An 8 month update from The Eric King Defence Committee

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From The Eric King Defense Committee

Eric is facing four felony counts at the Federal level:

Count 1: Used a dangerous instrument to cause death or danger [18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1) and (b)]—maximum 20 years in prison

Count 2: Attempted to damage or destroy a building by fire or explosives [18 U.S.C. § 844(i)]—minimum 5 years, maximum 20 years in prison

Count 3: Explosive used in commission of a felony [18 U.S.C. 844(h)]—maximum 10 years in prison (to be served after any other sentences are complete)

Count 4: Possession of an unregistered firearm (i.e., Molotov cocktail) [26 U.S.C. 5861(d)]—maximum 10 years in prison

The state alleges that Eric was responsible for an attempted firebombing on a Kansas government building. If convicted he faces anywhere from 5 to 30 years in Federal prison. His trial is set for Monday, July 13th at 9am.

The state exists to dominate and oppress the people. Rebellion exists to challenge and ultimately destroy the state. When the state singles out people to punish for acts of rebellion, we must support them as part of our struggle against this oppressive apparatus.

The state also has a long history of suppressing the anarchist movement and targeting anarchists. In this case, the affidavit states that the Kansas City cops claimed to have identified Eric on surveillance footage in an investigation of “anti-government/anarchy graffiti” and alleges that he made social media posts talking about a group purportedly called “KC Fight Back Insurrectionist Collective.” [Note: To our knowledge, the KC cops have not charged Eric with any graffiti-related crimes.] The state targeting Eric is just a part of this war against political dissidents (and those the government deems to be dissidents or threats).

For these reasons, we support Eric and all targets of state repression. In Eric’s case, he is facing up to 30 years behind bars for an alleged action in which there is no victim. We do not need to go into details about the absurdity of this potential punishment in contrast to the violence of the state, such as the way the police suffer little to no consequences for summarily executing people in the streets—primarily people of color and young black men in particular. Clearly, the state is not interested in punishing violence, but in punishing even the faintest signs of rebellion against their authority.

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As Eric has been singled out to receive this punishment, we are stepping up for his political defense against these charges and in support of rebellion against the state and all systems of oppression. We invite you to join us in this effort!

Eric King has spent the last 8 months in pre-trial detention, and we’d like to take this opportunity to help everyone get to know this individual we are all in solidarity with. Since his arrest in September of last year he has faced much adversity there at CCA Leavenworth, but he has maintained his principles, and still he pushes forward. For the first 7 months even though he is vegan the prison refused to give him a vegan tray. He came together with comrades and with the help of Vegans In The Prison System he was able to win a cruelty free diet. He is housed in the segregation unit and is currently fighting for medical care for some potentially dangerous symptoms. We hope there’s something you might find in what follows that will help you out if you are someone who has wanted to engage but is having trouble writing that first letter or even if you’re someone who has a correspondence with Eric already.

Prior to his arrest Eric had spent a good deal of time traveling and organizing for many causes and passions. For a brief period, he helped run a free-if-you-can’t-pay daycare. He was licensed and wanted to do his part to even the playing field of privilege and make sure that low-income families have a chance to get by. Class struggle has always been something that he holds dear to his heart. He has been vegan for 10 years and animal rights has always been a passion for him as well. He has also been active in trans rights activism and anti-racist organizing.

Eric is interested in science and astronomy. He loves to read about the universe and the stars! He is an avid reader and loves books ranging from radical ideology to comedy, to science and beyond. Additionally, he has a deep love for art and loves receiving all types of art! He also loves to get articles and stories about resistance struggles from around the world.

At the age of 17, Eric lost his father. The passing of his father was life changing for him, as he was thrown into a period of grief and soul searching. Eric spent a year in seminary. He had great dreams of being a revolutionary priest but didn’t find an environment for that in seminary. He also boxed in his youth and won many titles. He still regrets not taking his boxing career pro. Even though he is left-handed, 30 of his boxing matches were fought right-handed! He still has a passion for boxing and loves hearing about matches! Eric also has a love for soccer, he has passionately followed Manchester United since he was a child of spending time in the UK. His uncle lives in Glasgow and has been a great influence in his life. He loves talking about United and following their season and games.

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For the future, he dreams of settling in and building a life with his partner. He also wants to see the Redwoods, various mountains across the occupied territories commonly referred to as the United States, and blue whales in the Pacific Northwest. He also wants to finish visiting all 7 continents (he still needs to cross Antarctica off his list!), write a book, and see old friends!

July 13th is less than two months away and we are really hoping to pack the court room once Eric King’s trial begins. We’d like to show the federal court of Kansas City, MO that there are people who support Eric and are willing to be there for him from the Midwest and other parts of the country as well, but most importantly we’d like to be there with a good number of folks, to raise Eric’s morale and to show him that we have his back. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to come to join the court support efforts on July 13th by contacting us at erickingsupportcrew@riseup.net.

Also, please do not forget that the crowd funding website to support Eric King is still live. So, visit it here; http://fnd.us/c/0yoZc/sh/a4jVK6 and donate if you can, but whether you can or can’t donate please pass it along and help us by making sure it reaches every corner of the world. Be on the lookout for support t-shirts to be added to the fundraiser soon.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Eric King thus far by handing out a support Eric King flyer , making a donation, no matter how small or large, writing a letter of support , committing to attend a court date, or sharing his story far and wide to help Eric gain support from all over.

Let’s continue to show the world that Eric King is not alone!

In solidarity,

The Eric King Defense Committee

Letters of support can be set to:

Eric King
27090045
CCA Leavenworth
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, KS 66048

NATO 3 sentenced to prison

From comrades from NATO 3 Support:

Today in the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, the NATO 3 were sentenced to between 5 and 8 years in prison. The prosecutors had argued that they should receive 14 years and serve their sentences consecutively, whereas the defense attorneys had obviously argued that they should receive light sentences, if not simply being sentenced to time served. Brian Jacob Church was sentenced to 5 years, Brent Betterly to 6 years, and Jared Chase to 8 years. They will all serve this time at 50% of the sentenced time (e.g., 6 year sentence equals 3 years served) and will receive credit for the two years they have served pending trial. Upon release, they will each have two years of supervised release as well.

Supporters packed the courtroom for the NATO 3 today despite the draconian restrictions placed on public attendance by the judge. While the prosecutors had plenty of cops lined up to smear the defendants on the stand during the sentencing hearing, their side of the courtroom was notably empty. Not even Anita Alvarez, the head attorney who has been so vocal about the defendants being terrorists, was around today. After the jury issued its verdict, Alvarez claimed in an interview that the prosecutors had not lost the case even though all of their terrorist claims had been rejected. She melodramatically asked if the reporters had forgotten about the Boston Marathon bombing. She even asked one reporter if he would like a Molotov cocktail thrown at him.

Predictably, the prosecutors continued this ludicrous line of reasoning by repeatedly comparing the NATO 3 to the Boston Marathon bombers—with the only difference being that undercover cops had found and stopped them before they did what the bombers had done. This comparison is, of course, absurd and offensive. The defense objected to this comparison but was, predictably, overruled. Also predictably, the judge promoted this twisted perspective in his explanation of his sentencing.

If anything, the court’s blatant, unabashed explanation of this worldview shows all the more clearly how the NATO 3 were set up from the beginning. The undercovers entrapped them so that the case would exactly fit the prosecution’s designs, and the judge was more than happy to push this case along according to the desired script. This is no less of a conspiracy than what the defendants were charged with, albeit more nefarious because it is sanctioned by the spectacle of “justice” called the criminal legal system and enforced by the militarized policing apparatus that aids in the systemic oppression of the masses for the benefit of the elite. With this in mind, solidarity with the NATO 3 must necessarily include continuing to struggle against the economic and political forces that brought them to Chicago in the first place.

As the NATO 3 return to their cells to wait out the next few days before they are transferred to state prison, most of us will return to our homes and our lives. But we must not forget them or our other comrades behind bars. Stay tuned for updated addresses for the 3 so we can flood them with letters, postcards and books as soon as they are transferred. They have hard time yet to serve and we need to make sure they know that they are not alone.

In the near future, we will be sending out more detailed notes from today and updating our zine. In the meantime, check out our storify pages of tweets from the proceedings today.

* Post-trial motion hearing:
https://storify.com/FreeNATO3/nato-3-post-trial-motions
* State’s witnesses at sentencing hearing:
https://storify.com/FreeNATO3/nato-3-sentencing-hearing-state-witnesses
* Defense witness at sentencing hearing:
https://storify.com/FreeNATO3/nato-3-sentencing-hearing-defense-witness
* Aggravation and mitigation arguments:
https://storify.com/FreeNATO3/nato-3-sentencing-aggravation-and-mitigation-argum
* Statements by Jacob and Brent prior to sentencing:
https://storify.com/FreeNATO3/nato-3-sentencing-defendant-statements
* The sentences: https://storify.com/FreeNATO3/nato-3-sentences

The defendants will all need support while in prison, so please donate
to their support fund today! https://freethenato3.wordpress.com/donate/

Joel Bitar sentenced to 19 months for 2010 Toronto G20 actions

From Guelph ABC:

On February 13th 2014, Joel Bitar was sentenced to 19 months minus 17 days for his participation in the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto. As soon as we have his address we will publicize it, and Joel welcomes letters and visits. GABC is also collecting funds for his canteen and to help folks to visit him. Joel – our hearts are with you!

Here is his statement:

Hello,

I have not been able to speak much since my arrest last February so I appreciate the opportunity to make a statement today. I only plan on taking a small amount of your time. At the end of my statement I am going to to issue an apology to some of the individuals who were affected by my actions. It is my hope that this statement better contextualizes the choices I’ve made that have led me to this courtroom.

I came to Toronto four years ago for many of the same reasons as the tens of thousands of other people who marched on the streets that day. These are many of the same reasons why hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, in Genoa against the G8, in Quebec City against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, in Gothenburg against the EU summit, in Rostock against the G8 and in Pittsburgh against the G20. They are many of the same reasons why people are now protesting in the streets of New York, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain. It is only really possible to understand the events that took place in Toronto in the context of the global movement against neoliberalism and the corporatization of the planet. It is my belief that this movement is best explained as an individual and collective response to various forms of domination and exploitation. My politics are inseparable from my own life experiences, which I would like to briefly speak about now.

I grew up in an environment where I had access to many of the things required for conventional success. I had – and have – an extremely loving family, I played tennis competitively and had a working-class, but generally supportive upbringing. I graduated from high school with honors and then got my bachelors degree in Economics from the City University of New York. My plan in college was to work on Wall Street with the goal of making a lot of money. That goal was widely reinforced and encouraged by society at large. Trying to get rich and focusing on my own personal comforts seemed right when everyone else was chasing the same thing. However, two events occurred during this time that fundamentally changed the way I now see the world.

The first event was the global financial crisis of 2008. During this time, banks that engaged in predatory lending practices were given billions of dollars to keep their businesses afloat while millions of people lost their homes. It was shocking how closely government officials who once worked on Wall St. collaborated with the financial sector to organize the bailout. It seemed profoundly unjust to me that those who precipitated the crisis were rewarded, while masses of people were literally tossed to the street. I came to the conclusion that Wall Street’s obsession with profit comes at the expense and detriment of the majority.

The second event took place in December, 2008, when Israel launched an invasion into the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of 800 civilians (many of whom were women and children). This destruction was carried out with weapons manufactured by U.S. Corporations and was paid for with U.S. taxpayer money. During this invasion, banned weapons like White Phosphorous (made in the U.S.) were fired at Palestinian schools and hospitals in contravention of international humanitarian law. I saw images of innocent children killed by missiles, tank shells and bullets. At the same time many of these people suffered, weapons manufacturers and government officials profited from their obliteration.

From these two events I developed an opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have died in these wars while corporations like Halliburton and Lockheed Martin have secured billions of dollars in government contracts. George Bush erected a worldwide torture regime, that Obama has only expanded, and has since been immune to any prosecution for his crimes. It is evident that those who commit crimes at the top levels are government are immunized while someone like Chelsea Manning, who revealed the extent of government criminality, is banished to a cage for decades. It is apparent to people, all throughout the world, that the real motivations for these wars is rooted in the economic interest of a few and that masses of innocent people have needlessly suffered as a result.

This led me to see more and more about the world that I could not unsee, including how the continued exploitation of the environment is connected to the same economic interests mentioned above. One notoriously brutal example of environmental exploitation is happening here in Canada at this moment. In Alberta, pristine boreal forestland the size of Florida has been turned into a toxic wasteland for the extraction of oil. James Hansen, a professor of climatology at Columbia University believes that the tar sand project is “game over for the climate.” He says: “If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities.” It should not be acceptable to us that private corporations and western governments regularly exploit natural resources for profit while simultaneously destroying the environment and injecting pollutants into our air and water.

Financial crises, war and environmental degradation share a common thread. They are born of the prevailing economic system, which is only interested in maximizing profit and increasing growth. This system is predicated on maintaining vast levels of inequality, where a small number of people have incredible amounts of wealth while the masses are locked in poverty. A recent report published by Oxfam International states that the 85 richest people possess the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people combined. Rather than providing wealth and opportunity, or having a trickle-down effect, the current system enriches the few at the expense of the many. This is not a particularly radical analysis, this is the only rational interpretation of how society is structured. Even such a mainstream figure as the Pope recently said: “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.” Rather than addressing these structural causes, Western governments do everything they can to foster the status quo that leads to the problems.

The current situation in the world is urgent and much needs to be done. I truly believe we can build a new system that puts human need and the needs of the environment ahead of the interests of business. At some point, we need to decide if profit, innovation and economic growth are more important than the long-term sustainability and well-being of our species and planet. I understand that this proposition might not sound so good to someone who is financially benefiting from the current system but we are running out of time. We have enough resources to make sure every person on this planet has health care, food, an education and a place to live. There is no reason why people should be homeless and begging on the streets while food is thrown away en masse and foreclosed houses remain empty. There is no reason why such massive levels of inequality should persist in the modern age. These systems are antiquated and must be fundamentally transformed.

It was not, and has never been, my intention to scare or hurt anyone. I want to build a world based on the values of love, compassion and understanding; not fear and intimidation. I take responsibility for my actions and apologize to anyone who felt fear as a result of them. Before closing, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my family, friends and supporters. This process has taken an incredible toll on myself and especially my loved ones. It means the world that they have stood by me through it all.

Thank You

Joel Bitar

NATO 3 Not Guilty of Terrorism! Convicted of Possession of Incendiary Device Charges and Facing 30 Years

On Friday, February 7, 2014, the jury in the NATO 3 trial returned its
verdicts against Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Jacob Church.
These three had been held in Cook County Jail in Chicago since they were
arrested on May 16, 2012. They faced trumped up, politically motivated
terrorism, conspiracy, and arson charges because of their perceived
politics and political activities (mostly through the Occupy movement).

The cops and prosecutors had demonized them from the beginning as
violent anarchists and domestic terrorists who needed to be locked away
for decades because of their nefarious intents to terrorize the city of
Chicago. We knew all along that they had been targeted as part of a
broad campaign of state repression against activists, particularly
anarchists. We knew all along that they had been singled out to send a
message to us all that any dissent will be severely punished, that any
step outside of the bounds of the mainstream power structures will be
met with fierce consequences.

The jury did not buy the state’s lies about our comrades being
terrorists. They acquitted the NATO 3 of all the terrorism charges:
conspiracy to commit terrorism, material support for terrorism,
possession of an incendiary device with the intent to commit terrorism,
possession of an incendiary device with the knowledge that someone else
intended to commit terrorism. They also acquitted them of the
solicitation to commit arson charge.

Yet the jury played its role in the criminal legal system by finding
them all guilty of possession of an incendiary device with the intent to
commit arson and possession of an incendiary device with the knowledge
that another intended to commit arson. They also found them all guilty
of mob action, a lower-level crime that was offered to the jury as an
alternative to the conspiracy to commit terrorism and material support
for terrorism charges. The possession charges carry a maximum sentence
of 30 years in prison.

We can celebrate the victory over the state’s worst lies and their
defeat on their own battlefield, but we must not forget that these three
individuals are still being made to pay the price for our resistance. We
do not know how long they will continue to be held captive by our
enemies, but we do know that we will continue to stand in solidarity
with them and fight for their freedom until each of them walk out of the
prison gate.

Free the NATO 3!
Free all political prisoners and prisoners of war!
Destroy all prisons!
Smash the state!

The NATO 3 will be sentenced on Friday, February 28 at 2pm. We will send
word in the near future about ways you can show your solidarity for
them, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we are asking for donations for
their support needs in case they will be kept from us for many years to
come. https://www.wepay.com/donations/freethenato3. They also need to
hear from comrades around the world that they are not alone!

Brent Betterly
#2012-0519001
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608

Brian Church
#2012-0519002
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608

Jared Chase
#2012-0519003
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608

Santiago, Chile: Anarchist compañero Sebastián Oversluij murdered during bank expropriation

From Contra Info:

Let Alfonso Alvial and Hermes González out in the streets! Active solidarity with the compañeros.

Sebastián Oversluij present! No aggression should be left without an answer!

On Wednesday morning, December 11, 2013, 26 year old anarchist Sebastián Oversluij Seguel was gunned down by a security guard when he and other individuals attempted to rob a branch of Chilean state-run bank BancoEstado, located on La Estrella Avenue in the Pudahuel commune of Santiago. The mercenary killer of the State/Capital fired at least 6 bullets into the comrade.

Shortly afterwards, Alfonso Alvial, 27, and Hermes González, 25, were caught by cops on the streets, while other comrades managed to escape.

On Wednesday night several houses were raided, including the home of Sebastián’s parents.

The two apprehended comrades were charged in the case and moved to the High Security Prison (C.A.S.) in Santiago.

Here’s a small tribute to Sebastián, one of the songs without words by the Palabras En Conflicto, an insurrectionary anarchist hip-hop crew to which the fallen comrade also gave voice:

Respect and insurrectionary memory for anarchist Sebastián Oversluij!
Strength, love and solidarity to his comrades and beloved ones!

Let’s avenge our slain comrade!

Call-out for NATO 3 Trial Solidarity, January 10–26

From NATO 5 Support:

*Free the NATO 3! Call-out for Trial Solidarity*
*January 10–26, 2014*
http://nato5support.wordpress.com/
https://www.wepay.com/donations/nato-5-defense

The NATO 3—Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase—are scheduled to go to trial on all 11 of their conspiracy, terrorism, and arson charges on January 6th. Jury selection will begin on the 6th, with the opening statements in the trial expected to begin on the 13th and the trial itself expected to last up to 3 weeks.

During trial, we will be sending out updates about court proceedings so supporters around the world will know what is really happening inside the courtroom. The defendants need support and solidarity from outside the courtroom now more than ever! They are risking 40 years of their lives in prison by going to trial and taking a stand against state repression of activists.

There are 3 things you can do right now for the NATO 3 to support them during trial:

1. Donate to their legal fund.
2. Organize a solidarity event in your city.
3. Send them cards and letters.

*1. Fundraising*

We still need to raise about $10,000 for their legal defense. This money covers expenses such as expert witness fees, defense coordination materials (e.g., notebooks, photocopies, etc.), evidence preparation and presentation needs, and legal research. The more money we raise, the stronger their defense will be!

You can donate online by going to https://www.wepay.com/donations/nato-5-defense. You can also make larger tax-deductible donations by sending a check or money order to:

8th Day Center for Justice
205 W. Monroe St. Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60606

Make sure to write “8th Day Center/NATO 5 Defense Fund” in the memo line.

*2. Solidarity Events*

We are calling for solidarity events around the world for the NATO 3 during their trial. Organize a dance party, noise demo, teach-in, letter-writing party, or whatever you want to get the word out about the trial and show solidarity for the defendants. Pass a hat for their legal defense funds and then pass cards around for everyone to sign! Then send us photos and descriptions of your event to nato5solidarity(A)gmail.com so we can share these with the defendants!

*3. Cards and Letters*

The defendants are stuck in the brutal conditions of Cook County Jail for another winter and now have the added stress of trial. They need letters and cards to help boost their spirits and keep them strong. Flooding them with mail now will show them that they are not alone in this ordeal! We recently announced our “We’ve Got Your Back!” letter-writing campaign, so include that phrase in your cards and letters so they can see the strength of our numbers! (Seehttp://nato5support.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/nato-3-card-drive-weve-got-… for more info.)

Brent Betterly
#2012-0519001
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608

Brian Church
#2012-0519002
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608

Jared Chase
#2012-0519003
PO Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608

*About the NATO 3*

On May 16, 2012, Chicago cops raided an apartment in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago in an all-too-common attempt to scare people away from the imminent protests against the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit. With guns drawn, the cops arrested 11 people in or around the apartment and quickly disappeared them into the bowels of the extensive network of detention facilities in Cook County, Illinois.

After a few days, a few things started becoming clear: 2 of the arrested “activists” were actually undercover Chicago cops who had targeted the real activists for arrest, 6 of them were illegally held and released at the last possible minute before court action could be taken to force their release, and 3 had been charged with trumped-up, politically motivated terrorism charges. These three are known as the NATO 3. They were ultimately charged with 11 felony counts, including material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and creating Molotov cocktails. They face up to 40 years in prison.

To keep up-to-date on the trial, visit http://nato5support.wordpress.com, sign up for our announcements listserv by emailingnato-5-announce-subscribe@lists.riseup.net, find us on Facebook at Free the NATO 5! (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-the-Nato5/172345546229824), and follow us on Twitter @FreeNATO5 (https://twitter.com/FreeNATO5).

TP5: Support for John Tucker’s release

john tuckerJohn Tucker is getting out soon!

John Tucker of the Tinley Park 5 is due to be released from prison in February of 2014. So, Bloomington ABC , NYC ABC , and Sacramento Prisoner Support have launched a campaign to start a release fund for John.

By the time John is released he’ll have been locked up for just under two years, will have a felony on is record, and certain things just won’t be the same. Lets help him make a smooth transition! Lets raise some money, and secure a release fund that will welcome him upon his release.

Here is the website that was created for folks to donate to John Tucker’s Release Fund online: https://www.wepay.com/donations/john-tucker-prison-release-fund. If for whatever reason you’d rather donate to John offline, please go ahead and make the check out to John Tucker, then mail the check to:

Sacramento Prisoner Support
PO Box 163126
Sacramento, CA 95816

If you’d like to write to John to let him know you’re thinking of him and that you’re glad he’s getting out soon, I’m sure he’d love to hear from you. His current address is as follows:

John Tucker M34024
Lincoln Correctional Center
Post Office Box 549
Lincoln, Illinois 62656

in solidarity,

Bloomington ABC, NYC ABC, SPS