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Friday, March 22, 2013

The Stranger Goes to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Whoopee!) UPDATE

Posted by on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 4:14 PM

UPDATE

The original post—about The Stranger's push for greater transparency from federal prosecutors in this whole grand jury/sending activists to prison and solitary confinement for not answering (arguably McCarthyesque) questions about other people's politics—is below the jump. (And can we start using "O.P.P." to mean "other people's politics"?)

But to the point: Thank you, Sloggers. We started an Indiegogo campaign asking for $500 to file in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the first day, we met the goal and quickly ramped up to over $800.

Because of your donations, we can afford to file and keep pushing this thing.

We've got four more days to go—and though we only asked for $500, every dollar more helps. The more money we have, the more nimble we can afford to be with our legal strategy. And if we have any money left over, we'll decide what to do with it together.

But really: Thank you.

Original post:

In the process of covering the grand jury, its refusers, and the recent release of two of them, The Stranger has gotten involved in a months-long legal process of trying to push the federal government to be more transparent about its legal maneuverings.

From a recent news story:

Throughout this process, The Stranger has been working with attorney Neil Fox, president of the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, petitioning to unseal some of the documents in this case that prosecutors have reflexively shielded. Some of those motions, for example, aren't sensitive to the investigation, but merely cite precedent and case law. We have been successful in getting some made public (such as a copy of the government's search-warrant affidavit, which [attorneys] Gordon and Kaplan say was helpful in getting their clients released), but not others (such as the full civil contempt proceedings). If we can raise the funds—including a $450 filing fee and at least $300 for printing—Fox and The Stranger will push our case for greater government transparency to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We plan to file soon.

The feds seems to be using a "seal-it-because-we-said-so" approach instead of a "seal-it-because-it's-actually-sensitive" approach. This is a problem because we, as citizens and as journalists, should have access to what our federal prosecutors are doing. Sealing motions should be the exception, not the rule. So we're taking this argument to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Our attorney, Neil Fox, is lending his expertise and drafting our motions pro bono, but the paperwork and filing fees ain't cheap. The Stranger will chip in some money, of course, and a few private donors have come forward. But we'll need a little help getting over the hump.

So we've started an Indiegogo campaign to make up the difference. If you want to show federal prosecutors that we are interested in how they do business in federal court, please donate here. (And remember: The more money we raise, the more nimble we can afford to be with our legal strategy.)

If we have money left over, neither Neil Fox nor I nor The Stranger will take a penny. You, dear Sloggers, will help us figure out what to do with it.

 

Comments (18) RSS

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1
Worthy cause. The DOJ should be more transparent.
Posted by Fizgig on March 20, 2013 at 8:32 AM · Report this
2
dude, with something like this, you go buy beer and weed with the leftover money. it would be like a tip.
Posted by tim koch on March 20, 2013 at 8:38 AM · Report this
3
Wait, Keck is really too cheap to cover the filing fee and printing costs for this? That's ridiculous.
Posted by Felix Frankfurter on March 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 4
Happy to donate. I love open court records. Though I recognize that sealing is needed where it protects grand jury secrecy, and that Jones is reputed to be a damn good federal judge, I'm glad to have you guys put it to the test.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on March 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM · Report this
5
I donated. I wish they would accept Paypal also.
Posted by rubus on March 20, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 6
Donate any excess to the ACLU?
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on March 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
watchout5 7
Seems like the amount was already raised. Good city Seattle damn that feels good.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on March 20, 2013 at 11:35 AM · Report this
8
Thank you, the stranger. You rock!
Posted by ooppoddoo on March 21, 2013 at 7:36 AM · Report this
9
In the process of covering the grand jury, its refusers, and the release of two of them


Actually, Brendand, three of them have been released.

BUT YE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF THE UNPERSONED
Posted by robotslave on March 22, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
pdonahue 10
Uh, except the third unnamed person was not a resister, as they were released after cooperating with the Feds.
Posted by pdonahue on March 23, 2013 at 7:02 AM · Report this
11
Outstanding news, Mr. K, and for even more outstanding news:

Super-Woman of the Year ! ! !


Although there are many worthy candidates (Senator/Professor Elizabeth Warren, and the lady scientist/whistleblower who was legally reinstated at the EPA, no thanks to Drone Master Obama and his ilk), U.S. District Judge Susan Illston is the official winner!

"U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered the government to stop issuing so-called NSLs across the board, in a stunning defeat for the Obama administration’s surveillance practices. She also ordered the government to cease enforcing the gag provision in any other cases. However, she stayed her order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."

A clear violation of both the Fourth and First Amendments (US Constitution), these are best represented by an exchange between the Jacob Appelbaum (posing the obvious question) and the FBI's deputy general counsel, giving her feeble and chilling answer in response to Mr. Appelbaum's question (a WikiLeaks' volunteer, Jacob has done much to promote awareness of Big Brother Online):

"How am I supposed to go to a judge if the third party is gagged from telling me that I'm targeted by you?"

Her answer: "There are times when we have to have those things in place."

The vid for your viewing pleasure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTuxoLDnm…

And why is this soooo important:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/07…

The lack of court oversight raises the possibility for extensive abuse of NSLs under the cover of secrecy, which the gag order only exacerbates. In 2007 a Justice Department Inspector General audit found that the FBI had indeed abused its authority and misused NSLs on many occasions. After 9/11, for example, the FBI paid multimillion-dollar contracts to AT&T and Verizon requiring the companies to station employees inside the FBI and to give these employees access to the telecom databases so they could immediately service FBI requests for telephone records. The IG found that the employees let FBI agents illegally look at customer records without paperwork and even wrote NSLs for the FBI.

And another explanatory paragraph:

NSLs are a powerful tool because they do not require court approval, and they come with a built-in gag order, preventing recipients from disclosing to anyone that they have even received an NSL. An FBI agent looking into a possible anti-terrorism case can self-issue an NSL to a credit bureau, ISP or phone company with only the sign-off of the Special Agent in Charge of their office. The FBI has to merely assert that the information is “relevant” to an investigation into international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

Source article/site:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/03…

Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge in California ruled in a decision released Friday.

But wait, what is awaiting us in the very near future (actually presently in place)?????

From Kevin D. Haggerty's Surveillance and Democracy book:

The latest addition to these databases is the Nokia Siemens Intelligence Platform, a monster data-warehousing suite integrating all sorts of data sets: mobile-phone and internet logs, credit-card and bank-account transactions, car registry and DNA databases, road-traffic data, phone-card transcripts, chat protocols, health and insurance data.

Automated intelligence operations at all levels. How very very kewl for the bad guys, especially since this is being marketed in China, the USA, the Middle East and Asia (primarily to the most totalitarian countries).

More...
Posted by sgt_doom on March 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM · Report this
12
@10

1) If Leah Lynn-Plante was not a resistor, why was she jailed?

2) On what evidence are you basing your claim that she cooperated with the feds? Or perhaps there were no rules of evidence at all, when she was Unpersoned in your General Assembly?

THE UNPERSONED SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED IN THE SAME BREATH AS THE TRUE REVOLUTIONARY
Posted by robotslave on March 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this
13
When your "politics" require violence, you get investigated in this country.
Posted by Sugartit on March 23, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
pdonahue 14
hey RS, she was released after one day in the SHU, didja think they did that because they felt sorry for her? The entire problem has been the lack of evidence and secrecy of the Grand Jury, causing rumors to fly and people make assumptions. That's why this request for info from the DOJ by interested parties. I know this isn't coming as a big revelation to you, do you have a point? Sorry, of course you do, the big scary anarchist community threatens you and you'd like to see the feds fuck them over as hard as possible. I still haven't heard why you think this is so cool. other that a prurient interest in watching people get drug out form car wrecks or dogs fight each other.
Posted by pdonahue on March 24, 2013 at 12:59 AM · Report this
15
@14

Maybe she talked, pd, but then, maybe she didn't. Maybe there's some other plausible explanation.

Here's one: Maybe she was sick.

Maybe she had some sort of illness prior to being imprisoned, exacerbated by the conditions of her confinement?

Maybe the court found that her illness rendered her incapable of the testimony it had asked of her? Or maybe the medical facilities of the jail were not adequate to provide her with the care she needed, and she was released so that she could get the medical attention she required?

This would be a problem for the propaganda efforts of the anarchist community, of course, because there is no room in those efforts for a court that responds reasonably to medical issues, or (heaven forfend) shows mercy.

And then there's that other, larger problem with giving her the benefit of the doubt: it's also entirely possible that she violated that iron (though unwritten) Law socially enforced in Pac Northwest anarchist communities: "No Snitching".

You don't know what happened, and I don't know either, and I for one think it's actually none of my business, particularly if there were medical issues involved.

I'm willing to give Leah-Lynn Plante the benefit of the doubt, and give her full inclusion when discussing the Grand Jury Resisters. Some, like yourself, deliberately exclude her from that exalted designation. Others, like Brendan, seem to be remarkably prone to accidentally omitting her entirely when they summarize the affair.

One of the more fascinating aspects of this case is the way Leah-Lynn Plante's reputation has undergone a complete reversal in the anarchist community, from marquee status to unmentionable.

I don't really believe she was officially Unpersoned in a General Assembly star chamber, any more than you really believe I'm slavering to hear about prison guards abusing anarchists. And yet the Unpersoning of Leah-Lynn Plante did happen. It happened without any direct intention; it's a result of many tiny decisions not to bring up a delicate subject, to omit things for the sake of clarity in propaganda, and perhaps to preserve a certain level of rage, a particular emotional righteousness.

That might not be an interesting aspect of this story, for you. But is sure is for me.
More...
Posted by robotslave on March 24, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
16
@ robotslave: You're right. I meant the two who had been recently released. Fixed it.
Posted by Brendan Kiley on March 24, 2013 at 7:01 PM · Report this
pdonahue 17
Grand jury prosecutors seek out people who are the most vulnerable in order to complel testimony, Platt was one of those people who have sacrificed almost everything they have on this cruel logic employed by officers of the court. That you choose to villify her community and journalists for this tragedy is telling of where your sympathies lie; with arbitrary and revengeful prosecutors. Much like torture victims in Gitmo, you have consistently excused the torturers, ridiculed the supporters of the resistors, and shrugged off the sacrifices of those confined for months in segregated housing.
What possible basis are you using to assume the Feds excused her for health reasons? I just don't think you are that stupid or naive. Your benefit of the doubt does not extend to those who remained in jail, why are you extending it to Platt? Personally I view her , and the other annonymous defendants who DID testify, just as much victims of this little muscle flexing by the 9th circuit.
Your faith in the authorities is misplaced, sir. It's your fellow citizens who need you support.
Posted by pdonahue on March 25, 2013 at 9:56 AM · Report this
GeneStoner 18
Did you call me? You did say Whoopee, right?

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Posted by GeneStoner on March 25, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this

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