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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Beyond Contempt (Or, Life After Solitary Confinement for Matt Duran and Katherine Olejnik)

Posted by on Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 12:29 PM

King Solomon's Reef, a diner and bar in downtown Olympia, was founded sometime in the 1960s and has survived several changes in ownership, two major fires, and probably scores of welcome-home-from-prison parties, although nobody has kept an official tally.

One night a few weeks ago, it hosted its latest welcome-home party, for well-loved Reef employee Katherine Olejnik and her friend Matthew Duran. The two had been released that day from the SeaTac Federal Detention Center (FDC) after five months, including two months of solitary confinement, for refusing to answer arguably McCarthyesque questions about other people's politics in front of a grand jury. The federal prosecutor was ostensibly interested in some political vandalism in Seattle on May Day—but neither Duran nor Olejnik were in Seattle during the demonstration. (Olejnik had been working a shift at the Reef.) Duran and Olejnik say they were shown photographs and asked to talk about who knew whom, who lived with whom, and whether those people were anarchists. When Duran and Olejnik refused to answer, they were sent to prison for civil contempt. At the time, Olejnik's attorney, Jenn Kaplan, said, "I'd hate for the public to think of her as an obstacle to a prosecution rather than as a principled person."

Five months later, Duran and Olejnik returned to their friends at the Reef. Both looked dazed.

Olejnik said so many people wanted to talk to her when she arrived, it took nearly an hour to get from the brightly lit front half of the Reef back into the dimly lit bar (which looks like a cozy dive from the late Victorian era, with dark wood columns and a stuffed deer head). There were hugs all around, and someone asked, "Whiskey or champagne?"

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Comments (11) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
The shocking thing is this could happen to any of us.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
pdonahue 2…. For all of the slog posters who keep thinking the people 'in charge' of law-n-order had a plan when they went after the grand jury resisters, or for that matter had a clue on May Day it self: read the above cited independent inquiry.
In particular, the scene commander who waded into a crowd of protestors unsupported by his tactical team in a show of bravado instead of maintaining communications between units. Makes Occupy Seattle general assembly decisions seem downright orderly. I hope your faith is restored in the foresight and planning of armed law enforcement and upholders of public safety like the 9th district prosecutors.
Posted by pdonahue on April 3, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
In days of old rabble rousers who irritated the authorities were dealt with like this:…

Today we use solitary confinement instead, but the basic idea is much the same.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 3, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
The shocking thing is this could happen to any of us.

If we band together with a bunch of anarchist punks and destroy things, yes. If they do it again, I hope they spend another five months in jail.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 3, 2013 at 8:16 PM · Report this
pdonahue 5
#4 do your read anything here or just post the first thing that pops into your head?
Posted by pdonahue on April 3, 2013 at 9:19 PM · Report this
blah blah blah. these guys wanted to make a scene and found out the [very] hard way that it was a bad move. Are we supposed to treat them like they are special? They're just attention grabbing asshats. Getting punished for it doesn't make them better people.
Posted by fetish on April 3, 2013 at 9:36 PM · Report this
@4 @5, hah! Oh boy, you can always trust the person who declares that they 'see the truth' unlike the rest of us, are so enlightened, that we're all 'sheeple' (or whatever), that we're all brainwashed and wallowing in our ignorance. Yes, Unbrainwashed, your vapid comments show that you truly see the world for what it is, and the rest of us really benefit from your trolling knee-jerk uneducated comments. You're really such a valuable part of a community dedicated to critical inquiry and independent journalism.

Anyway, my heart goes out to these two, and the others involved in this mess. Grand juries are awful, and are such a shining example of judicial system hypocracy.
Posted by Benj on April 3, 2013 at 9:41 PM · Report this
Yeah, #7, but did you read the part about how the one little shithead can't get his job back for four years and 11 months? Fantastic! Fuck 'em!
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 3, 2013 at 11:30 PM · Report this
pdonahue 9
wow, I wish I had a clever fake name to post personal insults and keep me completely unaccountable for what I say, would you say these things in real life? #8 and #6 act as if the personal attitude of the resistors got them in jail, and that our judicial system is some kind of grade school detention room for load mouths and misfits, I don't even see this dumbing down of discourse on Reddit.
Posted by pdonahue on April 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this
"Dumbing down of discourse" = "Anyone who's not a self-righteous Seattle fuckwit"
Posted by Unbrainwashed on April 4, 2013 at 10:12 AM · Report this
hold up #9 - no one is arguing that they didn't commit a crime. No one is arguing that they could not have complied with the law and walked out of prison. Now we're supposed to feel sorry for them?
Posted by fetish on April 5, 2013 at 4:13 AM · Report this

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