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).

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.

Chicago: Judge orders state to hand over info on police spying on the NATO 3

NATO5From NATO 5 Support:

The NATO 3—Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church, and Jared Chase—were brought before Judge Thaddeus Wilson again today for another status hearing leading up to their trial in September. The defendants looked well and were not shackled at the hands, only at the feet. There were also fewer sheriff’s deputies in the viewing gallery intimidating supporters.

As the September 19th trial date looms closer and closer, we must pack the courtroom gallery to let our comrades know we stand with them as they face this state repression. These status hearings have uncovered previously unknown information about the broad and sweeping surveillance program carried out by the Chicago Police Department against the activist community. They have also revealed the nature of the legal fight the NATO 3 are facing. Their lawyers continue to work hard on their defense and support funds are still urgently needed to help them prepare for trial. You can make a tax-deductible donation today by sending a check or money order with “8th Day Center/Nato 5 Defense Fund” in the memo line to:

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

You can also donate online at https://www.wepay.com/donations/nato-5-defense (these donations are not tax-deductible).

The judge has attempted to maintain a strict schedule, holding status hearings every two weeks to monitor the progress of outstanding discovery issues. The prosecutors have dragged out the discovery process past two set deadlines by withholding key information needed by the defense team. This information largely has to do with the extensive surveillance program of the Chicago Police Department and their months of spying on activists as well as their collaboration with federal police agencies.

In the last hearing, the judge ordered the prosecution to comply with a handful of discovery requests made by the defense. The main issue of contention was how much the broad surveillance investigation into Occupy Chicago, the Mental Health Movement, Chicago Street Medics, and other activist groups would be given up by the prosecutors and the Chicago Police Department as part of the trial. While the judge ruled that a majority of the discovery motions were irrelevant to the specific case of the NATO 3, he did order the state to comply with a number of discovery requests, including the following:

* the 1st Amendment worksheet produced by the field intelligence team in the course of the investigation and all subsequent re-applications

* text messages exchanged between different officers involved in the investigation

* Affidavits from the three police informants as well as additional officers within the Field Intelligence Team regarding the specific investigation of the three defendants, but not the larger investigation into Occupy Chicago

* The identification of officers involved in taking pictures during surveillance operations

* Any additional information on training programs undergone by the police informants

Today, the prosecution had not secured this discovery material, wasting more time to cover up the repressive state surveillance behind the targeting of the NATO 3. Matthew Thrun, Assistant State Attorney, claimed to have scheduled a meeting this Thursday with the 15 officers involved in the Field Intelligence Unit behind the clandestine spying and targeting operation carried out by the Chicago Police Department against activists. Thrun told Judge Wilson that they will have information on the deleted text messages and surveillance pictures after this meeting. The plan agreed upon by the prosecution and the defense is for the prosecution to be in compliance with the discovery orders in 2 weeks.

Two attorneys within the defense team then previewed motions to dismiss that will be filed by the next hearing. Michael Deutsch with the National Lawyers Guild, who is defending Brian Jacob Church, alluded to a pretrial motion to dismiss the arson charges, arguing that the facts of the indictment do not fulfill the statute. Attorneys for Brent Betterly alluded to their own pretrial motion to be filed by the next hearing to dismiss a variety of charges against him based on grand jury testimony.

Finally, the judge asked the prosecutors to what extent they had thus far received information from federal law enforcement agencies. In previous status hearings, the defense team requested discovery material from other agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Secret Service. The defense presented evidence of previous communications between these agencies through fusion centers on Occupy movement activities. The prosecutors stated that they had not received any information from the requests they submitted and the judge encouraged them to meet the scheduled deadlines.

The next court date is June 11, 2013 at 2 pm in Courtroom 303 of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse (26th and California).

Chicago: Undercover police officer from NATO 5 case still attempting to infiltrate local social movements

undercoverchicagocopdannyedwardsFrom Truthout:

On March 27, Chicago teachers and their supporters – including parents, students and community residents – rallied against the largest mass public school closure in US history. News of the mobilization sparked huge public interest before the demonstration – including from an undercover police officer calling himself “Danny Edwards.”

The day before the big rally, “Danny” reached out in individual emails to fellow volunteer street medics he had met a year earlier after he took a 20-hour training with Chicago’s local street medic collective, Chicago Action Medical (CAM). CAM’s volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs), nurses, doctors and trained street medics provide emergency medical treatment at local protests.

“Danny” – who admitted to us on May 6 that he is, in fact, a Chicago police officer – could have saved himself the trouble and his department the expense. After all, organizers had already coordinated directly with top CPD brass about their plans for the next day and widely promoted their intent to stage nonviolent civil disobedience.

After the CTU rally, “Danny” also tried to recruit at least one CAM volunteer street medic via email on April 30, the day before a May 1, 2013, immigrants’ rights march, to pair up with him as a partner. There were no takers, so he showed up alone at the rally sporting marked medic regalia.

His latest undercover sortie as a fake volunteer street medic bookends a hectic year for him.

Full story

Chicago: Anarchist NATO Prisoners need support

From Infoshop News:

Lost in all the hype surrounding the NATO 3 and Tinley Park 5, two other anarchist prisoners are languishing in Cook County Jail in need of support. Mark Neiweem (Migs) and Sebastian Senakiewicz (Sabi) are being held on serious charges and exorbitant bail. Both were arrested before the NATO summit on bogus accusations involving explosives. Migs is charged with attempting to purchase pipe bomb ingredients form an informant, while Sabi allegedly plotted to blow up a train bridge.

General conditions in Cook County Jail are abysmal. Stabbings are common occurrences and the food often contains rat feces. Prisoners often do not see the light of day for their entire time there, as they are transferred between buildings through underground tunnels. In addition Migs and Sabi are being singled out for further abuse as political prisoners. Jail administrators are instigating other inmates to attack them. Migs was held naked in solitary for five days on a bogus suicide watch, with 24-hour lighting, freezing temperatures, and a broken toilet.

As if this weren’t enough, Migs is being dogged on the outside by unsubstantiated rumors that he is an informant. An article to this effect was posted on Anarchist News the day after his arrest, only to be taken down the next day. Apparently some Chicago anarchists are unclear about which end of an entrapment sting the snitch is on. Nonetheless, Occupy Chicago continues to support Migs and Sabi and all the Chicago prisoners. They can’t do it all themselves, though.

How you can help: Send letters, zines and money! Migs and Sabi can be reached at the addresses below. Remember to take the staples out of any zines you send, as mail with staples is sometimes rejected on the grounds that they are weapons.

Write them at:
Sebastian Senakiewicz
2012-0520030
P.O. Box 089002
Chicago, Illinois 60608

Mark Neiweem
2012-0520023
P.O. Box 089002
Chicago, Illinois 60608

Wire money to their commissary accounts. This is the only way they can buy things like toothpaste and better food.

For MONEYGRAM
RECEIVE CODE = 1750
Account = Inmate name – # Inmate number
To contribute to the Chicago bail fund: https://www.wepay.com/donations/143498

Chicago: “NATO 3” plead not guilty

From the People’s Law Office:

Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly, three activists arrested in a midnight raid in the days leading up to the NATO Summit, appeared today in Cook County Criminal Court. The activists are facing trump-up terrorism related charges that defense attorneys suspect stem from a set-up concocted by government infiltrators and provocateurs. The three were assigned to their trial judge, Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson, entered their pleas of not guilty today.

In the gallery, supporters wearing yellow t-shirts stood up in unison when the three activists were brought into the courtroom. Many in the gallery silently raised their fists in the air in a show of support.

At their last court date, prosecutors refused to turn over the activists’ indictment to defense attorneys, citing today’s court date as the unveiling date. However, defense attorneys were able to obtain a copy from the Cook County Clerk’s office before today’s appearance. Among the litany of exaggerated charges, the indictment alleges a conspiracy beginning as early as October of 2011, yet, the limited evidence that prosecutors have provided so far fails to demonstrate what allegedly occurred prior to May 2012. In addition, the State has not provided any material the role of federal agencies in the case. As Michael Deutsch of People’s Law Office said to the press after the court date, “there’s going to be a lot of fighting around the discovery in this case because we know there were other law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and the provocateurs of this case.”
Continue reading

Denver, July 4th: Monthly Political Prisoner letter writing night: Support OUR troops!

On Wednesday, July 4th, the Denver Anarchist Black Cross will host our monthly letter writing night to political prisoners and prisoners of [liberatory and social] war held captive by the United States. As people across the country celebrate the genocidal, colonial history of the U.S., dozens of freedom fighters continue to languish in cages, held away from their communities, comrades, neighbors, friends, and families.

We will spend the night supporting OUR troops, the freedom fighting warriors who have been kidnapped away from us. We will be focusing especially on the cases of three Puerto Rican Independentistas; Avelino Gonzalez Claudio, Oscar Lopez Rivera, and Norberto Gonzalez Claudio currently held captive by the U.S.

There will be a presentation about the cases of these comrades, as well as a brief presentation with updates on the cases of the Tinley Park 5, NATO 5, and Cleveland 5. As always, everything you need to write letters or cards of support will be provided including pens, envelopes, paper, addresses, stamps, and even DINNER!

Come join Denver ABC as we commemorate July 4th in a different way, without the jingoistic, colonialist revelry.

Denver ABC monthly political prisoner letter writing night
Wednesday July 4th, 6:30pm
27 Social Centre, 2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D Denver, CO 80211

Soli!
DABC CREW