[Ppnews] San Francisco Grand Jury Update 6/22/05

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 23 18:02:21 EDT 2005


San Francisco Grand Jury Update 6/22/05

About 100 activists gathered today, June 22, at the Federal Building in San 
Francisco to protest the Federal Grand Jury that has been convened to 
investigate the animal rights movement. View the 
<http://fbiwitchhunt.com/Protest20050622/index.htm>online photo gallery for 
pictures.

Four people were scheduled to appear before the Grand Jury. All four had 
stated in advance that they would not cooperate with this proceeding. 
<http://fbiwitchhunt.com//nadia%27sstatement.html>Nadia Winstead, one of 
the subpoenaed individuals, read a statement (below) to the crowd gathered 
there stating her intentions and her objections to the Federal Grand Jury 
system as a whole.

Many activists (and non-activist citizens) are opposed to the Grand Jury 
system as a violation of one's constitutional rights. Once in the Grand 
Jury room, those forced to testify have no right to an attorney. The power 
of the prosecutor goes unchecked and there is no limit to the scope of the 
questions they may ask. The Grand Jury is used a tool of the prosecution to 
gather information on social justice movements and to drive divisions 
between activists.

Many prosecutors are aware that activists often choose to remain silent, 
and thus use this as an excuse to jail those in the movements they are 
seeking to destroy. The use of the Grand Jury as a tool of intimidation and 
harassment is not new. These tactics were used in the '60s and '70s against 
social justice movements, in the early part of last century against the 
labor movement, and during the Civil War against abolitionists.

Today, however, was a minor victory for the individuals subpoenaed to this 
Grand Jury. Of the four scheduled to appear, three had their dates 
continued in order for the court to hear arguments on a motion to quash the 
subpoenas. The remaining person appeared before the Grand Jury, pled the 
fifth (her right to remain silent) and was excused. She will not have to 
reappear unless she is re-subpoenaed.

Six other individuals still have dates to appear in July. At this time, 
they are scheduled for July 13 and 20. Due to the nature of legal 
proceedings, these are subject to change at any time.

There are other Grand Juries convened that people should be aware of. One 
is in San Diego, where at least <http://fbiwitchhunt.com/SD6-21-05.html>9 
people have been subpoenaed to testify in relation to environmental 
activism in the area. The other is here in San Francisco, related to an 
attack on the Ingleside police station in the '70s in which a police 
officer was killed. Several black liberation activists have been subpoenaed 
as the prosecutor in that case attempts to gather information on the 
activities of individuals from 30 years ago.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2005
MEDIA ALERT


Community Organizers Targeted by Federal Grand Jury in San Diego

As of today at least nine (9) community organizers from throughout San 
Diego and other parts of California have been subpoenaed to appear before a 
federal grand jury. Presumably, the subpoenas are in relation to a federal 
investigation of the 2003 burning of a La Jolla apartment complex, which 
the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for, and which the FBI 
has admittedly little evidence or credible leads.

A beleaguered San Diego FBI, faltering under revelations of serious 
intelligence failures in relation to the September 11 attacks, has now 
rounded up a diverse group of community organizers and is compelling them 
to testify before a grand jury, a move that many activists are describing 
as a gross abuse of the grand jury process and further sign of growing 
governmental hostility to legitimate political activity.

Colleen Dietzel is a middle-aged ocean beach resident who runs the Green 
Store, a place where community members come to purchase environmentally 
friendly products and learn about environmental issues. Ms. Dietzel was 
served with a Subpoena on Thursday, compelling her to testify today before 
the secret tribunal. Elise Casby, a member of the voting reform 
organization VOTERR, was served on Friday and required to also appear this 
morning. Also among the list of those ordered to appear is 
<http://sandiego.indymedia.org/en/2005/06/109418.shtml>Michael Cardenas, a 
media activist and journalist with the San Diego Independent Media Center 
and RadioActive Radio.

All motions for continuance have been denied to those subpoenaed, despite 
the fact that their appearances were ordered with only days notice.

The highly controversial grand jury, which is most often reserved for 
investigations into government corruption, denies individuals the presence 
of an attorney, the right to remain silent and a number of other cherished 
constitutional rights. Those who attempt to exercise their Fifth Amendment 
rights, for whatever reason, can be imprisoned for up to two years in jail.

A number of individuals who have been subpoenaed to testify before the 
grand jury next week have vowed to contest the legitimacy of the proceedings.

A press conference will be held Tuesday, June 28th on the steps of the 
federal building at 12 noon. A community forum has also been planned to 
show support for those who have been targeted by the FBI and to discuss 
federal grand juries and government repression. Online donations are being 
accepted for the defense committee at 
<http://www.organiccollective.org>www.organiccollective.org.


Nadia Winstead's Statement of Resistance, June 22, 2005

My name is Nadia Winstead, I was served with a subpoena on May 24th 2005 by 
federal agents to appear before a grand jury in San Francisco. I refuse to 
participate in these grand jury proceedings. They represent a violation of 
my constitutional rights and are nothing more than government sponsored 
harassment.

Throughout history the US government has targeted movements that challenge 
the status quo. This grand jury is yet another example of the government 
applying pressure on activists who dare to use their first amendment 
rights. During the abolitionist period, anti-slavery activists were called 
before grand juries in efforts to intimidate and destroy their movement. 
Time and time again grand juries have been used as a tool to silence the 
voices of change.

Today animal advocates, prisoner support activists and members of the 
greater progressive community are the targets. People who promote 
compassion and challenge industries that profit from both human oppression 
and animal slavery are being subject to the wrath of the State. We are 
being targeted because our views, and our willingness to express them, pose 
a threat to corporate profiteers.

The federal government is willing to use every trick in the book to silence 
our dissent, but we will not be silenced.

I refuse to participate in their modern day witch hunt. I will not 
cooperate with this grand jury or any other in the future.


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