at 1pm

Tuesday April 10th-ProLIbertad Event at the International Action Center at

Friday April 13th-Puerto Rico/Political Prisoner Event with Fuerza de la
Revolucion Domincana at Centro Orlando Martinez in Inwood

Tuesday April 17th-Special ProLibertad Freedom Campaign Information Session
at Hunter College at 7pm Hunter college east building center for Puerto
Rican studies 14th floor room 1441 or the solarium

Thursday April 26th-ProLibertad Student Event with Hunter College's Hostos
Puerto Rican Club at 1pm

Saturday April 28th-ProLibertad Special fund-raiser (BOMBAZO) at 7pm

Sunday April 29th-Unity Brunch on the PRican PPs with Malcolm X Grassroots
Movement at 1pm


The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign wishes everyone a wonderful, just and
powerful New Year!! In these times of war, repression and RESISITANCE, we in
the ProLibertad Freedom Campaign are calling on all our allies, supporters
and friends to remember our brothers and sisters behind the walls!! Those
amazing and inspiration compañer@s that were incarcerated by the US
government for their brave actions and commitment to the liberation of
Puerto Rico; a colony of the United States for 108 years!

As the year 2007 begins, we are urging all of you to join ProLibertad's
newest campaign:

This is an easy project. There are only 5 easy steps to support this

Step 1: Go to and read about one of
our prisoners.

Step 2: Choose one of them or all of them and make the commitment to write
to him/her/them once or twice a month.

Step 3: If you can, send them a commissary donation (small financial
donation $5-whatever; every little bit counts)!! These small donations allow
them to pay for phone calls to family/LEGAL COUNSEL/friends and also for
over priced materials behind the walls. To learn more about how to donate go

Step 4: Email us and let us know who you've adopted.
We want to keep track of this campaign and see how many of you are able to
commit to supporting our prisoners.

Step 5: Motivate all of your friends to ADOPT-TO-A-PRISONER!! Be creative!!
Invite ProLibertad to speak to your friends or organize a card/letter
writing party. Let us know how we can support!


Jocks 4 Justice Speak out for Gary Tyler

the Nation March 21, 2007

The history of the American legal system is scarred with instances of injustice: the Haymarket martyrs, Sacco and Vanzetti, the Scottsboro Boys, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Add to this list the case of Gary Tyler, convicted of murder at the age of 16. Tyler's case was remarkable because at the time of his 1975 conviction, he was the nation's youngest death-row inmate. The spotlight dimmed when his sentence was commuted to life without the possibility of parole in 1977, a year after the US Supreme Court declared Louisiana's death penalty unconstitutional.

Tyler, now 48, is living out his days in Louisiana's notorious Angola prison. A former slave plantation, Angola is home to 5,000 prisoners,
75 percent of whom are black. He has now spent years of his life
behind bars because he was the wrong color in the wrong place at the
wrong time.

National interest in Tyler's case was revived by a recent series of
articles by New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. In 1974 Tyler was on
a school bus filled with African-American students who attended the
formerly all-white Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish,
Louisiana. A white mob attacked the school bus. As Gary's brother
Terry recalled years later to journalist Adam Nossiter in a piece
published in The Nation, "They were on the attack, man. It was panic."
Witnesses at the time said someone on the bus pointed out the window
and yelled, "Look at that white boy with that gun." After several
pops, a 13-year-old white student, Timothy Weber, lay wounded on the
ground. Weber's cousin, Deputy Sheriff V.J. St. Pierre, rushed the boy
to the hospital, where he later died from a gunshot wound. Later,
white supremacist David Duke came to Destrehan to fan the flames of
racial hatred.

Herbert wrote, "That single shot in this rural town about 25 miles up
the Mississippi River from New Orleans set in motion a tale of
appalling injustice that has lasted to the present day." The police
came onto the bus and Tyler was dragged off. Then came the beatings.
As Juanita Tyler, Gary's mother, told Herbert, "One of the deputies
had a strap and they whipped him with that. It was terrible. Finally,
when they let me go in there, Gary was just trembling. He was
frightened to death. He was trembling and rocking back and forth. They
had kicked him all in his privates. He said, 'Mama, they kicked me.
One kicked me in the front and one kicked in the back.' He said that
over and over. I couldn't believe what they had done to my baby." An
all-white jury found Tyler guilty of first-degree murder. Since his
conviction, the four witnesses against him have recanted their

The murder weapon, as Herbert reported, had been "stolen from a firing
range used by the sheriff's deputies." It appeared out of nowhere as
the murder weapon. The gun has since magically disappeared from the
evidence room.
A federal appeals court ultimately ruled that Tyler did not receive a
fair trial, but justice was again denied. In an interview with Amy
Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now!, Herbert explained that
the court ruled that "the charge to the jury was flawed, and they said
that it was flawed so badly that it clearly could have had an impact
on how the jurors ruled. But they were so insistent on not having this
case overturned and not having Gary Tyler freed or have a new trial
that they ruled on a technicality that he did not deserve a new trial.
So it's on the record that a federal appeals court has said that his
trial was fundamentally unfair."

In 1989, Louisiana Board of Pardons (LBP) voted 3 to 2 to commute
Tyler's sentence from life to sixty years, making Tyler eligible for a
speedy release from prison. But Louisiana Governor Charles "Buddy"
Roemer, a Democrat facing an electoral challenge from David Duke,
refused to issue a pardon. A crucial element in Roemer's decision was
the racially charged political climate: Eighteen years later, that
climate has changed. And now the fight to free Gary Tyler has been
reignited by a new advocacy effort, led by Tyler's family, lawyers and

Joe Allen, a member of the Free Gary Tyler steering committee,
credited Bob Herbert's columns for reviving the effort to free him.
"Gary's case is one of the great miscarriages of justice in the modern
history of the US but had largely been forgotten until the recent work
by Bob Herbert," he told me. "I think there is momentum now that makes
it possible for the first time in decades to build a national campaign
for his freedom."

In addition to the Free Gary Tyler campaign, Amnesty International's
relaunched advocacy has given the Tyler case new visibility. Building
on this momentum, I contacted people I know from the world of sports
to ask if they would to stand with Tyler at this critical time. And
they have responded.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos were part of the most dynamic moment in
the history of sports and struggle when they raised their black-gloved
fists at the 1968 Olympics. Lee Evans was also a gold medal winner at
those Olympics and a leader of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was a top-ranked boxer who spent almost
twenty years in prison for a triple homicide before being exonerated
after an international campaign to win his freedom. Jim "Bulldog"
Bouton and Bill "Spaceman" Lee were all-star pitchers for the Yankees
and Red Sox who told uncomfortable truths about both society and the
game that they love. Etan Thomas plays for the NBA's Washington
Wizards and stands in the tradition of the previous generation of
political athletes. Together, they and other sports figures are asking
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco for the release of Gary Tyler. Read
the statement to see how Tyler's quest for justice has brought these
and other extraordinary figures from the world of sports together.

To: Gov. Kathleen Blanco

We, the undersigned members of the sports community, call upon you, in
the name of justice and racial reconciliation, to pardon Gary Tyler
and free him from Angola prison. Gary is an innocent man who has spent
32 of his 48 years on earth behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Gary's life has been destroyed because of racial hysteria and that
peculiar brand of police work known internationally as "Southern

As you are undoubtedly aware, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has
spent the last month exposing the terrifying truth behind Gary's
conviction. In 1975, Gary Tyler, an African-American teenager, was
convicted by an all-white jury for the murder of Timothy Weber, a
thirteen-year-old white youth. Weber was shot and killed during a
busing riot where 200 whites attacked Gary's school bus. Weber's death
quite understandably sent shock waves across the state. The police
needed a killer. They chose Gary and his nightmare officially began.
Gary's mother detailed to Herbert the sounds of listening to deputies
at the police station savagely whipping her son, while they blocked
her from entering the room. "They beat Gary so bad," she said. "My
poor child. I couldn't do nothing." Every witness who identified Gary
as the shooter has since recanted and alleged police intimidation. The
gun supposedly used on that day has disappeared.

In the mid-1970s, Gary's case mobilized thousands across the country
for his freedom and led Amnesty International to declare him a
"political prisoner." Denied a fair trial 32 years ago, imprisoned for
life for a crime he did not commit--we call upon you to free Gary
Tyler now.

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, boxer and author of The 16th Round

Tommie Smith, 1968 Olympic gold medalist

John Carlos 1968 Olympic bronze medalist

Lee Evans, Olympic gold medalist

Etan Thomas, Washington Wizards center and author of More Than an Athlete

Jim Bouton, former New York Yankee pitcher and author of Ball Four

Bill "Spaceman" Lee, former Boston Red Sox pitcher and author of The Wrong Stuff

Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, former Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion and head of
Joint Action for Boxers (J.A.B.)

David Meggyesy, former NFL linebacker and retired Western Regional
Director, NFL Players Association (NFLPA)

Jeff "Snowman" Monson, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter

Toni Smith, former member of Manhattanville College Women's Basketball team

Dr. Phil Shinnick, member of the 1964 US Olympic team

Bobbito Garcia co-editor of Bounce Magazine and NYC DJ

Dennis Brutus, former director of the South African Non Racialist
Olympic Committee and professor emeritus of Africana Studies at the
University of Pittsburgh

Doug Harris, executive director, Athletes United for Peace

Lester Rodney, sports editor, the Daily Worker, 1936-58

Rus Bradburd, former assistant basketball coach at the University of
Texas El Paso and author of Paddy on the Hardwood: Journey Through
Irish Hoops

Julio Pabón president and CEO of Latino Sports Ventures

William Gerena-Rochet, editor of

Dave Zirin, columnist for The Nation online and author of What's My
Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States

For more information, visit

To contact Governor Blanco,

Call: (225) 342-0991

Or write:

Office of the Governor
Attn: Constituent Services
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004