Subpoenaed Portland Activists Intend to Resist Grand Jury Investigating Anarchists
Leah-Lynn Plante refused to share any other information besides her name at a federal grand jury in Seattle on August 2. Plante had been subpoenaed in July at the same time the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) raided three homes in Portland. She was issued a new subpoena to appear at the grand jury again on August 30.
Only one person subpoenaed appears to have gone before the grand jury. Pacific Northwest Grand Jury Resistance reported, “The remaining recipients of subpoenas either did not show up to the grand jury, had August 30 or another date on their subpoena, or have not been served.”
The FBI has subpoenaed at least five individuals, whom they suspect were involved in a “violent crime” (which many people believe refers to May Day action that included property damage).
At a press conference in Portland, Oregon, today, Plante and Dennison Williams read a statement during a press conference on the federal government’s latest effort to “investigate” anarchists. The statement they delivered was posted online by the Committee Against Political Repression (CAPR):
We are releasing this statement to make clear our intention to resist the grand jury. We will not co-operate with their investigation. If we appear before the grand jury, we will not answer any questions other than our names. If we are asked additional questions, we will invoke our First, Fourth,and Fifth Amendment rights. Under no circumstances will we talk about other people.
This grand jury is a tool of political repression. It is attempting to turn individuals against each other by coercing those subpoenaed to testify against their communities. The secret nature of grand jury proceedings creates mistrust and can undermine solidarity. And imprisoning us takes us from our loved ones and our responsibilities.
But our passion for freedom is stronger than the state’s prisons. Our refusal to cooperate with the grand jury is a reflection of our own desires for a liberated world and our support for others who are working to bring that world into being. We support the efforts of all those who will be resisting this grand jury.
Last week, Firedoglake covered the FBI’s raids in Portland and the grand jury subpoenas that were issued in Portland and Olympia and Seattle, Washington. The FBI seized computers, black clothing, and any “anarchist” literature they could find.
An organizer with CAPR reported nobody has gotten their belongings back yet. “Anarchist literature,” clothing and electronics were seized. People’s computers were taken. There is no word when they will get those items pack.
He added the people are “everyday people who were targeted just because of their political beliefs.” The fact that “the state hasn’t clarified anything about what the investigation is other than using vague language like a ‘violent crime investigation’ shows that they are afraid to show what they are really looking for.” He said they are engaged in a witch-hunt and that is evidenced by the fact that they are looking for “anarchist literature” (whatever that may be).
It was unclear whether the activists subpoenaed had participated in Occupy protests in Portland.
Over two hundred community organizations and activist groups have signed on to show support for those targeted in the raids and by the grand jury. Pacific Northwest Grand Jury Resistance also posted a collection of reports on “solidarity actions.” A few included acts of vandalism (that this post is merely reporting and acknowledging, not condoning). Other actions included banner drops and demonstrations.
From what has been reported thus far, it is pretty clear the FBI is engaged in another fishing expedition for people who engage in radical politics. They don’t know who exactly did whatever they are trying to investigate but they know if they cast a wide net and go after “anarchists” they might be able to find someone they can prosecute, which is authoritarian and understandably frightening to people who wish to engage in freedom of assembly or exercise their right to free speech.
Earlier this week, I published an interview with GreenIstheNewRed.com’s Will Potter, who has been following the targeting of anarchists in the Pacific Northwest, closely. We discussed how the FBI uses raids and grand jury investigations as tools of political repression. The full interview can be read here.