Denver Anarchist Black Cross
June 11th: International Day of Solidarity with Eric McDavid, Marie Mason, and Longterm Anarchist Prisoners
From June11.org: June 11th is the international day of solidarity with Eric McDavid, Marie Mason, and all longterm anarchist prisoners. If you are planning on doing an event for the day, please email us at june11[at]riseup[dot]net. You can find resources, information about events from previous years, and word on upcoming events at june11.org. Read on to see our thoughts on what it means to do longterm solidarity, on how Eric and Marie inspire us, and to learn how June 11th began.
The state stole Eric McDavid and Marie Mason from us in 2006 and 2008 respectively. In the years since their arrests, repression has come to feel less like a specific event and more like an inescapable, ongoing nightmare. Sentenced to 22 years and 20 years, respectively, Marie and Eric remain in cages to this day, and know this nightmare more intimately than most.
Lately, we hear lots of talk about the end times, and total environmental collapse seems imminent. But what do these forces mean to those inside prison cells? And what do they mean for us on the outside? We are trying to save both each other and some shred of wildness on this earth. Our task is difficult, and sometimes seems impossible, because the harder we fight, the more repression we face. Every day we lose more species, more land, more friends… and this process shows no signs of slowing. How do we survive and continue to struggle in the face of this reality?
If winning was our only goal, it would be easy to quit. But although we may fight to win, we also fight because, in this situation, to fight means to live. From the outside it’s easy to equate a prison sentence with the end of everything… but Marie and Eric are still fighting. With both our love for them and our hatred for their jailers intact, we fight alongside them.
That means not only continuing our struggles on the outside, but also engaging with the imprisoned in ways that keep them connected to their friends and communities on the outside. The state has kidnapped our friends, and we must ensure that the state is not successful in its attempts to isolate and destroy them. Our struggle can only continue if we struggle together.
June 11th is a means to that end. June 11th is about remembering– not in the way that we remember a fact or history, but an active remembering: a re-membering, a putting back together. It is often easier for us to raise
money and generate material support for people who have just been arrested than for people who have been locked away with many years in prison ahead. This day is a time for us to concentrate our energy, resources and love on those people, who cannot be forgotten.
June 11th has also become a staging ground for building our international ties of solidarity. The last two years have seen an incredible show of support from people outside of the US for Eric and Marie, and some efforts within the US to show solidarity to long-term anarchist prisoners in other places. This year, we hope to have more translations, more cross-referencing of struggle, and a further broadening of solidarity that does not take away, but adds. We refuse to recognize their borders; we aim to make that refusal more tangible.
June 11th is only two months away. Hold a fundraiser, plan a noise demo, host a letter-writing night, or use your own context and imagination to explore other possibilities. Use your creative energies to show your comrades that they’re not alone and that we will continue to struggle for them, for the earth, and for total liberation. They have tried to destroy us, that’s what they do–but Marie and Eric, Justin Solondz, Marco Camenisch, the grand jury resisters of today and tomorrow, and so many others show us how to survive those attempts. Let’s make June 11th a celebration of our shared survival and resistance.
the June 11th crew
For a brief history of June 11th, please visit http://june11.org/about.html
Here are some recent words from Marie and Eric that inspire us…
Marie: I have been processing a lot of my own history this year, probably just a function of so much isolation and time spent in confined quarters. In my former free life, if I was faced with difficult decisions or sadness, trauma or trouble I would go to the woods and hike, or swim in one of my beloved Great Lakes to find solace and focus. The natural world is my source of strength and my comfort. It has been hard to be unable to walk on the ground, touch a tree or see the sky without metal in between. Prison on the compound was one level of removal from life, but this is another level of intensity entirely. So it was a joy to be able to hear from so many folks actively working in service to this Earth, to be inspired by you all and to be comforted to know that, though I am no longer able to walk with you, that you are continuing the journey forward. That is my comfort now.
Eric: 7 yrs… i can’t say it’s easy 2 put these words dn on paper – that it doesn’t pain me 2 look bk over these past 7 trips around the Sun… w/the process of the courts continuing n the final appeal stages; it’s end yet 2 show up on the horizon = no illusions, while still Dancing w/wishes… Love & Joy have also made their presence known = the overwhelming support from all over the Earth ~ i wish 2 Thank every persyn/grp that has written & supported me along this journey – Ur intents, N which ever forms they’ve taken, have aided & nourished me N remembering who i am N a situation & environment bent on unraveling, dismembering & remolding…along w/all the communal Solidarity, i’m grateful 4 the support of friends & family – & how i’ve been buoyed by the Love and Passionate Patience of my Partner = i Love you J, you R my Joy… … i’m unable 2 adequately express my feelings of Respect & Solidarity 4 all the folx Dancing w/the overt repression across the continent while staying True 2 their Hearts… 2 the folx Dancing w/Grand Juries = bide Ur time, this is 1 of the few circ.s where time is on the SD of the oppressed… w/N this cultural climate the Path is not easy or simple by any means – making it all the more important 2 find those unique, ever changing, beautiful & sustainable ways 2 aid & nurture each other… …. i’ll close wishing that each of U continue 2 explore & heal Ur Hearts & communities; may U find the space & time over the coming yr 2 let Ur minds play w/new & safe communication skills, & Ur bodies w/self-defense…
Former Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz has been held in torturous conditions of solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons for the past thirty years. He has not had a serious rule violation for more than two decades. Maroon’s role as an educator, human rights defender, writer, and critical intellectual of liberation movements is widely renowned.
From April 8 to May 10, 2013, the Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz is calling for an intense call-in and write-in campaign to bring pressure on the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC), to release Maroon from solitary confinement and into the general prison population. This is the first major phase of a coordinated political-legal campaign, beginning with Maroon’s attorneys sending a “Demand Letter” to the PA DOC on the morning of April 8, 2013. The letter, outlining the legal and humanitarian reasons why an immediate release from solitary is needed, gives the PA DOC an opportunity to correct the grave injustices being carried out on a daily basis before litigation begins.
April 8—Begin flooding the office of PA Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel with phone calls, letters, and faxes. Send a copy of that letter, or address a similar letter, to the office of SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes.
PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel 1920 Technology Parkway Mechanicsburg, PA, 17050
Phone number: 717-728-4109 Fax number: 717-728-4109
SCI Mahanoy Supt. John Kerestes 301 Morea Road Mahanoy, PA, 17932
Phone number: 570-773-2158 Fax number: 570-783-2008
If you have contact with media in your area, consider suggesting that they cover this story, including the April 8 – May 10 pressure campaign. Help publicize the campaign in schools, workplaces, churches, and communities nationwide.
- Russell Maroon Shoatz (if writing DOC, always put his prison number – AF-3855) has been in solitary confinement for almost 30 years despite the fact that his disciplinary record has been impeccable—without incident for the past 20 of those years.
- Such “prolonged” solitary confinement is a violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, according to UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez. It starves the mind of basic social interaction, human contact, and intellectual stimulation needed for proper brain functioning.
- Other Pennsylvania prisoners with more extensive violent histories and more recent disciplinary infractions have nevertheless been released from solitary and are now held in general population.
- Maroon is being targeted because of his work as an educator and because of his political ideas; his time in solitary began just after he was elected president of an officially-sanctioned prison-based support group. This targeting is in violation of his basic human and constitutional rights.
- At age 69, Maroon poses no threat to the physical well-being or running of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. His 23-hour-a-day physical isolation in solitary is unnecessary and costly.
- We join the American Civil Liberties Union, Physicians for Human Rights, and a growing number of prominent world leaders in calling for an end to prolonged solitary confinement. Maroon’s case is one of the most egregious, politically motivated, and long-standing of the nation’s solitary cases.
- Maroon has deep roots in Pennsylvania’s Black community, many friends in peace, justice, and human rights organizations, and family members and supporters throughout the State, the USA, and the world. We understand the PA DOC Secretary’s Office and the Warden of SCI Greene to be particularly and personally responsible for the torturous and lethal conditions of solitary under which Maroon is still kept.
- Maroon must be released from solitary confinement IMMEDIATELY!!!
Who is Russell Maroon Shoatz?
Russell Maroon Shoatz is a former leader of the Black Panthers and the Black freedom movement, born in Philadelphia in 1943 and originally imprisoned in January 1972 for actions relating to his political involvement. With an extraordinary thirty-plus years spent in solitary confinement—including the past twenty-three years continuously—Maroon’s case is one of the most shocking examples of U.S. torture of political prisoners, and one of the most egregious examples of human rights violations regarding prison conditions anywhere in the world. His “Maroon” nickname is, in part, due to his continued resistance—which twice led him to escape confinement; it is also based on his continued clear analysis, including recent writings on ecology and matriarchy. THOUGH MAROON WAS RECENTLY TRANSFERRED to a lower-security correctional facility in Central Pennsylvania, he IS STILL HELD in a SOLITARY CONFINEMENT UNIT. It will take a mass, grassroots movement to free this inspiring community activist.
Part of the momentum for the campaign will come from a book tour taking place during this period, promoting the newly-published Maroon the Implacable: The collected writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz. But it is up to everyone concerned with human rights anywhere and everywhere to spread the word far and wide, to make these 30 days count—for an end to solitary confinement and an end to the torture of Russell Maroon Shoatz
Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz, firstname.lastname@example.org,
c/o WRL/Matt Meyer, 339 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10012; 412-654-9070
From the Center for Constitutional Rights:
April 8, 2013, New York – Today, attorneys for activist Daniel McGowan at the Center for Constitutional Rights released the following update on his situation:
Daniel McGowan is back at the halfway house where he has been residing after a week that was by turns difficult, disturbing and ridiculous. To recap: on Monday, April 1, Daniel published an opinion piece on the Huffington Post titled “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for My Political Speech.” On Thursday, April 4, Daniel was picked up by U.S. Marshals from the halfway house and taken into custody at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He was issued an “incident report” indicating that his Huffington Post blog post violated a BOP regulation prohibiting inmates from “publishing under a byline.” The BOP regulation in question was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and eliminated by the BOP in 2010. On Friday, April 5, after we brought Daniel’s unjust detention to the BOP’s attention, he was released from MDC, and the incident report was expunged.
That same day, Daniel was provided with a list of prohibited activities by halfway house staff, which he was required to sign. The list forbids him any media contact without BOP approval, though BOP regulations only require preapproval of in-facility interviews. It also prohibits him from publishing any writing of his own without prior BOP permission. As far as we know, this is a made-up rule applied only to Daniel, in a further attempt to chill his freedom of speech.
McGowan, who was released from prison in December and is serving out the last six months of his sentence at a halfway house, is a plaintiff in a Center for Constitutional Rights lawsuit, Aref v. Holder, challenging the constitutionality of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) experimental Communications Management Units (CMUs) where he was kept for four years. New documents uncovered in the case indicate he was placed in these highly restrictive experimental units as retaliation for his political writings on current events and issues while he was in prison.
Aref v. Holder challenges the violation of prisoners’ fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to due process. Attorneys say that because transfer to CMUs are not based on facts or discipline for infractions, a pattern of religious and political discrimination and retaliation for prisoners’ lawful advocacy has emerged. Daniel McGowan recently amended the complaint to include claims of retaliation for First Amendment protected speech.
For information about CCR’s federal lawsuit challenging CMUs, visit the Aref, et al. v. Holder, et al case page orwww.ccrjustice.org/cmu.
The law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and attorney Kenneth A. Kreuscher are co-counsel in the case.
We got word late yesterday that Daniel McGowan was told he wouldn’t be issued a pass to go to work the next day. According to his keepers at the halfway house, this denial came at the direction of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). When he followed up, Daniel was told that it wasn’t merely a denial of a work pass, but a restriction on all movement. When asked if that meant federal marshals were coming to get him the next day, the halfway house administrators told him they didn’t know.
The state, and its for-profit halfway house minions, were clearly in collusion. This is just another way that opacity is used to mindfuck folks left to twist in the wind, not knowing what the future holds.
From our understanding, the reason for his re-imprisonment is directly related to an article Daniel recently wrote for the Huffington Post. An attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights has been to visit Daniel at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Once we know more, we’ll pas the information on.
For now, take time to send Daniel a card or letter. Let him know that regardless of how the state treats him, we have his back.
Write to Daniel at:Daniel McGowan #63794-053
Post Office Box 329002
Brooklyn, New York 11232
Daniel’s partner Jenny posted this to Facebook this morning:
“daniel was taken into custody this morning and is now at the federal
detention center in brooklyn getting processed. so much for following
the rules, getting a job immediately and doing what you’re told! god
bless america! updates on Support for Daniel McGowan to come.”
Forthcoming updates will be posted as soon as they are available.
Please join us as our community seeks to keep Imelda Valenzuela Gonzalez with her community and her family. Imelda is a community leader and nurturing mother and she belongs here with her family. Please her daughter Tania’s message below for more details on this case.
In addition to coming on Thursday morning at 7:45am, please consider taking the additional action steps:
1. Sign Imelda’s online petition. Here is the link.
2. Make a phone call to ICE. Check out the online petition above for more information.
Call ICE Director John Morton (202) 732-3000
Sample Script: “I am calling to urge ICE to stop the deportation of Imelda Valenzuela Gonzalez (A# 087-496-884), who was defrauded by a lawyer who is now on the run from the law. While the lawyer gets away with his crime, Imelda is in danger of being separated from her family for simply trying to renew her cosmotology license. Please keep her in the U.S. where she has raised her children since 1999.”
3. Write a support letter for Imelda
Attached is a letter template along with some very basic instructions on how to write an effective support letter. We need these letters by Monday, April 1st at 8:00am. Please send your completed letters to Mu Son at muson@progressivecoalition and call Mu Son with any questions at 720.570.4908.
Message from Imelda’s Daughter Tania
I am not sure all of you knew this, but mom has been fighting her deportation case for a few years now. It has been stressful, scary and painful, “but we wont back down we wont retreat.” This upcoming Thursday April 4th at 8:30am its my moms “last” court date and I am requesting your help and support. I would like to get a petition started to ask ice to stop my mom’s deportation and grant her prosecutorial discretion.
She is an amazingly strong mujer, a supportive and loving mother, a luchona and hard worker and an important part of this society’s fabric, she is my mom. I want to keep her close, not just at heart and spirit but in the flesh. I need you to help me stop her deportation.
She has a lawyer, but also has a tough case. My mom has a case of neglect and its being considered by ICE as child abuse. One day my mother left my siblings alone to go run an errand, as siblings often do they started bickering. My brother was bothering my little sister and making her angry, she then called the police. My mother arrived a little after the police had gotten there she was charged with neglect. That small incident has haunted us with her case.
I am asking you to help me gather signatures, call ICE and circulate the petition once its set up, and also be present at her court date. Her court is
Thursday April 4th at 8:30am at
621 17th Street
Denver CO 80293
I’m appreciative of all the support we can receive. The will be an online petition going around, but I would also like help setting one up where we can just print it, gather signatures and give it to the lawyer to have in his hands. I am overwhelmed and have not had the head space to get this started due to other things that need to get done for her case. If any one has experience, time and willingness to help me set this up I am forever grateful.
Please help me keep my family together.
Tania Soto Valenzuela
The City of Memphis has granted the Ku Klux Klan a permit to hold a rally this coming Saturday, March 30, in front of the Shelby County Courthouse, 140 Adams Ave, in downtown Memphis from 2 pm.-4 p.m.
The Klan’s rally will be held to protest the Memphis City Council’s recent action to rename the city’s three downtown Confederate parks, including one formerly named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Klan’s first grand wizard.
To protest the Klan’s rally and the fact that the city government allowed this racist protest, the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation created a mutiracial group, the Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, made up of anti-racist activists in Mermphis and from around the country. The coalition first requested a permit from city officials to have a 1st Amendment rally in front of Memphis City Hall, 125 N. Main Street, from noon to 2 p.m. on March 30.
Our first request for a permit was denied by a private entity, the Downtown Memphis Development Commission, which the city allows to manage the plaza in front of City Hall. Our request was denied, we were told, because the area in front of City Hall had previously been reserved for a Christian cultural program from noon to 5 p.m. on March 30. This is highly dubioous, both that the commission would have authority to regulate a First Amendment rally and that the cultural groupwould be having an event mid-day when that had never happened before. Approving a First Amendment event is a governmental function, not that of a private entity.
The coalition then filed a request for a permit to hold our rally from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on March 30 at the Shelby County Courthouse, the same place where the Klan is scheduled to meet later. Today, the city’s Permit Office informed us that our request had been denied because the area we requested was not deemed “safe” for the public. If it’s safe for the Klan to exercise its 1st Amendment rights at the courthouse, why isn’t it safe for the coalition?
We believe that this is a ruse to prevent any anti-Klan demonstrations, and is being done in violation of recent state and federal court of appeals rulings outlawing the ability of city government officials to restrict the First Amendment rights of assembly, free speech and to submit a petition for a redress of grievances to the government. City officials also apparently want to create a security zone even larger than that created when the president of the United States visited Memphis in 2011.
What you can do to help:
1.The Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality cannot fight this legal battle alone. We need pro bono (free) legal aid. Please contact the ACLU of Tennesssee, email email@example.com, the National Lawyers Guild, email firstname.lastname@example.org, the Center for Constitutional Rights, at http://ccrjustice.org/contacting-center-constitutional-rights, the Black Law Student Association at the University of Memphis, email email@example.com, and other legal resources that you know of. Ask these groups to help the coalition take the necessary legal action to get its 1st Amendment rights to protest against the Klan.
2. Contact Memphis Mayor A C Wharton (firstname.lastname@example.org, (901),636-6000), and City Attorney Herman Morris (email@example.com, (901)636-6524). Express your concerns about the broad powers that the police director has to issue permits for 1st Amendment protests. When new more restrictive regulations were recently passed by the Memphis City Council, the city attorney stated that “First Amendment law is “nebulous and is fluid”, despite years of decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 2012, and the U.S. Sixth Circuit court of Appeals in 2010.
3. Contact Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org, (901)636-3700). Express your concerns that police officials show the same respect for the 1st Amendment rights of anti-Klan protesters as are being accorded to the Klan and that police officials protect the safety of anti-Klan protesters just as much as they protect the safety of the Klan.
4. If you live in the Memphis or the Mid-South area and can act as a volunteer legal observer at the Anti-Klan protest in downtown Memphis on Saturday, March 30, please contact us. We need independent legal observers to monitor the treatment of anti-Klan protesters.
Peace and love,
The Klan Must Be Confronted,
(Memphis, Tenn.) — The organizers of an anti-Klan protest say they have First Amendment rights to confront the white supremacist group when it comes here for a rally on March 30, and the right to hold on an alternative rally of their own at the same location.
The Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, a multiracial group, is sponsoring the anti-Klan protest. The coalition is awaiting the city’s decision on its request for a permit to hold a rally on March 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in front of the Shelby County Courthouse. The city has approved the request of the Loyal White Knights for a permit to hold a rally at the courthouse from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The coalition had previously filed a request for a permit to hold a protest in front of City Hall at 125 N. Main St. from noon to 2 p.m. The request was denied. Coalition members were told a cultural event had already been scheduled on March 30 in front of City Hall at the same time. proposed for the coalition’s protest, according to the Downtown Memphis Development Commission, which has a management contract with the city to control events at the Mid-America Mall area (in front of City Hall).
A spokesperson for the coalition, JoNina Ervin, said: “Even though we doubted that it was ever true about the cultural event and that a civilian agency like the DMDC has no right to rule on citizens’ First Amendment rights, we had no choice but to reapply. The city’s Permits Office refused to accept our permit application unless we changed locations.”
In February, the Memphis City Council changed the names of the three Confederate parks in downtown Memphis, including one named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Klan’s first grand wizard. At their rally on March 30, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan will protest the name changes for the parks.
“We object to the fact that the Klan was not required to submit any bond or make any declaration concerning being responsible for violence from fomenting their racist rhetoric. Furthermore, the person who actually applied for the permit on behalf of the Klan does not live in Memphis, but in Southaven, Mississippi,” Ervin said.
The Klan is responsible for nearly 150 years of lynching, raping, beating, torturing, and harassing black people, and remains a violent terrorist group. “Spokespersons for the Klan have issued threats and even promised to plant persons among the crowd with guns and may provoke an incident with protesters strictly to use violence, as was done in Greensboro, N.C., in 1979, where five anti-Klan protesters were shot and killed,” Ervin said.
“Under such conditions, Memphis officials could have refused the Klan’s permit, claiming a clear and present danger. Instead, city officials have chosen to hinder the First Amendment rights of everyone else by passing new regulations which restrict our rights to confront the Klan and to protest in the future,” Ervin continued.
“Nevertheless, the Klan has its freedom of speech, and city officials have given Klan members permission to hold a rally where they will promote their white supremacist views in a majority black city. They were even given special privileges to apply for and put on this event. What’s more, they will have massive police protection while they do it.”
Ervin referred to efforts by city officials and local civil rights and business leaders to convince the public that a direct anti-Klan protest at the downtown Courthouse on March 30 is “wrong,” as opposed to a “celebration of the diversity of Memphis” that will be held near the Liberty Bowl football stadium.
“Officials are just coddling the Ku Klux Klan and want them to be able to protest unimpeded by citizen protest, and to blame anti-Klan protesters for any fallout. The Ida B. Wells Coalition has just as much right to freedom of speech as the Klan does. The mayor and the police cannot provide the Klan with their First Amendment rights and arbitrarily deny us ours.
“Nor can they assemble an army of police officers and erect barricades downtown to prevent citizens from voicing our complaints against the city’s ever having given the Klan a permit and everything the Klan stands for. We have a right to confront the Klan for their views,” Ervin said.
If you live in or near Memphis:
Contact The Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, c/o Black Autonomy Copwatch
P.O. Box 16382-0382
Memphis, TN. 38186-0362
If you do not live in Memphis and would like to coordinate ride-shares from other parts of the country, contact email@example.com
The FaceBook event page is named Anti-Klan Demonstration in Memphis, Tennessee, USA!!
(AP)SAN FRANCISCO— They’re called national security letters and the FBI issues thousands of them a year to banks, phone companies and other businesses demanding customer information. They’re sent without judicial review and recipients are barred from disclosing them.
On Friday, a federal judge in San Francisco declared the letters unconstitutional, saying the secretive demands for customer data violate the First Amendment.
The government has failed to show that the letters and the blanket non-disclosure policy “serve the compelling need of national security,” and the gag order creates “too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted,” U.S. District Judge Susan Illston wrote.
She ordered the FBI to stop issuing the letters, but put that order on hold for 90 days so the U.S. Department of Justice can pursue an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The DOJ said it is reviewing the decision.
FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the letters after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The case arises from a lawsuit that lawyers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed in 2011 on behalf of an unnamed telecommunications company that received an FBI demand for customer information.
“We are very pleased that the court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute,” EFF lawyer Matt Zimmerman said. “The government’s gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience.”
Illston wrote that she was also troubled by the limited powers judges have to lift the gag orders.
Judges can eliminate the gag order only if they have “no reason to believe that disclosure may endanger the national security of the United States, interfere with a criminal counter-terrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interfere with diplomatic relations, or endanger the life or physical safety of any person.”
That provision also violated the Constitution because it blocks meaningful judicial review.
Illston isn’t the first federal judge to find the letters troubling. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York also found the gag order unconstitutional, but allowed the FBI to continue issuing them if it made changes to its system such as notifying recipients they can ask federal judges to review the letters.
Illston ruled Friday that it’s up to Congress, and not the courts, to tinker with the letters.
In 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general found widespread violations in the FBI’s use of the letters, including demands without proper authorization and information obtained in non-emergency circumstances. The FBI has tightened oversight of the system.
The FBI made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011, the latest data available. The FBI uses the letters to collect unlimited kinds of sensitive, private information like financial and phone records.
The DOJ didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Support needed for DABC: Financial support and solidarity programs threatened by past support for Occupy Denver
Support the Denver Anarchist Black Cross because they support you!
Denver ABC’s financial support and solidarity programs threatened by past support for Occupy Denver!
Comrades, friends, allies, supporters, and all those who believe in a world without cages:
We know your inboxes, Facebook newsfeeds, blog comment sections, postal mailboxes, and most methods of communication in your life get filled with requests for funds and monetary support for a host of programs, organizations, and projects working toward social justice and liberation. We have been very fortunate over the last years to have much support from supporters and members of social movements who have somehow found it in their hearts to support us despite the deluge of requests they receive on a regular basis.
With this in mind, we apologize up front for this request. Please understand that we do not take your time, energy or resources lightly, and we only are asking for support because we must.
Due to our past support for Occupy Denver, where we raised over $16,000 for bail for over 50 arrestees and provided direct legal support for dozens more, we have dealt with ongoing debt to bail bonds-people for a number of cases in which defendants skipped court and had their bonds revoked.
We very recently were contacted by a local bonds-person and notified that we must pay them $2,000 in the next several weeks, or face civil litigation. A very active former member of Occupy Denver who previously failed to appear on another bond we had already posted directly with the city, had also failed to appear on another older case. We already forfeited $3,000 in a cash bond for the first failed appearance. We now are facing losing an additional $2,000 for this other failed appearance.
We release this statement not in the interests of attacking or shaming the person who did not appear, as we have no interests in aiding the state in ongoing judicial attacks against anyone. We refuse to name names in this situation, and we ask that our allies and those we have worked with also do not advance the state’s work for them. Instead, we describe the situation we are in for some level of transparency, and to illustrate the repercussions our collective is now facing for our support for Occupy Denver. We also wish to make it clear that we do not regret supporting Occupy Denver, nor do we condemn or in any way attack anyone else affiliated with Occupy Denver. We still stand in solidarity with the ongoing efforts of the Occupy Movement locally, and internationally.
All this said, we need your help, and we need it now.
Since 2009, Denver Anarchist Black Cross has done what we can to aid those who struggle for a better world but find themselves in need of support and solidarity. Whether through organizing support for political prisoners, offering financial aid to social movement members in Denver who find themselves in dire economic situations, helping support families and children of those active in our movements, or working to share resources with those organizing in a plethora of communities, we’ve dedicated ourselves to doing everything in our power to support those actively engaged in some of the most bitter struggles taking place across the United States and the world.
Since our inception, Denver ABC has raised over $50,000 that has gone directly to these initiatives. In 2012, we raised over $12,000 that included:
-$1,500 to bail funds for anarchists and other revolutionaries captured by the state across the country.
-$2,510 for political prisoner commissaries, including Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Edward Poindexter, Siddique Hasan, Matthew Duran, KTEEO Oljenik, Maddy Pfeiffer, Debbie Africa, and the Tinley Park 5.
-$6500 to help transport, house, and feed over 75 participants from Canada, the United States and Mexico for our second annual North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference.
-$800 to local anarchists and other social movement members needing assistance paying medical bills, paying rent, buying groceries, and paying legal fees.
-$650 in solidarity donations to other revolutionary organizations and projects including Riseup.net, the Tierra Amarilla Youth Leadership Institute, and the Anarchist Black Cross Federation.
So far in 2013, we’ve been equally as busy, dispersing hundreds of dollars to commissary funds, bail funds, and solidarity donations for a wide variety of efforts.
This work is now threatened unless we can raise more funds immediately. Our warchest is dangerously low, and our ability to offer aid to folks under attack by the state is already starting to be hindered.
If you are interested in supporting our work, and ensuring that our past support for the efforts of Occupy Denver does not end the broader work our organization is engaged in, there are several ways to show us some love!
Donate via WEPAY: https://www.wepay.com/donations/denver-anarchist-black-cross*
Donate via Paypal: a sympathetic user ID: PLPress@riseup.net
Donate via postal mail: You can mail donations via check and money orders made out to Jake Barrett, our treasurer, or well concealed cash to:
2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D
Denver, CO 80211
Donate in person: You can drop off cash, checks, money orders, or make credit/ debit card donations Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm at:
2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D
Denver, CO 80211
Donate over the phone with a credit/debit card: Get a hold of us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to follow through on this option.
Thanks, as always, for your amazing support.
In solidarity, mutual aid, and a world without prisons,
Denver ABC Crew
DABC Note: According to this article at CBS, there were over 40 people arrested last night, a much higher number than reported in this article from the New York Daily News.
From the New York Daily News:
Protesters enraged over the fatal shooting of a teenager by police poured into Brooklyn streets for a third straight night Wednesday, pitching bricks, bottles and garbage in furious clashes with cops.
At least 18 demonstrators were arrested along Church Ave. in East Flatbush. Police struggled to control a hostile crowd that broke away from a planned peaceful vigil for Kimani (Kiki) Gray, 16, killed by police on Saturday night.
Gray’s sister Mahnefeh was among those arrested. A police officer suffered a gash in the face when a tossed brick hit him, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, and a window was smashed in an inspector’s car.
“They didn’t have to kill him,” Makaeo Williams, 18, said as police on motorcycles tracked alongside him. “I’m feeling mad inside. I’m angry. That’s why I’m out here.”
Many in the community contest police allegations that Gray pointed a gun at cops when he was shot during a confrontation with two plainclothes officers on E. 52nd St. Saturday night. Those suspicions on the street intensified Wednesday when an autopsy report revealed Gray was hit by seven bullets — three to the back.
It was not clear in what order the shots struck the teen or whether he had his back to the police when they opened fire.
A witness told the Daily News Tuesday that the youth did not have a gun in his hand. But a police spokesman said the witness told detectives she couldn’t see the incident clearly “from the angle I was at.”
A woman who identified herself as Gray’s cousin told news outlets Wednesday that the teen was carrying a gun for a friend and was trying to alert cops that he had a weapon when he was shot. A loaded .38-caliber revolver was recovered at the scene.
The trouble Wednesday night began soon after more than 200 people set off from the vigil site at Church Ave. and E. 55th St. around 8:30 p.m.
Dozens chanted “NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today” as they marched west on Church Ave. toward the 67th Precinct stationhouse.
But things quickly got out of hand as some protesters tried to climb on police motorcycles. Men and women were pepper-sprayed and thrown to the ground and handcuffed.
“I’m scared for everything, myself, my store, my workers,” said Salm Sami, 45, who owns the Deli, Grill & Grocery at Church and New York Aves. “This is three days of this.”
The protesters eventually backtracked to the vigil site where the parents of Ramarley Graham — an unarmed teenager fatally shot by police in the Bronx last year — were waiting. “It never seems to end,” said Frank Graham, Ramarley’s father. “The community has a right to be angry.”
But City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a frequent NYPD critic, blasted outsiders who he said escalated tensions. “Please stay the HELL out of our community will only agitate our kids,” Williams fumed on Twitter. “It’s dangerous and counterproductive.” “
With Thomas Tracy, Joe Kemp and Rocco Parascandola
Hey friends of Denver ABC!
If you’re in the Denver area this weekend and are interested in the work of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, we’re having our monthly open meeting on Sunday at 1pm.
Denver ABC Monthly Open Meeting
Sunday March 17, 1pm
Yellow Feather Coffee
742 Santa Fe Dr Denver, CO 80204
If you are interested in the work of Denver ABC, looking for a way to get involved, or want to ask questions or find out more about our work, this is a great time to come and check us out.
Questions? Get at us at email@example.com
Now that John Tucker has finally been classified and transferred and Dylan Sutherlin has been transferred to a long-term facility, all of the Tinley Park Five have arrived at the prisons which they will most likely serve the duration of their sentences at. Jason, John, and Cody were all placed in minimum security facilities. Apparently due to space limitations Alex and Dylan were placed in medium security facilities.
All five are in very good spirits and are currently in the process of trying to take advantage of some of the educational opportunities offered. These classes and programs can also chip away at their sentences. It’s optimistic but we’re hoping on seeing Alex and John this year, Cody and Dylan in early 2014, and Jason by the end of 2014.
They’re all very fortunate to have been placed in relatively decent facilities. They’ve had no real problems with guards or other inmates thus far. They’re all planning on making the most of their circumstances and trying to pass their time quickly by taking GED and college course, working out, watching television, and reading.
All of their webpages are now updated with semi-permanent addresses, but here they all are in one place:
Alex Stuck M34020
2600 N. Brinton Avenue
Dixon, IL 61021
Cody Sutherlin M34021
13423 E 1150th Ave
Robinson, IL 62454
Dylan Sutherlin M34022
P.O. Box 7711
Centralia, IL 62801
Jason Sutherlin M34023
100 Hillcrest Rd
East Moline, IL 61244
John Tucker M34024
P.O. Box 900
Taylorville, IL 62568
Send them a letter! All out of stamps? Send them a letter online!
From Rebel Diaz:
South Bronx community center Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX) shut down by Federal marshals and NYPD. Rally to be held denouncing lockout and forced eviction.
March 1, 2013- After a violent daytime raid yesterday, Thursday, February 28, 2013, on the warehouse turned arts space at 478 Austin Place in the Bronx, members of Hip-Hop community center RDACBX are denouncing their forced eviction at a rally to be held at 6pm today in front of their locked out building.
The building landowner, local commercial developer Marc Pogostin of Austin Property Corp., had for months stalled negotiations on a new agreement with the RDACBX after the group’s original lease expired this past November. Despite diverse support for RDACBX from local politicians, churches, and community organizations in the area, Austin Property Corp. eventually refused to renew the lease, citing concerns about the group’s political murals, and prompting the surprise eviction yesterday.
“The violent actions taken yesterday are an attack on young people, artists, and Hip Hop culture,” says RDACBX co-founder RodStarz. “In a time where budget cuts, stop and frisk, and gentrification are affecting our communities, it’s a shame we are being treated like criminals. There is no justification for this eviction.”
Karen Louviere, 19, a past participant in RDACBX youth programs, expressed her disappointment at the violent shutdown of the space. “They came in with armed officers into what is supposed to be a safe space for the community. A space that has served as an alternative for young people in the area, helping develop their talents in a positive way.”
The internationally renowned RDACBX, host to weekly cultural performances and educational workshops, had recently announced plans for the creation of the Richie Perez Radical Library, as well as the continuation of their widely recognized Boogie Mics open mic series, and the SxSBX Hip-Hop Festival.
“Despite the violent removal of RDACBX from its space, RDACBX will continue to work on its development, as it strives to be a resource for the community. There is a need for this organization to exist in The South Bronx,” says Claudia De La Cruz, a member of the collective.
What: Press Conference/ Rally to Defend RDACBX
When: Friday, March 1st, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: 478 Austin Place, Bronx NY 10455
Breanna (Bradley) Manning pleads guilty to 10 of 22 charges, awaits sentencing and further prosecution
From Capitalist Media:
Pfc. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 of the 22 charges against him — but not the most serious one, “aiding the enemy” — in what the government says is the largest leak of classified documents in the nation’s history.
And, for the first time, Manning offered his rationale for the crimes.
In court, Manning detailed why and how he sent classified material to WikiLeaks, a group that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information through its website.
He said he passed on information that “upset” or “disturbed” him, but nothing he thought would harm the United States if it became public. Manning said he thought the documents were old and the situations they referred to had changed or ended.
Reading a statement for more than an hour, Manning described his motivations, beginning with what he called “sigact tables,” documents describing significant actions in Iraq and Afghanistan that he said represented the “ground reality” of both conflicts.
Support Dane Rossman, another of 5 folks from the U.S. facing extradition to Canada stemming from Toronto 2010 G20 protests
From Support Dane Rossman:
Early on the morning of Thursday, February 21st, U.S. Marshals arrested Dane Rossman at his home in Tucson, AZ on a provisional arrest warrant issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office, acting on a Canadian extradition request. Dane is one of five Americans sought in Canada for alleged offenses stemming from the G20 summit.
On June 26th and 27th, 2010, tens of thousands of individuals gathered in Toronto to protest the G20 summit. The G20 is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from nineteen powerful countries plus the European Union. During the 2010 summit, Canadian authorities specifically targeted people involved in migrant justice, indigenous solidarity and anarchist organizing for prosecution. Dane was arrested along with over 1,100 other protesters in the largest mass arrest in Canada’s history. He was processed and released without charges. Now, three years later, he is facing three charges related to alleged property damage.
Dane is a dedicated social justice advocate, humanitarian aid volunteer, and student. He has spent the past several years in Arizona providing humanitarian relief on the US/Mexico border, and organizing against racist profiling laws and mass incarceration.
The extradition of an individual from the U.S. to Canada for property damage is almost unheard of. Dane’s extradition is political in nature because it is meant to create fear and criminalize dissent. As long as global institutions exploit our communities for profit, people will cross nation-state boundaries to protest and make known the suffering in their home communities.
Dane is currently being held at the federal Corrections Corporation of America facility in Florence, AZ, a private prison where most of his fellow inmates are being held on immigration related offenses. As Dane’s supporters and friends, we extend solidarity to all those who face state repression, those in prison due to G20 protest charges, and those incarcerated for crossing nation-state boundaries. Dane has an extradition hearing set for April 16th, 2013.
Check back for further updates on his case and please consider donating to his legal defense fund.
The Stranger: Or they will be at 4 pm tomorrow afternoon. Judge Jones has granted Duran and Olejnik’s attorneys’ request to release their clients, who have been in prison—without convictions or charges—for five months and in solitary confinement for two months.
I wrote about visiting them in prison, and how they got there, in this story.
More details after I get Judge Jones’s ruling—but this is happy, happy news. And it’s a correction of a situation in the justice system that has seemed very, very far from just.
The third grand jury refuser, Maddie Pfeiffer, is still in prison, but his attorney did not join the motion to file for his release. That motion, I’m guessing, isn’t far away.
Of course, they might eventually be charged with criminal contempt—but at least that would have a semblance of due process, an opportunity for a public trial, and a fixed term of incarceration instead of you-just-sit-in-this-cold-cell-until-you-tell-us-what-we-want-to-hear.
You know, the stuff most American citizens expect when dealing with judicial branch of American government.
Judge Jones’s ruling is here, with selected paragraphs after the jump. In short, it reiterates what we’ve been saying for many months: That they weren’t there on May Day, that their confinement is looking awfully punitive even though it’s not legally supposed to be, that they have shown their resolve to not testify, and that the feds are asking them for testimony that would be tangential at best. (em>Who are these people and what are their political beliefs? instead of who threw a brick through a window?)
Read it in Judge Jones’s words below the jump:
Both Ms. Olejnik and Mr. Duran have provided extensive declarations explaining that although they wish to end their confinement, they will never end their confinement by testifying. The court finds their declarations persuasive. They have been submitted to five months of confinement. For a substantial portion of that confinement, they have been held in the special housing unit of the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, during which they have had no other contact with detainees, very little contact even with prison staff, and exceedingly limited ability to communicate with the outside world…
The government does dispute the witnesses’ assertions that confinement in the special housing until entails 23 hours of solitary confinement in their cells and an hour of solitary time alone in a larger room each day, a single fifteen-minute phone call each month (as opposed to five hours of monthly phone time for detainees outside the special housing until), and exceedingly limited access to reading and writing material. Their physical health has deteriorated sharply and their mental health has also suffered from the effects of solitary confinement.
Their confinement has cost them; they have suffered the loss of jobs, income, and important personal relationships. They face the possibility of criminal convictions for contempt… both she and Mr. Duran have nonetheless refused to testify…
The court has observed both Ms. Olejnik and Mr. Duran in their prior appearances before the court. Whatever the merits of their choices not to testify, their demeanor has never given the court reason to doubt their sincerity or the strength of their convictions.
The witnesses and the government also invite the court to consider arguments specific to the grand jury investigation at issue. The witnesses argue, for example, that any testimony they could offer would be, at best, tangential to the investigation… Although they remain in contempt of court, the court finds no basis for their continued confinement.
From Angola 3 News:
Today, February 26, District Court Judge Brady released a 34-page ruling that granted habeas to Albert on the issue of racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson for his 1998 retrial. This decision now overturns Albert’s conviction for a third time.
In the 34-page ruling, Judge Brady reviews the arguments of both sides and concludes that Albert’s team used the correct baseline for comparison, and that using that baseline, the discrimination is statistically significant no matter which tests are used. It was the State’s burden in these proceedings to prove that there was a race neutral procedure in place for selecting forepersons. Judge Brady agreed with Albert that the State failed to do this.
Just as when Judge Brady overturned Albert’s conviction in 2008, the State is now expected to appeal today’s ruling to the 5th Circuit. Therefore, nothing is certain except that the legal team and A3 supporters will not stop fighting until this ruling is affirmed by the 5th Circuit and Albert is finally a free man.
This is an important victory, thanks in no small part to the efforts of our supporters!
As we learn more, we will post updates here, so please check back for more information about Albert’s case. For more background, this is our report from the evidentiary hearing that preceded today’s ruling.
(View/Download a PDF of Judge Brady’s ruling here.)
We recently received this from comrades in Mexico City Anarchist Black Cross.
A call for two weeks in solidarity (February 21st- March 7th) with Felicity Ann Ryder, an anarchist comrade on the run.
Greetings in Solidarity to all anti-authoritarian hearts who read this wherever they may be. To everyone who, with conviction and strength, combat, in whatever manner they see fit, every institution and symbol of the apparatus of capitalist patriarchy, oppression, domestication and the farce of power.
Comrades, we put this call out from inside of the beast to howl our solidarity with our sister and comrade Felicity Ann Ryder, who remains fugitive from the claws of the state after more than 7 months.
In the early hours of June 27th, 2012 an unfortunate event occurred: an explosive device detonated leaving our comrade Mario “Tripa” López injured (and behind bars for 6 months). Mario is now “free” on Conditional Release and has an ongoing case against him. After police and government forces found Felicity’s passport, and facing the risk of also being put in jail, our comrade began life as a fugitive.
Since then we know that there has been constant harassment of her relatives in her country of birth (Australia) as well as throughout the so-called social networks. It is also possible that more investigations have been opened in other countries attempting to tie together various action oriented anarchist cells. This all forms part of a frame-up instigated by police forces on an international level that is used to attack the anarchist movement using fear and terror in an attempt (unsuccessfully) to immobilize us.
We understand the difficult situation that Felicity must be facing after all these months. Living clandestinely, despite being a better option than the cold bars and cynicism of a jail cell, also becomes a form of prison in that it stands in the way of enjoying full liberty because of the constant threat of possible detention. This situation brings many difficulties in terms of mobility, for self-sufficiency, and struggle; isolation and distance from loved ones and the abandoning of life plans.
Clandestine life as a necessity, and not as a privilege of an authoritarian vanguard, also requires our solidarity, the obligation of our comrades to constantly be on the run, pushed underground and forced to dig their way to liberty, deserves our support.
Living clandestinely does not afford the same support, material and emotional, that a comrade in prison receives from the outside. We know that wherever our comrade Felicity may be, she stands firm in her convictions as an anarchist, she laughs at the enemy while continuing to attack them, face to to face.
From here we send a warm greeting and call on all of our forces as anti-authoritarians to participate in two weeks of activities, greetings, and gestures in solidarity with our comrade Felicity from the 21st of February until March 7th, to take the form that one sees fit, so Felicity knows that she is not alone and that solidarity between anarchists in struggle is not merely a written word, or a phrase used to adorn pretty “revolutionary” pamphlets.
For us solidarity is a weapon that destroys power. We also wish to remember that there are other comrades living as fugitives like Hans Niemeyer, persecuted by the Chilean State, as well as Grigoris Tsironis, Marios Seisidis, Vassilis Palaiokostas, Nikos Maziotis and Pola Roupa from Greece.
No Remorse, No Defeat!!!!
Free and Wild, Felicity is with us!!!
Comrade, you are not alone!!!! Many of us follow you in struggle and embrace your convictions!!
Freedom to all prisoners of the social war!