Monday, November 29, 2010

2,500 – 3,000 anarchists march in central Athens against state terrorism

On Thursday night, around 2,500-3,000 anarchists marched in central Athens against state terrorism and in support of the imprisoned comrades. Police presence was huge, with riot police deployed on both sides of the streets for the entire route of the demonstration. The apparent tactic, it seems, was of obstructing contact between the demonstrators and any passers-by. At the end of the demonstration, outside the Propylea of Athens university, there were scuffles with the police.

The next anarchist demonstration in central Athens has been called for December 11th. On December 6th, the anniversary march for the death of Alexis is taking place, while the 15th is the day of the next general strike.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Brian McCarvill In The Hole – Letter Appeal

Brian McCarvill is a long time anarchist, prisoner rights activist and jail
house lawyer in Oregon, USA. He is serving an absurd 30+ year sentence, because
he refused to accept a five year plea deal before trial, related to a custody
battle and a violent altercation with the Child Services Department.

Brian recently wrote that he is in the hole and doesn't yet know how long he
will be held there. He says he was set up, will now loose his jail house lawyer
job and will suffer the consequences for a long time.

He has four charges. Extortion, false information, disobedience of an order and
being in an unauthorised area. Brian was working in the library which has an
inner office area where the manager and her clerk work. Brian asked the manager
if he could copy some documents and she replied yes. He went to the clerk who
runs the copier and asked him to make the copies. He refused. Brian asked him if
he could make the copies later and he replied that he would not make them at
all. This turned into an argument and the manager came in, told them to break it
up, and asked Brian to leave, which Brian did. A few minutes later Brian went
back to talk to the manager and found her standing at the copier talking very
closely with the clerk. Brian made a comment that, “I might file a report of
inappropriate relationship”. This comment is where the extortion and false
information charges come from.

Brian stepped into a back room (which resulted in the being in an unauthorised
area charge) to calm down and the manager came in asking what the problem was so
he explained what had happened. She said that the clerk had been out of line and
Brian left the documents with her to be copied. This all happened on October the
21st. On 3rd November Brian was taken to the hole. Because of the lapse of time
between the date of the incident and when the write up was issued and because of
Brian's continued work in the library during this time without any concern from
the manager Brian believes that the clerk complained to security and security
told the manager to write a misconduct report.

Brian now awaits his hearing. Please write letters to the Superintendent,
expressing your concern for Brian's treatment over this incident:

Superintendent Jeff Premo
Oregon State Penitentiary
2605 State Street
Salem OR 97310

Ask that he be found not guilty of these charges. Also ask that he be moved to a
first floor cell due to age, arthritis and the onset of emphysema. Ask that he
be allowed to return to his legal library job.

Brian can receive soft cover books and magazines. Please send letters of support to:

Brian McCarvill
OSP 2605 State St
Salem, OR 97310

Leonard Peltier on the Day of Mourning

Greetings, my relatives.

It seems another year has gone by since the last time we gathered like
this. I say we, although I am not there with you in body, my spirit
certainly is. We have coined this day, a day of mourning, as opposed
to a day of thanksgiving. It's a shame that for the most part
thanksgiving is relegated to only one day. And mourning is something
that relates to unhappy circumstances that have taken place. We
certainly can't change what has happened. This very day is ours and
tomorrow hasn't happened yet and, is uncertain. I really don't like
to dwell on the mourning aspects of life but instead, on what we can
do to prevent those unhappy and sometimes terrible times in our
history. I may have mentioned it once before but I once read about a
union organizer named Joe Hill that was framed by the copper mine
owners to be executed. And I believe he said what really needs to be
said upon his death. His words were "don't mourn, organize". And
those are also my sentiments.

There are a lot of things that happened in the past that can be
prevented in the future. There are losses that can be regained. But
we must organize to do it. We must find it within ourselves to be in
touch with the Creator for I can tell you from a heartfelt fact that
when they've pushed you away, into a dark corner, not just your body,
but your mind, your soul, your spirit, there is no one that can
sustain you but the Creator himself. Dark moments come and go in all
our lifetimes. And there are those in political office, who will try
to turn your head away from the obvious truths. They will lie to you
about what they believe. They will try to get you to follow what they
consider politically correct while ignoring the truth, such as
protests against the Mosque being built within blocks of the fallen
Trade towers, which incidentally was a monument to wealth and wealth
seekers. I am not trying to demean the innocent people whose only
cause of their death was seeking a place of employment to feed their
families. While they protest the Mosque, no one mentions the Native
American sacred places that by treaty are seriously violated daily.
Our Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, sacred to many tribes, have
the faces of many of our oppressors carved on them. The place of
vision seeking, Bear Butte in South Dakota, sacred to us for
millennia, has a bar built at the foot of it and there is talk of
having helicopter flights around it to attract tourism. And, there is
even talk of drilling for oil and gas.

Every time I have to write or I should say dictate, one of these
statements, I try to think of what I would say if this was the last
time I got to speak. The thing that comes to mind in some of our
sacred ceremonies and that is thoughts of our relationships with the
ones we love and the Creator of all life. Not to take away from the
theme of this day, but if you can hold the person you love, be
thankful. If you can walk on green grass, touch a tree, be thankful.
If you can breathe air that didn't come through a ventilation system,
or a window with bars, be thankful. If you can stand in an open field
or some other place at night and look up at the heavens, be thankful.
No one appreciates the simple things as much as a man or woman locked
away. I know sometimes some of my friends may have thought I had
become institutionalized and there may be some element of my thinking
behavior that has become calloused from this continued imprisonment.
But I have not for a moment forgotten the needs of my people and the
atrocities committed against them or the circumstances that all the
poor and impoverished face in this world at the hands of those who
take more than they need and exploit for gain, the futures of our
children. I paint pictures of them sometimes, people I've known,
people I've met, places I've seen, and places I've only seen in my
minds eye. And if my paintbrush was magical, rest assured I would
paint for myself one open door.

I wrestle with what to say to you and words are sometimes so
inadequate. So if you are free today, un-imprisoned, be thankful.
Give the person next to you a hug for me. May the Great Spirit bless
you always in all ways with the things you need. May you find joy in
doing what is right and righting what is wrong and seek to be the best
example of what a human should be in our lifetime.

In the Spirit of those we mourn, those who gave their lives and those
whose lives were taken from them.

I really don't know what else to say because in writing this, my heart
has become heavy with the emotions of this time.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, who gave his life for what was right and
tried to right what was wrong.

Your Brother,

Leonard Peltier


Time to set him free... Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Friends of Peltier

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mondo we Langa seeks full review by 8th Circuit of his COINTELPRO-tainted trial

Nov. 25, 2010 by Michael Richardson

Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) has asked for a en banc hearing before the full panel of Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judges on his 1971 murder conviction. Mondo, a leader of the Omaha Black Panthers, was convicted along with Edward Poindexter, head of the Omaha chapter known as the National Committee to Combat Fascism.

The two Panther leaders, now known as the Omaha Two, were charged with the 1970 bombing murder of Larry Minard, an Omaha police officer. Minard had been lured to an ambush by an anonymous 911 caller. The men were also targets of J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and his clandestine Operation COINTELPRO.

The day of Minard’s death, Paul Young, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Omaha FBI office, and Glen Gates, Deputy Chief of Police, conspired to withhold the 911 tape recording to allow for a prosecution of the Panther leaders. Hoover wanted the two Panthers charged with Minard’s murder and ordered Ivan Willard Conrad, head of the FBI crime laboratory, to withhold an analysis of the identify of the 911 caller. Conrad documented Hoover’s order to let Minard’s killer get away with murder on his copy of the COINTELPRO memo about the 911 tape.

The jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to hear the voice of Minard’s killer and did not know the two men were targets of COINTELPRO dirty tricks.

In October, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit denied Mondo’s appeal seeking a new trial with a one sentence order leading to his request for the full panel of judges.

Mondo we Langa’s case is at the confluence of judicial activism by Chief Justice Warren Burger and COINTELPRO abuses under J. Edgar Hoover. Burger decided to use Mondo’s case to roll back the “Warren Court” era and deprive prisoners of habeas corpus protection in federal courts when state courts are available..

The Eighth Circuit ordered a new trial for Mondo back in the 1970’s, upholding a U.S. District Court order for a new trial because of an unconstitutional search of Mondo’s house where police purportedly found dynamite. However, the two federal court orders for a new trial were later denied by the U.S. Supreme Court in the consolidated case of Stone v. Powell

Time magazine called the case “important” and described the jockeying of the justices in the campaign over rights of criminal defendants. Authors Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong discuss the case and the role of the Chief Justice in their book, The Brethren.

“To Burger, these seemed perfect cases: two murderers trying to overturn their convictions by raising technical Fourth Amendment claims. After the highest state courts had rejected their claims, the men had appealed to the federal courts. Under the Constitution, any state prisoner has the right to petition the federal courts for a writ of habeas corpus, which required the state to show that the imprisonment did not violate the federal Constitution.”

“Burger had long wanted to cut off habeas petitions on Fourth Amendment claims. He believed they were almost always frivolous, and they clogged the federal courts. To preclude such petitions--and to overrule an important Warren Court precedent--would be a major victory.”

The Supreme Court refused to hear the merits of Mondo’s case and returned the matter to Nebraska where the outcome was already foreshadowed.

Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter, in their 40th year of imprisonment, continue to deny any involvement in the crime and both men remain confined at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary.

Permission granted to reprint

For further information on Mondo’s appeal :

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crimes of COINTELPRO heard at Northeastern Law School seminar

Superior Court Judge Geraldine Hines warns of potential COINTELPRO dangers today
Photo: Author's photo Nov. 24, 2010 by Michael Richardson

Video at:

Northeastern Law School in Boston was the scene last week of a standing
room-only seminar, “The FBI and the Murder of a Black Panther: From
COINTELPRO to post 9/11 Repression” featuring People’s Law Office founder
Jeff Haas.

Hass, a veteran civil rights attorney, discussed his book The
Assassination of Fred Hampton at the seminar sponsored by the
Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, the state chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Police Accountability
Project and Northeastern’s Black Law Student Association.

A panel moderated by Michael Avery, law professor at Suffolk Law School
and past president of the National Lawyers Guild, included Superior Court
Judge Geraldine Hines. Other panelists were Harvard Law School professor
Soffiyah Elijah, deputy chair of Harvard’s Criminal Justice Institute and
King Downing of the National Police Accountability Project and the Human
Rights Racial Justice Center in New York.

Avery introduced Jeff Hass calling him one of the best lawyers in the

Haas discussed his youthful desire to represent “the movement” and said
the Chicago police in the 60’s and 70’s provided plenty of work. Haas
explained that his client Fred Hampton was head of the Chicago Black
Panthers and was targeted by a special police unit under the county
prosecutor. The elite team became a killing machine in December 1969 when
Hampton and Mark Clark, another Panther leader, were shot in a firestorm
of bullets.

The death squad was encouraged and supported by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation who had targeted Hampton under the illegal and clandestine
Operation COINTELPRO. The secret war on American political activists was
directed by J. Edgar Hoover who commanded the federal police agency.

Although no one was ever charged for the homicide of Hampton and Clark,
Haas was able to obtain a federal civil rights decision against the
raiders and some measure of justice was achieved.

Superior Court Judge Geraldine Hines said that for her, lawyering was a
passion for justice that cannot be taught and must come from the heart.
Judge Hines warned law students crowded into the lecture hall to avoid
“sleazy” tactics like the type Haas encountered in his long legal battle
for the Black Panthers.

Judge Hines expressed concern about the Patriot Act and that events in the
wake of terrorism might cause a resurgence of COINTELPRO tactics against
the American public.

Professor Soffiyah Elijah from Harvard Law School described the FBI under
COINTELPRO as “government out of control” and said the FBI had become a
threat to the country under the COINTELPRO mandate. Professor Elijah
ridiculed the prosecution of the San Francisco 8 and quipped the
government might have to start raiding senior citizen centers to keep
making cases against Panthers.

King Downing of the National Police Accountability Project explained he
was an activist before he became a lawyer and that his law degree allowed
him to advance his activism. Downing launched into a whirlwind of
information, names, and connections drawing comparisons with the 60’s to
the present time. Downing’s view is that the COINTELPRO culture within
the FBI continued on past the official end of the secret program in 1971
and can be seen in current repression against activists.

Following the formal program, Hass briefed Professor Avery on the Omaha
Two, Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) who are
imprisoned in the Nebraska State Penitentiary for the 1970 murder of an
Omaha policeman. The pair were convicted after a COINTELPRO-influenced
trial where Hoover had ordered the withholding of exculpatory evidence to
obtain convictions against the two leaders of Omaha’s Black Panther
chapter. Haas said the Omaha Two appeared to be innocent men wrongfully

G-20 vandal loses attempt for reprieve

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A man convicted of causing damage in Oakland during the G-20 protests will
likely be spending the holidays behind bars, an Allegheny County judge
ruled Tuesday.

David Japenga, 21, was sentenced to six to 18 months in the county jail
for his August conviction of four misdemeanors and a felony for breaking
windows at Citizens Bank, Irish Design Center and Quizno's on Sept. 24,
2009, while world leaders met in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center,

Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski declined a request from Japenga's
attorney to sentence him to the four months he already served in the
Uptown lockup since his conviction. Prosecutors sought a state prison
sentence of one to two years.

"I had hoped he'd be released to be with his family for Thanksgiving and
Christmas," defense attorney Patrick Nightingale said.

Japenga told the judge that his time in jail and on house arrest with an
electronic ankle bracelet made him reflect on his life. Since moving from
California to Pittsburgh in the months before the Group of 20 summit,
Japenga said he liked living in Pittsburgh.

But the judge held up a flier police found in the house Japenga was living
in with several people after he was arrested. The flier read, "We want to
riot, not work."

"It appears to me you came into Allegheny County solely for the purpose to
engage in this conduct," Borkowski said.

Japenga said the house was filled with many people with different
personalities. "I didn't come to Pittsburgh to riot. I came here to live
here," he said. "It was not my motive to destroy property."

About a dozen of Japenga's friends attended the sentencing but declined

Nightingale said his client was working as a messenger before his
incarceration and that job was waiting for him when he got out.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky argued Japenga was responsible
for about $15,000 in damage to the three businesses on Fifth Avenue and
Craig Street. Japenga must pay that money back as part of his sentence.
Borkowski imposed five years of probation.

Police arrested about 200 people during demonstrations in Oakland and
elsewhere in the city.

Windows Smashed in Solidarity with David Japenga

From corporate WTAE-4 (with video)

OAKLAND, Pa. -- A group of protestors smashed more than a dozen windows in
Oakland on Tuesday night in what police said appeared to be retaliation
for the sentencing of a G-20 protestor to jail time earlier in the day.

Police said that 10 to 15 people dressed in black and carrying signs
smashed 13 windows at the PNC Bank in the 4500 block of Fifth Avenue and
three windows at Camille's Cafe across the street at about 8 p.m.

A police officer said that it appeared that the vandals used bats to break
the windows.

Investigators estimated the cost of replacing the damaged windows at $65,000.

Police said that they are investigating whether the vandalism was in
retaliation for the sentencing of 21-year-old G-20 protestor David Japenga
on Tuesday. Japenga was sentenced to six to 18 months in jail and five
years probation for causing more than $10,000 in damage by breaking
windows at three different businesses on South Craig Street in Oakland
during a protest on Sept. 24, 2009.

Japenga was also ordered to pay $13,400 to cover the cost of replacing the
windows that were broken. Police said that they are waiting to see if
surveillance video at the bank might provide clues as to the identities of
the vandals.

Other videos:
Democracy 101 (short version, see 8:50 for 9/24/09 bloc footage)

Democracy 101 (longer version, see 5:30 for extended 9/24/09 bloc footage)

Video of Japenga's snatch squad arrest:

Bonanno released but forced to leave the country; Stratigopoulos remains in prison: statement by their families Nov. 24, 2010

Translation of this post on Athens IMC.


the trial of Bonnano and Stratigopoulos in the city of Larisa resulted
in Alfredo Bonanno getting convicted to 4 years of imprisonment for
participation to the robbery, while Stratigopoulos was convicted for
the armed robbery to 8 years and to 3 months for each of the
misdemeanors without bail and without the court recognising any
extenuatory circumstances.

From the first instance it became clear that the judge and attorney
wanted a fast trial without any ideological characteristics and with
only guide being the criminal record of the accused. In short, they
wanted to prove that Alfredo Bonanno was the leader, the moral
perpetrator of the robbery and that Christos was the pupil, the one
who executed the plan.

Yet thanks to the solid evidence, the witnesses who testified in
support of the two and the great contribution of the lawyers
(Papadakis, Kourtovik, Sineli), these claims collapsed.

It “hurt” them that Alfredo was free, that he has essentially served
his sentence – and they looked for any legal or other trick in order
to torture him further. And so, from the prison of Larisa he was
transported to the city’s police headquarters under the pretext of the
approval of his exit from the country by the headquarters in Athens,.

There they informed us that apart from the Interpol alert, they would
also hold him until their political senior officers would “judge”
whether he would be deported in accordance to article 106 of the
presidential decree of 2007. Late in the night, after calling a
Larisa-based lawyer, we were informed that Alfredo had been arrested
anew in accordance to the above article, as he was considered a threat
to public security and unwelcome to Greece!

Once again he had to prove the obvious! A 74-year old man with very
poor health was considered dangerous. The same went for us, who were
waiting outside, the very few comrades sitting at a bench: they sent
Riot Police, DIAS and Zita motorcycle cops, undercovers and the
anti-terrorist unit to guard us, since we posed a threat to public

Faced with this obvious political revanchist action, played within a
strategically covered psychological warfare against Alfredo, we had to
decide whether to appeal at the Larisa court, which would mean Alfredo
would remain detained until the decision was made or until the Greek
state would decide to officially deport him. The instant solution
given by his layers was for him to be released on Tuesday afternoon
and to leave on his own from Larisa to Italy through Athens in the
coming days.

After everything comrades lived through from the day of their arrest
up until yesterday, as well as for the rest of Christos’ days in
prison, they wish and we wish to extend a huge “thank you” to all
friends and comrades from Konitsa who came to our support, the friends
from Giannena and across Greece as well as abroad who stood by our
side, giving us courage and psychological, moral and financial

To the comrades we extend our hand, we unite our camaraderie in a
dynamic of anarchist solidarity…

- The families of Christos and Alfredo

Letter from Gerasimos Tsakalos & Panagiotis Argirou (Greece)

Anarchist News Nov. 23, 2010

New first letter from the imprisoned fighters of the Conspiracy of Cells
of Fire who were arrested in the 1st Nov. 2010 ‘letter-bombs’ case, which
sparked international attention from mainstream global media and their


On 01/11/2010, after we have already delivered two incendiary packages to
Suisse Mail on Astidamantos street and to ACS on Spirou Merkouri street;
in Pangrati, sent to the Mexican embassy in Athens and the address of
Eurojust (EU Police agency) in the Hague, we are surrounded by police
officers of the DIAS group (motorbike task force) and arrested. In our
possession were found two more packages of incendiary parcels destined for
the presidential residence of Nicolas Sarkozy in France and the Belgian
Embassy in Athens.

As revolutionaries we do not recognize any interrogating authority. So, we
were bound to refuse to apologize to cops and investigators, since our
revolutionary position only before the public and comrades we feel as a
duty to promote.

We declare ourselves, therefore, hostages of the revolutionary war, proud
members of the revolutionary organization Conspiracy Cells of Fire. We do
not regret anything and we support all communiques and actions of our
organization, as well as those that will happen from now on, which made us
and will make us proud.

We support with all our soul the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, because it
is also a part of our soul. We pride ourselves in our selection to find
ourselves in a position of attack against the system.

Even through the difficult conditions of detention we will not stop
showing never our clear views and positions on armed violence, urban
guerrilla warfare and the revolution.

Comrades, let us not allow them to take from us even a drop of land.
Comrades, lets break the apathy and social stupefaction.

Let’s blow up the regularity of society once and for all.

P.S. There is no more beautiful way to show solidarity and the widening of
the revolutionary consciousness than the continuation and intensification
of diverse guerrilla action. So we send our most sincere comrade greetings
to the guerrillas, which in spite of the times, continue to shine with
fires of hate the miserable nights of the metropolis.

In the campaign for international solidarity to foreign organizations and
imprisoned fighters, a communique of the organization will follow.


Conspiracy of Cells of Fire – Commando Practical Theory

Gerasimos Tsakalos
Panagiotis Argirou

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Manifest Destiny and American Holocaust, A Dr. Ward Churchill Lecture

part 1

part 2

The Pilgrims left England seeking religious freedom. When they landed here, the
righteous Pilgrims met wild Indians who soon became their friends. They learned to
work together even though they had different languages and cultures.

In October of 1621, the Pilgrim settlers and the Indians of Plymouth Plantation in
Massachusetts celebrated their good harvest and had a feast together. They each
brought foods, which they shared with each other, in the first Thanksgiving, a
celebration thanking God for taking care of their people. Thanksgiving is a
wonderful way to remember all that we should be thankful for, and a reminder that
white people and people of color can unite and be happy together. Yeah Turkey!

The Truth

This is how it really went.

The Pilgrims may have been religious radicals who were driven out of England, but
they were never known for being "righteous" people. Although we are often taught
that they were "fleeing religious persecution," most schoolbooks don't mention that
their voyage was being funded by a trading company. The trading company and the
Pilgrims were interested in a lot more than religious freedom.

In 1620, the Pilgrims were pleased to find the ruins of a former Native village of
the Pawtuxet Nation. They settled here and built a colony which they called the
"Plymouth Plantation."

The Pawtuxet people had lived there in peace for thousands of years. That is, until
the English settlers began arriving. In 1614, an English soldier named John Smith
arrived and began taking Indians to sell into slavery in Europe. Another common
practice among Europeans was to give "Smallpox Infected Blankets" to the Indians.

The settlers would offer the blankets as a friendly gift, secretly knowing what
would soon happen to their new "friends." Since smallpox was unknown on this
continent before the arrival of the Europeans, Indians did not have any immunity to
the deadly disease. In a short time, smallpox would wipe out entire villages with
very little effort required by the Europeans.

The Europeans thanked their God for the Indians' demise. A colony founder remarked
in a letter back to England: "But for the natives in these parts, God hath so
pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by
smallpox which still continues among them. So…God hath thereby cleared our title to
this place."

By the time the Pilgrims arrived six years later, only one Pawtuxet had survived, a
man named Squanto, who had spent time as a slave to the English.

When the Pilgrims met Squanto, they were sick and near starving. Since Squanto
understood the language and customs of the Puritans, he taught them to use the corn
growing wild from the abandoned fields of the village, taught them how to fish, and
taught them about the foods, herbs and fruits of the land. Basically, Squanto saved
their lives. Without his help, Plymouth Plantation would not have survived its first

Squanto also negotiated a peace treaty between the Puritans and the Wampanoag
Nation, a very large Native nation which totally surrounded the new Plymouth
Plantation. Because of Squanto's help, the Puritans enjoyed almost 15 years of
peaceful harmony with the surrounding Indians, and the Pilgrims prospered.

At the end of their first year, the Puritans held a great feast following the
harvest of the food that Squanto had taught them how to farm. The feast honored
Squanto and their friends, the Wampanoags. The first Thanksgiving was a day of the
Pilgrims giving thanks for the Indians who helped them and took care of them.

However, the Indians who were there were not even invited! Actually, a few days
before this feast took place, a squad of Pilgrims led by Miles Standish actively
sought the head of a local Indian chief, and an 11 foot high wall was erected around
the entire Plymouth settlement for the very purpose of keeping Indians out!

The feast was followed by three days of "Thanksgiving" celebrating their good
fortune. The Pilgrims drank even more than their daily custom of half a gallon of
beer, and engaged in drunken acts of violence and sodomy. They were having a good
old-fashioned European party.

Soon after this first "Thanksgiving," in 1629, the Puritans began a march inland
from the shore. Using *Bible Passages* to justify their every move, they seized
land, took the strong and young Indians as slaves to work their land, and killed the

They destroyed their "friends" the Wampanoag pretty easily. Their chief was
beheaded, and his head placed on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts - where it
remained for 24 years.

But when they reached the Connecticut Valley around 1633, they met a different type
of force. The Pequot Nation, very large and very powerful, had never entered into
the peace treaty negotiated by Squanto, as had the Wampanoag and the Narragansett.
They were not interested in helping or befriending the white settlers. The elders of
the Pequot had warned them not to trust these people.

When resisting Pequot Natives killed two slave raiders, the Pilgrims demanded that
the killers be turned over to them. The Pequot refused. This act of resistance led
to the Pequot War, the bloodiest of the Indian wars in the northeast.

An army of over 200 white settlers was formed. They also convinced over 1,000
Narragansett warriors to join them by using lies and deceit. Although they would
later destroy the Narragansett as well, the Narragansett Indians believed that they
were helping the right group of people.

Commander John Mason decided not to fight a head-on battle. Instead, the Pequot were
attacked, one village at a time, in the early hours of the morning. Each village was
set on fire with its sleeping Natives burned alive. Women and children over 14 were
raped and captured to be sold as slaves. Other survivors were brutally tortured and

Indians were sold into slavery in the islands of the West Indies, Spain, Algiers,
and England; everywhere the Pilgrim traders went. The slave trade was so profitable
that boatloads of 500 at a time left the harbors of New England. Of course, all this
helped lay the foundations for the African slave trade.

The destruction of Indians in the Pequot War soon led to more destruction in King
Philip's war. In 1641, the Dutch governor of Manhattan offered the first scalp
bounty. Usually, we are taught that the Indians were the ones scalping white people.
The truth was that it began with whites scalping Indians, and other Indians being
paid or tricked to scalp their brothers and sisters.

The Dutch and Pilgrims joined forces to exterminate all Natives from New England,
and village after village fell. Following an especially successful raid against the
Pequot in what is now Connecticut, the churches of Manhattan announced a day of
"Thanksgiving" to celebrate victory over the "heathen savages."

One colonist in Manhattan wrote, "There is now but few Indians upon the island and
those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by
the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts." Strange, indeed.

This was the Second Thanksgiving. Since that day, Thanksgiving has been a
celebration of the destruction of Native people in the name of white supremacy. And
somehow, God is all part of the plan.

During the feasting that followed this second Thanksgiving, the hacked off heads of
Natives were kicked through the streets of Manhattan like soccer balls. This is the
origin of the football tradition on Thanksgiving.

From then on, a Thanksgiving feast was held after each successful massacre. Each
town held days of Thanksgiving to celebrate their own victories over the Natives
until it became clear that there needed to be an order for these special occasions.
It was George Washington who finally brought a system and a schedule to Thanksgiving
when he declared one day to be celebrated across the nation as Thanksgiving Day.

Years later, Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day a legal national holiday
during the Civil War - on the same day and at the same time he was ordering troops
to march against the Sioux Indians in Minnesota.


In 1492, there were over 80 million Native Americans. A century later there were
only ten million. Today, there are about two million left.

You can't help everybody.

First it was smallpox blankets meant to kill any Indian who touched them. But the
Europeans gave them to the Indians as an act of friendship. The Indians would not be
cold during the winter, thanks to the generous white people, right? Then they all
started dying.

Then the Europeans offered alcohol to help the Indians cope with the cold winters
(especially since many of them had lost their homes), and also to help celebrate
their…um, well they ain't have sh*t to celebrate, did they? And now alcoholism is a
major problem for Indians. They call it their "firewater" and that sh*t is killing
many of them slowly.

Finally, some people learned that casinos could be built legally on Indian land.
This seemed great. After all, the Pequot Indians, who were almost destroyed in the
Pequot War, now make about $9 Billion a year off their casino built in the same area
where they once fought. But guess what?

Now, the Indians have two more problems. First, they're losing their traditional
values and deep understandings of man and nature. Instead, they're becoming shallow
and materialistic in the pursuit of more money. And now the Indians have another
addiction after alcohol: gambling.

Be careful whose "help" you accept.

Everyone offering help isn't sincere.


"Why We Don't Celebrate Thanksgiving" On Solidarity, Not Charity this Sunday, 16:00
- 17:00 (4:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.) U.S. Eastern Time on Join a
discussion exposing the roots of the U.S. holiday known as "Thanksgiving", which
celebrates the white colonists' theft of indigenous land and genocide of indigenous
peoples in North America African People's Solidarity Committee Chairwoman Penny Hess
will talk live with Kahentinetha Horn, about the North American Indian Holocaust. A
member of the Mohawk Nation, Horn is editor of Mohawk Nation News.

A long-time fighter for the rights of indigenous peoples, Horn was involved in the
blocking of the International Bridge at Akwesasne in 1968. In 1990, she was behind
the Canadian Army razor wires that surrounded the Mohawk compound in Kanehsatake,
known as the "Oka Crisis". She was fired by the Department of Indian Affairs for her
involvement in the "Oka Crisis". Call in and talk live with this heroic leader of
indigenous resistance. This program is Part 1 of a 2-part series. Part 2, on
November 26, will feature a live interview with a representative of Union del
Barrio, a revolutionary Mexican liberation organization based in Southern
California. They will discuss topics including the indigenous roots of Mexican
people, the theft of Mexican land by the U.S., and the current battle over the
U.S./Mexico border.

US activists face new repression as political prisoners fight for justice

Nora Barrows-Friedman and Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada, 15 November 2010

The US government is attempting to criminalize solidarity work in the Palestinian community. (Maureen Clare Murphy)

For decades the United States government has attempted to criminalize work in the Palestinian community in support of their national liberation cause. But in recent years this repression has increased dramatically. The Electronic Intifada spoke with the daughter of Sami al-Arian and the daughter of Ghassan Elashi -- both political prisoners in the US -- about the impact this repression has had on their families' lives. And in an Electronic Intifada exclusive, Hatem Abudayyeh, an organizer and community leader whose home in Chicago was raided by federal agents on 24 September 2010, spoke to the press for the first time about his family's story.

The Electronic Intifada spoke with al-Arian, Elashi and Abudayyeh as activists across the United States prepare for emergency demonstrations as the subpoenas for three anti-war and solidarity organizers to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago are being reactivated by the Department of Justice.

The three activists are among the 14 who received subpoenas during and soon after coordinated FBI raids on homes and offices across the Midwestern US on 24 September. The government says that the raids and subpoenas are part of an investigation into "material support" of foreign terrorist organizations but it has not arrested or charged anyone.

A grand jury, no longer in use anywhere outside the US, is an investigative tool that allows the government to compel citizens to testify even if they are not suspected of any crime.

The 14 targeted activists are involved with various peace with justice groups, including the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, Fight Back! newspaper, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera. All the activists had submitted letters to the US attorney -- the local Department of Justice prosecutor who convenes the grand jury -- stating their intent not to testify; the Department of Justice had withdrawn the original subpoenas, but the grand jury was still convened.

The three activists receiving reactivated subpoenas are expected to be offered "immunity" -- meaning that they face the choice of informing the government about the activities of other organizers or being jailed for the duration of the grand jury, and possibly facing further charges for criminal contempt of court.

"What [the US government] is doing is gathering political intelligence to indict people under this idea of providing material support for terrorism," attorney Michael Deutsch, part of the legal defense team for the activists, told The Electronic Intifada. "The grand jury is not an independent body. It is controlled by the US Department of Justice and they decide who is subpoenaed and what the outcome of the grand jury investigation is. It is a tool of the FBI and the justice department to repress political activists."

Deutsch wrote for The Electronic Intifada in 2008: "In the last forty years the government has used the grand jury as a tool of political inquisition subpoenaing and resubpoenaing activists the government knows will refuse to cooperate, stripping them of their constitutional right against self-incrimination and forcing upon them the choice of informing on their movement or going to jail for contempt."

In an article contributed to the Mondoweiss site, Deutsch explains: "The search warrants and grand jury subpoenas make it quite clear that the federal prosecutors are intent on accusing public nonviolent political organizers ... of providing 'material support,' through their public advocacy, for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colobmia" ("US Justice Department prepares for the ominous expansion of law prohibiting 'material support' for terrorism," 10 November 2007).

The investigation's legal basis is the bipartisan Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act passed under the Clinton administration in 1996 and expanded with the bipartisan Patriot Act enacted during the Bush administration. In June of this year the implications of the legislation -- already used after 11 September 2001 to shut down major Muslim charities in the US -- was broadened even further. According to Deutsch in Mondoweiss, in the decision Holder v. the Humanitarian Law Project, the US Supreme Court "decided that nonviolent First Amendment speech and advocacy 'coordinated with' or 'under the direction of' a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as 'terrorist' was a crime."

The "foreign terrorist organization" designation is unilaterally declared by the US Secretary of State and virtually impossible to challenge. The Center for Constitutional Rights describes "the government's current fervor to use the label of terrorism as a brand for groups and organizations that are not toeing the line on US foreign policy" ("Factsheet: Material Support").

At the height of the movement to bring an end to white supremacist rule in South Africa -- the US was among the apartheid regime's longest-standing supporters -- the Reagan administration declared Nelson Mandela's party, the African National Congress, a foreign terrorist organization. Critics observe that had these laws been enacted then, the entire anti-apartheid movement in the US, which took direction from the ANC, would have been criminalized for providing "material support to terrorism."

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights fact sheet, "these material support provisions violate the First Amendment as they criminalize activities like distribution of literature, engaging in political advocacy, participating in peace conferences, training in human rights advocacy and donating cash and humanitarian assistance, even when this type of support is intended only to promote lawful and nonviolent activities."

These laws have had a tremendously chilling impact on civil liberties and humanitarian and domestic political organizing in the US, particularly amongst the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities.

Hatem Abudayyeh

Hatem Abudayyeh was asleep on his parents' couch the morning of 24 September after spending the night with his mother in the emergency room when his wife frantically called him to report that federal agents had raided their home. A Palestinian community leader and solidarity activist, Abudayyeh is also Executive Director of the Arab American Action Network, which provides social services to thousands of families in and around Chicago.

"I ran into my house, passed all the agents and grabbed my daughter and went into the bedroom with her and held her and made sure she was OK," Abudayyeh told The Electronic Intifada. Abudayyeh, his wife and five-year-old daughter were mainly confined to their small living room while a multi-agency task force searched through all their belongings.

"I wanted to see what they were searching for and grabbing but they wouldn't allow us to do that," Abudayyeh said. "They basically grabbed everything that said 'Palestine' on it." During the search that Abudayyeh said went on for more than three hours, the agents went through his wife and daughter's personal belongings, the family's library, CD and DVD cases and financial documents. Amongst the materials confiscated were home movies Abudayyeh's wife had recorded during a family visit to Palestine this summer.

Abudayyeh eventually learned that the home of his friends Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner, a Chicago couple who are long-time union and anti-war activists, was raided as well. That same morning more than 70 federal agents raided and served subpoenas to prominent organizers in the Twin Cities and Michigan, and called and otherwise harassed activists throughout the country. The office of the Twin Cities-based Anti-War Committee -- which led demonstrations against the Republican National Convention, one of the largest anti-war protests in the US in recent years -- was raided as well.

Hatem Abudayyeh (Maureen Clare Murphy)

"The most accurate assessment is that on the political level, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not going so well for the administration. There are a lot of developments happening in Colombia and Palestine that are probably also not considered to be what the administration wants to see in those countries," Abudayyeh said. "This attack on the anti-war movement is another example of the administration, whether Obama's or Bush's, trying to criminalize the activities of organizers in the US [working to change] foreign policy in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Colombia."

Of the 14 activists targeted on 24 September, Abudayyeh is the only Palestinian or Arab (profiles of those targeted are currently available on

"The administration needs to put a local face on the enemy abroad and for many years that has been Arab and Muslim faces. It is interesting that in this case, I'm the only Arab. But the essential goal is the same -- to criminalize anti-war activism and criminalize international solidarity activism in defense of a foreign policy that has gone awry and has caused the deaths of many thousands of American troops and many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans."

Abudayyeh and others say there hasn't been government repression of a social movement in the US on this scale since COINTELPRO -- an FBI program implemented in the 1950s and 1960s to infiltrate and disrupt domestic political organizations, particularly the Black Panthers and other oppressed nationality movements.

"We all know what McCarthyism did in this country in the '50s," Abudayyeh said. "It's pretty frightening and disconcerting that in 2010, this can still happen."

Abudayyeh recognizes that he is hardly the first Palestinian in the US to be targeted for his political views and organizing. "People who are activists in the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim community -- especially since 11 September, but for decades before than -- have dealt with this government repression," he said.

Abudayyeh referenced the case of seven Palestinian immigrants and a Kenyan -- dubbed the LA 8 -- who were subjected to 20 years of prosecution and deportation proceedings for their activities educating Americans about US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians. The US government arrested the eight in 1987 and accused them of organizing in support of a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. According to Abudayyeh, persecution of Palestinian activism began with the wave of Palestinian immigrants to the US after Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.

"What they are targeted for is challenging US policy as it relates to Palestine," Abudayyeh added. "Israel receives the largest amount of US foreign and military aid ... which they use to occupy and oppress Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and they use that aid to threaten their neighbors, like Syria and Lebanon. Most of the leading activists around the war in Lebanon in 2006 in the US were Palestinians because we saw that as an extension of the war on the Palestinian people. We don't separate the US occupation and invasion of Iraq from US support of Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people."

However, Abudayyeh said, despite this repression the Palestine support movement in the US has only grown, and today's generation of student activists are doing even stronger work than what was happening during his youth.

"It's incumbent for us in the US and everywhere else to speak out against these policies ... It is probably the main liberation and social justice issue in the world today. I may be the individual who is being targeted today, but this isn't an issue of an individual or organizations I work for or are affiliated with; it's a historical repression and attack on the Palestine support movement in the US."

There have been several other high-profile cases against Palestinian, Arab and Muslim activists since 11 September 2001. Political prisoners continue to serve draconian sentences as the Department of Justice under the Obama administration enforces the policies of the Bush-era PATRIOT Act and the Clinton administration's material support laws.

Michael Deutsch told The Electronic Intifada that former university professor and stateless Palestinian Dr. Abdelhaleem Ashqar remains in a federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia following his sentence of 135 months for refusing to testify to a grand jury and inform on the activities of other activists in the US and Palestine. Deutsch said that Dr. Ashqar's legal defense is filing a habeas corpus petition challenging his sentence, arguing that his rights were violated at his trial.

The US government accused Dr. Ashqar and his co-defendant Muhammad Salah, a Palestinian American, of participation in alleged racketeering activity in support of Hamas after dropping initial material support charges. The government presented as evidence a confession Salah made while he was tortured for 80 days in an Israeli prison and the prosecution's main witnesses were Israeli intelligence agents who were allowed to testify anonymously with severely restricted cross-examination.

Despite vast resources spent by the US government to convict the two, Salah and Dr. Ashqar were acquitted by a jury of all conspiracy and terrorism-related charges. But Salah was convicted of obstruction of justice for filing false answers to interrogatories in a civil case and was sentenced to 21 months in prison, a sentence he has served out.

"No amount of jailing by the court will compel me to testify against others struggling for Palestinian freedom," Dr. Ashqar stated in an affidavit given on 12 July 2003 published on the Free Dr. Ashqar Committee website ("Case History - 2003 Affadavit of Abdelhaleem Ashqar).

But Ashqar's 11-year sentence for refusing to testify to a grand jury is unprecedented in US history and contrasts, for example, with the mere 30-month sentence received by Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to US Vice President Richard Cheney who was convicted in 2007 for actively lying to a grand jury investigating the disclosure of classified information about CIA agent Valerie Plame. Libby served no time, however, as then President George W. Bush commuted the sentence on the grounds that it had been "excessive."

Sami al-Arian

Meanwhile, Dr. Sami al-Arian, a former professor at the University of South Florida and a longtime political and civil rights activist, has been under house arrest for more than two years following nearly a decade of political prosecution by the federal government. In early 2003, the US government launched a much-publicized assault against al-Arian -- then-Attorney General John Ashcroft declared that he was among one of the "most dangerous people in the world" -- which led to his imprisonment in solitary confinement for 43 straight months during a five-year detention.

Dr. Sami Al-Arian (Arab American News)
In December 2005, a Florida jury acquitted al-Arian on eight of the seventeen counts, and deadlocked in favor of acquittal on the remaining nine. No guilty verdicts were returned. About five months later, in April 2006, Dr. al-Arian decided to accept a plea agreement from the US government in an effort to spare his family the process of another lengthy trial.

According to the case background, Dr. al-Arian plead guilty to violating a Clinton-era presidential executive order by providing "immigration services" in the 1990s "to persons associated with the PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], a Palestinian organization listed on the US forbidden organizations (terrorist) list" ("Case background in brief," Tampa Bay Coalition for Peace). In return, al-Arian agreed to be deported from the US, despite having lived in the country for more than thirty years and despite the fact that he is a stateless Palestinian with no country to return to.

Despite lengthy trials, plea deals and hearings following the acquittals, the Bush administration refused to give up and placed Dr. al-Arian under house arrest in September 2008. After years in detention under deplorable conditions, Dr. al-Arian was charged with criminal contempt charges relating to another case outside the one in which he had originally been involved. A leading prosecutor who -- according to Sami's daughter Laila al-Arian, has a history of making Islamophobic and anti-Arab comments -- tried to force Dr. al-Arian into testifying against another Muslim organization in Virginia.

Laila al-Arian, an award-winning journalist and author, spoke to The Electronic Intifada days after a hearing was canceled at the last minute that could have finally decided whether her father could be released or put back on trial.

"My father refused to testify," Laila al-Arian said. "If he refused to testify, he would be charged with criminal contempt. And if he did testify, he'd be charged with perjury. The prosecutor tried to put him in a catch-22 situation."

According to al-Arian, the judge in this criminal contempt case, after reading the arguments, said that the very integrity of the justice department is at stake.

"She said that it was beginning to emerge that there was evidence that my father was misled and lied to by the Department of Justice," al-Arian said. "Because when they signed a plea agreement with him in Florida in 2006, they told him that he wouldn't have to cooperate or testify, or be forced to be involved in any other case other than his own. And that they would recommend the minimum sentence and that he would be released and deported. That of course never happened. The judge said if the justice department made this deal with my father then everyone in the justice department would be bound to that."

The judge scheduled a hearing first in April 2009, but it was canceled. In September 2010, the prosecution asked the judge to reschedule a hearing for 29 October -- and it was canceled again, with no reason given.

"It's difficult to say what this all means," al-Arian said. "It could be conjecture, but we're hoping my father will be released and finally deported so that we can all move on with life. It's been almost eight years since his arrest. Eight years is a very long time. We're anxious for him to be able to move on. He's lost so many important years already, and we want him to live as a free man. House arrest is not freedom."

Because Dr. al-Arian is a stateless Palestinian refugee, it is still unknown to where he could be deported.

"Even if the judge rules in my father's favor and he is released, he still doesn't have a country to go to," al-Arian said. "And we really hope that there will be a country that will open its doors to a persecuted political prisoner and a victim of the Bush administration, a victim of a wave of anti-Palestinian activism. It's mind-boggling that in the 21st century, there is a group of people who don't have a country. Hopefully someone will be able to adopt him. It's one more battle we have to fight."

Ghassan Elashi and the Holy Land Foundation

Similar to Dr. Sami al-Arian and his family, the founders of a US-based Muslim charity and their families are holding out hope that justice could prevail during a new appeals process.

In 2009, Ghassan Elashi, a Palestinian-American cofounder of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), once the largest Muslim charity in the US, was sentenced to 65 years following a targeted campaign launched by the Bush administration after 11 September 2001. Based in Dallas, Texas, the HLF sent direct humanitarian aid to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, as well as to Eastern Europe and across the US. The HLF established food banks on the East Coast, helped victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and provided assistance after floods and tornadoes devastated parts of Iowa and Texas in the 1990s.

As The Electronic Intifada previously reported, just months after the 11 September 2001 attacks, the US Department of the Treasury froze the HLF's bank accounts as the executive branch of the US government shut down the organization under the auspices of the Patriot Act. Using the Material Support Law provision, the US State Department accused the five HLF founders -- now dubbed the Holy Land Five -- of providing "assistance" to designated "terrorist groups" (namely Hamas) in Palestine. The Bush administration immediately closed the organization and issued aggressive charges against the charity workers. The federal prosecution team was allowed to use secret evidence, and there was no hearing before the sentencing of the HLF's cofounders in 2009.

On 27 October 2010, US Attorney General Eric Holder personally awarded the entire local, state and federal prosecution team involved in the HLF case with the second-highest honor in the justice department -- the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service.

Noor Elashi, Ghassan Elashi's daughter, told The Electronic Intifada that the attorney general's award comes as the defense team is preparing to argue an appeal in front of a three-judge panel on the grounds that the prosecution team violated the constitution at several instances, including the unprecedented use of an anonymous expert witness. If the panel agrees with just one of the arguments made, Elashi said, then that will invalidate all of the convictions, and the prosecution will have to re-try the case.

Another constitutional violation related to the HLF case was found by a federal judge in Dallas, Texas, on 7 November. Judge Jorge Solis ruled during an appeals process that the unsealing of a document which put 246 individuals and groups on a list of so-called "un-indicted co-conspirators" associated with the HLF violated the constitutional Fifth Amendment due process rights of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). In other words, the US government's prosecution team's release of this list condemned organizations such as NAIT to guilt by association without affording them their constitutional right to defend themselves in court. In the atmosphere of fear induced after 11 September 2001 such aspersions can be lethal to the reputation of any organization or individual.

However, West Bank-based Ma'an News Agency reported that "despite the Fifth Amendment violation ... [Judge] Solis denied NAIT's request, along with that of the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, to have its name taken off the government's list, finding 'ample evidence' linking it to Holy Land [Foundation]" ("US court 'should not have publicly released' co-conspirators list", 8 November 2010).

"The whole appeals process typically takes a year to two years before an oral argument is made," Elashi said. "We don't expect to hear anything soon. It could take anywhere between a few months to a few years ... But knowing the relentless nature of the prosecution team, they won't stop. What's happened to Sami al-Arian is a perfect example of that."

For now, the Elashi family is anticipating being able to visit Ghassan in prison for the first time in 18 months. Ghassan is currently being held in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) prison facility in Illinois, a block within some prisons that are nicknamed "little Guantanamos" due to the overwhelming majority of Muslims and persons of Arab and Middle Eastern descent being held in them and the draconian detention conditions that are applied.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, people imprisoned in CMU facilities are systematically denied any physical contact with family members and are forbidden from hugging, touching or embracing their children, spouses or loved ones during visits. Phone calls are also severely limited. The center says that the CMU units are "an experiment in social isolation" ("CMUs: The Federal Prison System's Experiment in Social Isolation").

"There was a one-year visitation ban that was just lifted," Elashi said. "On Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I are finally going to see my father. He's become a ghost-like figure to me. When a loved one is being incarcerated, when the only communication is one 15-minute phone call every two weeks, they really start to sort of dissipate in your eyes. I am looking forward to seeing him."

The Elashi family will be separated from Ghassan by a plexiglass wall, and they will only be able to communicate through a telephone receiver. The entire conversation, Noor Elashi said, will be live-monitored from the justice department in Washington, DC, and can be terminated at any moment.

"Even when you get to the prison itself, there is this sense that something may happen during the security process that may deny you entry," Elashi added. "It's sort of like being at [an Israeli-controlled] border crossing -- for example, I've never been allowed into Palestine."

Elashi said that although her family remains hopeful with the appeals process now underway, the widespread attacks on US-based activists and charity workers is increasingly troubling.

"I think that it's finally hitting closer to home, and is becoming more apparent than ever in 2010 -- nearly a decade after 11 September -- that everyone's at risk," Elashi said.

"Not only people like my father, who founded a charity, but anybody," Elashi added. "Even a former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, is at risk of being prosecuted under the Material Support Law because he helped supervise Lebanese elections, and has associated with [Lebanese political movement] Hizballah. American newspapers are at risk, because they've printed op-ed pieces by Hizballah and Hamas officials, an act that could be argued that, under the Material Support Law, aids these people and these parties by furthering their goals and giving them a voice."

Lives disrupted, movements at stake

Amidst the mounting reports of federal raids on the Somali community in the US, the conviction of four African-American Muslim men accused of plotting to bomb a synagogue in what critics say was a case of entrapment, and reports of FBI informants infiltrating the Muslim community in the US, there is a growing movement to fight back against what many view as repressive, racist policies.

Following the raids and subpoenas of the 14 anti-war and solidarity activists in September, emergency demonstrations were held outside of FBI and other federal buildings in at least 62 US cities. Thousands have called in to the offices of President Obama, Attorney General Holder and US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Civil rights and liberties organizations, social justice and faith groups and trade unions have issued dozens of statements of solidarity. Ad-hoc groups have formed around the US to push back against what many view as a test case that will have repercussions for the wider social justice movement in the country. And the first national meeting of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression was held in New York City earlier this month.

"It's definitely time for Americans, for all of us, to respond to this and join a massive campaign that would really approach Congress about revising the Material Support Law," Elashi said. "It's flawed. And it's one that is responsible for [targeting] many innocent people -- not only my father but activists all over the country whose only crimes are supporting the Palestinian cause, as well as causes in Colombia and other places."

Laila al-Arian echoed this sentiment. "Unfortunately, we've seen that the Obama administration isn't much better than its predecessor when it comes to American Muslims and civil liberties -- and even anti-war activists," she said. "Anyone who's espousing views that are in any way controversial or unpopular can be a target. It's just a way to stifle dissent and activism, which are completely lawful activities that are seen as unpopular. I just hope that people begin to make their voices heard when it comes to these kinds of crackdowns."

Hatem Abudayyeh said that "National organizations like the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Arab American Institute, the National Network for Arab American Communities and other national organizations which have civil rights and liberties at the forefront of their agenda should leverage the relationships they have with the administration, the Department of Justice, the US attorney's offices to put pressure ... to drop this investigation and to end these grand juries."

"We have powerful institutions and we have prominent individuals across the country from the Arab and Muslim community," Abudayyeh added. "Those organizations have put their names on to sign-on letters, they've made phone calls to US Attorney General Eric Holder and the US attorney and the president, and we need to continue to put that pressure on."

Meanwhile, the Elashi family prepares to see Ghassan for the first time in a year and a half, the al-Arian family awaits the deportation of Sami, and countless other families pay an unbearable price for their first amendment activity supporting the Palestine liberation struggle.

"In one sense I'm a bit luckier than others," Abudayyeh said, "because there are some couples in which both partners have been subpoenaed and who have young children. So if they continue to refuse to testify and there's a possibility they might be held in civil contempt, then they have really difficult decisions to make in terms of their children ... I know that my daughter will be in good hands with her mother and my parents and my siblings and everyone else in the extended family providing support."

Editor's note: This article originally reported that Dr. Sami al-Arian was convicted of contempt of court but he so far has only been charged. The article has been corrected.

Nora Barrows-Friedman is an award-winning independent journalist, writing for The Electronic Intifada, Inter Press Service, Al-Jazeera, Truthout and other outlets. She regularly reports from Palestine.

Maureen Clare Murphy is managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and an organizer with the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago.

New and revised Oscar López Rivera letter for immediate use

Hi all:

Please use the attached letter for Oscar López AS
OF TODAY and trash any un-signed letters. The
parole board has begun returning the letters it
has received to us and has stated the reason is
the lack of register (prison number). At the same
time, we have added a signature line and
re-worked the text to address both the parole
board and the president. IF LETTERS ARE RETURNED
TO YOU, please re-mail to the parole board with the below text.

Isaac Fulwood, Jr., Chair
U.S. Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Blvd., Suite 420
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Re: Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López
Rivera, #87651-024, FCI Terre Haute

Dear Chairman Fulwood,

We write to ask you to release Puerto Rican
political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. We trust
you will consider the enclosed letters of support
when ruling on his request for parole. Given the
injustice of his lengthy sentence, and the
irrationality of his continuing imprisonment,
those who signed the enclosed letters add their
voices to the voice of the many civic, religious,
political and community leaders in the U.S. and
Puerto Rico who support his release.

Thank you



Alejandro Luis Molina
Skype: alejandromann

Coordinating Committee
National Boricua Human Rights Network
2739 W. Division Street
Chicago IL 60622
twitter: olrcat

Comité Pro-Derechos Humanos

Legal Lessons From the Green Scare

When the Constitution is No Obstacle to the FBI


"Anna” the 19-year-old FBI informant bought the materials and worked to keep the group focused on targets and timeframes. When 28-year-old Eric McDavid and his two younger friends failed to muster sufficient enthusiasm for Anna’s sabotage schemes, she would pout and cry and excoriate them for “dilly-dallying.” Then they would pretend to re-dedicate themselves to her cause—especially McDavid, who had a crush on her, which she fed.

Two years earlier, the FBI had begun dressing Anna up as a medic and inserting her into activist gatherings to look for people to bust. It didn’t matter that McDavid and company had no real interest in Anna’s conspiracy, or that she had reported to her handlers that he was gentle and non-threatening. If you’re an “environmental or animal rights extremist” in the post-9/11 USA, there are two ways to get on the government’s bad side: (1) break the law, or (2) follow it. The FBI simply has no use for law-abiding activists when it’s out to crucify people as examples to a movement it wants to destroy.

Following McDavid’s 20-year sentence for conspiracy to commit arson (where the trial showed the group did not actually agree on, let alone do anything), his attorney Mark Reichel lamented, “We’re at the point where the government can do whatever the fuck they want.” (See “The Believers,” Elle Magazine, May 2008.) Punishment and deterrence aside, “Green Scare” prosecutors and their coordinators in Washington are willing to destroy individual lives to score political points, and to trample their own rules in the process.

That’s not to say eco-arson isn’t a serious crime. The people who set fires in the names of ELF and ALF must have known they were facing serious time if they got caught. But surely not more time than rapists and some murderers, especially where the evidence shows they went out of their way to prevent injury. The reality, though, is they do get sentenced more harshly. Jeff “Free” Luers received 22 years (before reduction to 10); Eric McDavid got 20 years; and Marie Mason got 22. That’s to say nothing of heavy sentences for actions like animal releases, or those which aren’t crimes at all but veiled assaults by the government itself on the First Amendment, as in the SHAC 7 prosecution (up to six years for operating a website and a fax machine), or the prosecutions of Sherman Austin and Rod Coronado for casually explaining how to start a time-delayed fire (in Austin’s case, by linking to someone else’s website, and in Coronado’s case, by answering a question put to him after a talk). Burn down a building to commit insurance fraud and you’re looking at about five years; do it with passion and you face ten to thirty-five.

In the years since 9/11, and the FBI’s declaration in 2005 that ELF and ALF represent the top domestic security threat (a claim which the Department of Homeland Security disavowed in its May 2008 “Ecoterrorism Threat Assessment” report), the rhetoric has been ratcheted up to a degree that it creates a distinctly hostile work environment for the Constitution. Freeing tortured animals is terrorism. Jugs filled with gasoline are incendiary devices, the mere possession of which nets you a mandatory 30-year sentence. Explaining your actions in a communiqué subjects you to a terrorism sentencing enhancement and imprisonment in the darkest U.S. dungeons, like the exquisitely barbaric Communications Management Unit at Marion, Illinois—a sensory deprivation chamber that would make Dostoyevsky blush—where Daniel McGowan resides. (See his excellent piece, “Tales from Inside the U.S. Gitmo,” Huffington Post, June 8, 2009.) Earth First! is branded a violent group, lumped in with ELF and ALF, simply because some judge with a loose pen says so in drafting a defendant’s terms of probation. Never mind that we spent 12 years in the Judi Bari case successfully debunking the lie that Earth First! is violent.

Furthermore, if arson equals terrorism, it leaves us all lexically challenged to think of alternative terms for both. How else are the victims of real terror, like Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney (whose car bombing the FBI never labeled terrorism, except while trying to frame them for it), or people who survive planes flown into skyscrapers, supposed to make sense of the horrors they endured? The naming of things matters. When the government names things, it shifts entire budgets and priorities and realigns the thinking of judges and juries who fail to exercise an independent conscience as a result.

Many law enforcement officials earnestly believe it is just a matter of time before environmental activists begin carrying out assassinations and bombings. And exaggerated utterances by some activists have stoked those fears. But a lot of the same officials direct none of their opprobrium at right-wing zealots who actually murder and maim people. Whether police and policymakers sincerely believe the environmental movement is turning violent, it serves their institutional objectives (and budgets and staffing) to pretend so. They troll for confirming evidence in print and online, and exploit it endlessly when they feel they’ve found it. The FBI also relies on biased consultants and phony think tanks, like the industry-sponsored Center for Consumer Freedom, who assign literal significance to every satirical statement and then ascribe it to the whole radical environmental movement. In so doing, the FBI gives its witch hunt pseudo-academic cover.

According to a cynical 1972 Supreme Court decision, Laird v. Tatum, police do not violate the Constitution simply by creating dossiers on people; their surveillance has to produce some actual harm before it ripens into a rights violation. Even then, the law insulates police if they can articulate any pretext for an investigation beyond pure political harassment. Supporters of Eric McDavid recently obtained documents under a FOIA request showing that the feds are logging the names of people who write to eco-prisoners. There is no question that such Stasi-like behavior by our national police chills free expression and civic participation. But the Constitution is no obstacle to the FBI when it is ideologically bent on “disrupt[ing] and dismantl[ing]” social movements, as Director Robert Mueller admitted in a press release announcing the 2006 Oregon arrests. Arguably, such government intrusiveness is itself hardening the movement, terrifying some people into inaction, but driving others to organize underground.

Know-your-rights trainings, at least, are getting easier. “Thanks for coming. You have none. Good night.” In just a few years, Fourth Amendment protections have further unraveled to the point that in most jurisdictions, if police want to rummage the contents of your cell phone (presuming it is not password protected), they need only follow you until you commit a petty offense, like jaywalking, then arrest you and seize your phone. The simple fact is, it’s getting hard not to get caught. The original Oregon and Washington (“Operation Backfire”) defendants encrypted their computers, but entrusted their private keys to a person who ultimately traded them to the government for leniency.

It behooves the modern activist to ask: What does it even mean to get away? Friends and family are left holding the bag, and to deal with the visits, the raids, and the grand jury summons. As lawyers, our job includes comforting devastated parents who hope paradoxically that their hunted children both will and won’t get caught, so they can see them again, but not behind bars.

It is true that only a fraction of eco-saboteurs have been caught for crimes that have in some instances devastated entire industries, like fur farming and vivisection labs. The Department of Homeland Security catalogs numerous unsolved incidents—from fires which leveled multi-million dollar housing projects to a “stole[n] six rabbits and seven birds.” In a sense, authorities are like lions preying on a herd: some zebras are going to go down. But the environmental and animal rights communities do not give up loved ones lightly. They have spent incredible emotional, temporal, financial, and legal resources on prisoner support.

Far be it from a couple of lawyers to tell people what to think and do. But it is worth considering what an even more positive impact this creative and empathic community could have if it weren’t so drained trying to free loved ones from legal snares, let alone outfox the state on its own high tech turf. Global awareness about climate change and the excesses of capitalism are gaining momentum, and we could use more people to connect the two. In that sense, the competition for hearts and minds is still where some of the best direct action is. Subtract fire, and the rhetoric of violence, and strip the FBI of its biggest excuse for harassing environmentalists.

Ben Rosenfeld and Lauren Regan are attorneys specializing in civil rights and criminal defense. Lauren is the Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center based in Eugene, OR (, and Ben, based in San Francisco, is a Board Member.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Arpaio 5 update: Grace's Sentencing/Garyn and Claire's Trial

Nov. 22, 2010

Grace's Sentencing

Grace went in for her sentencing hearing this morning surrounded by
approximately 40 friends as well as family. She was given the agreed upon
30 days in jail from her plea deal of a class 6 felony for disorderly
conduct with a dangerous weapon, which starts upon her turning herself in
at 5 PM today. After considering her involvement in the community and for
social justice, the judge decided to give Grace 18 months supervised
probation instead of three years starting today. She also still has the
chance to get work release during the day, although it looks unlikely and
wouldn't go into effect immediately. We'll post any information we get
regarding her mailing address in the jail.

Garyn and Claire's Trial

A deal (not a plea) has been offered to Garyn and Claire where they will
take their trial before a judge instead of a jury as a bench trial and in
return have been offered a reduction for their felony charges down to
misdemeanors. This means that even in the event that they are found guilty
of any of their charges, they will not be facing any jail time. Their
trial, which could be as short as one day, is scheduled to begin on
December 13th at 201 W. Jefferson. We believe that it will be in courtroom
703 at 8:30, but we will post any changes if necessary.

In related news, Dane, who came up from Tucson and was arrested at the
anti-Nazi rally in Phoenix and faces five charges, had court today as
well. His case was scratched, which is fantastic news, although a scratch
isn't a dismissal and charges could be brought back up within seven years.
However, at the moment he isn't facing charges.

To keep up on Grace's situation and to find out how you can support her,
she now has a website set up:

Case Background

On January 16, 2010, thousands of people took to the streets to show
support for immigrants and to oppose Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
From the onset of the march, a group of marchers were targeted by the
Phoenix PD, marching under the banner of an indigenous,
anti-authoritarian, and allies contingent. As the march proceeded, the
police became increasingly violent, leading to a final planned attack
executed against the contingent and other protesters in the vicinity, as
the march neared its end. Officers on horseback rode into the crowd,
injuring some; then deploying large amounts of pepper spray throughout the
area. This resulted in five of our comrades being kidnapped out of the
group, brutalized and arrested. Although we are happy to announce that the
charges against two of the arrestees have been scratched, the remaining
three are now facing felony charges for “assaulting an officer”.

The Arpaio 5 Support Committee is a group of friends and supporters of the
arrestees who have come together to help raise much needed awareness and
legal funds.

What occurred on the January 16, demonstrates the violence that becomes
inevitable when armed thugs are invited or allowed to be present at our
protests or in our community. While our first priority is to ensure that
our comrades do not face any further jail time, we hope that this also
serves as a general call for further actions challenging any and all
police presence; which we know only serves to protect an inherently racist
and oppressive system.

This attack is not in isolation, but rather is part of a systematic
attempt to repress any ideas which are vocalized or acted upon that
encourage or manifest actualized resistance within our communities. We
must be ready to support those who are targeted for continuing to fight
despite these threats during the current and upcoming struggle. By forming
community solidarity in response to this instance of repression, we create
a framework that provides a base for further organizing against the police
state, while also making the statement that we will not allow state
sanctioned intimidation to silence and divide our movement.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Justice on Trial: Mumia Abu Jamal" L.A. PREMIERE Dec. 5


On Nov. 9 a Federal court in Philadelphia again took up the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal,
journalist, author and former member of the Black Panther Party currently on death
row. The results of that hearing, which will determine if Mumia is executed or gets
life imprisonment, have not been decided YET. Attorney Robert Bryan says that Mumia
is now "in the greatest danger since his 1981 arrest."

Dec. 9 is the 29th anniversary of the night Mumia was accused of murdering a white
policeman. He has always affirmed his innocence. This new film, "Justice on Trial:
The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal," fairly presents the arguments made by Mumia's
supporters alongside the prosecution's arguments and interviews with others
advocating Mumia's execution. The film's featured interviews include press
photographer Pedro Polakoff, whose newly discovered crime scene photos expose police
manipulation of evidence.


@ the Downtown Independent Theatre

251 S. Main Street, betw 2nd and 3rd

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010 @ 7 p.m.

TICKETS: $12 at the door

213 - 321 - 0575 for more info

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oscar Parole Campaign and Avelino new Address

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign's New Campaign

717 is not Enough! Forward this out far and wide! Oscar needs your Support!
In solidarity with the National Boricua Human Rights Network's (NBHRN) new campaign
to ask for parole for Oscar Lopez Rivera, one of our two Puerto Rican Political
Prisoners, ProLibertad has started an online petition to pressure President Brack
Obama to give Oscar parole or to commute his sentence.

We are asking all freedom loving people to support both the online petition, which
will be sent to President Barack Obama once we have reached our goal of 10,000
petitioners, and to support the letter writing campaign by the NBHRN. Our letters
and online support will help us bring one of the longest held political prisoners

Both campaigns are important! We must use all avenues available to help win
parole/commutation for Oscar.

Sign our petition:

and send a letter out:

"Agitation, organization, resistance, struggle and love are the ingredients that
will guarantee us VICTORY!" -Oscar Lopez Rivera, Puerto Rican Political Prisoner

For more information on Oscar Lopez Rivera and to write to him:


The Friends and Family Committee of Avelino Claudio Gonzales is relieved to Know and
happy to share the fact that our Political Prisoner has finally been taken to a U.S.
Federal medical Facility. His son Juan Antonio informed us of this fact late
yesterday evening. For almost two months Avelino has been in transit from
Connecticut to where he is expected to serve the remainder of his seven year

While in Federal custody Avelino was diagnosed with Parkinson's decease. At the time
of his sentencing in late May, the Federal Judge recommended that he be transferred
to a Federal correctional Medical Facility either in Texas or Florida in order to
have his medical needs met while in prison. It must be noted that Judges can make
recommendations to the Federal Prison System but cannot dictate

Avelino was placed in transit to a Federal medical detention center in Texas. The
Federal Beaurou of Prisons sent Avelino to the Brooklyn Detention Center instead.
Neither the family nor his attorneys were notified. The family became aware by
tracking Avelino via the Internet.

As a prisoner in transit, Avelino was placed in Solitary Confinement, at the
Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center. Under these circumstances Avelino was
isolated from the general population, has no right to visits by anyone but attorneys
and the right to only one phone call a month. Once in the Brooklyn Metropolitan
Detention Center Avelino was denied the medication medically prescribed for

We want to thank N.Y.C. Attorney Michael Warren who made himself immediately
available to take the necessary steps to have the situation corrected. He visited
Avelino at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center and confirmed his
circumstances. We want to thank ProLibertad We want to thank Espie Martel, Melisa
Montero, Diana Crowder who all worked with members of the National Congress for
Puerto Rican Rights (NCPRR) NYC Chapter. Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez and the Chief
of staff of Congressman Jose Serrano were contacted about Avelino’s situation.
Velasquez office working with Michael Warren and phone calls from Serrano’s office
made possible that Avelino be provided with his medication.

In recent days Avelino was first moved to a detention center in Oklahoma and now he
is finally at a medical facility. We must remain vigilant to insure that he receives
all the medical care needed.

Lastly, lets continue to work diligently to Free Avelino Claudio Gonzales, Oscar
Lopez and all Political Prisoners

The new mailing address of our Puerto Rican Political Prisoner is:
Avelino González-Claudio
FCI Bastrop
PO Box 1010
Bastrop, TX 78602