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News :: Human Rights : Media : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
07 Mar 2006
Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!

After two years of courtroom battle, a very significant peoples' victory was won in court today in the case against longtime anti-war activist Richard Picariello. Picariello was acquitted on all charges in the first of the two cases. And the defense motion was granted to dismiss the second case arising out of a protest at a 2004 Bush fundraiser in Boston because of prosecution failure to provide required discovery information.
20050728-Free-Speech-Radio.jpg
These cases were a clear attempt to criminalize political protest. At the heart of the cases was a decades-long campaign of surveillance and harassment against Picariello. The dedicated defense team headed by peoples' lawyer John Pavlos was unswerving in pursuing the evidence of this, following the trail from a memo unearthed early in the case referring to involvement in the case by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The ensuing struggle to dig to the bottom of the police surveillance continued over 16 pre-trial hearings, sessions before federal judges, and the two day trial which began yesterday, March 6 and ended today, March 7. In the course of that struggle the U.S. attorney as well as the attorney for the Boston Police Department appeared in court and asserted that the information on the surveillance activity on Richard sought by the defense was privileged and would not be provided no matter how relevant it might be to his defense. John Reinstein, Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, joined the team to argue the defense's right to this information, and to appeal it before a federal judge, but the state continued to stonewall.

In the end, the case was able to open a window on the workings of Bush's super secret consolidation of secret police powers. Despite the denial of the appeal to federal court, the defense team succeeded in forcing the state to produce 2 police officers directly involved in the Boston Police Intelligence Unit and the Joint Terrorism Task Force to provide testimony and be cross-examined by the defense team. They admitted to the surveillance of Picariello going back many years and including folders of material from the 1970's. They described the centralization and coordination of police agencies under the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and daily or weekly briefings. They also confirmed that among those on whom surveillance was being carried out were not only Picariello but the International Action Center and Workers World Party. The names of specific police officers involved and their roles was also revealed.

As Richard Picariello told his supporters gathered after leaving the courthouse, this was an attempt to chill political activism and was directed not just against him but at all progressives. And the court struggle produced a victory in the battle against it in forcing a crack in the wall of secrecy around the growing secret police state apparatus of the Bush administration. Richard also acknowedged the crucial role of the continuous support he has received from dedicated political activists who turned out in support at each and every one of the 16 appearances and the two day final trial. That solidarity showed an understanding that we must stand as one in solidarity whenever the state attempts to crush our rights and stop it dead in its tracks. He highlighted ongoing cases that continue to need our support, particularly of Arabs and Muslims continuing to fall victim to the Bush administration's sweeps.
See also:
http://www.iacboston.org

This work is in the public domain.
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(Previously Published as a seperate article)
07 Mar 2006
A complete win for Richard. All charges wiped out. Two Sergeant-Detectives, i.e. middle management surveillance and "intelligence" cops, were forced to testify at the trial.
Richard Picariello was found Not Guilty on all three counts related to events at Park Street, and the DNC-related charges against him were dismissed "with prejudice".

The state has continued to prosecute this case, which originated in Richard's political activities, for about two years.

I was at the trial today -- amazingly, two
Boston Sargeant-Detectives were called to the stand, where they basically stonewalled while dropping tantalizing details about how they plan and supervise some of the political suppression in Boston.

I think the cops' stonewallling pissed off the judge,
and it was obvious that the facts of the case did not fit the picture that the prosecution was trying to paint.

The prosecuting attourney -- someone said she's an assistant D.A. -- seemed genuinely hostile while cross-examining Richard, in ways that did not always seem calculated to rattle the witness.

At one point, she asked Richard if he recognized eveyone on the courtroom benches, and if we were all connected with ANSWER.

The judge dismissed the DNC-realted charges "with prejudice", which I think means the prosecution can't bring back the charges. So all the charges against Richard are gone.

Richard was massively defended, with ACLU and NLG members at the defense table.

If you've been to court in Boston, then you know there were many, many other defendants and others folks who had to come to the court building today. There are always many people of color in court. And there are always people speaking many different languages, so it is common for the court to require an interpreter in Turkish, or Spanish, or sign language.

At lunch, I ran into a friend who works as a court interpreter.

I'm sure someone will post a better article -- I just wanted to get the word out about Richard's acquittal!

Yay!
Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
07 Mar 2006
Good news! Haven't had enough of that recently.
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
07 Mar 2006
thanks to wwp/iac and the defense team from the national lawyers' guild and aclu, who stood by richard as he was targeted for elimination (again). hopefully this is a trend which will continue- the community of people with consciences in boston coming out to defend our own when they get slammed by the police state.
thanks to john too for the article. nice work you all, and congratulations richard!
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
07 Mar 2006
hey, what do you know! people from all sorts of political leanings and allegiances came together for a common purpose--- and won!
maybe it's possible to cooperate against the common enemy after all...
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
07 Mar 2006
thanks to wwp/iac and the defense team from the national lawyers' guild and aclu, who stood by richard as he was targeted for elimination (again). hopefully this is a trend which will continue- the community of people with consciences in boston coming out to defend our own when they get slammed by the police state.
thanks to john too for the article. nice work you all, and congratulations richard!
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
09 Mar 2006
what did you win?

I believe you got justice that you deserved.
It is not like the man was an Angel, being picked on for no cause.

see the following article.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/story/225855p-193988c.html
Richard Picariello, 55, a '70s radical in the Boston area, a one-time member of the Fred Hampton Unit of the People's Army, named for a slain radical, also is known to be active in current causes.

"He has been talking to groups ... recruiting others into extreme measures," said a high-ranking police source.

In 1978, Picariello was sent to prison for helping to blow up a plane at Logan Airport, two National Guard trucks and a courthouse in Boston.

Since his release from federal prison, he has been involved in various groups, and has arrests for minor offenses such as refusing to move out of the way of President Bush's motorcade in Boston last March.

Picariello is allied with ANSWER (Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism). Efforts to reach him through ANSWER's New York office and through his Boston lawyer were not successful.
Down With Corporate Media!
09 Mar 2006
the NYDaily news. hahahahahaha! i'm crying over here i'm laughing so hard... hey, you forgot to quote this part of the article: "Fifty of the country's leading anarchists are expected to be in the city for the Republican National Convention, and a handful of them are hard-core extremists with histories of violent and disruptive tactics, according to police intelligence sources."

Nice Reading, dude! hard-core extremists... hahahahahaha
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
09 Mar 2006
Thank you for this article, well done. I'm really glad to hear about this case. I'm even more happy to know that something was done about the ridiculous survailance programs during the DNC.

Thanks again.

P.S Cops-r-us, anyone who was subject to this kind of survailance knows that it is compelete and utter, quite frankly, bull shit and supression of free speech and political protest... Thats all it was meant to do. And if we are going by the New York Daily News... then, as mentioned prior, we are all "terrorists." The point it, they take an action of political protest and turn it an act of war just because they think it will scare people into buying their paper.
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
15 Mar 2006
All the pacifists who supported a former terrorist are really hypocrits.Picariello could have killed innocent people on that plane or in the court house where him and his group planted bombs.I wonder how many were injured? Yes he served his time,but has he changed his mind about blowing things up and does he care about killing or injuring people?He sure hasn't apologized or acted sorry for his past crimes.Is it any wonder the police were keeping an eye on him.How would you feel if you were injured by some crazy fanatic that blew up a public place? People have been killed in the US for being at the wrong place at the wrong time by radical bombers in the 60's and 70's. And what did it change,absolutely nothing.People died and were injured because some delusional idiot thought he was a revolutionary.I can't support someone like that.I really hope he has changed his mind about blowing things up.It serves no purpose and will only hurt innocent people.It won't scare the state.He knows his stupid actions didn't change a thing.May be he got somekind of sick thrill or revenge for something society did to him.I guess we will never know what Picariello really thinks.
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
17 Mar 2006
"Picariello could have killed innocent people on that plane or in the court house ... has he changed his mind about blowing things up and does he care about killing or injuring people?He sure hasn't apologized or acted sorry for his past crimes."

Wow, you certainly are worried about all those people who didn't die or could have gotten injured. Don't you think it makes more sense to focus on the tens of thousands of people in Iraq who are actually dead as a result of our government's criminal war? They don't seem to be changing their minds about blowing people up, and I'd advise you not to wait for an apology from them for the torture and kidnappings and war crimes. I agree there was a fracturing of the radical movement in the 70's as a result of the government's tactics, and a consequent lack of accountability to the community. But not everyone is a pacifist, especially in self-defense, and letting the police state off the hook now for their fascist tactics which threaten all of us, in exchange for a movement's actions 25 or 30 years ago, makes no sense to me.

"I guess we will never know what Picariello really thinks."
Why don't you just ask him- he's not hard to find, and given his outspoken political stance, he's probably got a lot to say about your concerns.
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
18 Mar 2006
is that image equating free speech with masturbation or something?
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
20 Mar 2006
AWESOME graphic provided by:
http://www.drooker.com/
Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
24 Apr 2006
After two years of courtroom battle, a very significant peoples' victory was won in court today in the cases against longtime anti-war activist Richard Picariello. Picariello was acquitted on all charges in the first of the two cases. And the defense motion was granted to dismiss the second case arising out of a protest at a 2004 Bush fundraiser in Boston because of prosecution failure to provide required discovery information.
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Re: Peoples Victory in Picariello Case!
24 May 2006
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31 May 2006
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