Tag Archive: May Day

In Legal Battle Over Grand-Jury Secrecy, Ninth Circuit Court Sides with The Stranger

The doors of the Ninth Circuit courthouse in downtown Seattle—the same courthouse that was vandalized on May Day 2012, sparking very aggressive law-enforcement activity over people's political beliefs.

The doors of the Ninth Circuit courthouse in downtown Seattle—the same courthouse that was vandalized on May Day 2012, sparking very aggressive law-enforcement activity over people’s political beliefs.

From The Stranger

Well, the court sided with The Stranger for the most part.

Last Friday, the Ninth Circuit published its opinion about our ongoing fight with the federal government over how secret its grand jury proceedings should be. The short version: They wanted automatic and almost total secrecy and opacity, we wanted transparency—or at least some clearly argued standards about why certain documents should be sealed and kept away from the public. On Friday, the court found in our favor. We won. Mostly.

The background: In the summer of 2012, law-enforcement officials began handing subpoenas to activists around the Northwest, ordering them to appear before a federal grand jury in Seattle. These weren’t all polite knocks on the door—in some instances, agents battered their way into activists’ homes before sunrise with guns drawn. The grand jury was supposedly investigating what happened on May Day, 2012, when demonstrators in an anti-capitalist march smashed out the windows of stores, banks, and the Ninth Circuit Federal Courthouse downtown.

The investigation landed several political activists in jail for months. Some, like Matthew Duran and Katherine “Kteeo” Olejnik, spent a few of those months in solitary confinement for reasons the federal government and the detention facility still refuse to explain.

These activists weren’t accused of any crime—prosecutors acknowledged they weren’t even in town on May Day. They were imprisoned because they appeared before the grand jury as ordered but refused to answer troubling questions about other people’s social habits and political opinions. (more…)

Running from the Devil

love4policePrison Books Update: The credibility of this interview with Steve Jablonski has been called into question. Please see comments section of this article for a written statement regarding the time Steve Jablonski spent on the run.

From CrimethInc.

An interview with grand jury resister Steve Jablonski

If you were contacted by the FBI, what would you do? Do you know who you would call? Would you be able to find a lawyer? Would you quit your job? Would you talk to your partner, your comrades, your parents? More importantly, would you talk to the government? If the FBI informed you that you were being made to stand before a grand jury, at which you could not have a lawyer present and you might face jail time if you did not answer questions—what would you do?

In 2012, several anarchists in the Pacific Northwest had to answer these questions. They were brought before the court to determine if they knew anything or anyone that was connected to a riot that broke out on May Day of that year. Three people kept their mouths shut and did several months in jail. One other person talked and was released, and quickly vanished without telling her former friends what she had done.

What follows is the experience of another person, Steve Jablonski, who took another route. While standing in solidarity with other people in the Pacific Northwest who resisted the grand jury, Steve instead decided to leave the country in order to avoid spending time in jail. Steve, like his comrades, kept his mouth shut in the face of government repression, but also faced other obstacles. He had to contend with the police forces of another country, and continues to face the realities of political repression now that he has returned.

There are many ways to defy the powers that be. Sometimes, you keep your mouth shut and do a few months; other times, you flee the country. We leave it up to you, dear reader, to choose what is right for you.“Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.”
–T-Bone Slim (more…)

Jeremy Hammond: May Day Message of Solidarity with NATO 3

Jeremy Hammond, by Molly Crabapple

Jeremy Hammond, by Molly Crabapple

From Free Jeremy Hammond

Rebel greetings on this year’s May Day international worker and immigrant rights day, commemorated around the world with street marches, strikes, and sabotage against the system that oppresses and exploits us all. After the May 1, 1886 general strike in Chicago, in which workers fighting for the eight-hour day were shot by police, eight anarchist labor organizers were arrested and sentenced to death for a retaliatory bombing none of them had committed. 128 years later and the rich ruling class still maintain their wealth and power through a monopoly of violence, exemplified by the brutal repression of Occupy Wall Street and targeted prosecutions such as the NATO 3, who recently received lengthy prison sentences for yet another fabricated “bomb” plot.

True to the Chicago Police Department’s legacy, they sought to disrupt protests in advance of the 2012 NATO conference by passing city ordinances limiting free speech, spending millions on new “less lethal” crowd control technology, and sending infiltrators to entrap unsuspecting activists resulting in the arrest of the NATO 3. They hoped to demonize them as “terrorists” based on a molotov cocktail plot cooked up by the CPD itself, charges so trumped up and ridiculous even the feds wouldn’t pick it up. At trial, the jury did not go for the “terrorism” charges – a victory in itself against the post-9/11 hysteria – but they were sentenced to several years in prison anyway for possession of incendiary devices and mob action.

In sentencing the three, Judge Thaddeus Wilson lectured, “As a society, in the face of threats, we don’t wait for a building or property to be damaged … peaceful protest is not synonymous with rioting,” setting yet another precedent that you can be imprisoned for even thinking about committing a crime even if you were entrapped by an undercover cop. In crafting this spectacle, the authorities wanted send a message to protesters dictating which methods of protest are “legitimate” and if you think about crossing the line you could be charged as a “terrorist.” They hoped that Occupy Wall Street, which many wanted to brand as a “non-violent movement,” would join with the police and media denouncing those arrested for unapproved forms of resistance. It was a cheap shot, and it is terrible that our friends are having to do years behind bars so that the powerful can make a political point. Fortunately, their plan failed: most everybody rallied to support those arrested, and through solid legal defense and PR, were able to convince the jury to acquit of the most serious charges and sway the public against the prosecution. (more…)

Grand Jury Resister Steve Returns Home!

alethiometerPrison Books Update: Steve Jablonski’s statement has been called into question. Please see comments section of this article for a written statement regarding the time Steve Jablonski spent on the run.

From Puget Sound Anarchists

Hi, my name is Steven Jablonski. I am anarchist and Grand Jury Resister.

After living in exile in Canada for about a year and a half, I returned to United States about a month ago. My return was not meant to be secretive but I felt the need to take some time for myself to collect my thoughts and decompress before I releasing an official statement. I now feel ready to break the silence and clarify some of the confusion around me being subpoenaed for the Seattle Grand Jury investigating May Day 2012 in Seattle. (more…)

Statement from some members of the Asheville 11: Naomi Ullian cooperated with law enforcement

naomiFrom Anarchist News:

This is a public statement from some members of the “Asheville 11”. It is not written or intended to speak for a unanimous group as such a thing is figment at best.

Naomi Ullian is one of the people arrested on the night of May 1st 2010. Herself and the other 10 arrested make up the aforementioned “Asheville 11”. It is important to understand that there is no coherent organizing or strategy coming from all 11 people. The agreements amongst friends and comrades has been done based on affinity and want and not on the assumption that being arrested on the same night creates either of those things.

On December 6th, 2010, 6 months after our arrest and release Naomi Ullian decided to have a meeting with the District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney in charge of prosecuting our case and the lead Detective in the case. Her lawyer was present. What appeared in our discovery (evidence the prosecution has to disclose before trial) was a recounting of that meeting. It is not ‘testimony’, as in Naomi was not sworn in. And it is not a transcript, but a report form the prosecutors office. We were also given the handwritten notes of Detective Rollins. (more…)

Asheville 11: 3 plead guilty to misdemeanors, rest to have charges dropped

avl11From asheville11defense

Some final chapters to the ‘Asheville 11′ saga

On December 20th of this year 3 co-defendants from the 11 plead guilty to a Class 1 misdemeanor Riot charge in exchange for time served and restitution. The remaining co-defendants are required to complete a number of hours of community service as well as pay restitution and their charges will be dropped completely. It has been 2 1/2 years since these 11 people were arrested and charged. Many events have transpired inside this case since that night in May. A more comprehensive statement on the end of this case will be forthcoming. For now, let us say once again to all of you that stood behind the accused for so many years; your support and solidarity has been invaluable.

freedom to all who resist,
avl11 support crew

Seattle: 5 indicted for May Day Action

From The Stranger – by Brendan Kiley

King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg has filed charges against five individuals for participating in the May Day smashup. Charging documents accuse five of riot, fourth-degree assault, and malicious mischief “against the peace and dignity of the state of Washington.”

The accused are: Phillip Neel, Kellen Linnell, Meaghnn Gonzales, Matthew Erickson, and Jason Michaels. Two have priors for crimes such as marijuana possession, obstructing a police officer, and harassment. Three have no known priors. (more…)

Cleveland 4: Snitch Tony Hayne’s sentencing delayed amid fears he would serve more time than his former co-defendants who he agreed to testify against

From the Huffington Post:

CLEVELAND — A man who pleaded guilty in the failed plot to bomb a highway bridge won a delay in his sentencing Wednesday so he can press for a more lenient treatment than his co-defendants.

The attorney for Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland, filed a request to change the guilty plea late Tuesday night with U.S. District Judge David Dowd in Akron. The judge met with attorneys Wednesday and postponed sentencing until Nov. 30.

The plea change request was conditional on whether Hayne gets a more lenient sentence than his co-defendants.

His attorney said Hayne’s plea deal in return for cooperation could still mean a longer sentence than the eight- to 11-year terms handed down Tuesday to three co-defendants. (more…)

Rolling Stone Article on the FBI’s Entrapment of Occupy Cleveland Activists

From Green Is The New Red

The latest issue of Rolling Stone has an article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely about the FBI’s entrapment of five activists associated with Occupy Cleveland for a plot to blow up a bridge. As I’ve written previously, the case was carefully coordinated by the FBI; undercover FBI agents helped shape the “plot,” offered advice on how and where to use explosives, and sold explosives to the activists. (more…)

Cleveland 4: Fight continues after 3 take non-cooperating plea deals

From Cleveland 4 support:

Cleveland 4 Continue Fight for Justice in Entrapment Case After Guilty Pleas

This Wednesday, three of the four young men known as the “Cleveland 4,” Brandon Baxter, Doug Wright and Connor Stevens, entered into a non-cooperating plea agreement for all counts of the charges brought against them, but not to the government’s terrorism enhancement. The Cleveland 4 Support Committee continues to support Brandon, Doug, Connor and Josh during this time.

The sentencing for these three will not occur until after a hearing scheduled for November 5th and 6th. at which point Brandon, Doug and Connor will still have the opportunity to present evidence in court regarding unlawful entrapment actions by the FBI. Their sentence could range from five years to three lifetimes, with the defense and prosecution differing over the how federal sentencing guidelines would apply. (more…)