Saturday, June 18, 2005

The San Francisco Grand Jury

As reported in Thursday’s edition of the Oread Daily a grand jury has convened in San Francisco and is subpoening activists. The OD reported the supoenas were targeting animal rights activists. However, the purpose of any grand jury goes far beyond one particular case or one particular person or group of persons.

According to FBI, “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 liberation 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.”

As a victim of a grand jury myself many, many years ago, I can tell you that it is very important that if you are subpoenaed that you know what you are doing. It is very easy to get yourself and others in trouble without meaning any harm.

Grand juries (and any subsequent indictments) are not only meant for the specific reason of putting someone in jail, they are also there to tie up movement activists in endless proceedings draining energy from real work

Organizing to stop grand jury repression is very important. If the aims of the government in convening a grand jury are successful there will be many more to follow.

Please read the following three articles for further information on this grand jury and what to do when one comes calling.

Follow the Oread Daily for further updates.

Statement by One of the Individuals Subpoenaed Before SF Grand Jury

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.

Walking Through a Grand Jury

Walking Through a Grand Jury
from No Compromise Issue 6

By Larry Weiss, Attorney at Law

In this article Attorney Larry Weiss walks us through a typical grand jury proceeding for an activist. He shows how easily a committed activist who puts the animals first can be jailed at a grand jury. His article is quite scary. Think about it, when they start asking you about your friends, their beliefs in direct action, your significant other, your involvement with animal rights, who you associate with, and other personal questions, are you going answer them?

If you do, you can bet the people you mention will also be harassed; they will have more information to use against you, your friends, and the animals; and mistrust and fear will spread within the movement because no one knows what you said about them (the public is not allowed and grand jury hearings). In a grand jury, there are no innocent questions, and there is no such thing as a harmless answer. Cooperating with a special grand jury is selling out the movement.

The following is a summary of what you might expect to encounter if you are subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury.

1. Your subpoena will be served on you by law enforcement personnel or FBI agents. Do not attempt to talk to the person who serves the subpoena, or explain why you should not be involved. They will only use your statements against you.

2. Don't panic. There are organizations that deal with just such situations. Don't be afraid to get in touch with such organizations or with an attorney who is experienced in grand jury matters. Tell them about your subpoena. The worst thing that you can do is isolate yourself or give up hope.

3. You will have to go to the building (probably a courthouse) where the grand jury is located on the day and time mentioned on your subpoena. Take friends and/or an attorney with you. Again, do not isolate yourself. The FBI would like nothing better than for you to feel alone and helpless.

4. After you arrive at the courthouse you will probably have to sit and wait for one or several hours. Then you will go into the grand jury room. Your attorney and your friends will not be allowed to go in with you. Although your attorney can not come into the grand jury room, he or she may wait outside the room. You may go out of the room to consult with your attorney as often as you like.

Simply tell the U.S. Attorney, "I need to talk with my attorney". You may want to go out after each question (and before answering) to talk with your attorney. That is your right and, if the U.S. attorney will not let you go, then simply refuse to say anything until you are allowed to talk with your attorney.

5. You will be asked your name, followed by a short series of innocent-sounding questions. Finally, the real inquisition will begin. You will be asked about people you may or may not know, who they are and what their political views are. You may be asked to identify pictures of people, or whether you attended meetings or demonstrations with them. There is no "right to remain silent" in front of a grand jury. Most people will want to take the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying. If you decide that you want to take the Fifth Amendment, you should do so as soon as you have given your name. People often think that they can outsmart the government attorney who is asking the questions, but this is not wise. If you have already answered some questions on the same subject that you now want to refuse to answer, you may end up waiving your right to take the Fifth Amendment.

6. To take the Fifth Amendment you simply say "I refuse to answer on the ground that it may tend to incriminate me" or you can simply say "I take the Fifth Amendment on this question." Then you simply repeat that for each question.

7. After you have taken the Fifth Amendment for one or several questions, the U.S. Attorney may ask you to go in front of a judge. When he/she mentions this, and if you are not represented by an attorney, you should ask for a public defender to represent you.

You will then go before a U.S. District Court judge. This hearing, where you are given immunity despite all of your objections, is called the immunity hearing. If you have not been given a public defender, tell the judge that you want a public defender and that you have already asked the U.S. attorney for one. The judge may or may not comply with your request for a public defender.

The judge will ask you if you have taken the Fifth Amendment and you reply "yes". The U.S. Attorney may then offer you "immunity". This means that anything you say in front of the grand jury cannot be used against you in court in a criminal case. However, you must understand that your answers to questions can be used against other people in court and anything that they say may be used against you. So you still could face criminal charges on the same subject that you are being asked about.

Also, you need to understand that the immunity you are given will not protect you against civil cases, loss of job, deportation or any other penalties. So don't be fooled into thinking that you are getting something great when they give you "immunity". They are just giving it to you so that you won't be able to take the Fifth Amendment anymore, because the grant of immunity neutralizes your ability to take the Fifth Amendment.

8. Even if you don't want to accept the immunity, and tell that to the judge (which it is probably wise to do, so that you can prove later that you didn't want the immunity), you don't really have a choice. They can give you immunity whether you want it or not. The judge will now explain to you that you must answer the questions asked by the U.S. attorney and, in fact, will order you to answer the questions.

9. You will be taken back before the grand jury and asked the same questions again. You can now answer them or refuse to answer them. If you answer the questions falsely, you may be charged with perjury, which is a serious federal felony. If you still refuse to answer the questions, you will be charged with contempt. This is the most critical moment of the whole proceeding, so you should think about this before you even go into the grand jury and decide on your course of action.

10. Let's assume that you still refuse to answer the questions. You will be taken back before the judge, probably the same judge who saw you before and charged with contempt. This procedure is called the contempt hearing. The first thing to do is to ask to have an attorney (a public defender) appointed for you. You have a right to an attorney at the contempt hearing and the government has to appoint one for you if you cannot afford one. So insist on your right to an attorney, and ask for a continuance to talk to your attorney if one comes in that you have never seen before.

The court, however, will probably want to proceed then and there. Your public defender is supposed to help you at this hearing. You will be asked if you have in fact refused to answer the questions. If you say "yes", the court may now hold you in civil contempt. You don't have the right to a trial or a jury, or anything like that. So don't expect to have any of the procedural protections that are given to people accused of crimes. In the eyes of the law, civil contempt is not a crime, though it will feel that way to you.

11. After you are held in contempt, the judge will probably order you handcuffed and taken away to jail right away. So you should be prepared when you come to the initial grand jury session to go to jail that day, and have all of your personal business in order. Before you are taken to jail, you (or your attorney) should ask the judge to let you out on bail and to "stay" the jail time. This is for the record, because the judge will probably refuse your motions and have you taken to jail anyway.

If you know about the jails in your area, you can ask the judge to have you taken to one facility that is closer to your friends or family, rather than to another one which is farther away. Explain your reasons for wanting to go to a certain facility to the judge. Again, the judge will probably refuse your requests, however reasonable they are, but you need to make these motions anyway in order to get the fact that you made them into the transcript. This may help you later. If you have a lawyer, she/he will make many of these motions for you. If you are not represented or your public defender doesn't do anything, then you may have to make them yourself.

12. During all of these proceedings (which may only take one day), do not be afraid to discuss your case with your friends and supporters. Tell them what happened in the grand jury room. You have a right to talk about what went on before the grand jury. Do not let yourself get isolated. You may even want to talk to the press, though you should think about what you are going to say before you do this.

13. Now you have been held in contempt and taken to a local jail. Your first question will be, how long can they keep me? The answer is that they can keep you for a maximum of 18 months or until that grand jury completes its term, whichever comes first. Therefore, it is important to find out when the grand jury began its term and when it will finish its term. The grand Jury term is usually 18 months, though this is subject to an extension in some instances.

If you are held in contempt toward the end of the grand jury term, that is better for you, since that means there is less potential time for you to sit in jail. This is one reason to contest everything that the U.S. attorney does, because the court will have to hear your motions., and that decreases the time until the end of the grand jury term.

14. Another way you can get out of jail is by going back before the grand jury and answering their questions. This is called "purging the contempt." You will certainly dislike jail and there will be a temptation to do this. Remember, however, that you went to jail because you believed in a principle, and that principle has not changed.

15. While in jail you can file motions to get out. The law says that the jailing cannot be to punish you but rather to get you to talk to the grand jury. In legal terminology, this means that the intent of the jailing must be coercive rather than punitive. This distinction matters very little when you are actually in jail. However, it is important legally because your lawyer(s) can file motions to get you out of jail early based on the fact that the jailing has now become punishment. Though it may sound strange, the firmer you are in your resolve not to talk, the stronger your case becomes for an early release, because your lawyer(s) can then argue that the jailing is having no coercive effect.

16. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, request the kind of food that you can eat. Put your request in writing. Many jails now provide vegetarian meals.

17. Be prepared to be harassed by the guards or other prisoners. Someone may try to befriend you, but that person may be working for the FBI. So beware of talking to people that you didn't know from before.

18. Most importantly: while in jail, remember why you took this stand in the first place. You are doing a brave act. You are there because you believe in a cause, and you have not been forgotten. Many people are working to get you out, so stay strong.

Show Solidarity

Friends: PLEASE COME to a demonstration at 9:00 am at the Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, on June 22.

Ten Bay Area residents, including animal advocates, alternative media
members, prisoner rights activists, and members of the greater Bay Area
progressive community, have been subpoenaed to a Federal Grand Jury in
San Francisco. The first hearing is Wednesday, June 22. in San

PLEASE COME, even if only for an hour.

Grand jury fishing expeditions were defeated in the 60s, 70s and 80s,
and current ones can be defeated if we present a solid front of
resistance. Many of the people called will be going to jail for
resisting this grand jury, and it is crucial that we support them.

PLEASE COME, even if you have to miss a couple of hours of work. This
is our chance to set a standard of resistance to the new wave of

PLEASE pass this notice on to other friends.

MINUTE CHANGE*** please visit for updates!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ike on Bush

This was sent to me by Oread Daily Reader JN...

"Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician, or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower, November 8, 1954
The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, Volume XV

Millions Are Dead and Little is Said

A three day series of demonstrations are planned for London to highlight the genocide which has occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The three-day demonstration starts on Thursday, June 30, to mark the DRC's 35 years of independence from Belgium. The demonstrations are being organized by the group Awakening of Congolese Patriots.

According to the Waltham Forrest Guardian, day one of the demonstration will end with a six-man delegation handing over a petition with over 1,000 signatures protesting the fate of the Congolese people. As part of the petition, a document outlining the atrocities will also be handed over. On Friday, July 1, there will be a demonstration outside the Congolese Embassy in King's Cross and the next day a march from the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square to the House of Commons.

Tuku Yoto says demonstrations will also be held in Paris, Brussels and Kinshasa. Yoto told the Waltham Forrest Guardian , "I want to make as many people and governments aware of what's happening to the Congolese people, in the hope that something can be done. It's not just indiscriminate murders that are taking place but also the rape of men and women."

Western media generally do not cover the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In fact, the Christian Science Monitor reports 3.8 million people have died in the Congo since 1998, dwarfing not only the biggest of natural catastrophes, such as December's South Asia tsunami, but also other manmade horrors, such as Darfur. So where is the wall to wall coverage?

After years of civil war a transition government was set up in 2003. But that has not stemmed the dying. An estimated 1,000 people dying there every day…still. It seems that since the transition numerous warlords have been fighting for control of the Congo and its vast economic resources.

And, of course, there is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which has set up shop in the eastern Congo and regularly attacks civilians. The FDLR is made up largely of Hutu extremists who slaughtered close to a million people in Rwanda’s genocide.

The Christian Science Monitor rightly asks, “With so many dying and so much at stake, it is simply astounding that Congo isn't in the newspapers and on nightly news regularly. Even a nonlethal car bombing in Iraq or a kidnapping in Afghanistan gets more Western media coverage in a day than Congo gets in a typical month of 30,000 dead. So much for the old TV news editors' saw, ‘If it bleeds, it leads.’"

Could it be more than mere indifference?

American investigative journalist specializing in intelligence and privacy matters, Wayne Madsen, who testified before the Congressional Sub-Committee on International Operations and Human Rights Committee on International Relations, and author of the book "Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993 - 1999" has charged, according to New Era, that US Special Operations Command (SOC) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) have been running the Congo war since 1996 as "destabilization for profit".

He says the US was deeply involved in troop training on, “both sides of the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

He explains, “…the US Department of Defense relies to a great extent on so-called Private Military Contractors (PMCs). Those PMCs were previously known as "mercenaries", when they were deployed from time to time as foreign policy instruments by the colonial powers of Belgium, France, Portugal and South Africa and have close links with some of the leading mining and oil companies involved in Africa.”

New Era points out that as destructive images of Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Zimbabwe and even South Africa continue to make headlines one should note that all of the above-mentioned countries have a wide range of highly profitable natural resources of strategic minerals. These resources whether it is diamonds, gold, platinum, gem stones, crude oil, copper, uranium, cobalt and columbite-tantalite (or coltan), a primary component of computer microchips and printed circuit boards, high-quality timber and agricultural produce are generally out of reach of Africans themselves. Instead they are pillaged by the industrialized countries of the world. And this according to New Era is the real reason, “… why it is that resource-wealthy African countries have to be reduced to so-called civil and ethnic wars without any functional infrastructure and ridiculously irrelevant currencies.”

It’s something to think about. Sources: Waltham Forrest Guardian, New Era (Namibia), Christian Science Monitor

Black-bag jobs in the Heartland

The following column by Bill Berkowitz (which includes an interview with me) was taken from the web site of Working For Change.

Black-bag jobs in the Heartland
Bill Berkowitz - WorkingForChange

The apartment of Randy Gould, an anti-Vietnam War activist indicted in 1971, was broken into several times while he awaited trial. Was 'Deep Throat' behind the break-ins?

06.17.05 - The revelation that W. Mark Felt, the 91-year-old former FBI deputy director, was "Deep Throat" ended a mystery that had lasted for more than thirty years. Felt's admission, in a recent issue of Vanity Fair magazine, brought out the Nixon remnants, a coterie of former ex-convicts, bagmen, and apologists for the disgraced president. Within hours of the revelations, former Nixon Administration operatives, Charles Colson, G. Gordon Liddy, and Pat Buchanan took to the cable news airwaves.

The three amigos helped kick off a media-driven debate over the ethics of Felt's actions. It was more than a bit surreal to hear these Watergate figures vigorously commenting on Felt's morality and ethics. The fact that both Colson and Liddy were Watergate criminals and served time in prison did not slow down their rush to judgment.

Colson, the Counsel to President Nixon who was intimately involved with the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), told both MSNBC and CNN that he was "shocked" by the revelation. G. Gordon Liddy, who currently hosts a popular radio talk show and is regularly called upon by the cable news networks for commentary, told CNN's Paul Zahn that he saw Felt "as someone who violated the ethics of the law enforcement profession."

Pat Buchanan, a former speechwriter for President Nixon, characterized Felt as a "snake." Buchanan, who has run for the presidency several times, has been a controversial right wing commentator in his own right, with his particular brand of white nationalist and anti-immigrant politics.

Was Felt a hero for helping guide Washington Post Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the right direction during their investigation of Watergate -- an investigation that ultimately forced Nixon to resign from the presidency in 1974? Was he an insider who broke laws and dishonored his office?

Some commentators argued that Felt had been solely motivated by his animus for the Nixon Administration. Other pundits suggested that his actions were based on his anger over having not been selected to head the FBI after J. Edgar Hoover's death.

Ronald Kessler, who interviewed Felt for his book, 'The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI," told the Boston Globe's Michael Kranish that he thought Felt had hoped that "Nixon would be kicked out and he would be FBI director, but I think his main motive was altruistic." Leaking to Woodward 'was a guarantee that the investigation was not suppressed."

While the media was refreshing the public's collective memory about the Watergate Affair, details about Felt's 1980 conviction for authorizing unconstitutional break-ins at the homes of anti-Vietnam War activists also emerged.

David Gergen, a Nixon speechwriter during the Watergate era, told the Globe's Kranish in a telephone interview that Felt 'was no innocent. Until we understand his motivations we ought to be a little cautious." Gergen pointed to Felt's November 1980 conviction (along with fellow FBI "intelligence" chief Edward S. Miller) of authorizing break-ins at the homes of anti-Vietnam War activists, including suspected members of the Weather Underground, a radical antiwar group suspected of bombings. These illegal "black-bag jobs" also referred to as "surreptitious entries" during the trial, were warrant less and unconstitutional searches of at least five private homes in New York and New Jersey, which the FBI suspected of harboring members of the Weather Underground.

According to Ward Churchill and Jim Vanderwall's book, "The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States" (South End Press, 2002), Felt and Miller were the "only FBI personnel ever tried and convicted of COINTELPRO-related offenses."

Ironically, according to an account of Felt's trial published by the New York Times, "One of the witnesses on Felt's behalf was none other than [Richard] Nixon, who testified that presidents for decades had authorized the FBI to allow break-ins to investigate matters such as counterespionage." Former Attorneys General John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst also testified in Felt and Miller's behalf.

In 1981, Felt was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan, who either did not know or did not care that Felt was suspected of being "Deep Throat."

Randy Gould, an anti-Vietnam war activist at the University of Kansas during the 1970s, believes that he may have been a victim of Mark Felt's "black-bag jobs." On June 6, at his Oread Daily web log, Gould wrote that while he and three other anti-war activists from the Lawrence, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri area were on trial for "conspiracy," on more than one occasion he would return to his Kansas City apartment and find his place had been ransacked.

At the time, Gould writes, the government "alleged lots of things that weren't true and lots of things that were irrelevant," including charges that he and the others "were connected to the Weather Underground Organization."

Although averse to dwelling on the past "because I'm not all that interested in what Bruce Springsteen refers to as 'boring stories of glory days,'" Gould responded to a series of e-mailed questions, hoping that "talking about his experiences might help fill out the picture about Felt and the FBI's abusive activities during those times."

Gould's Oread Daily is a daily online newsletter covering news from a progressive point of view. The OD, which takes its name from a mimeographed daily newsletter published in Lawrence, Kansas during the late sixties and early seventies, is available by subscription or online.

(Disclosure: In the 1970s, I was a member of Gould's Defense Committee.)

Bill Berkowitz: In 1971, you were indicted by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Missouri. What were the circumstances surrounding that indictment?

Randy Gould: I, along with three other men, were indicted on July 9, 1971 by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Missouri conducted by the infamous Guy Goodwin, who ran similar grand jury operations against activists all across the country at that time. The Grand Jury charged us with participating in a series of bombings that had taken place in Kansas City, Missouri and Lawrence, Kansas, in 1970. I believe the actual charge was conspiracy to make, possess, and transport explosives devices across state lines without paying the required federal tax. I was also charged with three felony counts by the state of Kansas in Douglas County (Lawrence) for the bombing alleged in the federal indictment which took place there, and by Johnson County (suburban Kansas City) with four felony counts relating to two bombings there which were also alleged in the federal indictment.

BB: How long did the trial last?

RG: Actually, there were three trials: The first was a state trial that took place in Johnson County, Kansas, and lasted three or four days. That trial ended with a mistrial declared by the judge for prosecutorial misconduct, and those charges were later dismissed.

The second trial took place in Douglas County, Kansas and lasted only a few days. It ended in a finding of not guilty on all three counts.

For the federal trial, the third and final trial, the government brought in a special prosecutor, Bob Schneider, from the Justice Department's Internal Security Division to handle the case. This trial took place in Kansas City, Missouri and lasted for about a month. I, and two others, was found guilty.

BB: How much time did you serve in prison?

RG: Although indicted in 1971, the federal trial did not occur until the spring of 1973. Sentencing, which followed appeals, occurred in 1975. By the time we were sentenced, a lot had been reported about Watergate and government misconduct in numerous cases similar to ours. I think that is probably why I served less then a year in federal prison. I started my sentence in November of 1975 and was out in July of 1976. I served time in El Reno, Oklahoma and at Leavenworth, Kansas. I was given an additional four years of probation; so overall, the whole ordeal took about a decade.

BB: At your Oread Daily blog, you mentioned that your apartment was broken into.

RG: Actually there were several break ins. I was waiting for the trials to begin at the time and living with a woman in an apartment in Kansas City, Missouri. Several times, we came home to find the apartment in total disarray. Our personal items were thrown everywhere; our bed was taken apart; the dresser drawers were emptied, the works.

We reported this to the police, but nothing came of it. One time, we arrived home earlier then expected. We tried to open the door to the apartment, but the chain lock was attached and we could not get in. We heard people in the apartment. I left Candace, my friend, at the front door with our dog Joe Hill, and raced down the stairs to go around back where I figured they would be exiting. In retrospect, I am not sure what I intended to do if I met them there. Anyway, they were gone. When we got in, we found our phone disassembled and once again, all sorts of items were strewn about. In all of these break-ins, the only items ever missing were legal files, political writings, and phone lists.

There were other related incidents. One night we spotted a car with two men out front. I went downstairs again to confront them, but they sped away. We did get a partial license number that turned out to belong to the federal government.

BB: Were you or your lawyer able to do anything about the break-ins?

RG: These break-ins occurred in 1971 and 1972. At the time, my lawyer didn't do anything really, but after our conviction and after the actions of government burglars had been made public by some congressional committees, he filed a motion for the jury verdict to be set aside based on illegal government activity including violation of lawyer client privilege. (We also discovered that a government informant was working within our defense committee.) As part of the motion, we requested information from any number of government agencies and police departments. We received, and I still have, lots and lots of files and affidavits declaring no wrongdoing on the government's part. The judge seemed to accept their declaration of innocence and never pursued the matter. Nothing really ever came of it.

Interestingly enough, Clarence Kelly, the Chief of Police of Kansas City, was appointed head of the FBI after L. Patrick Gray. At hearings in Washington, he testified under oath that the Kansas City Police Department did not partake in surveillance of political activists unless it was part of a specific criminal investigation.

However, because of discovery in our case, I had numerous Kansas City, Missouri police logs that clearly showed surveillance of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Young Socialist Alliance (YSA) members, which directly contradicted Kelly's testimony. Although I wrote the committee about this, I never heard from them nor did I follow it up.

BB: As has been recently revealed, W. Mark Felt was "Deep Throat," and played an important role in Woodward and Bernstein's ability to find that the road from Watergate led directly to the White House. A few years later Felt was convicted of having arranged a series of "black-bag jobs" involving break-ins at the homes of anti-war activists, thereby violating their constitutional rights. How do you see Felt's role both during the Watergate investigation and later on against anti-war protesters?

RG: I am certainly glad that Felt helped bring the Watergate story out into the open. It is, of course, important to keep in mind that he was not completely alone. The person who really blew the cover-up apart was Alexander Porter Butterfield, who was brought on board at the recommendation of H.R. Haldeman, to act as a Deputy Assistant to the President, supervising internal security at the White House. Butterfield helped set up the secret taping system and his disclosure of that system is probably what eventually brought Nixon down.

Felt was a key part of COINTELPRO, which to me was more significant then the actual Watergate burglary. Although the existence of COINTELPRO was not as shocking to activists at the time, it was surprising when it was brought out into the open. Since that time, however, everything possible has been done to bury that part of American history. Consequently, the big news about Felt is in regards to Watergate. The "black-bag jobs" piece of the story has been relegated to a sidebar.

So it isn't surprising that a few decades later, the government feels safe enough to bring forth the Patriot Act which legalizes much of what an aroused public demanded be stopped after Watergate and the subsequent disclosures about the "Plumbers."

Clearly, government activities have not been squeaky clean in the intervening years since Watergate. However, in the post 9/11 world, the Bush Administration appears to have no qualms about making back door chicanery legal again.

(c) 2005 Working Assets Online. All rights reserved


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Surprise: Austin Police Shooting-The Cameras Were Not Rolling

Police cameras were not recording during fatal shooting
Austin's Chief Knee says officers did not follow policy to document incidents.
By Tony Plohetski


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Two Austin police officers involved in a struggle that led to the shooting death of a man last week had not activated video cameras in their patrol cars during the incident, Police Chief Stan Knee said Thursday.

Knee said investigators are still trying to determine why the officers did not record the traffic stop last Thursday near the intersection of South Pleasant Valley Road and Quicksilver Boulevard. A source close to the investigation said the camera belonging to one of the officers, Sgt. Don Doyle, did not have a videotape.

According to department policy, officers must record all traffic and pedestrian stops.

"One of my biggest disappointments in this incident is that the officers did not follow policy with regard to recording," Knee said in an interview at police headquarters today. "It is policy, and it is policy because we think cameras are an excellent tool in the work we do day in and day out."

Officials have said Officer Julie Schroeder shot and killed Daniel Rocha, 18, following a struggle. Sources have said that Schroeder feared Rocha took her Taser stun gun during the altercation and was about to use it against her or Doyle.

Tom Stribling, an attorney representing Schroeder, said Schroeder told him that the car she was driving the night of the shooting was not her usual patrol vehicle and had a different mechanism for activating the camera. Schroeder believed the camera was on during the incident, Stribling said.

Doyle could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

Police department leaders have repeatedly declined to comment about whether patrol car video cameras recorded the shooting; Knee agreed to discuss the issue after the Austin American-Statesman verified through three sources that a videotape of the incident did not exist. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they fear job reprisals.

The 2003 shooting death of a man by an officer led police to begin installing video cameras in all of its 360 patrol cars and 46 unmarked cars. Schroeder and Doyle were in unmarked vehicles the night of the shooting while participating in an anti-drug operation in the neighborhood.

Police department leaders, community activists and officers said after the 2003 shooting of Jesse Lee Owens by officer Scott Glasgow that video cameras in patrol cars could offer a visual record to aid investigations after future incidents.

Glasgow's car did not have a camera at the time of the 2003 shooting, while two other officers did not put videotapes in their cameras and another officer's camera wasn't working because she failed to check it before her shift.

Grand Jury Targets Animal Rights Activists

Several animal rights activists have been subpoenaed to appear before a San Francisco grand Jury on June 22 and July 23 according to the San Jose Mercury News. This seems to be connected to a sudden upsurge in the hunt by federal authorities for Daniel Andreas who is wanted in connection with the placement of small bombs at two Bay area companies who partake in animal experiments.

On August 28, 2003, the Chiron Corporation located in Emeryville, California was bombed twice. The next day, an animal-rights group calling itself the "Animal Liberation Brigade — Revolutionary Cells" claimed responsibility for the bombs. A post on the Bite Back web site at the time quoted an email from the group: "There will be no quarter given, no more half measures taken. You might be able to protect your buildings, but can you protect the homes of every employee?"

Chiron has hired Huntingdon Life Sciences or HLS to perform tests on animals. Activists have documented horrendous abuses inside HLS labs.

Kevin Jonas, a spokesman for Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, (SHAC), said the Chiron explosions were the type of protest the group supports. The bombings didn't hurt anyone or cause major damage, Jonas pointed out. But Jonas said SHAC doesn't support the violent tone of the "no quarter given" message.

On September 26, 2003, the Shaklee Corporation located in Pleasanton ,California was hit. Shaklee's parent, Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co., is another well-known customer of the HLS labs.

A federal arrest warrant was issued in the Northern District of California on October 5, 2003, charging Andreas with maliciously damaging and destroying, and attempting to destroy and damage, by means of explosives, buildings and other property.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country police at Virginia Tech stepped up campus security following reports that Andreas was in the area. A viewer of America’s Most Wanted’s tip led the FBI to the area, and spurred university police to be especially cautious because of the veterinary school and its extensive animal research.

Jeff Douglas, a spokesman for the veterinary college said the school engages in a wide range of basic and clinical research in areas including infectious disease, nutrition and toxicology. Most lab animals in the school are rats, although dogs, cats and other animals are also used for research purposes, he said.

The stepped up security comes despite the fact that the FBI says there is no credible evidence Andreas is in the area. Kevin Foust, supervisor of the Roanoke FBI office told the Roanoke Times the feds have no credible evidence that 27-year-old Daniel Andreas was ever in the vicinity. "At this point we have no information that leads us to conclude that he is in this area, will be in this area, or was in this area. We have no information whatsoever that he is targeting any location in the entire Roanoke Valley area," he said.

Local Police Chief Debra Duncan commented after a series of sightings were reported on campus, "Him and Elvis were out on campus riding around together."

What is it about HLS that draws so much ire. SHAC says, “Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is Europe’s largest contract animal testing laboratory. They have about 70,000 animals on site, including rabbits, cats, hamsters, dogs, guinea-pigs, birds and monkeys. These animals are destined to suffer and die in cruel, useless experiments. HLS will test anything for anybody. They carry out experiments which involve poisoning animals with household products, pesticides, drugs, herbicides, food colorings and additives, sweeteners and genetically modified organisms. HLS have been infiltrated and exposed a number of times in recent years. Each time horrific evidence of animal abuse and staff incompetence has been uncovered, including workers punching beagle puppies in the face.”

For one eyewitness account check out the diary of Michelle Rokke who worked at one HLS lab. Sources: San Jose Mercury News, ABC-7 News (Bay Area), Roanoke Times, Contra Costa Times, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (I kid you not), FBI

Televising the Revolution, a benefit for PODER

Televising the Revolution, a benefit for PODER

The Heads Up Collective presents Televising the Revolution a Radical Film Series at This month's feature is a benefit for: PODER (People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights)

Sigue en espanol abajo

The Heads Up Collective presents
Televising the Revolution
a Radical Film Series at

El Rio
3158 Mission St @ Cesar Chavez, SF (415) 282-3325

Tuesday, June 28th at 8pm

This month's feature is a benefit for: PODER (People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights)

We will be showing the film:

Alambrista (“Wire Jumper”)

Alambrista is a classic in the Chicano film canon on the Mexican immigrant experience. Following the birth of his first child, a young Mexican slips across the border into the United States in search of the American dream for himself and his family. He finds heartbreak, exploitation, and disappointment, but also friendship, affection, and help along the way. This 1978 film has a brand new musical score by Dr. Loco and his Tiburones del Norte.

For more information, suggestions, or to help out, please contact See you there!

This event is wheelchair accessible. Sorry, El Rio is strictly a 21 and over venue.

Please join us every 4th Tuesday for radical films, discussions, and support local organizing while we're at it! Each film will benefit a different organization, but donations are appreciated, not required.

Save the Date! Tuesday, July 26 Queers and Gentrification

LA COLLECTIVA DE “HEADS UP” PRESENTA: Televisando la Revolucion Una Serie de Peliculas Revolucionarias en el local de

3158 Mission St @ Cesar Chavez, SF (415) 282-3325

Por favor disfrute con nosotros un Martes de película y discusión, mientras apoyamos esfuerzos organizativos locales! Cada pelicula que mostramos beneficia a una organización local diferente. Donaciones son agradecidas, pero no son requeridas para asistir.

Nuestra pelicula en mayo benificiará a PODER (Gente Organizados para Demandar Derechos Ambientales y Economicos)

Martes, 28 de junio 8pm



Alambrista es una pelicula clasica chicana sobre la experiencia inmigrante de mexicanos. Después del nacimiento de su primer hijo, un joven mexicano cruce la frontera a los Estados Unidos buscando el sueño americano para su familia. Encuentra explotación, desilusio'n, y ruptura de corazon, pero tambien amistad, cariño, y ayuda en su camino. La pelicula de 1978 tiene un nuevo soundtrack con Dr. Loco y sus Tiburones del Norte.

Gracias por venir! Desafortunadamente, todos necesitan tener 21 an~os.

¡Guarden esta fecha para el mes siguiente!

Martes, 26 de Julio: Homosexueles y el desarrolo de los barrios

Para mas información, sugerencias, o para auydar, profavor de escribir a ¡Hasta luego!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Occupation: Northern Ireland and Iraq

Did you know that British forces in occupied Iraq are outnumbered by those in Northern Ireland?

Yesterday a number of residents from South Armagh, the most heavily occupied area of Northern Ireland attended a European Union (EU) conference to discuss the continued occupation by British troops.

The conference was organized to discuss military bases in Europe.

The Southern Part of Armagh (South Armagh) located along the border with the Republic of Ireland is the most militarized region in Western Europe. South Armagh is over 90% republican and has long struggled against the British military occupation.

Representatives from the South Armagh Demilitarization Committee which was formed a number of years ago to campaign against the military occupation of the local area, said that it was important that people at the conference were able to hear first hand accounts of what life is like in South Armagh. Said a spokesperson for the group, "It was important to listen to other stories and experiences from today's conference. We will continue to campaign for the complete removal of the apparatus of repression which continues to blight the South Armagh countryside and its people."

Although ten years have passed since the beginning of the peace process and seven years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement not much has changed for those living in South Armagh.

Sinn Fein News reports that in addition to a discussion of the numerous fortifications erected in South Armagh by the British, and the massive surveillance that continues there unabated, the group also highlighted the dangers posed to the health of people and livestock by the massive concentration of low frequency microwave radiation emitted by the huge array of surveillance equipment. These concerns have been verified as quite real by numerous scientific investigations.

I mentioned Iraq back at the beginning of this article. I’ll end the article with Iraq as well.

Danny Morrison’s - Irish Political News web log reports that Ed Moloney, a veteran journalist who has been reporting on Northern Ireland for two decades, says the parallels between what is happening now and what happened in Ireland from the start of the troubles onward are sometimes so uncanny that it's weird.” He adds, “That means that you're (US) in for -- one awfully long occupation of Iraq.”

“I think,” Moloney told Amy Goodman in an interview she conducted almost two years ago, “a lot of people (in Northern Ireland) are looking at what's happening in Iraq: We have been there and we have the t-shirt. We have a wardrobe full of t-shirts, in fact, and you guys (US) are in for a very tough time there. And, of course, the lesson from Northern Ireland, the other lesson, that applies from Northern Ireland, to the Iraq situation, is that at the end of the day, the British -- all of the force that the British could bring to bear against the I.R.A., all of their intelligence resources, all the money that they could spend, all of the spooks and spies that they could recruit, at the end of the day, didn't make any difference at all, because the violence was organic.”

“At the end of the day, if there is a solution to Northern Ireland - I suspect there is a solution to Northern Ireland - it's one of compromise, but it's also essentially a political solution. It's not one that was won or secured by military victory or military defeat. It was achieved by political settlement. The same thing is going to have to happen, I suspect, at the end of the day in Iraq.” Sources: Sinn Fein News, Irish Northern Aid Committee – Michigan Unit, Danny Morrison - Irish Political News, Democracy Now

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Austin Citizens Protest Police Killing

Neighbors, friends and members of an East Austin activist organization and the NAACP gathered in front of the Austin Police Department Monday night to protest the killing of Daniel Rocha by police officers last Thursday night. The police who already don’t have the best rep in the world for their conduct shot Rocha, an 18-year-old southeast Austin resident, after he was pulled over on suspicion of participating in drug actives in the neighborhood.

Protestors, including those from People in Defense of the Earth and her Resources (PODER), a grass roots organization concerned about the environment and social justice, demanded more scrutiny of police policies and an end to the continuing epidemic of brutality involving the local force. PODER says the shooting is directly related to zero tolerance policies used in both schools and on the streets by police.

At the protest, PODER called for the officer involved in the shooting, Julie Schroeder, to be tried in both criminal and civil cases and for an independent investigation into the nature of the shooting. Shroeder has been placed on restricted duty.

PODER coordinator Erika Gonzalez, told the Daily Texan, "This officer did not have to go to the extreme to kill him.”

Police should try to disable a suspect before they try to kill them, Nelson Linder, spokesman for the NAACP told the Daily Texan. "He was no threat to the police, and no threat to the public. He should not have been killed," Linder said. "People who commit these crimes need to be held accountable, even if they are police."

Police say Rocha was shot in a struggle with officers who were trying to arrest him. The Austin American Statesman reports today that Shroeder told internal affairs investigators that she fatally shot the teenager because she feared that he had taken her Taser stun gun and was about to use it against her or her sergeant, according to a source close to the investigation.

The Austin Police Association, the officers’ union, say they stands by Schroeder. They say Rocha was a known troublemaker. Wuthipong Tantaksinanukij, Vice-President of Austin's Police Association referred to Rocha as a “criminal thug.”

Neighbors of Rocha report they live in fear because they believe Austin Police continue to target minorities. "You might get shot for no reason. You don't know. It's scary," Stephanie Pesina told KXAN.

Pesina was walking down the street when it all happened. "We saw the suburban pull up, and we saw the cop car pull up right behind it. The cop gets out right away with her gun drawn," Pesina said. She says things got out of hand when Shroeder tried to place Rocha in custody. "He was yelling, 'I'm not armed. I'm not armed.' And I guess there was a little bit of a struggle," Pesina said. "All I remember is you heard a gunshot. It wasn't like a loud gunshot to where you could hear it in the air. It was like she held it up to him and shot him." She added, “They weren't even armed, and for her to just pull her gun out on them and actually shoot him, I don't think that's right," Pesina said.

Two other people who said they witnessed the shooting told the American-Statesman they did not see a struggle. "All of a sudden she (Shroeder) just grabbed him, put him down there and threw him on the floor," Sonya Lopez said. "I thought they were going to try to put handcuffs on him . . . and all of a sudden, the shot just went off."

Tamara Thomason said, "There was not a struggle. I did not see a struggle."

Travis County Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo said Monday that there were a few scrapes and a bruise he didn't notice on Rocha's body Friday that were noted on the autopsy report by Deputy Medical Examiner Suzanna Dana. None of the scrapes or the bruises looked like self-defense wounds, Bayardo said. "These are very minor abrasions, as if he was on the ground or crawling on the ground or falling on the ground," Bayardo said. He also said that Rocha suffered a gunshot wound to the back.

The family’s attorney, Bobby Taylor, said, "There are things that need to be brought out and unfortunately, the Austin Police Department's history in investigating themselves is not the best. So, we're going to try and get other people to look at the facts here and see what occurred.”

Protester Colin Clark told those gathered outside the police station, "It's a community social problem that is mostly affecting people of color, but white people, yellow people and red people. We all need to understand what's wrong and make people accountable for their actions.”

"The question is, how many times and how many kids are going to be killed by the police before the city, police, and police chief get serious about preventing it from happening?" Jim Harrington, spokesperson for Texas Civil Rights Project, asked on News 8. Sources: Daily Texan, News 8 (Austin, TX), Austin American Statesman, KXAN (Austin)

Kids Rally Against Child Labor in Bangladesh

Children who are forced to work in the sweatshops of Bangladesh's tannery, welding and chemical industries rallied by the hundreds in that nations capital of Dhaka Sunday demanding an end to child labor. In the crowd were banners which read “Adults will work, children will go to school" and "We want child-labour-free Bangladesh.”

There are millions kids between the ages of five and seventeen working to help support their families in Bangladesh. One of those kids, Nazmin Akter, 10, told reporters at the rally, “I hate to work, but I do that just to help my parents.” Her mother works as a maid and her father pedals a rickshaw on the streets of Dhaka, a city of ten million people. According to 7 Days, Akter has no weekly holiday and works at least ten hours a day, earning just 250 takas ($4) a month. For good measure, she is often beaten by the factory owner or some other goon if she makes any mistakes at work.

Shampa Khatun, 8, who also attended the Sunday's rally, said she worked at a tannery factory for six hours daily with her mother. She told an AP reporter, “I wash leathers with chemicals," Khatun, who earns takas 150 (US$2.5) a week. Showing wound on her hands, she said she does not use any gloves at the factory she works. "I have sent her to work as my husband is unable to work for his illness," Khatun's mother Rani Begum said after the rally. "What can I do with my sick husband without sending her to work?"

Another 500 children, joined by laborers from tobacco factories and transport and construction rallied in Kushtia.

One more rally which included a human chain of more than 1000 children was held in Daulatpur.

According to a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) as a result of a commitment made by the government with International Labor Organization (ILO) there are 4.9 million working children— 14.2 per cent of the total 35.06 million children in the age group of 5-14 years. The total working child population between 5 and 17 years old is estimated at 7.9 million. The ILO also reports:

• The proportion of boy and girl child workers, in the age group of 5-17 years, is 73.5 per cent and 26.5 per cent, respectively;

• The total number of working children aged 5-17 years in rural areas is estimated at 6.4 million as against 1.5 million in urban areas;

• As many as 93.3 per cent of all working children in the age group of 5-17 years operate in the informal sector. Agriculture engages 4.5 million (56.4 per cent children), while the services sector engages 2 million (25.9 per cent), and industry, 1.4 million (17.7 per cent);

• A total of 1.3 million children are estimated to be working 43 hours or more per week. More boys than girls are engaged in this form of child labor across all age groups.

Not surprisingly further studies have found that extreme poverty is the main cause of child labor. The ILO says,” Child labor is part of a vicious cycle, with poverty as a main cause as well as a main consequence.”

The ILO also has found, “Nearly 50 per cent of primary school students drop out before they complete grade 5, and then gravitate towards work, swelling the number of child laborers.”

The Daily Star reports that after an ILO program had some success in freeing children from tobacco factories in the town of Kushtia, that organization is now launching a ten year program to completely eliminate the use of children from that hazardous job. The project will also target some other sectors of industry in the country.The original program took about 3000 children of eight big tobacco factories in Kushtia and Daulatpur and then enrolled them in schools.

The planned launch of the new program was announced as part of the International Day Against Child Labour-2005 activities held in Daulatpur and Kushtia on Sunday. Sources: Daily Star (Bangladesh), 7 Days, CBC, Human Rights Education Association, ILO

Monday, June 13, 2005

Indians Protest Border Policy

Members of a group called Alianza Indigena say tribes whose lands straddle the U.S.-Mexico border should be allowed to freely cross it. The group is backing the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona in their struggle to allow members on both sides of the border to intermingle without harassment by US authorities. Indianz quotes Lupe Lopez, "They have always moved across their lands, for ceremony or for speaking or medicine or whatever."

Lopez herself a member of the P'urepecha tribe in Michoacan, Mexico, adds, "These were Indian lands from times immemorial.”

Yet, recently introduced U.S. immigration legislation would actually require O'odham to carry U.S. passports to travel within their own territory.

The Tohono O’odham Nation has staged protests against the border policy that separate tribal members who live in the US from those who live in Mexico. At one such protest they carried signs that read, ''O'odham are not immigrants'' and ''You are now entering a war zone,” and ''Do not accept systematic genocide,'' ''Borders kill'' and ''INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] get out.''

''We were resisting the destruction of the O'odham way of life on O'odham sacred lands, including animal life, plant life, mountains, water and waterways,'' Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, told Indian Country Today after a border protest at the entrance to the tribal nation. Rivas is founder of the ''O'odham Voice Against the Wall,'' which is fighting the wall being proposed for the border.

Rivas said the ongoing psychological warfare along the U.S. border has resulted in the high price paid by incarcerated O'odham youths. ''The deaths and the violence on O'odham lands are rooted in dishonor. Confusion and apathy are significant in the destruction and lack of respect for the O'odham way of life and the right to exist as O'odham,'' Rivas said.

Rivas said, ''O'odham cannot step out of their homes to conduct social and ceremonial activities without armed U.S. Border Patrol agents tailgating their vehicles, interrogating their travel agendas, watching their activates by satellite imaging and entering private homes and properties without permission.''

And she should know. Rivas, a grandmother, was herself stopped, handcuffed and roughed up by non Indian police in December on tribal land near the border. She was never charged with any crime.

The Tohono O'odham Nation sent a delegation to Washington earlier this year to object to the border policies. The Albuquerque Journal reports the tribe is proposing legislation to permanently recognize the tribal members who live in Mexico as American citizens. While most of the 24,000-member tribe lives in Arizona along the border, about 1,400 live in Mexico. The legislation would end fears of arrest and deportation, the tribe says.

Meanwhile, Lopez and Alianza Indigena are concerned about those non Tohono O’odham using Indian lands to cross the desert into the US from Mexico. But their take is a bit different than the Minuteman types whose racism and anti-immigrant furor they detest. Lopez and her group rather believe that steps need to be taken so that immigrants crossing the desert on Indian lands aren't dying from dehydration.

Speaking of the vigilante border patrols Lopez told the Fort Wayne Sentinel, "We understand the problem, and the Minutemen are not the way to deal with the problem," she said. "People full of hate and racism are not going to solve the problem."

In fact she helped organize a demonstration last month against the Minutemen. She said her intentions were non-violent - but she stopped well short of condemning the rock and can throwing which reportedly her group participated in. "When there is hatred in the community, things can happen," she said. "The supporters of the Minutemen provoked us. They shouted at us and swore at us, tried to intimidate us. It wasn't like the Minutemen just parked their cars and went inside."

Ada McKnight, a Minuteman Project supporter called Lopez and others, “irrational savages.” Sources: Indian Country Today, Indianz, Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Albuquerque Journal

US Tour of Iraqi National Labor Leaders

About the Tour

US Labor Against the War (USLAW) is sponsoring a national US tour by
lraqi labor leaders from three of the most important labor organizations
in Iraq. Their visit will provide the firsrst opportunity for American working
people, members of Congress, students, scholars, the general public
and the media to hear directly from Iraqi trade unionists. These courageous
leaders struggled for years despite Hussein’s repression and now
have stepped forward to organize workers seeking to improve conditions
at their workplaces under the difficult circumstances of violence and


The group, representing the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), and General Union of Oil Employees (GUOE), is the first delegation of Iraqi labor leaders to visit the United States, and one of the few groups of any sort not brought here by the U.S. government.


Inform the US labor movement about the difficult conditions facing
Iraq’s labor movement and the common challenges of privatization,
outsourcing and attacks on workers rights experienced by workers in
both Iraq and the US

Build international labor solidarity with the Iraqi trade union movement
Present US audiences with seldom heard progressive, secular voices,
personalizing the stories of Iraqi working people

Raise the level of understanding in the U.S. labor movement about the
impact of U.S. foreign policy on workers’ rights, jobs, living standards
and working conditions, and to call upon American unions and the
AFL-CIO to demand an immediate end to the occupation, return of all
U.S. troops to their homes and families, and reallocation of funds from
militarism to meeting human needs


June 20-21: Boston
Contact: Russ Davis
June 22: Hartford
Contact: Steve Thornton
June 23: Stony Brook, NY
Contact: Michael Zweig
June 24: Philadelphia
Contact: John Braxton

MIDDDLE (for lack of a better term)
June 17-18: Chicago
Contact: Thomas Bacon
June 18-19: Atlanta
Contact: Ajamu Dillahunt
June 19: Detroit
Contact: Mike Parker
June 20: Madison and Milwaukee
Contact: Carol Weidel and Sue Ruggles
June 21: Pittsburgh
Contact: John Lacny
June 22-23: Buffalo
Contact: Tom Johnson
June 24: Cleveland
Contact: Gabe Kramer

June 16-18: Los Angeles
Contact: Andy Griggs
June 16 and June 19-21: SF Bay Area
Contact: Michael Eisenscher
June 22: Portland
Contact: Bob Marshall
June 23: Seattle
Contact: Kathy Lipscomb
June 24: Philadelphia
Contact: John Braxton

U.S. Labor against the War (USLAW) is a national coalition of 112 labor organizations representing more than four million union members. USLAW aims to protect its members and the lives and livelihoods of working people everywhere. The group advocates, educates and mobilizes the U.S. labor movement to work for a just foreign policy, bring about an end to U.S. occupation of foreign countries, facilitate a redirection of the nation’s resources, build support for U.S. troops and their families by bringing the troops home now, protect workers' rights, civil rights, civil liberties and the rights of immigrants, and stand in solidarity with workers and their organizations around the world.

Terrorists Strike in Iran - For Bush "Mums the Word"

A string of deadly terrorist bombings in recent days have threatened to disrupt Iran's upcoming presidential election. One top official said, "They want a low turnout (in the election) to show people were not present. They tried satellite TV and leaflets, but this did not work. They want to create fear. The election will go ahead, with total security and confidence.”

Yesterday eight people were killed and more than 75 injured in a series of four blasts outside public buildings in Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan Province and an ethnic Arab majority city close to the Iraqi border. An AFP reporter in Ahvaz said the area around the local governor's office, one of three public buildings targeted, was strewn with shards of glass and rubble. Scores of police had sealed off the area, and by early evening municipal workers were already clearing the scene and mopping up pools of blood. "It was inhuman, a horrible thing. There was a small child walking around looking for his dead mother," said Abdol Hossein Kord-Zanghaneh, a nurse at an Ahvaz hospital where many of the casualties were taken. "This is an American plot," he said, adding that many of the wounded had suffered concussion and blown ear drums.

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said that the perpetrators of the incidents in Ahvaz are the same elements who failed to reach their goals in Ahvaz a few weeks prior to the bombings. (Clashes broke out between Arab demonstrators and security forces in the Khuzestan provincial capital of Ahvaz on April 18. The authorities said five people had died in the violence, which sparked a wave of arrests. Iran has long taken very seriously any threates to its territorial integrity by those pushing for seperation or ethinic autonomy). Yunesi said, “Now they want to take revenge against the people in the few days before the presidential election. They have targeted Arabs and non-Arabs alike and are not pursuing any specific goal in these operations.” MEHR News Agency says local officials claim that three groups, the Arab Martyrs of Khuzestan, Afwaj al-Nehzat wa al-Mosalahat al-Ahwaz, and the Arab Democracy Movement, have claimed responsibility for the explosions.

A few hours after the blasts in Ahwaz, a bomb killed and wounded several more in Tehran.

In response the Interior Ministry has announced the mobilization of security police and others to track down those carrying out the attacks. "Those responsible are hand-in-hand with our enemies abroad," Ahvaz Governor Mohammad Ja’far Sarrahmi told AFP, pointing the finger at the Iraq-based Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) and "Baathist" elements. Ali Aqa-Mohammadi, spokesman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, suggested these terrorists had infiltrated from neighboring Iraqi territory now occupied by the United States and Britain.

According to the Tehran Times other officials have named the London-based Iranian Arab separatist group Popular Democratic Front of Ahvazi Arabs as being behind the blasts, charges that were fiercely denied by the group.

Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi, who says terrorists and Arab separatists, sheltered by US forces in Iraq are behind the bombings, says "Those who planted the bombs are the enemies of God and they will be executed when they are captured."

Meanwhile, another blast was reported in Tehran today.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard anything from President Bush condemning these latest terror attacks. Sources: Albawaba, Tehran Times, Aljazeera, AFP, MEHR

Women Protest in Iran - Call for Rights

More than 250 women gathered in front of Tehran University yesterday to protest sex discrimination imposed on them through Sharia law. Hundreds of police showed up and kept another 250 persons from joining them.

The women at yesterday's protest chanted, “We are women, we are the children of this land, but we have no rights.” Others shouted, "No to totalitarianism". According to the Persian Journal witnesses said, “…the police clubbed several women, though there were no hospital reports of injuries.” Demonstrators said they saw some women being detained and dragged away by officers.

"I have come to defend my rights because these people have always oppressed us," said Farangis Rafati, holding up a Kurdish women's group banner reported Iran Focus. "All the candidates in the election say the same things. They're the same people. It makes no difference if we vote because they will have someone elected among themselves."

Women have voted heavily in recent elections, but reportedly are growing disillusioned by the lack of progress made toward equal rights. "The candidates talk about rights but there's no improvement from what they've said before," said the writer and publisher, Soheila Beski. "I have always voted but this time I won't."

The hard-line Guardian Council, dominated by six unelected clerics and six judges, last month rejected on the basis of their sex 89 women who had registered to run in the upcoming elections.

This was not the first time in recent days public protests have been held. Women have been increasingly pushing for more rights during the time period leading up to elections scheduled in just a few days. Last week another group of women demonstrated against the disqualification of all women candidates from the upcoming presidential election. Organized by members of Iran’s Women Activists Movement, they rallied in from of the Presidential Office, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. They said the ruling barring the candidates by the Guardian Council ignored the lawful rights of women. "According to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, which the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged to observe, no one can be deprived of civil and political rights because of gender," a demonstrator was quoted as saying in China’s People’s Daily.

And last Wednesday 100 women rushed past guards at Azadi Stadium to protest rules banning their attendance at male sporting events.

"We don't want to recover our rights at the expense of men," said journalism student Shafiq Khanbani at yesterday’s protest. "We want the democratic rights of all people to be respected and we're protesting because they're not." Sources: Iran Focus, Persian Journal, Ms. Magazine, Iran Mania, IRNA, People’s Daily (China)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

“Confronting Empire: The Fight for Global Justice”

Black Radical Congress and Black Out in unity with the GSU African-American Studies Dept. and Sankofa present:

“Confronting Empire: The Fight for Global Justice”
June 17-19, 2005
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA

The Black Radical Congress will hold its 2005 meeting this year in Atlanta, GA on June 17-19th at Georgia State University. This year's event will be action-packed. You can expect a host of institutes, workshops, and trainings; documentary screenings; creative performances, and more!

June 5 was the deadline for mail-in registrations for the conference and housing. After that date, there will only be onsite and online registration. Make checks and money orders payable to the Black Radical Congress. Mail to the National Office at P.O. Box 24795, St. Louis, MO 63115.


Standard $35
Student/Youth $15
Unemployed $5

Congress 2005 Call Brief Released:
Confronting Empire: The Fight For Global Justice


On September 10, 2001, thousands of people from numerous countries were en route back to their homes from Durban, South Africa, where they had attended the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. In Durban, remarkable unity had been negotiated among peoples of African des-cent, indigenous peoples, South Asians, Palestinians and many others on fundamental issues of economic, political and social justice. And out of the gathering had come understandings about historical and contemporary patterns of oppress-ion, as well as mandates for action to redress grievances on all continents. The glow of Durban, however, would soon be extinguished.

What a difference a day made. Events of the next morning, September 11, propelled us into a new era – the most fateful yet, for the planet Earth, in the evolution of the United States empire. On one cloudless day, horrific suicide attacks on New York’s World Trade Center created conditions for the totalitarian corporatizing of U.S. domestic and foreign policy under the direction of an extreme right wing clique. The stated goals of these new robber barons are "freedom" and "liberty": that is, freedom for private industry from the few ties that have bound it since the 1930's to control the world’s resources by any means necessary, and corporate liberty from any responsibility whatsoever toward humanity or the natural world, anywhere on the planet. The George W. Bush White House, under cover of waging an endless "war against terror," is now the headquarters of a wealth-accumulation system more concentrated, predatory and global in its embrace than ever before.

The through-line of the new order is old: racism, discrimination, imperial domination, exploitation. Its most striking features are the roll-back and the roll-out.

At home, ...

Roll back affirmative action, Social Security, welfare, environmental protections, overtime pay, anything public that can be privatized, anything that cramps the corporate sector’s drive for profits.
Roll back the responsibility of government to provide for the public good.
Roll out new surveillance systems and new anti-immigrant policies.
Roll out Patriot Acts and other legal restraints to bring society under near militaristic control.
Roll out black and brown co-imperialists in high office to confuse those who haven’t yet figured out that "everyone who is my color isn’t necessarily my kind."
Roll out media whores of all colors to insure that government propaganda will saturate the airwaves.
Roll out the Big Lie to disguise intentions and cover all tracks.

Abroad, ...

Roll back diplomacy and roll out war -- war against any state that refuses to bow to the military supremacy of global capital's U.S. agents.
Roll out the Marines to stage coups d'etat, such as that against Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, who tried to hold out against ceding his nation's resources and people to U.S. control.
Roll back cooperation and roll out covert action, such as that against President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, under whose leadership that nation's oil wealth is benefitting Venezuelan workers and the poor for the first time.

The Bush Administration’s criminal destruction of the most developed state in the Middle East, Iraq, must be seen for what it is: a rich man’s war fought by the poor – disproportionately, by the children of black and brown Americans.

At this writing, Iran and Syria loom as the next possible targets of naked aggression. All of which is creating a world of instability, chaos, violence, environmental pollution and fear.

We, of the African diaspora, cannot lie down for the sacrifice of our children's future to bad schools, bad health, pri-son and death as soldiers in imperialist wars. Neither can we fail to notice, in the harsh glare of Bush extremism, that injustice – racial, economic, social, sexual and political -- is a many-headed hydra known to millions of people everywhere. Thus, never have we been more aware of the need to work with others to link our multiple struggles across lines of color, class, cultural and ethnic difference, across borders and oceans. International solidarity and action were key to the defeat of apartheid in South Africa, and before that to African nations' successful fight for independence from colonial subjugation. Another world IS possible, if we think internationally while working locally, forge unity within cultural diversity, and seize this time, not only to strengthen resistance but to set a new liberation agenda.

The Black Radical Congress wants YOU to be a part of this effort by coming to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Black Radical Congress 2005: Confronting Empire: The Fight For Global Justice, June 17, 18 and 19, 2005.

At this Juneteenth* gathering, we will not merely sit and listen to talking heads. Workshops and plenaries will be interactive and inclusive. We will speak out, think together and work towards achieving:

Joint actions for change across the spectrum of the "Black rainbow" -- Africans, African Americans, Afro-Cana-dians, Afro-Latinos and Caribbeans -- within the U.S. and internationally.
Stronger tools of advocacy for the rights of Black working people, who are losing economic ground daily as the public sector shrinks, wages erode, jobs disappear and all of the poor get poorer.
Greater commitment of skills to, and active support for, progressive struggle from Black people in the media, academe and faith communities.
Closer cooperation among young and veteran activists and ongoing development of, and support for, young leaders.
A bigger and better BRC.

These are only a few of the issues we will address. How to fight militarism, neo-liberalism, AIDS, Black conservatism and homophobia, as well as building coalitions in pursuit of reparations, peace and sexual equality, will also be tackled. Atlanta on Juneteenth weekend is the place to be. We look forward to seeing you. Check details and updates for the Congress 2005 program at

*The Meaning of Juneteenth

Two years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 became official, the enslaved Black people of Galveston, Texas finally received word of their freedom. By then, the Union Army had defeated the Confederates, bringing an end to the Civil War. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced: "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality ... between former masters and slaves ...."

Jubilant celebrations erupted among the freed African Americans, beginning a tradition that continues to this day.

The time lag that left Galveston slaves unaware of their release from bondage reflected the actual process of emancipation: The slaves gained freedom only gradually as the Union Army won battles and expanded its occupation of the southern states. Congress legalized abolition with its passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, for Black people June 19 – "Juneteenth" – came to symbolize the absolute end of slavery in North America, a day for rejoicing and reflection at picnics, lectures, religious services and music festivals.

Juneteenth was declared an official holiday in Texas more than 20 years ago.

Today, it is formally observed in more than 200 U.S. cities, unofficially noted in others and even celebrated in several foreign countries. In 1997, the U.S. Congress recognized the day as "Independence Day" for Americans of African descent. Many African American leaders are seeking to establish Juneteenth as a legal holiday in their regions, and the Washington-based National Juneteenth Observance Foundation campaigns to make June 19 a national holiday.