Jerry’s Mailing Address

If folks want to drop anarchist Grand Jury resister Jerry (Gerald) Koch a line of solidarity, love, and support, the BOP lists his address as:

Gerald Koch
68631-054
MDC Brooklyn
PO Box 329002
Brooklyn, NY 11232

New York: Anarchist Gerald Koch imprisoned for refusal to cooperate with Grand Jury

From Jerry Resists:

Jerry was taken into custody of US marshals today at 4:18 PM. Throughout his hearing, he did not answer any questions; he remained silent the entire time.

About sixty people showed in support of Jerry. The court room was packed, and he knew as he was taken by the marshals that we support and love him. The crowd yelled out their support for him as he was escorted out of the room.

Jerry asked that we release this statement to his supporters after his incarceration:

By the time you read this, I will be in the custody of the United States government for continuing my refusal to cooperate with a federal grand jury. This is the right thing to do.

I continue to believe that the government is using this federal grand jury in an abusive manner to force me to divulge information about my political associations and social networks.

If we mean what we say when we talk about radical politics, then we do not participate in witch hunts, inquisitions, or the assembly of black lists. As an individual, I will not lend legitimacy to government brutality and intimidation; I will not be used. As an anarchist, I will summon the courage to be stronger than the forces of the State’s all-too-real repression; I will not break.

Your show of truly powerful support has done nothing but strengthen my resolve in refusing to cooperate. We must not let ourselves be isolated by the government’s heavy-handed tactics. We must not give the state that last inch it tries to break in every one of us.

With Love, with Dignity, in Solidarity

Jerry Koch

If you haven’t already, please sign up for a recurring donation so that we can ensure that Jerry has immediate access to his commissary and will be able to be in touch with his loved ones. You can sign up and make donations at Jerry’s support site at jerryresists.net

New York City: Gerald Koch’s contempt hearing tomorrow (Tuesday May 21st)

From Jerry Resists:

Jerry’s contempt hearing is tomorrow, May 21st at 3:45 PM on the 20th floor of 500 Pearl Street.

We expect that he will be taken into custody by U.S. marshals tomorrow.

Because the hearing is public, we will be able to be in the courtroom with Jerry. Bring a photo ID if you will be going into the court house. No electronics are allowed and will be checked with security.

We suggest folks arrive 45 minutes to an hour early: security takes a while, and we want to show Jerry–and the feds–that we support him, and all grand jury resisters.

Bring banners or flyers. Spread this widely.

Resist state repression! Support Jerry! Support all political prisoners!

NYC: Anarchist Gerald Koch refuses to cooperate with Grand Jury

gerlad kochFrom the New York Times:

A Brooklyn man has said that he will refuse to testify before a federal grand jury that is believed to be looking into the explosion of a homemade bomb in Times Square in 2008, setting the stage for a confrontation that could send him to jail for contempt of court.

Gerald Koch has said that he was not implicated in the 2008 bombing, but would risk contempt of court charges to protest what he called “government intimidation.”

A lawyer for the man, Gerald Koch, said that he had been subpoenaed as a witness and granted immunity, but that he was not a suspect in the bombing, which took place outside an armed forces recruitment center in the middle of the night and caused no injuries. Mr. Koch said in a written statement late last week that in 2009 he had been called before a previous grand jury investigating the case, but did not testify because he knew nothing about what happened.

“I will once again refuse to testify to the federal grand jury in ethical resistance to participation in a fruitless exercise of fear-mongering and government intimidation,” Mr. Koch wrote.
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Tortuga House: Arrest Affidavit finally released by state

G20 twitter anarchistsFinally the state of Pennsylvania has decided to unseal the affidavit which lead to the arrests of the “Twitter 2″ at the Carefree Inn outside of Pittsburgh, PA on September 24th during protests against the G-20.

The affidavit which is signed on September 24th, 2009, by State Troopers Glenn D. Hopey and Gregg J. Kravitsky (who also signed off on affidavits during the 2000 RNC protests in Philadelphia) has been kept under seal since the arrests meaning that neither our lawyers our us were able to have access to it.

There is not much valuable information that we can obtain from reading this recently released affidavit. It seems that undercover state troopers were in attendance at spokes council meetings in Pittsburgh, and from there they claim to have followed Elliot Madison via car as he left the meeting on the 23rd, following him to the Carefree Inn where his room was raided the next day.

It is humorous to read the pages of imaginative descriptions of anarchist tactics and supposed anarchist activity. The “Anarchist Weapons” (pg. 8-9) that the police claim may be used: “Human body fluids-Including blood, urine, and feces” , “chains wrapped in kerosene soaked rags launched with projectiles”, “Super-Soakers” also filled with urine, and “Rolling Barrels” filled with cement (!)

You can download the affidavit here:
http://friendsoftortuga.files.wordpre…_cause.pdf

All of the redactions made in black were made by the State of Pennsylvania presumably to hide the identities of state troopers who infiltrated the spokes council meetings, all the redactions in red were made by us to remove home addresses and other personal information of our roommates and their families.
– Friends Of Tortuga

A New Year, A New Tortuga House Update

Tortuga SolidarityIt has been several months since our last communication regarding the “situation” here at Tortuga House, but with nothing more than the seemingly interminable filing of legal motions by our defense to unseal the secret affidavits authorizing the raids in Pittsburgh and New York, counter-motions by prosecutors to keep these affidavits sealed, and judicial providence obviously favoring the side which signs their checks, we may as well be submitting a blank sheet of paper for all the real news we have. With the affidavits in our case remaining sealed—the motives and strategy of the state remain in the realm of speculation and will obviously not do for any public statement. However, a recent court date in Pittsburgh has since brought us several scraps of useful information that we felt it was important to share with others.

On January 15th, a court date/rubber-stamping procedure regarding a request by the state of Pennsylvania to keep the affidavit, which authorized the September 24th raid on a motel just outside of Pittsburgh and the arrest of two of our housemates during the G-20 protests, sealed for yet another 30 days yielded a bit more than the inevitable ruling in favor of the prosecution. The judge in the case, perhaps bored or suffering indigestion from eating a rich lunch, asked the state to explain why this affidavit—in a case where all charges against the accused had been dropped—required the extension of the seal.
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Village Voice Interview with Twitter Defendent, Elliot Madison

ElliotWhen Jackson Heights resident Elliot Madison learned last week that charges against him had been dropped by the Allegheny County District Attorney in Pennsylvania, he had little reason to celebrate. The 41-year-old Queens social worker was arrested during the G-20 in Pittsburgh, while he was using Twitter to alert other protesters about the movements of police. The formal charges were “hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possession of instruments of crime.”

Madison, a self-described anarchist, is very open about listening to a public police scanner and then tweeting police locations. (His tweet channel was open and advertised on posters.) On September 24, police stormed the room at the Carefree Inn where he was staying with Michael Wallschlaege shortly after the duo had relayed an order to disperse.

Madison doesn’t deny his involvement, but he says “it wasn’t a crime. It was protected free speech.” He tells the Voice he was merely using new technology to pass on publicly accessible information, describing it as being “the same as if you and I were walking down the street, and I said to you, ‘Hey, the police are on 42nd street, and they’ve said anyone who goes there will be arrested, so don’t go there.'”

After Madison made bail, he returned to New York City. But just a few days later, his home was raided by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. For sixteen hours, agents went through Madison’s home, and removed items that belonged to him, his wife, and their roommates, including computers, cell phones, and “a needlepoint picture of Lenin.” Madison is a member of the Curious George Brigade, an anarchist writers collective which spoofs the Curious George series. The FBI agents seized every copy of their books, along with Curious George plush dolls and refrigerator magnets.

Madison’s attorney, Martin Stolar, says “as a lawyer, I’m not concerned at all” that the government seized stuffed animals. “It helps my client…to show how absurd it is.” However, “as a citizen, and as a representative of someone, I am very concerned that they take someone’s property which has nothing to do with a violation of federal law.” Stolar has seen the FBI use “Facebook or MySpace as investigative tools for evidence capturing” to link someone to alleged crime. But to his knowledge, this is the first time the FBI has said the posting of information itself is the crime. “Elliot put something up there that is from the public domain, from a police scanner. If you pass on information that is public domain, how is that a crime?”

Stolar says the raid in Queens was “allegedly an independent investigation. Theoretically, it has nothing to do with the arrest in Pittsburgh.” Sarcastically he adds, “just because the federal search warrant comes one week after is just a coincidence.” And now, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette put it, the Pittsburgh “district attorney is stepping aside so that a federal prosecutor in New York can proceed unencumbered in a federal case.”

Full Story

NYC: Reportback from Info Session on Grand Juries

On Monday, November 9th, a small group of comrades staged an info session on grand juries in New York City’s Washington Square Park from 3pm to 6pm. The info session took place in order to spread the word about grand juries – targeting specifically revolutionaries – that are secretly assembling throughout the country. We distributed several pamphlets and flyers explaining the grand jury process and another on revolutionary solidarity and informally spoke about the situation with the several dozen people who stopped by the info table.

The purpose of the info session was to make public the State’s grand jury strategy which feeds off its secrecy. When subpoenaed by a grand jury, individuals who refuse to cooperate and become complicit with the State’s project can receive jail time and federal charges. It is unclear how many people have been recently subpoenaed because grand juries assemble behind closed door. Well beyond our expectations, the success of the day came when information about previously unknown federal subpoenas was brought to our attention from people who stopped by the park. For these reasons, we encourage other cities to have info sessions of their own and to make public the current grand juries convening throughout the country.
[Hurray for the resistance to grand juries!]

If you are contacted by law enforcement or subpoenaed go public immediately. Don’t give any information to the police or the FBI. We have the utmost respect and admiration for Gerald Koch, Carrie Feldman and anyone else resisting State coercion and refusing to cooperate with this repressive project. Its important to keep these comrades in our minds and hearts and remember that revolutionary solidarity, in all its forms, is our only weapon against repression.

Grand Jury Info From Fire To The Prisons:

Witnesses appearing before a grand jury have a right to an attorney, but the lawyer must stay outside the room.

The evidence is presented to the grand jurors by the prosecuting attorney, but a judge is not present. So there’s no one to raise an objection – or to consider it.

Like trial juries, grand jury deliberations are conducted in secret. Only the grand jury, the prosecutor, the witness under examination, the court reporter and an interpreter (if one is required) may be present in the grand jury room.

But unlike a trial jury, a grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence – only whether there’s probably cause to believe a person or persons committed a crime. Whereas a trial jury reaches a verdict on whether the accused is convicted or acquitted, a grand jury can decide whether to bring charges via a written indictment.

The federal grand jury hears evidence presented by a federal prosecutor. The grand jury has no investigative staff of its own, so it relies on the prosecutor’s information and expertise. The prosecutor shapes the case before the grand jury, deciding which witnesses will be called and what evidence to present. The grand jury may ask to call additional witnesses if necessary.

It is customary for the prosecutor to question a witness first, followed by a grand jury foreperson. Then, other members of the grand jury may question the witness. Often the jurors will ask the prosecutor to ask a question, rather than asking themselves.

A witness may ask to leave the room to speak with their attorney but the lawyer is at a disadvantage, having not heard the proceedings. A witness may also invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refuse to answer a question, but a choice of silence by the individual in the case of a grand jury can lead to contempt of court. In the case of a grand jury, the individual can be held for up to 18 months or the amount of time the grand jury can remain open without any new evidence. Once the time of the grand jury is depleted, the prosecution can re-open the case, making it so the individual can be held in contempt for another 18 months again, and the circle of repression can continue and continue.

What is especially unique about the grand jury is that the individual is not always a suspect in the crime, and there is no need for any evidence against them.

Tortuga House update: Pennsylvania charges dropped, but judge rules in favor of Feds as Grand Jury continues

MadisonFederal authorities can resume combing through the notebooks, memory cards and computers of a twittering anarchist being investigated for violating an anti-rioting law, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled Monday.

U.S. district court judge Dora L. Irizzary found no reason to throw out the government’s search of the home of a 41-year old social worker who used the micro-publishing service Twitter to help anti-globalization protestors at the recent G-20 convention, clearing the way for the feds to look through the evidence they collected. Madison and his attorney sought to have his possessions returned unexamined, on the grounds the search violated his constitutional rights to free speech.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force raided Elliott Madison’s house in a dawn raid on October 1, seizing myriad computers, unpublished manuscripts, phones and books from the social worker, his urban planner wife and his housemates. The materials were seized as evidence in a federal grand jury investigation of whether Madison violated a rarely-used federal statute that makes it a crime to help rioters.

Madison, an anarchist and prolific writer, seems to have drawn the attention of New York’s U.S. Attorney’s office after he was arrested in a Pittsburgh motel room on September 24 for legally listening to a police scanner and then tweeting the information. During the G-20 summit, heavily armed police officers reacted to the anti-globalization protesters with tear gas, sonic weapons, rubber bullets and mass arrests. Madison was in jail during the height of the confrontation, charged with criminal use of a communication facility.

Full story

Tortuga House update: Possible Federal Grand Jury that stretches beyond the G20?

Oh, how the days have flown. Oh, what the days have shown? It is now over two weeks since the raid on Tortuga House, and we are mostly left holding conjecture as to what is going on—the proceedings against us are secretive.

Tortuga HouseAfter the injunction (to legally prevent the State from fishing through our belongings) was granted on October 2nd, the court required the government to show probable cause for the search. We anticipated this document and hoped to learn why FBI and NYPD thugs had descended on our house. Instead, we received a document that listed items confiscated from our home during the raid to support the validity of the search warrant that authorized the raid—which included photos taken by the FBI of anarchist stickers, posters, and emergency preparedness items (modeled by a housemate in this YouTube video) we had in the house. The reasoning for such illogic? That the raid is not connected to the arrest of our two housemates in Pittsburgh during the G-20 protests, but rather was spurred by an ongoing federal grand jury investigation—and questions as to the validity of the search can be addressed after any indictments are handed out! Furthermore, the document maintains that the supporting affidavits actually used to authorize the search should remain sealed because “the affidavits here concern an ongoing investigation, and unsealing them would compromise that investigation…[which is] complex and multi-state.”

Full update on Friends of Tortuga Blog