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Peter Young's statement on SD Grand Jury

Below is Peter Young's statement on the grand jury situation in San Diego.
As I sit in a Madison, Wisconsin jail on federal animal enterprise terrorism charges, 5 years after Justin Samuel entered a Grand Jury room to offer a "full, complete and truthful statement" against me regarding my involvement in 6 mink farm raids in 1997, it is yet another burden upon me to hear of a current debate - a debate on whether to lend support to two of the three people jailed in San Diego for refusing testimony to a grand jury. One, the girlfriend of the aforementioned informant, Justin Samuel. The other, Justin's friend and vocal apologist - David Agranoff. Justin's one man PR machine in his attempt to reintegrate into the animal liberation movement after his informant work with the FBI. I'm told this subject of support is one of much discussion, and I feel it unfortunate that we find this debatable. That on the subject of snitches and those who enable them to walk among us, when it is not us that suffer the direct effects of informants we sit back and debate the issue from the comfort zone.

The view from behind bars is much different.

When they find themselves in the hot seat, we have an obligation first and foremost to defend our own. This does not apply, because I no longer consider them one of us. It is they who offered their after-the-fact collaboration with a person who was so quick to throw me to the wolves. Now I say - let them go to the wolves.

Before offering support to these two currently resisting a grand jury, let us ask where that voice of resistance was when the target was another. Their voice was clear, and it wasn't one of resistance - it was one of excuses, lies, and complicity. One's right to support is forfeited when they deny it to another. To turn informant for the FBI is to forfeit that right. To publicly defend and therefore enable an informant to walk among us is to forfeit that right. And with so much on the line, to stand beside either one is to forfeit that right. Until this month, the message of both these grand jury resisters was: it's ok to inform on another, to condemn them to a 5 to 10 year prison sentence to save yourself. Now these same people stand before us, puffing their chests, full of feigned bravado, telling us with straight faces they sit in jail to defend our movement from attack. But their sudden distaste for FBI cooperation is too little, too late.

So exactly what form of "attack" do they oppose? Across my cell as I write this sits a large stack of legal paperwork, including portions of Justin Samuel's testimony against me. They collective effort of the world's most powerful domestic agency could not pull together evidence as damaging as what came from Justin Samuel's mouth. You could say I've never felt so "attacked." So now we see the only attacks they oppose are the ones against themselves. And it [sic] these people whose merits and worth are being debated. But they burned their bridge, so let them stand alone.

The crucial point is: one defends a snitch out of empathy - they see themselves in that person. Today's snitch apologists are tomorrow's snitches.

So support them? Yes, of course support them. In the Grand Jury room, there is no harmless information. So support them as one would support a ticking bomb - with great, delicate care; out of fear for what they might do. Support as babies, whose hands must be held until the passing of the storm. Support them for fear they too will join that club of their dear friend, entering that small, reviled choir of those who "didn't tell them anything they didn't already know, I swear."

I hope to see us capitalize upon this opportunity to make the very firm, far-reaching message that snitches and their collaborators will find themselves alone. Not for revenge, but for survival. For there will be more damage done by informants and those who harbor them, more fallen activists in their wake - and you may be among them.

Peter Young
Dane County Jail
Madison, WI
August 2005

As of this writing, a third woman - Danae Kelley - sits in jail for refusing testimony to this same grand jury. She is nothing less than a hero of great fortitude, and I wish nothing less for her than the whole of our support. May she be out soon.