Tag Archive: Pacific North West

Third Hunger Strike Begins at the Tacoma Detention Center

hungerstrik2From Common Dreams

At least 200 people stopped eating on Fri. Oct. 31st, and more people will join today (Monday)

Tacoma, WA – Immigrant detainees are putting their bodies on the line for the third time this year, to call attention to the inhumane treatment in the GEO Group detention center. Geo Group, a corporate giant that profits off the unnecessary suffering of those it imprisons for the convenience of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while their civil immigration status is investigated. Advocates are concerned that hunger strikers will suffer retaliation similar to the retaliation inflicted during previous hunger strikes. Hunger strikers were placed in solitary confinement for up to 30 days and threatened with force-feeding. Last spring hunger strikers received promises from ICE officials that have never been implemented.

Geo Group has been allowed to supplement their lavish compensation of more than $100 per day per person with a cluster of self-reinforcing schemes to profit even more from the people placed in their “care.” Those schemes include: (more…)

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…)

Update on Tacoma, WA Detention Center Hunger Strike

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From Not One More Deportation

Tacoma, WA – As supporters looked on, approximately 130 people held at the Northwest Detention Center were taken from the facility this morning as part of its weekly deportation regime. At least five hunger strikers were among those deported, according to an attorney who visited the facility on Sunday. A hunger strike supporter holding a vigil outside the center observed two buses leaving at 3 a.m. under cover of darkness. Supporters who arrived at dawn to offer witness to the deportations watched six more vehicles, marked “GEO Transport,” (five buses and a van) leaving the center. In what has become a new tactic since the February 24th action that stopped 120 deportations, the buses themselves were used to block supporters from seeing people loaded in chains. Despite these efforts, supporters lined the sidewalk as the buses pulled out, making eye contact with those inside the buses, and chanting, “You are not alone!” and “The struggle continues!”

Hunger striker Salvador Chavez Salazar, who first arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15, was among those deported this morning. The 29-year-old father of two U.S. citizen children was held in the detention center for two and a half months following a DUI arrest. In a recording made on the eve of his deportation (audio and translation available upon request), he described his fifteen years of labor in the U.S., which included landscaping, picking cherries, onions, and apples, and gathering forest items in the forests outside his Aberdeen, WA home. He explained why he participated in both waves of the hunger strike despite knowing he would most likely be deported, stating, “It is an injustice for all of us who are locked up in here,” and expressing hope that his actions would benefit future detainees. He described facing deportation with only the clothes on his back, despite having put in a request to ICE for his family to bring him a suitcase with fifteen days notice. He also described how the facility continues to profit
even after deportations, explaining that the money on detainees’ phone accounts is not returned to them. His greatest grief at leaving his home was for the harm to his 4-year-old US-citizen daughters: “Deportations, they affect the children the most, that’s the truth. Almost everyone who is here, all of the people here are fathers with families.” (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…)

Means to a Means (Reflections from the Northwest on the Anti-Prison Struggle)

adx-florence-4-244x300From pugetsoundanarchists.org

In August of 2012 voters in king county approved a tax levy to fund the construction of a new Juvenile Detention Center at 12th and Alder. Those in opposition to this re-build began to organize themselves amid a flurry of activity and conversation. In the end, some posters went up, an anarchist analysis of the new project was published in the local anarchist periodical, a few meetings happened, a few noise demos? and then nothing but the same old activist strategies, the same old campaigns.

Recently a call has been issued for the re-emergence of an anarchist response to the construction of the new jail. This is an effort to begin to ask ourselves why and how we would answer this call. It is not an attempt create a program for struggle or an outline for how conflict should play out, but to share a process of reflection with a broader group of anarchists in the Seattle area. The struggle against prison society is comprised of many on- going and specific battles against existing prisons and attempts to disrupt the building of new jails and detention centers. We seek to reflect on some of the ways that conflict against prison society has manifested in the past and to apply lessons learned in the Northwest and elsewhere to the context that is unfolding before us. This text is our humble contribution towards the development of an ongoing project of (self) critical analysis and attack. (more…)

Political prisoner Coyote Sheff is scheduled release Nov 8th!

coyotesheff2From Portland Anarchist Black Cross

It is a time to celebrate!!!Comrade Coyote Sheff is scheduled to be released from Ely State Penitentiary on November 8th, 2013. He has some good time coming to him, so he may be released sooner than that. He will not be paroled and will have done all his time so he will not be a continued ward of the state. As you may know Coyote has been organizing the Ely Prison chapter of ABC and have plans to continue organizing upon his release, in Olympia WA. He is planning on moving there with his mother and would like to continue his work with writing, educating and organizing. As you know this transition is going to be challenging for him, as he has spent most of his adult life behind enemy lines, and the last three of those years in solitary, a direct punishment for his radical organizing. (more…)

Maddie Pfeiffer, the Final Grand Jury Refuser (So Far), Has Been Released

maddy-photo-1_large1From The Stranger – By Brenden Kiley

In last week’s paper, we wrote about Matthew Duran and Katherine Olejnik, two of several grand-jury refusers who were subpoenaed, hauled before a grand jury and a federal prosecutor (without a defense attorney in the room), asked to testify about other people’s political opinions and social affiliations, refused to answer on the grounds that the questions were McCarthyesque, then thrown into prison for an indefinite period of time. (That’s a simplification. More about the details at the link above, plus here and here and here.)

The two spent about half a year in the joint (losing employment and housing arrangements in the process), including a good chunk of time in solitary, then were released, leaving one behind.

That one, Maddie Pfeiffer, has been released today by Judge Richard A. Jones, according to a one-sentence email from Pfeiffer’s attorney I received a few minutes ago. (more…)

Support the NW Grand Jury Resisters

 

grandjuryFrom Crimethinc.

For months now, three courageous individuals—Matt Duran, Katherine Olejnik, and Maddy Pfeiffer—have been held captive in the Federal Detention Center in Seatac, Washington for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury currently underway in Washington state. Another person, Kerry Cunneen, has been subpoenaed but declines to appear. Convened in March of 2012, the grand jury is clearly intended to discourage anarchist activity, which has proliferated on the West Coast over the past few years.

In the following statement, we emphasize the urgency of offensive as well as defensive strategies, and present new [support materials](link to support materials below) to draw attention to the grand jury resisters. This situation has been going on for many months now, but it’s important to renew public awareness on a regular basis. (more…)

A letter to you, from Maddy

maddyposterbestFrom the Committee Against Political Repression

February 1st, 2013

I am a few days past my one-month mark as I write this. I am still isolated in the Special Housing Unit here at FDC SeaTac and I have not heard any word on how long I will remain here.

I want to thank everyone who has sent me a letter thus far. Your letters and warm gestures of support from all over the world have helped remind me that I am not alone. Especially wonderful are all of the people who supported me before going in as well as those who showed up for court dates. Your advice and embraces have helped me in so many ways. (more…)