[News] Grand Jury Update 6/22/05
News at freedomarchives.org
News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 23 08:52:44 EDT 2005
Nadia was scheduled to appear before the Federal Grand Jury in San
Francisco today. A support demonstration was held outside of the
courthouse with over 100 people, representing many different movements, in
attendance. Nadia read a brief statement of resistance to her supporters
and the media.
Nadia's lawyer filed a "motion to quash" ( basically a legal argument
saying that there is no reason Nadia should be subpoenaed) on her behalf.
The US attorney put off Nadia's appearance to allow time to consider the
motion. Nadia will be informed soon of her next appearance date.
Two of the other three people scheduled to appear today also had their
appearances rescheduled. One person went before the Grand Jury, asserted
her fifth amendment privileges against self incrimination to all questions
asked, and was excused.
Thank you to all of those of you who came to the support demonstration!
Nadia and the other targets of this witch-hunt really appreciate all of
Supportnadia mailing list
Supportnadia at fbiwitchhunt.com
Grand jury hunt for fugitive finds Fifth
Witnesses win reprieves, invoke rights at hearing
<mailto:sfinz at sfchronicle.com>Stacy Finz, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Three people were excused and one person invoked her Fifth Amendment right
not to incriminate herself Wednesday during the first day of a San
Francisco grand jury hearing designed to investigate two 2003 Bay Area
bombings connected to the animal rights movement.
Activists say the federal government is on a statewide witch hunt,
convening grand juries in both San Francisco and San Diego this week in an
effort to harass protesters of all kinds, but especially members of animal
rights and environmental groups.
But authorities respond that they have no desire to interfere with law-
abiding protesters, only those who use violence to further their cause. In
recent years militant animal rights and environmental activists have
resorted to stalking executives whose companies test their products on
animals, to activating explosives, setting arson fires and committing
vandalism, causing millions of dollars of damage in California alone. The
FBI has made no secret that catching domestic terrorists is one of the
agency's top priorities.
At least 10 people have been subpoenaed in the Bay Area to appear before
the San Francisco grand jury investigating the whereabouts of fugitive
Daniel Andreas San Diego, who is charged with planting bombs at two East
Bay companies in 2003.
Three of those subpoenaed were given a temporary reprieve from having to
testify Wednesday after their lawyers filed motions accusing the government
of violating the protesters' Fifth Amendment rights. Stella Sythe, a fourth
person who was subpoenaed to testify, said she took the stand and refused
to answer questions by invoking her right not to incriminate herself.
About 75 people protesting the grand jury hearings waited outside the
federal courthouse on Golden Gate Avenue chanting and carrying signs. Ben
Rosenfeld, a lawyer who is representing the group on behalf of the National
Lawyers Guild, called the secret proceedings a star chamber used to conduct
an illegal fishing expedition.
"If the government really believes that these people have been harboring
Mr. San Diego, then what they're doing is asking them to incriminate
themselves in front of the grand jury," he said. "But I don't think they
really believe that. This is political. It's a government shakedown."
San Diego evaded FBI agents who were following him from Sonoma to San
Francisco in October 2003 and has been in hiding ever since. Agents
searched his car trunk in San Francisco and found components and
ingredients that matched the bombs used in the predawn explosions on Aug.
28, 2003 at Chiron Corp., an Emeryville biotech firm, and a month later at
Shaklee, a Pleasanton company that sells health, beauty and household
products, according to federal documents.
No one was hurt in the bombings, which caused minor structural damage. But
LaRae Quy, a spokeswoman for the FBI in San Francisco, said it's just a
matter of time before someone dies in one these explosions.
"If the emergency response team had arrived just a few minutes earlier at
Chiron when the second bomb went off, one of its members could have been
killed," she said. "And if someone is killed, it's going to be murder."
In Southern California, at least nine people have been called to testify
before a San Diego federal grand jury investigating a 2003 arson fire that
destroyed an apartment complex that was under construction there. A banner
signed by the Earth Liberation Front that was left at the scene said, "If
you build it, we'll burn it."
Three people were called to testify in San Diego on Tuesday. The three
asked for a continuance so they could have time to seek legal guidance, but
were denied, according to Rich Macgurn, who is acting as a spokesman for
Michael Cardenas, a software engineer who says he does not consider himself
an animal rights or environmental activist but was part of a coalition of
groups that organized a series of "Revolution Summer" events in 2003,
including a speech given by a well-known ELF activist hours after the
apartment fire was set, said he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to
answer the grand jury's questions.
Before asserting his right, he said he was asked if he knew the activist
Rod Coronado, if he was present at Coronado's speech and if he was familiar
with certain organizations. After each question, Cardenas said, he asserted
his right not to incriminate himself. Macgurn said many activists see the
interrogations as a gross abuse of the grand jury system and a "further
sign of growing governmental hostility to legitimate political activity."
FBI agent Quy, who is legally barred from discussing grand jury
investigations, responded in general: "There are perfectly legitimate
animal rights and environmental movements out there ... We're only after
those who resort to violence or break the law."
E-mail Stacy Finz at <mailto:sfinz at sfchronicle.com>sfinz at sfchronicle.com.
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