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green scare | prisons & prisoners

the guilty pleas in the green scare

i just want to say something about the people giving guilty pleas in the green scare.
the federal government does not have physical evidence on this case. if they did, they wouldn't be relying on this informant to give them information. they were counting on breaking down the wills of the various defendants until they were so afraid of the threats of the government that they would rat on each other. now, it seems, that is exactly what happened. i don't blame those people who pled guilty, necessarily -- they were under a lot of pressure, and very frightened. not everyone had a sister who could pay a million dollars bail to get them out.

so they were sitting in jail, afraid, alone, day after day being told by the feds that their friends have already ratted them out.....and no one is telling them otherwise!! i blame us, as a movement, for not giving these folks the support they needed to be able to stand up to these feds and their bullying tactics. i blame us, as a movement, for not stepping in fast to provide the legal support and the other forms of support to give these defendants the courage to plead not guilty.

so now, the federal government, with their cointelpro tactics, have taken another bite out of our movement. some good folks are going to jail, and are going to have to testify against another good folk, apparently the only one left who is pleading not guilty....and we'll have a whole bunch more jeff 'free' luers sitting inside jails.

where is our solidarity? are we going to let them crack us, as the cointelpro movement did in the 60s and 70s? haven't we yet learned from our parents' mistakes?? we have to stand together. because divided, alone, that's where they win - with their manipulation, breaking down of the will, their bullying. only by standing together can we face their tyranny. people power is ALL WE GOT! (well, and truth and justice on our side, etc etc)....they got the money, the guns, they got the government, they got the media, they got control of the population by indebting people so they work like crazy and are too afraid to stop and see what's happening, how they are a part of a machinery of death......all these folks one paycheck away from homelessness, and so afraid of homelessness they'll work three shit jobs to keep putting 90% of their paycheck into the landlord's pocket.......
THEY got the control in this place, in this country, on this planet. THEY: the owners, landlords, capitalists, the profit-driven madmen in the government and boardrooms.......and all we have is our people power. and believe me, it is power. and it is a power that they fear. but we gotta stick together. we can't let them take us down like this.

we gotta stick up for the people who are accused, beaten down psychologically, and bullied. we can't abandon them.

even now, even now that the feds managed to get them to plea bargain. we gotta support them, we gotta keep hanging on.......we can't abandon them. and please, remember, everybody! we can't abandon free luers. send books, send letters, these are the lifeline for someone inside. they need to know that someone supports them, that our movement hasn't been broken.....even if their own personal will has been broken by the feds, we still support them and love them.

don't think that you are better than these people - that you wouldn't have ratted out your friends.....you don't know what you would have done, after all the bullying and breaking down.....you don't TRULY know what you would have done in their place, so don't pretend that you are better or that you would have had the courage to hold fast....

but now, now that they have been broken, have given in........don't abandon them. just support them, don't judge them. don't abandon them.

there are black panthers, MOVE members, AIM members and others still in prison from the seventies til now.

i repeat: let's not make the same mistakes our parents did. we have to support these people......no matter what we may think of them pleading guilty......we can't let them break us as a movement by dividing us into individuals and cracking each person's will by using their tactics of threatening what that person loves most in the world....

now is the time to stay united, in struggle, in hope, and in revolution.
hasta la victoria.

I agree 27.Jul.2006 18:48

radical legal worker

God only knows what these folks have been told. Are they getting good legal advice? We do not know. I really feel for these people. If they have in fact made bad decisions, they will have to suffer this fact for the rest of their lives.

Enough is Enough! 27.Jul.2006 19:24

Remember

This article says a couple useful things but by and large it is unacceptable. If we have to divide our movement into those that supports snitching and those who will not tolerate it - then fair enough. So be it. But we must hold the line.

When it comes to the legal system, we must unite around this principle:

1) It is never acceptable to assist in the governmental prosecution of co-defendents or comrades and contribute their imprisonement to lessen your own sentence. It is unacceptable.

Some notes on this:

If people crack under pressure or torture, the movement should take this into consideration. But the cooperating individual needs to step forward and make public the circumstances in which they were coerced to cooperate and they need to the best they can through their lawyer or other means to reverse the consequences their cooperation up to that point will have on their co-defendents.

This post references the freedom fighters from the Panthers and AIM lingering in US prisons to this day - this is one of the more useful parts of the post however, one thing that needs to be said about these individuals is recognize that these people are where they are in part because they stayed true to their principles and refused to help with prosecution of their friends, loved ones and comrades. We must remember all those who have stayed true to their principles and the movement refused to cooperate. If it wasn't for those people all our movements would have died a long time ago.

The defendent you mentioned acheiving bail through the help of his sister actually helped the possibility of bail for other defendents, not hurt it.

Not So Good/Evil 27.Jul.2006 20:48

compassionate skeptic

In regards to wehther our movement needs to divide into those who support snitches and those that don't: I think that captures the whole problem here. I don't think it is so easy to divide people into those that snitch and those that don't. People don't seem to be defending Jake as much as seeking compassion for Kevin Tubbs, Darren Thurston, and Chelsea Gerlach. Sure - some that snitch are easy to categorize and some that don't snitch are easy to categorize. But there is a lot of grey area in the middle...not all cooperating witnesses have the same degree of culpability in terms of snitching, and I feel like that is getting lost in this debate.

What does it mean to cooperate? Does it matter if you only incriminate yourself and take a plea bargain? Does it matter under what conditions people cracked? Does it matter how long it took them to crack? Or once you fuck up it doesn't matter if you held out 5 days, 40 days, or 5 years? I think its significant that Jonathan Paul and Daniel McGowan got bail while Darren Thurston and Chelsea Gerlach didn't. Of course Jonathan Paul and Daniel McGowan have stated their innocence and very well might be. But the pressure they feel to take a plea bargain (regardless of their guilt or innocence) is going to be a great deal less and the support against "snitching" they get is going to be a great deal more than an isolated individual told goodess knows what while in jail. [Nathan and Joyanna are not cooperating and are in custody - although they were arrested months after Chelsea and Darren and others]. If you agree to cooperate and everyone you could implicate is already cooperating, does that count for the same? (For example person X,Y and Z are accused -- person X and Y cooperate. When Z cooperates do we condmen them just the same?) What about if you can go to jail for 5 years instead of 50 for agreeing to testify against someone who hasn't been caught, is believed out of the country, and may never be caught? What about if you take that same deal in return for giving information about someone who passed away? Are all those circumstnaces equivalent - because I'll bet you those are what a number of those cooperating defendants was balancing these very issues when deciding whether to take their plea...

Second of all: It bothers me a great deal that so much more energy is going to attack and hate those who talked and cooperated than going to those help those who are not-cooperating and have asserted their innocence by pleading not-guilty. My impression is that some of the cooperators are getting lengthy hate mail. If you want to write a 10 page letter to someone - write a nice letter to those who aren't cooperating. Support them. Organize a benefit for them. Take this as an opportunity to do something more for those who aren't cooperating.

Regardless of our opinion on snitch versus not snitch versus compassion towards those who cracked under pressure, I think we can all agree (or mostly agree) that the majority of energy and resources should be going to support those currently not cooperating (Daniel, Jonathan Paul, Nathan, Joyanna - and Brianna Waters - I presume). Spending energy campaigning against those who are cooperating, writing them hate mail, screaming about them - is spending your time energy and resources on them instead of putting your time, energy and resources where your mouth is -- supporting those who aren't cooperating.


Third: How can any of us who haven't taken the risks some of these folks apparently have taken sit on the side lines and give them hell about how they react to getting caught? If you don't take risks, you're unlikely to get caught, and you're unlikely to have to suffer the moral quandray of whether to spend your whole life in jail or just 10 years of it?

These are some folks that took major risks and took actions that many celebrated. Now because they didn't hold up under pressure we didn't have to face - folks are condmening them and refusing to support them. I certainly understand the personal sense of betrayal when non-cooperating friends lives are on the line. However, as one defendante wrote me -- people are so slow to support -and so fast to withdraw support. Seems to me that part of what is going on hear is a damn easy way to escape the responsibility for long-term suppor for these people.

I sure hope everyone on here condemning the greenscare defendants who are cooperating is actively working on behalf of thsoe who are not cooperating or accused Tre Arrow or freeing Free or the equivalent.

[ 28.Jul.2006 01:00

]

"1) It is never acceptable to assist in the governmental prosecution of co-defendents or comrades and contribute their imprisonement to lessen your own sentence. It is unacceptable."


I also think it is not so meaningful to take an unrelenting stand but not look too much at the bigger picture. Sure it is admirable when someone is able to stand on principle in the harshest of circumstances, but we should also understand and have compassion for those who have not been able to. Not condone, but understand.

How many people get up each day and go to a job that does nothing to change the dire course we are on? How many people talk, but do not act? Why do many activists in important legal cases end up with court appointed attorneys? How many activists fighting legal battles are truly receiving support? and by support I don't mean some supportive words or wishes, but hard cash, significant time and energy donated, organized and effective protests?

90% of the defendents are cooperating. Rather than condemn them, maybe it is better to understand how the social/environmental movement is weak enough to have that happen? It is better and more accurate to view it as a movement issue rather than lay blame at the feet of people who stuck their necks out more than most.

Lets just remember 28.Jul.2006 07:58

m

that Stan started squealing for forgivness from the court AND denouncing his ways and everybody else and brought everybody down as he started yapping before even any legal counsel. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!! He did not have to feel the FEAR of FBI before he denounced this movement. He wasn't sitting in the hole before he begged for mercy. He simply is a f-n selfish, sociopathic idiot. Selfish like everyone else who obviously doesn't want to sacrifice for the movement anymore now that their lives are so rudely intterupted by prison time. Meanwhile Stan claims (in his pleas) to have been a "manager" of people who were only in their late teens during some of these actions.....how is that acceptable???? WHY does this pathetic excuse for a person derserve any support. Again I remind people about how Junkies don't hold up in court. Stan was an "upstanding engineering student". This wildfire would not spread out of control this easily if that loser kept his mouth shut at least until talking to a lawyer, and believe me, from years of personal experience with this loser, it wasn't due to a lack of funding, it was due to a lack of heart and brain (sociopath). He should be held resposible, even more than the wire wearing snake, and told about it, that this in not ok. he needs to understand the extent of damage he has caused. I think it is very important to remember this important turn of events in the future of this movement. Comments?

stan 28.Jul.2006 08:36

asdfsad

I haven't heard anyone defend Stan anymore than defend Jake. The point is that we can't lump all the defendants into one single group. I don't know that there's much to gain from an arguement over whether Stan or Jake sucks more...

90% no 28.Jul.2006 08:48

ca

90% of the defendants are not coopertaing.
There are thirteen defendants. Three are missing, four are pleading not guilty, and six are cooperating.

saints and demons 28.Jul.2006 09:01

commenter

people keep saying - "no one would have listened to that junkie anyhow" and "it's stan's fault for corroborating what jake said" - but please remember that jake wore a wire for a year and a half while contacting people he allegedly worked with in the past. some of what is on that wire-evidence that other defendants said is pretty incriminating - and short of physical evidence, pretty damning to some of the participants - not only do some people talk about themselves, but at least one person talks liberally about other people and conjectures all sorts of nonsense about them and other movement people. of course, this will come out in trial because i'm sure it will be used as evidence - but i think the point has to be made that the people who made the decision to plead out are not stupid, and had a far better understanding of the case and the discovery than anyone outside of this situation could.

i think in the end when all the facts come out, people will be sorry that they were so quick to judge and divide - the story behind the scenes is much more complex than - she's a snitch or he's a saint for not talking....

No love for the state = no love for snitches 29.Jul.2006 16:48

Dana

No one abandoned the snitches Jacob Ferguson, Jennifer Kolar, Lacey Philabaum, Kendall Tankersley, Darren Thurston, Kevin Tubbs, Stanislas Meyerhoff, Chelsea Gerlach, or Suzanne Savoie. They abandonded us.

Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher sit in jail right now thanks to them. Briana Waters, Daniel McGowan, Jonathan Paul, Josephine Overaker, Rebecca Rubin, Joseph Dibee, Justin Solondz and Nathan and Joyanna face spending the rest of their lives in prison.

Josephine, Joseph, and Justin can never go home. The responsibility for that falls collectively on the shoulders of each individual who has decided that it would be in their own personal best interest to cooperate with the government. The movement didn't fail them. They failed the movement and themselves.

What groups make mistakes in the 60's by not supporting snitches. COINTELPRO does not mean the government tricks people into not supporting people who work for the government. COINTELRPO "snitch jacketed" people which means they spread false rumors that people who were not working for the state were in order to cause divisions and in extreme cases to get people murdered. The snitches in this case are actually snitches and that is 100% confirmed. At the very least people should refuse to support them.

you don't know what you're talking about 01.Aug.2006 21:26

Emer

I am offended by the author of this diatribe. This person doesn't know what they're talking about and although they may feel like blaming themselves or other people in this so called movement, I for one, as a friend and supporter of some of those who were arrested, refuse to take any blame whatsoever. This person does not know about what many did to support the arrested early on in this tragic stage act. This person does not know about the support groups formed--the friends who rushed to support their jailed friends, etc. If there is someone to blame, aside from those who cooperated, blame the system and the FBI. Who knows what was said to the the defendents when they were in costudy--they were isolated, probably lied to, etc.
If all else fails, blame Jake (MAY HE ROT IN HELL).
But don't blame me--or my friends who have worked their asses off.

the difference betwen a guilty plea and snitching 02.Aug.2006 08:21

Joshua Goldberg

Our movements should be very careful about circulating rumours that someone is a snitch. In this case there have been snitches; there are also people who pled guilty and are not snitching. The two should not be confused. If you are not 100 percent sure of the facts in the case (which I think is the situation for most of us, as the case is still at a point where information cannot be fully released), don't speculate about things you're not sure of. The damage this causes to the movement, and to the individuals who are being smeared with a serious jacket, is deep and far-reaching. (It is particularly trouble for me to see Darren's name in the snitch list as I've done support work for him in the past and know him to be a deeply principled and ethical activist who has repeatedly refused to snitch on other activists, and has paid a heavy price in terms of past incarceration.)

I've been involved in legal support and prison justice work for over 15 years. In that time I've had a lot of discussions with PPs/POWs doing serious time about the strategic considerations of a guilty plea. There are some cases where guilty pleas are a politically astute move to make, and harm the movement far less than spending 30-45 years in jail. Whatever the motivation behind taking a guilty plea, if someone doing time for political reasons has not snitched they should still be considered a political prisoner, with all the respect and support that that entails.

Over the years it has been my experience that many of the people who take very strong positions do absolutely no work that might put them at risk of prison, nor do they do much to support people on the inside. I am thankful for the people on this board who have encouraged constructive action, and also the people who have pointed out that in North America most people (including activists) cooperate with the state on a daily basis. It is easy to have a theoretical position, much harder to look deeply into and take responsibility for our own lives, let alone make a long-term commitment to our movements' prisoners.

Anonymous activist boards are a potentially useful tool. They also provide a forum for people to say cruel, dangerous, and divisive things without having to be held accountable by the movement for what they are saying. For this reason I'm signing my name to this post and providing an email address.

Joshua Goldberg
Victoria, Occupied Salish Territory
Email:  jgoldber@shaw.ca