Indigenous Man In Arizona Imprisoned For Social Media satire.

Enough 14

Page, Arizona – Loren Reed, a 26-year-old Diné (Navajo) man, is set for trial on May 4, 2021 for a trumped-up federal charge of “Threats to Damage and Destroy a Building by Means of Fire” after he engaged in a heated debate over Black Lives Matter protest tactics[1] in a private Facebook chat group created to organize a local police brutality protest. Reed has been held in federal pretrial detention without bail for ten months after a prior high school acquaintance reported him to the police for a different satirical social media post about planning a protest or ‘riot’ at the courthouse that never actually happened. An undercover FBI agent then infiltrated the private chat group, and monitored numerous messages exchanged by Reed and his friends. After this intrusive monitoring of speech, and lacking any real evidence, Reed was quickly and violently arrested in his neighborhood on June, 2, 2020. Nothing incriminating was found during or after the arrest, despite officers thoroughly searching Reed’s home and even his housemates.

“This federal charge is unconstitutional because there was never a legally-justified ‘true threat’ contained in the posts that would remove the broad protections of the First Amendment that apply even to vitriolic or offensive speech,[2]” said CLDC Executive Director Lauren Regan, one of the attorneys assisting Loren Reed on the case. “The supposed “threat” was never communicated to any target or victim, there was no intent to act or any evidence of an intent to act, and there is no lawful basis to federally prosecute someone for speech only – much less an Indigenous organizer confronting racism in a very conservative region of Arizona.”

“Prosecuting someone in these circumstances takes us down the slippery slope of what is protected speech versus what is a ‘true threat’ justifying criminal prosecution. We must hold strong to the outer limits of the First Amendment or we all lose the right to freely speak our minds. Today the criminalized speech may pertain to Black Lives Matter protests, but tomorrow it could be religion, science, or other political beliefs.” Regan said.

Over the course of the next ten months, Reed was held without formal charge for a month in the Coconino County Jail, where he contracted COVID-19 and where his close friend had died the year before after being denied medical care.[3] He was later transferred to a private for-profit  federal detention center in Florence, Arizona, a polluted copper mining town turned prison industrial complex hub. Reed was not indicted with a crime until late September. His trial has now been delayed three times and is currently set for May 4, 2021.

The U.S. Attorney’s office blames the pandemic for the following nine months of additional detention in which Reed was denied a speedy trial –  or even bail –  and in which it filed three separate motions to ‘extend’ his case. However, that has not stopped the government from attempting to bury this miscarriage of justice by informally suggesting an oppressive plea agreement that would result in a felony conviction, and likely probationary sentence.

“For an Indigenous person who faces the reality of institutional racism in his daily life, being threatened with a conviction for a crime he did not commit is a precarious, life-devastating burden,” stated Klee Benally, a longtime Diné (Navajo) sacred lands advocate and organizer from Flagstaff, Arizona. “It is courageous of Loren to refuse to accept this atrocious deal. While it could free him from custody immediately, it would endanger organizers and activists in the future by further criminalizing speech. Loren is taking a powerful stand, and we need to stand right there with him.”

Reed, a rapper who is known as a sensitive yet enthusiastic jokester, adamantly denies that there was any threat implied in his posts. Anyone reading them[4] with an open mind would agree. And yet, the State wants to saddle a young Indigenous man with a felony conviction that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

“This is yet another attempt to control the speech and tone of a person of color amidst a year of heartbreaking – and increasingly fatal – racially-motivated police violence. Appallingly, in this situation the State has chosen to exploit a snitch’s biased complaint to police[5] in order to further perpetuate this cycle of violence,” said Regan.

“We are calling on the federal prosecutor to immediately dismiss the charge in the interests of justice. Mr. Reed has already served over 10 months in pretrial detention for speech that did not actually threaten anyone,” she added.

“As Indigenous justice advocates, we stand with Loren Reed. The criminalization of Loren — and his right to free speech — is an ongoing violation of Indigenous rights and overall justice,” said Morning Star Gali of the Pit River Tribe, a lifelong Indigenous rights advocate with Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples who is currently based out of Sacramento, California.

“We also need to talk about the racism at play here,” said CLDC Attorney Sarah Alvarez. “Already, the feds are declining to prosecute, electing to charge petty misdemeanors, and/or negotiating lenient plea deals[6] for the white supremacists that assaulted the U.S. Capitol on January 6. They have also entirely turned a blind eye toward the hundreds of far-right individuals who threatened politicians and police via social media. Meanwhile, an Indigenous man has been sitting in jail without due process for 10 months – all over a tongue-in-cheek social media post where no violence or property damage ever occurred nor was ever intended to occur. It’s difficult to prove this in court, but Mr. Reed’s case is a textbook example of race-based disparate treatment, and it needs to end with an immediate dismissal of the charge against him.”

Reed is scheduled for a jury trial starting May 4 but there’s still time for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice to do the right thing and immediately drop the charge to let him return to his life.

Notes

[1] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss Due to Likely Presentation of Inaccurate, Incomplete or Misleading Information to Grand Jury at 4, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021).

[2] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss for Inadequate Indictment at 6, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021)

[3] “Jail footage shows Kyle Martinson yell for help before death,” Arizona Daily Sun, June 17, 2019. https://azdailysun.com/news/jail-footage-shows-kyle-martinson-yell-for-help-before-death/article_ea48524d-8991-50cd-91a9-8f67ae8ec3c8.html

[4] “Indigenous man faces 10 years for Facebook comments,” Al Jazeera, January 19, 2021. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/19/holdindigenous-man-faces-10-years-for-facebook-comments-during-b

[5] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss for Selective Enforcement & Selective Prosecution; Mot. for Discovery at 5, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021)

[6] “Many Capitol rioters unlikely to serve jail time,” Politico. March 30, 2021. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/30/jan-6-capitol-riot-jail-time-478440

Protests Break Out Across US Over Police Shooting of Daunte Wright

Abolition Media Worldwide

The Minnesota police murder of Daunte Wright reignited impassioned protests across many US cities Monday night — with a riot in Portland, Oregon, as hundreds attacked cops.

A second night of demonstrations boiled in Brooklyn Park, where the murder occured, while protesters gathered in other cities in a show of unity. Researchers were able to locate and publicly post the address of the pig who murdered Daunte, driving her from her home.

“Burn the precincts to the ground, in every city and every town!” chanted marchers in Portland. Demonstrations happened in Los Angeles, California, while areas of Seattle, Washington, were covered in anti-cop graffiti as protesters repeatedly blocked main roads.

Protesters streamed through a Washington, DC, subway station, jumping over turnstiles, as hundreds gathered at the capital. In New York, marchers shut down a portion of the Manhattan Bridge on Monday night.

The strongest actions took place in Portland, Oregon, as revolutionaries tried to storm the Penumbra Kelly Building, which houses offices for multiple law enforcement agencies, including Portland police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. People threw glass bottles, frozen water bottles, rocks, ball bearings and shot fireworks at the police and the building.

Elsewhere in the city, a group cut through a chain-link fence to access a parking lot at the historic building that houses Portland Police Bureau traffic offices at the same time as the riot was happening. They succeeded in smashing windows and slashing tires of several police vehicles.

Reflections on the passing of the D of E.

D of E mid left, her maj the Q sixth from left, King of the jungle (deceased) foreground.

What can one say about an old man that died? Lifelong family man and public* servant, went to war, dedicated to the nation – ah, that old manifestation of class antagonisms. Nothing to speak of, nothing that couldn’t be said of countless unknown Working Class folk, many of whom will have died on the battlefield or perished in prison and poverty inflicted by the British ruling class, unsung and un-celebrated. No cannon fired for these – not yet.

* The word ‘public’ as in -interest, -property, -safety, -ownership, etc, means nothing more than ‘state’; and the state doesn’t represent any people, just a mode of production.

That he was so casually racist he was blissfully unaware of it, that when he used his influence he pushed downwards and backwards, that he was habitually miserable to animals and foreigners despite being one himself. Of course, when you’re a member of a European dynasty, descendant of the Romanov tyrants, grandson of the Prince Of Battenberg, cousin of the British Queen and heir to the Greek and Danish thrones, place of birth doesn’t count, borders are only for plebs*.

* In case you needed reminding, borders are there to maintain differentials in prices and wages, which boost the mark-up on manufacturing.

The nation that rejoices in drowning refugees sent a warship for the Greek royal family then under the Truman doctrine hired a gang of Nazi war criminals to wipe out its victorious wartime resistance and keep its people in check. Not a peep out of the blunt-speaking Phillip as his people became the underdogs of Europe, playthings of the C.I.A. and international capital. The self-described “refugee” likewise had nothing to say about the latter day asylum-seekers deported from his homeland in defiance of international law. You can’t credibly claim to be apolitical when laws are enacted, parliament convened and wars declared in the name of your ol’ lady.

A conservationist who shot a tiger, along with a crocodile and six mountain sheep on holiday in India and allegedly accounted for over thirty thousand peasants. I’m no vegan, but could a chap eat thirty thousand pheasants in a lifetime? That’s getting on for one a day.

Now don’t mistake me for someone who gives a shit, we will see his like again, and again. I’m only driven to comment by the shameless hypocrisy. His long awaited demise couldn’t have come at a better time for the executive with its institutions universally discredited. Pfeffle’s long-winded grandstanding, even to the extent of celebrating the Duke’s verbal gaffes, surpassed only by his own, is a exercise in bad taste. Career brown-nose Keir Starmer will struggle to get his head out of there before they bury the old codger, and even Sinn Fein queued dutifully to kiss the royal sphincter.

The Duke is a poster boy for the ruling class’ fascist revival: ultra-conservative, obedient, grateful, backward-looking and dedicated to the fiction of national interest. Keep your place, one step behind, take what you can get, never complain and never do anything worth mentioning.

– Mal Content.

Free Siyanda demo in Cardiff 10th April.

freesiyanda.com

France: Everyone in solidarity with the Black Feather

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement

La Plume Noire, a UCL bookstore in Lyon, was attacked on Saturday March 20 by a fascist commando. It is an attack against the entire UCL, but, beyond that, against all the forces of progress and against our social camp. An attack that takes place in a nauseating climate where racist controversies are linked in the media, driven by the highest summit of the State.

The UCL took the initiative of a national appeal for support, broad and united, which received numerous signatures from unions, political organizations and parties, associations and collectives. A national event is planned in Lyon on Saturday April 3.

On Saturday March 20 at 2 p.m., the La Plume Noire bookstore located at 8 rue Diderot on the slopes of Croix-Rousse, was attacked by around fifty

More

Batley Grammar School protests

Anarchist Communist Group.

You may have heard of the controversy over the teacher suspended at Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire. There are conflicting reports, but we are told that a teacher showed an image of Muhammad as part of a religious education lesson. Some claim it was a cartoon, some claim it was specifically a Charlie Hebdo cartoon, others that it was the Danish cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Children at the school have started a petition to reinstate the teacher, stating that the image was shown in the context of a lesson about racism and blasphemy, and that the intent was to counter discrimination and intolerance.

The liberal impulse has been to worry about offence given to “the Muslim community”. But there is not one, homogenous “Muslim community”, there are many communities and there are debates within those communities.

Read more

 

Newsletter from PSC Soton

See newsletter from PSC Soton

Dear PSC Soton Subscriber

I hope you are keeping safe and well.   I am just emailing you, on behalf of the local group, as a very valued member of PSC Soton mailing list.  I am attempting to follow in Cathryn’s heroic footsteps as the new secretary of the Soton branch so she can concentrate more on activities which she does so well.

This new mailing list format is one that is also used and approved by the National PSC Campaign.  And we also have a brand new twitter account you can follow us at called, unsurprisingly enough, @PscSouthampton

Anyway, here is some info about some forthcoming online events, etc, you might find of interest.  We very much look forward to meeting people in person again once it is safe to do so.

Best wishes

Andy

Collectives prepare for historical visit of Zapatista movement in Madrid

Voices in Movement

Written by Miguel Muñoz on February 1, 2021, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

On February 2, 2001, a march called La Marcha del Color de la Tierra set out from Chiapas, Mexico. On March 11 after thousands of kilometers it arrived to the capital Mexico City. The mobilization of the  Zapatista delegation proved symbolic and had a strong resonance with a whole generation of social movements throughout Europe. After two decades, another historic event will take place. Several Zapatista delegations will visit the European continent in July, August and September. In Madrid and other territories, different social movements are already preparing for the meeting.

“We have decided: That it is time for hearts to dance again, and that neither their song nor their steps should be those of lamentation or resignation. Diverse Zapatista delegations, men, women and other colored people of our land, shall go out to travel the world, we shall walk or sail to remote lands, seas and skies, seeking not the differences, nor superiority, nor offense, much less apologies and pity”. This is one of the paragraphs from  A Mountain on the High Seas communique announced last October by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN-Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) and endorsed by its current spokesperson, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

“After 20 years we set sail and march to tell the planet that, in the world that we perceive within our collective hearts, there is room for all of us, everyone, all of them. Simply and sincerely because this world is only attainable if all of us, all women and men, all together, fight to build it”, says another part of the text.

As a result of this declaration, the entire movement began organizing to receive the Zapatista delegation, which will not only be made up of the EZLN but also members of the National Indigenous Council and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Consejo Nacional Indígena o y del Frente de los Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra) . This past week the first assembly was held among the collectives that will be participating in the preparations.

“There have been collectives supporting Zapatismo all over Europe for years,” Danaé, a member of the Y Retiemble collective, created in 2017, tells Cuartopoder. In addition, coordination and networks have taken place all over Europe. “People in Madrid were already getting organized through a network called Europa Zapatista in order to join together and connect with Mexico,” he adds.

A member of Y Retiembre explains that one of the messages that has been very clear from the Zapatista movement is that they have to “mobilize and organize”. The first date for activities are August 13, with a gathering in Madrid for the anniversary of the arrival of Hernán Cortés to Tenochtitlán. This is a proposal of the Zapatista community itself. Next, the “Meeting of Struggles for Life” (Encuentro de Luchas por la Vida) is scheduled for September 6-19.

“It is a meeting in the traditional Zapatista style. We are using the term meeting in the context used by the Zapatistas. It’s not the usual forum type format but rather a meeting about all the struggles that are going on. To meet each other as people,” explains Danaé.

To achieve this, a framework of 7 main themes of struggles has been devised: social rights, feminist and gender identities; anti-racist struggles, internationalist and decolonial struggles; defense of  land and territory; historical memory and freedom of expression; work and migration; art, culture and media. In addition, more activities will be held between now and September to the extent it is possible due to the health situation.

“The Zapatistas come to listen to us and narrate their struggles,” explains Danaé. For that reason, it is also intended that through specific visits, they get to know different collectives and specific struggles in the city of Madrid. From now on, groups will be created by topic and planned activities will be announced. Some initiatives are already underway, such as the distribution of a board game on Zapatismo, which can be purchased online. The collected funds will be used to finance activities. More than 2,000 copies have already been sold. For support groups this is a “historic meeting”. “Normally the Zapatistas have received many people in Mexico, but a tour at this level has never happened before,” says Danaé.

However, there is a gap in the memory of a whole generation within the Zapatista movement. For many years the main figure of the EZLN was Subcomandante Marcos who was very present in the social and political struggles of our country. “There is a generation that is very aware of what Zapatismo is. That is exactly why we are having this meeting. The goal is to organize here, we want to say that we are fighting for life.  We are setting up this meeting hoping to restore these messages because we are aware many people don’t know about the Zapatista proposal. It is very important that these messages resonate with the struggles here because there are many things that coincide”, concludes Danaé.

Red and Black Telly roundup.







Defend Rhodri! Retaliation at Berwyn

Prisoner Solidarity Network

The Prisoner Solidarity Network have just received news that Rhodri ab Eilian was assaulted by prison staff at HMP Berwyn yesterday (10th February 2021). This attack comes less than two weeks after Rhodri stepped forward to speak publicly about discrimination, racism, and the denial of language rights at the prison. Both Rhodri and the PSN see this assault as a clear example of retaliatory violence and call on everyone to mobilise urgently in Rhodri’s defence.

Following yesterday’s attack, one of the staff involved threatened further violence, telling another prisoner he was going to “punch his little head in.” Rhodri knew the risks and still did what’s right. It’s our responsibility now to defend him. We’re calling on people to: Contact relevant authorities to demand Rhodri’s safety and ensure disciplinary action is taken against the responsible staff. We’ve compiled a list of contacts below and a template email you can use.

To whom it may concern, I’m contacting you to request an urgent intervention in response to staff violence at HMP Berwyn. You will be aware of ongoing concerns about discrimination, racism, and the denial of language rights at the prison.

Yesterday (10th February 2021), less than two weeks after speaking publicly about conditions at Berwyn, Rhodri ab Eillian was assaulted by staff. Despite being fully compliant with instructions, ab Eillian was mobbed by a group of prison officers and subject to unprovoked and excessive restraint, leaving him with shooting pains through one arm and shoulder and bruising. His injuries have been logged by prison healthcare staff. This has been followed today by further threats from officer 777 – one of the group involved in the assault.

There is the clear implication this attack was retaliatory, following immediately on from ab Eillian’s public statements about staff misconduct at the prison. The use of intimidation and violence to suppress such allegations is completely unacceptable. This incident only exacerbates existing concerns regarding the management of the prison.

I’m contacting you to request you support calls to ensure ab Eillian’s safety and that appropriate measures are taken to address the prison officers responsible.

Yours sincerely,