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Announcement :: Education : Environment : Human Rights : Media : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
Resisting Political Repression Conference
07 Feb 2006
Modified: 09:15:02 PM
"NO" TO THE GRAND JURY!
Click on image for a larger version

grandjur.jpg
Resisting Political Repression Conference

Saturday, February 11, 2006,
2:00pm until 6:00pm
Roxbury Community College Cafeteria
1234 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA

Four former members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, John Bowman, Ray Boudreaux, Harold Taylor, and Hank Jones, will speak at a
program designed to help organize resistance to government repression held at Roxbury Community College. Last fall all four were jailed for refusing to collaborate with a San Francisco Grand Jury investigating a police shooting that took place in 1971.

In the 1970s, Taylor and Bowman were tortured for several days by law enforcement authorities in striking similarity to the methods used on
detainees in US prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. In 1974, a court in Los Angeles ruled that police had engaged in what amounted to torture to extract a confession from one of the men and threw out the tortured statement, and in 1976, a San Francisco judge dismissed indictments against them finding that the prosecution had failed to tell the Grand
Jury that the men’s confessions had been coerced. However, last fall all four men were subpoenaed as part of a new investigation into the three decades old crime.

At age 70, Hank Jones describes the impact of the new Grand Jury investigation, “Today, as I attempt to maintain a normal existence, to
work and attend to my family, I live under the constant threat of another subpoena, or even another incarceration. I am therefore compelled to resist these tactics and inform the public of my recent experience, feeling that something similar could happen to anyone given the climate of fear, paranoia, and abuse of authority that is rampant in our country today.”

“The purpose of this event is to gather support for Grand Jury resisters, and to develop a network of support for all progressive and anti-colonial movements against government repression,” said Marta Rodriguez, a member
of Jericho Boston.

“The 1970s saw the U.S. Government's use of the Grand Jury system as a tool of persecution against those who organized against the Vietnam war, police brutality, racism, sexism, and in support of anti colonial struggles, here and around the world. The Grand Jury system, once thought of as a tool to protect the innocent from unlawful prosecution, became a
tool in the government's broad witch hunts against political dissidents, intended to turn activists into informers against each other. Some
activists, like those in the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, were able to protect their work, by refusing to collaborate,” explained Rodriguez, who will speak at the event on the history of Grand Jury resistance by the
Puerto Rican Independence Movement.

Danae Kelley, an animal liberation activist who spent 74 days in jail in San Diego after a federal judge ruled she was in contempt of court for
refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigation of the animal liberation and environmentalist movements, will also speak. Ms.
Kelley was released only after prosecutors lifted her immunity.

“I stand as firm today as I have before, I will never cooperate with a Grand Jury! Even though I realize with my immunity lifted I may be watched as a target, named a suspect, or even face an indictment - I will always stand strong in my innocence and will not be threatened,” Ms. Kelley stated.

Andy Stepanian, a defendant in the SHAC 7 case which goes to trial Monday, February 6th, in Trenton NJ, and the founder of the Long Island, NY branch of the Animal Defense League, will also speak. Mr. Stepanian is being tried in federal court on charges of conspiracy, interstate stalking and harassment based on information published on a website listing actions against animal research companies. Andrea Lindsay, a spokeswoman for the group said, “The government contends it rises to the level of domestic terrorism. We say it's free speech.”

SPEAKERS:

J. Soffiyah Elijah, human rights activist and attorney. Attorney Elijah was an expert witness in the recent California case in which several
Panther veterans were jailed for resisting a political grand jury. “It's been well-documented that well over 30 members of the Black Panther Party across the United States were assassinated by the FBI, or in tandem with
the FBI and local police force operatives.” Attorney Elijah stated.

John Bowman, a former Black Panther from California who worked in the Panthers' free breakfast program, free medical clinics, and tenant organizing. Mr. Bowman will speak about torture, COINTELPRO and human rights violations. He is a co- founder of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights.

Ray Michael Boudreaux, a former Black Panther and Vietnam War veteran. Mr. Boudreaux will speak about COINTELPRO and human rights violations. He is a co- founder of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights.

Hank Jones, a former Black Panther who helped to found the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights to educate, inform, and try to move people to action against the repressive policies that are in effect in the U.S.
today. Mr. Jones will also speak about COINTELPRO and human rights violations.

Harold Taylor, a former Black Panther who was tortured by police in the early 1970s will also speak about torture, COINTELPRO and human rights violations.

Marta Rodriguez of the New England Committee to Defend Palestine and Jericho Boston. Ms. Rodriguez worked with the Puerto Rican Independence Movement in Chicago in the late 1970s, when a grand jury subpoenaed six
Puerto Rican independence supporters from Chicago and three Mexican political activists from the southwest. She will speak about how Puerto Rican activists frustrated the U.S. government in its attempts to break the Puerto Rican Independence Movement by refusing to collaborate with the grand juries.

Danae Kelley, is an animal liberation activist who spent 74 days in jail in San Diego after a federal judge ruled she was in contempt of court for
refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigation of the animal liberation and environmentalist movements.

Andrew Stepanian is one of the SHAC7. He is on trial in federal court in New Jersey, and if convicted he and his six co-defendants could be
sentenced to 13 years in prison and fined up to $750,000. Mr. Stepanian was an instructor on environmental issues in a special-education program in Nassau County, and was active in Food Not Bombs, which collects food
from local stores and distributes it to the needy. He is the founder of the Long Island, NY branch of the Animal Defense League.

Anthony J. Nocella, II, is co-editor with Steven Best of 'Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals', and 'Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of Mother Earth' (forthcoming April 2006,
AK Press). He currently works with Central New York Earth First!, Syracuse Animal Rights Organization, the Syracuse chapter of the Jericho Movement, and is a member of the Syracuse Quaker Meeting. Mr. Nocella will speak
about the current grand jury investigations into the environmental and animal rights movements

SPONSORS:

The Boston Chapter of the Jericho Movement,
Fund the Dream,
the Boston Animal Defense League,
the Boston Anarchist Black Cross,
the Community Church of Boston,
American Friends Service Committee,
the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and
the New England Committee to Defend Palestine.
See also:
http://www.jerichoboston.org

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Comments

Re: Resisting Political Repression Conference
09 Feb 2006
this is good timing to the surveillance scandal that everyone seems to have just realized is happening all the time in this country. there are people locked up in some of the most hellish conditions, 30 and 35 years in solitary confinement, due to the same lies, illegal surveillance, frameups, torture, kidnapping and government-orchestrated thuggery that they claim not to be doing today. if there is any justice in the usa, it will have to include the generations of political prisoners buried in its dungeons.
Right on, finally!
09 Feb 2006
I'm so glad to have a chance to meet some of the people who went through all that madness from the COINTELPRO era, and give them the hero's welcome they deserve!
These people could blow the lid off any attempts at sanctimony by the US government about illegal surveillance, frameups, kidnapping, torture, etc, etc....