Christmas in Prison

Katherine Olejnik and Matt Duran Have Not Been Charged with Any Crime, and Yet They Have Been Locked Up for Three Months and Counting

Comments

1
Excellent article. Thank you for telling KteeO and Matt's stories.
2
Great job, Brendan.
3
Please let us know if there's something we can do to help get these guys out faster!
4
Not really any different from tax protesters or others who think they are immune from the civic responsibilities that apply to the rest of us. They are just a bit more appealing of a demographic than middle aged rich guys.

They are not heroes, nor victims, they are just idiots who believe silly things. The ability to compel testimony is critical to a functional judicial system and a functional judicial system is key to a functional society. They're made up nonsense does not change that, nor does it render them exempt.

They can sit in jail until they grow the fuck up and do what they are supposed to.

5
Thanks for the article.
6
And that's the way it's supposed to work. You can't refuse to testify to a grand jury. You just can't. If you want to do away with grand juries, you're going to have to amend the Constitution.

The only person keeping Matt Duran in jail is Matt Duran. Ditto for Olejnik.
7
...and the food was real good
we had turkey and pistols carved out of wood
8
Is there evidence that they've been treated significantly differently than others who have refused to testify to a grand jury? If not, is there evidence that this case is significantly different from what usually happens with a grand jury and is an abuse of process?

If not, then the argument here is with the grand jury process in general, and it seems like a reasonable argument could be made there, as all other common law jurisdictions (and about half the states) have abolished the grand jury system.
9
FNARF... you are such an incredibly big idiot.

"You can't refuse to testify to a grand jury. You just can't." Actually, you can. If you haven't noticed, a bunch of people are doing it.

"The only person keeping Matt Duran in jail is Matt Duran." And, you know, like, hundreds of armed guards, a few thousand pounds of concrete, and a mess of barbed wire. But yea, sure, lets just say Matt locked HIMSELF in there.
10
Man, this really covers all the angles.
11
The ability to compel testimony only works if prosecutors are limited to compelling testimony related to the crime the grand jury is investigating. This prosecutor wants to ask questions about unrelated things, many of which aren't criminal at all. So fuck him, and good for these kids for keeping their mouths shut.
12
Actually, Grand Juries worldwide are thought of as oppressive, draconian, vile processes that are mostly banned because of how awful/stupid they are.
13
@4 Freedom of speech includes the freedom to not speak.
14
thanks for covering this, brendan.
15
And yes, again, awesome story, Brendan. You're the reason the stranger is worth following from time to time. Keep it up.
16
@ 9, you can't refuse to testify before a grand jury without legal consequence. @ 6 is correct.

Before anyone takes this as an automatically noble thing to do, one should know about Greg Anderson. He was Barry Bonds' trainer - the guy who allegedly hooked up Bonds with the steroids that helped him shatter those home run records. Anderson spent YEARS in jail rather than comply and give testimony. He's probably the biggest reason why Bonds was acquitted on all serious charges. Lord knows whether he did it out of loyalty to Barry (they were high school buddies) or if Bonds is going to set him up, but he didn't keep quiet over any politically righteous cause.
17
@13 No it does not.

If that were the case then there would have been no need to explicitly create a right to not be compelled to testify against yourself.

You are completely free to make up whatever rights you want, but the rest of us need not concern ourselves with them nor are they relevant from a legal perspective.
18
@16 - Pointing out that there are legal consequences to breaking the law (if you get caught) isn't what liberals like FNARF or giffy are getting at when they say things like "you can't refuse to testify."

What they're really saying is that we shouldn't refuse to testify, because we're supposed to have some masochistic sense of duty or loyalty to the prison system, even if that means snitching on people for their political beliefs.

I don't know what relevance Anderson's case has to this grand jury, except that it shows that Grand Jury resistance can work - if it is true, like you said, that Anderson's refusal to testify got Bonds acquitted.
19
Being compelled to testify as to one's likely personal knowledge of a specific crime or conspiracy strikes me as one thing; being coerced into acting as a general background informant on one's possible acquaintances strikes me as quite another. DOJ's methods may be more above-board than Stasi's and Securitate's, but its goal in these civil contempt proceedings seems much the same.
20
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._Beatty_C…
21
They have only themselves to blame. There is no constitutional right to stiff-arm a grand jury. They want to be martyrs? Fine. Let the martyrdom begin. Their choice.
22
I AM COMMENTING BECAUSE OF THE ARTISTIC DRAWING WHICH ACCOMPANIES THIS ARTICLE.

IN THE DRAWING, Matt Duran HAS A BROAD NOSE AND THICK LIPS. I THOUGHT Mr. Duran WAS NEGRO. WHEN DID ARTISTS START DRAWING CAUCASIAN MALES WITH THICK LIPS AND BROAD NOSES?

HAS POLITICAL-CORRECTNESS BECOME SO FUCKED THAT CAUCASIANS ARE AFRAID TO OFFEND NEGROES IN ANY WAY?

CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON
23
"What they're really saying is that we shouldn't refuse to testify, because we're supposed to have some masochistic sense of duty or loyalty to the prison system, even if that means snitching on people for their political beliefs."

You live in a society that provides you with things and in return you have a few responsibilities. Like testifying. Or serving on a jury.

Knock yourself out playing revolutionary, but don't expect the rest of us to give a shit about you when you are locked up.
24
I wonder if anyone has sat these stupid kids down and told them what happens to people who try to fuck with the federal government's prosecutors.

That set of realities has nothing to do with who's president, and everything to do with the federal government as an institution. The federal prosecutorial establishment is thinly spread. They tend to take only the cases that they have to, and that they think they'll win, which is why their conviction rate is more than 95%.

Sentences for federal crimes tend to be long, and while there's time off for good behavior there is no parole, so they'll serve 85% (on average) of the stated sentence length.

As for that grand jury, guess what? If they keep fucking with the prosecutors, at the end of the current grand jury's term, the prosecutors can convene another one and start the clock all over again.

I do hope the realities have been laid out before these idiots. You can often screw around with state and local authorities and get away with it, but you tug on the eagle tail feathers at your peril. The feds do not play games.

25
"Not everyone will understand," Duran says in a soft voice. "You have to be in a different state of mind to be willing to go to jail to protect someone you basically have no knowledge of."

That's true. You have to be pretty stupid and delusional.
26
@23: "You live in a society that provides you with things and in return you have a few responsibilities. Like testifying. Or serving on a jury."

Leaving aside the issue of our "responsibilities" to the state (which regardless of whether or not they actually exist outside of your fucked up worldview, don't mean anything if I - like thousands of other people in this city - choose to ignore them) I'd point out that we also live amongst an amazing group of people who provide us with other things, like protecting us from political repression and arbitrary government investigations. They do this by not cooperating with the Grand Jury. What do I owe them?
27
I am so glad we are spending millions on this grand jury to figure out who broke a window. Bravo Feds, Bravo. On another note, somebody tagged my doorway at my office. I demand a grand jury.
28
A question for all of you commenters heaping sanctimonious bile on Duran and Olejnik for refusing to answer questions about their colleagues' political affiliations, and doing time to prove the courage of their convictions:

What do you think about the House on Un-American Activities? Were the people who stood up to McCarthy and refused to answer questions about their colleagues' political and social affiliations "stupid" and "delusional" "idiots" who just didn't realize that's "the way it's supposed to work."

I always thought of them as American heroes. But perhaps I was misguided. Enlighten me, please.
29
#28, the difference is that we're talking about a gang of punks who want to cause chaos in downtown Seattle. These aren't large issues. They are small ones.

That's what makes Olejnik and Duran so tragic. Either some self-justifying, washed-up, backward-looking former '60s radical is pulling their strings for the sake of nostalgia and ego, or they managed to bullshit their own selves by not stopping to step outside their little frame of reference and do a reality check.

It's impossible to say what is driving them. But it's just tragic that these kids are going to really and truly fuck themselves over like this. And for what? Because they won't tell a federal grand jury, in essence, who the hard-core planners are?

To wrap them in the robes of the resistance to Joe McCarthy is not just laughable, it's unconscionable. Some lives are going to be seriously ruined here. Someone needs to tell these dumb kids to back the fuck down before they really get hurt. The federal government is not going to let them off the hook.
30
Mister G your viewpoint is as delusional as it is offensive, and runs counter to the American concept of freedom as well as basic sensibility about human rights, "granted" by a government or no. both you and spiffy giffy should realize that your twisted views are not widely shared by your fellow citizens, particularly those that value liberty and justice.
31
@4: Spoken like a true Nazi.
32
@28, if only the internet existed in those times! Then Fnarf could bravely type internet comments about how the judicial system was the cornerstone of civilization and nobody has any right to refuse to participate and really, when you think about it, don't dissidents deserve their punishment because they're doing it to themselves?!
33
Mister G @21, 24, & 29, your embarrassing insistence that people wouldn't resist grand juries or take an ethical stand if they 'really' understood the punishments involved says a lot more about you than them. They aren't asking for pity or sympathy and clearly understand that oppressive power is maintained by using these juries to violate its own rules. And they show a lot more courage than someone who just continually votes for Democratic candidates and hopes for the best.
34
^This.
35
why would anyone who wasn't a right-wing extremist be a passionate defender of grand juries? It's not as if the justice system OR life as we know it depends on them.

And why is it impossible for some people here to accept that these two might actually be making this stand out of sincere conviction? Or that they could, in fact, be right?

It's not as if they're protecting mass murderers. All we're talking about is some fairly trivial property damage.

Some people here are waayy to paranoid about challenges to the status quo or resistance to authority. No authority, anywhere, deserves unquestioning obedience, and no institution in this country is either infallible or sacred.
36
@35 and others.

Thank you. And Brendan is right on the money with the comparison to McCarthyism.

37
To those of you defending this as necessary for having a functional justice system: Are you aware that the United States is one of the only countries left than still has grand juries? What makes you think they are necessary?
38
@29 Are you kidding? People in the 1950s (heck! people now) thought/think communists are harbingers of the end of the world. Leftists with "dangerous" views who must be ferreted out and punished are at the heart of this both then and now.

Plus, if you've paid attention you know that the government WAY overreacts in its surveillance of leftist radicals - who, as you fucking admit, are in the grand scheme of things an unimportant "gang of punks" - while ignoring armed right wing, white supremacist radicals. Of which there are tons more since Obama got elected! Refusing to cooperate with this is one of the only ways that normal people can practically throw a monkey wrench in the system.

Also, if these folks want to sacrifice themselves for their cause, what's it to the rest of you? What's all this faux concern for these "dumb kids fucking up their lives"? If y'all are going to be judgmental don't pretend you give a shit about whether they rot in jail.
39
This is goddamn insane
40
Okay, fine. Let the young idiots rot. It's on their heads, and those of whomever is encouraging this charade.
41
I'm speechless, Brendan. Thanks for another eye-opening article.
@39: I agree.
42
They were subpoenaed to speak to a grand jury, and it's their legal duty to give information which will not incriminate themselves. They should be locked up for contempt for refusing to answer questions about people they may know that are possible domestic terrorists. They are stupid to give up their lives, families, jobs, etc. to protect "people they don't know".
43
Reading this and not knowing the details of the case my first reaction is that it parallels the Mccarthy hearings where people were compelled to name names. I would want to know more to know what the prosecutor's ostensible justification is but on it's face with the angle of the story the prosecutor on this seems to be a real ass----.
44
@4: "The ability to compel testimony is critical to a functional judicial system and a functional judicial system is key to a functional society."

Really? Canada abolished grand juries in 1984. The United Kingdom abolished grand juries in 1933. New Zealand in 1961.
45
Heads need to roll. Someone in authority should step in and stop this now. I can't do anything. Why are you telling this to me?
46
I'm seeing the underlying argument in these comments that forcing someone to inform on another's political ideology in this case is different from the Red Scare, because these people are presumably anarchists and their ideas are thus dangerous and without merit. I'd like to point out that for my money the two best living leftist thinkers, Noam Chomsky and David Graeber, are both anarchists. George Orwell had anarchist leanings (read Homage to Catalonia, about his experience serving in an anarchist military unit during the Spanish Civil War).

Should the fact that I love these authors put me at increased risk of imprisonment? Does the government have any right to know what my political beliefs are? How could it possibly be a good idea to allow our legal system to decide what political ideologies are dangerous, and which are safe?
47
"Doctor Doctor, it hurts when I move my arm this way!"

"So dont move your arm that way"
48
@47 Except the pain is caused by violence inflicted through a state that we, presumably, control. It's our job to stop the pain.
49
From the looks of things, it appears that the feds regard the May Day people as being in league, one way or another, with the eco-terrorists who have bombed animal research labs and subdivisions in the Pacific NW.

If I'm right about that, then Olejnik, Duran, and anyone else they are tangled up with will find themselves in a whirlwind of trouble for a very long time. Think: sequential grand juries and multiple contempt proceedings. You see, the feds have been seriously pursuing the "Animal Liberation Front" and their spinoffs and friends for more than a decade. Several of the naive fools who took part in their actions are now doing hard time.

Their supporters here can get as mad as they want, but if that's how the feds see these May Day people, then this will be a slow and steady steamroller and it will utterly crush whoever gets in the way.

If someone(s) want martyrdom, they're going to get it. From reading the comments, I still don't think most of you game-playing, pseudo-radical posers have the faintest notion of just what these kids are dealing with.
50
Thanks Mr. Kiley. Great work as usual.
51
Heh, @ 49, Mister G, you'd probably be surprised at how much we have in common. You see, I'm old-school around here and have always considered property destruction to be a poor tactic. Your comments prove my point(s) nicely. I'm STILL pissed off at the "diversity of tactics" crap and probably always will be. But are you really comfortable with calling anyone and everyone before a Federal Grand Jury based only on associations and caused by law enforcements inability to fucking control a protest? Do tell. NAH, don't bother. I'm troubled by this and I'm OK with that fact. Merry Christmas, Mister G.
52
Thanks Brendan for keeping up with this story and letting us know of the injustices happening in our name. Olejnik, Duran are American heroes, I believe history will judge them as such. In the meantime, I hope they keep their spirits up and know there a lot of us supporting them.
53
"any prosecutor who wanted to, could indict a ham sandwich" - Judge Sol Wachtler
http://books.google.com/books?id=Y-cT_Wu… jury ham sandwich quote
54
Mister G, obviously these terrorists have more in common with al-Qaeda than they do with the ALF. The ALF is clearly in league with the Kyrgystani mafia, duhhhhh. The connections that the feds are drawing are obvious, aren't they? How come everyone can't see them?

"From reading the comments, I still don't think most of you game-playing, pseudo-radical posers have the faintest notion of just what these kids are dealing with."

Mister G, diviner of wisdom and knower of all things. Don't dare question His judgment, children!
55
Right, that is all sorts of fucked up.

Fnarf: stfu. You are hardly that dumb that you think protesting a problem within a system means wanting to do away with the whole system. How the hell do you solve computer problems?

That something is wrong when ideals and thoughts are ment as something on its own suspicious can't POSSIBLY be what you whine about (if not, try Iran).

So if the system is flawed - and this is one of the flaws, that it opens up the possibility for political courts that judges thoughts and ideals, then perhaps you guys should change the system? Like tweak it?

Or is this another case where a magical past justifies a problematic current situation?
56
To all of the fascist idiots out there who only find fault against Katherine Olejnik and Matt Duran go piss in the wind: I have been a State Attorney and I have also been victimized by the State after I went into private practice via the use of a Grand Jury, because as we all know, a DA can indict a ham sandwich.
http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/200…

So next time instead of allowing the government to go on a goddamn fishing exposition I might advise them to plead the Fifth and walk the fuck out and challenge that rat bastard prosecutor to make a case against them independently or STFU.

Now then.
58
I am so glad I am not employed with the US Attorneys Office anymore.

What an embarrasment.
59
@56: I believe they were granted personal immunity, effectively removing their right to plead the fifth, as it was an impossibility to incriminate themselves.

My question is: why not just answer "no" to everything (or whatever answer would give the state no information)?
60
For those of you that think this is a little issue please read into it more.
It all really comes down to the government wanting to silence this small group of people before it gets any bigger. What these two are standing for is important! They are saying that they will not stand for a which hunt on people who believe and work towards a different form of government. The sad thing is that everyone thinks this is just about some broken windows by some punks. That's really just the cover story, this is really about silencing, scarring, and tormenting a community of people to stop protesting and speaking out against the injustice happening right under your nose.
Whether you agree with their reasoning or political beliefs is mute. What you should be aware of is the hundreds of thousands being spent to push this agenda. Which should send a huge red flag of something much bigger happening . So after this rant all I ask is that you really start to pay more attention to whats happening in this country and dig deeper. Don't just watch Fox News. If you love your country so much at least get to know it better, and really be willing to understand the policies of this case.
61
For those of you that think this is a little issue please read into it more.
It all really comes down to the government wanting to silence this small group of people before it gets any bigger. What these two are standing for is important! They are saying that they will not stand for a which hunt on people who believe and work towards a different form of government. The sad thing is that everyone thinks this is just about some broken windows by some punks. That's really just the cover story, this is really about silencing, scarring, and tormenting a community of people to stop protesting and speaking out against the injustice happening right under your nose.
Whether you agree with their reasoning or political beliefs is mute. What you should be aware of is the hundreds of thousands being spent to push this agenda. Which should send a huge red flag of something much bigger happening . So after this rant all I ask is that you really start to pay more attention to whats happening in this country and dig deeper. Don't just watch Fox News. If you love your country so much at least get to know it better, and really be willing to understand the policies of this case.
62
#51, anyone? No. These people? Yes.
63
Speaking of "fishing expeditions," if you don't want to be a party to a fishing expedition, then don't become a fish. The minute Olejnik and Duran became part of the violent May Day action, they became fish. Their choice, their problem, their jail time, their tough luck.
64
#59, I think we can reasonably presume that, Olejnik and Duran's refusals notwithstanding, others in their group have cooperated and still more of them will do so. Therefore, if these two were to answer "no" to all questions, thereby lying, the testimony of others would establish that. Do you really think it's that easy to wriggle off the hook? I sure don't.

If Olejnik and Duran were to adopt the foolish strategy of giving false answers to a grand jury in a criminal case, they'd have themselves a perjury problem, and maybe a conspiracy problem. Contempt is bad enough, but perjury and conspiracy are felonies with hard time attached. So, if their intent is to take this brave (and stupid) stand against the federal inquiry, at least they're not dumb enough to fake their cooperation and then tell lies to the grand jury.

Some of the commenters here are even dumber than they are. Same for the others in the federal lockup who advised them to lie. But then, your average criminal, even at the federal level, isn't exactly a genius, nor is the average "progressive" Stranger commenter.
65
@64,

I often agree with you, but you're just dead wrong on this one. Blind obedience to authority doesn't become you at all.

Roy Cohn would be proud.

66
It's not "blind obedience" to anything.

The kids either manipulated themselves, or were manipulated by others, into committing crimes. Once you do that, you can expect to be treated differently than the rest of us.

This isn't a case of otherwise law-abiding people being hauled in to be asked about what meeting they attended in college 25 years earlier. To equate this grand jury with HUAC is an exercise in hyperbole, paranoia, and ignorance.

Yeah, yeah. Only the National Rifle Association can be hyperbolic, paranoiac, and stupid. "Progressives" can never be just as idiotic as the wingnuts, because by definition, anything a "progressive" says or does is right and good.

Do you realize how pathetic these people are?
67
Would Mr G rather have the Queen's face on his money?
68
Au contraire - your argument is pretty much exactly the same as saying "J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy are gonna come down on you like a ton of bricks if you don't get up in front of HUAC and name names." It may be factual, but it sure as hell ain't right. These kids have guts for standing up to this star chamber-like process - a whole lot more guts than I've seen from your anonymous internet name-calling spiel (by the way, in case you didn't know - the worst kept secret on the internets is that Mr. X is/I am Matt Fox, just to put the person calling you out on the record).

BTW - you might try reading the actual story - neither of the two political detainees in question (and make no mistake, that's what they are - a few broken windows does not make a bunch of ragtag anarchists the next Al Queda) have actually been accused of anything.

There are people out there doing lots of actual crimes who have gone all clam under the BS "no snitching" code - but break a few windows (stupidly, in my view) in the name of fighting capitalism and you're looking at a year and a half in jail for not ratting out a couple of vandals? That doesn't seem politically motivated to you?

Hyperbole my ass.

69
...but that said, I have to give you props on your comment on Knute Berger's Crosscut piece "Seattle Soul Searching" - it was a real tour de force both in form and content. Seriously - I enjoyed the hell out it (albeit in a somewhat depressing way - I think your dystopian vision/critique of the future faux "progressive" Seattle is right on the money).

70
They did nothing criminal, and they are refusing to answer questions that are unrelated to crimes. If you haven't heard - and apparently prosecutors have yet to hear - association is not a crime. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yates_v._Un…

A grand jury is supposed to be a shield used to protect citizens from the power of the state. The state has to indict before it can prosecute. An indictment is "a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime." By jailing these two for something they didn't say in front of a grand jury, without charging them with ANYTHING, the government has perverted justice and turned the Grand Jury principle on its head.
71
They did nothing criminal, and they are refusing to answer questions that are unrelated to crimes. If you haven't heard - and apparently prosecutors have yet to hear - association is not a crime. See Yates v. U.S.

A grand jury is supposed to be a shield used to protect citizens from the power of the state. The state has to indict before it can prosecute. An indictment is "a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime." By jailing these two for something they didn't say in front of a grand jury, without charging them with ANYTHING, the government has perverted justice and turned the Grand Jury principle on its head.
73
So I'd like to know how, exactly, some commentors are presuming that these two are anarchists and/or criminals, because they refused to answer vague questions about people they may or may not know, or may be tangentially acquainted with, and about events that they weren't even involved in? They both have (well, one of them still has it) jobs, were not involved in the events in question, and felt that they were being strong-armed into giving testimony about events they had no knowledge of? Sorry, but they're being screwed regardless of whether or not they're legally compelled to answer whatever inane questions the grand jury deems fit to ask. They don't view themselves as heroes or revolutionaries, just regular, normal folks who don't want to be coerced into helping the government screw others.
74
Come on, they seek martyrdom. This is America, where dreams come true.
75
Some motherfuckers here need to do a solitary 30 days in the Hole with nothing but a stack of Kafka for company...

-NSA cellphone intercept transcript-
(Redacted per Directorate guidelines)

"Yeah,it's the 21st century and we got more domestic databases to build and citizen dossiers to fill. We really should finally dispense with all this messy business of privacy, free speech, free association and all that nonsense. It just gets in the way of real law and order and slows down the process of tracking down the vast and pervasive domestic terrorist conspiracy.

After all, there's a war on and the country's crawling with terrorists-some of them are beyond a reasonable doubt among your co-workers, friends, and family. We need to keep their intel files up to date. Like all those weirdos at your Christmas parties, for starters. Better to leave these things to those who know best how to interrogate and extract information.

Who better to leave this vital job to than our unelected federal prosecutors,with their Patriot Act superpowers(tm)? They should all be given unlimited powers of rendition and detention without charge(relax it's merely detention, like being naughty at school you know, not really imprisonment; because after all, no one has been charged or sentenced). How else are we gonna root out all these dangerous saboteurs and enemy sympathizers if we can't grill all their friends and acquaintances at will??"
-end transcript-

Anyone who thinks this type of incarceration is OK in the USA is a natural-born finking, snitching rat authoritarian apologist. We wish you all a Merry Xmas to each and every one- on your cattle-car ride to the gulag...
76
As usual, neocon swineherds, giffy, and fnarf, show their true neocon slimey colors.

The Refuseniks

In the old Soviet Union, refuseniks were packed off to a brutal and short-lived existence in the gulag. (Doubtful if much has changed under Putin.)

In totalitarian China, refuseniks are disappeared to labor camps in the countryside where, if they are in reasonable health, their organs are harvested for China's highly lucrative global organ-selling business, keeping all those members of the Transnational Capitalist Class alive beyond their due dates (David Rockefeller still alive? Koch brothers still thriving?).

These two brave souls live in the Corporate Fascist State called America, where if you are an official mass murderer or have stolen billions, hundreds of billions or trillions, you'll never see the inside of a jail, but if you are valiant and honorable, you are most definitely screwed!

Thankfully, due to the superlative journalism of Brendan Kiley, they will get some attention, and not be completely buried away from public view.

Those who should truly be in jail are the top executives at JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and BankofAmerica --- the super-crooks, colossal thieves, money launderers, financial fraudsters, etc., etc., etc.

But we know that will never happen without a bloody revolution!

(Sad to say, though, how many Americans alive today know who Eugene Debs was, and what purpose did all that jail time that brave man was put away for ever accomplish? Still, these two, Mr. D. and Ms. O, should be duly honored.)

http://www.epi.org/publication/failure-b…

77
Germany 1933 - USA 2012 - 2013.......Our civil liberties are being stripped from us while we sleep.

The third reich was to last a thousand years and was supposed to be infallible. All empires fall and so will this one. You (Mr. G. et al) are truly delusional if you think everyone can be bullied. By the way this government is the biggest bully of all. Welcome to the fourth reich.

Another tip to these followers who chose blind obedience to authority - the feds or otherwise-
Mussolini would have recruited people like you in Italy and quite possibly they would have received the same consequences he did from his fellow citizens. One can only hope....
78
Any thoughts of publishing how to get mail or packages to these brave souls?
79
#74, your hostility towards and dismissiveness of these brave young people is totally unjustified,

No instrument of the state has any right to question U.S. citizens about the political views. Also, there are no political views(other than Naziism) that are inherently illegitimate in a democratic society.

There were no REAL crimes committed by anyone. Minor property damage is a trivial offense, and does not threaten the survival of civilization as we know it. It might not be a method I would use, but it's not as if anyone was physically harmed.

What is it about these two that so threatens you, Mister G?

Where did you ever get the idea that the survival of our country depends on, of all things, obedience to the grand jury system(a system that is no longer used in any OTHER country in the English-speaking world, btw?)

Why do you believe that we owe it to America to betray our friends and allies by informing on them?

And what, exactly, do you think would happen if these two were to succeed in defying the grand jury system?

Something about this really spooks you...but there's no reason it should.

And there's no reason we should feel unquestioning loyalty to ANY system...in a decent world, we owe loyalty only to our fellow members of the human race.

And frankly, I think that's what Jesus would say about this as well.
80
Also, although it shouldn't have to be said, "anarchist" and "terrorist" are NOT synonymous terms. Most people who self-identiry as anarchists are, in fact, committed to nonviolence, to passive resistance, and envision a world not of chaotic nihilism(also known as the fictional world of your typical Jean-Claude Van Damme film)but of voluntary human cooperation.

An anarchist society may not be realistic now(possibly not ever)but it's totally unfair to equate support for such a society with support for mayhem or of approval for terrorism.

Can we all please just accept that, already?

Anarchism is anarchism...terrorism is terrorism...neither is the other.
81
Finally, you do realize, don't you, Mister G, that if these two cooperated with the grand jury, that it would be impossible for them to ever work for meaningful social change at any point for the rest of their lives, don't you?

Everyone who ccoperated with HUAC spent the rest of their lives as, essentially, conservatives. None ever marched for civil rights or against the war in Vietnam OR agains the Contra War or for same-sex marriage.

If you work with a prosecutor on political crimes, you've joined the Right.

Maybe that doesn't matter for you, because you're obviously a right-wing person at heart(it's impossible to support "law and order" and social justice, since the law is always biased against the people).

Is it possible that these two reminds you of every ideal you've ever abandoned, all the unqueestioning obedience you've pledged to, for a life of bland, poetry-free material comfort?

Just a thought.
82
These two morons are not protecting freedom fighters or even "true" Anarchists, they are protecting a bunch of twenty-something hoods who planned and participated in pointless property damage. These two can stay out of the way in lock-up as long as they want.
83
Howdy Sarah Palin, aka AlaskanbutnotSeanParnell.

1. They don't threaten me. I actually feel sorry for them. I consider them misguided kids who have been terribly misled. The mentality isn't much different than, say, joining the Hare Krishnas. I always wonder what happened to those people who used to accost me in airports in the 1980s rather than doing something useful or productive with their lives. I wonder what these kids will be doing in 25 years, after having thrown so much away.

2. The grand jury system is what we've got. If there had been a movement to end it before this, I might take the arguments on that point seriously. But in this context, it's opportunistic and not serious.

3. If you're trying to make me feel guilty, you've failed. I do feel sorry for the jailed kids, though. So unnecessary. You hate to see someone commit such spectacular self-sabotage for something so trivial. Makes me wonder why they feel they have so little to preserve that they'd willingly destroy themselves for nothing at all. I'm not so forgiving toward the sanctimonious fakers like you who are egging them on from the comfortable sidelines. While they ruin their lives for nothing, you and yours will do just fine, thank you. At least I'm telling the truth, harsh as it is. You're bullshitting here, for the sake of your ego. If you're urging ethical self-examination, take a look in the mirror, if you dare.
84
To everyone being contrary just to feel smart, good job. Mining information about people's political beliefs is a totally legit use of the justice system, and it really is as simple as "Fuck them, they are wrong because they broke the law."
85
These kids will sorely regret their meaningless gesture.
86
#83...like "joining the Hare Krishnas"? Really?

And why is it that you see this as self-sabotage rather than a legitimate stand on principle? I get it that you want us all to blindly obey our leaders, but why can't you accept that there might actually be some validity to their refusal to answer unjust and illegitimate questions(NO prosecutor has any right to ask about anyone's political opinions...political opinions are supposed to be irrelevant to the criminal justice system.

It is simply impossible to work for meaningful social change WITHOUT actually defying state authority. You can't fully obey the law and still work for a better world.

Have you, yourself, ever taken a principled stand on ANYTHING? Have you ever, in your entire life, defended any OTHER proposition besides "authority MUST be obeyed without question"? If not, how dare you judge people who are putting themselves at heroic risk for their principles.
And really...all that happened was a few windows were broken-something that is trivial and harmless in the grand scheme of things. Why is THAT such an outrage to you? Windows can be replaced. The human spirit, once destroyed, can't be.

And yes, we "have" the grand jury system. But in the 1850's, we had the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you have been insisting that THAT had to be obeyed because "it's what we have"?

Would you have insisted that laws against union organizing be obeyed when they existed because they were "what we had"?

Would you have insisted that the Jim Crow laws be obeyed because THEY were "what we have"?

Would you have insisted that people refuse to help draft resisters get to Canada in the 1960's because the Selective Service Act was "what we have"?

Why do you take such an automatic position of servility to the most repressive institutions of our society?

When has it ever made this a better country for people to obey laws simply because the laws were on the books? When has that attitude ever helped anyone but the privileged,the bigoted, the arrogant, and the warmongering?

It's simple...if these kids answered the grand jury's questions, they would have to abandon any and all work for social change for the rest of their lives. They would have to become unquestioning defenders of the status quo. They would have to totally LOSE their souls and themselves.

Why demand something so brutal of them? And why defend authority when you KNOW that authority is being unreasonable and unjust?
87
And those of us who are in solidarity with these brave dissidents are not "egging them on"-it's insulting to them that you keep acting as if there couldn't possibly be a valid reason for them to take the stance they've taken, OR that they might actually have chosen to do this with clear minds and of their own free will.

If they did what you wanted and testified, they would be lost as human beings. They could never BE activists again...can't you see that?

You CAN'T cooperate with the system even once and still be able to challenge it at other times.

You can't cooperate with a grand jury in a political trial and still hold ANY progressive views. Once you've cooperated, you've joined the Right until you die. It really is that simple.
88
Also, I AM Alaskan, but I'm as far from Sarah Palin as possible. She doesn't even LIVE in Alaska anymore(none of us up here are actually sure where the hell she is, and few of us want to know).

Not sure why you'd liken me to Caribou Barbie.
89
#88, I say you and Sarah Baby are flip sides of the same coin. As far as I've ever managed to notice on my trips there, Alaska has a beautiful landscape but the people are Hooterville North. It's impossible to over-insult Alaska and Alaskans.

1. Utterly convinced you're right, and better.

2. Unwilling to even acknowledge a different way of looking at an issue. Instead, anyone who disagrees is "bad" in some way.

3. See everything in strictly black-and-white terms. Hero or traitor, as opposed to what life's really like, i.e., most people are a mixed bag, and do some really stupid things, and are endlessly capable of self-delusion.

4. Show no depth of inquiry or real sense for history. It's all in the now.

So tell me, did you bounce around four or five fourth-rate semi-univerities before getting the easiest diploma the final one of 'em would grant, just like Sarah? Or did you drop out because you're not as cute?
90
To add:

See, I don't think these kids are bad guys. I doubt they're the hard core. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but I don't see at present any evidence that would support a view that they're at the center of some monkey-wrench gang.

Rather, I view them as misguided fools. Whether they've been manipulated by others, or have bullshitted themselves, is impossible to say. The Stranger's superficial story never actually dealt with their ideology, such as it might be, or their activities. So we, the readers, know little to nothing about why they were called into the grand jury to begin with, or what their "principles," other than not wanting to rat anyone out, really are.

Therefore, I actually take the most charitable view that a non-supporter could: that they've blundered their foolish way into it. That kind of crap happens all the time with self-styled radicals, especially on the left. (The right wingnut radicals tend to be much harder core, and more dangerous. Many of their plots are of the kind we never learn about, and they can be very nasty indeed.)

So, while I realize you regard me as a goose stepping Nazi, and won't even bother to think about what I've written here (if you've even read this far), in reality I feel sorry for them, and wish they'd climb off the ledge, answer the questions, and go home.

If they don't, then they get to pay the price of civil disobedience. In this case, I think it'll be a pretty stiff price. From what I can surmise, the feds are damned deadly serious here. Like I say, I don't think about these particular people, but about the possibility of a deeper and much more malevolent anarchist network than anyone realizes.

Funny thing about such networks is that, at some point, at the hard core, "left" and "right" tend to merge, and/or become rather meaningless. Maybe I'm wrong, but I really doubt the feds are putting this much juice into it just to find out what books some hipster posers are reading. Once more, I'd be surprised if the subjects of this story are part of any hard core. I take them for being naive kids caught up in something a whole lot bigger than themselves. They really need to do a 180, and their fake "progressive" Seattle rah-rah crowd ought to take a breather for a second and ask themselves whether those lives are worth throwing away for some newly discovered, legally groundless "principle" that The Stranger and the rest will forget within a few months.
91
I did, in fact, think about what you've posted...it's just that there isn't THAT much to think about it...every post you've made on this subject is nothing but a variant on the theme of "the law is the law".

As to not being able to hear different views...I'm amazed that you don't see the projection in your own post there. You have this weirdly absolute view that cooperating with the prosecutor, who is clearly acting in an illegitimate manner, is an obligation. You may not be a "goose-stepping Nazi"(nothing I've said about you actually comes close to that phraseology)but you do seem to think that authority is infallible.

You also seem to think that the grand jury system is the one thing that stands between us and chaos. Would you kindly say why?

And why do you disgregard the fact that, if they answered those questions, they could never be activists for social justice and social change again? That they would be obligated to become unquestioning and total supporters of the status quo?

Why SHOULD they give up their ability to act for change? Why should they check their souls at the door of life?

And what, really, did the May Day people do that so inflames you? This was just about a few broken windows. Why does it even matter that those windows were broken?

Finally, I only went to two colleges...a decade and a half apart(life intervened, as it does for many). Why is it that you can't accept that I might simply disagree with you?

I don't think I'm superior to you...or to anyone else...I simply reject your notion of blind obedience to the state. Not sure why you can't tolerate that-or why, of all the institutions we have in this country, the freaking GRAND JURY SYSTEM is more important to you than anyone else? Why is obeying a life-hating prosecutor more important to you than freedom of speech and freedom of association?

You sound like the "good cop" in an interrogation situation...the one who won't let up with the faux-sympathetic condescension until those he disagrees with cave in. Sad.

92
Why ARE you so obsessed with seeing these brave kids cave in, anyway? You make it sound like they owe it to the whole country to surrender their consciences and betray their friends. Why is that? Would any good be done to anyone but the wealthiest of the wealthy if they did?

And what, exactly, would be lost if these kids were allowed to prevail on this? Is it that big of a deal that a few people would get away with breaking a few trivial windows?

And can anything good happen in a society where obedience to the state is the highest value?
93
Merry Christmas, Sarah Baby!
94
You also seem to think that the grand jury system is the one thing that stands between us and chaos. Would you kindly say why?

I never wrote that, nor did I imply it. They don't do much of a job teaching reading up in Hooterville North, do they?

And why do you disgregard the fact that, if they answered those questions, they could never be activists for social justice and social change again? That they would be obligated to become unquestioning and total supporters of the status quo?

There you go again, Sarah Baby! It's all black and white, and anyone who doesn't see it your way is "bad."

you do seem to think that authority is infallible

I never wrote that, or implied it. You really need to tune out those transmissions from the CIA through the fillings in your teeth.

Not sure why you can't tolerate that-or why, of all the institutions we have in this country, the freaking GRAND JURY SYSTEM is more important to you than anyone else?

I never wrote that, nor did I imply it, Sarah Baby. Is there something in the water up in Hooterville North?

Why is obeying a life-hating prosecutor more important to you than freedom of speech and freedom of association?

No one has denied anyone freedom of speech or association, Sarah Baby!
95
Mister G is certainly compelled to have the last word, even if it's the wrong one.
96
He sort of turned into a fifth-grade bully on the playground in that last post.

97
And G-Man, let me just say this...

You have the right to disagree with me, I have the right to disagree with you.

It's just that I'm not obligated to DEFER to you. OK, buddy?
98
So, Sarah Baby can dish it out, but she can't take it. Typical "progressive." The minute someone informs them that, yes, their shit also stinks, they become oh so wounded. Are you trying to make me laugh at you, Sarah, or was it by mistake?
99
My goodness, someone should tuck in Mister G for the night. Doesn't he know that when one starts calling names, one has obviously lost the argument, as they have nothing left to add to the discussion?
100
Ah yes, #99, we have a "progressive" who objects to name calling, but only when the "progressives" are the target. Let your critics be the target of name-calling, and you're fine with it.

There's a name for you: Hypocrite.
101
#100...would you mind explaining why you keep putting the word "progressive" in quotes?

Do you see the word as a euphemism for something more insidious? If so, what?

For myself, I prefer the term radical. Without quote marks. Object to it if you will, but do accept the fact that it's honestly held to.

What term would you use to describe your own place on the spectrum, btw?

You appear to believe you can unchallengeably claim to be the only honest person in this comments section. Really, if others are bullshitting, as you see it, why shouldn't we assume you are also bullshitting?

Why should we assume(as you wish us to)that your "take" on life is somehow intrinsically more "real" than anybody else's?

I make no claims at all to personal superiority, and am no hipster. Just another member of the normal human race. And I'm fully aware that mine stinks as much as anyone else's.
102
A party's inability to comply with a judicial order constitutes a defense to a charge of civil contempt US v. Rylander 460 US 752, 757 103 S. Ct. 1548, 75 L. Ed. 2d 521 (1983)

All they have to do is claim the remedy available in the same bible they are asked to swear in on.

Romans 3:4 (KJV) 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

"If God says I am a liar, Judge, then I cannot possibly truthfully testify before the grand jury."

It's a judicial remedy, and even says this in the verse. I'm not a christian, but if they want to play games, their bible gives an out...