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 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

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).

Casey Brezik’s updated address

Casey BrezikWe got word that Casey was sentenced back in June to 12 years in prison in Missouri for his alleged assassination attempt of the Governor of Missouri, that ended with the dean of University of Missouri-Kansas City being stabbed in the neck.

His updated address is:
Casey Brezik
1154765
Western Reception & Diagnostic Corr Ctr
3401 Faraon
St. Joseph, MO 64506

As far as we know, Casey can receive mail at this address, which is a change from the previous situation he was in.

More info about his case, here.

Christopher French sentenced to 1 year for Chicago NATO actions

chrisfrenchturtleFrom the Chicago Tribune:

A Wisconsin man arrested during last year’s NATO protests pled guilty today to a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to just shy of a year in jail, according to prosecutors and court records.

Christopher French, 22, of Beaver Dam, Wisc., pled guilty to resisting arrest after prosecutors dropped felony aggravated battery of a police officer charges, said Cook County state’s attorney spokesman Steve Campbell said.

French had tried to break through a line of officers on bicycles near Van Buren Street and Wabash Avenue on May 20 last year, according to prosecutors.

French pushed an officer who was detaining a protester in the Loop about 8:45 p.m. that day, and then scuffled with police who tried to arrest him, slightly injuring three officers.

Cook County Criminal Court Judge Carol Howard sentenced to 364 days in jail, and given credit for the 84 days he spent in jail last year before posting a $10,000 bond, according to court records. He also was ordered to pay $254 in fines and fees, according to court records.

DABC Note: Chris’s mailing address is as follows:
Christopher French
2013-0815107
P.O. Box 089002
Chicago, Illinois 60608
Please review the Cook County mailing regulations, available here: http://www.cookcountysheriff.org/doc/doc_inmatemail.html
Please consider donating to his support fund, here: https://www.wepay.com/donations/chris-french-support-network_1

Manning Is Acquitted of ‘Aiding the Enemy’; still faces over 100 years imprisonment

From the New York Times: WASHINGTON — A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, but convicted him of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act.

Private Manning had already confessed to being WikiLeaks’ source for a huge cache of government documents, which included videos of airstrikes in which civilians were killed, hundreds of thousands of front-line incident reports from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, dossiers on men being held without trial at the Guantánamo Bay prison, and about 250,000 diplomatic cables.

But while Private Manning had pleaded guilty to a lesser version of the charges he was facing, which could expose him to up to 20 years in prison, the government decided to press forward with a trial on a more serious version of the charges, including “aiding the enemy” and violations of the Espionage Act.

Beyond the fate of Private Manning as an individual, the “aiding the enemy” charge — unprecedented in a leak case — could have significant long-term ramifications for investigative journalism in the Internet era.

The government’s theory was that providing defense-related information to an entity that published it for the world to see constituted aiding the enemy because the world includes adversaries, like members of Al Qaeda, who could read the documents online.

Private Manning’s court-martial began in early June, and the merits portion wrapped up last week with closing arguments in which a prosecutor portrayed Private Manning as an anarchist and a traitor who was merely out to make a splash, while his defense lawyer portrayed him as a young, naïve, but well-intentioned humanist who wanted to prompt debate and bring about change.

NATO 3 have trial date postponed to March 2014

From NATO 5 Support:

On Tuesday, July 9, the NATO 3—Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Jacob Church—had another status hearing to discuss discovery issues and three important pre-trial motions. The motions were Jacob’s motion to suppress his post-arrest statement to the police, the joint motion to dismiss the arson charges, and Brent’s motion to dismiss all his charges due to false testimony to the grand jury violating his right to due process. The arguments about the post-arrest statement were pushed off yet again, the judge will rule on dismissing the arson charges within two weeks, and the judge denied Brent’s motion to dismiss his charges. Additionally, the defense team requested that the trial date be pushed back from September 16th of this year to mid-March of next year so they can have time to review all the discovery and prepare adequately for trial.

These developments mean that the defendants have an even longer ordeal ahead of them and need solidarity now more than ever. They’ve been locked up in Cook County Jail since May 16th of last year and continue to suffer shake downs by the guards that often include their books being stolen. Please write to them and send them books to help cheer them up now that it’s clear they will be spending at least another eight months in jail. You can also donate to their defense fund and participate in our internet auction fundraiser, as trial preparation expenses will continue to increase.

Our full court notes are available. Please read them and mark Tuesday, July 23rd at 2pm down on your calendars for their next status hearing. A brief summary of the motions discussed at the last hearing is below.

Brian Jacob Church’s Motion to Suppress His Post-arrest Statement

Church’s motion is to suppress the post-arrest statement he made to the police so it cannot be used against him at trial. The prosecution argued that they could not make a decision on whether they would possibly use the post-arrest statement against Jacob if he were to testify until they know whether he plans to testify. The defense asserted that the State said they would have an answer and be ready to proceed today and that they did not want to wait until Jacob took the stand, if he decided to, to resolve this issue. The judge exclaimed that he thought this issue would be argued in court today and did not expect there to be further delays on this matter, but said he hoped the attorneys could work this out by the next status hearing.

Motion to Dismiss the Arson Charges

The defense filed a motion to dismiss the arson charges because they do not specify the alleged object of the arson attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy and because they do not guard against the defendants being re-indicted for the same allegations if they are acquitted at trial (i.e., double jeopardy). The defense also pointed to problems with what was presented to the Grand Jury to secure the indictments, as the Second Amended Bill of Particulars lists more information than what was presented to the Grand Jury. Thus, the defendants are being put in the position of going to trial on all these allegations in the Bill of Particulars when these were not provided to the Grand Jury to get the indictments in the first place.

The State asserted that the information presented to the Grand Jury, in its totality, was sufficient for them to issue the indictments, and that the indictments are sufficiently specific to show the defendants the cause and nature of the charges against them. Additionally, they argued, the Bill of Particulars gives them more details to help them prepare their defense and guard against double jeopardy.

The judge expressed doubt about whether the information presented to the Grand Jury was sufficient and whether the indictment gave enough notice of the nature and cause of the charges. The judge also said he would take the motion under advisement and issue his ruling within two weeks.

Brent Betterly’s Motion to Dismiss His Charges Due to False Testimony to the Grand Jury Violating His Right to Due Process

Brent’s attorneys had filed a motion to dismiss his charges since the officer testifying to the Grand Jury had presented false, misleading, and potentially perjured testimony about the evidence against him to secure the indictments. The defense argued that the State has admitted that the majority of the statements made by this officer about Brent were false, including the information given to secure a terrorism indictment. Further, the defense argued that this false testimony is a violation of his right to due process that can be remedied by dismissing the indictment with prejudice. The defense also argued that this is a public policy issue because the Grand Jury is supposed to play an independent role and presenting false testimony to secure indictments is an abuse of this system and should not be tolerated.

For its part, the State asserted that they had not admitted any false testimony and that the Grand Jury had sufficient information to issue indictments. Additionally, they charged the defendants as co-conspirators, so each defendant is legally responsible for their co-defendants’ actions. During the Grand Jury testimony, the officer talked about the group as a whole and then each defendant individually.

The judge expressed that he felt that the information presented to the Grand Jury was weak and assumed that there was more to the charges, but that he believed there was sufficient information presented to the Grand Jury for their purposes. If there was misinformation, he said, it was not of such a character that the Grand Jury would not have indicted. Thus, he denied the motion.