[Ppnews] Grand Jury Repression - Bay Area

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 3 11:19:25 EDT 2005


Within the last 2-3 weeks, federal grand juries in San Francisco have 
subpoenaed several former Black activists and their supporters (focusing on 
30 year old cases) and ten eco & animal rights activists. This recent wave 
of repression against the progressive movement is part of a stepped up 
offensive that includes renewed and escalating publicity to capture Assata 
Shakur, refusal to extradite CIA operative Luis Posada Carilles and refusal 
to release former Black Panther Veronza Bowers (now a year past his 
mandatory release date) from federal prison. These examples are just part 
of the evidence of a continued and escalating war on dissent and dissenters.

The following statement from Josh was made at an event to build support for 
the principle of noncooperation and those resisters who are taking that 
stand before a SF Federal Grand Jury (Josh is one of those being called to 
testify).

In recent months federal authorities have stepped up the level of
repression directed against animal liberation and eco activists in the Bay
Area. Near the beginning of April, I awoke at six in the morning to the
sound of repeated doorbell rings. As one of my roommates peeked out of the
curtains of our apartment, floodlights lit up the front of our building
and loud voices shouted up at us from below, "FBI, open up!" Agents
stormed through our home with their guns drawn and pointed at us. We were
handcuffed and ordered into our living room. One of my roommates was
arrested and forcibly removed from our home. We were told that she had
been arrested on an outstanding warrant, issued for the unauthorized use
of a bullhorn stemming from a demonstration she had taken part in, in
November of 2004.  Across the Bay agents clad in ski masks and armed with
assault weapons were simultaneously violating the home of one of our
friends in Oakland.
For eleven hours agents representing the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, Coast
Guard, Joint Terrorism Task Force, US Marshals, and local police ransacked
our homes seizing computers, journals, photo albums, books, music CDs and
everything else they could get their hands on. While the two houses were
being picked through, a third group of agents detained an individual at
Market Street and VanNess. They attempted to lie, intimidate, and coerce
her into supplying them with a DNA sample. Fortunately we were able to
mobilize legal support quickly. One of our attorneys swiftly intervened
and removed her from the situation.
This, unfortunately, was not the first time my life has been disrupted due
to my political beliefs.  In 2000, Anita Carswell and I were falsely
arrested on felony vandalism charges for allegedly breaking windows at
Neiman Marcus in downtown San Francisco, where we both regularly took part
in anti-fur demonstrations. The police immediately issued a statement to
the media assuring them that our convictions were imminent, as they had a
credible witness and surveillance footage that proved our guilt. The
footage turned out to be nothing more than a series of grainy still
photographs of silhouettes.  The "credible witness" was unable to identify
us in a lineup, admitted to being under the influence of both heroin and
alcohol on the night in question, had himself been convicted of felony
vandalism for breaking windows, and was being put up in a fancy hotel and
given spending money by the police department for participating in the
case against us. After a week in jail, six months of supervised release,
multiple court proceedings and a lie detector test, the charges against us
were finally dropped. Unhappy with the outcome, the FBI promptly reopened
the case and subpoenaed Anita to a grand jury.  To this date, they have
not returned our confiscated clothing or property. Anita resisted the
grand jury completely by not even bothering to show up,

In the latest round of the FBI's campaign of harassment and intimidation,
myself and nine other individuals have now been subpoenaed to appear
before a federal grand jury in San Francisco. Once used to protect
citizens from unreasonable and malicious prosecution by the state, the
grand jury system is now used to destroy social movements. Grand juries
thrive on their ability to operate in complete secrecy. Witnesses who are
forced to appear before the grand jury are stripped of their 5th amendment
right to remain silent and are denied their right to be represented by an
attorney within the grand jury room. Grand juries are used to divide,
isolate, intimidate and collect information on social movements, as well
as to imprison their activists. They have been used extensively to harass
and target abolitionists, Puerto Rican independence activists, Black
Panthers, as well as the environmental and animal liberation communities.
Those refusing to cooperate face many months, and even years in prison.
At a recent hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public
Works, John E. Lewis, Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism
Division of the FBI testified that, "Investigating and preventing animal
rights extremism and eco-terrorism is one of the FBI's highest domestic
terrorism priorities." Included in his description of animal rights
extremism and eco-terrorism were such nefarious activities as office
takeovers, which he lumped into the same category as bombings.
The escalation of repressive measures directed against all social change
activists is apparent. The government's definition of terrorism has come
to include activities such as anti-war marches, peaceful demonstrations,
writing articles, unlatching cages, taking over offices, and putting up
websites. Not included in their definition are activities such as
carpet-bombing civilian neighborhoods, denying children access to food and
medicine, anally electrocuting fur-bearing animals, torturing prisoners,
cutting down old growth forests, or shooting peaceful protestors with
lethal rubber bullets.
As we speak, a young man named Peter Young sits in jail in Wisconsin
awaiting trial. He has been charged with Animal Enterprise Terrorism for
allegedly trespassing at fur farms, pulling down fences, opening cages,
and allowing the animals contained within them to escape to freedom. For
this "crime", Peter is now facing a sentence of up to 82 years in prison.
At his last hearing, Bob Anderson, an assistant US attorney, said Young
committed "an act of terrorism" by trying to impose his will on others by
using violence.
In New Jersey, six animal liberation activists are currently being tried
on charges of Animal Enterprise Terrorism, interstate stalking, and
conspiracy.  In essence, they are accused of little more than operating a
website opposed to the contract animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life
Sciences (HLS). If convicted, they each will face up to 24 years in
prison.
It is no coincidence that the highly publicized senate hearings on
eco-terrorism, these two trials, and the recent raids and subsequent grand
jury subpoenas have occurred in such close proximity. These actions
represent an attack by the federal government aimed at straining our
resources, breaking our resolve, and imprisoning our activists. These
actions are also indicative of a renewed wave of repression directed
against all social change movements. Black liberation activists and white
anti-imperialists from the movements of the 60's and 70's have also
recently been the targets of house raids and grand jury subpoenas. These
subpoenas are investigating actions against that police that took place
over thirty years ago in the early 1970's. The federal government has also
escalated its campaign against Assasta Shakur. It is clear that the
government means to stamp out resistance wherever it thrives.

As the government continuously redefines words such as violence and
terrorism to include the opening of cages, the running of websites, and
the fight against oppression, they further their ultimate goal of
outlawing dissent altogether. It is imperative that we stand up to this
type of thuggery and in support of those who find themselves the targets
of government harassment.
I refuse to cooperate with this grand jury, or with any other despite what
I may face. In the coming months many of us will need your support.
Protests will be held outside of the San Francisco federal courthouse at
each and every date that individuals are scheduled to appear. As we show
our resistance inside the grand jury room, we ask that you join us and
demonstrate your resistance and solidarity outside of the courthouse.
Please check www.fbiwitchhunt.com for updates and upcoming demonstrations
concerning our case and others.



The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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