[Pnews] Upcoming Embassy Protectors Trial - An Epic Act of Resistance

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 27 14:08:30 EST 2020


https://www.telesurenglish.net/opinion/An-Epic-Act-of-Resistance-and-Trial-of-Our-Times-20200125-0012.html 



  An Epic Act of Resistance and Trial of Our Times

Lauren Smith - January 25, 2020
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The U.S. government’s accusation against of the four members of the 
Embassy Protectors Collective is merely a pretext used for their arrest 
and prosecution, since they haven’t broken any laws.

On Feb. 11, four American peace activists, known as the *Embassy 
Protectors Collective <https://defendembassyprotectors.org/>*, will be 
tried before the U.S. empire for “interfering with certain protective 
functions” of its Federal government for their occupation of the 
Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. to prevent it from being handed 
over to coup leaders sponsored by the Trump administration.

Their occupation ended on May 16, 2019, when federal agents broke into 
the sealed embassy, against international law, and arrested them in a 
*swat style raid 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8d_AXYRVsw&feature=youtu.be>*. The 
government’s accusation against them is merely a pretext used for their 
arrest and prosecution since they haven’t broken any laws. Matter of 
fact, their true crime in the minds of the Trump administration is just 
the opposite – it’s their brilliant defense of international law, and 
Venezuela’s sovereign right to self-determination against Yankee 
imperialism.

Although the Trump administration didn’t want President Maduro to win a 
second term, 67 percent of Venezuelans did. This stands in stark 
contrast with President Donald Trump’s own experience since he lost the 
popular vote in 2017 to Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary 
Clinton, a candidate despised by her own democratic party’s base – who 
only managed to secure her place as a presidential nominee due to the 
fraud perpetrated by the party’s elite.

Even the Republican party’s use of targeted racist and classist voter 
suppression and purge techniques could not secure Trump winning numbers 
at the polls. In the United States of America, as demonstrated by Trump, 
a loser can win the presidency. Compare this with Former President Jimmy 
Carter’s 2012 declaration that “*the election process in Venezuela is 
the best in the world. <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/7272>*”

Nonetheless, the Trump administration set its heart on Juan Guaido, a 
man that was not even a candidate in the 2018 election. Yet, with the 
superpower’s backing, what would be a farce in any other context still 
remains a threat  – as Guaido, left to his own device, is merely a 
self-appointed president as well as being *a self-appointed leader of a 
self-appointed assembly 
<https://sputniknews.com/analysis/202001111078006160-us-realises-that-guaidos-jig-is-up-planning-new-strategy-in-venezuela---scholar/>*.

What elevates this trial in our collective consciousness is the fact 
that these brave activists struck a successful blow against imperialist 
aggression from inside the belly of the beast – literally from within 
Washington, D.C.  For 37 days, the Trump administration was powerless 
against the guile & guts of the pediatrician, Margaret Flowers; medical 
anthropologist, Adrienne Pine; attorney, Kevin Zeese; and activist, 
David Paul as they bravely upheld *Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna 
Convention 
<https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_1_1961.pdf>*. 
The four were aided by a strong coalition of activist groups.

In solidarity, 70 members of the various groups, including journalists, 
took turns staying inside the embassy with them. As conditions worsened, 
or for personal reasons, they disbursed prior to the raid. However, many 
remained outside the embassy protesting the siege conditions faced by 
their comrades inside and delivered food despite facing assault and 
arrest. Even the aged civil rights defender, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, 
personally took part in *food delivery to the Embassy Protectors 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcS-eG3-7q0&feature=youtu.be>*. 
Fortunately, unlike the 72-year-old president of Veterans for Peace, 
Gerry Cordon, he was not *assaulted by police 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMzZHzcaTZ4&feature=youtu.be>* and 
arrested in this process.

It is this grassroots collective that protected the Venezuelan embassy 
from seizure by Trump’s federal agents, local police, and an *Astroturf 
fascist, racist & sexist mob 
<https://thegrayzone.com/2019/05/16/guaido-mob-venezuelan-embassy/>* – 
making their united act of resistance epic and their prosecution a trial 
of our times.

Despite the best efforts of the biased judge who ruled on Dec. 
13 against their right to critical information needed for their defense, 
their acts of bravery cannot be silenced – as activists will ensure 
their story is told.  On Jan. 29, Judge Beryl Howell will hear pre-trial 
arguments concerning a recent motion filed by government lawyers that 
even more severely restricts what can be discussed during their Feb. 11 
trial.

If Judge Howell grants the government’s motion, it will leave the 
Embassy Protectors virtually defenseless. The government wants the 
prosecution to be limited exclusively to three things (1) the four were 
in the embassy, (2) they were given a notice of eviction by the police, 
and (3) they refused to leave. Essentially, they want the jury that 
decides their fate to be blindfolded. This will ensure the Trump 
administration’s desired outcome –*which is to convict the Embassy 
Protectors and make them a model for how it intends to deal with 
challenges to its illegal foreign and domestic policies 
<https://blackagendareport.com/index.php/trump-prosecutors-make-move-ensure-embassy-protectors-are-convicted>*.

The fact that Howell is assigned the case is no accident as she is the 
chief judge of the U.S. District Court and co-author of the 
unconstitutional Patriot Act. Under the *Patriot Act 
<https://www.aclu.org/other/surveillance-under-usapatriot-act>*, 
protections against unreasonable search & seizure are waived, and 
incarceration can be indeterminate and without charge. So, it’s no 
surprise, with her Intelligence Community background, that Judge Howell 
referred to the embassy protectors as a “gang”, stated facts in a way 
that supported their guilt and made it clear that a trial will result in 
their conviction.

Among the issues the Trump administration is asking to not be discussed 
in the Embassy Protectors’ trial are the following:

- That Nicolas Maduro is the democratically elected president of 
Venezuela. More than *300 election observers for the 2018 election 
<https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/05/29/election-observer-the-majority-have-chosen-the-path-they-want-for-venezuela/>* 
agreed that the election met international standards. Additionally, more 
than 150 governments around the world recognize him as the President of 
Venezuela as does the United Nations.

- That Juan Guaido has no legitimacy to represent the Venezuelan 
government. Also, he is *under investigation for his role in the 
“humanitarian aid” corruption scandal 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14739>*.

- That Carlos Vecchio, whose demand that the Embassy Protectors leave 
the embassy and was the basis of their eviction, is not an ambassador 
from Venezuela but part of Guaido’s failed coup. Additionally, Vecchio, 
a former Exxon oil executive, is *charged with fraud, embezzlement and 
money laundering <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14548>* to the tune 
of US $70 million through CITGO, Venezuela’s US-based subsidiary of the 
state oil company PDVSA.

- That they were in the embassy with the permission of the elected 
government of Venezuela.

- That they received advice that they were in the embassy legally.

- That negotiations were ongoing between the US and Venezuela for a 
mutual protecting power agreement which would have resulted in 
Switzerland protecting the US embassy in Caracas and Turkey protecting 
the Venezuelan embassy in DC. And that the Embassy Protectors had stated 
that they would leave voluntarily when that agreement was reached. 
Additionally, The day before the four were arrested, *Samuel Moncada, 
the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN, held a press conference 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdSVUP4gTm4&feature=youtu.be>* where he 
discussed the negotiation for a protecting power agreement and 
reconfirmed that the Embassy Protectors were in the embassy with 
Venezuela’s permission.

- That they were surrounded by a coup mob that was blocking food from 
coming into the embassy.

- That the electricity and water were turned off on them.

- That the Vienna Convention was violated by federal agents, who had no 
legitimate right to enter the embassy to arrest them.

- That the Embassy Protectors were acting within their First Amendment 
rights.

The Embassy Protectors face federal charges punishable by up to one year 
in prison, a US$100,000 fine each, and restitution to the government for 
police time & damages, which is considerable given the duration of their 
occupation and the absurd amount of armed forces used in the embassy 
raid – as they remain four unarmed senior and middle-aged peace 
activists. Since their charges are unjust and anything can happen in 
prison, especially to dissidents, people of consciousness must ensure 
all charges are dropped. So, let us stand on the right side of history 
with the Embassy Protectors and show solidarity by attending their trial 
in Washington, D.C., which begins on Feb. 11,*donating to their legal 
fund <https://defendembassyprotectors.org/>*, and spreading the truth of 
what’s really happening widely.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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